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Updated Apr 9, 2024

Avast Review

Ranked #15 out of 19 Antivirus

User Rating
4/5
Expert Rating
7/10
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Table of contents

Avast provides all the essential protections users need to stay safe from malware and cybersecurity threats of all kinds, including ransomware, spyware, adware, trojans, viruses, worms, rootkits, and more. It also has a decent free plan and is a very beginner-friendly antivirus.

Avast’s malware scanner and real-time protection performed well in my tests, detecting all of the malware samples that I put on my device. Its web protections are very good as well, performing significantly better than the default protections of Chrome, Firefox,
and Edge.

The premium plans Avast offers have a wide range of extras, including:

Secure web browser.
VPN (virtual private network).
System optimization tools.
However, while Avast is a very good antivirus, there are areas where it could improve. For example, its data breach monitoring is pretty limited — top antiviruses like Norton are able to scan for many more types of personally identifiable information. And while Norton and other top brands include password managers and parental controls, Avast doesn’t have either of these features. Its VPN is pretty mediocre too — it has middling speeds, it keeps connection logs, and its server coverage isn’t great.

Overall though, Avast is still one of the better antivirus software programs. It provides excellent malware protection, is super easy to use, and has lots of extra features. All of its plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk-free.

🐞 Malware detection rate34%
⚔️ Advanced threat protectionYes
🔥 FirewallYes
🌐 VPNYes
💵 Pricing302.4
💻 Operating SystemsWindows, Mac, Android, Chromebook

Pros and Cons

Pros

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Cons

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Avast Antivirus Full Review

Avast provides great security, includes a ton of extra features, and is very user-friendly. It scored a 100% malware detection rate during my tests. It also provides strong web protection, a Rescue Disk, a secure browser, advanced anti-tracking protection, and a set of decent system optimization tools.

Avast has free and premium plans for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Its free plans, Avast Free Antivirus and Avast One Essentials, include the core security features you need to protect your devices. However, by upgrading to Premium Security or Ultimate, you get access to a lot more features. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of Avast’s plans.

 

Web Protection

Avast’s anti-phishing protection is pretty great. It detected and blocked almost all of the fake websites I attempted to visit, and I ran into very few false positives. It’s significantly better than the default protections available on Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, and outperformed other top antiviruses like Kaspersky and Panda too.

Additionally, Avast’s Web Shield protects you from web-based threats by preventing unsafe downloads, scanning encrypted websites, and blocking web attacks executed through botnets and malicious scripts.

There are some things that I don’t like about Avast’s web protections, however. I had some trouble figuring out how to add incorrectly flagged websites onto a list of exceptions on Avast Premium Security and finally had to use the search function in the settings (Avast One’s interface makes this a lot more intuitive). Competitors such as Bitdefender allow you to whitelist a site very easily with a single click. While minor, I also disliked how, on repeated visits to a phishing site, Avast no longer shows you a notification and simply prevents the page
from loading.

Overall though, Avast’s web protection is great and will keep you safe from a wide range of web-based threats, including phishing sites, virus-infected websites and attachments, botnets, malicious scripts, and more.

Security Features

Avast’s malware scanner is among the best for detecting and removing malware. I tested its efficacy by downloading 1,000+ malware samples onto my device, including viruses, worms, trojans, keyloggers, rootkits, ransomware, spyware, and more, and it scored a perfect detection rate. This is a comparable score to other top antiviruses like Norton, Bitdefender, and McAfee.

A full system scan took just under an hour. This is a pretty good speed — on par with Bitdefender and McAfee, but slower than Norton and Avira (which take approximately 40 minutes). The difference is largely negligible though, as I noticed no significant performance drops during the scan and could use my PC as normal throughout.

Avast’s real-time protection is very good as well. When I turned it on and attempted to download the malware samples I had previously used for testing, it prevented all of the downloads. It was also able to catch the samples when they were zipped and encrypted.

That said, Avast’s malware scanner constantly tries to upsell you, which I found quite annoying. After every scan, it notified me that my PC was getting slower and attempted to get me to try out or purchase Avast Cleanup Premium to “resolve the issue.”

Overall though, Avast’s anti-malware engine is excellent. It’s pretty fast, has a low performance impact, and can detect and remove all kinds of malware.

Device Optimization Tools

Avast’s system optimization tools are decent — they’re super intuitive to use and can free up a lot of space and improve your computer’s performance. The tools include:

  • Junk cleaner (Avast One or Avast Ultimate only).
  • PC Speedup (Avast One or Avast Ultimate only).
  • Driver updater (Avast One only).
  • Software updater.

The junk cleaner finds and removes unused files and folders from your browsers, disks, and registry. During my tests, it found over 1.8 GB of junk files. I also like that it gives you a clear breakdown of all of the files it’s flagged as junk and even provides a brief explanation of what each category of files is used for when you hover over them.

Security

Avast provides great security, includes a ton of extra features, and is very user-friendly. It scored a 100% malware detection rate during my tests. It also provides strong web protection, a Rescue Disk, a secure browser, advanced anti-tracking protection, and a set of decent system optimization tools.

Avast has free and premium plans for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Its free plans, Avast Free Antivirus and Avast One Essentials, include the core security features you need to protect your devices. However, by upgrading to Premium Security or Ultimate, you get access to a lot more features. There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of Avast’s plans.

PC Speedup finds unnecessary background apps that are using up system resources and puts them to sleep. This can, in theory, improve your device’s performance, but I didn’t notice much of a difference myself. I found Norton’s Real-Time Boost and game booster features to be much more effective at speeding up my device for CPU-intensive programs or games.

Avast’s driver and software updater scans for and notifies you of new updates for your drivers and the apps on your computer. Outdated drivers and software can create security vulnerabilities, and keeping track of updates can be a hassle, so this is a pretty convenient feature, but once again, this isn’t included in Avast Premium Security (only in the Avast One plans).

Overall, I like Avast’s device optimization tools. However, I don’t think they make it worth using Avast One or upgrading to Avast Ultimate. They’re not as good as the device optimization tools of other antiviruses — Norton, for example, will give you a better performance boost for gaming. And TotalAV includes a lot more features, such as the ability to easily manage your startup programs, uninstall applications, and remove duplicate files.

Data Breach Monitoring

Avast provides only very basic identity theft protections. It continuously monitors the dark web (and other online sources) to ensure that no accounts associated with the emails you enter have been compromised in a data breach.

Other antiviruses offer more comprehensive protections. Norton, for example, is one of the few data breach monitors that uses live human agents and tracks a much wider array of personally identifiable information (PII), including:

  • Credit card numbers.
  • Addresses.
  • Bank account numbers.
  • Phone numbers.
  • Gamer tags.
  • And lots more…

Overall, I’m very disappointed in Avast’s data breach monitoring feature. Other top antiviruses like Norton and McAfee have much better identity theft protections.

Rescue Disk

Avast’s Rescue Disk is an incredibly useful feature. It allows you to put your antivirus onto a DVD or a USB drive, creating a “bootable antivirus program”, which is able to scan a hard drive for viruses without the need to start up your computer. This is a powerful second line of defense against malware that damages your system files to the point that your device no longer functions properly and you can’t run Avast normally.

The whole process of creating a Rescue Disk is quick and pain-free. And should you ever need it, Avast’s website has a detailed guide complete with pictures showing you how to utilize it properly to restore an infected PC.

Overall, I’m a big fan of Avast’s Rescue Disk. It’s a huge shame that it’s not available on the Avast One plans, but it’s great that it’s included on the Free Antivirus plan. Other top antiviruses that offer this feature include
Kaspersky and Panda.

Additional Features

Avast has a lot more features besides the ones I highlighted above. Here are some of its other notable features:

  • Bank Mode. Protects your passwords, credit card details, and other personal information when doing online banking or shopping. Requires you to download the free Avast Secure Browser.
  • Tracker Prevention. Helps maintain your privacy, protecting you from advanced tracking techniques by constantly changing your browser’s fingerprint.
  • Avast SecureLine VPN. Encrypts your internet traffic, protecting you from potential hackers and ensuring your online privacy.
  • Data Shredder. Overwrites sensitive files before deleting them so that they can’t be recovered.

I particularly like Bank Mode. It prevents hackers from taking screenshots or logging keystrokes through the use of spyware. This makes me feel a lot safer considering how frequently I bank and shop online. Bitdefender is another antivirus that offers a similar feature.

However, I don’t really like Avast’s VPN. Its speeds are pretty mediocre and it keeps connection logs, which can compromise your privacy. If you’re looking for an antivirus-bundled VPN, I’d go for Norton instead, which is the best antivirus with a VPN in 2023. Alternatively, I would consider getting a good standalone VPN instead, like ExpressVPN.

Avast Antivirus Plans & Pricing

Avast provides 5 plans for home security and 3 plans for businesses. It also has 2 different product lines: the Premium Security and Ultimate plans on the original Avast product line offer more advanced security features, while the newer Avast One product line seems to be more geared toward the casual user. Avast One is currently only available in certain countries (the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, France, and Germany).

Premium Security is the best value plan and gets you all of Avast’s core features, but if you want access to an unlimited-data VPN, a junk cleaner to improve your device’s performance, and an advanced tracking blocker, you’ll have to upgrade to Ultimate or get Avast One.

Avast has free antiviruses available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. They’re all quite limited in features compared to the premium versions, though. Fortunately, it’s easy to test out Avast’s premium features by taking advantage of its 30-day money-back guarantee for all of its paid products. Premium Security even comes with a 30-day free trial (no credit card required).

One complaint I have about Avast’s subscription model is how inflexible it is. For example, if you’re purchasing Premium Security, you can choose to protect 1 or 10 devices and nothing in between. Similarly, Avast One lets you protect 5 devices with its Individual plan or 30 devices with its Family plan and nothing in between. In contrast, antiviruses like Bitdefender will let you add or subtract devices from their plans and adjust the price accordingly.

Plans

 

Avast Free Antivirus Avast One Essential Avast Premium Security Avast Free Antivirus Avast Free Antivirus
Platforms Windows, Mac, Android, iOS Windows, Mac, Android, iOS Windows, Mac, Android, iOS Windows, Mac, Android, iOS Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Price Free Free INR2,860/year INR2,860/year INR9,900 / year
Number of device licenses 1 1 1 or 10 1 or 10 1 or 10
Malware scanning & removal
Real-time protection
Ransomware protection
Web protection
Wi-Fi protection
VPN (unlimited data)
Advanced firewall
Webcam & microphone protection
Tracking prevention
Disk cleaner
USB protection

 

Basic Free Plan

Avast Free Antivirus is one of the few truly free antiviruses on the market. It includes the following features:

  • Malware scanner.
  • Real-time protection.
  • Network scanner.
  • Data breach monitoring.
  • Rescue Disk.
  • Do Not Disturb Mode.

The free plan is really good. It provides a lot more features than Bitdefender’s free version, including the very handy Rescue Disk feature. However, unlike Avira’s free plan, it doesn’t come with a VPN.

Upgrading to one of Avast’s premium plans gets you a bunch of additional security features and performance-enhancing tools. These include anti-phishing protection, an advanced firewall, webcam protection, and more.

Verdict

Avast is one of the most user-friendly antiviruses in 2023. Its malware scanner scored a 100% detection rate, and its real-time protection and web protections are similarly excellent. It has great free plans, and its premium plans come with a lot of additional features including a Rescue Disk, a secure browser, data breach monitoring, a VPN, system optimization tools, and much more. However, Avast’s VPN and data breach monitoring could use some improvement, and I’d like to see it include parental controls and a password manager. All of Avast’s plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Bitdefender Free

4.3/5

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Avast One Essential

4.2/5

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It is a no-brainer that you must always choose antivirus software from trusted companies in the industry. Doing so helps ensure maximum value for money and avoid subpar privacy and security experience. The same logic applies to even free antivirus software, speaking of which, you would have encountered Avast, a popular option in this domain. It is one of the reputed brands to offer an unrestricted free antivirus program: Avast One Essential.

In this comprehensive review of Avast One Essential, you can find everything about this free-to-use antivirus suite. Most importantly, we will answer questions like whether you should use it on your devices, what you get and what you miss out on. Avast One Essential is available for PC, Android, MacOS, and iOS. But we have made our judgment largely based on the Windows version of the security suite. 

Ranked #15 out of 19 Antivirus