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TotalAV vs McAfee: which antivirus is better?

Both TotalAV and McAfee have been evaluated by experts as the best antivirus programs of all time, but which one is better than the other? Now, the two household antivirus names meet in one final battle.

In this TotalAV vs McAfee comparison, it will become clear which provider offers better protection against threats such as malware, phishing, and other threats. We will also look at their features, overall impact on device performance, and ease of use. Of course, the ultimate question of which has better pricing will also be answered.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the depths of TotalAV and McAfee, and discover which one will come out as the winner of this battle.

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TotalAV vs. McAfee

TotalAVMcAfee Antivirus
⭐ Rating:
🥇 Overall rank:#2 out of #25#7 out of #25
🔥 Coupons:TotalAV coupon 80% OFFMcAfee Antivirus coupon 70% OFF
💵 Price:from $19.00/year, 3 devicesFrom $39.99/year
✂️ Free version:YesYes (Android, iOS)
🖥️ Platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, Android, iOS

TotalAV vs McAfee: which offers better protection?

Both TotalAV and McAfee have been tested and certified by independent antivirus testing labs, such as AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. The tests were for how well each antivirus protects from zero-day malware and the more well-known threats, as well as the overall security and impact on device performance.

Testing labTotalAVMcAfee
AV-TestCertifiedTop Product

AV-Test lab gave TotalAV a “Certified badge.” The overall protection against malware score was 5 out of 6, and the performance was evaluated at 6 out of 6. McAfee, on the other hand, was named the “Top product” by the same lab. It had a 100% protection against malware rate - the score was 6 out of 6. However, the performance score was 5.5 out of 6.

Another lab, AV-comparatives, gave both TotalAV and McAfee an “Advanced+” award for malware protection. The performance had different evaluations – TotalAV had a little bigger impact on PC performance and got an “Advanced” badge. McAfee was awarded the “Advanced+” badge, which means that the overall device performance impact was minimal.

We at Cybernews also did some in-house testing for the scanning of both antivirus apps. The results were a little mixed – neither McAfee’s nor TotalAV’s quick scans managed to catch the intentionally planted malware. The full scans were another story. TotalAV found all 10 malware files, while the full system scan of McAfee managed to find only 8. You can find more detailed scanning information below.

Wrapping up
Overall, TotalAV and McAfee stand on pretty equal ground when it comes to protection and performance. However, from the in-house testing results, it is evident that TotalAV may be a bit better at the whole protection thing. The mixed testing results of both in-house and independent testing labs leads to a draw.

Malware protection

Protecting your device from malware and similar threats is the main job of an antivirus. And suffice it to say, TotalAV and McAfee have their ways of ensuring your device stays protected at all times.

TotalAV has real-time protection turned on by default. You as the user don’t have to go and toggle some buttons off or on to secure your device from the get-go. It also uses advanced cloud scanning, which allows for more accurate zero-day malware detection. If any threats are detected, the malware is put into quarantine and you get further recommendations for removal.

McAfee also has its Real-Time Scanner enabled, and it scans all the files and items that you’re accessing and makes sure they are safe. If anything malicious gets detected, the item gets blocked from further spread.


To further secure your device, both McAfee and TotalAV have several scanning options in place. If you notice something suspicious happening with your device, these scans are what to turn to. We tested how well these scans work with each provider.

TotalAV offers several different scans:

  • Quick Scan – looks over the temporary files folder;
  • System Scan – does a full scan of your device;
  • Smart Scan – allows you to schedule scans for malware, cookies, and junk files;
  • Custom Scan – designed to scan your chosen files, folders, or disks.

During our in-house testing, the quick scan, unfortunately, didn’t manage to find any of the 10 intentionally planted malicious files. However, the system scan proved to be more fruitful and successfully identified all 10 malware.

McAfee has three scan options:

  • Quick Scan – scans all the places where threats are usually found;
  • Full Scan – does a full system scan, checks all drives and folders;
  • Vulnerability Scan – looks for pending security updates, informs of any vulnerabilities.

Firewall protection

Firewalls are generally understood as one of the most essential features of any antivirus, and yet, not all antiviruses have them. Out of the two antiviruses in this comparison, TotalAV is the one without a firewall. This fact immediately places it lower than McAfee in the security and firewall battle.

McAfee’s firewall, on the other hand, could very well be considered a work of art, at least in terms of functionality and high efficiency when it comes to detecting malware. It is also easy to use, and has many functionalities – including but not limited to Stealth mode for hiding your device from others on a network, and blocking and allowing specific internet connections and IP addresses to access your device.

Features overview

Besides the most important security features such as scanners and real-time protection, most antiviruses also have some extra functionalities in store – such as VPNs, password managers, and system optimization tools. Here’s how McAfee and TotalAV compare to each other in terms of extra security and other features:

Real-time protection
Ransomware protection
Junk file cleaner
Secure browser
Secure VPN
Performance optimization
Identity theft protection
Ad blocker

The most important thing to notice here is that TotalAV doesn’t have a firewall. Arguably, this feature could be considered much more essential for security than an ad blocker. McAfee, on the other hand, has all the necessary security features including the firewall, and some extra ones, save for an ad-blocker. However, if you have a Windows device, an additional firewall might not be necessary – Windows Defender firewall does a really good job.

Wrapping up
McAfee and TotalAV stand pretty much the same when it comes to features. Each has a feature that the other doesn’t – namely an ad blocker and a firewall, respectively. And while these features are slightly different in terms of what they bring to overall security, they still level out the playing field. This comparison ends in a draw.

TotalAV features

TotalAV has real-time protection and a variety of device scanning options, however, there is more to this antivirus suite.

For example, something like a VPN and a password manager might add more to your online security. With TotalAV’s password manager, you’ll be saved from the precarious job of remembering 10 different passwords for every online service, and a VPN will not only grant you privacy online but also provide access to some geo-restricted content.


Other notable TotalAV features are the system tune-up and the Web-Shield browser extension. The first takes care of any trash files left over on your device and optimizes its performance by getting rid of them. The browser extension extends from your PC to the internet – and by doing so, protects you from malicious websites, phishing attempts, and other personal security threats.

For more information on the features, take a look at our TotalAV review.

McAfee features

McAfee is an antivirus that carries the most advanced security features – and more. Let’s take a look at what else this antivirus provider has to offer.


The most notable extra features of McAfee would be the VPN and the password manager. Both of them are useful additions to your online security suite. They grant you not only easier and more convenient ways of managing your logins, but also an extra layer of privacy and anonymity online.

McAfee also has several options for optimizing your device performance. The McAfee Speed Up feature includes web boost and app boost – this is what helps your browser or apps launch and load faster than they normally would.

Another quite useful feature is the McAfee Web Advisor – a browser extension that scans all pages you visit, and blocks any malicious websites or phishing attempts. There is also a new feature called Personal Data Cleanup, which allows removing your private info from data broker sites.

If you’d like to know more about the features, read our McAfee antivirus review.

PC performance

Having an antivirus to protect your device is all fine and dandy – security is one of the most important things. However, if said antivirus slows down your computer while protecting it, it’s no good at all. That’s why, among other things, we need to take a look at how much of an impact McAfee and TotalAV have on your PC performance.

TotalAV performance is generally very good. For example, quick scans use up 23% of CPU power on average. Maybe this is not such an impressive result considering that the scan didn’t find any malware, though. When it comes to a full system scan, it is difficult to determine the exact CPU usage, because it ranges from 19% to 99%.

McAfee's performance is not bad either. The quick scan – which didn’t find any malware – used around 28% of CPU power on average, spiking up to 80% from time to time. The full scan proved to be much more labor-intensive, and the CPU load ranged from 90% to 100%.

Wrapping up
Both TotalAV and McAfee have a similar impact on PC performance. However, TotalAV is just a little more resourceful with CPU power usage than McAfee – if only just by a few percent. TotalAV wins this section.


Internet Security/Premium39.00/year$49.99/year
Total Security/Advanced$49.00/year$89.99/year
Get discountsGet discounts

As we can see, there is quite a big difference between TotalAV and McAfee pricing. McAfee doesn’t have a free version, unlike TotalAV, and the prices are much higher for similar-tiered plans. So the only question we need to answer right now is, what do you get with each antivirus’ each plan, and is the price worth it?

The free plan of TotalAV includes very basic protection against malware. When it comes to paid plans, all of them include advanced malware protection, real-time protection, system clean-up tools, cloud-based malware scanning, and a VPN. The Pro plan costs $19.00/year and covers 3 devices, Internet Security is priced at $39.00/year and covers 5 devices, and Total Security6 devices for $49.00/year. The Total Security plan also offers a password manager and an ad-blocker.

All of McAfee’s plans include features such as a firewall, web protection, password manager, file shredder, and VPN. The Plus plan supports 5 devices for $39.99/year, and the two other plans support an unlimited number of gadgets. The Premium plan, which costs $49.99/year, also includes personal data cleanup, and the Advanced plan for $89.99/year allows you to make use of identity theft coverage, lost wallet protection, and the security freeze for your online banking.

Wrapping up
All in all, McAfee is much more expensive than TotalAV, with McAfee's lowest price being $39.99/year, and TotalAV's being $19.00/year. The difference in features is minimal, save for some non-essential ones. Considering that, it is clear that TotalAV is the better choice.

Apps and interface: which is more user-friendly?

Both McAfee and TotalAV desktop and mobile apps are quite well designed, and the navigation is not overly complicated.

However, some of McAfee’s desktop app features and functionalities are a little harder to find, even though everything is supposedly sorted into categories. TotalAV’s app, on the other hand, is exceptionally easy to use.

Wrapping up
The more user-friendly antivirus is TotalAV. Both antivirus apps are well-designed and easy to navigate. The most essential features are visible as soon as you launch the app. However, McAfee’s desktop app is just a little more complicated than TotalAV’s.

Desktop apps

TotalAV’s desktop app is simple, uncluttered, and very easy to navigate. The dashboard has four categories of main features, making finding what you need quick and super simple. You don’t have to go deep into some advanced settings and click numerous buttons to do a scan of your device.

TotalAV desktop app

Another nicer thing about the TotalAV desktop app is that it also displays information about device security levels – you’ll always be aware of how well-protected your PC is.

McAfee’s desktop app looks organized at first glance, and there is a helpful sidebar that houses groups of different features and functions – protection for the device, the web, your identity, privacy, and more security settings. However, finding some of the less obvious functionalities, such as scheduled times for scans, may take a little searching.

McAfee home screen

In general, while the app is perfectly usable, you’ll need some time to get used to it and familiarize yourself with where everything is.

Mobile apps

The mobile apps of TotalAV are simple and very easy to use. In fact, it requires very minimal swiping and tapping around to get where you want to go. Every essential feature, such as the scans, a VPN, and device optimization tools are available on the home page as soon as you open the app. We have no complaints.

TotalAV Android app

Compared to the desktop app, McAfee’s mobile app is a lot better designed. The main dashboard houses everything you might need – the scans, the wifi protection, and the safe web features. You don’t have to tap around much to get to the feature you want. This is definitely a step up from the desktop app.

McAfee mobile app

Customer support

24/7 live chat
Knowledge base
Community support/FAQs

Both TotalAV and McAfee have pretty good customer support infrastructures in place. For any reason, you can contact support agents through a 24/7 live chat, or simply make a phone call. If you’re more of an independent type, there are extensive knowledge bases to browse through, or you can turn to the community support page.

However, only TotalAV’s support is also available through email. McAfee doesn’t offer email support, and while this may not be a huge disadvantage, it is always nice to have as many options as possible.

Wrapping up
In summary, McAfee and TotalAV are neck to neck when it comes to supporting users, but McAfee falls short of email. For this reason alone, TotalAV wins the customer support comparison.

Final verdict

Ease of use

All in all, TotalAV is the winner of the TotalAV vs McAfee comparison. It has advanced malware protection measures in place. Independent testing labs evaluated TotalAV with high scores, and it also performed well during in-house Cybernews testing. The overall impact on PC performance was minimal, and we found the mobile and desktop apps exceptionally easy to use. The pricing was also deemed reasonable – the free version is definitely a bonus.

Meanwhile, McAfee stands close in some aspects, but it doesn't fully compare to TotalAV's capabilities. McAfee delivered efficient malware protection and was positively rated by independent testing labs. While less resourceful than TotalAV, the provider demonstrated a decent PC performance. We noticed the biggest differences between the two when comparing price, ease of use, and customer support — McAfee is more expensive, falls short on usability, and has fewer options to contact support.

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