ESET vs TotalAV: Which is best?

ESET and TotalAV are both worthy contenders, but which is best? In this article, I look at both antivirus software and compare pricing, features, malware protection, and performance. You will see my own data from malware and performance tests, and I’ll review the latest independent antivirus tests.

Reliable antivirus software is invaluable to protect your personal data. With cyberattacks increasing in sophistication and frequency, protecting your home computer is more important than ever.

Want to know the winner now? TotalAV is my winner, as it delivered excellent results in independent malware and performance tests. It offers a large number of additional security features, giving you the peace of mind that your device is secure.

Want to decide for yourself? Read on for the full comparison.

Summary: ESET vs TotalAV

ESET Premium Protection

  • Secure data encryption
  • Safeguards your privacy
  • File shredder

TotalAV Antivirus Pro

  • Ransomware protection
  • System tune-up
  • Cloud scanning
FeatureESET Premium ProtectionTotalAV
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
Run suspicious apps in sandbox

BEST DEAL FOR ESET:Get 20% off a 2-year plan and benefit from a 30-day free trial.

BEST DEAL FOR TOTAL ANTIVIRUS PRO:Get 80% off a TotalAV subscription that’s compatible with Mac, IOS and Android devices.



ESET is a Slovakian internet security company and was recognized as the most successful Slovakian company in 2008, 2009, and 2010. It has won numerous awards and gained recognition for pushing boundaries in the antivirus industry. ESET has the longest unbroken run of VB100 awards for malware detection and it has passed every test since 2003.


TotalAV is an award-winning antivirus software and is relatively new in the antivirus world. It protects over 25 million users worldwide and frequently tests itself alongside the leading antivirus software on the market today. TotalAV is owned by Group Limited and is registered in the United Kingdom.

Pricing and compatibility

Protecting your privacy online is expected to come at a cost. This is particularly true if you want software that has advanced features, rather than a basic level of protection you would find in cheaper or free antivirus programs.

ESET offers a variety of products to choose from. It provides single-device protection for Windows, macOS, and Android, giving you an option to target protection on a single device. For an Android device, this starts at $14.99 (GBP £10.88) per year. ESET Smart Security Premium comes in at $59.99 (GBP £43.56) per year, with all the advanced features that are expected for the cost.

TotalAV has a much simpler pricing structure, with free and paid versions. For the paid-for plan, you can choose whether you want to protect three, five, or six devices.

Both companies are currently offering discounts. You can get a $20 (GBP £14.52) discount on ESET’s Smart Security Premium product when you opt for a two-year term. TotalAV is offering a much bigger discount with 80 percent off its paid-for version, making TotalAV Antivirus Pro just $19 (GBP £13.79) for three devices. Once your first-year subscription is over, you will be charged the full price.

If you’re not ready to commit or you want to try before you buy, ESET and TotalAV both provide a 30-day free trial on all of their software.

Both ESET Smart Security Premium and TotalAV work with all popular operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Android devices.

Effectiveness against malware

Malware causes significant harm to your device. It invades your privacy and personal information. Ensuring your antivirus software provides solid protection is highly important.

To find out which antivirus software protects my device best, I have undertaken my own tests. I downloaded four EICAR (European Institute for Computer Anti-Virus Research) malware samples and used three live malware samples, including adware and Trojans. The results are shown in the table below.

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

As the table shows, ESET blocked all EICAR samples, as well as the live samples, in real-time. TotalAV however, blocked one EICAR sample but allowed the other three. All live samples were detected, but not blocked from being downloaded.

In my own tests, ESET performed slightly better than TotalAV.

ESET effectiveness

To further validate my findings, I looked at a leading independent testing website, AV-Test. The most recent report from May 2020 and June 2020, showed ESET with a 99.4 percent protection score in May and a 100 percent score in June. TotalAV scored 98.2 percent in May and 98.9 percent in June.

I also looked at AV-Comparatives, another leading independent testing website. Its most recent real-world protection test summary from February 2020 to May 2020 gave ESET a protection score of 99.5 percent and TotalAV a score of 98.5 percent.

During this period, ESET had zero false positives while TotalAV recorded two. False positives occur when safe files are flagged as a threat, which could irritate some users. Lower is better, but both performed very well as the average score across the industry is nine.

Overall, ESET outperformed TotalAV in both my own tests and leading antivirus research websites, which makes it the winner in this round.

Impact on PC Performance

Installing any kind of software onto your PC can cause slowdowns, and antivirus software is no exception. In this section, I will determine which antivirus software has less impact on my PC. I tested both ESET and TotalAV while a full scan and quick scan were performed, as well as when no scan was present.

Test TypeFull Scan Time (minutes)Full Scan Items ScannedControl 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)

The table above outlines the full and quick scan functions on ESET and TotalAV. ESET doesn’t have a quick scan function, but the TotalAV quick scan resolved in 1,740 seconds. That is considerably longer than many other leading antivirus software.

ESET performed a full scan much faster than TotalAV, taking just 68 minutes and scanning nearly eight times as many items as TotalAV.

The table below outlines the difference between running a full scan and when no scan was present, and the impact it had on my PC performance.

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)

When no scan was taking place, TotalAV recorded higher disk and memory utilization compared to ESET, meaning it had more of an impact on my PC.

I looked at some of the latest data from AV-Comparatives’ April 2020 test to see if similar results were found. The performance test looks at how each antivirus software fares during eight common tasks:

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

ESET gained a very fast score for all tasks, with the exception of file copying on the first run, which gained a fast score. TotalAV scored a very fast score for all, with the exception of installing and uninstalling applications that gained a mediocre score and downloading files which still scored a fast rating.

It’s clear from the data from my own and independent tests that ESET records slightly better numbers but both programs are fast and don’t slow down your PC.


So what exactly are you paying for? Other than the antivirus scanner itself, most antivirus software comes with additional features that contribute to your online protection. I have listed the features below for ESET and TotalAV and highlighted some standout features that you may find useful.

ESET Premium Internet Security

  • Multi-platform protection
  • Safeguard your privacy
  • Enjoy premium features
  • Legendary antivirus technology
  • Privacy protection
  • Anti-theft
  • Minimal power usage
  • Install and forget

TotalAV Antivirus Pro

  • Ransomware protection
  • Protection against phishing scams
  • Protection against adware and spyware
  • Free up system space
  • System tune-up
  • Web shield extension
  • Browser cleaner and manager
  • Cloud scanning

Here are the biggest feature highlights from both:

ESET Premium Internet Security

  • Premium features: Encrypt your files and removable media and store and organize your passwords safely.
  • Anti-theft: Track and locate your device if it gets lost or stolen and it will identify thieves via your device’s camera.
  • Minimal power usage: This tool will disable pop-ups and activate a battery-saving mode which is particularly welcomed if you use your device for gaming.

TotalAV Antivirus Pro

  • Cloud scanning: Cloud scanning is the fastest protection against zero-day malware threats, ensuring your device is scanned and protected quickly.
  • System tune-up: This tool identifies any potential areas that could lead to maximizing the performance and speed of your device.
  • Protection against phishing scams: This tool blocks the latest phishing URLs to protect you against malicious scams that may target your device.

There are lots of great features offered by both but TotalAV stands out with its system tune-up and phishing scam protection.

Signup and installation

Installing the software on your device can seem daunting, but both programs offer a swift and easy signup and installation process.

ESET’s checkout page shows you the product you’re purchasing and the corresponding price. You are also able to choose additional products, such as mobile protection if you wish. You can opt for monthly payments, which is great if you are on a budget and want to spread the cost.

Just as with ESET, TotalAV takes you straight to checkout once you’ve selected a product. It clearly shows you how much you’re saving, reassuring you that you’ve made the right choice. It also says that you have ‘free tune up’ and ‘free additional devices’ added onto the product and states what these usually cost. There is no option to choose monthly payments, but the software is considerably cheaper than ESET, so this may not be much of an issue.

How easy is the interface to use?

Once your software is installed, the next thing to work out is the interface. A complex interface can leave you feeling confused and regretting your purchase.

ESET interface

ESET’s interface is modern, with a robotic feature on the right-hand side. On opening, you can clearly see if you’re protected. The left-hand panel allows you to navigate to a computer scan and search for any updates. The bottom blue panel will allow you to access your passwords, encrypt data, and check the security of your router.

TotalAV Interface

TotalAV is much simpler in design, perhaps appealing to those with less experience with antivirus systems. On opening, it tells you that you’re protected and gives you the option to run a smart scan. The left-hand icon allows you to navigate to malware protection, adjust your settings, and much more by just hovering over the icon.

Customer support

Customer support is important for any product, especially when the annual subscription comes at a hefty cost.

ESET provides phone support for its US customers from 6am to 5pm. You can reach them via email too if that’s preferable. There’s also lots of help and support on the website if your query is not urgent and you prefer to try to fix the problem yourself.

TotalAV offers 24/7 live chat support on its website, a function that is quick, easy, and often preferred by consumers. You can also reach representatives via email and phone or simply turn to the extensive FAQs and support on the TotalAV website.

ESET vs TotalAV Conclusion

This comparison has looked at two established antivirus software products. Overall, TotalAV has come out on top thanks to good all-around performance at a much lower cost than ESET. TotalAV has a great range of additional features and reassures customers that they are protected and secure online.

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