(Last updated on January 17th, 2021)
Avast or Panda, which antivirus software is a better option in 2021?
Read this ultimate Avast versus Panda comparison to make a smart decision.
These days, our usage of the Internet is more than ever. Browsing, networking with family and friends, playing games, buying products and services, banking – the Internet plays a part in almost all aspects of our life.
While doing all these things, we are putting more and more sensitive data (including photos, videos, passwords, financial details) online than ever before, assuming the Internet to be a safe place. But the bitter truth is that our devices and data are more vulnerable to hackers than ever before.
The bad guys are coming up with more and more sophisticated attacks, which means everything we put on the Internet can be stolen, causing us an untold amount of stress.
According to data from SonicWall, more than 10 billion malware attacks occurred last year. The number of ransomware attacks, the most dreaded form of malware, has almost doubled in the past two years, putting individuals and organizations at risk. The experts at McAfee believe that the next year will be the year of “everywhere malware.”
The nightmarish stats suggest that you need an excellent antivirus program to protect your data and privacy.
But which security software should you get?
The first thing that may come to your mind is to go for some freeware. But consider this: when it comes to digital security, you get what you pay for.
Free antivirus solutions are mostly good at one thing: they cost nothing. Apart from that, most free suites have flimsy firewalls and don’t get frequent definition updates. In fact, several free programs out there don’t even offer real-time malware monitoring.
Therefore, you must invest in a premium antivirus program for top-of-the-line protection and great value for money. Also, paid security programs have numerous advanced features and utilities that bolster your security and safeguard your privacy.
Best Antivirus Suite for 2020
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 2020. 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.
Let’s compare Avast and Panda to see which software is a better choice.
In a rush? Check out this easy breakdown of the winners in each category.
A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category
Winner: Avast. Avast offers more advanced features and utilities as part of its security suites than Panda.
2. Malware Protection
Winner: Avast. Independent tests prove that Avast is better than Panda in terms of malware detection.
3. System Performance
Winner: Avast. Avast performed better than Panda in this category, too.
Winner: Avast. Avast’s interface is more stylish and easier to navigate.
Winner: Panda. You can buy more licenses for less money with Panda.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Winner: Tie. Both Panda and Avast are neck and neck in this category.
Avast is the better option as it offers more protection-related features in its security suites than Panda. Independent tests prove that Avast offers excellent malware protection without impacting system performance. However, Panda’s products are slightly cheaper than Avast’s.
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
Now, let’s delve into details.
A security program worth your money should offer exciting and useful features that go beyond just malware defense. In this section, we will compare all the different packages marketed by Avast and Panda and determine which of them provides a more comprehensive array of features.
First, let’s take a look at Avast’s features.
The free offering by the company is Avast Free Antivirus, which offers protection against most malware threats and also comes with a password manager. However, the freeware is nothing in comparison to the company’s premium packages, as it lacks advanced tools needed to provide complete protection.
The company’s premium line-up starts with Avast Internet Security. The suite offers the following features:
- Protects you against all sorts of malware threats.
- Offers a strong firewall that regularly checks network traffic.
- An email filter that keeps your inbox free from junk and malicious emails.
- The Real Site feature included in the package stops hackers from directing you to fake websites, and thus prevents them from stealing your confidential data, such as bank account login details.
- With the Sandbox tool, you can run suspicious files in a secure environment, thus preventing malicious files from affecting your computer.
The next tier of protection from the company is Avast Premier. Besides all the features packed in the above-mentioned suite, Avast Premier comes with:
- A webcam protection tool that stops anyone from watching you through your webcam.
- The Data Shredder feature that lets you delete your sensitive files in a way that no one can recover them. The feature comes in handy on many occasions, primarily when you sell your device.
Avast Ultimate is the maximum level of protection offered by the company. The antivirus suite provides all the features included in the previous packages, plus:
- Avast Cleanup Premium tool that boosts your computer’s speed by removing junk files and freeing up space.
- VPN that helps you browse safely by encrypting your Internet connection.
- A full-blown password manager and protector.
All the packages mentioned above are for Windows PCs only.
For Mac users, the company has a specific product, called Avast Security for Mac, that comes in both free and paid versions. As usual, the free edition only provides necessary anti-malware protection but lacks several useful features. In contrast, the premium package boasts:
- The Vulnerability Scanner.
- A comprehensive firewall.
- Multi-layered ransomware protection.
Interested in Avast’s business products? Click here for more details.
Let’s see what Panda has to offer in comparison.
Panda Free is the most basic product in the company’s antivirus portfolio, and it does detect and clean various sorts of malware threats. However, to avail yourself of advanced features and enjoy complete peace of mind, you should consider premium suites offered by the company.
Panda Dome Essential is the company’s entry-level premium antivirus program. The package includes the following features:
- Protection against many forms of malware, including viruses, trojans, worms, adware, spyware, ransomware, etc.
- A secure browser to safeguard your valuable data and passwords while you surf the web or shop online.
- A Wi-Fi protection tool that secures your wireless connection by protecting it from malware and intruders.
- Covers both Windows and Mac platforms.
Another level up is Panda Dome Advanced, which includes all the features previously mentioned, plus:
- Comprehensive protection against ransomware, one of the most dangerous kinds of digital threats out there.
- An identity theft protection feature that raises a red flag if your personal and sensitive information appears in unusual places.
- The package also comes with parental controls so that your children have a safe web experience.
The next tier of defense from the company is its Panda Dome Complete suite. All the features mentioned above are jammed into this product, plus:
- The Data Shield tool that stops bad guys from stealing, deleting or encrypting your sensitive data to achieve their objectives.
- A password manager that stores all your passwords in a secure location.
- A cleanup tool to help your PC get rid of junk files.
The company’s flagship offering is Panda Dome Premium. The antivirus suite comes with all the above-mentioned features, plus:
- 24/7 customer support.
- VPN for anonymous and secure browsing.
Winner: Avast. Panda does offer some exciting tools and utilities, but Avast is clearly ahead of its rival here as it comes up with a more comprehensive set of features.
2. Malware Protection
An excellent security product must have the ability to detect and eliminate all kinds of malware from your device. In order to compare both Avast and Panda in the malware protection category, we will refer to the AV-Test Institute and AV-Comparatives, two reputable independent testing organizations.
AV-Test evaluates various antivirus products in three different categories, namely Protection, Performance, and Usability, and gives a score of 1 to 6 based on test results.
In the June 2019 AV-Test Protection evaluation, Avast clinched a near-perfect 5.5 out of 6 score, indicating excellent malware protection capability.
Panda last participated in the December 2018 Performance test when it scored a perfect 6 out of 6 score. However, the results are too old to make a fair comparison.
AV-Comparatives also conducted its Real-World Protection test during which clean machines were infected with malware and then the participating antivirus programs were run to detect and clean those threats.
According to the June 2019 Real-World Protection test results, both Avast and Panda received the second-best ADVANCED award.
Winner: Avast. Panda did score better than Avast in one of the tests, it hasn’t participated in recent evaluations. In contrast, Avast’s results are more relevant, which makes it the winner in this category.
3. System Performance
Would you buy antivirus software that provides excellent malware protection but significantly slows down your PC? Probably not.
Let’s see how Avast and Panda compare when it comes to impacting system performance. We will refer to the same two testing organizations for an unbiased comparison.
In the June 2019 AV-Test Performance evaluation, Avast received a perfect 6 out of 6 score, indicating exceptional performance in the category.
Panda, on the other hand, didn’t take part in the latest evaluations. In December 2018, when it last participated, it scored 5 out of 6 score in the performance category.
In the AV-Comparatives’ Performance test, various antivirus programs were run and then different applications were launched to check if the antiviruses have an adverse impact on system performance.
According to Performance test results announced in April 2019, both Avast and Panda clinched the highest possible ADVANCED+ award.
Winner: Avast. Once again, we don’t have the latest AV-Test Performance test results when it comes to Panda. Avast didn’t only participate in recent evaluations, but it also received a better score than Panda in this category.
It’s important to learn a bit about a product’s user interface before making the purchase. A problematic and awkward-looking piece of software is nobody’s favorite, especially when you are a paying customer.
Let’s first examine Avast’s interface.
Avast offers a modern dark-themed interface that is not only simple but also intuitive.
All the significant options and features are within your close reach and you can access them using a primary control panel.
On the left hand is a panel displaying major operations, including Status, Protection, Privacy and Performance. You can see sub-items on the main window when you click any button on the side rail.
The Status section, for instance, lets you run a “Smart Scan” and also displays your protection status. If everything is fine, you will see a large white checkmark inside a shield icon. In case of any problem, the checkmark turns to a cross.
On the whole, the clear and large buttons and well-organized options make Avast’s interface extremely user-friendly.
Now let’s have a look at Panda’s interface.
Panda also offers a simple interface with a lot of options packed nicely inside broad categories.
On the main screen, you will see the protection status of your PC and the number of files scanned. You can also see detailed scan results by clicking on the clearly visible “View Summary” button in the middle of the screen.
Large round-cornered buttons are displayed at the bottom of the main screen, showing major features like Antivirus, PC Cleanup, VPN and Premium Services.
At the very bottom of the screen, you can see the latest news headlines related to the antivirus industry.
The downside of Panda’s interface is that the use of a background in its main window may seem a little strange or even annoying to some people.
Winner: Avast. Avast offers a more modern and user-friendly interface than its competitor.
When it comes to making the purchasing decision, a high price can be the deal-breaker. An excellent anti-malware package should offer advanced features and exceptional protection at reasonable rates in order to be the preferred choice for most people.
Let’s see how Avast and Panda price their different products.
Avast’s entry-level package, Internet Security, comes at an annual cost of $59.99 and covers one PC. The next tier of coverage from the company, Avast Premier, is priced at $69.99 per year for one device, whereas the company’s flagship product, Avast Ultimate, costs $199.96 per year for just one device.
Avast Security for Mac costs $59.99 for one PC.
Let’s take a look at Panda’s pricing plans.
Panda Dome Essential, which covers one device, carries a price tag of $44.24 per year. A single license of Panda Dome Advanced costs $53.24 per year and that of Panda Dome Complete costs $80.24 per year.
At the highest tier is Panda Dome Premium, whose license for one device comes in at $125.24 per year.
|Panda Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Panda Dome Essential||$39/year||No Discount|
|Panda Dome Advanced||$65/year||No Discount|
|Panda Dome Complete||$60/year||No Discount|
|Panda Dome Premium||$99/year||No Discount|
|Panda Business Products||Varies||No Discount|
Winner: Panda. Although Avast comes with more useful features, Panda’s security packages have lower price tags which make it win this category.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Finally, it is a good idea to find out how existing users rate a company’s products and its customer support.
In order to check customer reviews, we will refer to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Consumeraffairs.org, two reputable websites that collect users’ feedback and reviews of several companies in different categories.
On the BBB, which gives an A to F grade to companies, Avast holds an exceptional A+ rating, whereas Panda has a much lower score of D-.
Unlike the BBB, Consumeraffairs.org uses a rating scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score. The website gives Avast a rating of 3 while Panda holds a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
Winner: Tie. Both software have comparable scores in this category.
The detailed comparison makes it clear that Avast is a better product than Panda in almost all aspects, including features, malware protection, system performance, and user-interface. Besides, Panda didn’t take part in recent evaluations, which shows a lack of readiness on part of the company. The only category where Panda beats Avast is pricing.
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.