(Last updated on February 18th, 2020)
Norton (also called Symantec) or Avast, which antivirus software is a better choice in 2020?
Read this data-driven Norton versus Avast comparison to make a smart decision.
We’re putting more and more sensitive data online than ever, assuming the internet to be a safe place. But the unfortunate truth is that it’s now more dangerous than ever to do business or shop online, mainly due to the rise in identity/financial theft and related crimes.
For instance, do you know that the AV-Test — a well-known security firm — catches over 350,000 new malware samples every single day? Another recent study found that all malware is on the rise, especially ransomware and mobile malware attacks; both types of malware saw the biggest growth in recent years.
It’s easy to see how vulnerable your data and privacy are if you’re not well-protected.
Cybersecurity issues are becoming a headache for businesses, as well. Last year, over 412 million accounts were stolen from Friendfinder’s sites. Uber also lost data of over 57 million riders and drivers.
So how you know which antivirus is right for you? Most free or low-end security products out there offer limited anti-malware protection, and their defenses break in the face of sophisticated malware attacks. We believe that getting a full-fledged, robust security suite is the way to go for complete security and peace of mind.
Best Antivirus Suite for 2020
(All the best security products examined)
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Overall Score: 9.9/10
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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 ultimate guide, we’ll compare Norton and Avast in a head-to-head and show you which of the two is a better pick.
In a rush? Take a look at the rundown below to find out which software wins in each category.
A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category
Winner: Norton. Both Avast and Norton offer impressive feature-sets as part of their security suites, but Norton has an edge in this category.
2. Malware Protection
Winner: Winner. Norton performed slightly better than Avast in recent independent anti-malware tests.
3. System Performance
Winner: Tie. Both companies performed equally well when it came to the impact they put on computer performance; both software received perfect scores in two different performance evaluations.
Winner: Tie. Both software’s interfaces are user-friendly and intuitive.
Winner: Norton. You can get more licenses for less money through Norton.
6. Customer Satisfaction
Winner: Tie. Both software have comparable customer satisfaction ratings.
Norton is a better choice as it offers more security-related features and extra utilities in its security suites than Avast. Independent tests prove that both software are excellent in terms of the impact on system performance, but Norton offers better anti-malware security than Avast.
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.
The best antivirus suites come with all advanced features and utilities that not only bolster your digital security but also promote extra value.
First, let’s see what features Norton offer in its security suites.
Norton AntiVirus Plus is the entry-level suite offered by the company. This software provides excellent protection against all sorts of malware, plus there’s a smart firewall that protects your computer against unauthorized access and monitors your network against intrusions.
A full-blown password manager is also jammed into the suite; this allows you to store and organize your passwords, credit card details, and securely store other confidential information.
This suite allows you to protect 1 device (either a PC or a Mac), but you can add more devices.
Next up is Norton 360 Standard. It’s the company’s flagship product and offers one universal license that can be used to protect 1 PC and 1 Mac or mobile or tablet.
The 360 Standard suite offers everything that comes with the previous suite, along with 10 gigabytes of cloud data storage and the SecureVPN tool that protects your sensitive information when you are on public or shared WiFi networks. The SafeCam utility is also jammed into the suite; this utility blocks unauthorized webcam access and prevents hackers from spying on you.
Dark web monitoring features are included in the suite as well; these module monitors your personal information and alerts you if it is being used by someone else.
Next up is Norton 360 Deluxe. This suite has everything that comes with the previous suites, plus you get 50 gigabytes of cloud storage and protection for up to 5 PCs, Mac, and smartphones with a single license. There’s also a parental control module that could be very useful if you have children. It’s a good product if you want to get protection for all your family devices.
Finally, there’s Norton 360 Deluxe with LifeLock Select – the company’s top-tier antivirus suite. This package includes all the advanced features and utilities we discussed above, plus you get a full suite of identity & theft protection tools. These include dark web monitoring features, a finance protection scanner, a credit monitoring suite, and the LifeLock Identity Alert System.
These features will tell you if your personal information is being used in ways or patterns that don’t match up with your previous actions; this is a great way to know if you’re information is potentially being stolen by an identity thief. The credit monitoring tool keeps track of your credit score and lets you know if it suddenly drops, as this is a common sign of identity theft.
As part of this suite, you also get the Million Dollar Protection Package from Norton; if you become a victim of identity theft, you will be covered for the expenses you incur and money stolen as a result of the crime, but only up to a specific limit.
If you’re interested in Norton’s business-specific security products, click here for more details.
Now, let’s see how Avast compares to Norton in terms of features.
Unlike Norton, Avast offers separate products for Windows and macOS. First, we’ll cover the Windows-only products.
Avast Free Antivirus is the first security software that you can get from the company. You don’t have to pay anything to use it, of course, but it doesn’t offer much value in terms of advanced features and utilities; all advanced features and options are locked in the software. But the freeware does offer protection against different types of digital threats.
Next up is Avast Internet Security, another Windows-only suite. This suite offers excellent protection against all sorts of malware, along with a bunch of advanced features and tools that make it worthwhile. These include a smart firewall, the Anti-Spam utility, and the WiFi Inspector utility (protects your network against hackers and intruders).
The Sandbox mode feature allows you to run potentially dangerous files in a secure environment, without having to risk the rest of your computer to a malware infection.
The Real Site utility that guards against DNS hijacking and rerouting is also part of the software, along with a password manager and an email filter.
Another level up is Avast Premier. This suite offers all the features and utilities that come with the previous suites, plus some extra perks. These perks include a webcam shield that prevents hackers from spying on you, the Data Shredder utility that permanently shreds any sensitive files that you don’t want to be recovered after deletion, and the Software Updater tool (automatically updates all the software and makes you less vulnerable to attacks).
Finally, there’s Avast Ultimate — the top-tier package offered by Avast. It comes with everything that comes with the Premier suite, plus you get the useful SecureLine VPN tool that lets you surf the internet anonymously and access restricted content. Avast Cleanup utility, which is a great tool that will significantly improve the performance of your PC, is also part of the Ultimate suite.
For Macs, there’s Avast Security for Mac. It comes in two versions, Free and Premium. The freeware only offers essential malware protection, while the Premium version has several advanced features and utilities that make it a worthwhile option, such as the WiFi Inspector and multi-layered ransomware protection.
Winner: Norton. Both Norton and Avast offer a comprehensive lineup of features as part of their security suites, but Norton’s offerings are more useful in today’s day and age.
2. Malware Protection
Let’s take a look at how Norton and Avast compare when it comes to protecting your computer against malware infections. To determine which is superior in this regard, let’s look at the recent unbiased lab tests from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives — two highly regarded independent organizations that regularly test and rank different antivirus software.
AV-Test’s recent evaluations were conducted in April 2019. All participating security software were tested on three different levels: Protection, Performance, and Usability.
During the Protection test, Norton scored a perfect 6 out of 6, showcasing its excellent malware detection capabilities.
Avast scored a slightly lower 5.5 out of 6 rating, which is a good score but not a perfect one.
AV-Comparatives is another well-known independent security software testing organization from Austria. They regularly conduct several exhaustive tests to evaluate the performance of various antivirus brands, but their main examination is the Real-World Protection test. In their recent report, both Symantec and Avast received the second-best ADVANCED award, which represents good defenses against all sorts of malware.
Winner: Norton. It’s a close call, but Norton takes this round due to better overall performance in recent independent anti-malware tests.
3. System Performance
There’s no doubt that anti-malware capabilities are important, but we can’t neglect system performance. Most top-tier antivirus programs out there put a negligible impact on system performance.
Let’s examine both software’s performance in this category.
In the Performance category of AV-Test evaluations, Norton scored a perfect 6 out of 6, which is an excellent score.
Avast also got a 6 out of 6 in this test, matching Norton.
AV-Comparatives’ performance test was conducted in April 2019. Both Norton and Avast took home the highest ADVANCED+ award in this evaluation.
Winner: Tie. Both companies performed equally well in two recent independent performance evaluations; neither software will slow down your system operations.
The user interface of an antivirus program should be intuitive and easy-to-use for everyone, including people who aren’t proficient in computer use.
First, let’s examine Norton’s user interface.
Norton’s user interface is sleek and simplistic; it’s also universal in nature, so there isn’t much difference between the desktop and mobile views. On the main view, there’s a big green check mark that lets you know if everything is okay. The checkmark will turn into a warning sign if there’s an issue and your attention is required.
The Quick Scan button on the main window allows you to initiate a scan with just one click. The time and date of your last scan is also there on the screen, as well as information regarding licenses and software updates.
At the bottom, there’re five rectangular tiles that can be used to access all the advanced features and options of the software. The links to Settings and Help pages are placed in the top bar.
Now, let’s see what Avast’s interface looks like in comparison.
Avast’s dark, modern-styled interface is intuitive and straightforward. If everything is okay, there will be a green checkmark in the center of the main. The checkmark will change to warning sign if there’s something wrong with your security. There’s also a button that lets you run a smart scan.
On the left side, there are four main categories that contain all the features and tools of the software. You can access all the major features and functions with just a few clicks.
Winner: Tie. Both user interfaces are intuitive and user-friendly.
Another important consideration is pricing. After all, if something is not affordable, it’s likely that you won’t buy it.
Norton Antivirus Plus, the company’s entry-level premium suite, costs $39.99 per year for 1 device.
Norton 360 Standard lets you protect 2 devices for $49.99 per year. Norton 360 Deluxe can be used to protect up to 5 devices for $59.99 per year. Finally, Norton 360 Deluxe with LifeLock Select costs $99.99 per year for up to 5 devices.
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Now, let’s see how much Avast charges for its protection.
Avast Internet Security, the first paid option from the company, costs $59.99 per year for 1 PC. Avast Premium costs $69.99 per year for 1 PC.
Avast Ultimate, the highest offering from Avast, costs $119.99 per year and gives you a license for 1 PC.
Avast Security for Mac, the company’s flagship product for macOS platform, comes at $59.99 per year for 1 Mac device.
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Winner: Norton. Norton has a better pricing structure and gives you more licenses for less money, providing great value for money.
6. Customer Satisfaction
One final aspect we will consider is customer satisfaction.
Consumeraffairs.org is a great resource to see what the actual customers of both companies think of their products and services. The site collects genuine user reviews and averages them out into a 1 to 5-star score. Norton has a 1-star rating from this resource, indicating low levels of user satisfaction and poor customer service. Avast has a 3-star rating, which is an average score.
Let’s also check out the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which is another well-known review collection site. Both Norton and Avast have an A+ rating on the BBB, which is an excellent score.
Winner: Tie. Both Avast and Norton have comparable scores in this category.
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Overall Score: 9.9/10
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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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