McAfee vs. Panda — Which Is Better in 2023?

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McAfee vs. Panda: Which Is Right for You?

Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd
QA Editor

McAfee vs. Panda: Which Is Right for You?

Both McAfee and Panda are high-quality antiviruses with tons of features and protections. However, there are some differences between them that you need to know about.

For example, McAfee includes identity theft protection, which scans the web and alerts you to breaches involving your personal identifiable information (PII). Panda, on the other hand, has unique features like a Rescue Kit that can recover a locked PC and a file encrypter that can lock important files behind a password.

Today, I’m going to take a closer look at some of the differences between McAfee and Panda so that you can choose the best one for you in 2023.

McAfee vs. Panda: Final Verdict:

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McAfee has better malware protection, web protection, parental controls, and customer support. If you want a full-featured and reliable antivirus, go with McAfee.

Panda is easier to use and has good PC recovery tools. If you’re a beginner user and want a user-friendly antivirus on a budget, go with Panda.

McAfee vs. Panda: Malware Protection

McAfee’s malware scanner can detect rootkits, cryptojackers, spyware, adware, and more. It uses heuristic analysis and a large online malware database to prevent known malware and zero-day threats.

Overall, the malware scanner is very reliable. To test McAfee’s malware scanner, I downloaded an archive containing 1,000s of malware samples. I then ran a full system scan, which went through every file and folder on my computer to find the malware. The scan took an hour to complete, and it found and removed every sample — which is pretty impressive.

I then turned on McAfee’s real-time protection and tried downloading the same archive. McAfee blocked the download before any malware could be saved on my computer and quarantined it where it couldn’t do any damage.

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Panda’s malware scanner works similarly to McAfee’s and uses a large online malware database alongside heuristic analysis to find rootkits, trojans, worms, cryptojackers, and more.

I wasn’t super impressed with Panda’s scan. I downloaded the same archive with 1,000s of malware samples in it and ran Panda’s full scan, which checks every file and folder on a PC. The first time I ran the scan, it took 8 hours to finish, which is much slower than McAfee, and it only found 95% of malware samples. Subsequent scans only took an hour, but they could still only find 95% of the samples.

I then turned on Panda’s real-time protection and tried to download the same malware archive. It worked just as well as McAfee’s real-time protection and managed to block every download before it could cause damage to my device.

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McAfee vs. Panda: Web Security

McAfee’s web extension (WebAdvisor) stops you from accessing dangerous phishing websites. I tested it by visiting over 50 dangerous websites listed on PhishTank, and McAfee blocked every single one. It even blocked phishing websites that the default protections on Edge, Chrome, and Firefox missed.

I wish McAfee’s WebAdvisor included an ad blocker though. Many competitors (such as Norton) include an ad blocker, so I’d really like to see McAfee include one as well.

That said, I simulated several exploit attacks against my PC, and McAfee blocked every one. This included exploits that the default protections on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge didn’t stop.

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Panda’s safe browsing feature also stops access to phishing websites that try to steal your data. To be honest with you, it isn’t a very good feature. I visited the same 50 websites I visited when testing McAfee, and Panda blocked less than 50% of them. Some of the websites Panda failed to block were blocked by the default protections on Edge, Chrome, and Firefox. They were obviously phishing websites, so I’m surprised Panda missed them. For example, Panda let me visit a fake Facebook website that tried to steal my Facebook credentials by saying I had to reset my password.

I also tried simulating exploit attacks on my web browser, and Panda didn’t stop them. As said above, McAfee blocked every single one.

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McAfee vs. Panda: Features

McAfee Total Protection Premium covers unlimited devices and includes:

  • Malware scanner.
  • Real-time protection.
  • Web protection.
  • Parental controls.
  • Password manager.
  • Computer optimizer.
  • VPN (virtual private network).
  • Identity theft protection.
  • And more…

I really like McAfee’s parental controls, which are included in the top-tier Family plans. They’re quick to set up and make it easy to set new rules for different age groups. You can filter websites, limit screen time, block particular apps on your computer, and track a mobile device in real time. I also like the fact kids can check in at a particular location when they get there, so you can monitor if they’ve arrived safely.

McAfee’s password manager works well, too. It uses 256-bit AES encryption and includes essential password management features, like a password generator and auto-fill and save functionalities. It’s also really easy to set up and use. My only complaint is that it’s more limited than standalone password managers and lacks key features like password vault auditing.

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Panda Dome Premium offers coverage for 1 device, but you can add 3, 5, 10, or unlimited devices for an additional fee. Panda Dome Premium has:

  • Malware scanner.
  • Real-time protection.
  • Rescue Kit.
  • VPN.
  • Update manager.
  • PC optimization tools.
  • File encryption/shredding.
  • And more…

I really like Panda’s Rescue Kit. It’s a feature many antiviruses don’t include, and it allows you to create a bootable USB drive that can restore your PC if it gets a malware infection that stops it from booting. When I tested the Rescue Kit, it only took 20 minutes for the kit to recover my computer and allow it to boot again.

I also quite like Panda Dome’s file encrypter. It allowed me to make password-protected private folders on my computer with a couple of clicks. This is good if you’re on a shared system and excellent if you want to protect important data from cybercriminals.

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McAfee vs. Panda: Ease of Use

McAfee only took me a few minutes to download and install. It features a clear user interface that’s easy to navigate. However, some of McAfee’s features (like its parental controls) aren’t available on the desktop app and require you to go onto the web app. This is pretty annoying if you don’t know to look on the web app, or if your internet connection stops working.

I really like McAfee’s mobile apps for Android and iOS. The mobile apps’ features are accessible with just a few taps, and you can access McAfee’s additional features by tapping a menu in the corner. However, I’m disappointed that McAfee removed its anti-theft features. I think anti-theft tools are an excellent inclusion to mobile antiviruses, and Panda has them.

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Panda only takes 10 minutes to set up, and it’s one of the easiest antiviruses I’ve ever used. The user interface is well laid out, with each feature available through large buttons with pictures of the feature on them. Annoyingly, there’s no text showing what each button does, so looking for a specific feature can get frustrating. But once you get used to Panda’s interface, you can navigate it quickly.

I also like Panda’s mobile app. The iOS app is basic and doesn’t feature much more than a VPN and anti-theft tools, but the Android app is more comprehensive and can do most of what the PC version of Panda does. I like how Panda adds a call blocker to Android, so you can easily block annoying numbers. As said above, McAfee doesn’t include anti-theft features, but Panda does, so that’s one bonus it has over McAfee.

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McAfee vs. Panda: Customer Support

McAfee features 5 support options: 24/7 live chat, phone support, an online knowledge base, email support, and a community forum. I tested each of these, and other than the knowledge base, which kept giving me error messages, they all worked quite well.

I phoned the phone line at different times, and each time I connected with an agent quickly, and they were super helpful and could answer all my questions. I had a similar experience with the live chat feature — I never struggled to connect with an agent, and they responded to my questions quickly.

When I got in touch with McAfee’s email team, they usually responded in about 6 hours, which I was pretty impressed with. I’ve emailed competitors’ customer service agents who’ve taken over 24 hours to respond to me. Again, the email was helpful and answered all my questions.

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Panda’s support isn’t the best. It has live chat and phone support exclusively for Panda Dome Premium users, and unless you opt for the highest-tier plan, you’ll only get access to its email support.

When I contacted the email support team, they took a long time to respond and just sent me links to guides on their knowledge base. Their response was filled with typos; honestly, it felt like they didn’t care about helping me. The same could be said about the live chat. I waited over an hour for a response on the live chat, and the agent gave me an incorrect answer.

Panda offers an intuitive user interface, but it doesn’t offer the best customer support. If you’re a beginner user who often needs help from customer support, you’re much better off choosing McAfee.

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Latest Positive Review*User reviews are not verified
May 16, 2021
Very Good
I've used McAfee for 25yrs plus and I have had NO problems whatesoever. I...
Maria Davis
Dec. 28, 2020
It's good product for protection
I have purchased McAfee antivirus now, try to download and install then I...
Arturs Strawberys
Sep. 2, 2020
Paying for defence is good option
Panda products are great, but free products are simply security virus...
Dec. 16, 2018
You don't need to do anything
I've changed my virus protection programs several times lately. The...
Latest Negative Review*User reviews are not verified
Larry Andress
May 1, 2023
Terrible Customer Svc
It is easy to sign up and pay them but if the McAfee doesn't agree with...
May 1, 2023
McAfee VPN Has Major Issues
McAfee virus protection seems to work alright but their VPN has major...
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Our Verdict
Sam Boyd
Sam Boyd
QA Editor
McAfee and Panda are both good antiviruses, but McAfee is better in almost every way. McAfee had perfect malware detection rates in my tests, it has some of the best web security and parental controls on the market, and it offers really helpful customer support. However, I do like some of the unique features in Panda, such as the file shredder and Rescue Kit. I also like how flexible the payment plans are and how user-friendly the interface is. However, its malware detection rate wasn’t as good as McAfee’s, and the customer support team wasn’t very helpful or caring. If you’re on a budget and want a straightforward UI, go with Panda; otherwise, stick with McAfee. Regardless of which antivirus you pick, they both come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Time To Decide Which One Is Best For You

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find the best antivirus for me?

The first thing to do is to understand what you need — all antiviruses come with different internet security tools to help you stay protected, so identifying what level of protection you want will help you figure out which product is right for you.

Some antiviruses have a virtual private network (VPN), some have safe browsing extensions, and some have a password manager. Some only work on certain operating systems, while others cover all operating systems across multiple devices.

It’s important to compare the best antiviruses on the market to find the perfect one with the functionality you need.

What makes an antivirus secure?

A high-quality antivirus suite will detect, flag, and remove viruses and various types of malware. It will also offer real-time protection against all threats, regardless of whether you are browsing the internet, downloading software, shopping online, or opening email. For additional security, many antivirus suites offer a VPN, secure storage, and a password manager — these things all add several layers of protection against various cyber threats.

For more information on how antiviruses work, read this.

What do I need to look for when searching for an antivirus?

An antivirus needs to protect against all types of malware — trojans, rootkits, worms, spyware, viruses, ransomware, and anything else that might cause damage to your devices. This is done in a variety of ways, but the most essential feature of an antivirus is real-time protection — this makes sure that an active threat is effectively stopped before anything serious can happen.

Other things to look for include — excellent detection rates, fast system performance, included extra features (like a VPN, password manager, etc.), easy-to-use interface, good customer support, and overall value.

Go here for a list of the best antivirus software of 2023.

How do I know if one antivirus is better than another?

When researching antiviruses, it’s a good idea to visit a few well-known antivirus software websites such as Norton, McAfee, and Bitdefender to directly compare each antivirus’s features.

You can also look at the expert opinions of our reviewers at to find the most up-to-date and unbiased information about the best cybersecurity products on the market today.

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