Malwarebytes is a minimalistic antivirus and only includes the most basic of protections. However, it’s lightweight, doesn’t use a lot of computer resources, and can be left to run out of the box if you’re a beginner user.
Avast has excellent malware detection rates and offers more security features than Malwarebytes, but it isn’t as lightweight or simplistic, and it might not be as good of a choice for beginner users.
I’ve summarized the key features of each antivirus below to help you decide which is right for you.
Malwarebytes vs. Avast: Final Verdict:
Malwarebytes is simple to use and very lightweight. It’s an excellent choice if you’re just after the essential protections. If you’re on a budget and need your computer protected, go with Malwarebytes.
Malwarebytes vs. Avast: Malware Protection
Malwarebytes uses heuristic analysis and a massive malware database to protect you from malware in 2023. Since Malwarebytes is so lightweight, I didn’t notice any slowdown while running a full system scan.
Malwarebytes found the vast majority of malware samples in my tests. To test it, I downloaded an archive with 1,000s of different malware samples inside it, including trojans, worms, rootkits, spyware, adware, and more. I hid the samples throughout my PC — including in critical system folders — and ran Malwarebytes’s full-system scan. The scan found 95% of malware samples (which is pretty good) and took about 3 hours to complete.
I was pretty impressed with Malwarebytes’s real-time protection. Once I’d removed the samples, I switched the protection on and tried to download the same archive. Malwarebytes successfully stopped 98% of the samples, which isn’t bad.
Avast’s powerful anti-malware scanner detected every malware sample I put on my computer. With its real-time protection turned on, it was also able to stop me from downloading any of these samples again.
Avast’s full scan took just under an hour to complete, which is faster than Malwarebytes. As with Malwarebytes, I noticed no significant performance impact while the scan was ongoing.
Malwarebytes vs. Avast: Web Security
Malwarebytes uses a web security extension called Browser Guard to protect you from phishing websites, ads, and trackers. Browser Guard is compatible with all major web browsers, including Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox.
It was able to block 90% of the dangerous websites I visited, which isn’t bad. This included several dangerous websites that the default protections on Chrome, Edge, and Firefox missed.
However, I was disappointed with Browser Guard’s ad blocker. I visited an ad-infested website with Malwarebytes’s ad blocker running, and it could only block 35% of the ads. This is one of the lowest detection rates I’ve experienced in my tests.
Avast has a high detection rate for phishing sites, performing better than the default protections on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.
If you use Avast’s Secure Browser, you also get access to a pretty great ad blocker, but the browser is only available as a separate download. I would prefer to have an ad blocker that works with my browser of choice — but still, Avast’s ad blocker is way more effective than Malwarebytes’s.
Malwarebytes vs. Avast: Features
Malwarebytes is minimalistic and lightweight, so it doesn’t have many features — however, its top-tier package can cover up to 5 devices. Malwarebytes includes:
- Real-time protection.
- Anti-phishing protection.
- VPN (virtual private network).
- 60-day money-back guarantee.
These features worked as expected in my tests and provided better protection than the default protections of Windows and Mac.
Malwarebytes’s VPN works particularly well. It masks your IP address behind a fake one, so hackers can’t intercept and steal your data. It doesn’t include as many features as a standalone VPN, but it provides good speeds and access to over 500 servers.
Avast covers up to 30 devices, and its plans include a lot more features than Malwarebytes, including:
- Anti-malware protection and real-time protection.
- Web protection.
- Rescue Disk (not included with Avast One).
- Wi-Fi network protection.
- PC clean-up and optimization tools.
- File shredder (not included with Avast One).
- Sandbox (not included with Avast One).
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- And more…
Avast’s system tune-up and PC speed-up tools are pretty good, and its Rescue Disk is very useful for helping you recover from a serious malware infection that prevents your computer from even starting up.
On the other hand, the VPN is not that great. Its speeds are pretty mediocre, it only provides access to servers in 30+ countries, and it keeps connection logs, which can compromise your privacy.
Malwarebytes vs. Avast: Ease of Use
Malwarebytes is really quick to download and install, and once you’re up and running, it’s straightforward to use. Malwarebytes features a clear and easy-to-navigate user interface with every feature accessible through large buttons. You can run a quick, custom, or full scan in just a couple of clicks and easily schedule a scan. Whenever I clicked on Malwarebytes’s tray icon, it loaded quickly, and there was never any slowdown to my system’s performance.
I also like how Malwarebytes includes a gaming mode, so if you run apps in full-screen, there are no notifications.
Malwarebytes features mobile apps for iOS and Android. Both are quite well-designed, with most features accessible in just a few taps. I like how the Android app adds some extra features, like spyware protection and a privacy audit tool.
Avast can be installed quickly and easily, and it’s one of the most user-friendly antiviruses on the market. It includes a ton of additional features, but thanks to a very intuitive interface and the brief explanations attached to every major feature, even new users shouldn’t have any trouble using it. I especially like how easy it is to find the setting you’re looking for using the search function included in the settings menu.
Avast’s mobile apps are just as simple to use, and its Android app offers many of the same features available on its desktop apps. Its iOS app is comparatively limited, but that’s quite normal for iOS antivirus apps.
Malwarebytes vs. Avast: Customer Support
Malwarebytes offers a live chatbot, email support, and a knowledge base. This isn’t the most comprehensive customer support I’ve experienced, and getting immediate responses was sometimes difficult — but the staff is friendly and helpful when you get through to them.
The live chatbot is essentially a search function for the knowledge base. I thought this was pretty handy, but I do wish there was a live chat feature like the majority of competitors include. The knowledge base is quite comprehensive, though. The guides are in-depth, and I never struggled to find the information I needed.
Malwarebytes’s email support team was helpful in addressing technical issues, and its customer service reps were consistently helpful. The only drawback is the 24-hour wait time for a response, which isn’t the fastest I’ve encountered.
Avast offers live chat, email, and phone support. It also has a community forum and a detailed and well-organized knowledge base that you can consult.
I was able to speak to someone on live chat as soon as I connected, and they were able to answer most of my basic questions. However, they seemed to struggle with some of my more complex questions and concerns.