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Avast vs Malwarebytes | Who Provides Better Antivirus Protection?

Avast vs Malwarebytes – which offers the best protection by today’s standards?  More importantly, in the ongoing Malwarebytes vs Avast comparison, which of the two delivers superior value for money?

Effective and reliable real time 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 programs 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 version – is it worth paying for antivirus programs, when there are free options available? Also, 'Is Avast good for Windows?'and 'How good is Avast for Mac OS?' are only some of the questions we answered for you.

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 program 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:

  • Is Malwarebytes good by 2020 standards? 
  • Is Avast safe enough for everyday family use?
  • Is Malwarebytes safe to use for business purposes?
  • Is Avast a good antivirus software package for the price?
  • Is Malwarebytes premium version worth it?
  • Is Malwarebytes anti malware safe to use on mobile?
  • Is Avast trustworthy?
  • Does Avast protect against malware effectively?
  • Is Avast Free a good antivirus product or is it too limited?

Truth is, both Avast and Malwarebytes are capable of providing robust and reliable protection modules 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 my detailed 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 all the main 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 and web protection capabilities 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.

Short Verdict

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, as well as blocking malware infections, 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.

1. Features

You don’t necessarily need an endless list of features and functionalities to protect your computer performance from the vast majority of cyber threats. However, comprehensiveness of features and extra layer of protection varies significantly from one software suite to the next.

Malwarebytes Features

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 various cyber threats and eliminate them. However, the free version doesn’t offer any better 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 additional security features:

  • A premium firewall to provide real time protection for your computer
  • The option of scheduled scans and other operations to run regularly
  • Automatic updates to ensure the latest cyber 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:

free vs paid packages in malwarebytes

Avast Features

Meanwhile, Avast malware and spyware protection is also available in the form of a free package – aptly named Avast Free Antivirus package. The free version provides access to a basic operating system on demand scanning feature and a useful password manager, but lacks any kind of real-time protection or advanced malware detection, and it cannot remove malware.

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 an Avast premium firewall
  • E-mail scanning and filtering of potentially dangerous e-mails
  • Offers real time protection from DNS hijacking when surfing the web and ransomware protection
  • A useful ‘Sandbox Mode’ to run apps and open files in a safe environment with Premium Avast

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 and important feature and functionalities provided in the Ultimate Avast 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 offers

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.  

VerdictAvast 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 and protection 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 performance  test awarded Avast software an incredibly impressive score of 5.5 out of 6. This would indicate that Avast is one of the most effective malware and web protection suites money can buy right now – the results of the AV-Test evaluation are summarized below:

avast test

Meanwhile, the same tests conducted on Malwarebytes resulted in a significantly lower score of just 2 out of 6:

malware test

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.

second avast test

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 and excellent protection from viruses and malware, as well as anti ransomware protection, 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's 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:

avast system performance

Meanwhile, Malwarebytes also demonstrated impressive performance without taking an unnecessary toll on system resources:

malware system performance

VerdictThough it was an extremely close call, Avast nonetheless came out slightly ahead once again. 

4. User-Friendliness

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 friendly 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.

5. Pricing

Often the first thing a lot of people look at when sourcing an antivirus program, 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.

prices for malwarebytes
avast pricing

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 multi device coverage, though Avast works out the more expensive of the two in most instances.

VerdictMalwarebytes 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 anti malware 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 contentment.

VerdictMalwarebytes 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:


  • Outstanding overall protection and real-time monitoring for potential threats.

  • The anti malware software is automatically updated on a regular basis to ensure that the threat library is up to date with all the latest threats and emerging issues.

  • Malwarebytes is currently one of the top-rated software suites of its kind by way of customer feedback and recommendations. The vast majority of those who use Malwarebytes said they would happily recommend it to others.
  • Simplicity and user-friendliness lie at the heart of the Malwarebytes experience, which is a streamlined and intuitive software suite that takes no time at all to get to grips with
  • The affordability of Malwarebytes is also excellent – particularly if opting for the package that allows up to 10 devices to be covered for one low annual subscription fee.


  • Though there is a free version of the software available, it isn’t nearly capable of providing the kind of coverage needed to stay safe. Useful as a trial, but by no means a long-term solution in its own right.

  • It’s been said that Malwarebytes has a tendency to be too ‘sensitive’ in some instances, often flagging the kinds of actions and indicators that are of no consequence and therefore becoming intrusive.

Avast Pros and Cons

Similarly, Avast has a huge range of extra 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:


  • Avast has a significantly broader range of extra features and functionalities than Malwarebytes, covering pretty much every base imaginable where system safety and security is concerned.
  • It’s one of the most comprehensive suites of its kind available, meaning no need to run two or more programs simultaneously to achieve total coverage.

  • The anti phishing attacks detection feature of Avast is particularly impressive, helping keep the user and their personal data safe at all times.

  • There’s also a useful ‘Sandbox’ app included in the package, which provides a 100% safe and secure environment for opening applications you can’t be sure of the safety of.

  • Avast puts little to no drain on System Resources whatsoever, even when running intensive scans.


  • Avast doesn’t have the most impressive overall score in customer service stakes, though towers above the competition in terms of customer feedback and recommendations.

  • The free trial version of Avast is great and much more comprehensive than Malwarebytes Free, though likewise continuously reminds you to upgrade to a paid package.

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!

How Avast Compares to Other Security Software

Avast vs Comodo

Comodo is a mid-tier anti-virus that can't even hold a candle to Avast, a much better software with more advanced and effective features. Avast easily beats out Comodo which you can read more about in this review comparing Avast and Comodo. You'll see how we compared the two and how Avast dominated Comodo in this comparison.

Avast vs ESET

ESET is another mid-tier option that is inferior to Avast.  Although you can use both on multiple devices, Avast is clearly superior at protecting its users. Although we only compared paid versions, Avast also has a pretty good free version.

Norton vs Avast

Norton is one of the oldest antivirus solutions in the game and is definitely a heavy hitter. One of our top choices, Norton is demonstrably better than Avast and is clearly the winner during our review of the metrics we use to look at security software.

McAfee vs Avast

While Norton is a top choice of ours, McAfee is THE top choice in our opinion. That said, McAfee obviously ranks higher than Avast in our ranking system and is the better option. If you're going to pay for an antivirus then pay for MacAfee.

Avast vs AVG Antivirus

AVG was actually acquired by Avast several years ago in a large acquisition. Avast hasn't changed AVG's solution much as Avast antivirus is clearly more effective than AVG in software security.

Avira vs Avast

Avira is a honestly a pretty mediocre anti-virus. While it has both free and paid versions for different types of devices, the internet security is only available to Windows users for some reason. Even not factoring that in, Avast beats out Avira comfortably - Avira is not worth paying for but the free versions are fairly comparable.

Windows Defender vs Avast

Windows Defender is a free anti-virus program exclusively for Windows devices meaning it doesn't cover phones. Avast is far superior to Windows Defender in not only protection, but also in its ability to cover all devices.

Malwarebytes vs Other Antivirus Companies

Bitdefender vs Malwarebytes

Bitdefender is one of the better antiviruses and offers better protection out a mid-tier one like Malwarebytes. Malware bytes had a few years of fame with its free version that was decent, but Bitdefender has been around longer and has maintained its strong reputation due to its ability to keep its users data and information safe.

Best Network Security Software

We've done a lot of comparisons of different antivirus software in this section. The easiest way for us to explain which one you should get is for you to actually look at our rankings of the top network security software which clearly ranks the various options to see which one would best protect you and your family's important information.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you use both Avast and Malwarebytes?

No. On a single system, you cannot run both pieces of software concurrently. Certain users have complained that their antivirus software automatically shuts down after 5 or 10 minutes when they use Avast and Malwarebytes concurrently.

2. Is there anything better than Malwarebytes?

MalwareFox Antimalware is an excellent Malwarebytes alternative. It is a straightforward yet sophisticated malware removal and threat protection utility. You obtain the same level of security at a reduced cost. MalwareFox is capable of detecting threats and removing malware that even the most well-known anti-virus and anti-malware applications are incapable of detecting and removing, so you can be at complete peace.

3. Can Avast detect malware?

Yes, Avast can detect malware. It has a number of features that help protect users from malware, including a real-time shield, a browser extension, and a virus scanner.

4. Is Malwarebytes better than Norton?

Malwarebytes is slightly more affordable in bulk, but Norton is superior in terms of antivirus protection and performance, as well as having slightly more features than Malwarebytes. As a result of these factors, Norton is an excellent choice for paid antivirus protection.

5. Can Malwarebytes be trusted?

Yes, Malwarebytes is without a doubt trustworthy. Malwarebytes Premium provides real-time protection against viruses and other malware, and will remove viruses. To learn more about Malwarebytes Premium, click here: Malwarebytes Premium. This means that the standard version will assist you in detecting and removing malware that has already infiltrated your computer.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

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