McAfee includes a comprehensive antivirus engine, impressive real-time malware detection, excellent web protection, and a wide range of additional features.
Avast is a beginner-friendly antivirus, but it doesn’t include parental controls or a password manager, and many of its other extra features aren’t as good as McAfee’s.
Read on to find out about the key strengths and weaknesses of each product and decide which is the right one for you.
Avast vs. McAfee — Final Verdict:
McAfee is better for malware protection, web security, and extra features. If you’re after an antivirus with the best web protection on the market, go with McAfee.
Avast is better for ease of use. If you’re after an antivirus that’s really good for beginners, go with Avast.
Avast vs. McAfee: Malware Protection
McAfee’s malware scanner uses advanced heuristics and compares files on your computer with a massive online virus database to find new and emerging malware threats. The scanner can find all kinds of malware, including trojans, rootkits, worms, cryptojackers, and ransomware. A full-system scan only takes about an hour to finish.
McAfee was able to find every one of the over 1,000 malware samples I hid on my PC. However, there was some slowdown while the scanner was running. I also tried downloading the same malware archive with McAfee’s real-time protection enabled, and McAfee quickly detected and blocked the download before I could open it on my device.
Avast’s malware scanner also performed very well, detecting all of the 1,000+ malware samples I hid on my device. Its full scan took just under an hour, which is pretty quick, and I didn’t notice any system slowdown while it was running.
Avast’s real-time protection is also pretty great. Just like McAfee, it was able to detect and block every malicious file I attempted to download during my tests.
Avast vs. McAfee: Web Security
McAfee’s web security (WebAdvisor) can block browser-based cryptojackers, exploit attacks, and phishing websites. In my tests, WebAdvisor blocked more attacks than the default protections built into Firefox and Chrome.
WebAdvisor also includes an optional mode that assigns websites a security rating before you visit them. On both social media and search engine results pages, dangerous websites are marked with a red X, and safe websites are marked with a green tick.
WebAdvisor is a separate download from the main McAfee suite, but it’s included in the Total Protection subscription. It works with Windows and Macs and supports Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Edge browsers.
Avast’s web protection tools were able to detect most of the phishing websites I visited. They were even able to catch several malicious websites that slipped through Firefox’s default protections.
Avast’s Real Site feature is also very handy as it prevents DNS hijacking, which can redirect you to a fake website even if you type in a legitimate URL.
Avast vs. McAfee: Features
McAfee’s top-tier plans cover an unlimited number of devices and include:
- Virtual private network (with unlimited data).
- Web protection.
- System optimizer.
- Parental controls.
- Password manager.
- Identity theft monitoring.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- And more…
I really like McAfee’s performance optimization tools, which can remove browser cookies, junk files, temporary files, and more. They cleared over 2 GB of space on my computer, which is really impressive.
McAfee’s password manager is also pretty good. It offers unlimited password storage, a password generator, and password auto-filling. Although it lacks the password auditing tools that standalone password managers like 1Password include, it’s good if you want a password manager with just the essential features.
Avast covers up to 30 devices and its plans include:
- 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 Rescue Disk is an excellent feature that can help you recover from a malware attack, even if your computer can no longer work properly or start up. However, for some reason, it’s not included with Avast One.
Avast’s other features are less impressive. Its VPN isn’t great — it has mediocre speeds and doesn’t have a no-logs policy. Its firewall is less customizable than McAfee’s, and its data breach monitoring only checks for leaked passwords connected to emails.
Finally, Avast lacks a password manager and parental controls, which are offered by many of its top competitors (including McAfee).
Avast vs. McAfee: Ease of Use
McAfee is easy to install and can be set up on your device in about 5 minutes. The interface is straightforward, but you need to get used to McAfee’s features being spread across multiple apps. While most features are accessible by clicking My Protection on the main McAfee app, you need to go to McAfee’s online dashboard if you want to use the parental controls or identity theft protection. The VPN, web security, and password manager are all separate downloads.
I like McAfee’s mobile app, which has an easy-to-navigate interface. Most features (including the malware scanner and identity protection) are available with one tap.
Avast has a very intuitive interface. All of its basic features come with brief explanations, which makes it a great antivirus for beginners. I like that it has a search function for its settings as well. If you get Avast Ultimate Security or Avast One, you can access all of its features from a single app.
Avast’s mobile app is available on both Android and iOS and is just as easy to navigate as its desktop version. Avast One lacks anti-theft protections, but then again McAfee doesn’t offer anti-theft either.
Avast vs. McAfee: Customer Support
McAfee includes 24/7 live chat, phone support, a support forum, and an online knowledge base. I really like how its live chat and phone support are accessible 24/7. Many antiviruses only offer support during certain hours, and it can be frustrating when you’re looking for quick solutions.
I also like how McAfee offered to take remote control of my computer to solve issues. Most customer support teams only give you basic instructions to follow.
Unfortunately, McAfee’s knowledge base was disappointing. A lot of the instructions and FAQs were for older versions of McAfee, so you can’t really follow them when running the latest version. That said, the 24/7 support channels more than make up for this.
Avast offers live chat, phone calls, a community forum, and an online knowledge base. I was able to find a live chat rep to speak to almost immediately. However, while they were very friendly, they weren’t really able to answer some of my more complicated questions.
At least Avast’s support articles are pretty detailed and well-organized, so for the most part, users should be able to find their answers there.