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(Last updated on September 12th, 2020)

McAfee or Avast, which antivirus software is a better pick in 2020?

Read this data-driven McAfee versus Avast comparison to make a smart decision.

Do you know that a cyberattack takes place every 39 seconds on average? The most common methods include SQL injection attacks, rootkit, DDoS attacks, phishing/spear-phishing and malware attacks like spyware, adware and Trojan horse.

You may not know, but a hacker may be trying to get into your computer as this very moment. And you are particularly vulnerable if you use passwords like “123456”, “qwerty” or, worst of all, “password”.

Apart from passwords, a data breach might expose your bank account details, emails, Social Security number, personal health information, etc.

In the United States alone, more than 3.2 million records were exposed in the 10 biggest data breaches in the first half of 2020.

Even big companies get hacked, leaving protected information of millions of customers in the open. Multinational ride-hailing company Uber reported a few years ago that the information of more than 57 million riders and drivers was compromised.

In yet another breach, all 3 billion Yahoo accounts were hacked in one of the biggest data breaches in history.

So, sometimes your confidential information gets leaked even though you are not the direct target for hackers.

But how can you minimize the risk?

While companies need to go the extra mile to prevent data breaches, on a personal level your best bet is to install a reliable antivirus program on your device.

Modern antivirus suites provide more than just malware protection and come with advanced features like a password manager, AI threat detection, identity theft protection, microphone and webcam protection, credit card monitoring, VPN and many more tools.

Keep in mind that we are talking about premium security suites here. There are free antivirus programs galore, but they lack almost all the features mentioned above and only provide basic antivirus protection.

If you want to protect data and privacy of yourself and your family, spending a little amount of money can give you complete peace of mind.

Important Note

Best Antivirus Suite for 2020

(All the best security products examined)

Editors' Choice Award Winner 

Overall Score: 9.9/10

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During the past few months, we examined and reviewed over 50 antivirus suites from the biggest names in cybersecurity. We did this so you can confidently choose the best antivirus software to protect yourself and those you love.

Overall, Bitdefender is our #1 antivirus software for 2020, because of its excellent, flawless performance in all the recent independent lab evaluations we considered, particularly those conducted by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.

Right now, we think that Bitdefender Total Security 2020 (currently at 60% off) is the best antivirus package available in the market. Apart from providing excellent anti-malware protection, it offers all the advanced premium features and utilities that must be there in a high-end package -- and best of all, it offers excellent value for money. You can protect up to five devices (PCs, Macs, or smartphones) with just one subscription.

If you need protection for more than five devices, we highly recommend Bitdefender Family Pack 2020. It will cover all the internet-capable devices in your household with the Total Security suite, so your family will be protected no matter what goes wrong.

In this in-depth comparison, we are going to pit two of the most popular antivirus brands – McAfee and Avast – against each other.

We will take a look at the feature sets offered by the two products, their malware protection and system performance capabilities, their user interface, pricing structure and customer satisfaction, and see which product is bested by the other in each category.

In a rush? Look at the breakdown below. It’ll give you a quick summary of the winners in each category.

A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category

1. Features
Winner: McAfee. McAfee offers all the advanced security-related features and utilities with its flagship premium product, while Avast reserves its important features and tools for its high-end products.

2. Malware Protection
Winner: Avast. Avast performed better than McAfee in independent lab tests.

3. System Performance
Winner: McAfee. Independent tests confirm that McAfee is far ahead of Avast in terms of putting an impact on system performance.

4. User-Friendliness
Winner: Tie. Both McAfee and Avast offer a simple, easy-to-use user interface.

5. Pricing
Winner: McAfee. McAfee gives you more bang for your buck; you can get more licenses for less money through McAfee.

6. Customer Satisfaction
Winner: Tie. Both McAfee and Avast enjoy excellent customer satisfaction ratings.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that both McAfee and Avast are excellent antivirus software, but when you consider price, interface, performance, and protection we have to put McAfee ahead of Avast. The latter is great for extra features, and protection is equal to McAfee, but the price makes it less of a value.

Our recommendations: If you want to get the highest level of security and performance, there's no better choice than Bitdefender, which protects over 500 million devices worldwide.

We have reviewed, ranked, and rated all the best antivirus software products out there, and we think that Bitdefender Total Security 2020 (currently at 50% off) is the best antivirus package you can buy right now. You can protect up to five devices (PCs, Macs, or smartphones) with just a single subscription of this suite.

If you need protection for more than five devices, Bitdefender Family Pack 2020 is the best option for you.

Looking for Mac-specific protection? Check out Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac for complete peace of mind.

Now, let’s delve into the details.

1. Features

These days, almost all cybersecurity companies offer a slew of advanced security-enhancing features and tools as part of their security packages.

First, let’s see what McAfee brings to the table in terms of features.

McAfee Total Protection (works on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS) is the company’s flagship and most popular security offering. It has a unique purchasing model in that it can be bought in bundles of 1, 5, or 10 devices depending on your preferences. No matter which bundle you select, you will get top-drawer malware protection along with a full set of advanced features and utilities.

The package has a smart two-way firewall that monitors all incoming and outgoing network connections and blocks all sorts of sophisticated attacks. The Vulnerability Scanner is also part of the software; it checks for security flaws and holes that hackers can potentially exploit and use, such as outdated software.

The TrueKey Identity Manager (lets you store all your passwords and sensitive details for in a secure vault) and a file shredder (allows you securely delete confidential files) are also jammed into the suite, along with the Network Manager tool that protects your WiFi against intruders and hackers.

The file encryption utility is also there as well; it lets you encrypt your sensitive files so no one can have access to them without authentication. The suite also offers advanced performance optimization features, which help your computer run faster and more efficiently.

Finally, the suite comes with a full suite of parental controls. These features allow you to monitor the browsing habits of your children and control which websites they can (and cannot) visit. You can also set daily time limits on their computer use, to prevent them from spending all day in front of the computer.

Another suite that the company offers is McAfee LiveSafe. There’s no difference between LiveSafe and Total Protection in terms of features offered, but the former allows you to protect unlimited devices with a single license. But the major downside of LiveSafe is that it comes at a slightly higher price point. (You’ll see prices later in this guide.)

McAfee Total Protection Security Features

Now, let’s see what Avast offers in terms of features.

Unlike McAfee, Avast offers separate products for Windows and macOS. We’ll cover the Windows-only products first.

Avast Free Antivirus is the company’s first antivirus software. As the name suggests, you can use it for free for as long as you want, but there aren’t any advanced features and utilities jammed into this package. However, the product does protect against different types of digital threats, including viruses, ransomware, worms, spyware.

Next up is Avast Internet Security, the company’s first premium antivirus offering. It offers top-notch protection against all sorts of malware threats, plus several useful advanced features and functions. There’s a smart firewall that protects your computer against unauthorized access and hacking attempts, an email filter that can keep junk mail from clogging up your inbox, and the WiFi Inspector tool that protects your network against hackers and intruders.

The Sandbox utility is also part of the suite; it lets you run suspicious files and software in a secured portion of your computer, so you don’t risk the rest of your computer when installing new software or opening new files. The Real Site utility is also incorporated into the suite; it protects your network and prevents fake DNS routing from taking place, which is a common tactic that hackers use these days to steal financial details and other sensitive information.

Another level up is Avast Premier. This suite includes everything that is found in the previous suites, plus a webcam protector that stops people from secretly spying on you through your webcam and an automatic software updater. The Data Shredder utility is also included; it allows you to securely erase your sensitive files so no one can recover them.

Finally, there’s Avast Ultimate – the company’s top-tier security package. This package has everything that comes with the Premier suite, plus there’s a VPN that you can use to anonymously browse the Internet and access content that is restricted in your geographic location.

The Avast Cleanup utility is also jammed into the Ultimate suite; it cleans junk files and improves the performance of your computer.

Features included in Avast Security Suites

For Mac users, there’s Avast Security for Mac. This suite comes in two versions, Free and Premium. The freeware is very barebones in terms of advanced features and utilities but does offer essential malware protection. The Premium offering comes with advanced ransomware protection and the WiFi Intruder Alert feature.

If you’re interested in Avast’s business-specific solutions, click here for more information.

Winner: McAfee. Overall, McAfee is the winner in this category as it offers all the advanced features and tools with its flagship product. Avast’s best features are only found in its high-end suites.

2. Malware Protection

Protecting your device against all kinds of malware attacks is one of the most primary jobs of an antivirus product. If it fails in this category, it isn’t probably worth at all.

We can tell one antivirus offers better malware protection than the other by looking at the latest evaluations conducted by reputable independent testing labs like the AV-Test Institute and AV-Comparatives.

Let’s start with AV-Test’s findings. In its bimonthly tests, the lab evaluates three metrics (Protection, Performance, and Usability) of all the famous antivirus brands.

In its April 2020 Protection Test, AV-Test gave McAfee 5 out of 6 score, which shows that McAfee’s performance was better than most products, but it wasn’t in the top league.

McAfee Protection Test Results AV Test Evaluations Mar Apr 2020

By contrast, Avast performed a little better with a score of 5.5 out of 6.

Avast Protection Test Results AV Test Evaluations Mar Apr 2020

Let’s take a look at the evaluations of our next source: AV-Comparatives. This organization also conducts three types of tests, namely the Real-World Protection Test (web-based), Malware Protection Test (system-based) and Performance Test.

According to the most recent Real-World Protection Test results, issued in May 2020, Avast bagged a maximum ADVANCED+ (3-star) award, while McAfee received a 2-star ADVANCED award.

Real World Protection Test Results AV Comparatives Evaluations Feb May 2020

In the Malware Protection test, conducted in March 2020, McAfee received a 1-star STANDARD award, whereas Avast got ADVANCED (2-star) award.

Malware Protection Test Results AV Comparative Evaluations March 2020

Both products received lower scores despite excellent protection rates because they produced a higher number of false positives, meaning they wrongly blocked clean files and websites.

Winner: Avast. Avast is the winner of this category as it fared better than its competitor in all three tests.

3. System Performance

Another critical aspect to consider while evaluating an antivirus suite is how much influence it puts on your device while running its operations. If an antivirus product impacts your system speed in a significant way, then you should look elsewhere and find a more suitable brand.

Let’s see which among the two brands performs tasks more seamlessly. Again, we’re going to take test results from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.

In the AV-Test’s April 2020 Performance Test, McAfee notched a perfect 6 out of 6 score, outshining many other products.

Mcafee Performance test results AV Test evaluations Mar Apr 2020

Avast was a little behind McAfee with a score of 5.5 out of 6.

Avast Performance test results AV Test evaluations Mar Apr 2020

Let’s now take a look at AV-Comparatives Performance Test. Once again, McAfee passed the test with flying colors and bagged the highest ADVANCED+ (3-star) award.

In comparison, Avast got a 2-star ADVANCED award.

AV Comparatives Performance Test April 2020

Winner: McAfee. McAfee aced both tests and came up as a winner in this category. The evaluations showed that McAfee is very light on your device and you may not even feel its presence.

4. User-Friendliness

All the factors we have discussed so far are important, but if a software has a clunky, outdated user interface, it’s likely that you won’t enjoy using it.

First, let’s examine McAfee’s user interface.

McAfee’s interface is simple, bright, and sleek – in colors of blue, gray, and white. There’s a horizontal menu at the top that allows you to access all the features and functions with just a few clicks. Links to Notifications, News, Help, Settings are also there on the right side of the menu.

On the main screen, you’ll find a large green checkmark in the top left corner if everything is okay. The checkmark will change into a red warning sign when there’s an issue.

At the bottom, there are blocks for running a scan, updating apps, removing browser cookies/trackers.

McAfee User Interface 2020

Now, let’s examine Avast’s interface.

Avast uses a dark, modern-styled interface that is both simple and intuitive.

There’s a vertical menu on the left with four different tabs: Status, Protection, Privacy, and Performance. The Status window is what you see when you open the interface. You will find your protection status in the center, as well as a button to run a quick scan. The other tabs have relevant features and options.

The link to Settings is available in the bottom-left corner.

Avast User Interface 2020

Winner: Tie. Overall, it’s a tie in this category as both products offer a simple, easy-to-use interface.

5. Pricing

Now, let’s look at the prices of the security suites offered by both companies.

McAfee Total Protection, the flagship product from McAfee, comes at different price points; $24.99 per year for 1 device, $39.99 per year for 5 devices, and $44.99 per year for 10 devices.

McAfee LiveSafe protects unlimited devices for $99.99 per year.

McAfee ProductsRegular PriceDiscounted Price
McAfee Total Protection (1 Device)$79.99/yearCheck here
McAfee Total Protection (5 Device)$99.99/yearCheck here
McAfee Total Protection (10 Device)$119.99/yearCheck here

Avast Free doesn’t cost anything, but it doesn’t offer much value. Avast Internet Security, the first worthwhile software from the company, costs $59.99 per year for 1 PC. Avast Premier comes at $69.99 per year for 1 PC.

Avast Ultimate, the full-blown antivirus solution, costs $119.95 per year for 1 PC.

Avast Security for Mac, the company’s only offering for macOS users, costs $59.99 per year for a single Mac.

Avast Products Regular PriceDiscounted Price
Avast Internet Security$47.99/yearCheck here
Avast Premium Security (1 Device)$69.99/yearCheck here
Avast Premium Security (Multi-Device)$89.99/yearCheck here
Avast Ultimate$99.99/yearCheck here
Avast Business AntivirusVariesCheck here

Winner: McAfee. McAfee offers better value for money; you can get more licenses for less money through McAfee than through Avast.

6. Customer Satisfaction

One last aspect we will consider is customer satisfaction. Let’s see what the actual customers of both McAfee and Avast think of their products.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a well-known site that collects customer reviews for all companies and averages them out into an A to F letter grade rating. Both McAfee and Avast have an excellent A+ rating from the BBB, which indicates exceptional customer service and high levels of user satisfaction.

Winner: Tie. Both antivirus products have comparable customer satisfaction ratings.

Final Thoughts

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Editors Choice Award Winner

Our recommendations: After reviewing 50 antivirus suites from some of the biggest names in the cybersecurity realm, we believe that Bitdefender Total Security 2020 (currently at 60% off) is the best antivirus suite for 2020 in terms of value for money. You protect up to five devices (PCs, Macs, and smartphones) with a single license of this suite.

Got more than five internet-capable devices? We found that Bitdefender Family Pack 2020 is the best option out there in terms of value for money.

If you are still unsure, Bitdefender offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and exceptional customer support, so you there is nothing to lose.

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4 thoughts on “McAfee Vs Avast | The Ultimate Comparison [2020]”

  1. You have overlooked the McAfee bug that causes it to use 99% of your CPU and requires removal and reinstallation to fix. Then it comes back. You can find discussion of this problem on a number of forums. It took me several hours to fix when it happened.

  2. Hello Trebian,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Bugs like that come up every now and then. I believe McAfee has fixed it, so it’s not really a problem.

  3. McAfee (LiveSafe) has a feature that is completely not user-friendly to users who may store something dangerous in potential such as malware samples or test program builds, you cannot exclude all the files by giving a path (Avast offers this), but file-by-file. This is extremely inconvenient if you have tons of samples to store, except that you place them into an archive, set a password and NOT to move it to any other locations.

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