Think about it…
ExpressVPN and Tunnelbear are two VPNs that stand at the extreme ends of the measuring line.
While ExpressVPN tries to be everything for everyone, Tunnelbear is only concerned about doing the one thing that it can do best.
So how do these two VPNs compare?
We’ll compare them along the lines of their internet speeds, ability to unblock geo-restricted entertainment content and torrenting support.
Along the way we are also going to look at how they compare in more advanced security features like ad and malware blockers.
I hope that by the end of this Tunnelbear vs ExpressVPN comparison in 2021, you’ll be able to choose the best VPN for you between the two, with regards to your current needs.
So let’s get to it.
ExpressVPN is a very popular VPN service provider located in the British Virgin Islands that provides anonymous Internet access to their users.
It was founded in 2009 and up to now has had over 100 million downloads on the Google Play Store.
Check out my detailed review of ExpressVPN.
Tunnelbear, on the other hand, is a Canadian based VPN company that provides you with secure access to the internet using military encryption technologies.
Even though they are quite a small company in size, they’ve been around for a while. Want a detailed Tunnelbear review?.
Most importantly, is that they are well known for their minimalist approach to VPN app design as well as their popular free VPN bears.
As you would expect, ExpressVPN is supposed to have a larger collection of VPN servers as compared to Tunnelbear… being a larger company.
Usually, you’d expect that a vpn company with more vpn servers delivers better services.
ExpressVPN has a collection of more than 3,000 servers based in 94 different countries at the time of writing this Tunnelbear vs ExpressVPN comparison.
It is surprising that, unlike NordVPN that has almost twice the number of servers that ExpressVPN has, ExpressVPN covers almost twice the number of countries that NordVPN does.
Anyway, this was not a comparison of ExpressVPN with NordVPN.
Tunnelbear, on the other hand, only has a collection of 900 VPN servers that are based in 22 different countries. Clearly, the server count that Tunnelbear has is a joke compared to what ExpressVPN has amassed over the years.
If you are looking for a VPN with a wider geographical coverage then I recommend ExpressVPN.
What about the ability to stream content on platforms like Netflix, is Tunnelbear any match for Netflix?
Streaming geo-restricted entertainment content online is the most popular activity among VPN users, according to recent VPN usage stats.
This means that a VPN that is able to unblock content on these platforms can become popular quickly.
ExpressVPN is able to unblock Netflix libraries for different countries using their servers based in these countries. You’ll be able to stream Netflix using their servers in the US, UK, Germany, Brazil, Japan, Canada and much more… basically, all Netflix libraries can be unblocked by ExpressVPN.
In addition to Netflix, is the ability to unblock content on other platforms like Hulu, Amazon Prime and BBC iPlayer.
Basically, there is no streaming platform that you won’t be able to unblock with ExpressVPN.
Tunnelbear, on the other hand, has nothing to offer when it comes to unblocking streaming platforms. In fact, none of Tunnelbear servers can unblock any of the major streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video or even BBC iPlayer.
So if you are looking for a VPN that is great for streaming, then clearly your only option here is ExpressVPN.
Let’s now talk speed…
How do ExpressVPN vs Tunnelbear speeds compare?
The faster the internet speeds the better the user experience that a VPN delivers… especially if you are streaming videos online.
So if Tunnelbear is no good in most other cases, could it be that it’s strength is in speeds…?
We’ll find out in a bit.
In order to test the speeds of Tunnelbear and ExpressVPN I connected to their servers based in three different countries i.e. US, UK and Hong Kong.
I then used the speed testing website speedtest.net to measure the download and upload speeds for before and after connecting to these servers.
The results were quite impressive.
ExpressVPN delivered an average download speed that was 87% of my original download speeds. This gives it a speed rating of 4.4/5, which is close to excellent.
Tunnelbear on the other hand, was also able to consistently give great internet speeds leading to an average download speed of 87% of my initial speeds.
Again, just like ExpressVPN, this is 4.4/5 stars which is excellent for a VPN company of this size. So as you can see, Tunnelbear is a VPN company that is big on internet speeds.
A simple VPN for secure and fast internet access.
If you are looking for a VPN that is fast then either Tunnelbear or ExpressVPN is a great alternative.
What about when it comes to torrenting, which one is more prepared to handle torrent traffic?
Unlike other VPNs that only support torrent downloads on certain servers, all ExpressVPN servers are optimized for torrenting.
So you don’t need to first connect to any special torrenting servers… just get started on any server.
In addition to that, since ExpressVPN does not keep any identifiable logs, it is great for private and anonymous torrenting.
Tunnelbear, on the other hand, is ill prepared or let’s say not prepared at all for torrenting activities.
There are no special dedicated P2P servers and trying to torrent on the normal servers lead to your traffic being blocked or throttled.
ExpressVPN is clearly the best VPN for torrenting in this case.
Talk of privacy policies and terms of services documents…
This is where most VPNs screw you over because they are damn sure you will not bother to read what is in the fine print. So they sneak in clauses that would be a real deal-breaker if you knew them before buying.
How does Tunnelbear vs ExpressVPN compare in terms of their privacy policies?
We’ll start by looking at the physical jurisdiction and what impact it has on privacy and then look at the particular policy clauses that talk about logs.
ExpressVPN is currently headquartered in the British Virgin Islands.
It is a great place to base a VPN company because this country does not form part of the 14 eyes surveillance alliance of countries. In addition to that, there are no mandatory data retention laws that obligate VPNs in this jurisdiction to keep user logs.
Better still, ExpressVPN does not keep any logs of your IP address and DNS queries.
However, contrary to what many would say, they actually keep logs of your bandwidth usage and connection timestamps…
Before you freak out, an independent security audit proved that these logs are kept in an anonymize format and cannot be used to identify any one particular individual.
So you are pretty private and anonymous online while on ExpressVPN servers.
Tunnelbear, on the other hand, is based in Canada which is far from being a privacy friendly country.
Most importantly is because Canada is a member of the 14 eyes surveillance alliance of countries that spy on their citizens and then share their personal information.
That being said, Tunnelbear states that they do not keep logs of your IP address, DNS queries and connection timestamps. But they do keep logs of your bandwidth usage to help with administering their free account plans.
Overall, both Tunnelbear and ExpressVPN are great VPNs that do not keep logs.
In fact, they are among the best VPNs for privacy and anonymity online.
Encryption and Data Protection
How does Tunnelbear and ExpressVPN ensure that your personal information is not at risk when being transmitted over the network?
By using tamper proof encryption technologies.
ExpressVPN and Tunnelbear both use AES 256-bit encryption to secure your data.
Since it is a military grade encryption algorithm, your data on these VPNs is secure and impossible to hack.
When it comes to VPN connection protocols, they also see eye to eye.
ExpressVPN uses two of the most popular VPN connection protocols, OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec protocolos.
Tunnelbear also uses these very same protocols to connect the VPN app with the server… OpenVPN and IKEv2/IPSec.
And in both cases, OpenVPN is the default for the desktop and Android apps while IKEv2 is used in the iOS mobile apps.
Overall, both Tunnelbear and ExpressVPN guarantee the security of your personal information.
Can you relate to this…?
You visit a website to check out their services.
Then from that website, every other website that you visit runs an ad of that very website that you visited earlier during the day.
All of them are trying to push you to get back there and do something.
How the heck do these websites know that you were there in the first place so that they show you these ads?
It’s called ad tracking.
These ad networks install certain tracking scripts on your browser that is then used to build a profile of you and then use it to follow you around the internet.
While it is good for business, this kind of tracking is something that a good number of people frown upon.
If you don’t like ad tracking, then you need a VPN with an ad blocker. An ad blocker will block ads and their trackers from being installed in your browser, making it impossible for these networks to track you and show you any ads.
Do ExpressVPN and Tunnelbear have ad blockers?
Nether ExpressVpN nor Tunnelbear have ad blockers that you can use to disable ads and stop ad trackers.
If you are looking for an ad blocker, then here is a list of the best VPNs for adblocking that you can use for that purpose and that work really well.
Do you feel the need to access the internet every time using the same IP address?
This is particularly important if you keep getting blocked from certain websites, probably because you are using a shared IP address that has been abused before.
Since a dedicated IP address is only used by you, it lowers the chances that it has been abused before … so these security sensitive websites will not be a both anymore.
Do ExpressVPN and Tunnelbear have dedicated IPs?
Unfortunately, neither of these VPNs have a dedicated IP address that you can purchase for personal use.
But you should also keep in mind that since a dedicated IP is tied to your account, any activities on this IP will be traced back to you. So you don’t want to use it for activities that you don’t want traced back to you like torrenting or spamming.
Here is a list I put together of the best VPNs for dedicated IPs.
If you turn on an automatic internet kill switch, it will ensure that you are only able to access the internet when you are connected to their servers.
So all your traffic is first encrypted and then channelled through your VPN tunnel.
In case your VPN app disconnects from the server, all internet access for your entire device is paused until the VPN reconnects. It is the only way to ensure that your real IP address never gets revealed on the websites that you visit.
You particularly need a kill switch if you are running a torrent client in the background.
ExpressVPN has a kill switch that you can turn on to protect your device at all times.
Tunnelbear also has a kill switch that goes by the name VigilantBear. Once you turn the VigilantBear on, you’ll be able to ensure that your IP address never gets exposed to the internet.
Remember most people are caught during those few seconds when they let their guard down… like when switching servers in their VPN app.
If you want to have some of your apps have their traffic flow through your ISP as usual while the rest flow through the VPN tunnel then what you are looking for is a split tunnel.
It enables you to whitelist certain applications so that their traffic doesn’t have to go through your VPN tunnel. This is something you may want to do particularly if you have an app that is problematic when you are connected to your VPN.
How does ExpressVPN vs Tunnelbear compare in terms of their split tunneling capabilities?
Unfortunately, neither ExpressVPN nor Tunnelbear has a split tunnel at the time of writing this comparison. So if you are looking for a split tunnel, then why not check out these best VPNs for split tunnels?
I must remind you that apps that you whitelist in your split-tunnel do not enjoy the added security that a VPN tunnel provides.
Works in China?
Are you looking for a VPN that you can use in Chian?
Because of the restricted internet use in China, it takes a VPN to be able to access the censored websites like YouTube.
But it’s not that easy.
China also blocks the use of VPNs.
Their firewall has a deep packet inspection technology that will detect and block any kind of VPN traffic that flows through it.
So how do ExpressVPN and Tunnelbear compare in terms of their abilities to bypass the great firewall of China?
ExpressVPN is able to make its traffic look like normal HTTPS traffic and bypass the DPI technology of China’s firewall. So you’ll be able to use ExpressVPN to access the internet in China.
Tunnelbear will also work in China.
In order to use it in China, you first need to activate the GhostBear mode.
When in this mode, Tunnelbear is able to obfuscate your VPN traffic so that it flies under the radar of China’s firewall without being detected.
In fact, ExpressVPN and Tunnelbear are among the best VPNs for China.
As we near the end of this Tunnelbear vs ExpressVPN comparison in 2021, let’s look at their various pricing plans to establish the cheaper one.
ExpressVPN is far from being a cheap VPN.
Before we even look into their prices, you should know that it is not a budget-friendly VPN and that there are many cheaper alternatives that do as great a job.
Okay, onto their prices.
ExpressVPN has a 1 year plan, their longest plan, that costs $ 8.32/month. It is in fact the most expensive VPN I have reviewed on this website so far.
Tunnelbear, on the other hand, has a three years plans that will only cost you $ 3.33/month, billable upfront.
As you can see, Tunnelbear is a much cheaper VPN compared to ExpressVPN. If you are looking for a VPN that will save a great deal of $$$ then I recommend Tunnelbear.
What options do you have when making payment for your subscription of Tunnelbear or ExpressVPN?
If you have a Bitcoin wallet then you want to look out for VPNs that accept anonymous Bitcoin payments or any other cryptocurrencies.
I prefer Bitcoins because they are an anonymous payment method that does not require you to provide personally identifiable information, like your billing address.
That being said, I know there are a ton of people who don’t want to be bothered by the whole process of acquiring Bitcoins… I’m totally cool with that.
ExpressVPN accepts payments through all the major credit cards, PayPal as well as crypto payments through Bitcoin. So you get a lot of payment options with ExpressVPN.
Tunnelbear, however, only accepts payments through credit cards. They do not support any kind of anonymous payment methods, which is a big con for this VPN company.
If you are looking for a VPN that you can use with crypto then ExpressVPN is clearly the winner here.
There you have it.
I hope this ExpressVPN vs Tunnelbear comparison has helped you learn a ton about these two VPNs.
Are you now ready to make a choice between either ExpressVPN or Tunnelbear?
If you are willing to shell out real bucks for a high-speed VPN that unblocks Netflix and supports torrenting, then I recommend ExpressVPN.
However, if you are short on dollars and just want a super-fast VPN that provides secure and private access to the internet then Tunnelbear is the VPN for you.
Have you used any of these VPNs before?
Please share your experience in the comments below.