Avira vs McAfee

Avira has been in the security space since 1986 and by the end of 2020, Avira became a part of Norton LifeLock, which is the largest antivirus firm in the world. McAfee is headquartered in California and employs over 7000 people. In this comparison, you’ll learn how successfully Avira and McAfee protect your device from viruses and malware.

In order to determine how successful Avira and McAfee are, I will perform two major malware tests on my computer to see how effectively the programs block infections in real-time and on-demand. I will use these results to compare the two applications. I’ll also evaluate the performance and speed of the program, as well as the convenience with which it may be used, and the additional features that each company offers.

Do you want to know the outcome right away? While it was a tight fight between two excellent products, McAfee narrowly edged out Avira in terms of the total package. Keep reading for the entire breakdown of what I uncovered about Avira and McAfee,

Summary: Avira vs McAfee


  • Strong performance in real-time scanning test
  • Automatically updates your apps
  • Password protection


  • Multi-faceted privacy protection
  • Comprehensive malware protection
  • VPN included
FeatureAvira Internet SecurityMcAfee Total Protection
Antivirus and antispyware
Webcam protection
Password manager
Ransomware protection
Banking and payment protection
Parental control
Network attack protection
Encrypted storage
Automatically update apps
PC cloud backup
File shredder
Performance optimization
Identity theft protection✔ (Included when you are enrolled in auto renewal)
Run suspicious apps in sandbox

BEST DEAL FOR AVIRA:Save 45% on a one-year subscription and also get a 60-day money-back guarantee.

BEST DEAL FOR MCAFEE:Save up to $85 on McAfee premium and protect up to 10 devices.



Avira has risen in popularity over the years, and in 2008 it was selected by independent antivirus testing lab AV-Comparatives as product of the year. Its products assist in safeguarding over 300 million devices, and it provides a variety of free and paid products to accommodate a variety of consumers.


McAfee Associates was created in 1987 and was named after its founder, John McAfee, who left the business in 1994. McAfee was incorporated in 1992 in the state of Delaware, and by 2000, it had established itself as the top service in defending people against the Love Bug or ILOVEYOU virus, one of the most damaging computer viruses in history.

Avira vs McAfee pricing

Avira Free Security is a free antivirus application available for download from the Avira website. Avira software’s free version includes a virus and malware scanner as well as a few restricted supplementary features. For example, there is a VPN, however it only allows you to transfer 500MB of data each month. As a result, it is only helpful for a few specialized tasks. In addition to the free version, Avira provides three premium suites, each of which adds different features to the core antivirus scanner.

Avira Antivirus Pro

Avira Antivirus Pro is available in three configurations: one, three, or five devices. It only includes the basic antivirus scanner with real-time and on demand scanning functions, but there are no extra features. Coverage for one device is $40.00 per year. For three devices, the price is $64.00 per year, and for five, the price is $74.74 per year.

Avira Internet Security

A software updater and a password manager are also included with Avira Internet Security. The yearly membership for this package is $52.00 for one device. Users may cover up to five devices for one, two, or three years.

Avira Prime

Avira Prime is the company’s most expensive bundle. The yearly charge rises to $114.78, although this includes coverage for up to five devices. Avira Prime now comes in a version that can cover up to 25 devices, making it ideal for a family. The annual cost is $149.67. If you’re wondering what you receive for the extra money, Avira Prime includes an unlimited VPN service as well as tools to boost PC performance.

McAfee has four different options for its antivirus software. Let’s look at what is included with each version.

McAfee Antivirus plus

The most basic version of McAfee’s antivirus software covers up to 10 devices and only provides basic device security with a real-time and on demand malware scanner. There is little in the way of extra features or security tools. It costs  $59.99 per year but is available with a $30.00 discount for the first years’ subscription at the time of writing.

McAfee Plus

McAfee Plus covers five devices and includes a VPN with unlimited data (this feature is included for free, but only if you have auto-renewal turned on). Other features include protection score, and identity monitoring to help you monitor your email, SSN, bank accounts, credit cards and more. Again, users get more and an expanded version of the ID monitoring with auto-renewal turned on.

McAfee Premium

McAfee Premium includes all the features of the previous tiers but it allows you to cover up to ten devices. It costs $129.99 per year, but there’s a discount of $80 available for the first year at the time of writing.

McAfee Ultimate

McAfee ultimate offers protection for unlimited devices, and includes features such as protection score, identity monitoring, a VPN with five licenses and unlimited data. Parental controls and $1 million in identity theft coverage are also part of the deal.  It costs $159.99 per year with a first year discount of $85 available.

McAfee Antivirus PlusMcAfee PlusMcAfee PremiumMcAfee Ultimate
$59.99 per year$109.99 per year$129.99 per year$159.99 per year

If you’re looking at protecting more than just a Windows PC, both McAfee and Avira work with all the major operating systems: Windows, Mac, and Android devices.

Effectiveness against malware

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Avira and McAfee in terms of malware protection?

I ran a series of tests to find out. This involves the installation of four EICAR (European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research) sample files as well as three malicious programs that conceal malware such as trojans and adware.

Real-time scanning results 

I started by downloading the four EICAR sample files to see how the real-time scanner detected and removed them, or even whether it permitted the download at all.

Avira performed well in my real-world testing, but not perfectly. Avira’s real-time scanning banned all three active files and three of the four EICAR files.


It accepted one EICAR file in a ZIP folder, but it refused the file when it tried to extract it.

Test FileEICAR Sample 1EICAR Sample 2EICAR Sample 3EICAR Sample 4Live Sample 1 (Adware)Live Sample 2 (Trojan)Live Sample 3

The table above shows the results of the same test using McAfee’s software.

Everything was correctly found and stopped by McAfee in real time. Live samples were deleted as soon as they were unlocked and unzipped, and EICAR samples were not permitted. McAfee prevented all efforts to download EICAR files as well as attempts to install live malware samples from password-protected folders.

McAfee effectiveness

On-demand scans

I used the on-demand scanner to test how successfully McAfee and Avira identify and remove malware that is already on the PC or has been connected through an external hard drive or USB.

For this test, I disabled the antivirus’s real-time scanning capability so that I could download the EICAR and live samples to my device. I then ran a short scan before doing a full scan to capture the findings.

I first ran the quick scans, which are meant to quickly search the most visible areas of your computer.

McAfee’s quick scan took 633 seconds, whereas Avira’s took 41 seconds. Both failed to detect any malware including EICAR and live samples. This is not unusual; most quickscan tests I’ve performed with other antivirus applications have failed to detect malware during a quickscan.

It’s worth noting that subsequent quick scans with McAfee were much shorter than the initial one I ran and the additional ones I tried only lasted around 40 seconds each.

On-demand complete scans were more successful. Avira’s full scan discovered three of the seven files, however McAfee’s full scan discovered all malware and eliminated all EICAR test malware as well as the three real samples.In terms of scan depth, McAfee came out on top. It took 223 minutes to scan 785,000 files, while Avira checked fewer files (612,851) but was far quicker, taking just 29 minutes.

Test TypeFull Scan Time (minutes)Full Scan # Items Scanned

Next, I checked the latest independent antivirus lab test results to see how well Avira and McAfee performed against a larger set of malware.


AV-Comparatives Real World Protection Test was performed between July and October of 2021. The test matched 17 antivirus software companies against a collection of 743 internet-based threats.

Avira was able to defend against 99.2% of threats, whereas McAfee was able to protect against 99.8% of threats. Out of 17 antivirus applications, Avira was placed fourth to last. Even though the difference seems small, they add up to a considerable difference in the likelihood of malware bypassing the antivirus application.

False positives are also tracked by the test. A false positive occurs when an antivirus tool marks a file as a possible danger when it is really innocuous. The user is irritated by a high number of false positives since they generate unneeded alarm and disruption. Avira detected just one false positive, but McAfee detected one as well. In this regard, both suppliers performed excellently.

The Malware Protection Test measures how effectively an antivirus product identifies threats that are already on a device’s hard drive rather than being downloaded from the internet.

In the most current malware protection tests conducted in September 2021, 10,020 recent and prevalent malware samples were used. McAfee had a 75.4 percent offline detection rate, a 98.0 percent online detection rate, and a 100 percent online protection rate. It triggered four false alarms throughout the test.

Avira achieved 91.6 percent for offline detection, 95.3 percent for online detection, and 99.98 percent for online protection. Like McAfee, during this test, it generated four false alarms.

AV-Test Results

The most current AV-Test test results are from November and December 2021. McAfee obtained a 99.5 percent protection rate in November, and a flawless score against 0-day real-world threats in December, employing 407 malware samples.

Another test was conducted with 18,521 samples to measure performance against prevalent malware reported in the preceding four weeks. McAfee offered 100 percent security in September and October.

In November, Avira provided 100 percent protection in the 0-day threat test, and in December, it provided 99.3 percent protection. In the widely used malware test, it achieved a score of 100 percent in November and 100 percent in December.

Impact on PC performance

How do Avira and McAfee affect PC speed while the real-time scanner is switched on in the background? How much impact does a comprehensive system scan have? Is one of these slowing down your computer and interfering with your daily tasks?

I ran various experiments to find out. The rapid scan findings on system resources are provided in the table below.

Test TypeControl 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 my Avira performance testing, I saw a 5 percent increase in memory use during a fast scan. There is also a 5 MB/s increase in disk usage and a 23 percent increase in CPU demand. McAfee’s CPU use jumped by 25 percent, RAM utilization by 3 percent, and disk utilization went from 12 MB/s to 273 MB/s.

Following that, I took note of the effect of a full system scan on the system’s resources.

The results are summarized in the table below.

Test TypeControl 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)

During the full system scan, Avira’s CPU use increased from 9 percent before the scan to 39 percent during the scan. Memory utilization climbed by 7 percent, while disc utilization grew by 139 megabytes per second.

McAfee’s complete scan revealed a significant increase in CPU usage, jumping from 12  percent to 100 percent. Memory utilization increased by 65 percent, and disk utilization climbed from 66 to 253 MB/s.

I examined the most current lab tests to see how AV-Comparatives rated Avira and McAfee’s performance. The test measures how fast a PC can do routine activities while running antivirus software. The following tasks were evaluated by the lab:

  • Downloading files
  • Browsing websites
  • File Copying: first and subsequent run
  • Installing and uninstalling applications
  • Archiving and unarchiving
  • Launching applications: first and subsequent run

The most recent data on PC performance was collected in October 2021.

For seven of the tests, Avira was rated as very quick; only its performance on file copying on the first run was assessed as slow.

McAfee was rated as very fast on seven of the eight tasks. The only job for which it did not obtain a perfect score was program installation; nonetheless, it was still classed as quick for this system operation, so most users will not see any slowdown on their PC.

Avira vs McAfee features

Additional features vary across antivirus providers and even between product levels. To make comparing the core feature list simpler, I’ve provided a brief summary of each software bundle’s key features and what it can do for the user below.

Avira Internet Security

  • Anti-ransomware
  • Device Control
  • Real-time protection
  • Secure surfing
  • Data and identity protection
  • Next-gen AI for real-time threats

McAfee Total Security

  • Defends against viruses, ransomware, and more
  • Protects without slowing you down
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Works on PC, Mac, and mobile
  • Blocks phishing
  • Encrypted browser
  • Safe Kids
  • Password Manager
  • File Protection

Here’s a little bit about some of the main features in these lists:

Avira Internet Security

  • Ransomware protection: Adds an extra layer of defense against ransomware-specific attacks. Ransomware encrypts your files and prevents you from accessing them unless you pay a ransom.
  • Data and identity protection: Helps secure your personal information while making online transactions safer by making it more difficult for hackers to see and use your information.
  • Device Control: Checks and handles any removable devices that have been connected to your computer. Prevents an external drive from inflicting significant harm.

McAfee Premium

  • VPN: A VPN with unlimited data encrypts your internet connection and routes it through an intermediary server, which in turn protects your privacy from websites and your internet service provider.
  • Protection Score:  Checks the health of your online protection and provides simple instructions to improve your security.
  • Identity Monitoring: Helps you monitor your email, SSN, bank accounts, credit cards and more. If McAfee detects a change, it claims to alert you an average of 10 months sooner than the competition.​​

Signup and installation

On the McAfee registration page, you can see your total yearly cost, as well as any discounts that have been applied to your membership. You may also adjust the subscription you are signing up for during the checkout process if you decide you want to add more devices or want more features. Auto renewal is enabled by default; however, if you do not want to continue with the membership at the full amount after a year, you should turn it off to avoid receiving a surprise on your bank account statement. It’s worth mentioning that, depending on what McAfee package you pick, it’s worthwhile to leave auto-renewal turned on in order to take advantage of the additional services it enables. You might then choose to cancel your subscription closer to the time of your renewal’s expiration.

For Avira, after you’ve finished the three checkout forms and you submit your credit card information, personal information, and confirm your purchase, you’ll get a download link for the program you’ve selected. Downloading the application takes just a few seconds, and when you run the installation file, you’ll be guided through a few easy steps to make it fully functional and start protecting your device.

How easy is the interface to use?

Avira interface

Avira’s user interface is simple. It isn’t cluttered, so it’s simple to see your PC’s health condition and if it’s currently secure or if there are any issues you should solve. The black, white, and gray tones are unobtrusive, yet strong symbols direct you to the crucial areas of protection, privacy, and performance.

McAfee interface

McAfee’s design is straightforward and sophisticated. Each feature has its own image that depicts what it does. You can quickly access the features and discover how much time remains on your subscription. McAfee also employs a message to keep people informed of the status of their device. All of the supplementary functions that aren’t seen on the home screen are listed in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Customer support

On its website’s support page, Avira provides a phone number for customer care, as well as email and video lessons. There’s also a website devoted to software updates and notifying users of major software changes.

McAfee has a fantastic support center with help split into sections such as installation, ID protection, product questions, billing, and refunds. There are links to YouTube support videos, a FAQ, articles, and contact options to speak with support. These include social channels, 24/7 live chat, and a live community.

Avira vs McAfee conclusion

In this comparison, McAfee comes out on top. In my tests, it had the best malware detection results, picking up all seven test files in its on-demand scan. It offers more functionality than Avira and outperforms its rival in independent AV testing labs by a significant margin.

In addition, McAfee gives substantial discounts for the first year of subscription, lowering the cost of using its software. Features such as a VPN, identity monitoring, parental controls, and school mode make McAfee one of the best options on the market.

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