(Last updated on January 14th, 2021)
Avast or F-Secure, which antivirus software is a better option in 2021?
Read this ultimate Avast versus F-Secure comparison to make a smart decision.
Do you know that a record 4.8 billion malware attacks were registered in just the first six months of this year?
Similarly, two trillion intrusion attempts and 110.9 ransomware attacks were recorded during the same period.
The sheer volume of these attacks suggests that it’s impossible to be lucky these days when it comes to digital threats. You must have an excellent antivirus program to protect your and your family’s data and privacy.
Now, the first idea that may come to your mind is going for free antivirus software. But here’s the thing: freeware can only provide you with basic malware protection and a few other simple features. It lacks all the advanced features that are a must-have in today’s security environment.
In comparison, a premium antivirus suite boasts numerous useful tools and utilities like parental controls, password manager, identity theft protection, etc. Most importantly, paid antivirus software gives you the peace of mind you deserve.
Best Antivirus Suite for 2021
Overall Score: 9.9/10
60-day money-back guarantee
Right now, we think that Norton is the best antivirus software your money can buy. It regularly earns perfect or near-perfect scores from independent labs and has the least impact on system performance compared to rival products. Its products combine top-notch security with an array of excellent security features and, best of all, offer exceptional value for money.
Overall, Norton 360 Deluxe (currently at 70% off) is our pick for the best antivirus suite in 2021. It is competitively priced and comes with almost everything you could possibly ask for, such as a firewall, a fully integrated VPN, dark web monitoring, cloud backup storage (50GB), a password manager, and parental controls. You can cover up to 5 PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets with this suite.
If you want full-on identity protection and don’t mind paying more, Norton 360 with LifeLock Select (currently at 35% off) gives those in the US a full range of identity protection features, more backup space (100GB), as well as all the above.
In this comprehensive post, we will compare Avast and F-Secure – two of the top names in the antivirus industry – in a head-to-head battle. We will examine both companies according to different metrics and show you which of them is a better option.
In a rush? Check the following section to find out which software wins in a particular category.
A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category
Winner: Avast. Avast offers a better feature set compared to F-Secure, including a VPN and a full-fledged password manager.
2. Malware Protection
Winner: Tie. Both products performed equally well in independent evaluations.
3. System Performance
Winner: Tie. Once again, both companies received equally good ratings in assessments conducted by reputable testing labs.
Winner: Avast. Both Avast and F-Secure present a straightforward, intuitive user interface. However, Avast’s interface is more modern and easier to navigate.
Winner: F-Secure. F-Secure protects more devices with fewer bucks at every tier of coverage.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Winner: Tie. Both companies generally enjoy positive customer reviews from one source.
Avast offers more security-related features and extra utility tools in its security suites than F-Secure. Independent tests prove that both software provide excellent anti-malware protection with minimal impact on system performance, but F-Secure offers a slightly better pricing structure than Avast.
Best Antivirus for 2021
- Robust feature-set
- Excellent anti-malware security
- Minimal system impact
- Easy-to-use interface
- Automatic updates
- Trusted by 50 million users
- 100% virus protection promise
- 60-day money-back guarantee
#2 (Very Good)
- Exceptional malware protection
- Little impact on performance
- Trusted by millions of users
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- User-friendly interface
#3 (Very Good)
- Good malware protection
- Trusted by big corporations
- Minimal impact on performance
- Good value for money
- 30-day risk-free guarantee
The number of useful features an antivirus package offers tells a lot about the suite as a whole.
Let’s take a look at Avast’s range of suites and the features they offer.
The company’s free antivirus program, Avast Free Antivirus, gives you basic malware protection and also offers a limited password manager. However, like all freebies, Avast’s free version lacks advanced tools and utilities like parental controls, ransomware protection, VPN, etc.
The real game starts with Avast Internet Security, the first premium offering by the company. Its features include:
- Comprehensive protection from all kinds of malware threats (including viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, etc.).
- A handy tool called Real Site, which prevents you from stumbling into a fake website trying to steal your confidential information, such as banking details.
- Its ransomware protection feature stops hackers from encrypting your important data to extract money from you.
The next level of security coverage from the company is Avast Premier. It is packed with all the features included in the previous suites, plus:
- A tool that permanently shreds your files in a way that they can’t be recovered.
- A webcam protection feature that prevents apps from gaining access to your camera without your permission.
- The Automatic Software Updater feature that makes your PC less vulnerable to security risks by ensuring that all other apps are up to date.
Avast Ultimate is the company’s “one install covers it all” suite and its flagship product as well.
In addition to all the features mentioned so far, this suite offers three additional premium tools:
- A tuning and cleaning tool for your PC that frees up disk space and enhances system performance.
- VPN that encrypts your Internet connection and makes browsing secure.
- A premium password manager and security tool that lets you log in to websites and apps with a single click, and informs you in case your passwords are leaked.
All the packages mentioned so far only support the Windows platform.
For Apple users, a specialized tool is available, i.e. Avast Security for Mac. Its premium edition detects and blocks all kinds of malware, besides offering several useful tools like the Vulnerability Scanner, Wi-Fi Intruder Alert and Ransomware Shield.
Let’s see what F-Secure offers in comparison.
The company’s product line-up starts with F-Secure Anti-Virus, which is basically just a virus scanning and removing tool. It offers:
- Comprehensive protection from all kinds of malware threats, including viruses, trojans, spyware, rootkits, keyloggers, etc.
- Automatic updates.
- The suite supports only Windows.
- A single license covers one PC. However, you can protect up to three PCs at an additional cost.
The company’s next tier of coverage is F-Secure SAFE, which offers the following features:
- A tool for secure browsing and banking that prevents you from visiting malicious websites and safeguards your data, privacy and banking details.
- Parental controls that make the Internet a safe place for your kids. The feature helps you limit the time your children spend online and prevents them from visiting harmful content.
- Ransomware protection that stops hackers from taking control over your sensitive files and demand money for a return.
- A single license covers three devices, but you can extend protection to up to seven devices.
- The suite supports all platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.
Another great offering by the company is F-Secure FREEDOME. The product is not an antivirus package, hence no features mentioned above. It is a full-fledged VPN with all the advanced options, including:
- Personal VPN that protects your online privacy by encrypting your Internet connection and hiding your IP address.
- Everyone loves free Wi-Fi, but publicly available networks carry several risks. F-Secure FREEDOME offers a tool that keeps your connection secure even on public Wi-Fi, making it impossible for anyone to spy on you or steal your information.
- The VPN prevents apps, websites and others from tracking your online activity, even by your Internet service provider.
- The package comes with an unlimited data plan.
- A single license can protect up to seven devices, including PC, Mac, Android and iOS.
Then there is F-Secure TOTAL, the most comprehensive product from the company. It is a combination of the previous two packages, i.e. F-Secure SAFE and F-Secure FREEDOME, which makes the TOTAL suite a great choice for anyone looking for wholesome protection.
In addition,F-Secure TOTAL also includes a high-end password manager, which has the following features:
- Stores all your passwords, logins and banking details.
- Helps set up strong passwords and improves your existing passwords.
- Alerts you to any data breaches of popular services that may have repercussions for your own accounts.
- This product also comes with a universal license to protect up to 7 devices.
- Supports all platforms.
All F-Secure’s premium antivirus packages include live customer support via phone or chat.
If you are interested in F-Secure’s business products, click right here for more information.
Winner: Avast. Both companies come with some worth-noting features in all their suites, but Avast has a slight edge over its competitor in this category.
2. Malware Protection
Malware defense is probably the biggest reason why we buy an antivirus suite. So, a program that performs poorly in this category is not worth your time and money.
To gauge Avast’s and F-Secure’s performance concerning malware protection, we will now see how both companies fare in independent lab tests.
The two most popular antivirus testing organizations are the AV-Test Institute and AV-Comparatives, which regularly conduct several evaluations and rate security products according to their own standards.
Germany-based AV-Test institute conducts its malware protection test every two months and rates products on a scale of 1 to 6 (higher score means better performance.)
In its latest Protection test conducted in July-August 2019, AV-Test awarded both Avast and F-Secure with a perfect 6/6 rating, indicating that both products have strong capabilities of detecting and blocking malware and zero-day attacks.
On the other hand, AV-Comparatives releases its protection test results twice a year (in June and December).
In its June 2019 Real-World Protection test, once again both Avast and F-Secure were in the same category, receiving AV-Comparatives’ second-highest rating, i.e. the two-star ADVANCED award.
However, F-Secure got lower ratings because of false alarms, meaning it wrongly blocked some clean files and URLs.
Winner: Tie. Both products performed equally well in independent evaluations.
3. System Performance
Good antivirus programs provide reliable malware protection. Excellent antivirus programs provide reliable malware protection while keeping your computer speed at an optimum level.
Therefore, system performance is a crucial metric to know about a program’s overall usefulness.
The two independent organizations mentioned above – AV-Test and AV-Comparatives – also conduct evaluations to examine which antivirus product has minimal impact on system resources.
According to the AV-Test’s July-August 2019 Performance evaluation, Avast just fell short of the maximum rating, receiving a score of 5.5 out of 6.
In contrast, F-Secure once again notched a perfect 6/6 rating.
In the AV-Comparatives’ Performance test conducted in April 2019, Avast clinched the three-star ADVANCED+ award, whereas F-Secure was behind with an ADVANCED rating.
Winner: Tie. Both companies received better ratings than the other in each evaluation, which suggests they are equally good in this category.
Look and feel and usability of any software is another critical aspect to consider before making the purchase.
Let’s compare the user interface of both antivirus programs.
Avast’s sleek and modern interface hosts an intuitive control panel, which mainly comprises a large area showing your PC’s protection status and a sidebar on the left hand, which categorizes all options inside four tabs.
The sidebar – which shows Status, Protection, Privacy and Performance tabs – makes it extremely easy to go where you want to go.
You will appreciate Avast’s simplicity and the use of large and well-labeled buttons.
On the flip side, if you go for Avast’s free version, you will see a lot of premium features with a little orange padlock next to their buttons, which can be annoying for some users.
Let’s now see what F-Secure has at our disposal.
F-Secure’s blue-and-white interface presents a clean and user-friendly look.
Just like Avast, F-Secure’s home window, titled Antivirus, is also dominated by displaying the protection status of your computer. On this screen, you can also launch a quick or custom scan of your computer.
Similarly, on the left side is a grey-colored rail that showcases options like Family Rules, Tools and My F-Secure, apart from the Antivirus tab.
Overall, the interface is easy to navigate, and you won’t find it difficult to access most options.
Winner: Avast. Avast offers a better and more intuitive interface. At the same time, it’s easier to access all the features with Avast.
Let’s see which of the two companies has a better pricing plan.
The annual license of Avast’s entry-level paid product, Internet Security, costs $59.99. The next tier, Avast Premier, is priced at $69.99 per year, whereas the company’s flagship product, Avast Ultimate, costs $119.99 per year.
Avast specific offering for macOS, Avast Security for Mac, carries a price tag of $59.99.
All the above price points are for a single device. However, you can protect more devices with each suite at an additional cost.
|Avast Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Avast Internet Security||$47.99/year||Check here|
|Avast Premium Security (1 Device)||$69.99/year||Check here|
|Avast Premium Security (Multi-Device)||$89.99/year||Check here|
|Avast Ultimate||$99.99/year||Check here|
|Avast Business Antivirus||Varies||Check here|
Now, let’s see what F-Secure offers in comparison.
F-Secure Anti-Virus, the company’s starting plan, is priced at $35.99 per year. However, by spending just $4 more you can protect an additional two devices for a year.
The next tier, F-Secure SAFE, comes in at $34.99 per year for three devices. The license for five devices is priced at $44.99 and for seven devices at $54.99.
Finally, a three-device license for F-Secure TOTAL costs $99.99 per year, whereas annual licenses for five and seven devices cost $109.99 and $129.99, respectively.
|F-Secure Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|F-Secure Anti-Virus||$35.99/year||No Discount|
|F-Secure SAFE||$49.99/year||No Discount|
|F-Secure FREEDOME||$89.99/year||No Discount|
|F-Secure TOTAL||$89.99/year||No Discount|
|F-Secure Business Products||Varies||No Discount|
Winner: F-Secure. F-Secure offers more reasonable price points and it’s cheaper to cover more devices with F-Secure’s suites.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Finally, it’s also important to know how users of these two products rate them for their customer support.
To measure this critical metric, we will look at two independent review websites, namely Consumeraffairs.org and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Consumeraffairs.org collects customer reviews and gives websites ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 (the higher the score, the better).
On the website, Avast holds a modest rating of three stars, indicating average customer reviews. In comparison, F-Secure’s rating is not available on the site.
On the other hand, the BBB awards both Avast and F-Secure an excellent A+ score.
Winner: Tie. Both companies have excellent ratings from BBB. While the second source does not rate F-Secure, Avast also has a modest rating.
This is one of the fiercest comparisons we have done so far. Both antivirus companies did their best and performed equally well in most categories. Although it’s difficult to declare a winner here, Avast seems to have an edge over F-Secure, as it provides more useful features and a nice-looking interface. On the other hand, F-Secure offers a slightly better pricing structure than its competitor.
Our recommendations: If you want to get the highest level of security and performance, there's no better choice than Norton, which protects over 50 million users worldwide.
After reviewing dozens of antivirus products from some of the biggest names in the cybersecurity realm, we believe that Norton 360 Deluxe is the best antivirus suite available on the market. It provides flawless anti-malware protection without slowing you down. Plus, you get almost all the advanced features you could ever want.
If you're willing to pay more for advanced identity protection features, we recommend Norton 360 with LifeLock select (only available in the US). It's a bit pricey but worth the price.
Anas Baig is a consumer privacy advocate and cybersecurity journalist by profession. Has has more than 7 years of professional experience under his belt. Anas has been featured on numerous media publications including The Guardian, Lifehacker, The Next Web, Infosecurity Magazine, Security Boulevard, Hacker Noon, CMS Wire, IAPP, SC Magazine, and many others. His interest includes Digital Privacy Rights, Information Security, Networking, Privacy, and Data Protection.