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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.

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Norton vs ESET

Norton AntivirusESET NOD32
⭐ Rating:
🥇 Overall rank:#2 out of #25#6 out of #25
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💵 Price:From $29.99/yearFrom $49.99/year
✂️ Free version:NoNo
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, 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:

ESETNorton 360
AV-TestCertifiedTop Product

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 Home 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.

Wrapping up
Because Norton fell behind only regarding the false alarms but outperformed ESET in other fields, we declare it a winner regarding online security.

Malware protection

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.

Norton scanning options

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.

ESET advanced scanning options

Both providers have multiple scanning options, including full system scan, although Norton offers slightly more choices than ESET does.

Firewall protection

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.

Norton firewall

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 ESET Advanced setup

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.

Features overview

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:

Two-way firewall
Real-time protection
Virus scan
Password manager
Parental controls
Webcam/mic protection
Performance optimization tool
Cloud backup storage
Wrapping up
The deciding factor is Norton's performance optimization tool and cloud backup, two minor, albeit useful, additions to its cybersecurity stack.

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 anti-theft

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.

PC performance

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.

Wrapping up
Although ESET lacks a quick scan option, its full scan uses two times less CPU power compared to Norton and never jumps to the full 100% load.


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 $49.99/year, while Norton is much more affordable, starting at $29.99/year.

Norton AntiVirus Plus vs ESET Home Security Essential$29.99 first year (1 device)$49.99/year (1 device)
Norton 360 Standard$39.99 first year (3 devices)-
Norton 360 Deluxe vs ESET Home Security Premium$49.99 first year (5 devices)$59.99/year (1 device)
Norton 360 with LifeLock Select vs ESET Home Security Ultimate$99.99 first year (10 devices)$179.99/year (5 devices)

Both these top-notch antiviruses are quite pricey, but drop by our Eset and Norton coupon sites for better deals.

Wrapping up
ESET has a cheaper basic plan, but Norton's best plan has more features and is more affordable, adding massive cloud backup space to win price comparison.

ESET pricing

ESET Home Security Essential plan doesn't cost an arm and a leg but does not boast various features. From $49.99/year (1 device), it offers real-time online protection, device scanning, banking and browsing protection, and smartphone and smart home security.

Unsurprisingly, ESET Home Security Premium plan offers more perks. Most notably, it comes with a password manager and data encryption. You can choose the number of devices you want to protect (up to 10), with costs starting at $59.99/year for one device.

But you'll get the complete package of services only with ESET Home Security Ultimate. Pricing starts at $179.99/year for 5 devices, but you can secure up to 10 devices. This plan includes an unlimited VPN, which is essential for online privacy and Wi-Fi protection. It also unlocks ESET's strongest additional benefit – identity theft protection.

Overall, we'd like to see more features on the more affordable plans, and the Ultimate plan is quite expensive. However, ESET's perfect malware protection is worth the steep cost.

Norton pricing

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.

Wrapping up
Both apps are relatively easy to use, but Norton offers a slightly better-organized interface and an iOS app, which ESET lacks.

Desktop apps

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.

orton desktop app

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.

ESET Desktop app

On the other hand, ESET's app design is somewhat cluttered and outdated. It takes a while to locate the same features.

Mobile apps

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.

Norton mobile app

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.

ESET mobile app interface

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.

Customer support

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:

Norton 360ESET Home Security
Live chat✅ (Mon–Fri, 6am–5pm)
Phone support✅ (Mon–Fri, 6am–5pm)
Email support
Knowledge database
Community support

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.

Wrapping up
Norton clearly outmatches ESET's customer support by being available 24/7. Limiting cybersecurity software support options to workdays is risky, allowing malware to spread or cause more damage.

Final verdict

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.

PC performance
User interface