ESET vs Norton: which antivirus is better?
Norton and ESET are two time-tested antiviruses that have existed for over three decades. They both provide effective malware protection and have similarly high scores on independent tests, but does that mean there are no significant differences?
After closer inspection, it's evident that each has benefits that the other lacks, although Norton has a broader spectrum of additional features. In other words, you'll pick the right one if you know exactly what you're looking for.
To help you choose, we've prepared an ESET vs Norton comparison. Our experts took a deep look into their security capabilities, performance, app design, pricing, and more. By the end of this article, you'll know whether ESET antivirus or Norton has what you need or if you should consider alternatives.
📢 LIMITED OFFER: Get up to 58% OFF Norton Antivirus
Norton vs ESET
|🥇 Overall rank:
|#2 out of #25
|#6 out of #25
|Norton Antivirus coupon 58% OFF
|ESET coupon up to 15% OFF
|✂️ Free version:
|Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
|Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
ESET vs Norton: which offers better protection?
The single most crucial antivirus evaluation criterion is its malware protection efficiency. Both antiviruses perform exceptionally well during independent tests, but Norton is the winner here because it provides a sightly better protection compared to ESET. See the results below:
Norton 360 has nearly perfect AV-Test results, scoring a maximum of 6 for protection and usability and 5.5 for performance, therefore getting a “Top Product” rating. Meanwhile, ESET Smart Security Premium scored 5.5 for protection and performance and 6 for usability to get a “Certified” badge.
It's worth noting that Eset's Smart Security is now included in its Home Security Premium plan. AV-Test has not yet released its test results, and the ESET “Certified” badge was awarded in February's 2023 antivirus comparison report.
ESET received the best “Advanced+” rating in the most recent AV-comparatives malware protection analysis. It offers an astounding 99.96% online protection rate with 1 false alarm. Norton has an even better 99.98% protection rate but produced 12 false alarms, lowering its score to “Advanced.” However, regarding online safety, they are both equally efficient.
The only significant difference is that ESET was not tested by SE Labs, where Norton 360 got the maximum AAA rating with 100% protection accuracy.
Norton AntiVirus uses advanced machine learning to identify and remove all kinds of malware efficiently. More so, it recognizes app behavioral patterns, automatically blocking those that demonstrate suspicious activity.
ESET also uses behavioral recognition with the Ransomware Shield feature to protect user devices against ransomware. It doesn't take chances and may flag legitimate apps as ransomware if they share any parts, but you can whitelist them in Audit mode to prevent false alarms.
Additionally, ESET's multilayered security suite scans downloads and uses cloud sandboxing to detect malware before it reaches the device. Its LiveGuard technology identifies menacing zero-day threats, but the focus remains on ransomware protection.
Meanwhile, Norton offers robust real-time threat protection. Its Norton Safe Web toolbar highlights potentially risky websites, including Twitter and Facebook feeds. The tool is particularly useful in neutralizing phishing attempts and password theft.
To sum up, both Norton and ESET provide exceptional malware protection, so you won't be disappointed in any of these antivirus software providers.
The Norton 360 vs ESET device scanning options are quite similar, and both antiviruses ensure no stones are left unturned.
Starting with Norton, it offers Smart, Quick, Full, and Custom scan opportunities. The Smart Scan runs performance and network security checks, while the quick scan inspects the most vulnerable parts of the device. The Full Scan analyzes the entire system. Meanwhile, Custom Scan checks only selected files and folders.
ESET has a Scan your computer option (equivalent to Norton's Full scan), a Removable media scan, which is self-explanatory, and a Custom scan. Lastly, there's the Repeat last scan feature that allows you to run the last scan with preset settings.
Both providers have multiple scanning options, including full system scan, although Norton offers slightly more choices than ESET does.
Norton and ESET both provide advanced two-way firewalls to inspect incoming and outgoing traffic for malicious elements. Both firewalls perform equally well on their own, and numerous customization options benefit more tech-savvy users.
Norton's Smart Firewall alerts users about fraudulent connection attempts from external devices and apps and allows the user to set custom traffic rules. It also hides inactive ports to prevent hackers from scanning them. What's more, Norton combines its firewall with an Intrusion Prevention System that works as a first line of defense against online threats.
ESET's firewall also protects the device by monitoring incoming and outgoing traffic but offers 4 filtering modes:
- Default automatic mode does not require any user input
- Interactive mode allows building a custom configuration to block or permit unknown communication attempts
- Policy-based mode permits communication attempts only defined by a specific rule
- Learning mode creates and saves rules automatically without user interaction
To summarize, ESET's Firewall has more customization options, and Norton's is oriented at ease of use. Both provide exceptional online protection and are worth every dime.
The ESET vs Norton comparison is a very close call, as both bring a variety of valuable features to the table. However, Norton wins against ESET, providing better device optimization and cloud backup, although lacking ESET's anti-theft feature.
Here's what each antivirus brings to the table:
|Performance optimization tool
|Cloud backup storage
ESET antivirus features
What ESET lacks in device optimization, it compensates in robust anti-malware and Anti-Theft features and information security.
ESET has one of the most elaborate device theft protections that will mark its geographical IP location and show pictures taken after the incident, assisting with Android and Windows device recovery.
ESET's identity theft protection is just as good, tracking SSNs and monitoring the Dark Web for personal data leaks. There's also a neat BreachIQ feature that uses over 1,300 factors to assign a risk score after a data breach, alerting users of particularly dangerous data leaks.
The Premium and Ultimate ESET plans also include a password manager that uses the industry standard AES-256 encryption to safeguard account credentials. And to make things even better, ESET has announced the release of its VPN to boost its online privacy protection to new heights.
For more information, visit our full ESET review.
Norton antivirus features
Norton 360 has a fantastic kit of parental control options. Users can block websites that are harmful to minors, inspect search engine queries and YouTube videos, and get Android and iOS locations. However, parental control is available only on Deluxe and Premium plans.
For online privacy protection, Norton offers a VPN with a kill switch and split tunneling features, a no-logs policy, and servers in 29 countries. Its fully functional password manager has numerous two-factor authentication options, form-filling, password generator, and other credential management necessities.
What makes Norton stand out is its cloud backup storage. Even on the most affordable plan, users get 2GB of cloud storage space, going up to 100GB on the most expensive Premium plan. We particularly liked the automatic backup option that regularly creates copies of your files on Norton's cloud, so you don't have to worry about losing them if your device is hit with ransomware.
To learn more about all the features, read our Norton antivirus review.
Antiviruses use a lot of system resources, and smooth PC performance separates the good from the bad.
During our tests, Norton completed the quick and smart scans using only 30-40% of CPU power, which was barely noticeable. As expected, the full system scan required a lot more, averaging 70% but sometimes going up to the whole 100%.
ESET resource consumption might look heavier at first glance because it doesn't have a quick scan option. However, the full system scan used only 38% of CPU power on average, with a 79% upper limit, clearly outperforming Norton antivirus.
A full system scan is the most important one to completely clear your device of malware and it's crucial for it not to use most of the system's CPU. Therefore, ESET wins this round against Norton as it uses far less CPU power.
Both providers offer various plans with significantly different prices and features. In this section, we'll overview what you can expect from each.
ESET lets you try the service out with a 30-day free trial, compared to Norton's 7-day free trial. However, Norton offers a 60-day money-back guarantee twice as long as ESETs. Besides, ESET's prices start at $34.99, while Norton is much more affordable starting at $29.99.
|Norton AntiVirus Plus vs ESET ESSENTIAL
|$29.99 first year (1 device)
|$34.99 (1 device)
|Norton 360 Standard
|$39.99 first year (3 devices)
|Norton 360 Deluxe vs ESET PREMIUM
|$49.99 first year (5 devices)
|$48.99 (3 devices)
$55.99 (5 devices)
|Norton 360 with LifeLock Select vs ESET ULTIMATE
|$99.99 first year (10 devices)
|$143.99 (10 devices)
ESET's ESSENTIAL plan doesn't cost an arm and a leg but does not boast various features. From $34.99 (1 device), it only allows the use of its antivirus for real-time online protection and device scanning.
Things look much better regarding its PREMIUM version, which adds a password manager, anti-phishing protection, secures banking websites, and allows file encryption. You can choose the number of devices you want to protect, with costs starting at $41.99 for one device and going up to $55.99 to protect 5 devices.
But you'll get the best value only on ESET's ULTIMATE plan. For $143.49, you can secure 10 devices, including its new VPN, which is essential for online privacy and Wi-Fi protection. It also unlocks ESET's strongest additional benefit - identity theft protection. Besides, you can select protection for up to 25 devices for additional cost.
Overall, we'd like to see more features on more affordable plans, and the ULTIMATE plan is slightly too expensive. However, ESET's perfect malware protection is worth the steep cost.
Norton AntiVirus Plus plan prices start at $29.99 for the first year to protect one device but already includes a password manager, 2GB cloud backup, and a 100% virus protection promise – an excellent bundle of cybersecurity benefits.
You can protect 3 devices with the Standard plan, which adds a VPN and Dark Web monitoring. The latter is geographically restricted to particular regions, and you can check here whether it's available in your country. Norton asks for $39.99 first year for the Norton 360 Standard plan.
Deluxe is Norton's best-value offering, which costs $49.99 for the first year and unlocks privacy monitor and parental control features. Parents should opt for this one, as Norton's parental control options are second to none, and the nifty privacy monitor will scout the information for personally identifiable information.
Lastly, the Norton 360 with LifeLock Select provides 250GB of cloud backup space, which is more than enough to safeguard pictures, videos, or anything else you consider essential. It also adds LifeLock identity theft protection that monitors credit bureaus and SSNs and has up to $1 million in stolen funds reimbursement. More so, it costs only $99.99 for the first year, which is a great price compared to other best antivirus services. Besides, there's an option to subscribe to this plan monthly, with prices starting at just $9.99/month.
Apps and interface: which is more user-friendly?
Unlike other categories, it wasn't hard to declare Norton the app design winner. Although Norton has the disadvantage of opening several features in separate windows that get a tad chaotic, it also has a clean interface where everything is a few clicks away.
In contrast, the ESETs app design looks somewhat outdated, and you'll have to go through several sections to find the required tool. The app is by all means usable, but antivirus newbies may find it tedious to navigate.
The setup process of both antiviruses is straightforward, although Norton asks to restart the device once. Whether you're new to antiviruses or a long-time user, ESET and Norton provide step-by-step installation instructions and in-app guides.
As mentioned previously, we didn't like Norton opening features like Dark Web Monitoring and Parental controls in a new web window. On the other hand, they are quite easy to navigate.
On the other hand, ESET's app design is somewhat cluttered and outdated. It takes a while to locate the same features.
Android users get outstanding apps from whichever antivirus they choose. However, ESET does not have an iOS app, while Norton provides one with limited features, which is common considering specific iOS app permission policies.
Norton and ESET Android apps are easy to navigate, and we liked the ESET mobile app more than the desktop version. Norton's mobile app suffers from the same flaw as the PC, opening several features in new windows.
Regarding feature availability, the Norton Mobile Security Android app provides web and anti-malware protection, app and system advisor, Wi-Fi security, safe search, and privacy report. ESET Android app has great Anti-Theft and anti-phishing options, malware and payment protection, a call filter, an app lock, and a security audit to review Android safety settings.
iOS users can benefit from web and Wi-Fi protection, identity monitoring, a secure calendar, and device and SMS security using Norton's iOS app. Furthermore, they can use a VPN, cloud backup, and a password manager as separate apps.
Professional and responsive customer support is paramount for a good antivirus, as dealing with malware occasionally requires timely assistance. We scrutinized ESET Home Security vs Norton 360 for available support options listed in the table below:
|ESET Home Security
|✅ (Mon–Fri, 6am–5pm)
|✅ (Mon–Fri, 6am–5pm)
Although both antivirus service providers tick all the boxes, ESET falls behind by limiting customer support to workday hours, compared to Norton's 24/7 customer support. That's especially troubling if you require assistance during the weekend, as postponed malware removal may cause significant damage or even spread to other devices.
Otherwise, you'll find exemplary articles and self-help guides in Norton and ESET knowledge bases, and getting in touch with ESET over the phone is remarkably straightforward.
As expected from renowned cybersecurity companies, the agents are helpful and successfully responded to our queries over email and live chat.
In this comparison, Norton antivirus wins against ESET. Although both providers offer good protection and offer similar features, in the end, Norton provides better protection for a better price. However, most categories weren't easy to decide, with Norton taking a slight lead instead of being significantly ahead. The only exception is the mobile app comparison, as ESET does not provide an iOS app.
In the end, Norton outperformed ESET by providing device optimization and cloud backup storage but fell behind in anti-theft options. It also has slightly better malware protection ratings, but ESET is technically on the same level – you will be completely safe using both.
ESET won only the PC performance test, using two times less CPU power than Norton, which sometimes spikes to 100%. Norton also has better mobile and desktop app designs and an around-the-clock support team, while ESET’s live support is available only on workdays.
Lastly, Norton's best plan is less expensive and provides more features. Meanwhile, ESET has a cheaper basic plan but is somewhat limited. Both antiviruses are exceptionally good, but if we had to pick one, we would go for Norton 360.
Is Norton better than ESET?
Yes, according to our research, Norton is slightly better than ESET. Although both antiviruses provide efficient malware protection and a variety of cybersecurity features. However, Norton has better pricing plans and offers cloud backup storage. Meanwhile, ESET has valuable anti-theft features that Norton lacks.
How many customers does ESET have?
ESET's YouTube channel claims this antivirus protects over a billion users worldwide. With localization in 30 languages and availability in 200 countries, the number might be close to the truth, as ESET is one of the most popular and time-tested antivirus software.
What are the disadvantages of ESET?
ESET's main disadvantage is the lack of an iOS app, making it unsuitable for Apple smartphone users. This antivirus should also polish its app design because the current look is outdated and cluttered, making it hard for antivirus newbies to get used to.