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Avast Antivirus review


Avast is one of the biggest names in the entire antivirus industry. Its appeal lies in excellent overall protection against online threats. It not only scans your devices but also inspects your online network, protects your webcam, as well as blocks suspicious activities and downloads. On top of that, it even gives you a VPN service for safe browsing.

However, we can’t recommend this antivirus provider given the company’s recent history. In late 2019 and early 2020, Avast got involved in a data collection scandal, when it was revealed that the company stores user data indefinitely and sells it to third parties without user consent. Since then, Avast’s been trying to get their reputation back, but users are rightfully skeptical towards this provider.

While Avast is a solid virus removal tool for basic protection, we’ve tested much better antivirus products. For those looking for a quality antivirus software, we can recommend TotalAV, which excels at keeping their privacy standards high and reputation undamaged.

Best alternative to Avast
TotalAV is one of the best antivirus products on the market, offering excellent virus detection rates, great user interface and one of the best prices amongst competitors.
cybernews® score
4.9 /5

Still, in this review, we’ve taken a close look at Avast’s security measures to help you decide whether you can look past Avast’s controversy and if it’s worth installing the software.

⭐ Rating:
4
🥇 Overall rank:#16 out of #25
💵 Price:From $29.99/year
✂️ Free version:Yes
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS
🔥 Coupons:Avast coupon 70% OFF
Best AVG Antivirus Alternatives

Avast Antivirus pros and cons

Visit Avast to read more about its features

Is Avast Antivirus safe?

No, we can’t label Avast Antivirus as 100% safe in light of their history regarding data leaks. Even though this antivirus provider is an affordable option, its security ratings have dropped massively since it was revealed that the company sells sensitive user data to third parties without their consent. In other words, Avast’s security suite is difficult to trust.

That’s why we conducted thorough research on Avast Antivirus. Since Avast’s reputation has been damaged in the past, security features and independent lab test results were of vital importance to us. That’s why we paid close attention to what the results said.

Expert comment
Tech copywriter and security expert

Independent laboratory test results

AwardBlocked threats
AV-TestTop Product100%
AV-ComparativesAdvanced+99.95%
SE LabsAAA100%

Like a lot of industry-leading antivirus providers, Avast pays to have its products included in tests done by independent labs. And the results are surprisingly great.

The German institution AV-TEST, which is researching cybersecurity products, has tested both Avast’s free and paid versions. Luckily, the results were identical, and the January-February 2024 test showed that the antivirus detected 100% of both 0-day and older malware threats. Thus, it earned the highest possible “Top product” certificate.

av-test-2

Moving on, AV-Comparatives also tested the free version of Avast. In its latest real-world protection report dated February-March 2024, Avast blocked 100% of the widespread malicious samples used in the test. This is an improvement since 2022 when Avast was behind Avira, Norton, and Trend Micro. Today, Avast, AVG, and Kaspersky managed to score a perfect 100% during the tests.

av-comparatives-results

In its Malware protection test dated March 2024, AV-Comparatives found that Avast managed to protect against 99.95% of online threats. It also yielded 10 false alarms, which is a great result and a lot better than the staggering 157 flagged by Quick Heal.

av-comparatives-1

As for SE Labs, it’s another cybersecurity product testing laboratory that evaluated Avast’s free version. While Avast managed to block 100% of threats, it still snatched the highest “AAA” award.

Overall, while there’s room for improvement with false positives, Avast is definitely among the best antiviruses in terms of malware detection. Not to mention that the free version is as safe as the paid ones.

How much does Avast Antivirus package cost?

Considering that Avast has a free version available, its pricing strategy is pretty reasonable. You can get all the basic security features for free, which is much more generous than many other free antivirus services.

Yet, the Avast One package is the optimal choice – with webcam, malicious website, and tracking protection, you’re secured from virtually all threats. Not to mention that you also get a VPN which is great for online anonymity and streaming.

It’s also worth noting that Avast uses regional price discrimination. The pricing given here applies to US users but might not apply elsewhere. For example, the prices are significantly higher in the UK.

VersionFeaturesPrice
Avast FreeReal-time malware protection, app monitoring, firewall$0.00
Avast OneEverything in the free and Premium Security plans, plus SecureLine VPN, data breach monitoring, optimization tools, tracker blocker, and automatic driver updates$29.99 (1st year)
Avast Premium SecurityEverything in the free plan, plus webcam protection, ransomware and malicious website protection$29.99 (1st year)
Avast Business (Essential)Online management platform, endpoint, ransomware, and phishing protection $148.36 (5 devices, 1st year)

If you’re looking for basic protection for your home PC or smartphone, Avast Free is a solid option as it even offers real-time protection and a firewall. Meanwhile, the Premium Security plan ensures you’re also protected from malicious websites and ransomware, as well as webcam intruders.

Yet, considering that you can get Avast One cheaper than Premium Security ($29.99/year), the One package offers the best value for your money. After all, you even get a VPN service that you can use not only for security but to unblock Netflix libraries as well.

Avast pricing vs competitors

BrandRatingPrice
TotalAV
4.9
$19.00/month
Norton360
4.7
$29.99/month
Bitdefender
4.6
$29.99/month
Avast
4
$29.99/month

Avast Free

Avast’s free version covers all the essentials you need for secure use of your devices. The free version is available to Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS users, but it only covers one device. Avast’s basic free bundle includes:

  • Protection against malware on your device
  • Personal file protection from ransomware
  • Inbox protection for one email
  • A VPN in 1 location
  • Data breach check for compromised passwords (1 email)

If you’re keen to try out more features, you can subscribe to Avast Premium Security as there’s a 60-day free trial and it doesn’t require any initial payments. After two months, you can decide whether basic security features will suffice for you.

Avast Premium Security

Avast Premium Security offers additional safety features for $4.19/month, but it only covers one Mac or Windows device. If you want to use this antivirus software on more devices and operating systems, Avast Premium Security offers a plan for 10 different devices for $5.79/month. If you choose this plan, a 60-day free trial will be unavailable, so it all comes down to your needs. On top of basic features, Avast Premium Security provides you with:

  • Advanced ransomware protection
  • Protection from phishing attacks
  • Wi-Fi network weakness alerts
  • Scam email prevention

Avast One

Avast One has three different bundles, each available with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can choose from Silver, Gold, or Platinum packages. In addition to Avast’s free version features, you also get:

  • A VPN for 50+ locations
  • Data breach monitoring for compromised passwords
  • Streaming subscriptions anywhere
  • Online profile disguise
  • Photo library management
  • Device cleanups

The difference between Silver and Gold packages is merely the number of devices you can connect with one account. Platinum bundle covers 30 devices within 6 accounts and adds extra features:

  • Social media profile protection
  • Identity fraud monitoring
  • 24/7 assistance
  • Up to $2 million coverage in the event of identity theft

Avast business pricing

In terms of business users, the prices are a bit more complex. There are plenty of different options to choose from, depending on what you need.

First, there’s the Small Office plan that you can buy for $139.99/year. It’s a great fit for a small business and covers 10 devices.

Then, there’s also three other plans for business security – Essential, Premium, and Ultimate. The Essential plan costs $36.99/year for 1 user, is great for basic business protection, and is recommended for mac users.

Meanwhile, the Premium Business security plan protects every user with a VPN and costs $46.99/year for 1 device. Lastly, the Ultimate subscription includes patch management and costs $56.99/year per 1 user.

If you’re looking to sign up for Avast’s all-in-one security services for MSSPs, you’ll need to get in touch with them directly to discuss your security requirements. The team will then come up with a pricing package based on your needs.

Avast Antivirus features

Avast has a wide range of features and tools meant to help your online security. However, keep in mind that what you get depends on the plan you purchase. The biggest difference, of course, will be between Avast free and premium antivirus plans.

Let's take a look at what they offer – and what features each plan will give you.

Avast FreeAvast OneAvast Premium Security
Malware protection
Real-time protection
App monitoring
Firewall
Webcam protection
Malicious website protection
Email protection
Ransomware shield
SecureLine VPN
Data breach monitoring
Automatic driver updates
Tracker blocker
Optimization tools

Unsurprisingly, the paid plans are much more feature-loaded. However, it’s very refreshing to see such a generous free version that even includes a firewall. Not to mention that its malware detection rates are as good as with paid plans.

However, for all-rounded protection, Avast One is a great option. You get to protect either 5 or 30 devices and you get various kinds of security, including real-time, webcam, malicious website, ransomware, and tracking protection.

It’s also important to note that whichever subscription you choose – free or paid – it’s available on all popular operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

Continue reading to find more in-depth explanations of various Avast features below.

Virus scans

Jumping straight to the main stuff – scanning options. Avast’s scans are simple to find, and there are plenty for you to choose from, including Smart, Full, Targeted, Custom, Boot-time, and Network Inspector scans. Our research team tested each of the scans themselves with 10 malicious file samples on the computer, so let’s jump into the results.

Avast scan center

Smart scan – it’s meant to identify malware, network threats, and outdated software. It took 40 seconds to finish and none of the planted malware was found. In terms of system resources, the CPU load was around 20-30%.

Full scan, which is an in-depth scan of your system – took 6 minutes and 50 seconds to complete and found 10 out of 10 malicious files. Plus, the CPU load was relatively light, around 30%, but there were several spikes of more than 80%.

Avast scan results

While such results are great, at the same time, the full scan did detect a false positive. Since we’ve previously had Ivacy VPN installed, Avast mistook it for a threat and blocked it.

However, in such cases, you can just click on the “Send for analysis” button to help improve Avast’s malware detection.

Targeted scan – you can use it when you suspect threats in a certain destination. We checked the C: disk which took around 3 minutes to complete and… it found all 10 malicious files that we tested it with!

Custom scan – it fits great if you’re in a hurry or just want a quick checkup. It checks the surface of the system. It took about 1 minute and 10 seconds to finish.

Boot-time scan is meant for finding types of malware that activates on system startup.

Network Inspector – if you want to scan your network, it helps find hidden vulnerabilities to prevent hackers from stealing your sensitive information. Unfortunately, during our test, it didn’t find anything and took only 30 seconds.

So, while Avast is capable of detecting most if not all malicious threats, it could improve in terms of false positives and simple surface scanning options.

Malware protection

Malware protection is hardly anything revolutionary for a literal malware removal tool, but it’s still important to cover. After all, not all antivirus products offer the same things.

Here’s what you can expect from Avast packages:

  • Real-time protection that runs silently in the background to block threats as they appear in an unobtrusive yet effective way. This feature is even available in the free version, which is rare to see.
  • Complete malware detection that stops you from sharing infected files with other users.
  • In-depth scans of your entire machine or device that’s designed to root out hidden malware.
  • External storage scans to check external drives, such as CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, etc. for viruses.
  • Scheduled scans so it can check for malware while you’re away from your desk.
  • Security reports that provide you with personalised updates every 30 days.
  • Real-time security updates and new features which are updated automatically.
avast-protection-tab

Email Shield

The Email Shield feature provides you with a decent level of email security and is even available with the free version. The way it works is it alerts you about unsafe websites, blocks suspicious downloads, prevents dangerous email attachments, and stops intrusive web tracking.

To put it simply, it prevents PuPs (potentially unwanted programs) and scans secure connections. Such scans are only applied to ingoing or outgoing emails of popular mail management software, such as Mail or Outlook.

Ransomware shield

Another important feature included in the Premium plan is the ransomware shield. To put it briefly – it protects your files and photos from ransomware attacks. Once enabled, the feature doesn’t let untrusted applications access your sensitive files.

Avast ransomware protection

There are two ransomware shield modes: smart and strict. The former is the default setting which refers to a list of trustworthy apps to determine which ones have the ability to modify your files. If anything outside this list tries to touch your secured documents, you’ll be instantly notified and nothing will be done without your permission.

As for the strict mode, you’re notified and asked for permission every single time that any app tries to access your secured files. That is, except for those that you’ve already allowed (or didn’t allow).

Avast firewall

A firewall is an essential part of an antivirus package, and Avast provides both free and paid users with one.

To put it simply – a firewall protects your network from unauthorized intrusions. With Avast, you can block internet access to specific apps yourself.

avast firewall

However, paid users also get more advanced network security. First off, you can enable or disable hiding potentially sensitive information from other network devices. Also, you can be notified about open ports and ARP spoofing attacks.

Pro tip

When picking an antivirus, security features, malware detection rates, and affordable pricing are important factors to consider – and they should come with guaranteed privacy and a scandal-free reputation.

Get TotalAV

Avast SecureLine VPN

Getting the Avast One bundle will also give you the Avast SecureLine VPN (which you can also buy separately). Even though it might not be as good as, say, NordVPN, the service is pretty decent, especially when you know that it comes from an antivirus developer.

Free Avast users can also use the VPN, however, it’s limited to 5GB per week, which tends to use up fast, especially if you’re streaming content.

Avast one secureline vpn

So, there are quite a few things it can do. Avast SecureLine VPN unblocks Netflix libraries (US, Canada), as well as everything you need on YouTube. Also, the service supports torrenting and offers decent download speeds.

There’s also a feature called a Password leak checker that will tell you whether your email has been compromised. And Additionally, Android users will get the split tunneling feature as well. Avast SecureLine VPN now offers WireGuard protocol for Windows and Android users, which can improve your online experience.

When it comes to cons, I’d mention a humble tunneling protocol selection, as well as a relatively short list of available countries. In case you want to know more about this tool, you can read our comprehensive Avast SecureLine VPN review.

Overall, although the SecureLine VPN is good for basic security, we wouldn’t recommend getting it separately as it’s very limited. Plus, it’s much more expensive than market-leading VPNs, such as NordVPN and Surfshark.

Avast for business features

Avast’s business plans come with a range of solutions depending on the size and needs of your business. Need help deciding whether one of these plans might be right for you? Here’s a breakdown of Avast’s business offerings.

Avast’s Small Office plan features

The Small Office plan has some similarities to Avast One in terms of features. Both plans include ransomware, email, file, web, and webcam shields, a customizable firewall, and the Network Inspector. Additionally, you’ll get business-grade customer support, remote access shield, Wi-Fi inspector, sensitive data shield, data shredder, and a phishing net.

Avast Business Security features

If the Small Office plan isn’t big enough for you, Avast’s Business Security plans might be a better option for you and your company. There are 3 available Business Security plans – Essential, Premium, and Ultimate.

Each plan includes online management platform, data protection, 24/5 IT support, and identity protection. The premium plan also includes unlimited VPN for each device and USB protection When it comes to the Ultimate plan, you’ll also receive patch management to monitor your device and fix vulnerabilities automatically.

Avast’s Advanced protection plan for MSSPs and resellers

If you’re looking for comprehensive antivirus software for a reseller or a managed security service provider (MSSP), Avast’s all-in-one solution has a lot to offer.

The main attraction here is CloudCare, which, as you might imagine, delivers all of Avast’s security features through the cloud on a user-friendly platform.

Here’s what CloudCare does:

  • Lets you grow your MSSP while increasing your revenue and building your business. Avast’s CloudCare solution gives MSSPs a simple way to scale business, add new services, and deploy security remotely to new customers.
  • Fills the gaps in your security with CloudCare’s essential layers of security to defend your business from threats.
  • Manages multiple networks easily by viewing threats, updates, and reports for your customers in one central place.
  • Helps you avoid rising costs and upkeep for clients, which helps you reduce onsite client visits to save you money and time.

Ease of use and setup

Downloading and setting Avast antivirus up is pretty simple on any device.Yet, it takes quite some time to install it.

Whether you’re a Windows or a macOS user – the interface is basically identical. I loved the fact that you’re suggested to create an account but you don’t have to.

I tried navigating and scanning with both antiviruses, and let me tell you the app looks very modern. There are four sections – Home, Explore, Messages, and Account.

The “Home” section lets you know if there are any issues and lets you run a smart scan. The only thing I would personally prefer is that all of the scanning options would be present on the main window.

Avast one interface

If you do want to find all of the scanning options, you’ll have to navigate to the “Scan center” in the “Explore” section. However, I have to hand it to Avast – the fact that you can find all features under one window is very convenient.

Speaking of scans, if Avast identifies a threat, you can simply click to resolve them. However, if the free version identifies any advanced issues, the Resolve button will redirect you to a payment screen so you can upgrade to the Premium plan. Which feels a little sneaky. Still, it offers more than adequate protection for a free service.

As for the mobile application, we found that the user interface is quite easy to navigate. It’s packed with features so it might take a moment to get used to it, but since it’s so intuitive, it shouldn’t be a big problem. The app functions without any bugs or interruptions, so you get an overall smooth experience provided by Avast’s mobile app.

Impact on PC performance

Antivirus software usually runs in the background, consuming CPU which in turn could lead to an overall slower system performance. During Avast testing, we wanted to see the impact it has on the computer and if we can notice any slowdowns.

avast-scan-performance

During a full virus scan on Avast, it used merely 22% of the CPU. Essentially, the higher the CPU load, the slower overall performance. So, it’s safe to say Avast, even when doing full scans, is exceptionally light on the resources.

Customer support

Live chat support✅ (24/7 with paid only)
Phone support✅ (24/7, US number)
Email support✅ (24/7 with paid only)
Knowledge database

Avast offers a basic level of customer service, including an extensive area of helpful FAQs to help users resolve their own issues.

If you go to Avast’s website in need of support, the website is going to ask you a few questions before navigating you to human support. Free users can get phone service, however, it's a US number, so you'd be subject to international charges if you're calling from overseas.

However, if you want more than that, you’re going to have to subscribe to Avast Care, which costs $39.99/year. With it, you get 24/7 phone, live chat, email, and remote access support. They promise to fix any issue you may have. A response to an email inquiry takes around 2 business days. Meanwhile, live chat support responds in a couple of minutes, depending on the load.

Avast customer support

Bottom line

Avast’s past actions regarding selling user data raises privacy concerns even if the company has shut down such operations. Despite this incident, it’s an independent-laboratory approved antivirus service that is capable of protecting you from various kinds of threats, including ransomware, network intruders, PUPs, and others.

However, the antivirus market has more trustworthy options to consider that provide you with high levels of protection and have a great reputation.

The pricing plans of Avast are confusing, especially business subscriptions. Not to mention that they’re also more expensive. Plus, while malware detection rates are great, Avast tends to find quite a few false positives.

Speaking of setting the antivirus up, it takes a while compared to other antivirus products. And while there’s a variety of features available, most of them you get only with the more expensive plans.

At the end of the day, Avast’s past data sharing scandal aside, it’s a decent antivirus. Yet again, there are much better security products that can live up to your protection expectations on top of having a clean reputation.


See how Avast compares to other antivirus programs:


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