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Hotspot Shield vs TunnelBear VPN 2023

Table of Contents

    Which VPN is better?

    Author Image Daniel Krohn
    Daniel Krohn

    Cybersecurity Researcher

    Hotspot Shield and TunnelBear are well-known providers that offer limited free VPN services, unlimited data, and extra benefits when you pay. Both VPNs secure your data with ultra-strong 256-bit encryption and allow you to use multiple simultaneous device connections per account. Also, each has apps for Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and a browser extension for Chrome.

    While Hotspot Shield has servers in 80 countries, TunnelBear covers only 47. Plus, Hotspot Shield offers “Catapult Hydra,” a data compression technique that provides a faster VPN service. TunnelBear offers GhostBear, a double VPN you can use to bypass geo-restrictions. Plus, Hotspot Shield provides a trustworthy 45-day money-back guarantee, while TunnelBear does not offer a money-back guarantee. Discover which VPN comes out on top. 


    Features 9.1/10
    Pricing 9.0/10
    Ease of Use 9.0/10
    Reliability & Support 8.6/10
    Features 9.0/10
    Pricing 7.5/10
    Ease of Use 8.4/10
    Reliability & Support 9.0/10


    Review by our expert
    Author Image Kennedy Otieno
    Kennedy Otieno

    Cybersecurity Researcher


    Hotspot Shield claims its proprietary Hydra protocol makes it faster than most VPNs — but is that true? I tested HSS on my fast internet connection (it allows up to 1Gbps speeds) to discover how it does with streaming, gaming, and torrenting. Mostly, I had a seamless internet experience — watching shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video without buffering. Its 1,800 servers in 80 countries ...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    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
    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

    Senior Editor


    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...

    Read all
    Latest positive user review
    Iqra Muneer
    100% Working VPN

    TunnelBear is no doubt a great VPN for all the users, when I am facing server difficulty this helps me...  very much. It provides Good OpenVPN speed. Also, Control full security every year. This software package does not require detailed knowledge; all you have to do is click on the program and establish the connection. You can access global content from anywhere.More

    Latest negative user review
    David Ross

    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


    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 Unlimited devices

    Best VPN by category

    Both VPNs provide high-level security features and user-friendly apps for the most popular platforms. However, Hotspot Shield takes the crown by offering its own proprietary Hydra Catapult protocol, also used by renowned cybersecurity companies like BitDefender and McAfee.

    Even though both VPNs allow P2P sharing, Hotspot Shield takes the upper hand by delivering incredible speeds, especially when using its proprietary Hydra protocol. TunnelBear has very slow download speeds, especially on long-distance servers, which sometimes makes torrenting impossible.

    Hotspot Shield is a better choice for Windows. When you connect to a server on Hotspot Shield’s Windows app, you see information about server load, latency, peak speeds, and daily data transmitted through the VPN. It also has a built-in speed test and a one-click connection feature. TunnelBear’s bear-themed Windows app, although aesthetically pleasing, comes with limitations, like the lack of a split tunneling feature.

    Hotspot Shield takes the lead with a dedicated Android app with features like “start on boot,” which launches the VPN as your device powers on. Moreover, the app has an automatic spam blocker called Identity Guard. While TunnelBear’s easy-to-use Android app allows you to connect in one tap or choose a server country straight from your home screen, it only supports the OpenVPN protocol.

    Hotspot Shield wins by focusing on high speed and servers optimized for streaming and gaming, allowing you to get the most out of your Mac’s high-quality screen display. TunnelBear comes in as a strong second with useful features you can access by clicking on the gear icon. One is GhostBear, which makes your VPN traffic look like regular traffic, giving you a better chance of bypassing VPN blocks and firewalls.

    Hotspot Shield is the best for iOS because its data compression feature means you can enjoy fast speeds on your iOS device. Also, even though it doesn’t offer a kill switch for iOS, it compensates with additional features, like Identity Guard and malware protection. TunnelBear isn't a bad choice either — it's directly integrated into 3D touch, allowing you to save time by accessing its network from the home screen. However, neither its kill switch (VigilantBear) nor its stealth mode (GhostBear) is supported on the iOS app, so you’re not as safe as on other platforms.

    Hotspot Shield is my top recommendation for the USA. Its lightning-fast speeds and US servers optimized for gaming and streaming allow you to easily bypass VPN blocks and bandwidth throttling. Plus, Hotspot Shield allows you to pick among 27 locations in the US, whereas TunnelBear doesn’t offer any city-level server locations. However, TunnelBear is also a good VPN for users in the USA ,thanks to its VigilantBear obfuscation mode. The VigilantBear feature offers users the ability to make encrypted data less detectable by ISPs and other third parties.

    The Bottom Line

    Both VPNs share similar features, such as the inclusion of a kill switch and a no-logging policy. However, users more interested in consistent streaming and torrenting may prefer Hotspot Shield over TunnelBear. Hotspot Shield wins the race with its excellent network coverage and proprietary data compression, which boosts your speeds, so you get more efficient and reliable connections.

    Time to decide which one is best for you


    Is Hotspot Shield better than TunnelBear VPN?

    Yes, Hotspot Shield is better overall than TunnelBear VPN. It has 1800 servers in 80 countries, fast speeds, and impressive security features.

    Best of all, you can take advantage of its latest discount and get it for only $2.99 a month.

    What should I keep in mind when choosing between 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 Hotspot Shield may be perfect for you due to its performance during the tests .

    Is Hotspot Shield faster than TunnelBear VPN?

    Yes, Hotspot Shield is faster than 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. It’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can get a full refund if you don’t like it.

    Do Hotspot Shield or TunnelBear VPN offer any deals?

    Both 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.