TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN and TunnelBear can satisfy your needs as a VPN user. But in this battle, ExpressVPN has proven it is one of the best VPN providers. It is fast and reliable, has RAM servers, and can bypass China’s highly restrictive firewall.

Check out this table to know the offers of the two VPN providers:

logo expressvpnlogo tunnelbear
Logging PolicyNo loggingNo logging
JurisdictionThe British Virgin IslandsCanada (Five Eyes Member)
EncryptionAES-256
SHA-212 Hash Authentication
4096-bit RSA Key Exchange
AES 256-bit encryption

ProtocolsOpenVPN UDP
OpenVPN TCP
IPSec/IKEv2
IPSec/L2TP
Lightway Protocol (Beta)
OpenVPN
IPSec/IKEv2


Ad and malware blockersNoYes
Kill switchYes (except iOS)Yes (macOS, Windows, Android)
Leak TestsNo Leaks FoundNo leaks found
Speed TestFastAverage to Fast
Torrenting & P2PYes (on all servers)Yes
StreamingNetflix
Amazon Prime
Hulu
BBC iPlayer
Firestick
Roku (Via Router)
Kodi
Apple TV (Via DNS or Router)
Android TV
Netflix
Hulu
Amazon Prime
HBO Max
Kodi



GamingWindows
Android
iOS
Xbox One (Via DNS or Router)
PS4 (Via DNS or Router)
Nintendo Switch (Via DNS or Router)
Windows
macOS
Linux (limited)
Android
iOS
CompatibilityWindows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chromebook
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected Routers
Windows
macOS
Linux (limited)
Android
iOS
Chrome
Firefox
Opera

Simultaneous Connections55
Servers3000+3000+
ChinaYesSometimes
Split TunnelingYesYes
Additional FeaturesNo Additional FeaturesGhostBear (Obfuscated Server)
Prices$12.95/month
$9.99/month (Six months)
$8.32/month (One year)
Free (limited usage)
$9.99/month
$4.21/month (1 year)
$3.33/month (3 years)
Our Rating4.84.1
Websiteexpressvpn.comtunnelbear.com

Now that we’ve got their features settled, let us dig deeper into each of the service’s categories.

Privacy and Security

ExpressVPN is under the British Virgin Islands. This region does not have any data retention laws that hinder its freedom to operate. With this, VPN users can feel more safe and secure with their data.

TunnelBear also assures its users’ online safety, but we can’t ignore the fact that it operates under Canada, one of the Five Eyes nations. Such countries have an agreement among themselves of sharing online information for national security. It does not hurt if you become skeptical about VPNs operating in these countries.

Encryption

In terms of encryption, ExpressVPN has SHA-212 Hash Authentication, AES-256, and 4096-bit RSA Key Exchange. TunnelBear is a little bit behind in this area as it only declares to have AES 256-bit encryption.

VPN Protocols

ExpressVPN has Lightway Protocol (Beta), OpenVPN UDP, OpenVPN TCP, IPSec/L2TP, and IPSec/IKEv2. Meanwhile, TunnelBear only has IPSec/IKEv2 and OpenVPN.

Leak Protection

Of course, it’s important to note that your VPN service can protect you from IP leaks. So I tested out ExpressVPN and TunnelBear.

This is was my IP address before using ExpressVPN or TunnelBear:

IP Leak Test – No VPN

When I connected to ExpressVPN’s Singapore server, this became my IP address:

IP Leak Test – ExpressVPN Singapore

TunnelBear also hid my true IP identity when I connected to its Singapore server:

IP Leak Test – TunnelBear Singapore

Both VPN services protected my IP address from leaks.

Server

When choosing a VPN, a service with a RAM-disk server is one of the best options. As RAM disks delete all data once you turn off your gadget or disconnect from the server, it provides more privacy and security. Lucky for us, ExpressVPN already has RAM-disk servers, making VPN users more secure.

TunnelBear is at a disadvantage here as it doesn’t have RAM servers and does not disclose any plans if they will upgrade to one soon.

In Conclusion

Both of the VPN providers have zero-logging policies and assure their customers’ security. But since ExpressVPN has more VPN protocols, has a RAM-disk server, and operates in a none-Five Eyes jurisdiction. ExpressVPN gains more plus points for that.

For this TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN round on privacy and security, ExpressVPN wins.

Speed Test

ExpressVPN is known for its fast performance, and it did not disappoint. But I’m quite surprised when I tested TunnelBear. It is far behind its competitor. 

When I conducted a speed test before using any VPN service, here is my Internet speed:

Speed Test – No VPN

When I chose ExpressVPN’s Singapore server location, my ping stats and download speed did not have much difference.

Speed Test – ExpressVPN Singapore

TunnelBear also has a notable Internet speed.

Speed Test – TunnelBear Singapore

Although the difference was not that big, it was obvious that ExpressVPN has faster Internet speed than TunnelBear.

Torrenting and P2P

ExpressVPN claims to allow file sharing on all of its servers. TunnelBear also says it allows torrenting and P2P, but has a few recommended ones just in case you encounter glitches. These are the US, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, and the UK servers.

I’ve conducted a leak test on both VPNs.

I took note of my actual IP address first:

Torrenting Leak Test – No VPN

This is what appeared when I linked to the Singapore server of ExpressVPN:

Torrenting Leak Test – ExpressVPN Singapore

When I tested out TunnelBear, this is what came out:

Torrenting Leak Test – TunnelBear Singapore

Both of them protected my actual online identity from leaks. But since ExpressVPN is faster and has all of its servers optimized for P2P, it wins the Torrenting and P2P category of our ExpressVPN vs Tunnelbear comparison.

Streaming

ExpressVPN gives you an array of options for streaming. You can access different libraries of streaming services like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Video, and of course, Netflix. Plus, it can operate on Firestick, Roku, Android TV, Kodi, and Apple TV.

TunnelBear also lets you access content libraries of popular streaming platforms, but you can’t install it on devices.

Netflix

I would prefer VPNs that could access foreign content on Netflix and give me a great viewing experience. 

I tried watching Spotlight while I used ExpressVPN’s US-Los Angeles server.

Netflix US – ExpressVPN

I also watched the same movie, but this time using TunnelBear’s US server.

Netflix US – TunnelBear

Each of the two VPN providers gave me a great performance when streaming HD video on Netflix. I would recommend both of them in terms of streaming.

Although they both gave me a great experience, I would still give my vote to ExpressVPN. It is more compatible with more streaming services and devices.

Gaming

You can use ExpressVPN on several operating systems and gaming consoles. This includes Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4.

TunnelBear, while you can use it on different browsers and operating systems, it does not give you an option to use it on consoles.

I’ve played  Mobile Legends while using ExpressVPN and here’s a peek at how did I look like:

Mobile Legends - ExpressVPN

This was the display while I was using TunnelBear:

Mobile Legends - TunnelBear

I’ve experienced a couple of lags while playing Mobile Legends while using either of the two VPN providers. But between them, I’ve experienced far more lags while using TunnelBear. ExpressVPN wins this round.

Compatibility

You can use both VPN services with Windows, macOS, iOS, Linux, Android, and browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome. But only ExpressVPN is is compatible with Tor and selected routers. TunnelBear also works for Opera.

To make the comparison easier, you can refer to this chart. Here’s what each of the VPN providers offers in terms of compatibility:

ExpressVPNTunnelBear
Windows
macOS
Android
iOS
Linux
Chromebook
Chrome
Firefox
Tor
Selected Routers
Windows
macOS
Linux (limited)
Android
iOS
Chrome
Firefox
Opera

ExpressVPN wins this round because it has more options than its competitor.

Simultaneous Connections

If you’re planning to purchase a VPN subscription for the whole family, it’s smart to choose a VPN service that allows you more simultaneous connections. For ExpressVPN and TunnelBear, each of them only allows five devices at a time.

Fortunately for ExpressVPN, you have the option to install it on a router. You can utilize the ExpressVPN app for routers so you can connect as many devices as you wish, be it a mix of mobile phones, laptops, desktops, and other gadgets.

Since ExpressVPN has the option of installing it on a router, it wins this round of our TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN battle.

Servers

A VPN service with extra servers means it is more likely to mask your IP address with ease. ExpressVPN has more than 3000 servers in 94 countries while TunnelBear boasts of 3000 servers around 40 countries.

These VPN services have the same amount of servers, but ExpressVPN has the lead since it covers more countries than TunnelBear.

China

Only a few VPN services can bypass heavy restrictions on Internet use in China, and ExpressVPN is one of them. Before traveling to the country, just download and sign in to the app beforehand. Your online activities will be undetectable, even by the Great Firewall of China.

TunnelBear claims it has users in China and you can tunnel anywhere else in the world with it. But they can’t guarantee stable connections in all its areas, so it’s best to download the app before traveling.

ExpressVPN wins this round as it is more reliable to use when you’re traveling to China.

Interface and Usability

ExpressVPN has a functional interface. It shows the recent server locations you’ve been to. If you want to display all of your options, it will provide you with another window. For faster search, you can always type in the country or city you prefer.

Interface - ExpressVPN

TunnelBear has a cute themed interface. It features a map-like display showing all the locations where you can “tunnel” through. For me, I prefer a window that expands. I would suggest you use the server locations list instead for better control. The TunnelBear interface also lacks a search option, which would’ve been helpful.

TunnelBear Interface1
TunnelBear Interface2

Although I find TunnelBear’s interface adorable, I still find ExpressVPN more functional and easier to use. My vote goes to ExpressVPN on this one.

Additional Features

ExpressVPN does not have any additional features it can offer to VPN users. TunnelBear has an obfuscated server called GhostBear. This helps in concealing your VPN activity, making it appear as a normal Internet activity. TunnelBear still advises you to switch it off if you don’t need to use it so you won’t experience slow connections.

Since ExpressVPN does not have any add-ons, I’ll give this round to TunnelBear.

Customer Support

As VPN providers, ExpressVPN and TunnelBeartake customer support seriously. However, ExpressVPN stands out more than TunnelBear. Between them, only the former has a live chat support feature. A live chat help will help a user communicate the issue more accurately.

ExpressVPN also responds significantly faster than TunnelBear.

Here is the breakdown of each one’s customer support feature:

ExpressVPNTunnelBear
Live ChatYesNo
Email SupportYesYes
Phone SupportNoNo
Ticket SupportYesYes
Video TutorialsYesNo
Online Knowledge BaseYesYes
Average Response Time45 minutes2 hours

For customer support, ExpressVPN wins the Customer Support category of our ExpressVPN vs TunnelBear match.

Prices

Of course, we will always want the best value for our money. Refer to the table below for the prices for TunnelBear and ExpressVPN:

ExpressVPNTunnelBear
Subscription Lengths1 month (Free 500MB/month)
$12.95/month1 month ($9.99/month)
Six months ($9.99/month) 
One year ($8.32/month)One year ($4.99/month)
Three years ($3.33/month)
Highest Price Per Month$12.95$9.99
Lowest Price Per Month$8.32$3.33
One Year Price$99.95$59.88
Money-Back Guarantee30 daysCase-by-case basis
Special OfferSave 35% for a one-year planSave 67% for a three-year plan
Save 50% for a one-year plan

There’s a significant difference between their prices. If you would look at it, TunnelBear offers great discounts, plus it has a free tier that gives you 500MB per month. With the features it offers, TunnelBear gives great deals. I’ll give this round to TunnelBear.

Verdict

Is ExpressVPN better than TunnelBear?

Yes. ExpressVPN is faster and more reliable and has RAM-disk servers. It can easily bypass China’s heavy censorship, too! For what it’s worth, you’ll get great features at a reasonable price.

But TunnelBear still has commendable features. For one, it has a decent free tier for its users. It also works well for streaming and torrenting. Maybe you want to consider this VPN service if you’re just starting to use one.

About the author 

Erwin Caniba

Erwin, our Chief Editor, has an established career in digital marketing. Since 2012, he’s always used a VPN. As such, it came to his mind to share his experience with every VPN that he’s used. And so, VPN Thrive was born.