pfSense vs. WatchGuard Network Security

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
pfSense
Score 9.2 out of 10
N/A
pfSense is a firewall and load management product available through the open source pfSense Community Edition, as well as a the licensed edition, pfSense Plus (formerly known as pfSense Enterprise). The solution provides combined firewall, VPN, and router functionality, and can be deployed through the cloud (AWS or Azure), or on-premises with a Netgate appliance. It as scalable capacities, with functionality for SMBs. As a firewall, pfSense offers Stateful packet inspection, concurrent…
$179
per appliance
WatchGuard Network Security
Score 8.9 out of 10
N/A
WatchGuard Network Security is a network security and firewall software. WatchGuard includes secure Wi-Fi, multi-factor authentication, and network intelligence products and services designed for SMB’s.N/A
Pricing
pfSenseWatchGuard Network Security
Editions & Modules
SG-1100
$179
per appliance
SG-2100
$229
per appliance
SG-3100
$399
per appliance
SG-5100
$699
per appliance
XG-7100-DT
$899
per appliance
XG-7100-1U
$999
per appliance
XG-1537
$1,949
per appliance
XG-1541
$2,649
per appliance
Support
Contact sales team
Contact sales team
Basic Security
Contact sales team
Contact sales team
Total Security
Contact sales team
Contact sales team
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
pfSenseWatchGuard Network Security
Free Trial
NoNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
pfSenseWatchGuard Network Security
Considered Both Products
pfSense
Chose pfSense
It's an open source solution can support from 50 to 700 user without sweating and with the half of the standard bundle investment that will take to deploy a FortiGate UTM, or a Cisco ASA, also a Sophos UTM that are quite remarkable units but to pFSense saves you money and will …
WatchGuard Network Security
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
After using ASAs, Sonicwalls, and pfSense; and then also evaluating FortiGates I would have to say that WatchGuard as a nextGen/UTM device with all the services enabled including deep packet inspection is comparatively faster. Also, the ease of use, support, and traffic …
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
Well pfSense is free and quite impressive.. I don’t think is a contest… WatchGuard provides great services but the subscription cost is a big disappointment.
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
pfSense was initially replacing WatchGuard, but then we couldn't get the old Admin password and there was no hardware reset, so removed that from the system. Have Ubiquiti UC-CK in place now as a stop gap until we can upgrade our WatchGuard or our pfSense device.
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
Because WatchGuard has an unified solution: Firewall + EPDR + AuthPoint.
I'm tired about having one brand for firewall, another brand for switches, another brand for access points, antivirus, protections, MFA, etc.....
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
Usability, more than one solution (Wifi, Endpoint, MFA) working all together
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
WatchGuard's main asset is that its cloud is fast, it distributes detected threats to its firebox before anyone else, and that is a great point in its favor, if your protection system lets users pass a threat that has just appeared, the problem is serious, and you are going to …
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
Both are solid products. I liked the all-in-one package of the firewall. It allowed me to have everything in a simple license rather than having to add bits and pieces via updates or third-party applications. It provided me with a greater piece of mind to go with WatchGuard as …
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
It happens to need to interact with or manage other vendors' products when it's not possible to change immediately: WatchGuard systems are easier to configure and manage.
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
WatchGuard delivers firewall management and built-in features far superior to many competitors, and all built-in features are effective, not just to make the product. Its web access control is superior to many products and works transparently, which facilitates management and …
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
EDPR works perfectly with the Firewall to mitigate threats, however, the firewalls have detection and response built-in, which needs to be deployed in combination.
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
Both are good products and offer many similar features. The T35S, our most popular product, is an all-in-one-stop shop for everything we need in an appliance.
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
WatchGuard provides a straightforward approach to firewall management. The tools provided to create policies contain everything in a single place. An IT admin is able to view, manage, mitigate, and create quickly.
Chose WatchGuard Network Security
WG is *much* cheaper and more flexible than the commercial competitors we pitted it against. Ridiculously so. It is also much more tolerant of thoughtless "one-click, let's try this" solution to network hiccups of anything else we considered.

It's not the cheapest, the easiest …
Top Pros
Top Cons
Features
pfSenseWatchGuard Network Security
Firewall
Comparison of Firewall features of Product A and Product B
pfSense
7.6
11 Ratings
11% below category average
WatchGuard Network Security
8.6
399 Ratings
1% above category average
Identification Technologies5.110 Ratings8.7365 Ratings
Visualization Tools7.08 Ratings7.7362 Ratings
Content Inspection4.111 Ratings8.6384 Ratings
Policy-based Controls10.011 Ratings8.8397 Ratings
Active Directory and LDAP7.19 Ratings8.5335 Ratings
Firewall Management Console9.510 Ratings8.7391 Ratings
Reporting and Logging8.011 Ratings8.1388 Ratings
VPN10.011 Ratings8.9381 Ratings
High Availability10.011 Ratings8.7343 Ratings
Stateful Inspection7.111 Ratings9.0358 Ratings
Proxy Server6.111 Ratings9.0256 Ratings
Best Alternatives
pfSenseWatchGuard Network Security
Small Businesses
Sophos XG Firewall
Sophos XG Firewall
Score 9.6 out of 10
Sophos XG Firewall
Sophos XG Firewall
Score 9.6 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Sophos XG Firewall
Sophos XG Firewall
Score 9.6 out of 10
Sophos XG Firewall
Sophos XG Firewall
Score 9.6 out of 10
Enterprises
Next-Generation Firewalls - PA Series
Next-Generation Firewalls - PA Series
Score 9.2 out of 10
Next-Generation Firewalls - PA Series
Next-Generation Firewalls - PA Series
Score 9.2 out of 10
All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
pfSenseWatchGuard Network Security
Likelihood to Recommend
9.7
(24 ratings)
8.8
(413 ratings)
Likelihood to Renew
-
(0 ratings)
9.7
(32 ratings)
Usability
10.0
(1 ratings)
9.0
(114 ratings)
Availability
-
(0 ratings)
9.1
(2 ratings)
Performance
-
(0 ratings)
9.1
(2 ratings)
Support Rating
-
(0 ratings)
2.9
(26 ratings)
In-Person Training
-
(0 ratings)
9.2
(4 ratings)
Online Training
-
(0 ratings)
8.2
(3 ratings)
Implementation Rating
-
(0 ratings)
9.4
(263 ratings)
Configurability
-
(0 ratings)
10.0
(1 ratings)
Ease of integration
-
(0 ratings)
7.3
(1 ratings)
Product Scalability
-
(0 ratings)
9.1
(2 ratings)
Vendor post-sale
-
(0 ratings)
9.1
(1 ratings)
Vendor pre-sale
-
(0 ratings)
9.1
(1 ratings)
User Testimonials
pfSenseWatchGuard Network Security
Likelihood to Recommend
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
Because pfSense is built around open source software, it is very convenient to be able to deploy in the event of hardware failure. We once had a client with a proprietary router that failed. While the router was under warranty, the expected time for the new router to arrive was about 2 weeks. We decided to implement pfSense for the client as a stop gap and ultimately ended up deploying the full enterprise appliance. Being able to get up and running using commodity hardware was a huge win for the client. We've also had a great amount of success deploying pfSense hardware at apartment complexes. The DNS resolver works great and we've had no issues handling multiple VLANs with various DHCP scopes on it. Finally, we've had clients that require having a failover cluster. Utilizing the built in CARP capabilities, we've been able to provide a very robust failover system that requires little maintenance and no downtime in the event of equipment failure.
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WatchGuard Technologies
I can't think of any place where WatchGuard isn't well suited, unless the customer is cheap. I have used WatchGuard devices in a two person office up to enterprise environments. Because they are not overly complicated to use, I prefer them to a name brand I'm not willing to mention, but most will know.
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Pros
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
  • Easy to use. Good user interface design! Easy to understand and easy to set up.
  • Lower hardware requirement. 3 years ago, we used an old PC to run it. Now, we have changed to a router device with Celeron CPU and 8GB RAM. It runs smoothly with a 1000G commercial broadband.
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WatchGuard Technologies
  • Incoming Torrent attempts were blocked, but outgoing (by a user) were permitted. Similarly, other direct attempts were summarily blocked.
  • provides full administrative support for analysis of usage and scope.
  • strong Wi-Fi support and security - area wi-fi maps
  • They think of all the things secure and I don't have to worry about it.
  • I have not identified anything else that needs improvement - I am well satisfied.
Read full review
Cons
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
  • I did kind of mention a Con in the Pro section with OpenVPN.
  • When I create a config for an employee other employees are able to login to that config.
  • I could be doing something wrong when I am making it - I am not afraid to admit that as I am pretty new to all of this, but it seems like it builds a key and I would think the key would be unique in some way to each employee, but I could be wrong.
  • I actually do not have a lot of Con's for this software - I did not get to set this up on our work network so I am not sure of any downfalls when installing.
  • I installed this on my personal machine in a Hyper-V environment to get a feel for it before I started working on it at work and it seemed pretty smooth. I didn't run into any issues.
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WatchGuard Technologies
  • Help with a better solution for working with MS Exchange on-prem so that we can secure the ECP and OWA from the outside without losing functionality for active sync for cell phones and such.
  • Even more affordable smaller boxes for home use.
  • Built-in ways to handle the newer network protocols/features such as QUIC protocols that services like google are using so that we don't have to block all of that type of traffic just to be able to block youtube from loading for users that we don't want using it.
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Likelihood to Renew
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
No answers on this topic
WatchGuard Technologies
I'm giving this note to WatchGuard Network Security due to its ease of daily support (after acquiring necessary knowledge in the solution), which allows agility in configuration changes, its integration of several reliable security features (such as SSL VPN, VPN Virtual Interfaces between companies, and others) and functional and stability in operation, with no downtime in the equipment due to problems or malfunctions
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Usability
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
The interface is simple, has sane defaults, and is consistent throughout.
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WatchGuard Technologies
Although it might take some time to figure out, we have been able to use WatchGuard's online reference library and tech support to create/implement/modify all of our filtering rules and exceptions needed. There really has not been a shortcoming other than perhaps a learning curve.
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Reliability and Availability
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
No answers on this topic
WatchGuard Technologies
Applications errors should always be expected in any kind of technology. What matters most is the way you find to resolve it.
Read full review
Performance
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
No answers on this topic
WatchGuard Technologies
WatchGuard works seemlessly and so in the background you don't realize it's there until you need it!
Read full review
Support Rating
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
No answers on this topic
WatchGuard Technologies
We have only had to contact them once during the initial set up to help bring the internet back on line. After that for the most part our systems have been automated, and could easily be checked form their online FAQ and Knowledge base that they provide. Everything else is easily handled from their browser based interface
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In-Person Training
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
No answers on this topic
WatchGuard Technologies
We participate to a in person training and the three days of learning was really useful and complete to gain skill to solve the major part of the problem we encounter during our life. And more the in person training give us the opportunity to create a network with other WatchGuard partner.
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Online Training
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
No answers on this topic
WatchGuard Technologies
Online training is good for learning how to use the product. It does not teach security strategy because that is not its intent.
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Implementation Rating
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
No answers on this topic
WatchGuard Technologies
I had my key information for setting up the firewall, and they assisted me in finding the settings and appropriate places to enter data. They also helped troubleshoot when I didn't understand some of their feature concepts, and we got it running.
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Alternatives Considered
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
While you can get the performance out of other products, pfSense offers the unique ability to put other services on the same device. Products such as Untagle's NG Firewall and SonicWall's TZ series offer cost effective options for firewall and VPN services, having incoming load balancing and connection proxies on the same device as the firewall offers extremely easy configuration and day to day management of network services
Read full review
WatchGuard Technologies
At 3 of my locations I use both a Sonic Wall and a watch guard. In my experience, the sonic wall has a much better interface. I feel it was much easier for someone that has never accessed a fire wall to be able to make changes and learn very quickly. I feel the Watchguard has better built in applications and the VPN was easier to use and access.
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Scalability
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
No answers on this topic
WatchGuard Technologies
We scaled it exactly as we needed it to be! Easy, money-saving, and we didn't end up with features or options that we'd never use or worry about.
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Return on Investment
Netgate (Rubicon Communications, LLC)
  • Using pfSense has allowed us to build a professional network in our small office without needing a lot of proprietary hardware, saving thousands of dollars in IT infrastructure investment.
  • The cost for using pfSense is free, so it's a great option for those who don't have a large IT budget
  • pfSense utilizes all of the industry standard services to provide all of it's functionality, so support for service-level issues is readily available
  • Because of how much work has been put into pfSense to make it rock solid and reliable, we're able to support our network with minimal IT staffing, saving us thousands of dollars/year in personnel alone.
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WatchGuard Technologies
  • The VPNs are very easy to configure, less time to loose at new implementation.
  • The traffic monitor can be improved, I can't see the ISO layers to do a faster diagnosis.
  • Having an ADDS authentication is a plus, can use it with rules and vpn for remote access. Very useful.
  • The dimension feature can be developed as a website + database for NGINX, Apache2, IIS, etc., I feel traped on that linux vm only.
  • Most of the customers doesn't like to pay for a solution like this. They will accept only after beign attacked. WatchGuard can improve the sales with a demo (hacking, active security, etc.).
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ScreenShots

WatchGuard Network Security Screenshots

Screenshot of Subscription DashboardScreenshot of Subscriber Device SummaryScreenshot of Subscription DashboardScreenshot of Executive Dashboard