- Number of servers: 8.5/10
- Speed: 9/10
- Pricing: 10/10
- Ease of use: 8/10
- Reliability and support: 8.5/10
Last Updated: June 10, 2021
- Number of servers: 8.5/10
- Speed: 9/10
- Pricing: 10/10
- Ease of use: 8/10
- Reliability and support: 8.5/10
- Easy to use
- Fully functional free version
- No data logging
- Intuitive interface
- Annual independent audits
- No streaming access
- Based in Canada
- Few support channels
Finding the right VPN can be challenging, with so many providers to choose from. TunnelBear is among the most popular solutions on the market and offers speed and security at an affordable price.
But are there any downsides to this service? In our TunnelBear review, we explore everything you need to know about this VPN to decide if it’s the best option for you.
How to Use TunnelBear
The service offers a fun, simple, and straightforward interface. All you need to do to start using this VPN is download the TunnelBear app, create an account, and connect to the server of your choice. It takes just a few minutes, and you can give it a go with the free version, which has a limit on traffic but not on features.
For our TunnelBear VPN review, we ran several speed tests to find out if this service can deliver a fast and stable connection.
Tunnel Bear reviews online share varying results from their speed tests, depending on where the reviewers are situated. We tested the TunnelBear rate from our UK office with a starting speed without VPN of about 200Mbps for downloads and 190Mbps for uploads.
We got an average speed loss of 63%, which is acceptable for a VPN but doesn’t rank TunnelBear among the fastest providers on the market, such as ExpressVPN and CyberGhost.
Depending on the location, this VPN can sometimes have high latency. For example, when connecting to the US, you have a choice of only 26 server locations, leading to high latency.
It’s also worth noting that, regardless of what subscription you choose, you can only connect up to five devices at the same time.
Is TunnelBear Safe?
Below we explore the different privacy and security features of TunnelBear.
The VPN TunnelBear uses 256-bit AES symmetric data encryption for all operating systems, which is one of the strongest encryption standards available right now and can offer excellent DNS leak protection.
The service offers two types of security protocols—OpenVPN and IKEv2. Windows and iOS users can choose between these protocols, while TunnelBear Android and macOS users can only use OpenVPN.
TunnelBear Kill Switch
Those who use VPN solutions regularly know how important it is for a service to have a kill switch.
TunnelBear has a network lock feature that can stop your internet when the safe VPN connection is lost, so none of your data is leaked.
The service also protects from DNS leaks. We tested this claim and can confirm that your location and online traffic will be secure as soon as you connect to one of TunnelBear’s encrypted tunnels.
Data Logging and Jurisdiction
One of TunnelBear’s disadvantages is that it’s based in Canada, although the company still claims to have a strict no-logging policy. But because Canada is part of the 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances, we know that it’s required by law to keep at least some records. However, the provider does not store users’ original IP addresses or the services or websites they use while connected.
Still, if you prefer to use a VPN that doesn’t have to comply with any data retention requirements, check out NordVPN, which is based in Panama.
Additionally, TunnelBear provides top-grade VPN protection for its users’ privacy through independent annual audits. The results of these inspections are published on the company’s website.
Static/Shared IP Addresses
TunnelBear does not provide static IP addresses. This means that your IP will be changed every time you reconnect or change tunnels, which offers more anonymity but may hinder connection speeds.
Split tunnelling allows you to reroute some web traffic through your ISP and some through a VPN network.
If you download TunnelBear for Android, you’ll have access to SplitBear—the provider’s name for its split tunnelling feature. But this functionality is not supported on any other platforms.
Servers and Server Locations
When it comes to server locations, TunnelBear has a long way to go to reach the likes of ExpressVPN or SurfShark. For example, Surfshark has over 3,200 servers available in 65 countries.
TunnelBear doesn’t disclose the number of servers it has or the exact number of locations but just says that you can browse safely in over 41 countries, including the UK, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, USA, Australia, Italy, Canada, and France. The most recent additions to the list of countries are Peru, Colombia, and Chile.
Interestingly, because of recent changes in legislation, TunnelBear voluntarily suspended its servers in Hong Kong to protect its users’ data. However, Hong Kong residents can still use the TunnelBear free VPN to connect to one of the nearby countries’ servers.
VPN’s Primary Uses
Below we go over the most common uses for VPNs and whether TunnelBear is suitable for them.
One of the main reasons people use a VPN is to access streaming content from around the world. Many customers online are asking, is the tunnel on Netflix working properly? Well, neither the TunnelBear free version nor the paid one supports streaming platform access.
Although the provider claims to uphold these restrictions to comply with copyright laws, we could from time to time unblock Netflix using TunnelBear. But we couldn’t use TunnelBear to access BBC iPlayer.
For reliable entertainment content access, we recommend using another service, such as NordVPN.
Since TunnelBear is based in Canada, where there are strict laws against illegal downloads, TunnelBear doesn’t have P2P servers. Still, you can use the service for torrenting, although it’s not optimised for that purpose, and you may experience issues.
If you’re using the TunnelBear free subscription, though, you should know that it only allows 500MB of traffic per month.
Although TunnelBear is not the best VPN for PC gaming, it does the job. But when it comes to gaming consoles, you’d be better off looking at other providers, such as HotSpot Shield. That’s because there’s no TunnelBear app for either gaming consoles or routers.
What’s more, you may experience issues using TunnelBear for PC gaming, too, as some users report high latency.
TunnelBear runs on Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and has limited support for Linux. The TunnelBear for Windows and TunnelBear for Mac apps have an engaging interface with fun animations. It’s also simple and intuitive—you can connect with just a couple of clicks.
The service has mobile apps for both Android and iOS users. However, iOS users have more security options than Android users—the latter can only use the OpenVPN protocol.
TunnelBear is one of the few VPNs on the market that have an extension for three browsers. The most commonly used one is the TunnelBear Chrome extension, but you can also download the Opera and Mozilla ones.
TunnelBear is continually evolving, and although this wasn’t the case before, it is now compatible with Tor, adding a layer of anonymity for privacy-conscious users.
One of the most significant disadvantages of TunnelBear is that it does not work with routers. Furthermore, the service does not support Windows mobile devices, Apple TV, Android TV, and gaming consoles. If a router app is among your priorities, check out another provider, such as HotSpot Shield.
The TunnelBear free download is great for anyone who needs to use a VPN very rarely or wants to give this provider a go without committing to a purchase. You only get 500MB of traffic per month with the free version. This service offers two paid plans—Unlimited and Teams.
|Monthly Unlimited plan||$9.99/month|
|Annual Unlimited plan||$4.99/month; $59.88/year|
|Three-year Unlimited plan||$3.33/month; $120/every three years|
|Annual Teams plan||$138/year for 2 members (7-day free trial)|
The TunnelBear refund policy says all amounts paid are non-refundable, although the provider may consider money-back requests on a case-by-case basis. But as mentioned earlier, the service has a free version, so you can give it a try before deciding if you want to get a paid subscription.
To give you a better idea of TunnelBear’s pricing, let’s make a quick VPN cost comparison with a couple of other providers. CyberGhost’s monthly subscription costs £10.89, while HideMyAss’s one is £7.99, so TunnelBear offers a good deal.
TunnelBear allows payments through credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover). It also claims to accept Bitcoin and even, thematically, jars of honey! But once we got to the payment page, we couldn’t find a way to pay by anything other than a credit card, so alternative methods are probably suspended for the time being.
You can easily find the help button on TunnelBear’s website. When you go to help, you will find large icons that lead to pages organised by topics, such as billing and payments, troubleshooting, and guides on using the service.
One of the main disadvantages of this provider is that it doesn’t have a live chat or phone support, so you can only get in touch with service reps through the contact form or via email. The good news is they usually respond within two or three hours.
TunnelBear may not be the best rated VPN, but it still has a decent score. The TunnelBear rating on Trustpilot is 3 out of 5 stars, which is average, but nowhere near heavyweights like NordVPN, which has 4.1 stars.
Want to Consider Other Options?
TunnelBear is a good value provider, but there are lots of other options out there. So we decided to make a VPN comparison between TunnelBear and some of the other popular solutions on the market.
Windscribe vs TunnelBear
These two services are pretty similar. If we look at the two VPNs’ server parks, we can see that TunnelBear covers fewer countries (41) than Windscribe (63).
When it comes to speeds, Windscribe offers a lower speed loss but falls short on consistency—TunnelBear provides a more stable connection. Both of them have a kill switch and a free plan. But Windscribe’s free subscription comes with 10GB, while TunnelBear offers only 500MB.
TunnelBear vs ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is one of the giants in the industry. The provider has over 3,000 servers in 160 locations around the world. Because it’s based in the British Virgin Islands, it doesn’t have to comply with any data retention laws, unlike TunnelBear.
As for device compatibility, ExpressVPN supports more systems and devices, including routers and game consoles. However, TunnelBear is more affordable.
TunnelBear vs NordVPN
NordVPN is one of the best VPNs on the market and offers higher speeds and a wider server network than TunnelBear. The two offer similar features and functionalities.
Unlike TunnelBear, NordVPN provides consistent access to streaming platforms and allows six devices connected at once, while with TunnelBear, you can connect up to five. TunnelBear’s main advantage is once again its lower price.
TunnelBear might not be the best out there, but it certainly has a lot to offer. It’s compatible with almost all devices, and it even has a free plan with 500MB, which is a good way to test the service and see if it works for you.
What’s more, this VPN has privacy and security policies you can rely on to keep your data safe.
We hope our TunnelBear review gave you all the information you need to decide if this provider is right for you.
Because of Canada’s laws on illegal downloads, TunnelBear got rid of its P2P-optimised servers, so it may not be the best option if you need a VPN for torrenting. That said, most users report it works for this purpose except when connected to US or Canadian servers.
If you are looking for a service with a quality speed that comes at a low cost, TunnelBear is a great option. The provider also has a free version that has a traffic limit but includes all features.
You can uninstall the TunnelBear app just like any other app, and the process depends on the platform you access it from. And if you want to delete your TunnelBear account, just head to the provider’s website, select “My Account,” and follow the instructions from there.
TunnelBear has a strict no-logging policy. But the service keeps some minimal records, which do not include users’ original IP addresses or the services and websites they use while connected.
TunnelBear is based in Toronto, Canada. Check out our TunnelBear review above for more details on this provider.