Norton is my favorite antivirus in 2023. It includes a comprehensive anti-malware engine and a large number of additional features. Its interface is intuitive and it comes with a user-friendly online dashboard.
Avast is a very beginner-friendly antivirus. It also provides good anti-malware protection and includes a wide range of additional features (but not as many as Norton).
I’ve summarized each product’s features and key strengths below, so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
Avast vs. Norton — Final Verdict:
Norton is better for malware protection, web security, features, and customer support. If you want the best antivirus protection in 2023, then go with Norton.
Avast is slightly more intuitive (but provides a lot less value for a similar price). If you’re just looking for something that’s super easy to use, then go with Avast.
Avast vs. Norton: Malware Protection
Norton’s malware scanner protects your computer from all kinds of malware, including worms, rootkits, trojans, and ransomware. It uses heuristic analysis, a huge malware database, and machine learning to catch known and emerging malware threats. There were no slowdowns for me while I ran the scan, and Norton scanned my entire computer in 40 minutes.
I’m really happy with how Norton’s malware scanner performed. To test it, I hid an archive of over 1,000 malware samples on my computer. Norton’s malware scanner found and quarantined every sample, including those I’d put in password-protected folders.
Norton’s real-time protection is super reliable, too. I tried downloading the same 1,000 samples, and Norton blocked the download before it started. I was also able to stop multiple simulated ransomware attacks — some of which Windows’s own protections allowed through.
Avast’s malware scanner and real-time protection performed just as well as Norton’s. However, it took Avast slightly longer (just under an hour) to complete a full scan, which is slower than Norton’s 40-minute scan. The scan didn’t have a noticeable impact on my PCs speeds while it was running.
I also like Avast’s real-time protection. I attempted to download the same 1,000 malware samples I used to test Norton’s real-time protection, and Avast stopped every one. This included samples in password-protected folders and encrypted drives. The ransomware protection is also good, stopping all simulated attacks on my machine.
Avast vs. Norton: Web Security
Norton includes a Safe Web feature to keep your computer protected from phishing attacks. When I tested Safe Web, it blocked every sample phishing site I tried to visit, including sample phishing sites that Chrome and Firefox’s built-in protections missed.
Norton also provides color-coded evaluations of each website in your search results. Green websites are secure, orange websites are suspicious but not necessarily dangerous, and red websites are confirmed as phishing websites or websites containing malware. The evaluations are pretty good, but sometimes they judge websites harshly, so you still need to use a bit of common sense when you have them enabled.
Avast’s web protection tools are pretty good, too. I attempted to visit 100+ phishing sites listed on PhishTank, and Avast successfully detected and blocked most of them, but it missed some that Norton blocked. It did catch several phishing sites that slipped past my browser’s (Firefox) default protections, though.
I also like Avast’s Real Site feature, which protects you from DNS hijacking. This prevents hackers from stealthily redirecting you to phishing sites when you enter a legitimate URL into your browser.
Avast vs. Norton: Features
Norton offers coverage on up to 10 devices and includes:
- Smart firewall.
- Web protection.
- Parental controls.
- Password manager.
- Virtual private network (VPN).
- Identity theft protection (US only).
- Performance optimizer and clean-up tools.
- 500 GB cloud storage (LifeLock plans).
- Dark web monitoring.
- 60-day money-back guarantee.
- And more…
Norton’s identity theft protections are the best on the market. The protections include credit report monitoring, legal assistance, and credit freezing. You also get $1M in coverage in case of identity theft.
I really like Norton’s VPN, too. It protects your data by hiding your IP address behind a virtual one. It also includes a strict no-logs policy, 256-bit AES encryption, and tracker blocking. I didn’t notice any slowdowns when browsing the web or streaming HD video on services like Netflix.
Avast covers up to 30 devices and includes the following features:
- 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 feature is especially useful, as it can help you remove malware from your computer in cases where your device won’t work properly or can’t even start up.
That said, most of Avast’s extra features measure up poorly against Norton’s. Avast’s data breach monitoring, for example, only covers email addresses, whereas Norton’s monitors bank account numbers, credit cards, addresses, insurance numbers, and lots more.
Avast vs. Norton: Ease of Use
Norton is easy to download and install. Once you’ve installed Norton, you’re offered two different user interface options: Classic and My Norton. Classic provides you access to each of Norton’s features through large and easily accessible buttons. A button also launches Norton’s intuitive web dashboard.
My Norton is Norton’s updated UI, but it’s not much different from Classic. The features on the home screen are slightly different, and you get an added picture of a mountain climber, but that isn’t really necessary.
I tested Norton’s mobile apps on both Android and iOS, and I really like them. They’re easy to use, well laid out, and include unique features that aren’t on the desktop versions of Norton, like an SMS spam filter and App Advisor.
Avast is one of the most user-friendly antiviruses out there. All of its features are clearly explained and laid out in an easily accessible manner.
I also like how easy it is to access the advanced settings for each feature. And if you’re really having trouble finding the setting you’re looking for, there’s a search function that will take you directly to the page and even highlight the setting for you, so you can’t miss it.
Avast’s Android and iOS apps are similarly intuitive. However, I don’t like how the anti-theft features aren’t available on the Avast One plans.
Avast vs. Norton: Customer Support
Norton has three customer support options: live chat, phone support, and a knowledge base. Phone and live chat support are accessible in languages including English, Mandarin, Dutch, German, and Arabic. While Norton doesn’t necessarily offer 24/7 customer support, I never had difficulty connecting with a customer support agent.
In my tests, I always connected with a phone chat agent instantly, but getting in touch with a live chat agent was a little more difficult. That said, the agents were always super helpful, and they never had any difficulty solving the issues I raised with them — even if they were more technical issues. They consistently offered actionable steps on what I needed to do to resolve my issues.
Avast has live chat, email, and phone support. It also has a community forum and a Knowledge Base on its website that can answer most of your basic questions.
It was easy to a contact support representative using live chat. The representative was friendly and answered basic questions well, but the responses seemed scripted and they were limited in handling complex questions.