Avast has a large share of the antivirus market and was estimated to take around 13 percent of global Windows antivirus sales in 2020. In December 2020 NortonLifeLock successfully acquired Avira in a $360 million cash deal. Despite being part of the Norton parent company, the Avira brand still operates its own brand of software with unique technology.
In this comparison, I will look at how well Avast and Avira block viruses, malware, and other threats. I will run a number of tests that include the kind of files an antivirus would be expected to block in everyday use. My tests will examine the two main types of malware detection I’d expect to see from a good antivirus, real-world protection, and on-demand scans to check existing files on the PC.
Want the result now? While it was a close contest between two good products, Avast just had the edge over Avira in terms of an overall package. It provides strong malware protection at a good value price point.
Below I will break down all my test results, and everything else I found out about Avira vs Avast, so read on for the details.
Summary: Avira vs Avast
- Strong performance in real-time scanning test
- Automatically updates your apps
- Password protection
- Password manager
- Good malware protection
- Webcam protection
|Feature||Avira Internet Security||Avast Premium Protection|
|Antivirus and antispyware||✔||✔|
|Banking and payment protection||✔||✖|
|Network attack protection||✖||✔|
|Automatically update apps||✔||✔|
|PC cloud backup||✖||✖|
|Identity theft protection||✔||✖|
|Run suspicious apps in sandbox||✔||✔|
BEST DEAL FOR AVIRA:Save 40% on Avira Prime and get access to premium security features.
BEST DEAL FOR AVAST:Save up to 50% on Avast One and protect the whole family under one subscription.
Avira has won a number of accolades in the antivirus industry, including being named as AV-comparatives product of the year in 2008. Avira protects 300 million devices, and it has 1.5 million customers who pay for more advanced versions of its software.
Avast was created by Eduard Kučera and Pavel Baudiš as a cooperative. Since its inception in 1988 it has grown to become one of the biggest cybersecurity companies in the world. It offers both domestic and commercial antivirus solutions alongside a number of other security products. In 2016 the company merged with another large AV brand in Avast.
Avast vs Avira Pricing
Avira Free Security is available to download at no cost from the Avira website. The free version of Avira’s software includes an effective virus and malware scanner plus a number of limited additional features. This includes a VPN, though it only allows you to route 500MB of data through it per month so it is only going to be useful for limited tasks.
In addition to the free version, Avira has a range of three paid suites that add various tools to the core antivirus scanner.
|Avira Free Security||Avira Antivirus Pro||Avira Internet Security||Avira Prime
|Free||$40.00 per year||$52.00 per year||$114.78 per year|
Avira Antivirus Pro is available to cover one, three, or five devices. It costs $40.00 per year to cover one device. It’s $64.00 to cover three devices, and $74.74 for five devices.
Avira Internet Security includes two extra features: a software updater and a password manager. The annual subscription for this package is $52.00 for one device. Just like Avira Antivirus Pro, users can protect up to 5 devices for one, two, or three years.
Avira Prime is the top priced package available from Avira. The cost jumps up to $114.78 per year, but that does cover up to 5 devices. There’s also a version of Avira Prime that protects up to 25 devices, so ideal for a family household. It costs $149.67 per year. If you’re wondering what you get for the higher price, Avira Prime adds in an unlimited VPN and PC performance optimization tools.
Like Avira, Avast also offers a free version: Avast One Free. This version of Avast is limited to one device. It has a powerful antivirus included along with a basic VPN and some other tools, including PC tune up.
Avast Premium Security is the first step up from the free version and you can protect up to 10 devices. The costs range from $69.99 for one device or $89.99 for up to 10 devices, so the ten device package is relatively good value if you have a number of devices to protect.
|Avast Free Antivirus||Avast Premium Security - 1 PC or Mac||Avast Premium Security - 10 Devices (Cross platform)||Avast One Individual - 5 Devices||Avast One Family- 30 Devices|
|Free||$69.99 per year||$89.99 per year||$99.99 per year||$139.99 per year|
The most expensive antivirus product from Avast is called Avast One. It costs $99.99 per year to protect up to five devices $139.99 for up to 30 devices.
It has an unlimited VPN, password manager, ad blocker, and more tools included.
Avast offers a number of discounts for the first year of subscription to its software.
Avast One (Individual plan) is discounted from $99.99 to $50.28 for the first year.
Avast One (family version) is discounted from $139.99 to $59.99 for the first year.
Avast Premium Security (10 devices) is reduced from $89.99 to $69.48 for the first year’s subscription. The single device version is reduced from $69.99 to $50.28 for the first year.
Effectiveness against malware
How well do Avira and Avast defend against malware? Does the live scanner detect viruses in files downloaded from the internet? Do the on demand scans find existing malware on the computer’s drive?
To find out I have designed a number of tests. This includes downloading four sample files from EICAR (The European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research) and three malicious programs concealing malware such as trojans and adware.
Real-time scanning results
I started by downloading the four sample files from EICAR to see how the real-time scanner detected and removed them, or if it allowed the download.
Avira’s real-time scanner blocked all three of the live files and three out of four EICAR files.
It allowed one EICAR file in a ZIP folder but blocked the file when trying to unlock the zipped folder to extract the file.
Avira performed pretty well but not perfectly in my real-time testing.
|Test File||EICAR Sample 1||EICAR Sample 2||EICAR Sample 3||EICAR Sample 4||Live Sample 1 (Adware)||Live Sample 2 (Trojan)||Live Sample 3
I ran the same test with Avast and its results are shown in the table above. When using a HTTPS connection Avast allowed all four EICAR samples to be downloaded. When I switched to a HTTP connection instead, Avast blocked all four files from downloading. It also blocked all three live samples.
To evaluate how well Avast and Avira can find and remove existing malware already on the PC or connected from an external hard drive or USB, I looked at the on-demand scanner.
To perform this test I turned off the real-time scanning feature of the antivirus so I could download the EICAR and live samples to my device. From there I ran a quick scan, and then launched a full scan to record the results.
I ran the quick scan, which is designed to complete quickly and check the most obvious areas of your PC. Avast’s quick scan took 146 seconds to finish, and Avira’s took 41 seconds. As with many other quick scan tests I have performed from other antivirus brands, the quick scan of both Avast and Avira failed to find anything.
Avira’s full scan managed to find three of the seven files in total, whereas the full scan from Avast found all seven malicious files.
In terms of the depth of its scans, Avast came out on top. It checked 1,870,000 files and took an hour to complete. Avira checked far fewer files at 612,851 in a total of 29 minutes.
|Test Type||Full Scan Time (minutes)||Full Scan # Items Scanned|
Next, I checked the latest independent antivirus lab test results to see how well Avira and Avast performed against a larger set of malware.
The Real World Protection Test performed by AV-Comparatives was last run between July to October 2021. The test checked the performance of 17 different AV brands against a set of 743 internet based threats.
Avira recorded 99.2 percent protection compared to Avast’s protection rate of 99.9 percent of the threats. These scores placed Avira fourth to last out of the 17 tested. While there is only a small fraction of percentile difference between all of the providers, it still adds up to a reasonable difference. Avast’s 99.9 percent protection rate meant the system was only compromised once. While Avira’s 99.2 percent rate meant the system was compromised six times.
The test measures false positives too. This is where the antivirus marks a file as a potential threat when it is in fact safe. Lots of false positives are annoying for the user as they cause unnecessary alarm and disruption. Avira only registered one false positive, and Avast registered two. Both providers did well here.
The Malware ProtectionTest measures how well each antivirus program finds threats that already exist on local drive rather than being actively downloaded from the web.
The most recent malware protection tests were conducted in September 2021 where 10,020 recent and prevalent malware test cases were used.
Avast scored a rate of 91.0 percent offline detection, 98.2 percent online detection, and an online protection rate of 99.97 percent. It registered two false alarms during the test.
Avira scored a result of 91.6 percent for offline detection, 95.3 percent for online detection, and an online protection rate of 99.98 percent. It recorded four false alarms in the test.
AV-Test’s latest test data is from September and October 2021. The test used 407 malware samples and Avast achieved a 100 percent score against 0-day real world threats in September and October. Another test to measure effectiveness against widespread malware discovered in the previous 4 weeks was also conducted using 18,521 samples. Avast scored 100 percent protection in September and October.
Avira also managed 100 percent protection in the 0-day threats test for September, and 99.5 percent in October. In the widespread malware test it achieved a score of 99.9 percent in September and 100 percent October.
Impact on PC performance
How do Avira and Avast affect PC performance while the real time scanner is turned on in the background? How much impact is there during a scan? Do either noticeably slow down your PC and impact you running everyday tasks?
I ran some tests to find out. The table below shows the results of the quick scan on system resources.
|Test Type||Control CPU Utilization % (no scan)||Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)||Control Disk Utilization (MB/s) (no scan)||Quick Scan CPU Utilization %||Quick Scan Memory Utilization %||Quick Scan Disk Utilization (MB/s)||Quick Scan Time (seconds)|
During a quick scan, Avira records a five percent increase in memory utilization. There’s also a five MB/s increase in disk utilization, while CPU usage increases by 23 percent.
Next I recorded the impact of a full scan on system resources. This table below shows the results.
|Test Type||Control CPU Utilization % (no scan)||Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)||Control Disk Utilization (MB/s) (no scan)||Full Scan CPU Utilization %||Full Scan Memory Utilization %||Full Scan Disk Utilization (MB/s)|
Avira’s intensity on system resources was greater during its full scan compared to its short 41 second quick scan. CPU usage went up from 9 percent pre-scan to 39 percent during the scan. Memory utilization rose by seven percent, and disk utilization increased by 139 MB/second.
Avast’s impact on CPU utilization showed a moderate increase during a full scan up 10 percent, from 32 to 42 percent.
Memory utilization increased by just one percent during the scan, but it’s clear the way Avast’s software is designed it relies more on disk utilization to run the scan. This number jumped from 28 MB/Second to 5,801 MB/second.
To see how AV-Comparatives tests measured the performance of Avira and Avast, I looked at the latest available lab tests.
The test measures how fast a PC can operate standard tasks while the antivirus software is installed. The tasks measured are listed below:
- Downloading files
- Browsing websites
- File Copying: first and subsequent run
- Installing and uninstalling applications
- Archiving and unarchiving
- Launching applications: first and subsequent run
The performance data described below for both providers was recorded in October 2021.
Avira got a rating of very fast for seven out of eight tasks; file copying on the first run was rated as slow.
Avast was rated as very fast for seven of the eight tasks performed. The only task it failed to get the top score for was launching applications on the first run, where it was rated as mediocre.
Avast vs Avira Features
Additional features vary between providers and even between the product tiers available from each antivirus company. To help compare the main feature list I will detail them below, along with a brief description of the key features of each software bundle and what it can do for the user.
- Device Control
- Real-time protection
- Secure surfing
- Data and identity protection
- Next-gen AI for real-time threats
- Blocks malware
- Monitor apps for suspicious activity
- Secure passwords
- Block spam and phishing emails
- Safer shopping
- Protect important files
- Webcam protection
- Lock out hackers with an advanced firewall
- Scan for wi-fi security weaknesses
Here’s a more detailed overview of some of the key features:
- Ransomware protection: Ransomware attacks can encrypt your files and make it impossible for you to access them unless you pay a ransom. This feature helps add extra protection against these types of attack.
- Data and identity protection: This feature helps protect your personal and credit card information while shopping online. Making it harder for criminals to interpret and use your data fraudulently.
- Device Control: Scans and controls removable devices that are connected to your computer. Stops threats from external drives causing damage to your system.
- Secure passwords: Store and encrypt all your important usernames and passwords without having to remember them or write them down.
- Webcam protection: Protect unauthorized access and hacking of your webcam so criminals can’t spy on you.
- Safer shopping: Protects your information and card details when shopping online to protect against fraud and unauthorized spending on your cards.
Signup and installation
Avast sign up process is easy to follow, and the payment page gives you a clear indication of what you are buying, the first year cost, plus the renewal fee due each year unless you cancel the subscription. The free version of Avast One downloaded in just a few seconds and even the versions with more features still downloaded in less than a minute.
Installation of Avira is equally easy. Once you get through the three check out pages to enter your payment details, personal details, and review the order, you get a download link to your chosen software. Downloading takes seconds and once you launch the installer file, it’s a few basic screens to click through to get the software up and running.
How easy is the interface to use?
The Avira UI utilizes a very simple design. It’s not cluttered at all and that makes it easy to see the status of your PC and if it is currently protected or has issues to resolve. The black, white, and gray colors are in no way offensive and large icons direct you into the main categories of security, privacy, and performance.
Avast’s interface uses a purple, dark blue and green color scheme, with a touch of orange which is associated with the brand’s logo. Overall it looks modern, with a clean layout that’s easy to navigate.
Like Avira, it also uses a notification to alert users to the current status of their device. There’s a simple icon navigation down the left hand side of the screen that directs you to three main categories of tools and settings.
Avira offers a customer support phone line in addition to email support, and video tutorials on the help page of its website. There’s also a section dedicated to updates and informing users of any key changes to the software.
Avast does not offer phone line support as standard for the Avast Premium package. But it does have Avast email support and live chat on its website. There’s also detailed help guides available on the support section of the Avast website.
Avast vs Avira Conclusion
Avast is the winner of this comparison. It achieved the best results in malware detection in my tests, picking up all seven of the test files in its on-demand scan. It has better additional features than Avira and a slight edge in performance results from independent AV testing labs. Avast also offers good discounts for the first year of subscription making it cost the same or less than Avira’s products.