Avast vs. Sophos: which antivirus is better?
Sophos and Avast are well-known names in the antivirus arena. Sophos has over 100 million users, with many lured in by its affordable pricing, fast virus scans, and comprehensive protection. Meanwhile, Avast is an absolute mammoth with 435+ million users. It dominates the market with its rich features, award-winning security, and outstanding performance.
Both Avast and Sophos are Europe-based veterans that have been around for over 3 decades. They also both have free tiers which are great for testing the antiviruses out.
So, it’s no surprise that many could wonder whether Avast or Sophos is the better antivirus.
Well, that’s what you’ll find out in this Sophos vs Avast comparison. Features, security, pricing, performance, user experience, and support – I’ll cover everything.
Avast vs. Sophos
|Avast Antivirus||Sophos Home|
|🥇 Overall rank:||#13 out of #20||#15 out of #20|
|💵 Price:||From $50.28/year||from $44.99/year|
|✂️ Free version:||Yes||Yes|
|🖥️ Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|🔥 Coupons:||Avast coupon 50% OFF||Sophos Home coupon 25% OFF!|
Avast and Sophos feature overview
It’s fair to say that both providers are versatile and provide solid sets of features. Avast does go the extra mile and has additional security-enhancing features for personal data protection. However, Sophos doesn’t fall far behind and is comprehensive, making it a great choice as well.
Here’s how the providers differ from each other in terms of features:
|Banking and payment protection||✅||✅|
There are few differences between the two. For instance, Avast offers a VPN that comes with the antivirus. However, it's worth noting that Sophos does offer a separate free SSL VPN for Windows users. Also, Sophos Home doesn't include a file shredder, yet Avast no longer offers the parental control feature.
Overall, both Sophos and Avast offer fundamental protection against common vulnerabilities, so it's only fair to declare a tie.
Sophos has some very nifty features up its sleeves. But note that these features are only available for 30 days if you’re using the trial version.
One of Sophos’ most eye-catching features is its remote app control and scanning. With it, you can configure devices’ settings, monitor, and even schedule anti-malware scans remotely.
Besides that, Sophos also provides webcam protection. You’ll be notified if your camera is accessed from outside apps, websites, or malicious intruders. However, it only notifies and doesn’t block the camera.
With Sophos’ parental control feature, you can easily limit the websites that your kids are allowed to visit with different filter options. And your kids will also get automatically blocked from the websites that you exclude.
The security software also prioritizes ransomware protection by constantly monitoring and checking for suspicious activities. The antivirus will block ransomware and return affected files to their initial state if it detects encryption attempts.
Sophos has a measure in place to prevent the abuse of the master boot record (MBR), too. The feature monitors your operating system vigilantly and stops all suspicious-looking activities to defend against ransomware.
Plus, the antivirus service also comes with Dynamic Shellcode Protection – system-level mitigation that detects hackers who are trying to gain control of the network. The feature helps protect your device against trojans, malware, and ransomware attacks.
Finally, Sophos machine learning scans are a crowd favorite as well. Powered by artificial intelligence, the system learns, recognizes, and remembers your device’s behavior. Any unfamiliar activity will be flagged and eliminated.
To learn more about the provider’s features, read our full Sophos Antivirus review.
Avast is well-known for its robust features and comprehensive protection. But, at the same time, you’ll see plenty of feature variations depending on your plan.
For starters, all Avast plans, whether free or premium, come with virus scans. Here, the scans will update the virus definitions, sweep for viruses and malware, and search for advanced issues.
For more basic issues, Avast lets you fix them with just a click of the Resolve All button. And Avast will even resolve the advanced issues for those on its Premium plans.
Malware protection is a common feature of antivirus software, but Avast also comes with real-time protection, complete malware detection, various scans, real-time security updates, and more.
On top of that, whether free or paid, Avast also scans Wi-Fi networks as well as all the connected devices to weed out vulnerabilities. This helps to prevent data theft via the Wi-Fi network.
Now, let’s talk about Avast’s premium features. Avast includes real-time Wi-Fi security alerts. You’ll receive notifications if the Wi-Fi network is vulnerable or if someone joins the network. Plus, there will also be alerts if the software detects potentially harmful activity on any public networks you join.
Another premium Avast highlight is its ransomware shield. It prevents intruders from changing, modifying, or encrypting files and photos without permission to protect against ransomware attacks.
Apart from that, Avast SecureLine VPN with 256-bit AES encryption is an additional perk that you get with the antivirus software. The VPN secures all incoming and outgoing data and can also be used to unblock geo-restrictions for sites like YouTube and streaming platforms like Netflix.
For more information about features, check out our in-depth Avast Antivirus review.
Avast vs Sophos: which offers better protection?
Security is, of course, at the crux of every antivirus comparison. In the case of Avast vs Sophos, both providers offer excellent protection, but Avast dominates with better independent malware lab results.
Starting from AV-TEST, Avast leads the way. Both were tested and awarded the AV-TEST CERTIFIED seal of approval. However, Sophos fumbled slightly in terms of performance. Meanwhile, Avast received the maximum 6 points across all 3 categories to snag the TOP PRODUCT certificate.
AV-Comparatives, too, returned a similar outcome. It rated Sophos as Approved while Avast got the highest Advanced+ level. Meanwhile, SE Labs saw more level playing fields with both receiving AAA rankings.
It is clear that while the level of security of Sophos is good, the results don't compare to those of Avast, which includes the highest possible ratings of all three independent laboratories.
Avast focuses more on the threats that are already on the inside. Its real-time protection runs in the background and checks files/folders when opening, modifying, and saving to block viruses and other threats.
Another nifty perk that you get with Avast is its sandbox tool. With it, you can test a suspicious app in an isolated environment. This should help minimize the chances of installing malicious apps directly to your system.
Sophos’ real-time protection feature automatically scans files when they’re accessed. Here, it studies virus behaviors and uses the SophosLabs backlist database to protect against viruses, malware, trojans, bots, ransomware, and other threats.
Sophos has the basic malware protection down pat. For instance, it blocks malware downloads by preventing access to dangerous websites.
But, Sophos’ most noteworthy measure is its artificial intelligence threat detection. Here, the provider uses AI to track program behavior and flags installed software that acts suspiciously. Hence, it not only recognizes known malicious apps but also new malware variations.
Avast, on the other hand, is better than Sophos when it comes to detecting and eliminating different kinds of threats, thanks to its robust and comprehensive features. This includes complete malware detection, real-time security updates, Web and Behavior Shields, various scans, Wi-Fi intruder alerts, and more.
But, you might see different results when comparing Sophos Home vs Avast free versions and Sophos Home vs Avast premium versions. This is because Avast's free version doesn’t have access to the whole range of tools.
A firewall isn’t necessarily included in every antivirus program, but luckily both Sophos and Avast offer it.
In Sophos Home’s case, it’s an easy-to-use firewall that can detect threats and block them.
Meanwhile, Avast’s firewall is more powerful and flexible since you can customize and whitelist specific applications to tailor the firewall to your preference. For instance, you can set up application rules, customize strictness, and more.
You don’t get to choose between quick and full scans for Sophos. It only runs full scans, and they take 5 minutes each time, which is exceptionally fast.
But, frustratingly, Sophos doesn’t offer the full details of the scans. So, it’ll show that it found threats, but there will be no report on how many items are scanned.
In contrast, Avast offers a much wider variety of scans. In addition to full and quick scans, you can also run a smart scan, custom scan, targeted scan by selecting a specific file/folder, scheduled scan, and removable drive scan.
Ultimately, with its robust, comprehensive, and versatile security measures, Avast is the more secure antivirus than Sophos.
Pricing and plans
Sophos has the edge if you compare Sophos vs Avast in terms of pricing. Sophos is cheaper but offers only one tier – Sophos Home Premium, in addition to its free 30-day trial.
Avast, meanwhile, offers a diverse range of plans. Besides its Avast Free plan, it also offers Avast One, Avast Premium Security, and various packages for businesses. Both providers include a 30-day money-back guarantee.
|Avast One/Sophos Home Premium||$50.28/year||$44.99/year|
|Avast Premium Security||$69.48/year||–|
|Check Latest Discounts||Check Latest Discounts|
In short, while Avast is offers better security, Sophos is the cheaper provider if you’re willing to spring for a paid version.
Sophos antivirus plans
Sophos only has one package, Sophos Home Premium, in addition to its free 30-day trial. The plan, which covers up to 10 devices, costs $44.99 if you sign up for 1 year. However, there’s a drastic slash in price if you opt for a longer subscription.
- Sophos Home Premium 1-year subscription – $44.99
- Sophos Home Premium 2-year subscription – $74.99
- Sophos Home Premium 3-year subscription – $104.99
For a 2-year subscription, Sophos Home Premium costs $74.99. That works out to slightly below $37.50/year.
Meanwhile, a 3-year subscription is priced at $104.99, which amounts to slightly under $35.00/year. You’ll get the most bang out for your buck with this subscription.
If you’re looking for an even better deal, you can get the antivirus at the lowest price now by using our Sophos coupon codes.
Avast antivirus plans
Avast has one free version, two major paid versions, and a range of plans for businesses. Avast Free costs absolutely nothing but comes only with basic security features.
- Avast One – $50.28/year, up to 5 devices
- Avast Premium Security – $69.48/year, up to 10 devices
For the truly security-conscious, its paid versions are far more suitable. To start, Avast Premium Security costs $69.48/year for the first year and covers up to 10 devices. It comes with premium features like real-time Wi-Fi security alerts, webcam protection, and sensitive information protection.
Then, there’s the very popular Avast One, which supports up to 5 devices. It’s priced at $50.28/year for the first year. For most users, Avast One offers the best value. Its price is pretty reasonable yet it brings plenty to the table, including everything from Avast Free and Avast Premium Security as well as Avast SecureLine VPN and Cleanup Premium tools.
To get the best price, check out our Avast coupon codes to find the best antivirus deals.
In brief, while Avast offers much better malware protection, Sophos has a cheaper paid version than the competitively-priced packages of Avast.
As for performance, Sophos and Avast scan quickly but are heavy on system resources. During scans, Sophos had higher CPU and RAM usage, while Avast was intense when it came to disk usage.
You can expect both Sophos and Avast to slow down your device. But, that’s almost a given since they’re constantly scanning the files and programs on your device.
In Sophos’ case, the full scan took minutes but was quite a load on the system performance. Both its CPU and memory consumptions were higher than Avast’s usage.
As for Avast, its AV-Comparatives performance impact score is at 9.8, which landed it a spot in the top 10. The only obvious red flag here is its high disk usage.
Yet, because Avast is more versatile in terms of scanning options and is softer on resources, it is the winner of this round.
Sophos doesn’t have a quick scan so a Sophos vs Avast comparison here is impossible. Only Avast includes a quick scan which was incredibly fast and took just around 30 seconds. Plus, Avast used a relatively low amount of processing power and was relatively light on other resources, too.
|Smart scan||0 h 0 min 30 sec||Doesn’t have a quick scan|
Overall, Avast’s quick scan was indeed what it’s supposed to be – quick, and required minimal system resources.
Sophos and Avast took only minutes for full scans. While the full scan times were quite similar, results for full scans while recording differed.
|Full scan||0 h 12 min||0 h 5 min|
|CPU load||79% max, 38% average||99% max, 47% average|
|Disk load||100% max, 35% average||24% max, 7% average|
Sophos’ full scan placed quite a load on the system performance and used 47% CPU on average and 99% CPU maximum. Plus, its memory consumption was also quite high at 48%. Meanwhile, Avast was light with its CPU and memory usage but, unfortunately, was slower and had 5 times higher disk load.
Without recording, resource consumption improved with both providers. Avast also cut down its time to just 7 minutes.
|Full scan||0 h 7 min||0 h 7 min|
It is clear that Avast was the more lightweight solution, with high disk usage being the only obvious drawback. Meanwhile, Sophos’ disadvantages were both CPU and memory consumption, which were on the higher side. Unfortunately, Sophos doesn’t offer quick scans either.
User experience: Sophos vs Avast
The Avast vs Sophos Reddit crowd is pretty divided on this, so I’d say it would be unfair to choose one winner of this round as it depends on personal preferences. In my personal opinion, both providers’ interfaces are straightforward. Avast’s interface is more modern and cleaner and both providers are easy to navigate.
Avast offers a much more contemporary app with vibrant colors and fresh designs. All of its features are neatly filed under four categories: status, protection, privacy, and performance. Navigation is a breeze with the clean layout, vector icons, and helpful descriptions.
In contrast, Sophos’ desktop app is rather old-school-looking and packed but easy enough to use. The software’s control panel is available only via its website but I had no trouble figuring out where everything is.
All that you can do in the app is essentially enable and disable settings. Everything else on the app will redirect you to Sophos’ web control panel. I would prefer to have better responsiveness of the control panel, yet it is good for setting up the program based on your needs.
Both being easy to use, Avast and Sophos provide a solid customer experience.
|✅ (24/7 with paid version)||✅ (with paid version)|
|Live chat||✅ (24/7 with paid version)||✅ (with paid version)|
|Phone||✅ (24/7 with paid version)||❌|
|Remote assistant||✅ (24/7 with paid version)||❌|
|Social media platforms||❌||✅|
When it comes to customer support, both Avast and Sophos are not as versatile as some other first-rate antivirus providers and don’t offer 24/7 customer support with their antivirus tiers.
While Avast does offer 24/7 email, live chat, and phone support, they’re only available if you purchase the Avast Care package, which costs $39.00/year. Free support includes phone and email support during business hours, FAQ troubleshooting section, and a community forum. This is quite limiting, especially if you need immediate assistance or guidance.
Unfortunately, with Sophos, you have very limited support channels as well, and none of them are available 24/7. Those on its Home Premium package could reach out via live chat and email but only during business hours, which is a nightmare if there’s a serious security issue. Meanwhile, those on its free trial could only receive support via social media platforms. Luckily, you could also scour its massive knowledge base for answers.
Overall, the customer support options of both Avast and Sophos could be improved, especially by including 24/7 support options.
Avast vs Sophos: final verdict
All things considered, both Avast and Sophos are solid options but not without faults. However, if you count up the wins, Avast dominates the Sophos vs Avast match.
Sophos is cheaper but (although it comes close) doesn’t offer as many features as Avast. Plus, while it performs faster, this doesn’t fully compensate for its lack of quick scans as well as high memory and CPU usage. Additionally, Sophos wasn’t rated as well as Avast by independent lab organizations.
Meanwhile, Avast is more expensive, but it’s understandable considering it brings a few more features to the table. Besides, independent lab tests proved that Avast is a first-rate antivirus. Finally, while it has a higher disk consumption, it still performs better than Sophos.
Alternatives to Avast and Sophos
If neither Sophos nor Avast works for you, BitDefender and Norton Antivirus are two top alternatives that you could consider.
A popular antivirus provider amongst individual users and business owners, BitDefender is well-known for its performance and top-notch malware detection/removal. Plus, the provider is feature-packed, loaded with measures like real-time protection, tons of security features, and a built-in VPN.
BitDefender’s prices start from $23.99/year, and it also has a solid free version.
Constantly ranked number 1 among the many antivirus programs, Norton Antivirus boasts robust features, including real-time threat protection, VPN, Smart Firewall, password manager, dark web monitoring, and Norton Crypto for cryptocurrency mining.
Norton’s prices start from $9.99/year.
Other antivirus software comparisons
Bitdefender vs. Avast: which one is worth your money?
McAfee vs. Avast: which to choose?
Which is better: Sophos or Avast?
Avast is a better antivirus than Sophos. It offers well-rounded protection, more advanced features, and a better user experience.
Which one offers better security: Sophos or Avast?
Avast offers better security with its robust and advanced features like complete malware detection, various scans, Wi-Fi intruder alert, and more.
Will Sophos remove malware?
Yes, Sophos will remove malware with its machine learning scans. Although it wasn't rated as well by independent laboratories as Avast antivirus, Sophos can do the job well.
Does Sophos stop ransomware?
Yes, Sophos stops ransomware with its monitoring and checks for suspicious activities. Plus, it also offers MBR protection.