(Last updated on January 13th, 2021)
AVG or Norton, which antivirus software is a better choice in 2021?
Read this data-driven AVG versus Norton comparison to make a smart decision.
These days, we remain online for 24 hours a week on average, which is twice as long as ten years ago. There’s no denying that the increase in Internet usage has brought ease in our lives, but it has also left us vulnerable to a wide range of digital threats lurking around on the web.
Consider the fact that over 10 billion malware attacks occurred last year. In the U.S. alone, those attacks led to over 8 million computers becoming infected with malware.
Whether you use a PC, Mac or smartphone, it’s almost impossible to protect your digital life from the sophisticated malware out there without a powerful antivirus.
While free antivirus software can be useful in some cases, it’s never just doesn’t cut it nowadays as it lacks the more advanced features required to fight countless threats. For complete anti-malware security and peace of mind, you should invest in a full-blown security package.
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.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare two of the top dogs in the antivirus market – AVG and Norton – to see which software is worth your money.
In a rush? Below is a quick summary of this detailed comparison.
A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category
Winner: Norton. In comparison to AVG, Norton’s antivirus products offer more security-enhancing features and utilities. Also, Norton’s products put more focus on identity protection and financial information protection.
2. Malware Protection
Winner: Norton. Both Norton and AVG boast top-of-the-line malware protection, but AVG managed to get ahead of Norton in independent evaluations.
3. System Performance
Winner: Norton. Norton beat AVG in independent tests when it comes to system performance.
Winner: Norton. Both AVG and Norton offer a simplistic, intuitive user interface. However, Norton’s is a little bit better and is uniform across all of the platforms.
Winner: Norton. Norton offers more licenses for less money at almost every tier of coverage, providing more bang for your buck.
6. Customer Service
Winner: AVG. AVG generally provides better customer service than Norton, as evidenced by authentic customer ratings.
Norton is the overall winner as it offers more security-enhancing features and utilities in its security products than AVG. Also, independent tests show that Norton is better than AVG in terms of both malware detection and system performance.
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
Let’s go into details now.
Most modern antivirus companies include several premium features and utilities in their premium security products, depending on your subscription level.
First, let’s examine AVG’s products.
AVG AntiVirus Free is the company’s limited free antivirus option. This product offers protection against different types of digital threats, but you won’t find any advanced features incorporated into the suite.
Next up is AVG Internet Security, which is compatible with Windows, Mac and Android, and protects against all kinds of malware. This suite also offers a firewall that keeps an eye on your home network, a scanner that identifies performance bottlenecks, and a fake-website shield that blocks malicious/phishing websites.
Moreover, the file shredder included in this suite deletes your confidential files in a way that prevents unauthorized or unintended recovery. And the Anti-Spam filter blocks spam and malicious emails from entering your inbox. Webcam protection features are also included in AVG Internet Security.
You can protect up to 10 devices with a single license of this suite.
Another level up is AVG Ultimate, the company’s top-of-the-line premium offering. This suite offers everything that’s jammed into the previous suite, plus a few extra perks.
These perks include an even better antivirus and tune-up tool that allows you to improve the performance of your computer, live phone or chat support at any part of the day or night, and comprehensive antivirus coverage for Mac and smartphones.
A single license of AVG Ultimate protects all your family devices.
Interested in AVG’s business-specific antivirus products? Follow this link for more information.
Now let’s see how Norton compares to AVG.
Like AVG, Norton offers a range of security products.
Norton Antivirus Plus is the company’s entry-level premium offering. Besides protecting against all sorts of digital threats, this suite offers a smart firewall that monitors your network traffic in real-time and a password manager that stores all your sensitive details to give you a hassle-free web experience.
With a single license of this suite, you can protect either a PC or Mac.
Next up is Norton 360 Standard, which is compatible with PCs, Macs and smartphones. It includes everything that comes with the previous suite, plus a secure VPN for anonymous browsing, a webcam protector that prevents hackers from spying on you, and 10 GB of cloud data storage.
Dark web monitoring features from LifeLock are also part of this package. These features track any sensitive information that you put online and immediately alert you if anyone is misusing it.
A single license of Norton 360 Standard protects one device.
Another level up is Norton 360 Deluxe. The package provides you with five licenses and has everything that “Standard” offers, plus the Norton Family Premier – which is a useful parental control module – and 50 GB of cloud storage.
A single subscription of 360 Deluxe offers licenses for up to 5 devices (PCs, Macs, or smartphones).
Finally, there’s Norton 360 Deluxe with LifeLock Select. It includes all the advanced features and utilities found in the Deluxe suite, plus you get a full suite of monitoring tools, including the identity alert system, the credit monitoring suite and the finance protection scanner.
The credit monitoring function lets you know if your credit score plummets, as this is usually associated with identity theft.
The identity alert system, meanwhile, tells you if your information or identity is being used elsewhere on the Internet in ways that don’t add up to your normal behavior. You can use this information to alert the authorities and get ahead of any potential identity theft.
All Norton premium products come with 24/7 customer support.
If you’re interested in Norton’s business products, click here for more information.
Winner: Norton. While AVG does offer several useful features in its security products, Norton’s feature-set is more comprehensive and relevant in today’s digital landscape.
2. Malware Protection
Protecting your computer from malware is the primary function of any antivirus software. An antivirus that performs this function more efficiently is likely to be your preferred choice.
To obtain unbiased results, let’s look at two tests from independent testing organizations that pitted both programs in a head-to-head battle.
AV-test.org evaluated various antivirus programs in May and June 2019. Results showed that Norton scored a perfect score of 6 out of 6.
AVG just trailed behind with a score of 5.5 out of 6.
AV-Comparatives, another testing organization, also gave out its Real-World Protection Test. Both Norton and AVG received the ADVANCED award, the second-highest rating by the testing company. (See this for the detailed report.)
Winner: Norton. It was very close, but Norton edged out AVG in this category. Both companies tied in the second evaluation, but Norton won the first one by a narrow margin, suggesting it is a little better at defending your computer from malware.
3. System Performance
A good antivirus should run smoothly on your computer, allowing you to resume day-to-day operations while maintaining a protective shield over your files and identity information.
Let’s look at the same two testing organizations to see what they found when they tested AVG and Norton in terms of performance.
AV-test.org, in its performance test, found that AVG scored 5.5 out of 6.
On the other hand, Norton earned a perfect score of 6 out of 6.
In the AV-Comparatives performance test, both AVG and Norton earned an ADVANCED+ award.
Winner: Norton. Norton beat AVG during the first evaluation by a narrow margin, whereas the companies tied in the second test. This suggests Norton runs a little more smoothly on most computers.
The user interface of an antivirus program is integral to its overall value. After all, a complicated and confusing interface won’t be worth much, even if other aspects of the program are excellent.
Let’s compare the interfaces of both AVG and Norton.
AVG’s interface is relatively simplistic and uses a white and green color scheme on a gray background. All of its major functions and operations can be activated from large buttons that are easy to see and navigate.
It’s an excellent choice for computer novices or people who don’t like to have to tinker with an interface to make it work perfectly.
The downside is that features locked to you based on your tier of coverage are demonstrated by being grayed out. This is a ploy to get you to upgrade, and it can feel manipulative or frustrating, especially if you are a paying customer
Now let’s see what Norton’s interface brings to the table.
Norton uses a straightforward user interface that has been fine-tuned for use on tablets or mobile devices. The interface remains almost the same on both PCs and smartphones, allowing you to always know how to use your security system no matter what the device.
Everything that you need to access major features and functions offered by Norton is clearly marked with bright colors.
Norton also uses pop-ups all the time to let you know about any security risks or changes in antivirus software. While these can be a little annoying, they do manage an excellent job of keeping you informed at all times.
Winner: Norton. Norton’s interface is incredibly sleek and simplistic and is intuitive to navigate. It doesn’t change much between tablets and desktop computers. While the pop-ups can be distracting, they are more informative than annoying.
If an antivirus is excellent but not affordable, its value for money is much lower. Let’s look at the pricing plans of both AVG and Norton to see how many licenses you get per dollar and which provides more value for money.
AVG AntiVirus Free is, of course, free but only works on PCs. It protects against all sorts of malware threats and can block unsafe downloads or links.
However, the freeware doesn’t offer advanced features or tools needed to protect your computer from all kinds of malware.
AVG’s paid versions are much more comprehensive compared to the freeware.
The company’s first paid version is AVG Internet Security, which costs $79.99 per year and provides you with ten licenses (for PC use only). The price is a bit higher than the first paid option from many competitors, but you do get a good number of licenses for your purchase.
AVG Ultimate offers unlimited licenses for $99.99 per year. It is great value for money, particularly if you have a large family where everyone has several devices that need security. AVG’s Mac solution costs $79.99 per year.
|AVG Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|AVG Internet Security||$89.99/year||Check here|
|AVG Ultimate||$119.99/year||Check here|
|AVG Business Products||Varies||Check here|
And if you are interested in business protection from AVG, you can check out their prices right here.
Now let’s see how much Norton costs for its protection.
Norton Antivirus Plus costs $19.99 per year for one PC license, but you can extend this protection to any computer or device, such as a Mac or a smartphone, for $39.99. This means that Mac coverage from Norton is cheaper than through AVG.
Norton 360 Standard also provides you with one license for any device and costs $49.99 per year.
Norton 360 Deluxe, which is very similar to 360 Standard, costs $59.99 per year for five licenses.
Then there’s Norton 360 Deluxe with LifeLock Select, which costs $99.99 per year for five licenses for any computer or device.
|Norton Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Norton Antivirus Plus||$59.99/year||Check here|
|Norton 360 Standard||$79.99/year||Check here|
|Norton 360 Deluxe||$99.99/year||Check here|
|Norton 360 with Lifelock Select||$149.99/year||Check here|
|Norton 360 with Utimate Plus||$349.99/year||Check here|
|Norton Small Business Security||Varies||Check here|
For Norton’s business products, you can check their prices right here.
Winner: Norton. While you can get basic AVG protection for free, you can get Norton protection for a few computers for less money. With Norton, you can also protect your Mac or mobile device at a lower cost.
However, if you have a family and need to protect five computers, AVG may be a better option for you.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Before we make our final recommendation, let’s take a look at the customer satisfaction of both companies.
AVG earned a 3-star rating from Consumeraffairs.org, a website that collects user feedback and averages it out into a 1 to 5 stars score. Norton could muster only a 1-star rating from the site, indicating low customer satisfaction.
The Better Business Bureau is another site that performs a similar service, but it averages out the ratings into an A to F grade. Both AVG and Norton received a phenomenal A+ rating from the BBB.
Winner: AVG. AVG generally has better customer service than Norton’s, as evidenced by the higher customer satisfaction score from one of the two consumer feedback websites.
It’s a close battle, but overall it’s clear that Norton is a little better choice than AVG. Norton will provide you with a more extensive and comprehensive feature suite, including a bunch of functions that can help you protect your identity online.
Besides, Norton runs smoothly on most computers and is reasonably priced so you can afford coverage at every level. It’s a great antivirus program product that you’d be smart to invest in.
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.