Adaware and Malwarebytes offer multi-layered protection to keep you safe from malware in 2023. However, you need to know about some essential differences that set them apart from one another. For example, Malwarebytes is minimalistic and focuses on offering essential protections, but Adaware is more full-featured and includes extra tools such as parental controls and a system optimizer.
I’m going to take a closer look at the differences between these two antiviruses so that you can make an informed decision in 2023.
Adaware vs. Malwarebytes: Final Verdict:
Malwarebytes is easier to use and has better malware protection and web protection at a lower price. It’s minimalistic, but it works very well. If you want excellent malware protection without system slowdowns, go with Malwarebytes.
Adaware has better parental controls. If you want to monitor your family’s internet safety, go with Adaware.
Adaware vs. Malwarebytes: Malware Protection
Adaware’s malware scanner uses signature-based scanning to find all types of malware, including trojans, rootkits, ransomware, cryptojackers, and more. It offers four types of scans: quick, full, custom, and scheduled scan.
Adaware also lets you adjust how many resources the scanner uses when it checks your computer — which is cool. If you set the resource use to high, the scanner goes fast but slows down your computer, and if you set it to low, it takes longer but uses fewer resources. This allows you to browse the internet and stream movies while scanning.
The scanner did pretty good in all my tests. I hid 1,000s of malware samples on my computer and ran a full scan. It took about an hour with the resource usage set to high, which isn’t too bad. However, I did notice a significant slowdown on my computer. The scanner found about 90% of the malware samples, which isn’t the worst detection rate I’ve ever seen, but it isn’t as good as Malwarebytes.
That said, Adaware’s real-time protection works really well. It’s really customizable, and you can even prevent it from scanning large files if you’re on an older system. In my tests, it blocked the majority of malware samples I tried to download.
Malwarebytes uses a massive malware database alongside heuristic analysis to find and remove malware on your computer. This can include trojans, worms, rootkits, and more.
The full system scan performs well. I hid 1,000s of samples on my Windows 11 PC and initiated Malwarebytes’s full system scan. It took around 3 hours to complete (which is slightly slower than Adaware on its high resources setting) and found 95% of malware samples, which is pretty good.
Once I’d removed all the samples, I turned on Malwarebytes’s real-time protection and tried downloading the same folder containing 1,000s of malware samples. Malwarebytes blocked 98% of them, which is impressive.
Adaware vs. Malwarebytes: Web Security
Adaware’s web protection is pretty bad. I downloaded the Adaware Web Protection extension on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. I then tried visiting phishing websites and found Adaware wasn’t blocking any of them. Adaware’s extension even let me visit websites that the default protections on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge all blocked.
The exploit protection is bad, too. I ran simulated exploit attacks against my web browser, and Adaware let them through. When I turned on my web browser’s default protection, it stopped every simulated exploit attack.
That said, the premium web security built into the desktop application worked better. Especially when I uninstalled the Adaware extension. It blocked more websites than the web extension — but it was still disappointing that the extension failed.
Malwarebytes’s web extension works a lot better than Adaware’s. It blocks phishing websites, web trackers, and pop-ups, and it’s also compatible with Firefox, Edge, and Chrome.
In my tests, Malwarebytes blocked 90% of phishing websites I visited. This included the websites that Adaware and the default protections on Chrome, Edge, and Firefox failed to block.
However, I was disappointed with Malwarebytes’s ad blocker. It only blocked around 35% of ads on multiple testing websites I visited. Many ad blockers — including free ones — have better results than Malwarebytes.
Adaware vs. Malwarebytes: Features
Adaware Antivirus Total only offers coverage on a single device. However, you can add up to five extra computers for a small fee. With the premium plan, you get:
- Malware scanner.
- Real-time protection.
- Web protection.
- Email protection.
- Parental controls.
- PC optimizer.
- And more…
I really like Adaware’s parental controls. You can set them up quickly by choosing an age-based template, and Adaware will block any websites not appropriate for that age group. You can also manually add websites to an exclusion list or adjust the templates by choosing your own categories. However, I wish it had more features that other antiviruses include, like geofencing capabilities and screen time restrictions.
Adaware’s PC optimizer is also pretty good. It includes a disk cleaner that removes junk files, duplicate files, and temporary folders, and it cleared about 2 GB of space on my PC when I tested it.
Malwarebytes includes fewer features than Adaware, but all of them work well. Malwarebytes offers coverage on 5 devices and has:
- Malware scanner.
- Real-time protection.
- Anti-phishing protection.
- VPN (virtual private network).
I didn’t have a problem with any of these features. I like the real-time protection, which can be left to run out-of-the-box or adjusted to offer different amounts of protection. For example, you can change the real-time protection so it doesn’t look for PUPs. Advanced users will appreciate this extra customization if they’re getting false positives.
Malwarebytes’s VPN also works pretty well. It covers 30 different countries with access to over 300 servers and uses 256-bit AES encryption. In my tests, I never noticed any slowdowns while connected to the VPN, and overall I was pretty happy with it.
Adaware vs. Malwarebytes: Ease of Use
Adaware is pretty easy to use. It uses a web-based downloader, which didn’t take long to download, and installation only took a few minutes. However, when you first open Adaware, you have to wait for the definitions to download before you can do anything, and this took a good ten minutes on my computer. You then have to restart your computer after activating certain protections.
Adaware also lets you install it as a second line of defense if it detects you already have an antivirus installed, which is pretty cool.
Navigating Adaware is pretty straightforward. The UI is nicely laid out, with the key features located in categories accessible from a sidebar on the left. Most features, like the malware scanner, can be initiated with just a couple of clicks.
Malwarebytes is a lot quicker to install than Adaware, and you don’t have to wait for any virus definitions to update before you can do anything with it. Getting from the Malwarebytes website to having the user interface up and running only took about 5 minutes. It has an uncluttered design, and most features are accessible with just one click.
I also like Malwarebytes’s mobile apps. They’re easy to use and offer additional features not included on the PC version of Malwarebytes, such as a privacy audit tool and spyware protection. Adaware doesn’t have a mobile app at all, which is disappointing.
Adaware vs. Malwarebytes: Customer Support
Adaware doesn’t offer a live chat or phone support service, but it does have a knowledge base, support forum, and FAQ page.
I like how detailed the knowledge base is. There’s a page for every feature of Adaware, and it’s pretty easy to understand and follow. Helpful screenshots show how each feature works and the instructions are pretty concise.
The support forum is disappointing, though. There are rarely any new posts in there, and when new posts are made, it takes a long time for them to get any responses.
The FAQ page is also disappointing. When you click on it, it just takes you to the support forum. There’s a category called FAQ, but when I clicked on it, there were only two posts inside it from users needing help.
Malwarebytes also doesn’t have phone or live chat support, which is a letdown. However, it does offer email support, a knowledge base, and a 24/7 chatbot that lets you quickly search the knowledge base.
The knowledge base contains tons of information. It’s really in-depth, and I never struggled to find answers to any technical questions I had.
If you do struggle to find answers, Malwarebytes also offers email support, but they take about 24 hours to respond. That said, I still think this is much better than Adaware’s support forum, which sees posts go months without an answer.