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McAfee vs Webroot: which antivirus is better?

McAfee and Webroot are notable antivirus providers with unique tools for protection. Because they are so different in their approach to cybersecurity, we raise a question: which program is the best choice for you?

Webroot offers a simple lightweight program that does not slow down your device, on the other hand, McAfee’s security package comes with a massive bundle of extra features.

In this review, our goal is to compare McAfee vs Webroot to find the better option for the average user. We are burning to find out if Webroot can compete with McAfee, one of the best antivirus programs, in terms of security, performance, ease of use, and other critical aspects.

To learn more about each provider, we performed in-house tests and compared their results with reviews from third-party testing labs. Keep reading to find out the winner of this faceoff.

McAfee vs Webroot

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McAfee AntivirusWebroot Antivirus
⭐ Rating:
🥇 Overall rank:#7 out of #25#24 out of #25
🔥 Coupons:McAfee Antivirus coupon 70% OFFAntivirus Coupons 2024
💵 Price:From $39.99/yearFrom $25.99/year
✂️ Free version:Yes (Android, iOS)No
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, iOS, and Android

McAfee vs Webroot: which offers better protection?

AV-TestTop productCertified

In search of an antivirus program with better protection, we performed in-house tests and analyzed reviews from the independent testing labs. Their results showcase McAfee vs Webroot and their effectiveness against malware.

McAfee sweeps the board with a perfect 6 out of 6 rating for protection and the AV-TEST’s top product award. Even better, McAfee reviews from AV-Comparatives show a very good 98.5% protection rate, where the provider gets an Advanced+ rating.

Webroot performed worse than McAfee, as its AV-TEST protection rating was only 2 out of 6. AV-Comparatives does not have any recent reviews, with the last performed back in 2012. Still, another evaluation from SE labs shows a smaller gap between providers, where both of them received AAA ratings.

During in-house testing, Webroot found 70% of planted threats on the devices. Still, McAfee performed better as a safer option with 80% threat detection.

Wrapping up
All things considered, McAfee is a better choice for digital protection. Both independent reviews and in-house tests show its greater performance against viruses and real-time threats.

Malware protection

McAfee and Webroot have tools for real-time security and scanning in their basic protection package. Here you will see which provider will do a better job at stopping malware, viruses, and other threats from entering your device.

In its arsenal of tools, Webroot has a Realtime Shield and Infrared Protection Engine. They work hand in hand to stop malware and learn to recognize future zero-day threats. Realtime Shield monitors users' activity to stop attacks, while Webroot Infrared learns to recognize dangerous patterns.

McAfee uses Ransom Guard and File Content Transformation to not only protect the entrance to your device but also prevent damage to files inside. These tools keep an eye on all processes to detect and stop any changes from malware and ransomware.

Although both providers offer a robust threat protection package, results show that McAfee is better at preventing malware, ransomware, and other threats.


To compare McAfee and Webroot scanning results, our in-house testers planted 10 malicious files on an 8 GB RAM device with a 4-core, 3.99 GHz processor.

McAfee Total Protection has two types of scans: full and quick scans, as well as settings for automation. A quick scan took a bit more than 6 minutes, but it did not find the injected threats. A full scan found 8 out of 10 malware in 22 minutes.

McAfee scan types

McAfee also adds a niche Vulnerability Scanner for finding and upgrading outdated software.

McAfee Vulnerability Scan

Webroot follows the same pattern with quick and full scanning options. The deep scan can be altered to reach well-hidden problems.

Webroot scanning settings

After going through both options, we see that McAfee is better at scanning than Webroot. For full inspections, McAfee uncovered 80% of malware, while Webroot is a bit behind with 70%

Firewall protection

McAfee got our attention with a robust firewall and its extra features. It includes a Traffic Controller to manage internet access for your apps and a Net Guard to track and control connections.

On top of that, we have advanced options: port opening, stealth mode, lockdown, and more. McAfee has a very strong firewall which is better than free options like Windows Defender.

McAfee firewall

For Webroot, its firewall is a clear weakness. Also known as Web Shield, it failed to stop all incoming threats during in-house tests. What's more, it is only available on Windows, which already includes a better, no-cost firewall.

Features overview

Both Webroot and McAfee have comprehensive antivirus programs with great features. Here we compare basic protection packages plus additional tools offered by providers in their subscription packages.

Real-time protection
Virus scan
Password manager
Parental controls
File shredder
Webcam/mic protection
Performance optimization tool

With McAfee, you get a customizable firewall, a VPN, parental control, and more great features that Webroot does not deliver.

Wrapping up
McAfee has more available features than Webroot. Not only that, the tools in the basic security package perform better, while the missing options are valuable additions to the antivirus program.

McAfee features

McAfee has a lot of highly-functional features. Its entry-level package offers powerful scans, real-time protection, and other robust options. First, we have a firewall that is easy to customize, and even beginners can enjoy top-notch network security out of the gate.

Then, there is McAfee's WebAdvisor. This powerful browser extension shields your browsing from malware and cryptojacking. On the UI, you can see the stats on scanned pages and blocked online threats. While running, WebAdvisor keeps your browsing sessions clean and fast.

McAfee WebAdvisor

McAfee also has a powerful VPN. With a solid network of servers and auto-connect options, it also includes a kill switch – an essential feature for safe VPN use.

McAfee VPN

With a heavy focus on online safety, McAfee has a comprehensive password manager called True Key. With AES-256 encryption and multi-factor authentication, it protects logins, notes, wallets, and other reusable data.

McAfee password manager

But the list does not stop here, as McAfee also includes a system cleaner, file shredder, web and app boosts, plus identity theft coverage in its subscriptions.

To learn more, check out this McAfee review.

Webroot features

The base Webroot Antivirus package comes with optional phishing and identity protection plus a firewall. This offer is less punishing on your PC performance. Still, the list of functional features is worse than McAfee’s, especially since Webroot’s firewall did not detect planted threats for in-house testing.

The higher-tier subscription enables Webroot for smart devices and works with 3 instances. It also includes new features: a system analyzer that discovers data leaks plus a Lastpass password manager to store and protect your passwords.

Webroot maxes out with additional features for device cleaning, tracker removal, dark web monitoring, and identity protection. It also includes options to prevent future threats and compensation for damages.

webroot password manager

Webroot stays in its lane with a simple security package. Its fleet of features is much smaller than McAfee’s, but its antivirus program can be a great choice for coverage of multiple older devices, and its protection tools need to be more effective.

To learn more, check out our Webroot review.

PC performance

McAfee’s full scans are heavy processes that occupy from 90% to 100% of your CPU. That being said, keep in mind that our in-house tests were performed with 8 GB RAM devices with 3.99 GHz 4-core CPUs. For older PCs and gadgets, McAfee can take over the device for a long time to perform a full scan.

Webroot is a more forgiving choice that is less heavy on your CPU. On average, its full scans only used 52%, and the load never went above 77%. For a new device, such performance means you can run more apps without difficulties, while old PCs do not have to be paralyzed.

After testing of these competitors, Webroot proved to be a better antivirus program for preserving PC performance. McAfee scans are heavy and find more threats, but the load on the device is too big.

Wrapping up
After testing these competitors, Webroot proved to be a better antivirus program for preserving PC performance. McAfee scans are heavy and find more threats, but the load on the device is too big.


Choosing the right provider with better pricing is a tough task because Webroot and McAfee have many unique deals with different features and complex pricing structures.

Premium/Internet Security Plus$49.99/year$38.99/year
Check PricingCheck Pricing

While the fight is close, we give the win to McAfee because it offers a better price-to-quality ratio.

Wrapping up
Although its basic subscription is more expensive than Webroot’s mid-tier option, the prices even out in their most inclusive packages, where McAfee is a better choice.

McAfee pricing

McAfee has no free option, and the first package, McAfee Plus, comes with a highly robust feature set offered by the provider. For $39.99/year, you already get the standard security suite, a VPN, WebAdvisor, True Key password manager, a firewall, a file shredder, and identity monitoring options for 5 devices.

With a strong start, McAfee takes smaller steps for further options. The mid-tier deal, McAfee premium, unlocks a parental control feature and lifts the restriction on available devices, all for $49.99/year.

McAfee Advanced is the top option for total protection, with a heavy focus on threat prevention and damage control. It includes tools for personal data cleanup, security freezing, and liability coverage if the program fails to prevent identity theft. McAfee Advanced unlocks these features and the tools from prior deals for $89.99/year.

Webroot pricing

While not as expensive, Webroot Antivirus only comes with the basic suite of security tools, identity protection that monitors online threats, and a firewall that failed to stop attacks in our in-house tests. Still, it is cheaper than McAfee, and for only $25.99/year, you get a lightweight antivirus for older devices.

As we go up, Webroot Internet Security Plus is available on phones and tablets and includes a Lastpass password manager. For $38.99/year, you gain access to 3 devices, which is still less than offered by McAfee Plus.

Webroot Premium is the ultimate option that lets you use Webroot on 5 devices and features for system optimization, removal of online tracks, and liability coverage for 1 identity, which costs $77.99/year.

Apps and interface: which is more user-friendly?

McAfee and Webroot offer desktop and mobile apps that are easy to use. With a simple interface, users can find the base tools in no time.

However, McAfee has more intuitive and better-performing apps than Webroot. The differences are even more obvious in mobile apps, where McAfee offers new features for mobile users, while Webroot’s options offer poor versions for Android and iOS devices.

Wrapping up
Although Webroot’s app is simple and easy to navigate, its performance issues, outdated design, and lack of features on mobile apps make McAfee a winner for this comparison.

Desktop apps

At a first glance, McAfee shows a clear overview of active tools that is pleasing to the eye and does not overload the user with information. On top, you have safety suggestions that change over time and do not overwhelm your screen. In the home section, you have suggestions for your next steps and a sidebar with information on active devices and their state.

McAfee interface

McAfee offers clear navigation through its top 3 sections at the top for PC security, privacy, and performance. Overall, the app offers comfortable navigation with simple icons and simple phrases that are easy to understand for beginner users.

The macOS app is nearly identical to the Windows option. However, it is not included in McAfee’s free trial.

webroot windows

Once we tested the app, we arrived at the conclusion that it is not up to modern standards. The app looks old and outdated, plus lacks informative phrases and icons that make it quick and snappy. On top of that, we encountered moments where the app itself did not perform well, as random stutters and lagging hindered user experience.

Mobile apps

McAfee’s mobile app focuses on ease of use and even includes new features for mobile protection. The available Memory Booster and Storage Cleaner improve the performance of laggy smartphones, while Anti-Theft, App Lock, and other features keep the device secure, even if it gets into the wrong hands.

McAfee mobile app

Both Android and iOS apps are easy to install, and they even have a free version with malware protection, Anti-Theft tools, and Memory Booster in the same package.

On the other hand, mobile apps are a clear weakness for Webroot. For Android, its scans are ineffective, and the package is missing important parts of the standard security suite, like Webroot’s Realtime Shield.

webroot android app

For iOS, Webroot’s app is even worse. All you get is Webroot’s SecureWeb Browser and no protection against internal threats.

webroot ios

Customer support

Both McAfee and Webroot have options for customer support via live chat, phone, email, and other choices. Because antivirus programs have clients worldwide, we prioritize providers that communicate with users 24/7.

Live chat
Knowledge base

Webroot and McAfee answer your questions via email, and you can call both providers for a closer inspection of problems and concrete solutions. They also present FAQs on informative blog articles and run community forums where clients can report new problems and discuss recurring issues.

Final verdict

PC Performance
User Interface

Summarizing both providers, our tests showed that McAfee is better than Webroot. Independent reviews from SE Labs and AV-Comparatives give McAfee a higher protection rating as well. Our in-house testing follows the same pattern, where Webroot performs worse, and its firewall fails to identify any incoming threats.

Still, Webroot is a cheaper antivirus with a lower PC workload. with the base subscription full of privacy features, McAfee offers a bigger, better deal to its customers.

While the topic of pricing is up for debate, we think McAfee is better than Webroot because its value fulfills the price. However, Webroot is still a great option to consider if you are looking for a cheaper lightweight solution on older devices.

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