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Avast vs. AVG: which is the King of Antiviruses?

Avast vs. AVG

After AVG Antivirus was acquired by Avast in 2016, many were left wondering whether there was much sense in keeping these products separate. Especially considering how many issues AVG used to have in the past, and how much better of a product Avast Antivirus seemed to be.

There must be a reason why these products haven’t been merged. And that’s what I’m going to find out in this AVG vs Avast comparison. I will put these two antivirus solutions head-to-head and find out which one is better. This time it’s going to be brother against brother.

Avast vs. AVG

AvastAVG
Rating:4.0 ★★★★4.1 ★★★★
Price:from $34.99/year,  1 PCfrom $39.99/year,  1 PC
Free version:YesYes
Platforms:Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, iOS, Android
Customer support:FAQsPhone, guides, FAQs
Website:Avast.comAvg.com

Winner:Avast logo

Features overview

AvastAVG
Real-time protectionYesYes
Secure foldersYesYes
Wi-Fi securityYesYes
Vulnerability scannerYesYes
Malicious link protectionYesYes
Ransomware protectionYesYes
FirewallYesYes
Webcam protectionYesYes
Payments protectionNoYes
Startup optimizerYesYes
Software updaterYesYes
Data shredderYesNo
Device lockNoYes*
Tune up utilitiesYes*Yes*
Registry cleanerYes*Yes*
VPNYes*Yes*

Both AVG and Avast have Free versions, with the least amount of features. When you get into the paid tiers, there are many more differences. AVG has AVG Internet Security and AVG Ultimate, and you can switch between the 1 or 10 device version. Avast Antivirus tiers are very similar: Avast Premium Security and Ultimate. Both of them can also be for 1 or 10 devices.

Avast free antivirus features screen

When we look at the feature suite of each antivirus, we see that Avast simply offers more. For example, features such as DNS web protection and Sandbox mode are unavailable to AVG users. Plus, Avast wades into other cybersecurity territories as well, including VPN and password protection. Undoubtedly, it’s a clear winner in the features department. However, it cannot be stressed enough how much you should avoid the Ultimate editions of both services.

Winner: Avast Antivirus

Feature comparison: Avast and AVG

The free version of AVG only provides antivirus protection. This is the only feature most users will likely need. You get protection against a garden variety of malware, plus it includes safeguards against known malicious websites.

Avast Antivirus has more on offer even if you’re not a paying user. With their free service, you get not only a malware scanner. There’s also WiFi vulnerabilities monitoring tool, password manager, and ransomware shield. That’s significantly more than you’d get as a free AVG user. Plus, the included features can potentially be more useful.

AVG antivirus free protection screen

Their cheapest paid option, AVG Internet Security, adds to these core measures and greatly expands them. As the name hints, it’s much more online-focused. The features include an encryption tool to protect yourself against ransomware, an enhanced firewall to keep unintended visitors off your network, and a shield against fake websites (which is really their proprietary DNS service).

When you thread into the Premium territory, Avast keeps up the lead. There’s DNS settings protection, Sandbox mode to run apps in isolated space, advanced firewall, webcam shield, and data shredder that permanently deletes files. With either provider, you’ll be getting firewall, phishing website protection, Wi-Fi security, and ransomware protection. The unique exclusives will be File shredder and app auto-updater for Avast, and webcam shield for AVG.

avast antivirus core shields

If you want to go all-in, AVG Ultimate has the same features as  AVG Internet Security, plus additional products. For example, with the Ultimate edition, you also get AVG TuneUp and Secure VPN. TuneUp is a registry cleaner, it also clears up cookies and duplicate files. Their VPN isn’t that great: not only does it log your data, but it also has a small server fleet.

On Ultimate Avast mimicks AVG. It also adds two unrelated products, namely, Avast Cleanup Premium and Avast SecureLine VPN. Both of these products also share the problems that we’ve seen with the AVG. First of all, cleanup software is pretty much the snake oil of cybersecurity tools. Secondly, Avast SecureLine VPN is not a great VPN. Though, feature-wise, it’s a bit better than the AVG counterpart.

To learn more about each antivirus, read our Avast Antivirus review and AVG Antivirus review.

Avast vs AVG security: which one is better for protection?

AvastAVG
AV-TestTop productTop product
AV-ComparativesAdvanced+Advanced+
SE LabsAAAAAA

Protection is the most important factor to consider in this Avast vs. AVG comparison. If your antivirus doesn’t delete malware, you shouldn’t be using it. In this sense, both services deliver the same level of protection.

According to AV-Test’s reviews, both Avast and AVG perform equally well and consistently get maximum points on all platforms. Both services also received a Top product certificate.

AV-Comparatives rated both services as Advanced+ grade products. Both got an extremely low number of false positives, and have identical offline detection rates. Even SE Labs gave both services identical AAA scores. Overall, no independent malware lab ranked one higher than the other.

The big secret why these scores are so similar is the fact that they both share an owner, which could probably mean that they’re relying on the same malware detection databases. Ultimately, you can expect identical results with either Avast or AVG if you want to remove malware.

Winner: Draw

Pricing

Most premium antiviruses require you to pay upfront for the year. So, if you want to be locked in for a year, then you need to know that it’s worth the money. In my opinion, both antiviruses offer a very similar deal. However, what tips the scales in AVG’s favor is the fact that Avast engages in significant regional price discrimination. To give you an example, Avast Premium Security for 1 PC costs $39.99 to US users, whereas the same plan costs 59.99 GBP if you’re in the UK. That’s approximately twice the price if we factor in the exchange rate.

VersionAvastAVG
Free$0.00$0.00
Premium / Internet Security$34.99/year$34.99/year
Ultimate$49.99/year$59.99/year
 Check PricingCheck Pricing

In any case, you should stay as far as possible from the Ultimate editions of both services. It will give you products that aren’t that useful for a lot more than you would pay if these services were separate.

Winner: Avast

Avast Antivirus

  • Avast Premium Security – $34.99/yr ($69.99), 1 device (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS)
  • Avast Premium Security – $44.99/yr ($89.99), 10 devices (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS)
  • Avast Ultimate – $49.99/yr ($99.99), 1 device (Windows, macOS)
  • Avast Ultimate – $59.99/yr ($119.99), 10 devices (Windows, macOS)

There are two paid-for products and a free version of Avast. Avast Premium is actually split into two. Installing the software on a single device costs $39.99 a year, billed annually. The other half of Avast Premium is based on installing the software on multiple devices. This covers up to 10 devices at once but will only support a single Windows PC (how strange). This costs $44.99 a year and is also billed annually.

The top product on offer at Avast is Avast Ultimate. It costs $49.99 a year, billed annually, on a single device, and comes with Avast SecureLine VPN and Avast Passwords. To cover across 10 devices, Avast Ultimate costs $59.99 a year, also billed annually.

AVG Antivirus

  • AVG Internet Security – $34.99/yr ($69.99), 1 device (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS)
  • AVG Internet Security – $44.99/yr ($84.99), 10 devices (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS)
  • AVG Ultimate – $59.99/yr ($119.99), 10 devices (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS)

AVG has a similar price plan to Avast. There are three plans to choose from, two of which are paid-for and one that is free. Mac users can take advantage of AVG – it’s also free but has reduced features compared to the Windows software.

The AVG Internet Security package comes in at $39.48 a year on a single device, billed annually, making it slightly cheaper compared to Avast’s first premium product. It includes everything in the Free version. There’s also an option to cover up to 10 devices for $44.99 a year, also billed annually.

AVG’s most expensive product is AVG Ultimate. It costs $59.99 a year, billed annually, and comes with all of the Internet Security’s features, but with AVG TuneUp, and VPN on top. So essentially, it’s an extra $30 a year for this additional product that removes junk files and mediocre VPN service.

User-friendliness

There are three main factors to consider for user-friendliness: simplicity, speed, and ease of installation and use. Both Avast and AVG perform well here – the interface is intuitive and there are ample explanations for new users.

You could say that their UI looks like carbon copies of one another, and the reason is the same owner. You couldn’t find more similar services in this regard.

Winner: Draw

Avast Antivirus interface

The Avast installer is very easy to use – there’s little input involved except if you plan on customizing the installation.

Once it’s on your system, the software runs through a couple of things automatically, including a quick, simple scan for viruses and a check for outdated software. It will then update the outdated software after it finds it, after you’ve approved the updates, of course.

avast antivirus interface

Once the installation has fully completed, the Avast client is a dream to use. Navigation is a breeze and the dark color scheme draws your eyes to the most important features. Those that aren’t as important or urgent are hidden within the menu.

Rather than breaking down the protection features into hundreds of mini categories, Avast cleans them all up into just four. For example, the “protection” category contains all of the antivirus and network options. There are helpful descriptions with each category to help you find what you’re looking for,

AVG Antivirus interface

The AVG installer is just 1MB. Installing is so fast, you genuinely might not even notice it’s done. There are two installation options available: the quick install that uses the default settings and the customizable method where you can select exactly what you want installed on your device before commencing the installation.

Once AVG is installed, the client is just as easy to use as Avast’s. Instead of four small categories, there are five. For example, the “payments” section includes the secure browser and payment information, while the “computer” section includes everything you need to keep your device secure.

AVG antivirus protection screen

The descriptions help to simplify the more complex features of AVG.

In terms of starting an antivirus scan, there are six preset options available. These range from a quick scan that runs while you go about your normal routine, to complete boot scans to detect deep malware infections. Simply click the gear icon at the bottom of the screen to display all your scanning options.

AVG has several sections on the client screen, all of which you can customize based on your needs. You can do this from the setting menu in the top-right of the client. 

The overall customization options are great too. You can change the look of the client to how each individual feature looks.

Support

AvastAVG
EmailYesYes
24/7 live chatNoYes
Remote assistantYesNo
Phone lineYesYes
Twitter and FacebookNoNo
KnowledgebaseYesYes

Customer support for services that have a free version is generally a mixed bag. More often than not, you’ll find it lacking. It’s no exception that in this case, the situation is somewhat similar.

If you need responsive and faster customer support lines, you can expect them if you’re paying for your service. Avast and AVG customer support is available for premium users only. In other cases, you’ll be left to read FAQ sections and forums. That’s the burden of free editions, and neither Avast nor AVG is an outlier.

Winner: Draw

Avast Antivirus

You only receive support on the paid plans. However, you can also get support if you sign up for a free 30-day premium trial. Of course, when that timer runs out, you’ll be back to square one.

As for the support methods, there are quite a few of those. The first is direct support. This includes Avast’s ticketing system and a 24/7 support line. The website also has a knowledgebase that covers almost everything, from initial installation to advanced security.

Then there’s the customer forum. There are over one million posts that help to get to the bottom of the problem. The customer forum is split by language and product, where you can communicate with the Avast staff themselves or with other users. 

Avast Total Care is there for problems that cannot be solved. Available on paid plans, it guarantees that it will solve your problem, or you’ll get a refund. You can also reach out to a customer support assistant which will solve the problem remotely by connecting to your device.

AVG Antivirus

There is an extensive range of support methods for AVG customers, including the live chat feature for quick responses, email ticketing to answer more in-depth queries, and several phone lines for 24/7 support.

The website has an FAQ section, albeit limited, with each question separated to help you find the answers quickly. There are also dedicated support guides for all AVG products. They also help if you’re looking to upgrade your subscription.

The support forum is AVG’s best help source. You can sort by the most recent posts that cover a wide range of topics. All in all, AVG isn’t as spectacular whet it comes to customer support options, but there are channels to solve your potential problems. It’s a shame that they are mostly available for paying customers only.

Final verdict

CategoryAvastAVG
Features
Protection
Pricing
User Friendliness
Support

Winner:Avast logo

After Avast and AVG comparison, I can confirm that a single owner truly shines through the services’ similarities. However, taking all the different factors into account, the more robust service is Avast Antivirus.

Not only does it have more features on its free version, even as a paying customer you will get better subscription benefits. Extra touches like the Sandbox mode allow for much better usability options that are just impossible to pull off with AVG.

Having said that, Avast does charge differently based on region, which might make it less appealing, depending on where you are located.


Other antivirus software comparisons

McAfee vs Avast: which antivirus is better?

Avast vs. Norton: choosing the winning product

Avira vs. Avast: how do these antivirus programs compare?


FAQ

Which is better: Avast or AVG?

In this case, Avast wins. That’s because it offers more features with its both free and paid versions.

Is Avast good enough?

Yes. Avast boasts great scores in malware detection tests by AV-Comparatives and offers lots of useful features even with its free version.

Is AVG Antivirus a free program?

Yes. There is a free AVG Antivirus version that you can download without paying anything. It offers antivirus protection to your device. If you want more features, you have to purchase one of the paid editions.

Are Avast and AVG from the same company?

Yes. In July 2016, Avast bought AVG Technologies. So, even though these are two separate products, they now belong to the same company.

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Comments 7
  1. Adrian says:

    Great breakdown seeing as these are the top 2 antivirus softwares virtually everyone has to choose between. Thanks for providing value to the world without secretly trying to sell one or the other. Good day to you.

  2. Duke Theedam says:

    If I go for the paid Avast (I have the free version at this moment) will I then stop getting all the annoying pop ups that keep trying to sell it to me ?…that’s almost as annoying as having the virus it’s supposed to be protecting me from.

    • Justinas Mazūra says:

      Yes, after you get their subscription, the annoying pop-ups will stop. Though, if you’re buying the service solely because you’re annoyed by pop-ups, this isn’t the right criterion to choose the best VPN service. Pick one that you genuinely like, not because it forces you to do so.

  3. Chris Pugh says:

    What if I want to cover multiple/different platforms with either Ultimate packages? Say a Chromebook and a Windows PC or a Mac.

    • Justinas Mazūra says:

      Both providers will have Ultimate options for ten devices. So, it’s either Avast ($77.88 the first year) or AVG ($79.99 for the first year).
      It’s worth noting that if you’re planning to use Ultimate on macOS, or Chromebook there’s hardly any point going for Ultimate, as you won’t have much use from TuneUp software similar features that are added.

  4. Phil says:

    I can’t find verification of the data/file shredder option on Avast website – can you point me to where it says that component exists in their software?

    • Justinas Mazūra says:

      Hi, Phil. The feature isn’t available on their Free version. You’re going to need at least Premium Security plan to access it.
      When you become a subscriber, it becomes available under the Privacy tab, accessible from the main dashboard.

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