Avast vs Malwarebytes – which offers the best protection by today’s standards? More importantly, in the ongoing Malwarebytes vs Avast debate, which of the two delivers superior value for money?
Effective and reliable protection for all home and business computers is no longer optional. With some of the world’s biggest organizations having recently been hit by catastrophic cyberattacks, lessons have been learned about taking things for granted.
Malwarebytes and Avast are two of the most popular and successful computer protection suites of all time, used by millions of homes and businesses worldwide. Nevertheless, every antivirus program approaches PC, laptop and mobile device protection in a slightly different way.
In addition, antivirus software like this is usually available as a free version, or an enhanced paid version. An issue that raises further questions – Avast Free vs paid; Malwarebytes Free vs Premium – is it worth paying for antivirus software, when there are free options available?
That’s what we’ll be taking a look at in this fully independent Avast vs Malwarebytes review. If you still haven’t decided which is the software suite for you, read on for all the information you’ll need to make the right decision.
Our Recommended Choice
Our recommendation: McAfee
With so many antivirus products in the market, there is none that’s like McAfee. With over 18.9 billion devices protected on a consistent basis, McAfee’s ability to deal with malware attacks come unmatched! McAfee has a dedicated database that is adept to deal with all sorts of virus attacks whether they may be online or offline. To browse their programs, check out their programs here!
Who Offers Better Protection, Malwarebytes or Avast?
At the risk of being ambiguous, evaluating which is the best antivirus software suites available is largely a matter of personal opinion. For the most part, it depends entirely on your priorities, your objectives, how you intend to use the software and how much you intend to spend.
Hence, if looking to buy Avast or Malwarebytes, it’s first important to consider a series of key questions. Just a few examples of which include the following:
Truth is, both Avast and Malwarebytes are capable of providing robust and reliable protection for all different types of devices. Likewise, both software suites are also available at a variety of different price points, with free versions available to see what’s on offer at no cost.
In terms of all-round performance and overall value for money, it’s a pretty close-run race between the two. But if I personally had to recommend one over the other, I’d probably go with Avast. Check out the full details of my comparison below to find out why.
A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category
- Features - Winner: Avast
Avast comes out ahead on the features front, for the simple reason that the more advanced packages available offer a much longer list of features and functionalities than Malwarebytes’ equivalent packages.
- Malware Protection - Winner: Avast
This result is based purely on the findings of independent assessments, which have shown that Avast provides superior malware protection in most instances.
- System Performance - Winner: Avast
Another victory for Avast, based on a comparison of two independent assessments – one of which the team behind Malwarebytes refused to take part in, for reasons that were not fully explained.
- User-Friendliness - Winner: Tie
Both Avast and Malwarebytes have improved their user interfaces dashboards significantly over the year, which today are equally easy to navigate and pleasant to work with.
- Pricing - Winner: Malwarebytes
Malwarebytes could be the preferred option if you need to purchase multiple licenses, as doing so is much cheaper on a per-license basis than Avast.
- Customer Satisfaction - Winner: Malwarebytes
Based exclusively on real life customer reviews and recommendations, Malwarebytes seems to have a slightly better overall rating than Avast. Though both are known to offer an outstanding customer service across the board.
Both software suites have their unique points of appeal, though Avast comes out ahead of Malwarebytes by an extremely narrow margin. Independent testing has shown that Avast offers superior malware detection and prevention to that of Malwarebytes, while at the same time providing the user with access to a much longer list of features and functionalities.
That said, Malwarebytes can work out significantly cheaper than Avast, if looking to purchase multiple licenses for business use. Hence, to some extent at least, it is a case of personal preference and assessing your own priorities.
You don’t necessarily need an endless list of features and functionalities to protect your computer from the vast majority of threats. However, comprehensiveness of features and protection varies significantly from one software suite to the next.
Taking things off with Malwarebytes, there’s currently a free version of the software available (Malwarebytes Free), which enables the user to scan their computer, find potential threats and eliminate them. However, the free version doesn’t offer any protection in real time, nor does it include any of the advanced features of the paid versions.
The entry-level paid package is called Malwarebytes Premium for You, which along with manual system scanning also offers the following security features:
- A premium firewall to provide real-time protection for your computer
- The option of scheduling scans and other operations to run regularly
- Automatic updates to ensure the latest threats are recognized and accounted for
- Inclusion of a secure web browser to reduce the risk of malware attacks
It’s worth noting that while Malwarebytes Premium for You is compatible with a wide variety of devices – Macs, PCs, Smartphones, Tablets etc. – it is only valid for one device per subscription.
A step up is the Malwarebytes Premium for Home option, which for one subscription fee covers up to 10 devices at the same time. There are no limitations in terms of which types of devices or operating systems can be used with the coverage provided – a good option for families and smaller businesses.
Here’s a brief snapshot of how the free package differs from the paid packages available at Malwarebytes:
Meanwhile, Avast malware and spyware protection is also available in the form of a free package – aptly named Avast Free Antivirus. The free version provides access to a basic system scanning feature and a useful password manager, but lacks any kind of real-time protection or advanced malware detection.
Avast Internet Security is the entry-level paid option, which extends coverage with features and functionalities such as the following:
- Advanced real-time protection with a premium firewall
- E-mail scanning and filtering of potentially dangerous e-mails
- Real-time DNS hijacking protection when surfing the web
- A useful ‘Sandbox Mode’ to run apps and open files in a safe environment
Next in line comes Avast Premier, which along with the features above also includes a powerful anti-spying tool, a data shredder to permanently eliminate files from your computer/media and an automatic update tool.
Right at the top of the table comes Avast Ultimate, which takes safety and security to extremes. Additional features and functionalities provided in the Ultimate package include an excellent VPN tool, an advanced password manager and a useful computer clean-up utility to improve overall system performance.
Here’s a brief snapshot of how the various different packages available at Avast compare to one another:
Avast Security for Mac is available as an entirely different package, which again can be chosen as a free version or a more advanced paid version. Though it’s advisable to stick exclusively with the paid version, as the free version of Avast Security for Mac provides an extremely rudimentary protection at best.
Verdict – Avast comes out on top for the simple reason that it offers a much more comprehensive range of features and functionalities than Malwarebytes.
2. Malware Protection
Of course, security software isn’t worth bothering with in the first place if it doesn’t make the grade in terms of malware protection. The process of evaluating the malware protection effectiveness is complex and time consuming, calling for detailed tests and analysis on the part of independent providers.
AV-Test is one such independent organization, which in a recent test awarded Avast an incredibly impressive score of 5.5 out of 6. This would indicate that Avast is one of the most effective malware protection suites money can buy right now – the results of the AV-Test evaluation are summarized below:
Meanwhile, the same tests conducted on Malwarebytes resulted in a significantly lower score of just 2 out of 6:
A second test conducted recently – the AV-Comparatives Real-World Protection assessment – again highlighted Avast as one of the most capable and consistent performers in its field. Though in this instance, Malwarebytes chose not to be included in the test – the results of which came out as follows.
In the AV-Comparatives Real-World Protection test for June 2019, Avast earned the second-highest ADVANCED rating. In contrast, Malwarebytes abstained, showing a lack of readiness or faith in its product.
Verdict – Avast is the clear winner in terms of malware protection, at least as far as independent tests and assessments indicate.
3. System Performance
Effective protection from viruses and malware is all well and good, but not if it puts a devastating strain on finite system resources. These days, you shouldn’t need to be running a NASA-spec supercomputer to enjoy smooth and consistent system performance, as your antivirus suite does its thing in the background.
Again, this is something AV-Test took a close look at, when evaluating the performance of both Avast and Malwarebytes. In this instance, both antivirus suites came out with extremely impressive scores, though one of the two edged ahead with a perfect 6 out of 6.
Here’s how AV-Test scored Avast in terms of system performance:
Meanwhile, Malwarebytes also demonstrated impressive performance without taking an unnecessary toll on system resources:
Verdict – Though it was an extremely close call, Avast nonetheless came out slightly ahead once again.
Back in the day, most anti-virus software suites had the kinds of clunky and confusing dashboards that were difficult to deal with. Both Malwarebytes and Avast have evolved and improved massively over the years, resulting in a comprehensively user-friendly experience across standard computers and mobile devices alike.
Malwarebytes User Interface
No real complaints with the user interface at Malwarebytes, where the vast majority of primary features and functionalities are condensed into a large and well-presented dashboard. Several horizontal bars indicate whether everything is as it should be – green if all is good, a variety of more troubling colors if something needs your attention.
Main functions including settings, reports, scans and quarantine all appear to the left of the screen, alongside an oversized “Scan Now” button for launching a system scan in an instant. You’re also provided with helpful information like the time and date of your most recent scan, detection of malware on your system and so one.
Avast User Interface
It’s a pretty similar story over at Avast, where most primary features are accessible at the touch of a button via the main dashboard. As it’s predominantly a visual-base ‘point and click’ interface, you’ll have no trouble making sense of it – even if you have no experience whatsoever with anti-virus software.
There’s just one slight negative to the Avast user interface – the free version features way too many distracting ads and pop-ups. But then again, you can’t really complain when you’re getting it for free – a few distractions being a small price to pay for free virus and malware protection.
Verdict – It’s too close to call in this instance, as both Malwarebytes and Avast have equally impressive and intuitive dashboards.
Often the first thing a lot of people look at when sourcing antivirus software, price should technically take a backseat to overall value for money. In addition, prices vary significantly in accordance with how many licenses you need to purchase, which should also be taken into account.
In any case, the entry-level Malwarebytes Premium for You suite option is currently available for $39.99 per year. This provides you with one license to be used exclusively on one device, though is compatible with all platforms and operating systems across the board. If you choose to step up to the Malwarebytes Premium for Home option, the price increases to $59.99 per year, though for this you’re able to cover 10 different devices with the same subscription – excellent overall value for money.
With Avast, the paid Avast Internet Security package is available at a price of $59.99 per year and likewise extends to just a single device. If you choose to go to the Avast Premier or Ultimate package, the price increases to $69.99 and $119.95 respectively. Again, in both instances applicable to just one device. There are separate business-oriented solutions available for multiple device coverage, though Avast works out the more expensive of the two in most instances.
Verdict – Malwarebytes is the cheaper option for most everyday users and households – the option of covering up to 10 devices for just $59.99 per year being a particularly affordable option.
6. Customer Satisfaction
One of the easiest (and often most accurate) ways of gauging the quality of any software package is to take a general customer satisfaction reading. This means browsing a series of reviews and recommendations from real-life customers, along with how independent consumer watchdog sites have rated both software suites.
Taking a look at Consumeraffairs.org, Malwarebytes has accomplished an impressive 4-star rating out of 5 stars, whereas Avast currently has a slightly less inspiring 3-star rating. Over at the Better Business Bureau, both Avast and Malwarebytes have the highest possible A+ rating in terms of customer satisfaction.
Verdict – Malwarebytes wins the crown in the customer satisfaction comparison, having achieved a significantly higher overall score with Consumeraffairs.org.
Malwarebytes Pro and Cons
It’s hard not to be impressed with the way Malwarebytes gets the job done. Nevertheless, there are pros and cons to the package that are important to take into consideration:
Avast Pros and Cons
Similarly, Avast has a huge range of features and competitively priced packages available to suit all requirements and budgets. The most prominent pros and cons with this popular antivirus software suite being:
Overall Winner: Avast
It was a close call, given how both options excel in different areas. Malwarebytes is not without its advantages over Avast, particularly in terms of competitive pricing where multiple devices need to be covered, Malwarebytes is an excellent software suite to consider.
Though when it comes to features, extent of coverage and overall performance, Avast is the standout option of the two. Even though it costs a little more than Malwarebytes, what it offers in terms of high-end coverage and advanced functionalities really is second to none.
Our recommendation: McAfee
From phishing scams to malware attacks, security threats grow increasingly by the day. Although the products we mentioned are very good, it cannot beat the likes of McAfee. With McAfee it has protection on all sorts of devices ranging from phones to even cars! It’s extensive product line-up has protected over 18.9 billion devices to this day. We are sure that you will come across a package that is perfect for you, to check out their line-up, click here!