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A Nosferatu is an extremely powerful class of vampire. In fact, it is said that Nosferatus are regarded as "true vampires", and are among the strongest vampires to walk the Earth. They are so powerful that they are able to give other paranormal organizations dedicated to hunting the forces of darkness, such as vampires, quite a lot of trouble, even ones as experienced as the Hellsing Organization and Libra. In contrast to the average vampire, Nosferatus are quite savage and bloodthirsty, enough to be more of a challenge to other powerful supernatural beings like a demon whom are naturally regarded as being stronger than vampires.

An upper-class subset called the Elder Nosferatus also exist, which are generally more dangerous than the average Nosferatu. Originally thought by Libra to only number thirteen, they discovered that the true number of Elder Nosferatus was far more numerous. Another revelation in relation to this is that Alucard himself is an Elder Nosferatu and quite possibly the very first among them and therefore the strongest.

It is widely believed that both Nosferatus and Elder Nosferatus all originate from Dracula, the lord of all vampires. The Elder Nosferatus were among the very first vampires to walk the Earth after Dracula began to plague the world with his darkness, and from the Elder Nosferatus came the average Nosferatus. Due to Dracula's unique vampiric physiology and abilities, the Nosferatus possess an assortment of abilities that are unheard of amongst the vampire race. And this only makes them more dangerous given that their power and heritage all stem from the most powerful vampire of all time.

Nosferatus possess immense strength, speed, and destructive capacity, as well as an identifiable crimson aura. Two Nosferatus shown thus far have been able to manipulate their blood into objects to attack and turn living beings into obedient ghouls. Nosferatus have no reflection and are invisible to optical sensors such as cameras, although other supernatural beings are capable of detecting a Nosferatu because of their unique red aura even through these devices, and one whom possesses the Eyes of God are able to see its true name if its heart is present in the relevant body.

Nosferatus are also capable of regeneration; Elder Nosferatus are even more skilled in that regard and may even be able to control parts of their body that have been split off from the whole. As a result of this, they are incredibly difficult to kill, but can still be destroyed or sealed nonetheless. Holy weapons are still effective against them but not as much as it does to regular vampires. Regardless, killing them is an arduous task which is why Hellsing employs Alucard to personally kill a Nosferatu as he is rather intimate with their race. Others prefer a safer course of action such as sealing them.