For example, McAfee offers the best web protection on the market in 2022. ESET also has good web protection, but it’s a little overly vigilant compared to McAfee and often won’t let you access legitimate websites.
However, ESET includes excellent diagnostics tools that advanced users will appreciate. McAfee doesn’t include any diagnostics tools.
Today, I will look at some key differences between ESET and McAfee so you can decide which antivirus to download.
ESET vs. McAfee: Final Verdict:
ESET vs. McAfee: Malware Protection
ESET has a powerful malware scanner that can scan and remove trojans, rootkits, worms, cryptojackers, and more.
I hid 1,000s of malware samples on my Windows 11 PC to test ESET’s malware scanner. I then ran the full system scan, which found and removed every malware sample. However, the scan took 6 hours to complete. This is because ESET scans for malware in your computer’s UEFI, operating memory, system registry, WMI Repository, and more.
ESET’s real-time protection works pretty well, too. When I downloaded the same archive containing 1,000s of samples, ESET was able to block the download before it could damage my PC.
McAfee uses heuristic analysis and a huge malware database to scan your computer and remove all kinds of malware, including worms, rootkits, cryptojackers, spyware, and adware.
I ran McAfee’s full system scan after hiding 1,000s of malware samples on my computer. McAfee found every malware sample and only took an hour to complete — which is much better than ESET’s 6-hour completion time.
I then tried to re-download the same 1,000 samples with McAfee’s real-time protection turned on. Like ESET, McAfee was able to block the download before the malware samples could damage my computer.
ESET vs. McAfee: Web Security
ESET’s web security is pretty good at blocking phishing websites, but it’s a little too vigilant and often blocks safe websites.
I visited 100 phishing websites, and ESET was able to block every single one. This included sites that Firefox, Chrome, and Edge all failed to block, which is excellent.
However, when I tried to visit safe websites I trusted, ESET blocked them, too. ESET allows you to add permanent exceptions, but it’s quite difficult. You have to manually open the user interface and navigate through 4 different windows to add an exception. Even more annoying is that there’s no way to temporarily bypass a block on the webpage. Most antiviruses give you a “proceed anyway” option.
That said, if you’re worried about phishing websites and don’t mind the lengthy process involved with adding permanent exceptions, then ESET is a good option.
McAfee features a web security extension called WebAdvisor. It can block exploit attacks, browser-based cryptojackers, and phishing websites. It also works on all major web browsers, including Chrome, Edge, and Firefox.
I tested McAfee by visiting the same 100 phishing websites I used to test ESET; similarly, McAfee was able to block every single one. This included the phishing websites that the default protections on Chrome, Edge, and Firefox missed. I also found McAfee much less overly vigilant than ESET, so it wasn’t blocking sites I trust.
McAfee also provides security ratings for websites on Google and across social media, allowing you to see if a link is dangerous or not before clicking it.
ESET vs. McAfee: Features
ESET Smart Security Premium offers coverage on up to 10 devices — but you have to pay an additional fee for each device you add. It also has:
- Malware scanner.
- Real-time protection.
- Anti-phishing protection.
- Network inspector.
- Advanced diagnostics tools.
- Password manager.
- Parental controls.
- System cleaner.
- And more…
ESET’s advanced diagnostics tool is a unique feature that advanced users will appreciate. It lets you see an overview of your system, including an in-depth list of running processes, and generate security reports that are helpful for troubleshooting.
I also really like ESET’s firewall. It managed to block every network intrusion in my tests, and it’s so simple to use that beginner users can just leave it running in the background. That being said, it also includes many customization options that give advanced users tons of control if they want to adjust how the firewall works.
McAfee’s top-tier plan offers coverage on an unlimited number of devices and includes:
- Malware scanner.
- Real-time protection.
- Web protection.
- Network scanner.
- Parental controls
- Identity theft protection.
- Computer optimizer.
- Password manager.
- And more…
Like ESET, McAfee offers a good firewall with plenty of security capabilities. Non-tech-savvy users can leave the firewall to run out-of-the-box, but if you’re an advanced user, you can decide which programs can access the web, open and close chosen network ports, whitelist specific programs, and more. In my tests, McAfee’s firewall was able to prevent every network intrusion.
I also like McAfee’s VPN. It works well, has over 1,900 servers, and runs fast on all of them. The only downside is that it doesn’t support torrenting.
ESET vs. McAfee: Ease of Use
ESET only took about 10 minutes to install, and I found navigating it quite simple. It features a straightforward, white interface, with all of the features listed on the left side of the screen. There’s a robot mascot in the top right corner, and whatever you click on appears in the center of the window.
That said, I did have a hard time setting up some features that should be pretty straightforward. For example, to schedule a virus scan, you must go through an entire 15-step process, which is ridiculous. Most competitors allow you to schedule scans in one or two clicks.
I did like ESET’s mobile app, though. It’s pretty intuitive and shares most of the same features as the PC version of ESET. However, ESET doesn’t have an iOS app, which is disappointing when McAfee offers apps for both iOS and Android.
McAfee is very easy to download, install, and use. Once you’ve installed McAfee, you’re introduced to a straightforward user interface categorized into 5 sections: Antivirus, Tracker Remover, My Subscription, Firewall, and General Settings. It sounds straightforward enough; however, some features are difficult to find. For example, you can only access the parental control feature from the web app — which is annoying as McAfee doesn’t make this super obvious.
That said, I do like McAfee’s mobile app. It’s well laid out and easy to navigate, with everything localized in one place. You can access the main tools (such as the malware scanner) by pressing on-screen buttons, and everything else is accessible through a menu bar in the top right corner. I appreciate the fact McAfee offers iOS support, too (something ESET doesn’t offer).
ESET vs. McAfee: Customer Support
ESET offers live chat, phone, and email support, as well as a knowledge base. However, besides the knowledge base, it’s difficult to find ESET’s support on its website. What’s more, phone support is only offered to business users, which is disappointing. Most competitors provide phone support for anyone with a subscription.
That said, ESET’s live’s chat team was helpful when I got in touch with them, and they answered all of my questions quickly and concisely. However, the chat is restrictive and only available in specific markets — so not everyone has access to it.
Otherwise, you have to use ESET’s email support, which isn’t the best. When I got in touch with them, they replied to me in 8 hours, which is pretty good. However, their response was copied and pasted and didn’t make me feel valued as a customer.
McAfee has an extensive range of support options, including live chat support that’s accessible 24/7, a community forum, an online knowledge base, and phone and email support.
I really like McAfee’s live chat and phone support. I connected with agents at different hours of the day, and each time they were able to give me clear and straightforward answers. I didn’t encounter any of the restrictions I encountered with ESET, and I quickly solved any problems I had.
I found the email team to be more responsive, too. They replied to my email in about 6 hours, and unlike ESET, where the answer was copied and pasted, I found the agent was friendly, helpful, and showed genuine concern for me as a customer.
My only complaint with McAfee’s customer support is its knowledge base. Unfortunately, many of the guides on the knowledge base are outdated, so I couldn’t follow them on the latest version of McAfee. However, McAfee makes up for this with its other support options.