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ESET vs Avast: side-by-side comparison


ESET vs Avast are both well-known providers in the antivirus industry, so it could be difficult to choose between the two. They’re both known for their top-notch protection and are highly-rated award winners. Beyond that, they also have plenty in common like similar price points, robust features, and excellent performances.

This begs the question – are they as good as interchangeable? Well, there’s more than meets the eye.

That’s why I'll dig deep into how they differ from each other when it comes to features, security, pricing, performance, user experience, and more. By the end of this ESET vs Avast comparison, you’ll have no trouble deciding which one is best for you.

ESET vs Avast

ESET NOD32Avast Antivirus
⭐ Rating:
4.1
4
🥇 Overall rank:#8 out of #20#13 out of #20
🔥 Coupons:ESET coupon up to 30% OFFAvast coupon 50% OFF
💵 Price:From $27.99/yearFrom $50.28/year
✂️ Free version:NoYes
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Linux, Mac, AndroidWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

ESET vs Avast: feature comparison

It’s fair to say that the ESET vs Avast feature comparison is a draw as both have the essentials well-covered. As for additional features, each has something the other is missing.

Here’s what you can expect to get with each provider:

ESETAvast
Virus scans
Real-time protection
Ransomware protection
Firewall
Parental controls
Password manager
Banking and payment protection
Anti-phishing protection
Webcam protection
Wi-Fi protection
Anti-theft✅ (Only for Android)
VPN✅ (Separate subscription)

In ESET’S case, its most glaring oversight is having no VPN, which is a hit for its privacy protection. As for Avast, it no longer offers the parental controls feature, and its anti-theft feature is available on Android only.

That said, ESET and Avast are both pretty liberal with their features. They cover the basics and throw in some handy additional ones to plump their plans.

ESET features

To fill in the small security gaps left by its essentials, ESET has some very nifty additional features that deserve the spotlight.

First off, it has one of the most comprehensive sets of anti-theft features to protect your Windows and Android devices. It provides location tracking, content removal, camera snapshots, SIM card guard, anti-theft optimization, laptop activity watch, and more.

Besides that, ESET’s password manager (with 256-bit AES secure encryption) offers a safe spot to store and organize passwords. Plus, it also comes with things like remote logout, security reports, and security alerts.

ESET setup dashboard

Additionally, ESET also boasts outstanding banking protection. Once set up, you’ll default to a secure browser whenever you visit a recognized financial site. Also, it encrypts communications between the keyboard and the browser to protect against keyloggers.

To learn about all of the features, read our ESET review.

Avast features

Avast has ample additional features, too. While the basics are similar to ESET’s, there’s more to Avast than that. Just note that many of them are off-limits except to those on its higher-tier plans.

First off, Avast protects networks. Its Wi-Fi inspector automatically scans wifi networks and all connected devices to single out vulnerable devices as well as security flaws.

And, if you’re willing to spend, Avast also has some very interesting premium features. For starters, its real-time Wi-Fi security alerts when new devices join your wifi network to protect against hackers.

Beyond that, its ransomware shield protects photos, documents, and files from being modified, encrypted, or deleted by ransomware attacks. Here, you can choose the applications that are allowed to access your data.

avast protection dashboard

For those who value privacy, Avast’s SecureLine VPN is an absolute boon. The VPN has 256-bit AES encryption, 700+ servers in 35 countries, and split tunneling for Android devices among other things.

All in all, ESET and Avast certainly aren’t lacking in terms of features. Plus, both also throw in some extra perks for maximum security and privacy protection. Thus, I have to declare this round a tie.

To learn about all of the features, read our Avast Antivirus review.

ESET vs Avast: which offers better protection?

The features included in an antivirus package are vital, but ultimately, it all boils down to its protection capabilities. It’s a draw between Avast vs ESET in this round because both are effortlessly breezing through various independent lab tests.

Here’s how both providers fare:

ESETAvast
AV-TestTop productTop product
AV-ComparativesAdvanced+Advanced+
SE LabsAAA

ESET and Avast both aced the AV-TEST and nabbed the TOP PRODUCT certificate. The duo scored the full 6 points across all 3 categories: protection, performance, and usability.

Additionally, they also received the best possible level of Advanced+ for AV-Comparatives. The only difference here is that ESET wasn’t tested by SE LABS. In contrast, Avast was tested and snagged the AAA award.

Overall, it’s only right to declare another draw in the ESET and Avast faceoff as both offer excellent levels of protection, as confirmed by independent laboratory tests.

Real-time protection

ESET has some of the best real-time protection in the business. To start, all files are scanned for malicious code when they’re created, opened, or run. And, using its proprietary ThreatSense detection methods, you can modify the parameters to treat newly created files differently than existing ones for extra caution.

Besides that, ESET also offers LiveGrid — a reputation system that gathers information about unknown and new threats from users around the world. Once enabled, the system can detect and block these threats.

Avast isn’t lacking in real-time protection, either. Here, its real-time protection works in the background and checks for various threats when opening, modifying, and saving all files/folders.

Plus, its sandbox tool is incredibly useful as well. It allows you to visit websites, download files, and run applications without risk in a safe isolated virtual environment.

Malware protection

ESET’s multi-layered malware protection covers a lot of ground. First off, its Ransomware Shield is a behavior-based detection feature that monitors as well as blocks applications and processes that resemble the behavior of ransomware.

Plus, the provider’s Botnet Protection discovers malware by analyzing its network communication protocol. Once detected, it swiftly blocks and reports the threat.

Additionally, ESET’s Exploit Blocker monitors and blocks attacks on commonly exploitable applications such as browsers, document readers, and email clients.

On the other hand, Avast’s malware protection depends on your plan. With the paid versions, you can expect features like malware detection, real-time security updates, Web and Behavior Shields, a variety of scans, and Wi-Fi intruder alerts.

So, just bear in mind that the results depend on which tiers you’re comparing.

Firewall protection

ESET and Avast’s respective firewalls require minimal input but are very flexible for those who want a more hands-on approach.

With ESET, you get 4 filtering modes: automatic, interactive, policy-based, and learning. Automatic, which is the default mode, and learning mode require very little participation from your side.

ESET firewall setup screen

Meanwhile, interactive allows custom configuration to allow or deny unknown connections. And, lastly, the policy-based mode is designed for advanced users to block all unspecified connections except for those explicitly allowed.

Avast’s firewall allows for a fair bit of configuration, too, such as application rules setup and strictness customization.

Avast antivirus advanced firewall

It’s also worth noting that you get additional features if you’re on Avast’s premium version. This includes leak protection, address resolution protocol (ARP) spoofing detection, and port scan detection/alerts.

Scanning

One of the true hallmarks of high-quality antivirus is the offering of multiple scanning options for flexibility and both ESET as well as Avast offer exactly that.

Starting from ESET, it has smart, full, custom, and removable device scans. The full system one checks your entire device, including running processes, system files, cached files, and more. Its custom scan lets you set scanning parameters like scan targets as well as methods.

eset scanning options

Meanwhile, its removable device scans check removable media like external hard disks, flash drives, and memory cards. The only downfall here is that ESET doesn’t offer a quick scan which other providers usually have.

As for Avast, it has a slightly wider selection when it comes to scans. It has both full and quick scans. On top of that, you can also run smart, custom, targeted, scheduled, and removable drive scans.

Avast scanning options

All in all, both Avast antivirus and ESET take security seriously and offer all the basic as well as advanced measures for maximum protection.

Pricing and plans

When it comes to pricing, both ESET and Avast have their ups and downs. For example, Avast is the overall cheaper option but ESET has a cheaper entry plan and significantly more flexibility, which could translate to better value. Both include a 30-day money-back guarantee as well.

PlanESETAvast
Free30-day trial$0.00
NOD32 Antivirus/Avast One
$27.99/year, 1 device$50.28/year, 5 devices
Internet Security
$34.99/year, 1 device
Smart Security Premium/Avast Premium Security$41.99/year, 1 device
$69.48/year, 10 devices
Check ESET DiscountsCheck Avast Discounts

In brief, both providers offer excellent value depending on your needs. ESET is great if you want a cheaper basic plan or the flexibility to customize your plan. Meanwhile, Avast is ideal if you want affordable protection for multiple devices.

ESET antivirus plans

ESET has 3 main packages for home users:

  • NOD32 Antivirus – $27.99/year for 1 device
  • Internet Security – $34.99/year for 1 device
  • Smart Security Premium – $41.99/year for 1 device

With each of these plans, you can opt to add more device connections at an additional cost. Alternatively, extending the subscription with a significant discount for up to 3 years is also available.

If you’re on a tight budget, NOD32 Antivirus would do in a pinch as it covers the essentials like antivirus scans, Ransomware Shield, and anti-phishing protection.

However, the plan that offers the best value is undoubtedly Internet Security. Competitively priced, the plan comes with a slew of basic and advanced features. This includes various scans, ransomware protection, banking and payment protection, parental control, webcam protection, and a firewall.

For the best ESET deals, check out our ESET coupon codes.

Avast antivirus plans

For personal users, Avast offers a free plan and 2 paid plans:

  • Avast One – $50.28/year for up to 5 devices
  • Avast Premium Security – $69.48/year for up to 10 devices

Avast Free is a bare-bones plan that includes only malware protection, suspicious activity monitoring, and a firewall.

So, naturally, its paid versions are the better alternatives. For most users, Avast One is the best buy. A fair bit cheaper than Premium Security, you get all the important features like malware and ransomware protection, a firewall, Wi-Fi intruder alert, banking protection, and a VPN.

Use our Avast coupon codes to get the best price.

To sum it all up, ESET offers a cheaper entry plan as well as flexibility in customizing your antivirus package. Meanwhile, Avast is more affordable overall especially if you want protection for multiple devices. So, it’s fair to say that this round is a draw as both providers include affordable and cheap subscription options.

PC performance

When it comes to impact on performance, ESET and Avast completed their scans quickly and didn’t raise any serious issues. ESET has the better AV-Comparatives performance impact score while Avast is marginally more lightweight in my tests.

With an antivirus, it’s impossible for the scans to not, at least, have some impact on your processing power. After all, the antivirus is constantly scanning the files and folders on your device.

At the same time, you can’t exactly do without these scans since they’re necessary to update virus definitions, check for viruses and malware, and detect advanced issues.

The best that you can hope for is that the program doesn’t cripple your device’s performance too badly.

Luckily, ESET and Avast have relatively minimal impact on performance. If you look at the AV-Comparatives performance impact scores, ESET scored 4.6 and nabbed the third spot. Meanwhile, Avast’s score is at 9.8, placing it in 8th place.

Overall, ESET is better than Avast in terms of performance. In the top 3, its performance impact is even better than bigwigs like McAfee and Norton as well as Avast.

Quick scan

I couldn’t compare my ESET Smart Security and Avast Premium Security programs here since Avast is the only one with a quick scan. But, I’ve still noted Avast’s CPU, memory, and disk usage during the quick scan.

ESETAvast
Quick scan
Doesn't have a quick scan0 h 0 min 30 sec
CPU load
17%
Memory load
43%
Disk load
5%

Overall, Avast’s quick scan ticked all the right boxes. It was stunningly fast and took just 30 seconds. Plus, it was light on processing power and other system resources, too.

Full scan

Full scans took only minutes for both ESET and Avast. As for system resources, the results were rather similar initially when recording. Without recording, both cut down scan time and resource consumption.

Here, ESET and Avast completed their full scans very swiftly. During the scans, their resource usages were very close to each other but ESET was slightly more lightweight.

ESETAvast
Full scan
0 h 18 min 26 sec0 h 12 min 0 sec
CPU load
69% max, 60% average79% max, 38% average
Memory load
44%43%
Disk load
98%100% max, 35% average

Without recording, both cut down on scan time significantly with ESET breezing through at just a little over 4 minutes. But, in terms of resources, Avast turned the table on ESET and was the lighter solution.

ESETAvast
Full scan
0 h 4 min 49 sec0 h 7 min 0 sec
CPU load
60% max, 40% average26%
Memory load
44%43%
Disk load
43%24%

In brief, the providers wrapped up their full scans remarkably quickly. Their CPU usages are on the higher side but there’s no cause for concern yet.

To sum up, while both providers showed similar results in terms of system resources, ESET was slightly better than Avast. Not only did it do much better in the AV-Comparatives performance impact test, ESET's max CPU load was also lower (69%) than Avast's (79%).

Apps and interface

The installation of both antivirus services went smoothly and took barely a few minutes. Yet, Avast turned out to have a much more modern and organized interface than ESET. While it’s a matter of taste, and ESET could be said to have a more beginner-friendly look to it, the provider also doesn’t offer an app for iOS.

Desktop Apps

ESET’s app is as simple as they come. The menu on the left has all the important specs like scan, update, setup, and tools within reach. Navigating the app and performing daily tasks like running scans are a breeze even to a complete beginner.

ESET interface

However, the app does seem a bit outdated in terms of looks. Plus, the scanning option buttons are little and don’t even appear as buttons at first glance, making it confusing.

Meanwhile, Avast’s app is modern and features a menu with 4 categories: status, protection, privacy, and performance. Experienced or not, anyone can find this application convenient.

Avast desktop app interface

Even if it may seem difficult at first, it takes virtually no time at all to figure out where everything is placed.

Mobile Apps

ESET and Avast did well with their Android versions but dropped the ball when it comes to iOS. ESET completely bypassed iOS while Avast’s iOS version is extremely stripped-down.

But, ESET takes the lead if we compare the Android versions of both providers. Its app comes with heaps of nifty features like an antivirus scanner, anti-theft, payment and phishing protection, call filter, and more.

eset mobile app security audit

In contrast, Avast is more tight-fisted with its tools. It includes handy features like RAM boosting, device tracking, and protection against malicious websites. But, at the same time, it’s missing vital features like a malware scanner.

Avast mobile app interface

It’s worth noting that ESET has a marginal advantage since it leads the Avast vs ESET Android versions battle with its feature-rich app. However, it’s not a tough call as Avast’s apps are more user-friendly and modern. Plus, ESET doesn’t have an iOS app.

Customer support

ESETAvast
Email✅ (24/7 with paid version)
Live chat✅ (24/7 with paid version)
Phone✅ (24/7 with paid version)
Remote assistant✅ (24/7 with paid version)
Social media platforms
Knowledge base

ESET comes out ahead in this round of Avast vs ESET. Both providers offer a range of customer support channels but Avast imposes tons of limitations on its support unless you purchase its Avast Care package.

The providers both have all the common support channels like email, live chat, phone, and knowledge bases.

With ESET, the only thing that is less than ideal is that there’s no official 24/7 help. So, for quick assistance outside of business hours, you’d be better off hitting up its forum or knowledge base.

In contrast, Avast offers 24/7 email, live chat, and phone support, but only if you shell out an expensive $39.00/year for its Avast Care package. Otherwise, you can only reach out via phone and email during business hours.

Overall, ESET offers more accessible customer support than Avast. Plus, with ESET, you don’t have to pay extra just to get assistance.

ESET vs Avast: final verdict

Category ESETAvast
Features
Security
Pricing
Performance
User experience
Support

All things considered, the ESET vs Avast comparison sees very equally-matched contenders. However, a tally of the wins will reveal that ESET comes out ahead of Avast because of its many advantages.

ESET has one of the most well-rounded and generous security suites in the industry. Beyond that, it also takes security very seriously, as you can see from its excellent independent lab results. And it delivers all of these offerings in an easy-to-use way and at a competitive price point.

However, Avast follows close behind with robust features, incredible independent lab results, and affordable plans.

Ultimately, ESET is the winner of this comparison. It offers higher performance impact scores, better customer support options, and ample security features.

Alternatives to ESET and Avast

Although ESET and Avast are leading antivirus programs, they might not be the best fit for you. In that case, two great alternatives are Norton and Bitdefender.

Norton Antivirus

Norton Antivirus is one of the best programs that the industry has to offer. The provider offers best-in-class antivirus protection with remarkable malware detection rates and excellent real-time protection.

Beyond that, it’s also one of the most feature-rich programs, and its plans are loaded with a wide range of features, including extras like a VPN and password manager.

Bitdefender

Bitdefender is perhaps the best antivirus out there. It’s a favorite of users thanks to its heightened security protection and ample features. Beyond the essentials like efficient malware removal and top-notch real-time protection, it offers plenty of additional features such as a password manager, a VPN, a webcam filter, and more.

And, the very best part is that Bitdefender’s plans are incredibly affordable for what it brings to the table.


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