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McAfee vs AVG: which antivirus is better?

So, you’re stuck choosing between McAfee and AVG Antivirus. Both tools are really well-known and revered among antivirus experts, making it really difficult to decide which antivirus software deserves your hard-earned money.

For this reason, I wrote this McAfee vs AVG comparison article. Here, I will compare the programs in terms of features, security, performance, pricing, apps, and customer support. I hope I will help you pick the best antivirus for your particular needs.

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McAfee vs. AVG

Top 1 Choice
TotalAVMcAfee AntivirusAVG AntiVirus
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🥇 Overall rank:#4 out of #25#8 out of #25#14 out of #25
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💵 Price:from $19.00/year, 3 devicesFrom $39.99/yearFrom $31.20/year, 1 PC
✂️ Free version:YesYes (Android, iOS)Yes
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, iOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, iOS, Android

Features overview

At first glance, it’s hard to determine a winner when it comes to McAfee vs AVG. Since they both offer the same basic security features (like a firewall, real-time protection, and device scans). However, the two antivirus software start to differ with their additional features. This is where McAfee antivirus surges forward in front of AVG.

Real-time protection
Device scans
Password manager
Parental control
File shredder
Secure data encryption
Webcam protection
Performance optimization

McAfee has some enticing features in its package. For example, a password manager is included in the subscription or a Parental Control feature to ensure your kids are safe online and don’t access unsafe websites.

Additionally, McAfee antivirus provides you with identity monitoring for up to 10 different email addresses. And a protection score that allows you to determine the safety level of your device.

Overall, McAfee appears to be the better antivirus software than AVG antivirus. It offers more thorough protection for your devices and a wider variety of features.

McAfee features

McAfee is the perfect antivirus for those who expect a lot for what they pay for, as there are lots of features on offer. However, you don’t even really need to pay for those, as the software’s 30-day trial allows you to try them all for free.

McAfee WebAdvisor feature

Of course, first of all, we have the usual security features like real-time protection (which will prevent threats like malware and spyware from entering your device) and system scans that can be easily customized according to your needs. All of these features are followed by a firewall with a lot of customization options.

Then, there’s stuff that’s a bit more advanced. For example, McAfee offers a file locker that will allow you to hide your sensitive files in a password-protected vault. You’ll also get a file shredder that will permanently delete the files of your choice.

Another interesting feature is called App Boost. It will automatically update the programs on your device, letting you enjoy better PC performance. In addition to all this, McAfee will also let you know whether any of your email addresses have been breached. Let’s not forget that the software includes the Parental Controls that will allow you to set online boundaries for your children.

Oh, and you’ll also get a password manager and a VPN (however, the latter is available only if you’re enrolled in subscription auto-renewal).

AVG features

Similarly to McAfee, AVG doesn’t make a fool of itself in the feature department. Aside from the obvious ones like real-time protection, various types of scans, and a highly-customizable firewall, it also blesses us with an array of useful extras.

AVG antivirus features protection

One neat feature of AVG is the Anti-theft phone tracker for Android devices. In case your mobile phone gets stolen, you’ll be able to access it remotely and, for example, erase all files or even change the screen lock PIN code.

You might also like the Sensitive Data Shield feature that doesn’t allow untrustworthy applications to access your sensitive data.

AVG antivirus will also let you know whether you’re trying to access a website that might implement various phishing techniques. Oh, and you won’t need to worry about hackers accessing your camera ever again, as AVG will make sure nobody can get to it without your permission.

The antivirus software also comes with AVG Secure VPN that will give you a foreign IP address and protect your data while you browse the web.

McAfee vs AVG: which offers better protection?

It comes as no surprise that security is the most important aspect of any antivirus suite. However, when you’re just a regular user, how can you know that an antivirus will keep its promise of protecting your device at all times?

Well, that’s where independent lab tests come into play. Securely research institutes like AV-TEST test and compare the most popular antivirus programs so that you could easily choose the best one.

McAfeeTop product666
AVGTop product5.55.56

As you can see, while both programs achieved high marks for protection, performance, and usability, McAfee still had the edge over AVG.

McAfee’s results were all better or the same as the competitors. And according to the latest tests, McAfee antivirus achieved a 99.8% success rate against malware.

Meanwhile, AVG antivirus did fall behind McAfee in both protection and performance requirements. However, it achieved a near-perfect 99.9% success rate against threats.

To sum up, both McAfee and AVG are reliable antivirus suites. But, McAfee is just slightly better. It reached a near-perfect 99.8% success rate against malware, and the protection and performance results were perfect 6. That gave it the needed edge over AVG antivirus.

Real-time protection

Real-time protection might just be the most important security feature of any antivirus software. It doesn’t allow malware to be installed onto your device when you browse the web or download files, making your online experience much safer.

So, which one does it better McAfee or AVG? Luckily, AV-Comparatives have answered this question already thanks to their all-round real-time protection tests.

The most recent test showed that McAfee blocked 99.8% of the threats provided to it. However, the remaining 0.2% weren’t compromised cases these were the instances when the antivirus asks the user whether it is safe to download a particular file.

Meanwhile, AVG blocked 99.9% percent of the malware. Unfortunately, the remaining 0.1% shows compromised cases. Also, AVG antivirus showed 2 false positives, while McAfee had none.

Overall, McAfee antivirus provided better real-time protection over AVG antivirus. McAfee didn't show any false positives and had no issues dealing with compromised cases.


Like most antivirus tools, McAfee and AVG offer similar scanning options. These include a quick scan (which only takes up to a minute and scans only the most vulnerable parts of the device) and a full scan (that performs a thorough system checkup).

Both applications also let you customize your scans in terms of when they should be performed and on which folders.

AVG antivirus scanning options

However, AVG also lets you scan removable drives like USBs and DVDs.

All in all, both AVG antivirus and McAfee antivirus provide a wider variety of scanning options.

Firewall protection

As is expected from top antivirus tools, both McAfee and AVG offer quality firewalls.

When it comes to McAfee, you can customize the firewall according to your needs. For example, it even allows you to open a port to your device or enable UDP tracking. You can also take control of which programs can access the internet. Of course, the firewall also protects you from hackers and helps you avoid risky connections.

In the meantime, AVG’s firewall focuses on protecting you from ransomware. However, it also protects your device from other threats and lets you customize its security level.

Overall, both McAfee antivirus and AVG antivirus has a great firewall protection in their software packages.

Impact on PC performance

Both AVG and McAfee are quite light on the system. When performing a full scan, McAfee uses between 8 and 13% CPU. However, it takes quite a long time to finish the scan it took me 55 minutes in total. On the other hand, the quick scan was truly quick it lasted only a couple of minutes and used between 4 and 7% CPU.

In the meantime, AVG used between 12 and 14% CPU while performing the full scan, which took about an hour. Also, if you want to conserve CPU usage while you’re gaming or doing other activities, AVG lets you switch on a “Do not disturb” mode so that you can disable notifications.

All in all, McAfee antivirus and AVG antivirus are light on the computer systems, they offer quick scans, and don't interfere with your work.

Overall, both McAfee and AVG antivirus offer great protection for your systems. Neither of these antivirus software was a clear winner, since their speed, protection, and impact on devices were equal. So for this topic of comparison I have to award them with a draw.

Pricing and plans

Plus/Single Device
49.99/year, 5 devices
$31.20/year, 1 device
$54.99/year, unlimited devices
Advanced/Family Coverage
$89.99/year, unlimited devices$51.99/year, 10 devices
Check PricingCheck pricing

It’s quite difficult to compare the pricing between AVG and McAfee because of how diverse the subscriptions are.

For a singular device use, AVG leads as the cheaper option for those who don’t need a broad coverage of devices. McAfee is almost twice the price for a single device coverage, compared to AVG.

However, McAfee is better for those who want to cover all the family devices. Additionally, this antivirus software offers the middle ground of 5 device coverage for almost the same price as AVG singular device price.

Yet, AVG antivirus has a free plan, which McAfee antivirus, sadly, lacks – the latter only offers a free subscription on mobile devices.

All in all, the argument can be made for both antivirus software providers. The winner between McAfee and AVG antivirus depends on the number of devices you want to cover for the most optimal price. So I must declare a tie on the price topic of comparison.

AVG pricing plans

Here’s what you need to know about AVG Antivirus pricing plans you can either get a subscription for one or 10 devices only. And it pays to get the latter one, as the price increase is not that big compared to how many extra benefits you get from protecting all of your devices.

So, here are the main AVG plans:

  • Free. The free plan will simply protect you from malware and ransomware. Not much, but still better than having no antivirus software!
  • AVG Internet Security. You can get this subscription for either 1 or 10 devices, and it would cost you $31.20/year or $39.99/year for the first year. The plan also includes wifi security, protection against fake websites, and protection against phishing.
  • AVG Ultimate. Getting this plan for 10 devices will cost you $51.99 for the first year. Aside from everything in the previous plans, you also get AVG Secure VPN and a PC optimization tool.

Even though the price of both Internet Security and Ultimate is the same for the first year, the latter becomes more expensive for the second year.

McAfee pricing plans

While AVG offers more features with each subscription, McAfee doesn’t discriminate you’ll get the same features no matter which plan you choose. There’s one exception, however you will receive the Parental Controls feature only when buying the Family Coverage plan.

Here are the main McAfee subscriptions you might consider purchasing:

  • McAfee Plus – $39.99/year for 5 devices
  • McAfee Premium – $54.99/year for unlimited devices
  • McAfee Advanced – $89.99/year for unlimited devices

Keep in mind that the price for McAfee Plus is valid only if you get a two-year subscription. In case you want the coverage only for one year, you’ll pay slightly more.

Apps and interface

Both McAfee and AVG antivirus offer good antivirus applications that are easy to install and use. Moreover, both are easy on the system, not taking up lots of resources.

For app support, you’ll find that both McAfee antivirus and AVG antivirus are equal. Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS are supported by both antivirus software providers.

Thus, McAfee and AVG antivirus reach another tie in this comparison competition. Both software providers have solid apps that are easy to use and have the needed features.

Desktop apps

The user interface of McAfee antivirus is really pleasant to look at. It feels really clean and fresh, with no unnecessary clutter. The color palette is really light, which I like a lot.

McAfee Total Protection for Windows main menu

You will find all the features under the following categories: PC Security, PC Performance, My Privacy, and My Info.

However, keep in mind that McAfee comes with some presets (for example, automatic scans that might occur at an inconvenient time). For this reason, you have to dig deeper into the application as soon as you install it and make sure it works as you intended it to.

Meanwhile, AVG antivirus feels totally different, as its color palette is really dark (frankly, the whole user interface looks similar to Avast). You will find all the features under six categories and won’t get lost even if you’re only a beginner.

AVG antivirus desktop app dashboard

Overall, both McAfee and AVG antivirus offer a pleasant looking desktop apps. They are user-friendly, easy to use, and filled with needed features.

Mobile apps

The mobile version of McAfee antivirus not only protects you from viruses, but also offers quite a few features. For example, you’ll get antivirus scanning, an app lock, an anti-theft feature, a guest mode (which is helpful when other people want to use your phone), and a feature that will send you the photo of the person that tries to unlock your phone.

McAfee antivirus mobile app screen

In the meantime, AVG’s antivirus mobile apps are really easy to use. Of course, the Android version is a little bit more comprehensive, as it scans your device for viruses (something that iOS antivirus apps usually lack).

AVG antivirus iOS app interface

The features include data leak checkups, a secure photo vault, secure browsing, anti-theft, a VPN, and identity protection.

Overall, both McAfee antivirus and AVG antivirus mobile apps have their perks and negatives. But they meet the needed criteria of securing your device, and the additional features are nice extensions. Thus, I can't pick a single winner out of the two of them.

Customer support

Both McAfee and AVG have good customer support options. However, as you can see from the table, AVG has one extra option, which is email support:

24/7 live chat✔️✔️
Phone support✔️✔️
Knowledge base✔️✔️

Keep in mind that AVG’s human assistance is reserved only for paying users. If you have the free version, you'll have to rely on the knowledge base or the FAQ section. On the other hand, its 24/7 live chat is pretty great.

Now, even though McAfee also has a live chat option, it’s a bit more annoying. That's because you have to fill in lots of personal details into it, including your first name, last name, and mobile phone number.

All in all, AVG antivirus wins the customer support comparison over the McAfee antivirus. It has better customer service support and offers a wide variety of contact possibilities.

Final verdict

Malware protection✔️
PC performance✔️✔️
User interface✔️✔️

Overall, while both of these antivirus software are good contenders, McAfee antivirus has a slight edge over the AVG antivirus.

That is why McAfee antivirus is our choice as the better antivirus software.

The categories that McAfee antivirus triumphs over are the most important ones. McAfee has better performance when it comes to malware protection, offers better features, and has better deals for multiple device coverage plans. So not only can you be certain that your device will be protected 100%, but also your family's device too.

In other cases, like their apps and interfaces, pricing, and impact on your devices, McAfee antivirus and AVG antivirus are equal contenders.

The only real edge that AVG has over McAfee is that it offers a free plan. So if you can't allow yourself to pay for an antivirus package, then AVG is solid antivirus software. But when it comes to full protection, AVG loses to McAfee antivirus.

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