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Malwarebytes vs Avast: which antivirus is better?

When choosing an antivirus, it’s common to end up making the final decision between Avast vs Malwarebytes as both are relatively known providers. After all, they include a VPN for online anonymity and both offer strong, independent laboratory approved security as well as many customer support options. But what’s different between them? And which one is better at protecting your device?

Read this comparison of Malwarebytes vs Avast and learn which antivirus offers better protection, a bigger feature array, and has less impact on device performance. You’ll also get insight on their apps, which plans offer better value for money, and more!

Malwarebytes vs. Avast

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🖥️ Platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOSWindows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS

Features overview

One of the most crucial factors to evaluate when choosing a cyber threat removal tool are features. In regards to Malwarebytes vs Avast, the latter offers a more inclusive service. While the feature array depends widely on the plan you purchase, Avast brings much more to the table.

Both providers offer a free version of their antivirus, and each one is quite basic. All that the free plan of Malwarebytes comes with is a virus scanner, while Avast comes with malware and ransomware protection as well as a firewall.

The other plans of Malwarebytes include Premium and Premium + Privacy, which aren’t very comprehensive in terms of features. Avast, on the other hand, has two paid tiers – One and Premium Security – which both have clear differences between each other.

Unlike Malwarebytes, the paid plans of Avast offer not only real-time protection features, but they also include a vast choice of other useful tools for protection. That’s why in this round of Malwarebytes vs Avast, the latter takes the lead.

Avast features

Avast offers a wide array of features with its plans. Even with the free subscription, you get not only virus scans and malware protection: you also get to enjoy email security, a firewall, and the Wi-Fi inspector. The latter feature scans your entire Wi-Fi network and searches for any possible vulnerabilities to secure them.

Avast free antivirus features

Going forward, Avast offers a range of premium features as well. With paid plans, your Wi-Fi inspector changes to real-time Wi-Fi security alerts, meaning that you’ll get notified about any potential threats. On top of that, you get a feature that protects your files from ransomware attacks.

And, for your peace of mind while browsing, Avast includes the SecureLine VPN. Is it needed? Technically, yes. You’ll hardly find a cybersecurity expert that wouldn’t recommend one. After all, a VPN makes you anonymous by hiding your personal data from third-parties, including your internet service provider (ISP) and the government.

If you’re looking into business features, you’re in the right place. You can expect a bunch of tools for protection – not only ransomware, but web, email, file, sensitive data, and webcam shields, which are all meant for different security purposes. For those with confidential files, there’s a file shredder which destroys deleted files without a possibility for hackers to recover them.

For more features, visit Avast Antivirus review.

Malwarebytes features

Malwarebytes surely doesn’t distinguish itself from other providers by having many features to offer, yet it does focus on trying to ensure quality threat protection.

Both paid subscriptions include real-time protection, which helps prevent malware from infiltrating itself into your device in the first place. What’s even better is that there are multiple features that protect you in real-time, including Malware, Ransomware, Web, and Exploit protections.

While the names of the features already indicate their purpose, you might be wondering what Exploit protection does. Well, it’s a feature that assesses your device and searches for any vulnerabilities. It basically shields your device to prevent any threats from sneaking in.

Furthermore, cyber threats are often known to creep in while browsing online. Malwarebytes is aware of this issue and, as a result, it gives you Browser Guard – an extension created for your convenience that blocks irritating scams, trackers, pop-up ads, malware, and potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).

The last feature, which only comes with the Premium + Privacy plan, is a VPN. If you ask whether the one that Malwarebytes offers is good, I’d say it’s decent. You get a VPN with 400 servers in 34 countries, which is not a lot compared to the best VPN providers, but still enough to connect to, considering that there are lots of antivirus services that don’t include this feature.

Malwarebytes VPN feature

As mentioned, a wide range of features isn’t Malwarebytes’ strongest side, as it lacks such freebies like a password manager or a firewall, which give you additional protection.

For more features, check out our Malwarebytes review.

Malwarebytes vs Avast: which offers better protection?

AV-TestTop productTop product

The features and protection that antivirus providers promise are important, however, nothing is better than testing an antivirus by letting it out into the real world. That’s what independent research laboratories do.

Starting from AV-test, a German institution which focuses on researching cybersecurity products, both products got rewarded with the “Top product” certificate.

Malwarebytes vs Avast AV-test results

In terms of performance and usability, both providers received a maximum score of 6. However, Avast exceeded Malwarebytes' score in terms of protection. That’s because Avast found 100% zero-day malware during the period of September to October of 2021, while Malwarebytes had some variation. During September, it detected 99.5% of zero-day malware, while during October, the rate decreased to 98.5%. While it’s not such a huge difference, Avast proved to offer better protection.

Next, we have AV-comparatives, which awarded Avast with Advanced+ award, while Malwarebytes was rewarded with the Advanced certificate. This could be because Avast blocked 99.9% of threats and reported only 2 false positives within the period from July to October of 2021. Meanwhile, Malwarebytes blocked 99.6% of threats, which isn’t a big difference compared to Avast, however, it reported 12 false positives.

Lastly, Malwarebytes didn’t make the list of SE Labs tested antivirus, so only Avast can be reviewed. In fact, Avast received an AAA award, which puts it together with the other best antivirus software on the market in terms of security, such as Norton or McAfee.

So, Avast ended up being a more secure option in real-world tests, so in this round of Malwarebytes vs Avast, I deem the latter the winner.

Real-time protection

Real-time protection is an important feature that helps prevent malware infiltrating itself into your device. The majority of good antivirus programs have this feature, unless it’s their free version.

That’s exactly the case with Malwarebytes. It doesn’t offer real-time protection with its free plan, but it does have a great one with the paid tiers. In fact, you can choose the options of what the antivirus should be aware of in real-time. That includes web, exploit, malware, and ransomware protection. You can turn them on (or off) straight from the dashboard.

Unlike Malwarebytes, Avast does offer real-time protection with both – the free and the paid subscriptions. It monitors your apps and notifies you in case there are any threats hiding. Additionally, while you get a Wi-Fi inspector with the free plan, the paid ones come with real-time Wi-Fi security alerts. This means that if Avast finds any threats to your network, it will alert you.

Overall, both providers include excellent real-time security, which is crucial for any antivirus software.


It turned out that Avast actually offers a wide range of scanning options. Let’s review all of them:

  • Smart Scan is meant to identify malware, browser add-ons, network threats, and outdated software.
  • Full Virus Scan is used as an in-depth examination of your whole system.
  • Boot-Time Scan checks your computer during a system startup. This helps prevent any threats from being launched.
  • Custom Scans lets you modify what the antivirus is going to scan.
  • Targeted Scan lets you choose specific folders or files that you want to scan.

It’s worth mentioning that when you choose a custom scan, you get to create multiple scans for different purposes that you can save and use whenever you want. It’s a convenient way to scan specific destinations or create a quick scan that you could use daily.

Avast scanning options

Moving on, Mallwarebytes offers only three types of scanning, but it doesn’t signify that it’s a less qualitative solution. You can choose between a quick scan, a threat scan, or you can customize scans yourself.

Malwarebytes scan options

According to Malwarebytes, the threat scan is ideal for daily checkups. It is not to be confused with a full one as it only checks startup, memory, registry, and file system objects and doesn’t go into every corner of your device. The customized scan allows you to choose what to check. You can pick to check for PUPs, potentially unwanted modification (PUMs), and rootkits. You can also make the program scan your archives and startup objects.

In general, both providers offer great scanning systems, however, Malwarebytes doesn’t include a straightforward full scan option, which can be a disadvantage.

Firewall protection

One of the biggest cons of Malwarebytes is the absence of a firewall. You see, the antivirus itself scans files inside your computer but doesn’t prevent outsiders from infecting your device. That’s a firewall’s job. It filters your network traffic and basically guards your gates to not let cyber threats infiltrate themselves into your device.

While Malwarebytes lacks this feature, Avast does offer an advanced firewall even with the free version. First off, it’s customizable, meaning you can modify the firewall’s rule list in the advanced settings.

Avast antivirus advanced firewall

In other words, you get to control the firewall’s behaviour. Moreover, you can manually indicate which networks are trusted and which are not. And, you can also tell the firewall what to do with each and any individual app. Being customizable, this feature can create extra convenience for the user.

Impact on PC performance

When in search for a top-notch antivirus, you have to take into consideration not only the features and protection it includes, but also the impact it has on your PC performance. You don’t want your computer to slow down or even freeze just because of security software. That’s why it’s crucial to take into account what measures the providers take to ensure lower CPU usage.

Starting from Malwarebytes, online forums are full of complaints about high CPU usage. However, if you have a Mac, you can use the advanced settings to indicate how much processing power you let the antivirus use. You can choose between High (up to 100%), Medium (up to 50%), and Low (up to 25%). However, for fastest scans, High setting is recommended. Furthermore, whatever OS you have, you can make use of the Play mode, which hides the notifications of the antivirus.

Moving on, having in mind that Avast runs real-time protection in the background, it’s no surprise that CPU usage can be higher. However, it was almost two times higher compared to Malwarebytes when running quick scans. Avast also introduced the Game mode feature, which adjusts system settings to reduce unnecessary background activity.

Moreover, if you’re experiencing high CPU usage because of the antivirus, there are a few things you can try. This includes updating your antivirus to the latest version, deleting unnecessary add-ons, removing the Avast Cleanup tool, or reinstalling the software.

All in all, Malwarebytes ensures better PC performance and even has settings for controlling the CPU usage, so it surely gets points in this round of Avast vs Malwarebytes.

Pricing and plans

If we look for the most affordable solutions, Malwarebytes Premium is the cheapest plan ($38.24/year) if we ignore the free tiers. At the same time, it's Premium + Privacy plan is also cheaper that Avast's tier.

AntiVirus Plus/Premium
Deluxe/Premium + Privacy
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When looking for the best value for money, I’d recommend considering the Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy plan. The price is cheaper than Avast's and you get a no-log VPN with a Wifi security feature.

For even better discounts, you can always check out our pages dedicated to Avast coupons and Malwarebytes coupons.

Malwarebytes or Avast Antivirus: Free vs Premium plans

Regarding the free plans, Avast (without doubt) offers a much better one. While Malwarebytes only includes virus scans, Avast offers an advanced firewall and real-time protection from viruses, ransomware, and malware. All that for free!

Moving on to the premium plans, they differ for both providers. For instance, Avast Premium Security plan includes the same features as the free version, plus webcam, fake website, and sensitive information protection. You can choose to purchase it for either 1 or 10 devices. If you decide that you need the antivirus for one device only, you can take a look at the Avast One subscription.You can get it for the same price as the Premium Security plan for one device, except you additionally get a VPN, data breach monitoring, automatic driver updates, tracking protection, and the Avast Cleanup tool.

Next, Malwarebytes Premium plan is a bit more inclusive than the free tier. It offers not only virus scans, but also real-time protection, ransomware prevention, and exploit protection. As for the Premium + Privacy tier, you additionally get a no-log VPN with servers in more than countries.

Overall, I’d recommend going for any of the paid plans that Malwarebytes offers. You can get them much cheaper than Avast and still get top-notch quality protection.

Apps and interface

The installation of Malwarebytes vs Avast was quite similar as both very quick and easy. You don’t need any technical knowledge to set them up as all you have to do is pick a plan, sign up, pay, and install the software.

Malwarebytes is exceptionally easy to get a handle on. Everything you need is placed straight on the dashboard without having to browse through different buttons and sections. You also get a settings section which isn’t too complicated. Whatever platform you’re using, Malwarebytes has apps on all of them – Windows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, and iOS.

Avast also ensures a smooth experience, but, unlike Malwarebytes, it has a few different sections, at least on desktop versions. This includes current status checkup, scanning, privacy features, and performance. Yet again, considering the amount of features Avast offers, it can be hard to fit everything in one window as it would become too cluttered. Avast also has apps for many platforms, including Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS.

In the end, I have to give a hand to Malwarebytes for how it manages to be simple to navigate for anyone – from digital natives to first-time users.

Desktop app

If we compare Malwarebytes vs Avast in terms of interface, I’d vote for Malwarebytes. Let me explain why.

First off, it’s common to say that antiviruses are easy to navigate. So are the providers in this comparison. But, what I like about Malwarebytes is that you have everything on hand. You don’t have to spend time looking for basic features or functionalities because everything is placed on the main dashboard.

Malwarebyte antivirus desktop app interface

On top of that, if you need anything that isn’t on the main page, you can find all the settings on the top right corner of the window. Moreover, it’s worth noting that the main dashboard is very tidy and modern, with blue and white as dominating colors. I especially liked that the main tools are separated into white blocks right in front of your eyes. All this makes operating Malwarebytes without breaking a sweat.

Likewise, Avast is also easy to adapt to, but it has many more sections. Whether it’s a good or a bad aspect strictly depends on what you prefer. Personally, I like to have everything on hand. But, if you’re up for a more extensive program, Avast might be for you. Even though it has lots of sections and menus, it’s still pretty organized.

Avast dekstop app interface

It’s convenient that you have the “Run Smart Scan” button in the middle of the main window, but, if you want to find more scanning options, you have to switch to the “Protection” tab. You can also find features in the “Privacy” section. What I like about Avast, though, is the dark design. You have dark blue (or grey) and green as the main colors, creating a more minimalistic and clean design. Even if there are more sections, it doesn’t take long to figure out where everything is placed.

Mobile app

Switching to mobile apps, the iPhone and Android versions of Malwarebytes differ quite a bit. Regarding iPhones, the iOS app is only available in some countries, such as the US, Canada, etc. If you don’t know whether it’s supported in your location, check if you can find it in the Apple Store. The iPhone features include an ad and tracker blocker, fraudulent text forwarding to junk tab, as well as malicious site and scam protection. It also blocks calls from suspected scammers.

What I like about the app is that it has a pleasant color array with a nice background image of (what appears to be) a small virus. And still, the most important features are on the main dashboard. All of this makes the app look organized and more contemporary.

Malwarebytes antivirus mobile app interface

As for the Android app, it’s a bit more basic. Despite the plain white background, you get an efficient interface that includes the scan button at the very middle. On top of that, what the Android app offers is threat removal, detection of phishing websites, and privacy audits for all apps.

Just like Malwarebytes, the apps of Avast differ based on platforms. While Avast’s iOS app isn’t one of the best antivirus apps for iPhone, it’s still quite good. You can instantly notice that dark themes are Avast’s brand and the scan option is right in front of your eyes. The iPhone app isn’t as complex as the desktop one and you can access features by scrolling down the main page. What you can do with the iPhone app is turn on a VPN and verify Wi-Fi security. You also get identity protection and an unlimited photo vault.

Avast antivirus mobile app interface

The Android app of Avast is a bit more comprehensive. While the design is basic and doesn’t include graphic images, there are more features than in the iOS app. For instance, you can block all kinds of threats, turn on a VPN, improve device performance, and even monitor your browsing habits. Also, in case of theft or losing your phone, you can protect your device remotely. So, the Android app surely provides you with more security measures than the iPhone one.

Customer support

24/7 live chat
Phone line✔️✔️
Twitter and Facebook✔️✔️

When purchasing a service, you want to make sure you get quality help from the providers. After all, you’re paying money for it, so if something is not working like it’s supposed to, you deserve good customer service. In terms of the providers of this comparison, Malwarebytes has more support options.

Malwarebytes has phone and email service, while Avast offers 24/7 phone support only. So, whenever you experience more complex issues that guides and FAQs cannot assist with, you’ll always have human support at any time of the day.

You have an option to reach the providers through Twitter or Facebook, but it’s more convenient to do it by either email or phone, which both companies also ensure.

All I can say is that while both providers offer similar customer service options, when it comes to Avast vs Malwarebytes, I have to declare the latter as the winner because it has better support options.

Final verdict

Malware protection✔️
PC performance✔️
User interface✔️

This comparison of Avast vs Malwarebytes demonstrated that while both antivirus solutions have their strengths, Malwarebytes is slightly better.

Malwarebytes distinguishes itself with a very convenient interface with all main functions straight on the dashboard. And, while Avast offers more features than the other provider, Malwarebytes ensures that you don't experience visible speed reductions when scans are performed and has great apps for different platforms.

In terms of support, Malwarebytes offers options that are available round the clock. Meanwhile, Avast includes paid phone support only.

In conclusion, Malwarebytes is a better antivirus than Avast. That’s because it provides better performance, great security from threats as well as great customer service.

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