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Private Internet Access vs Hotspot Shield vs TunnelBear VPN 2022

After comparing these VPNs, we have a winner!

Which VPN is better?

Author Image Catherine Ablett
Catherine Ablett

Cybersecurity Researcher

On the surface these three providers, Hotspot Shield, PIA (Private Internet Access), and TunnelBear all offer similar services, all of which allow users to securely access the web while safeguarding their privacy. However, there are some considerable differences that need to be highlighted. All offer reasonable speeds and good encryption, but only PIA and TunnelBear offer a choice of connection methods, since users of Hotspot Shield can only connect via OpenVPN. All three providers have server locations across the globe with Hotspot Shield leading the way with over 90 server locations, however, PIA leaps ahead with in the region of 3000 servers, compared to Hotspot Shield’s 200. No server numbers are given by TunnelBear. All three offer mobile solutions and are suitable for public Wi-Fi hotspot usage. They also can be used to access geo-restricted content, although access is to Netflix is not guaranteed through TunnelBear. TunnelBear does not support the use of BitTorrent at all, while both Hotspot Shield and PIA can be used for Torrents; PIA does not support torrenting on its US servers.

Rating

Features 9.2/10
Pricing 8/10
Ease of Use 9.6/10
Reliability & Support 9.8/10
Features 8.8/10
Pricing 9/10
Ease of Use 9/10
Reliability & Support 8.6/10
Features 8.6/10
Pricing 7.6/10
Ease of Use 8.4/10
Reliability & Support 9/10

Reviews

Review by our expert
Author Image Matthew Amos
Matthew Amos

Cybersecurity Researcher

9.8/10

Private Internet Access has one of the cheapest VPN subscriptions available — you can sign up for as little as $2.03/month. With such a low price, I wondered whether PIA could really stand out against its higher-priced competitors. It’s been around for 10+ years, so it could be one of the best-value VPNs out there. I decided to find out just how good it is by looking into the company’s lo...

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Latest positive user review
E
Ez
10.0/10
Best VPN Out on The Market

I like PIA VPN the best for the following reasons: ● It's a reliable and trustworthy policy; they don... 't record anything harmful to you; strict no logs. ● I've been using it for one month and there are specific times when it speeds up my internet speed (varies by internet) ● It's a distinctive feature of DIP (dedicated IP) - I think not many popular VPNs have this feature, I also purchased this feature to avoid getting the captcha verification and it never showed up ever since. It's only been a month using this VPN but as I gain more experience with this client, I'm pretty sure I will find more good features and utilize them. Thanks for having read my review:)More

Latest negative user review
S
Steve Taylor
4.0/10
What support ?

Contacted online help service for not being able to install or having an issue trying to install/log i... n with android box - was told that they "still have been unable to find a fix for android box issue (i.e. it does not work ! ) - but - Hey our tech people are working hard at it" Read somewhere that this "issue" existed over 5 years ago. Think they need to work hard at finding competent technicians.More

Review by our expert
Author Image Katie Kasunic
Katie Kasunic

Technology Researcher

8/10

Hotspot Shield is a popular VPN service with over 650 million users and multiple servers in 110+ countries. In fact, the website claims it is the #1 grossing app for productivity in the US App Store. (When we checked the App Store source, it actually indicated #8, which is still an impressive ranking.) One of the features that make Hotspot Shield special is its unique Catapult Hydra protoco...

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Latest positive user review
G
George
8.0/10
Great Interface, easy to use and smooth/zippy.

It just feels well put together. Turns on automatically, which is no bad thing (if you don't like that... , turn the damn thing off with a click). The speed is consistently above average, and on a couple of inadvertent occasions, the Kill Switch operated as it should. I especially like the GUI, which is really simple, solid, yet has a refined/slick feel - far superior to a few I've tried but won't name here. I see no issues with it, although the security issues pointed out in the article are a bit alarming. I'm using the 'Business' version. Nice VPN, IMO.More

Latest negative user review
A
Alt
2.0/10
Blocked by Real-Debrid on just about every us city and nearly all countries

Easy to connect speed pretty good multiple platforms not great from streaming.. which is where you nee... d the speed. Nord vpn and Express are both cooperative providers with real-debrid meaning no connection problems. Even if you do find a server that connects frequently this is blocked during streaming.More

Review by our expert
Author Image Andreea Juganaru
Andreea Juganaru

Cybersecurity Researcher

9/10

TunnelBear’s team does an excellent job in branding the VPN but is that all it takes to create a great service? With over 300 VPNs out there, the competition is fierce so I had to take it for a test and see if there’s more to it. I looked into its privacy policy and security features to see if it’s really safe. I ran many tests on its servers, checked the speeds, how many streaming platf...

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Latest positive user review
W
Whodat
8.0/10
OK for PC & Android, no firesticks

The PC and tablet versions of the paid version differ. Ghost Bear is on all versions, but Vigilant be... ar is PC only. Tried on an older Samsung tablet running kit kat, and a slightly newer one using marshmellow. I Will NOT install it on any of my android phones (they are for work), but I'm confident about them working on 7.1.1 up. Why no fire tv stick version? Have to use a different VPN or cast to it from a tablet that will run it. Their devs should look harder at the noob market they are aimed at, so get cracking develop one soon. In Canada, where TB is based, it's not for Netflix, but fine for IPTV and related stuff. The principal ISP's here (Bell, Rogers, Telus, Shaw) have become more aggressive blocking things lately, so a VPN is a must now. Throughput isn't horrible on a cheap 15/1 line, (the average is around 12/.9 using an in Canada server out of Vancouver) so it's mid-pack.More

Latest negative user review
D
David Ross
2.0/10
DANGEROUS for CANADIANS

I live in the GTA, everything was fine "until" I installed TunnelBear on one of my 7 devices, now I ca... n no longer watch any USA TV stations on line on any of my other 6 devices, this company is scum, they hid something in there that disabled all my other devices unless I buy their VPN, well, not going to buy their garbage, can't believe how much it slowed my device, I would rather wipe all my drives than give TunnelBear one cent!More

Pricing

Starting price $2.03/month
Money Back Guarantee (Days) 30 Days
Number of devices per license 10 devices
Starting price $2.99/month
Money Back Guarantee (Days) 45 Days
Number of devices per license 5 devices
Starting price $3.33/month
Money Back Guarantee (Days) 0 Days
Number of devices per license 5 devices

Best VPNs by category

PIA is a user-friendly VPN with loads of servers in over 30 countries. With regards to security this provider wins the game, not just in terms of encryption but also by strictly keeping to its no logs policy. Due to its high security level, PIA's speeds are affected, but do remain consistent. For a free vpn, TunnelBear offers amazing services and features. It is easy to use and has just enough servers and speed to ensure smooth streaming and access to restricted content. The only problem is that it does partially store logs and also does not always manage to unblock Netflix. Lastly, Hotspot Shield is a provider with a large server base, ideal for streaming, considering its unlimited bandwidth feature. Even so, it does store logs partially which should be taken into consideration by users that thrive for their complete online safety.

The Bottom Line

Author Image Catherine Ablett
Catherine Ablett

Cybersecurity Researcher

PIA is a clear winner when compared to these two other providers. It offers the stronger encryption, security and privacy, and better customer service. It is the only one of the three that guarantees not to keep any logs of any type, and which provides users with a kill switch. It offers better value for money in relation to the service levels it provides, with subscriptions prices being related to length of subscription rather than bandwidth or speed allowances. It also has the best customer service options and, of course, the greater choice of servers that can be accessed.

Time to decide which one is best for you

FAQ

Is Private Internet Access better than Hotspot Shield and TunnelBear VPN?

Yes, Private Internet Access is better overall than Hotspot Shield and TunnelBear VPN. It has 29650 servers in 70 countries, fast speeds, and impressive security features.

Best of all, you can take advantage of its latest discount and get it for only $2.03 a month.

What should I keep in mind when choosing between Private Internet Access, Hotspot Shield and TunnelBear VPN?

When choosing a VPN, you want to pay close attention to its number of servers, overall speed score, pricing, and the number of simultaneous device connections it offers. While some VPNs provide a flawless online experience, others will really slow you down.

If you’re ready to commit, then Private Internet Access may be perfect for you due to its performance during the tests.

Is Private Internet Access faster than Hotspot Shield and TunnelBear VPN?

Yes, Private Internet Access is faster than Hotspot Shield and TunnelBear VPN. Since your VPN is your computer’s main connection to the internet, you need to use a service that won’t slow you down by more than 20%.

If speeds are important to you, then I recommend you take a look at ExpressVPN. It’s the fastest service out there, provides unlimited bandwidth, and you won’t experience any slowdowns even when you connect to the other side of the planet. You can try it out risk-free before making a long-term commitment. It’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a full refund if you don’t like it.

Do Private Internet Access, Hotspot Shield or TunnelBear VPN offer any deals?

Private Internet Access, Hotspot Shield, and TunnelBear VPN offer deals on occasion. You can check out the current coupons and discounts here. However, ExpressVPN has the best deals. Right now, you can get a 49% discount and up to 3 months for free with a new subscription.