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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

McAfee AntivirusAVG AntiVirus
⭐ Rating:
🥇 Overall rank:#4 out of #20#11 out of #20
💵 Price:from $39.99/yearfrom $59.99/year, 1 PC
✂️ Free version:Yes (Android, iOS)Yes
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, iOS, Android
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McAfee winner logo

Features overview

At the first glance, it’s hard to determine a winner when it comes to McAfee vs AVG, as they both offer the same basic security features (like a firewall, real-time protection, and device scans). However, their extra features are rather different (and nonetheless useful), and McAfee just seems to have more of them.

You might prefer McAfee if you want a password manager included in the subscription or Parental Controls for making sure your kids don’t access shady stuff online.

The software also offers identity monitoring for up to 10 different email addresses, as well as a protection score that allows you to determine the safety level of your device.


McAfee winner logo

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?

McAfee AVG
AV-TestTop productTop product

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. Security research institutes like AV-TEST test and compare the most popular antivirus programs so that you could easily choose the best one.

Independent test scores McAfee AVG

As you can see, while both programs did a really good job when it comes to protection, performance, and usability, McAfee is the one that excels at every challenge that is thrown at it.

Meanwhile, AVG was a tiny bit lacking in the protection and performance departments.

To sum up, both McAfee and AVG are great antivirus suites. However, McAfee is the one that will satisfy even perfectionists.


McAfee winner logo

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.


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.

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.

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.

Winner: Tie

Pricing and plans

Internet Security/Single Device
$46.68/year, 1 device
$84.99/year, 1 device
-/Multiple Devices
-$49.99/year, 5 devices
Ultimate/Family Coverage
$59.88/year, 10 devices$54.99/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. Most of them let you choose different numbers of devices, as well as different subscription periods.

However, from what we can see, it’s quite clear that AVG is the cheaper option for those who don’t need a broad coverage of devices, while McAfee is better for those who want to cover all the family devices.

Also, AVG is the one with a free plan for any device, which McAfee, sadly, lacks - the latter can only be used for free on mobile devices.

All in all, I declare a tie in this category, as different pricing will appeal to different user groups.

Winner: Tie

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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 $46.68/year or $59.88/year for the first year. The plan also includes Wi-Fi security, protection against fake websites, and protection against phishing.
  • AVG Ultimate. Getting this plan for 10 devices will cost you $59.88 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 Single Device – $84.99/year for 1 device
  • McAfee Multiple Devices – $49.99/year for 5 devices
  • McAfee Family Coverage – $54.99/year for 10 devices

Keep in mind that the prices for Multiple Devices and Family Coverage are 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 offer good antivirus applications that are easy to install and use. Moreover, both are easy on the system, not taking up lots of resources.

Likewise, no matter which provider you choose, you will get to enjoy dedicated apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

That’s why I think that there’s no particular winner in this category.

Winner: Tie

Desktop apps

The user interface of McAfee 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 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

Mobile apps

The mobile version of McAfee 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 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.

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.

For this reason, I deem AVG the winner in this category.


AVG winner logo

Final verdict

Malware protection✔️
PC performance✔️✔️
User interface✔️✔️


McAfee winner logo

As you can see from the table, determining the winner between McAfee and AVG was pretty difficult. In many cases, the antiviruses were totally equal competitors, and McAfee won only by a slight margin.

However, the categories where McAfee triumphed over are the most important ones: features and security, which means that you might want to choose this software if you want to be 100% sure about your safety.

On the other hand, AVG has a totally free version, which is great for those who can’t afford an antivirus otherwise.