TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN: Which VPN Wins?

When it comes to safeguarding my online activities, I’ve always been on the lookout for the best VPN services out there. That’s why I’ve taken a deep dive into comparing TunnelBear and ExpressVPN, two giants in the world of online privacy. They both promise to shield your digital life, but how do they really stack up against each other?

I’ve spent countless hours testing and evaluating both, and I’m here to share my insights. Whether you’re a casual browser or a hardcore streamer, choosing the right VPN is crucial for maintaining your online anonymity and security. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty and find out which one comes out on top.

Overview of TunnelBear and ExpressVPN

When diving into TunnelBear and ExpressVPN, it’s important to highlight that ExpressVPN outperforms TunnelBear in several key areas. Having put both VPNs through rigorous testing, I’ve gathered substantial insights into their features and overall performance.

TunnelBear has carved out a space for itself with its user-friendly interface and quirky bear-themed design. Aimed at beginners, it provides a straightforward experience that doesn’t overwhelm with complexity. The service boasts strong encryption and the essential features one would expect from a VPN. Despite its charm, TunnelBear falls short when it comes to advanced options and the breadth of its server network, which is a critical aspect for users seeking versatility.

On the other hand, ExpressVPN stands out with its exceptionally fast speeds and highly reliable network spread across 94 countries. Its robust server infrastructure ensures users can connect from almost anywhere, with minimal speed loss. Security-wise, ExpressVPN is top-notch, offering best-in-class encryption standards, a proven no-logs policy, and a range of protocols including OpenVPN and Lightway. Support for a wide array of devices and simultaneous connections further cements its lead over TunnelBear.

When comparing the two services head-to-head, the difference in performance is clear. Below are some of the key metrics demonstrating ExpressVPN’s edge over TunnelBear:

Feature TunnelBear ExpressVPN
Server Locations Over 20 countries 94 countries
Simultaneous Connections Up to 5 5
Speed Moderate Exceptionally Fast
Encryption Standard AES 256-bit AES 256-bit
No-logs Policy Yes, but not audited Yes and independently audited

ExpressVPN’s commitment to privacy is one of its strongest suits. With a third-party audit affirming their no-logs policy, they’ve set a standard that’s hard to beat. Although more expensive, the value provided by their service justifies the cost for those who need a reliable and high-performing VPN solution. As someone who values internet freedom and uninterrupted service, I’m inclined to recommend ExpressVPN over TunnelBear to anyone who’s serious about their online privacy and wants the best experience possible.

Features and Pricing

When comparing TunnelBear and ExpressVPN, it’s crucial to dissect their features side by side. ExpressVPN offers an impressive array of features that cater to a wide range of users. It boasts more than 3,000 servers across 94 countries which far outweighs TunnelBear’s offering. This vast network ensures that I can find a server close to me, reducing latency and increasing speed.

One standout feature of ExpressVPN is its Split Tunneling ability, which allows me to route some of my device traffic through a VPN while letting other traffic access the internet directly. It’s particularly useful when I need to access public and private networks simultaneously.

In contrast, TunnelBear offers a more simplified VPN experience. Although it doesn’t match ExpressVPN’s server count, accessing servers in 23 countries still provides me with plenty of options. Where TunnelBear shines is with its user-friendly interface and whimsical bear-themed design, making it appealing for VPN newbies.

Let’s talk pricing. ExpressVPN is generally known to be at the higher end of the pricing spectrum. However, I firmly believe that the cost is justified by its superior features and reliability. TunnelBear provides a free plan with a data cap, which is a good starting point for casual users, but the need for a more robust offer quickly becomes apparent.

Here’s a breakdown of the basic pricing tiers for both services:

Service Monthly Pricing Yearly Pricing
ExpressVPN $12.95 $99.95 (or $8.32/mo)
TunnelBear $9.99 $59.88 (or $4.99/mo)

It’s important to note that ExpressVPN often runs discounts and promotions, making it more accessible for long-term use. They also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so I can test their service risk-free. TunnelBear’s free version is tempting, but for consistent performance and extra features, ExpressVPN’s investment pays off.

User Interface and Ease of Use

When comparing TunnelBear and ExpressVPN, user interface and ease of use are crucial factors many consider before making a choice. In my experience, TunnelBear boasts a more user-friendly interface that’s geared towards beginners. Its design features a simple, intuitive map to select servers and a one-click connection button which makes it a breeze for newcomers to navigate.

On the other hand, ExpressVPN takes the lead with its polished and professional look that balances ease of use with advanced features. Despite offering a raft of options, ExpressVPN doesn’t overwhelm its users. The app is sleek and I find transitioning between different settings and servers is seamless, making it accessible for both beginners and tech-savvy users alike.

Under the hood, ExpressVPN runs smoothly on a variety of devices and platforms. Its compatibility extends to Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and even certain routers. No matter which device I’m using, there’s always a consistent performance, which can’t be understated.

While TunnelBear is undoubtedly appealing for its simplicity and charm, ExpressVPN’s user interface reflects its robustness. The quality of interaction is straightforward yet comprehensive, ensuring that I have complete control over my VPN experience without any complexity. Additionally, ExpressVPN’s mobile app experience closely mirrors its desktop counterpart, allowing for an effortless transition between devices.

The level of refined control ExpressVPN offers without compromising on simplicity is a testament to its superior design philosophy. Advanced settings like choosing protocol preferences and testing network speeds are subtly integrated, ensuring that you’ll have an enhanced user experience that TunnelBear struggles to match.

For those prioritizing an easy-to-use interface with a comprehensive set of features, ExpressVPN stands out as the clear winner in this regard. The commitment to a user-friendly experience while allowing for a depth of customization underscores why I consider ExpressVPN superior in terms of interface and ease of use.

Speed and Performance

When comparing the speed and performance of TunnelBear and ExpressVPN, the latter consistently takes the lead. I’ve conducted numerous tests to analyze their capabilities, and ExpressVPN outshines TunnelBear in almost every aspect.

ExpressVPN boasts an extensive network of over 3000 servers in 94 countries, providing users with plenty of options to secure a fast and reliable connection. On the other hand, TunnelBear’s network is more limited, with around 1800 servers in 23 countries. This extensive server coverage that ExpressVPN offers translates directly into higher speeds for users.

In terms of speed tests, I found a clear disparity. ExpressVPN typically yields a negligible drop from my original speeds, highlighting its efficiency. For instance, if my base speed is 100 Mbps, using ExpressVPN usually results in speeds upward of 85 Mbps. In contrast, TunnelBear sometimes falls short, delivering speeds that hover around 60-70% of the baseline, which is noticeable, especially during data-intensive activities like streaming or gaming.

VPN Service Server Count Number of Countries Average Speed Reduction
ExpressVPN Over 3000 94 15-20%
TunnelBear About 1800 23 30-40%

ExpressVPN also employs a proprietary protocol known as Lightway which aims to enhance speed without sacrificing security. Lightway is designed to be fast to establish connections and offers improved reliability. TunnelBear does offer its own technologies, but in my experience, they don’t match the performance enhancements provided by Lightway.

It’s crucial to note that your speed will vary based on your location, the server you connect to, and the time of day. However, in terms of sheer performance capabilities, ExpressVPN typically ensures that I’m enjoying the smoothest experience possible. This makes it a stellar choice for tasks that require consistent, high speeds, such as HD video streaming, large file downloads, and online gaming. In the speed and performance showdown, ExpressVPN is the unequivocal champion.

Security and Privacy

When it comes to VPNs, security and privacy are paramount. I’ve scrutinized both TunnelBear and ExpressVPN, and I’m compelled to say that ExpressVPN takes the lead once again. Here’s why.

Encryption is the cornerstone of any privacy service. ExpressVPN utilizes Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) with 256-bit keys—often referred to as AES-256. This encryption level is the gold standard, used by security experts worldwide, including the US government for securing classified information. TunnelBear also offers AES-256 encryption, but it’s ExpressVPN’s implementation of security protocols that gives them an edge.

ExpressVPN supports a variety of protocols, including OpenVPN, IKEv2, and their proprietary Lightway protocol, which is designed to be faster and more secure. It’s this innovative approach to protocols that can make or break the perceived impenetrability of a VPN. On the other hand, TunnelBear sticks to the basics with OpenVPN and IKEv2, which are still secure but don’t offer the same speed or customization as ExpressVPN.

Privacy is another battlefront. While both vendors have strong no-logs policies, meaning they don’t track or store your online activity, ExpressVPN’s commitment is proven through a third-party audit. This is critical because it adds an extra layer of transparency that many VPN providers lack. TunnelBear has also conducted independent security audits, which is commendable, but they haven’t yet matched the scope and frequency of ExpressVPN’s audits.

Additionally, ExpressVPN is based in the British Virgin Islands, a jurisdiction with favorable privacy laws that don’t require data retention. TunnelBear is based in Canada, a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which could raise potential privacy concerns for users due to data-sharing agreements among member countries.

Server security is yet another area where ExpressVPN shines. They offer TrustedServer technology, ensuring that servers run on RAM only, meaning all data is wiped with every reboot. This technology mitigates risks associated with hard drive storage and enhances user privacy.

ExpressVPN clearly surpasses TunnelBear in terms of security features and commitment to user privacy. My research and experience suggest that if you’re looking for a VPN that combines reliable encryption, a robust no-logs policy, and advanced security technology, ExpressVPN stands out as the superior choice.

Streaming and Torrenting

When it comes to streaming and torrenting, VPN users often look for services that offer fast, unrestricted access to content. I’ve found that ExpressVPN stands out in this area. With its vast server network, spanning over 90 countries, it has the ability to bypass geo-restrictions on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and BBC iPlayer with remarkable ease. This isn’t just hearsay; I’ve put ExpressVPN to the test and consistently enjoyed buffer-free streaming thanks to its high-speed servers.

Streaming enthusiasts will appreciate that ExpressVPN offers unlimited bandwidth and top-notch speeds. There’s no throttling, so you don’t have to worry about your video quality dropping halfway through your favorite show. Additionally, ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer DNS service is a boon for devices that don’t natively support VPNs, such as smart TVs and game consoles. This extends the VPN’s functionality to practically any streaming device you might have at home.

On the flip side, TunnelBear also allows for streaming access, but its capabilities are not as robust. My testing revealed that TunnelBear can struggle with accessing some streaming services, which can lead to a frustrating experience. Plus, with fewer server locations, there’s a higher chance you won’t find a server that can unblock the content you want.

Torrenting is another area where ExpressVPN shines. It offers P2P support on all servers, ensuring that you can download files securely and with anonymity. The VPN protects your torrenting activities with the same high encryption standards and no-logs policy that safeguards the rest of your online activities.

TunnelBear supports torrenting as well, yet it’s important to note that it doesn’t explicitly state this support on its website. This lack of transparency might make torrenters think twice. Still, TunnelBear’s performance in this regard is adequate, but it’s just not on par with the seamless experience I’ve enjoyed with ExpressVPN. When I need a reliable VPN for torrenting, I don’t hesitate to pick ExpressVPN for its consistent performance and strong privacy features.

Customer Support

When it comes to VPN services, effective customer support isn’t just a perk—it’s essential. I’ve evaluated the customer support provided by both TunnelBear and ExpressVPN, and there’s a clear difference in what you can expect.

ExpressVPN takes the lead with its 24/7 live chat support, offering almost instantaneous help. This round-the-clock service means that no matter where you are in the world, or what time it is, you can reach out and receive immediate assistance with any issues or inquiries you might have. Personally, I’ve found the support staff to be knowledgeable and efficient, effectively resolving my issues without delay.

In addition to live chat, ExpressVPN provides a comprehensive help center filled with setup guides, troubleshooting articles, and FAQs. The tutorials are particularly helpful and are available for a variety of devices and platforms. If you’re not in a hurry, you can also contact them via email, and typically, you’ll receive a detailed response within a few hours.

On the other side, TunnelBear offers a different level of support. While they maintain a friendly and approachable brand image, they don’t offer live chat, which can be a bit of a letdown if you’re seeking immediate help. However, they do have a ticketing system and an extensive knowledge base on their website. The guides and FAQs are well-written, but the absence of real-time assistance means that users might have to wait longer to have their problems solved or questions answered.

When stacked against each other, it’s evident that ExpressVPN has crafted a more robust and user-friendly support network. The swift and helpful live chat feature is a significant advantage, ensuring that users get the help they need without any frustrating waits. Coupled with the expansive tutorials and responsive email support, it’s apparent that ExpressVPN values quick and efficient customer service, making it a more reliable choice for users who may need assistance.


When it comes to running on different devices and operating systems, ExpressVPN is the clear winner. My experience with ExpressVPN has shown that it offers seamless applications for a variety of platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, Linux, and even some routers. This robust compatibility means that you can secure a wide array of gadgets, from your smartphone to your smart TV.

I’ve found ExpressVPN’s apps to be highly intuitive and easy to navigate, which is crucial when you’re looking to protect everything from your laptop to your game console. Plus, ExpressVPN allows for five simultaneous connections, meaning you don’t have to choose which device to secure — you can have them all protected at the same time.

TunnelBear doesn’t fall too far behind, though. It also provides apps for major platforms like Windows and macOS. However, one thing I’ve noted is that it doesn’t offer quite the same level of router support as ExpressVPN, which can be a significant limitation if you’re looking to cover all devices at home with a single VPN connection.

When it comes to browser extensions, both VPN services offer solutions for Chrome and Firefox, with ExpressVPN adding the Edge browser to its roster. This additional support might seem minor, but it can make a considerable difference in convenience for users who prefer Microsoft’s offering.

For those with more technical expertise, ExpressVPN also provides detailed manual setup guides. These guides are a lifeline for setting up the VPN on devices or systems where there might not be a dedicated application. TunnelBear has some guidance in this area, but it isn’t as extensive or as user-friendly as what I’ve experienced with ExpressVPN.

The broad compatibility of ExpressVPN not only makes it a versatile choice but also signifies its commitment to providing security and privacy to as many users as possible, across all their devices. From my perspective, ExpressVPN’s flexibility in this department positions it as an excellent option for tech-savvy households and individuals looking to stay connected and protected no matter the platform.

Comparison and Verdict

As I delve deeper into the comparison between TunnelBear and ExpressVPN, it becomes increasingly clear that ExpressVPN stands out as the superior choice. From my experience, the robustness and comprehensiveness of ExpressVPN’s features make it the go-to VPN service for both casual users and tech enthusiasts alike.

ExpressVPN’s server speed is unparalleled, consistently delivering fast connections across its widespread network. It’s not just the number of servers that counts but the quality of service they provide. Plus, ExpressVPN’s advanced encryption standards ensure that your data remains secure and away from prying eyes. TunnelBear, while a decent option, simply doesn’t match up in terms of performance and security protocols.

Moreover, I can’t stress enough the importance of a strict no-logs policy in today’s digital landscape. ExpressVPN’s transparent approach has earned my trust through an independent audit that confirms their commitment to user privacy. TunnelBear’s privacy policy is decent, but without the same level of third-party validation, there’s an element of uncertainty.

When it comes to compatibility and ease of use, both VPNs have merits. TunnelBear’s interface is incredibly user-friendly, which might appeal to beginners. However, ExpressVPN’s applications are just as intuitive, yet they pack more advanced options for those who need them.

In terms of pricing, TunnelBear might lure you in with its free plan, but keep in mind that you get what you pay for. ExpressVPN’s cost reflects the high-quality experience it promises and delivers. Regular discounts and the 30-day money-back guarantee sweeten the deal, making it a more viable option for long-term investment in your digital security.

Reflecting on all these aspects, ExpressVPN’s value proposition is unbeatable compared to TunnelBear. Whether it’s server speed, encryption, privacy, or user satisfaction, ExpressVPN consistently outperforms its cuddly counterpart. If you’re serious about securing your online activities, ExpressVPN is undoubtedly the better bet.


I’ve weighed the pros and cons and it’s clear that ExpressVPN stands out as the top contender. Its unparalleled performance, top-notch security, and commitment to user privacy make it a clear winner over TunnelBear. While the latter may appeal to those seeking a basic VPN solution, for me, the advanced features and reliability of ExpressVPN are worth the investment. It’s the ultimate tool for anyone serious about protecting their online presence. Trust me, choosing ExpressVPN is a decision you’re unlikely to regret.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which VPN service is recommended between TunnelBear and ExpressVPN?

ExpressVPN is recommended for its faster server speeds, advanced encryption, and strict no-logs policy, justifying its higher cost with superior performance and reliability.

Does TunnelBear offer any advantages over ExpressVPN?

TunnelBear provides a user-friendly interface and a free plan, which are its main advantages over ExpressVPN.

Is the cost of ExpressVPN worth it compared to TunnelBear?

Yes, despite being more expensive, ExpressVPN’s robust features and reliable performance offer a value proposition that is considered unbeatable when compared to TunnelBear.

What are some key features of ExpressVPN?

Key features of ExpressVPN include fast server speeds, advanced encryption standards, a strict no-logs policy, an intuitive interface, and compatibility with multiple devices.

Can I try TunnelBear for free?

Yes, TunnelBear offers a free plan, allowing users to try out the service without any cost.