Avira vs. Avast: which antivirus to choose?
If you need protection against malware, you may be at the crossroads between Avira and Avast. The former even managed to climb into our top antivirus list, whereas Avast is by far the biggest name on the antivirus market.
Both services are from Europe and have been firmly holding ground against cyber threats for almost 30 years now. The result is their antivirus services that are a culmination of past achievements. To find out which is ultimately better, read our Avira vs Avast review.
Avira vs. Avast
|Price:||from $44.99/year||from $34.99/year, 1 PC|
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|Customer support:||phone, email, guides, FAQs||FAQs|
|Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS|
Below you can find the table with all of the features comparison. Keep in mind that some of them might be exclusive to more expensive versions. I marked those with an *.
|AI-powered malware detection||✔️||❌|
Both Avira and Avast have free versions and have several pricing tiers. So, it's possible to compare them on equal terms. The free version is the best example, as the bar of entry is non-existent, and everyone can test the service.
Yet, when looking at what you get with a paid version, Avast has a long list of subscription benefits. Some of them are pretty unique and can be very useful, like Sandbox mode. At the same time, others like firewall and Wi-Fi protection add pretty significant protection bumps. It's an easy victory for Avast. Not a lot of antivirus providers can match what they have to offer.
Feature comparison: Avira and Avast
Avira is one of the few free antiviruses that offer real-time protection. It may not sound like much, but it's designed to stop malicious processes once they are accessed or started. Though, Avast also offers the same countermeasures and adds extras. They also include ransomware protection. So, overall you get a bigger package even without opening your wallet.
The paid plans continue down the same path, with Avast always staying ahead. Avira Pro adds ransomware protection, web filters, uses AI for malware detection. In contrast, Avast adds Wi-Fi security, web filters, and a firewall. At this point, with either provider, you're getting web filters, real-time, and ransomware protection. The notable exclusives for Avira are machine learning tools for malware detection, while Avast has an edge with firewall and Wi-Fi security. Arguably, the benefits package is much better with Avast.
The most expensive Prime plan is the peak of Avira's product lineup. It includes everything that's on the Internet Security plan and expands it quite a bit with registry cleanup tools and VPN. Avast takes the same route – adding SecureLine VPN and Cleanup Premium tools. These are both separate products in their own right.
Yet, seeing how middle-tier Avira's Internet Security suite was a bit worse than Avast's Ultimate edition, it's pretty clear that the latter is better overall. Both most expensive versions add identical side-products, which are decidedly inferior to a dedicated third-party VPN.
Avira vs. Avast security: which offers better protection?
|AV-Test||Top product||Top product|
On the surface, it would seem like both tools are evenly matched. Considering the long history of both services, that's what you should expect, right?
Well, there is more nuance. For example, according to AV-TEST Institute's data, it seems that the strengths of both services differ. Avira is somewhat better on macOS, while Avast has some edge on Windows and Android. They both are ranked with Top product certificates.
As for AV-comparatives, they found out that Avast has a better offline detection rate, and detects fewer false positives. Which certainly contests its status. Though, these aren't significant flaws to warrant lower ratings. Both antiviruses are evaluated as Advanced+.
Lastly, SE Labs give AAA ranking to both products. So, ultimately there's no clear winner in this category.
Both services feature a comprehensive list of features that should be sufficient for removing malware. Whichever you choose, you'll have to initiate a full scan immediately after an install. It sets a baseline for all your further usage.
Avira integrates cloud scanning into its real-time protection, making it a more lightweight and robust solution. In comparison, Avast seems clunky and outdated and primarily relies on background scans. The real-time protection is somewhat spotty, missing shady sites or triggering false alarms. It's a bit disappointing not to find machine learning solutions to identify potential threats (like with Trend Micro products). Still, it should be more prominent with upcoming iterations of antivirus products.
The previous statement about the overall chunkiness of Avast holds when performing virus scans. In our tests, Avira always completed the scan in approximately 30 minutes, while Avast dragged on to 48. That's 60% of Avira's speed. The ratio improves in a quick scan, but even then, Avast is slower than Avira.
It's also possible to set up custom scans for particular directories. It's handy for when you suspect where the malware is hiding. Otherwise, a quick scan goes through your main system files and resources that could compromise your system if disrupted. It's also available on both Avast and Avira, so you'll be able to take advantage of it whichever you ultimately decide to pick.
Avira has one of the least impressive firewall modules that I've seen on the antivirus. For example, the free version lets you manage the default Windows Firewall from within the app. It makes little sense to have their API wrapped around regular Windows settings, it's a non-feature. On premium versions, the situation is a lot better. You can customize the strictness of protection by changing the computer's visibility on the network, blocking connections from the outside, and preventing floodings and portscans.
Avast is equally uninspiring from this standpoint. The outlook becomes better only on their Premium and Ultimate editions. These add an advanced firewall that you can personalize with specific whitelists. This makes the control of your setup pain-free and tailored to your own needs.
Impact on PC performance
When it comes to performance, Avira is on a whole different level. It does an excellent job of managing your system resources. The slowdown is there, but it’s low enough to not be noticeable.
If, for example, you would fall prey to a crypto miner malware, your resource consumption would become high. Now imagine that your antivirus also requires a significant chunk of those resources. In that case, you wouldn’t notice the slowness and your computer would continue being infected.
That is why your antivirus solution needs to stay as lightweight as possible, and Avira does precisely that.
Avast does everything in the opposite direction. Not only is it clunky, but it also tries to smuggle in so many optional modules that your system resources can get hogged quite fast. Even on idle, Avast eats more memory and HDD usage than Avira. It isn’t optimal and reflects poorly on Avast performance.
Because both Avira and Avast have a free version, it makes for an equal comparison. Although Avast seems like a better offer for free options, Avira is a much better-paid service.
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The paid plans are universally cheaper in Avira's camp, while Avast doesn't show any price flexibility. With them, you'll either get a single device option or too many. Since a single device option won't be enough for most, this tactic creates pressure to go for more expensive plans with ten device options.
Avira provides much better value and user-friendly pricing. You can also get an unlimited amount of devices with their most expensive option. That's a subscription benefit that's hard to beat. In general, Avira is a value champion for those who are price-conscious.
- Avira Antivirus Pro – $44.99/yr, 1 device (PC)
- Avira Internet Security – $57.99/yr, 1 device (PC)
- Avira Prime – $99.99/yr, 5 devices (Windows, macOS, Android, iOS)
When it comes to paid services, Avira is much cheaper. You can get Avira Antivirus Pro edition for just $44.99/yr for one device. The price increases if you select the three device option at $57.99/yr, or the five device option for $70.99/yr.
Then, there's Avira Internet Security. The single device option costs $57.99/yr, the three device option goes for $70.99/yr, and there's a five device option for $83.99/yr.
The most expensive plan, Avira Prime, doesn't have a single device option, and its lowest tier caps at five devices for $99.99/yr. There's also an unlimited devices option, and it costs a whopping $129.99/yr.
- Avast Premium Security – $34.99/yr, 1 device (PC)
- Avast Ultimate – $49.99/yr, 1 device (PC)
Suppose you find yourself dissatisfied with Avast's free version and want to get just a bit more functionality. In that case, the price increase goes from 0 to 11 pretty quickly. This is because the cheapest paid plan – Avast Premium Security for one device costs $69.99/yr. That's as much as the five device Avira Antivirus Pro option or the three device option Avira Internet Security.
Device selection flexibility is non-existent here: you can either pick the one device or the ten device option, you will find no in-between options. So, the price for Avast Premium Security is either $69.99/yr (for one device), or $89.99/yr, there's no middle ground. It forces users into the more expensive plans, with more subscriptions than they would realistically need.
The biggest wallet destroyer is Avast's Ultimate plan. The single device option will cost you $99.99/yr. There's also ten device variant for $119.99/yr. Essentially, Ultimate plans add SecureLine VPN and Cleanup Premium for $30 more.
Apps and interface
Most free antiviruses are guilty of sneaking in other products. For example, on the Avast installer, their Secure Browser addon is checked by default. It's significant because it was revealed that the addon collects as much data as possible about the user. Most users don't adjust the default install settings, which makes privacy suffer. In a sense, Avast is actively exploiting less perceptive or not very tech-savvy users. This shows their stance on user-friendliness, yes their UI is friendly enough, but the service is a bit sinister by design.
Avira, on the other hand, isn't forcing your hand as much. You may use the free version and encounter reminders that you should upgrade, but they won't be drastic. Avira is user friendly by virtue of respecting your choices and being more mindful of your data. That is why it deserves a win in this category.
Even at the installation phase, both apps are similar. Both first use smaller executables that download the remaining files during setup, for example. However, Avast has the browser issue, whereas Avira seems to be more professional in this sense. The client is clean and only installs the necessary files. If you're using the free version, both apps will remind you about the paid options at random intervals.
In terms of UI, both clients are easy to use. They should be intuitive for most users, and if you're transitioning between Avast to Avira, it won't be painful. The general layout is very similar, so you'll quickly find what you're looking for.
In both cases, you will be navigating between menus with individual icons. If you're on the free version, some of them will be disabled when you click on them, asking you to upgrade. They stay there as a constant reminder that you could have a lot more.
Although it would seem that their mobile apps are extensions of their antivirus services for desktop, this isn't the case. Sure - there's less reason to offer antivirus for iOS because of fewer associated malware risks. Tight control of Apple's App Store eliminates most of the threats. Android protection, in this sense, remains more important.
However, it seems that the strict nature of iOS sets the baseline for both of the Avira mobile apps. In reality, their primary offer here is a VPN, not the antivirus. Avira doesn't offer it for free, and what remains is a photo cleaner that removes duplicate pictures, a network scanner that determines whether your connection is safe, and not much else.
Pretty much the same is on offer for Avast users. The difference is that their VPN is free for everyone. Plus, Avast has a secure photo vault to store your most important (or embarrassing) photos. Your passcode will protect them, and it's not uploaded anywhere. If you delete the app, the photos will be deleted as well, so keep that in mind. If you want to block dangerous websites, you'll have to buy their paid plans.
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The bane of free services is modest customer service options. Avira is no exception to the rule - their only form of customer support available for free is the FAQ page. So, if you run into any problems, you're on your own.
When we look at the paid option, naturally, there's a customer service option. You can contact them via email and phone. Sadly, there's no live chat, which could solve lots of problems.
Avast will also leave you hanging if you're a free user and want customer support. They have to cut features if they want to keep the service free. However, their paid version isn't any better than what Avira has on offer. They primarily rely on automated forms and community forums. So, when you're frustrated, you have to jump through several hoops to get in touch with a customer support agent. They have a phone line as well, but the experience can prove infuriating. Avast does a better job here.
On their own, both services seem solid enough. However, when stacked against each other, they highlight their significant weaknesses. For this reason, in this Avira vs. Avast review, the former clearly wins.
Although Avast has a less feature-rich free version, Avira is an overall more robust piece of software. Not only will it work more efficiently, but it's also more adequately priced, and it's free of data collection scandals. Avast is an antivirus giant, but it lacks the usability to make the service worthwhile.
Other antivirus software comparisons
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Bitdefender vs. Avast: which would we recommend?
Avast vs. Norton: which antivirus is better?
Which is better: Avast or Avira?
Out of the two, Avira Antivirus is a better choice. It offers better protection, better PC performance, and more inviting user interface.
Does Avira Antivirus slow down your computer?
No. If your system is compatible with Avira, it should not noticeably slow down your device.
Is Avira Antivirus safe?
Yes. It is a reputable program that will protect your PC or smartphone from malware and viruses.
Is Avast Antivirus completely free?
Yes. You can use the free version of Avast indefinitely. However, if you want more features, you can upgrade it to one of its paid versions.