AVG and Avast are two of the most popular providers of free antivirus software. Both companies offer free and paid security suites to consumers, relying on a “freemium” business model whereby basic protection is provided for free, while more advanced features require a paid subscription.
Despite the similarities in business model, AVG and Avast differ in their performance, features, compatibility, pricing, and overall value. This article will compare the two antivirus providers across these key categories to help determine which offers better protection.
One of the most important considerations when choosing antivirus software is its impact on system performance. Poorly optimized security programs can noticeably slow down PCs during scans and other background tasks.
Recent testing has found that AVG tends to have more of a performance impact than Avast. AVG reduced browser speeds substantially more than Avast in one benchmark test. On a test system with an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, AVG caused popular websites to load 34% slower on average. In comparison, Avast only incurred a 4% slowdown in website load times.
This suggests that Avast has better optimized its software to use fewer system resources during real-time scanning and other protection measures. For users with older or low-powered PCs, Avast may thus be the better choice to avoid frustrating system delays.
Compatibility and Customer Support
In terms of compatibility, both AVG and Avast support the latest Windows and macOS platforms. They also offer separate mobile apps for Android and iOS devices, providing comprehensive security across all of a user’s devices.
When it comes to customer support, however, Avast comes out ahead. Avast offers user forums, extensive online documentation, how-to videos, and 24/7 live chat support. AVG does provide phone, email, and chat support, but only during business hours on weekdays.
For those who prioritize always-available assistance over the phone or chat, Avast has a clear advantage over AVG’s more limited customer service options.
AVG and Avast offer many of the same core security features, including real-time scanning, malware prevention modules, firewalls, and scan scheduling. However, there are some key differences in their feature sets.
Notably, Avast includes more features in its free basic antivirus software than AVG does. For example, Avast’s free version has an automatic software updater to patch vulnerabilities, whereas AVG charges for that capability as part of its Data Safe add-on.
Avast also makes its Ransomware Shield and Webcam Shield components available in the free version, while AVG only offers those in the paid tiers. For cost-conscious users focused on core antivirus protections, Avast has an edge by keeping premium features out of its free tier.
In higher-priced premium tiers, Avast again rates well for its features. Avast One Individual, the company’s flagship consumer suite, includes a password manager, data shredder, VPN, and WiFi inspector that AVG lacks. The suite also bundles in driver updater and software cleanup utilities for better performance.
So at both the free and premium levels, Avast offers protections and extras not found in AVG’s counterparts. Users who want maximum security features will see better value from Avast’s product line.
Pricing and Compatibility
For pricing, both AVG and Avast have moved to a subscription model that requires yearly payments to maintain protection. AVG’s pricing starts with Internet Security for $59.99 a year covering a single Windows or macOS computer. It focuses on core antivirus protections as well as basic optimization features.
AVG Ultimate goes for $79.99 a year and beefs up on protections for sensitive data. It adds modules like Web TuneUp for private browsing, a File Shredder, and the Data Safe mentioned earlier. Finally, AVG Ultimate covers an unlimited number of devices across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
As for Avast, its pricing ranges from free to $59.99 to $109.99 per year. Specifically:
- Avast Free Antivirus: Basic real-time scanning with some shields and added features missing from AVG’s free version.
- Avast One Individual: $59.99 a year for coverage across unlimited PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets. Adds features like a password manager and VPN.
- Avast One Family: $109.99 a year for up to 10 devices, aiming protections at families.
One key difference is that AVG’s unlimited cross-device support requires buying the priciest $79.99 a year Ultimate suite. Avast provides similar coverage for $20 cheaper through its mid-tier Avast One Individual plan. For multi-device households Avast may again prove the better value.
Both antivirus providers offer 15-30 day money back guarantees for paid plans. They also have frequent discounts, especially on 1-year and 2-year subscriptions. Overall the two brands are closely matched on pricing flexibility for every budget.
Antivirus and Security Features
Now that pricing and extras have been compared, how do the core antivirus and security protections stack up between AVG and Avast?
A few highlights of AVG’s protections include:
- On-access scanning: Constantly checks files at download and launch time to catch malware immediately.
- On-demand scanning: Full system scans launched manually or on a scheduled basis to seek out dormant infections.
- Real-time shields: Block dangerous sites and files and prevent unauthorized changes to the system.
- Web shield and email shield: Scans web traffic and email attachments specifically for malware strains.
- Anti-spyware: Added around 2008, scans and removes spyware collecting private data.
- LinkScanner: Analyzes search engine links in real-time to avoid malicious sites. Integrated after AVG’s acquisition of LinkScanner in 2011.
Over its 20+ year history AVG has consistently evolved to address emerging threats like spyware and suspicious web links. It now offers a mature antivirus product covering all major attack vectors.
Avast’s protections have similarly grown:
- Real-Time Shield: Constantly monitors memory and disk operations to prevent infections.
- Web Shield: Scans web pages, downloads, and search results before you open them. Can detect phishing sites.
- File Shield: Scans local disk files and network files whenever they are opened and read.
- Mail Shield: Analyzes email attachments for malware strains and other threats.
- Behavior Shield: Uses machine learning to detect ransomware and other suspicious system behavior indicative of attacks.
- Wi-Fi Inspector: Scans home networks for vulnerabilities and blocks intruders.
- Sandbox: Safely test suspicious files in an isolated environment before allowing access to your actual file system.
Like AVG, Avast now uses a blended approach of signatures, heuristics, machine learning, and behavior analysis to catch threats. It matches AVG’s breadth of antivirus coverage across platforms.
Independent testing labs like AV-Comparatives give both providers high marks for malware protection year after year. Both score well above the industry average for detection rates.
When it comes to core antivirus features, then, AVG and Avast are on close footing regarding what protections they offer across Windows and Apple devices. Either can be relied on to block the vast majority of viruses, malware, ransomware, spyware, and other attacks.
Comparison with Other Antivirus Software
To further situate AVG in the antivirus landscape, it is useful to compare it to a few other popular providers. Two top competitors are TotalAV and McAfee.
Like AVG, TotalAV offers free and paid Windows antivirus products focused on simple core protections. In head-to-head testing across 2021 and 2022, AVG had a slight edge over TotalAV in malware detection rates. However, TotalAV matched or achieved higher scores in certain standalone tests for identifying Trojans and other threats.
Both platforms provide well-rounded security options anchored by real-time scanning, firewalls, anti-spyware and anti-ransomware modules, email scanning, and similar features. Upgrading to premium tiers brings extras like system cleaners, password managers, VPNs, and browser customization tools.
So while their scores trade back and forth on occasion, AVG and TotalAV are broadly comparable for balanced antivirus capabilities. Those dissatisfied with one product would likely be satisfied by capabilities of the other. Still, AVG has achieved a small overall lead recently.
McAfee is likely AVG’s stiffest competition as a top-tier antivirus provider for consumers. Both platforms have undergone various corporate acquisitions but have emerged as mature, full-service offerings.
In independent lab tests, McAfee tends to edge out AVG in malware detection rates on Windows machines. However, some assessments have found AVG to be less taxing on system resources and have less impact on PC speeds.
Each platform has strengths like AVG’s LinkScanner and McAfee’s personal firewall controls. Both also integrate well across Windows, Mac, Android and Apple devices for unified security management. And their premium plans advertise very similar extras like password managers, file shredding, firewall customization tools, and family controls.
For most home users the two providers represent robust selections for antivirus defense and added utilities. Still, McAfee rates slightly higher currently when it comes to malware detection thanks in part to machine learning advancements powering its platform.
To summarize, both AVG and Avast deliver leading freemium antivirus solutions to protect Windows and Apple devices. They offer competitive pricing across free, individual, and family plan options with solid core protections anchored by real-time scanning.
However, Avast pulls ahead in a few key areas:
- It has less of a performance impact during active scanning and internet browsing based on benchmarking.
- Avast provides better customer service through 24/7 live chat support and an engaged user community.
- It includes more security features like ransomware prevention at no cost.
- For paid plans, Avast offers greater value overall with a cheaper unlimited cross-device suite.
For these reasons, consumers seeking a comprehensive antivirus solution may want to select Avast, especially the Avast One Platinum plan. It pairs robust malware detection and firewalls with premium bonus features like a VPN, password manager, and WiFi scanner for $109.99 per year across unlimited devices. Backed by stellar customer service too, it gives households truly complete coverage and support.
So in the battle between these two freemium providers, Avast emerges as the winner for offering faster performance, better free protections, and more value-packed paid upgrades over AVG. While both programs are adequate for basic Windows security, Avast moves ahead with superior customer satisfaction ratings and device support as well.