Kaspersky vs Avast: which antivirus is better?
In this comparison, I’m going to examine Kaspersky vs Avast – some of the best knights against cyber threats. Both of them come with real-time protection, a firewall, and a VPN, depending on the plans you choose.
And, if you’re worried about their ability to protect you, you’ll be pleased to know that both are independent laboratory-approved security products. But how do these two antivirus services differ and, at the end of the day, which one is better?
Read this comparison of Kaspersky vs Avast and find out what features each of them offers and for what price. You’ll also learn their impact on device performance as well as their interface and customer support options.
Editor's disclosure: We join the worldwide community in support of Ukraine and support the sanctions inflicted on the Russian government. Bloomberg reported Kaspersky Lab, the Russian-owned developer of Kaspersky antivirus software, to be in close contact with the country's Federal Security Service (FSB). The leaked emails indicate that the company provided FSB with real-time intelligence and identifying data of customers' computers. Cybernews do not tolerate the bloodshed, human rights abuses, and alleged Geneva Conventions violations the Russian army has inflicted on the Ukrainian people and won't stand in support of companies that might help enable it. Therefore, we will stop endorsing Kaspersky products.
Kaspersky vs. Avast
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If not for the quality of protection, I’d say there’s nothing more important an antivirus can have than its features. In this round of Kaspersky vs Avast, both providers offer lots of features with their services, but I have to declare Kaspersky as the winner. That’s because they provide more useful features than Avast.
First off, even though Avast offers a much better free tier, Kaspersky has more features within its personal plans that are much cheaper. The provider has three tiers – free, Anti-Virus, and Internet Security. Depending on the one you choose, you get not only real-time protection, but also a password manager, identity protection, Privacy protection, GPS Child-Locator, firewall, and a VPN.
Meanwhile, Avast has three personal plans as well, including the free, One, and Premium Security subscriptions. Avast offers real-time protection and an advanced firewall with all of its tiers, and, depending on which one you choose, you can also get email security, a VPN, and the real-time Wi-Fi security alerts. Of course, if you’d opt for the business plan, you’d also get extra security features for companies. But, if you’re not a business owner with employees, it’s not worth the money considering the prices start from $139.99/year.
Whichever antivirus you pick, you can get a firewall, real-time threat protection, a password manager, and a VPN depending on the plan you choose. And because both providers are comprehensive in terms of features, I have to declare a tie.
Kaspersky falls into our best antivirus software of 2024 list, and for a reason. The feature array the antivirus provides keeps you safe in virtually all corners. Sure, with the free plan, you only get real-time malware protection, but if you decide to upgrade to the paid tiers, you won’t be disappointed.
First off, Kaspersky includes the Safe Money feature, which helps you secure sensitive information and your identity. On top of that, you get a password manager. It’s a great tool for storing, organizing, and restoring your login credentials.
You also get Privacy protection – a tool that notifies you if someone tries to collect your data. This feature actually has a convenient ad blocker implemented which blocks commercial ads only when doing that wouldn’t disable the website. This way, the tool doesn’t become an annoyance to you and you’re free to enjoy browsing without interference.
As if that wouldn’t be enough, there’s the GPS Child-Locator feature which will probably only be useful if you have children. Oh, and they also have to own a smartphone. But who doesn’t? The way this feature works is that there’s a GPS monitor with which you can track your child’s location on their smartphone.
Another premium tool is a firewall which keeps your network safe and even allows you to set connection rules for individual apps. Lastly, the feature that focuses on your identity protection is the Secure Connection VPN. It offers servers in 25+ countries, which isn’t as many as other quality VPN services include, but still a decent amount to connect to.
I have to mention one drawback, which is that the antivirus that comes with the free tier and the paid entry plan is only supported on Windows. So, if you’re a Mac or other OS user, I’d recommend getting a free trial of the Kaspersky Internet Security plan.
For more features, visit our Kaspersky Antivirus review.
Avast surely doesn’t fall far behind Kaspersky with the features it includes with its subscriptions. In fact, I’d say the free plan of Avast is even better than the ones of other providers, as not only does it include threat protection, but you also get an advanced firewall, email security, and the Wi-Fi inspector. And, if you’re wondering what the last mentioned feature is, it’s basically your entire Wi-Fi network’s guard that investigates and searches for any vulnerabilities.
In terms of paid plans, Avast ensures an array of useful tools for better protection. To begin with, remember that Wi-Fi Inspector I just mentioned? Well, with Premium tiers, it changes into a real-time Wi-Fi inspector, keeping you safe in real-time and alerting you regarding any potential risks.
Another feature that you get with the Premium subscription is the Ransomware shield, which does exactly what it says – shields your files from ransomware attacks. And, if you care not only about protecting your device but also staying anonymous, you’ll make use of Avast’s SecureLine VPN.
The downside of Avast is that while it offers a lot of additional benefits with the Business plans, the subscriptions to them are very expensive. But, if you want extra security and are looking to share the antivirus with other people, these plans are very useful. On top of the features in Premium plans, you get web, file, email, sensitive data, and webcam protection. And, if you often have to handle confidential information, you’ll make use of the file shredder which deletes your files for good.
For more features, visit our Avast Antivirus review.
Kaspersky vs Avast: which offers better protection?
It’s not always possible to ensure flawless protection at all times because, just like everything else, malware tends to update and develop. However, there’s no better way to see how an antivirus can handle the newest threats than throwing it out into the real world. And that’s what independent laboratories do.
According to the German Institution AV-test, which researches cybersecurity products, both products did a phenomenal job. They received the Top Product certificate, which is the organization’s highest grade award.
As if that’s not already impressive, they received the maximum possible results for protection, performance, and usability. During the period from September to October of 2021, both providers managed to block 100% of threats.
Moving on, AV-comparatives is another independent organization that declared Avast and Kaspersky as deserving of the Advanced+ award. They both managed to block 100% of threats in these tests as well. Furthermore, SE Labs evaluated Avast protection accuracy rating with 97%, while Kaspersky reached 100%. Even though the results are slightly different, both programs were placed on the same list as other top antivirus services under the AAA award.
It’s worth noting that it’s not so common to receive the best awards from multiple independent laboratories. Apparently, this was the case in terms of Kaspersky vs Avast, which is why it’s an absolute draw.
If an antivirus you’re looking at doesn’t offer real-time protection, I’d strongly recommend finding one that does. After all, it’s one thing to scan your device from time to time and it’s another to be protected before something sneaks into your device in the first place.
Avast offers real-time threat protection with both free and paid plans. If you opt for a paid subscription, you’re also going to get Wi-Fi security alerts which notify you when there are any potential threats to your network.
As for Kaspersky, it offers real-time protection with each and every tier as well. It keeps you secure 24/7 by detecting any threats in files and applications when they’re being installed on the device.
All I can conclude is that both Kaspersky and Avast offer great real-time security, which is no surprise considering that their protection quality is excellent.
Starting from Kaspersky, it offers quite a few scanning options. Here’s what each of their purpose is:
- Quick scan only examines the most common areas where threats tend to hide.
- Full scan is used to scan everything in the system inside out.
- Selective scan lets you choose what you want the antivirus to examine, including files, folders, or drives.
- Vulnerability scan which examines the apps on your device and their vulnerabilities.
- Context Menu scan is used when you want to scan specific files or folders, such as archives, office formats, or distribution packages.
The variety of scanning options makes Kaspersky an attractive choice considering that you can be in full control of what you want to scan.
Just like Kaspersky, Avast also includes quite a wide range of scanning options. Let’s see what they are:
- Smart Scan is used for identifying outdated software, malware, browser add-ons, and threats to the network.
- Full Virus Scan examines your whole system in-depth.
- Boot-Time Scan reviews your device during a system startup. It prevents threats from being launched.
- Targeted Scan lets you pick specific files or folders that you want to scan.
- Custom Scans allow you to choose what you want the antivirus to scan.
While there’s a lot of options available, I really like the fact that with custom scans, you’re able to create multiple scans for different purposes. It’s very efficient, as you can customize a scan that you could use daily, weekly, or for a specific need.
Both providers offer a wide range of scanning options. Whether you want to create a custom scan or use a regular one, you won’t make a mistake picking either Avast or Kaspersky.
Kaspersky and Avast both provide a firewall to their users. This feature helps to avoid cyber criminals from infecting your device. It filters your network traffic and shields your device from enemies.
In fact, both providers offer a firewall that is customizable. You can change their rule list, which means that you indicate the actions of the firewall towards different apps. You can also control their behaviour towards different networks and acknowledge which ones are trusted and which ones aren’t. What’s different is that while Avast offers a firewall with its free plan, Kaspersky only provides it with the Total Security subscription.
Overall, it’s excellent that both services include a firewall because this feature is crucial for better security.
Impact on PC performance
Even though you want an antivirus that ensures flawless protection, you should also consider its impact on PC performance. You don’t want to sacrifice security for speed and not be able to use your device properly. Especially having in mind that an antivirus often runs background checkups. Either way, I tested Kaspersky and Avast myself and I can confirm that it’s not the case with these providers.
It appeared that Kaspersky used around 26% of my CPU during a full scan, while Avast – around 30%. However, in terms of memory, Kaspersky utilized 44% and Avast – 49%. This information helps draw one conclusion – if you have an older device that is relatively slow, Kaspersky might be a better pick.
However, I cannot choose one winner as the results turned out to be very similar, only with a few percent difference. Therefore, I announce a draw between Avast vs Kaspersky.
Pricing and plans
When comparing the most affordable paid solutions of Avast vs Kaspersky, the latter defeats Avast as it's much cheaper. Since both providers offer similar protection and a lot of features, Kaspersky proves that a quality service doesn’t have to be expensive.
So, when comparing the subscriptions and their prices, it’s clear that Kaspersky offers much better value for money compared to Avast. I recommend going for the Internet Security plan as it’s cheaper, has lots of freebies, and you can secure up to 3 devices.
If you’re looking for even better deals, I invite you to check out our curated list of Kaspersky coupons and Avast coupons.
Kaspersky or Avast Antivirus: Free vs. Premium plans
Even though the prices of Kaspersky vs Avast differ drastically, and I already declared the winner, that doesn’t make Avast the loser. In fact, when it comes to the free plans, it sure has a more comprehensive one. That’s because it not only includes real-time protection from various threats, but it also offers an advanced firewall and email security.
Starting from Kaspersky’s premium tiers, the Anti-Virus plan includes anti-phishing protection and performance optimization, and supports from 3 to 10 devices. Meanwhile, the Internet Security plan of Kaspersky is a bit more comprehensive than the paid entry subscription and offers payment, webcam, protection, ad blocker, adult content blocker, private browsing, a VPN, and the Screen-Time Management feature – all that for $39.99/year when purchasing a plan for 3 devices.
It’s worth noting that Kaspersky also offers the Total Security subscription, which is even cheaper than Avast’s paid entry plan ($44.99 for 3 devices). With it, you additionally get file protection, GPS Child-Locator, and a password manager.
As for Avast, what it adds to the Premium Security plan is a webcam, fake website, and sensitive data protection. You can choose whether you want to get it for 1 or 10 devices (price changes accordingly). Moving on, the Avast One plan also adds a VPN to the bundle, as well as breach-monitoring, automatic driver updates, tracking protection, and a cleanup tool.
Overall, considering the prices of both providers, Kaspersky brings better deals to the table as it offers more features for cheaper.
Apps and interface
When installing both Kaspersky and Avast, I was genuinely pleased with how simple and quick the process ended up being. It took me barely a few minutes to set everything up and start my first scan. You can either pick a plan, sign up, pay, and install the software, or you can simply download a free version (or trial) and upgrade later.
Avast ensured a smooth experience with both desktop and mobile apps. The platform is supported on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS. Everything is conveniently organized, making it a simple program that doesn’t require previous IT knowledge. You can find everything on the main dashboard or in the “Menu” section.
As for Kaspersky, it’s a bit of a different case. While it is supported on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, I didn’t quite enjoy the mobile apps. That’s because there wasn’t a single one for an antivirus but rather a few different apps for different features. On the other hand, the desktop app gave a much more pleasant experience as it’s intuitive and you have everything on hand.
To put it simply, Avast wins this round because of its convenient mobile apps.
In terms of desktop applications, both providers ensure a pleasant experience. Let me explain why.
To begin with, I have to say I’m quite a fan of having a simple but organized interface. I hate digging and searching for features, and Kaspersky made sure that I don’t have to. In fact, it was very easy to find all of the necessities as all I had to do was click on “More Tools” on the main dashboard and everything was in the same place.
And, if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, everything else is placed in the settings section, which you can see on the left bottom of the screen. What’s more is that the interface is very clean with shades of white and green as the dominant colors. In general, Kaspersky is a conveniently organized program that you won’t have trouble navigating.
Moving on, figuring out Avast is a simple process as well, but it includes a bit of a different approach. While it’s also sectioned into different categories, they’re placed on the left side. The majority of the window is left for the information and tools that appear when you open different sections.
The reason I like Avast is that it has no pop-up windows when browsing through it, which means that you don’t have to constantly turn additional windows off. Furthermore, Avast is known to go after a dark-themed design with elements of green. It’s nice for the eye both in terms of colors and the fact that everything is on the main dashboard, which ensures a smooth experience.
Kaspersky doesn’t provide a singular antivirus app for iPhones because, as they explain in their blog, the company doesn’t allow antivirus programs to be put on the Apple Store. However, Kaspersky provides a few different apps for different purposes – Secure VPN, Security Cloud, Safe Kids control, and Password manager. It doesn’t appear to be a very practical solution and there are certainly better antivirus options for iPhones.
As for Kaspersky’s Android app, the situation is quite similar but better. You can get Security Cloud, Internet Security, and Password Manager applications. Using them, you can search for vulnerabilities, devices on your network, and data leaks, as well as enable real-time protection and scan for threats. Unlike desktop apps, which have everything in one place, mobiles have separate apps for different features. Personally, I would say that it’s also not a very effective solution and could be organized better.
Avast, on the other hand, has platforms for both iOS and Android. The iOS app showed that dark designs are certainly something Avast specializes in. On top of that, the overall organization is very appealing, considering that the scanning button is in front of your eyes. With the iPhone app, you can make use of the unlimited photo vault, verify Wi-Fi security, and turn on a VPN or identity protection.
When it comes to the Android app, it’s a bit more versatile in terms of features. Sure, the design is basic and doesn’t have animations like the iOS app does, but it has more freebies. Not only can you turn on a VPN, but also block threats, improve device performance, and monitor your browsing habits. You can protect your device remotely in case of theft or losing your phone. This demonstrates that the Android app ensures a much more secure experience.
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Kaspersky truly outruns Avast in terms of customer support options, easily winning this category. So, here’s why.
Both providers offer 24/7 phone support. And, while that’s useful, few people actually want to make phone calls. Therefore, it’s better to include more human assistance options, like Kaspersky does. You have a choice to contact them through a 24/7 live chat or email as well.
But, if you like to figure everything out yourself, you’ll make use of the FAQs and guides that both providers have on their websites. They’re quite extensive and help you answer various types of questions, from setting everything up to explaining different features or solving issues with products.
Yet, while the knowledge base of Avast can be helpful, nothing can compare to having numerous human assistance options available. Therefore, in terms of customer service of Avast vs Kaspersky, the latter steps on stage once again.
Overall, Avast is a better antivirus than Kaspersky. It offers many useful features for a decent price. On top of that, Avast offers more convenient mobile apps and better user experience.
However, Avast is still a strong choice. It offers the same level of protection against viruses as Kaspersky and doesn't slow down your device more than Kaspersky does. But, Avast is generally more expensive, which might make it less attractive to some people.
Considering the security issues and collaboration with Russia's secret service, we can't fully endorse Kaspersky for just about anyone.
Other antivirus software comparisons:
Can Avast be trusted?
Yes, Avast can be trusted and is safe to use. While the company had a scandal back in 2020 regarding leaking user data, they promised to be more transparent about its actions. There were no further incidents and Avast is still on the market as a solid antivirus solution.
Can I run Avast and Kaspersky at the same time?
Technically, yes, but I strongly don’t recommend it. After all, running two antivirus programs can cause conflict and it can even result in a computer crash.