It’s important to choose the best antivirus software for you and that’s where comparing the pros of each one can help you decide. In this article, I’ll contrast all that’s good and bad about Emsisoft and Avast so you get the complete picture to inform your decision.
Avast is a big player in the antivirus market and already protects around 425 million consumers worldwide. In contrast, Emsisoft is a smaller brand that claims to have one million people download its software every year.
The tests I run on both programs will determine which one is best for malware protection, speed, and performance. I’ll also look at which antivirus offers the best additional features, value for money, interface, and customer service.
If you just want a quick answer, then Avast is my overall winner. Want more information about how I came to that conclusion? Read on for the full comparison.
Summary: Emsisoft vs Avast
- Dual engine scanner
- Secure browser
- Ransomware protection
- Strong malware protection scores
- Webcam protection
- Automatically updates apps
|Feature||Avast Premium Protection||Emsisoft|
|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 EMSISOFT:Subscribe to Emsisoft and get the first 30 days completely free.
BEST DEAL FOR AVAST:Save up to 50% on Avast One and benefit from the highest levels of antivirus protection.
Emsisoft was founded by Christian Marioll in 2003. The company is based in New Zealand and industry analysts cite its current market share at around one percent of the global antivirus market.
The company offers malware software to protect home users, small businesses, and enterprise customers. With a staff of 40 Emsisoft has been steadily growing and defends millions of customers from growing online threats.
Avast is based in Prague, Czech Republic, but has a global reach. Since 1998 it has grown to one of the largest and best known antivirus brands, in part to its free software that has been incredibly popular with home PC users.
According to recent data Avast has 425 million users and has the second highest percentage share of the AV market by April 2020. In 2016, Avast merged with AVG, another large antivirus brand in a deal worth $1.3 billion. The brand innovates new features and methods to deal with the ongoing number of cybersecurity threats we face today.
Emsisoft vs Avast pricing
There are a lot of different antivirus providers on the market and each one normally offers more than one product. That can make it more difficult to choose the right version for you, but it also gives you lots of choices.
Avast is well known for its free antivirus and it now offers a more basic version of its top tier package for free. It’s called Avast One Free and it lets you protect a single device with the antivirus and limited versions of a few extra features—for example it includes a VPN, safe online banking, optimization tools, and monitoring for leaked passwords.
The next level up from the free version is Premium Security, and this lets you protect one PC or one Mac, or cover for 10 devices. The Premium plan costs $69.99 (GBP £52.83) for one device or $89.99 (GBP £67.93) for up to 10 devices. Avast could maybe also offer an option to cover three or five devices here for more flexibility.
Avast One is the top tier product and includes an unlimited VPN, additional privacy tools, password protection, an ad blocker and many more features. Avast One costs $99.99 (GBP £75.48) per year for up to five devices or $139.99 (GBP £105.68) for up to 30 devices.
At the time of writing, Avast has some discounts available on its paid subscriptions for the first year.
Avast One has 50 percent off, making the Family plan with 30 devices reduce from $139.99 to $59.99 (GBP £45.29) for the first year of subscription. For the Avast One Individual plan covering five devices the cost drops from $99.99 to $50.28 (GBP £37.96) for the first year with the discount applied.
For Avast Premium Security the discount is less generous but there’s still a decent saving to be had. The 1 PC or Mac option is reduced by 28 percent, making it $50.28 for the first year instead of $69.99. For the 10 devices version the price drops from $89.99 to $69.48 (GBP £52.46) for the first year, representing a 23 percent discount.
Avast backs its products with a 30-day money-back guarantee and its software is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone/iPad.
|Avast Free Antivirus||Avast Premium Security - One PC or Mac||Avast Premium Security - 10 Devices (Cross platform)||Avast One Individual - Five Devices||Avast One Family - 30 Devices|
|Free||$69.99 (GBP £52.83) per year||$89.99 (GBP £67.93) per year||$99.99 (GBP £75.48) per year||$139.99 (GBP £105.68) per year|
Emsisoft by comparison has fewer options than Avast. It doesn’t have a free version for instance, and there’s no premium version of its software either. It offers one package to serve everyone. It’s called Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home and it’s available to cover one, three, or five devices.
|Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home - 1 Windows device||Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home - 3 Windows Devices||Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home - 5 Windows Devices||Emsisoft Mobile Security - 1 devices||Emsisoft Mobile Security - 3 devices|
|$29.95 (GBP £22.61) per year||$49.95 (GBP 37.70) per year||$69.95 (GBP £52.80) per year.||$10.00 (GBP £7.54) per year||$16.67 (GBP £12.58) per year|
The software only covers Windows so you can protect a Mac with Emsisoft and if you want to protect an Android device you’ll need to subscribe to the separate Emsisoft Mobile Security software. Again there’s no option with the mobile software to cover an Apple device, so no iOS version is on offer.
In terms of cost Emsisoft is less than half the price of Avast to cover a single PC, and costs $29.95 (GBP £22.60) per year. The three and five device options are also less expensive than Avast’s packages at $49.95 (GBP £37.70) and $69.95 (GBP £52.79) per year respectively. There’s no first year discounts for new subscribers at the time of writing but you can reduce the annual cost by extending the coverage to two or three years to receive a discounted rate.
Emsisoft Mobile Security costs $10.00 (GBP £7.54) per year for one device and $16.67 (GBP £12.58) per year for up to three Android devices.
Effectiveness against malware
Viruses and malware can infect your computer and be used to steal information and result in financial gain for the hacker.
I ran some of my own tests to see which one came out on top between Avast and Emsisoft. I downloaded malware samples from EICAR and used three live samples which included Adware and Trojans to see how the real-time scanner of each program performed.
|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
Real-time scanning results
Real-time scanning means that the antivirus program looks for threats in real time, such as when you are downloading files from the internet. Avast’s real-time scanner allowed all four of the EICAR samples on a HTTPS connection, but blocked them on HTTP. Avast also found all three of the live malware samples.
For Emsisoft, all Eicar test files were blocked effectively upon download except the text file, which was missed when added to a text document and saved. The live samples were caught either at download attempt, or upon extracting from a ZIP folder.
On-demand scans check your computer system looking for any dangerous files or programs.
There are two types of on-demand scans: a quick scan and a full scan. A quick scan briefly checks the most common areas of a PC where you’d find malware, while a full scan goes much deeper and checks many more files.
Avast’s Smart Scan (it’s name for a quick scan) found no threats. Avast’s Smart Scan was pretty quick at 146 seconds and this perhaps explains why the program was unable to find anything in the quick scan setting.
Emsisoft’s quickscan also found no threats and appeared to conclude too quickly, only taking 22 seconds to resolve.
Emsisoft’s full malware scan was also quick and limited taking just 22 minutes to complete which is much faster than most other antivirus scanners. In the time it was running Emsisoft managed to evaluate 73071 files. The full on-demand scan found some but not all of the malware files.
In contrast the full system scan from Avast found all seven threats, including four EICAR samples and three live malware samples. It took 60 minutes to resolve and went much deeper than Emsisoft by analyzing 1870000 different files during its scan.
Next I wanted to back up my own test findings by checking how the leading antivirus testing labs AV-Test and AV-Comparatives rated Avast and Emsisoft in recent experiments.
Both labs run regular tests on a number of leading antivirus brands and give a clear picture of recent performance against threats.
There are two main types of tests performed by AV-comparatives that I am interested in, the Malware Protection Test and the Real World Protection Test.
The Real World Protection Test works by checking how well the software protects against threats from the internet such as downloads and malicious websites.
The Malware Protection Test in contrast checks how well the antivirus scans a system already infected with viruses and malware or introduced by USB and flash drives. It wants to see how well the program finds and quarantines the files.
The most recent data consists of tests run between July to October 2021. In the real world protection test AV Comparatives tested several leading antivirus providers’ software against 743 malware test cases.
Avast performed very well in this test, protecting against 99.9 percent of the threats with just two false positives (where the software identified something as a threat when it was actually a safe file, website, or program). These results ranked Avast as one of the best performing antivirus programs tested.
Emsisoft was not tested during the same period, and the latest Real World protection test data available for the brand from AV-Comparatives is from November 2018 and used 230 virus test cases.
Emsisoft measured a 99.1 percent in the test while scoring zero false positives.
The latest Malware Protection Test was completed in September 2021 and Avast scored a 99.98 percent protection rate meaning only Norton and McAfee performed better out of the 17 antivirus programs tested.
Again Emsisoft was not tested here and it last featured in September 2018. Emsisoft scored 99.95 percent protection rate, but also scored 10 false positives.
AV-Test’s most recent protection report gives Avast a 100 percent success score 0-day against real world threats in both September and October 2021, adding further to its impressive scores.
Emsisoft was last tested in November and December 2016. It scored 99 percent in November and 98.7 percent in December.
Overall thanks to its results in my one test, where it showed deeper scanning results and its performance in independent lab tests, I make Avast the winner here.
Impact on PC performance
Antivirus software uses your computer resources in order to scan files and check for viruses and malware. To test out whether Avast or Emsisoft has a lower impact on PC performance, I ran a quick scan and then a full system scan and recorded the data.
|Test Type||Full Scan Time (minutes)||Full Scan Items Scanned||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)|
Avast took 60 minutes to complete a full scan while Emsisoft only took two minutes. Speed is important but two minutes does not give me confidence that Emsisoft conducted a thorough scan. When I compare the number of items scanned, vast scanned nearly 1.8 million items compared to Emsisoft’s 73,000.
This table below shows control numbers (before a scan was run) and the results, while a scan was running. The results show that a very low impact on CPU utilization and Memory utilization but used its disk utilization jumped up during the scan. Emsisoft on the other hand recorded a big jump in CPU utilization, a reasonable increase in Disk utilization and a negligible increase in memory utilization.
|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)|
To compare my results I took a look at the latest results on performance from AV-Comparatives.. AV-Comparatives measures antivirus performance looking at tasks a user might carry out while an antivirus is running. These are:
- Downloading files
- Browsing websites
- File Copying: first and subsequent run
- Installing and uninstalling applications
- Archiving and unarchiving
- Launching applications: first and subsequent run
From AV-Comparatives Performance test data in October 2021, Avast scored a very fast score for all the tasks listed above, apart from launching applications on the first run where it recorded a mediocre score. Emsisoft was not included in the test.
Emsisoft vs Avast Features
You will find a variety of features to keep you safe online included with your antivirus package. The features vary by provider so it is useful to give a quick overview of the key features of each Avast and Emsisoft.
- Block malware
- Safely run suspicious apps
- Permanently shred sensitive files
- Secure passwords
- Block spam and phishing emails
- Safer shopping
- Webcam protection
- Lock out hackers with an advanced firewall
- Scan for wi-fi security weaknesses
- Get an extra layer of ransomware security
- Automatically update apps
- Install on all your devices
- Behavior blocker
- File guard
- Web protection
- Automatic updates
- Emergency kit maker
- Remote manager
Here’s a breakdown of some of the key features for each software:
- Safer shopping: Detects and blocks fake websites to save you from entering your card details and being caught out by fraud.
- Sandbox: Open files in a safe environment, before you run them on your PC to make sure they are safe.
- Automatic app updates: Software that isn’t updated with the latest fixes is one way hackers breach systems and collect your data. This tool automatically keeps all your apps up to date.
- Dual engine scanner: Emsisoft uses two scanners in one. The files on your hard disk are only read once before being checked by both scanners. One looks at mainstream threats, while the other looks for unwanted programs.
- Emsisoft Browser Security:. Emsisoft includes a secure web browser add-on in its antivirus suite to block dangerous websites. It is compatible with Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers.
Avast Premium offers a longer list of added features and more tools that offer value to the end user.
Signup and installation
Avast’s website is easy to navigate and research the features of the different antivirus packages it has available. The checkout process is quick and easy and everything looks very secure. When you buy an Avast package just be aware that it is a subscription and it will renew every year. If you don’t want to be billed automatically, turn this off once you have the software set up.
Emsisoft only has one product for home users, and the benefits and features are listed on the same page as the two business offerings. Maybe displaying the home version features on a stand alone page could be better, but still it’s easy enough to scan through the feature list and click through to buy the software. As with Avast it’s auto renewal so make sure to cancel this later if you don’t want it to renew.
How easy is the interface to use?
Having software that works is one thing, but I also want to find an antivirus that is easy to use and doesn’t have me searching around for the features I will need to use most often.
Avast’s interface has a good structure and gives you the protection status of your device and the option to run a smart scan as its focus. This is pretty good as checking the device is secure and running a scan are the two main functions of the AV.
There are three buttons on the side tab that let you get into more options depending on the task you’re trying to perform, protection, privacy, or optimization.
The Emsisoft interface design looks light and offers a simple design. It is very easy to navigate and perform key tasks.
There are some simple toggle on/off buttons that let you quickly manage the firewall and system lockdown which is a useful feature. The four large tiles on the homepage launch settings, scans, and more.
Customer support options are important if you need help with your software or one of the many bundled security and privacy features.
Avast includes email and live chat support in the price of its Avast Premium subscription. However there is no live phone support where you can contact a technician.
Avast’s website also has a few additional resources. There are help guides that go into plenty of detail so you should be able to solve your issue.
Emsisoft’s support page provides a live chat, FAQ, and user guides. There’s also email support, a community forum, so you can ask other users for advice. Like with Avast, there is no phone line support available from Emsisoft.
During this review I have found that Avast has the edge on Emsisoft in many different areas. Avast’s scan went much deeper on my PC, while Emsisoft’s full system scan completed in just 22 minutes. Looking at my own test results and those of independent labs, Avast’s protection rate had the edge on Emsisoft.
Avast also offers more additional features that can enhance your security and privacy online.