Norton vs AVG

Protecting your data online is more important than ever. Making sure you have the best antivirus software available is the key to keeping your identity and personal information safe. In this post, I compare two major antivirus providers, Norton and AVG.

I’ll provide a detailed analysis of which company’s software is best. I’ll also compare and give an overview of other key aspects, including additional features, pricing, and usability.

Don’t want to read the full Norton vs AVG article?

For those of you in a hurry, Norton is the clear winner for me. Norton offers high-quality identity protection features and has a parental control feature to help you protect your family. The results from my tests and independent labs were fantastic.

If you’re looking for more in-depth information and analysis, please read on.

Summary: Norton vs AVG

Norton 360 Deluxe

  • Strong malware protection results
  • Webcam protection
  • VPN

AVG Internet Security

  • Enhanced firewall
  • Password protection
  • Data shredder
No valueNortonAVG
Websitewww.Norton.comwww.avg.com
Antivirus and Antispyware
Firewall
Web protection/anti phishing
Password Manager
VPN
PC Cloud Backup
Parental controls
Webcam protection
Ransomware protection
Banking and Payment Protection
Network Attack Protection
Secure data encryption
Automatically update apps
File Shredder
Performance Optimization
Identity Theft Protection
Best deal (per month)$3.33
GET 52% off the first year!
$6.49
Save 53% on the annual plan - 10 devices

Background

Norton

Norton has been a major player in the antivirus world since 1991. Formerly Symantec, it acquired LifeLock identity protection in 2017, which led to its name change of NortonLifeLock.

In December 2020, it announced the acquisition of Avira antivirus, and in August 2021, it announced that it would be acquiring Avast, which itself acquired AVG a few years prior. This means Norton could soon implement the best bits from all three of these companies, Avast had already finished syncing the Avast and AVG cloud and behavioral monitoring technology.

AVG Technologies

AVG Technologies was founded in 1990 in post-communist Czechoslovakia. Since its founding, it has expanded rapidly and now offers an array of different protection levels to users worldwide.

AVG was bought by Avast for $1.3bn in 2016 but remains a separate brand from Avast software, although their protection rates and technology are very similar. In late 2020, Avast was acquired by NortonLifeLock (formerly Symantec), the makers of Norton Antivirus, but as of the time of writing there is no link between Norton’s software and AVG’s software.

DEAL ALERT: Norton is currently offering a particularly generous 58% discount making it great value

Pricing and compatibility

Paying for antivirus protection reduces your risk from online threats. Free versions of antivirus provide limited protection with a reduced set of features. While it may be more appealing to opt for a no-cost software, paid plans and packages usually give users more peace of mind.

Norton has a wide range of price plans available, with a stark difference in the pricing between its low-tier options and its more comprehensive plans. The packages start at $19.99 per year and go up to $299.88 per year.

Norton provides a wide range of product types too, some of which are targeted to specific markets, including one for gamers. In the table below, I have included the company’s key antivirus products.

There are stark differences between some of Norton’s packages. For example, between Norton’s Antivirus Plus and 360 Deluxe, you gain parental controls and cover for five devices. Key features like these make a huge difference and should be considered before you purchase any antivirus software.

AVG does offer a free service, but as previously mentioned, it’s more beneficial to find the right paid product to suit your needs as these provide better coverage and protection.

No valueAVG FreeAVG Internet SecurityAVG Ultimate
Websitewww.avg.comwww.avg.comwww.avg.com
One year priceFree$46.68$59.88
Renewal priceN/A$75.99$127.99
Best deal (per month)Free
FREE download
$2.70
Save up to 53%
$6.49
Save 53% on the annual plan - 10 devices

AVG’s mid-range product, Internet Security, is very flexible and allows you to choose to cover one to 10 devices. The top-tier package, AVG Ultimate, protects 10 devices but is the priciest option on offer at $59.88 per year.

AVG offers a monthly subscription option for those on a tighter budget, as well as a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you aren’t satisfied with your service. Norton also offers a 60-day money-back option if you are unhappy with the software.

AVG’s and Norton’s software are both compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android devices.

Effectiveness against malware

As hackers become more prevalent online, it’s important to find the right software to protect your personal information against malware.

I undertook some tests to see which antivirus software offers the best defense. I tested Norton and AVG in real-time using test files from the European Institute of Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR). Additionally, I ran three live samples. You can see the results in the table below.

No valueNortonAVG
Websitewww.Norton.comwww.avg.com
Eicar Sample 1BlockedBlocked
Eicar Sample 2BlockedBlocked
Eicar Sample 3BlockedAllowed
Eicar Sample 4BlockedAllowed
Live Sample 1 (Adware)BlockedBlocked
Live Sample 2 (Trojan)BlockedBlocked
Live Sample 3 (Trojan)BlockedBlocked
Best deal (per month)$3.33
GET 52% off the first year!
$6.49
Save 53% on the annual plan - 10 devices

Norton blocked the first EICAR sample and the following two zipped samples upon extraction. It immediately detected and deleted the three live samples I tested. AVG blocked all live malware files immediately. Its real-time scanner did allow zipped files to be downloaded, but blocked the unzipped EICAR samples.

Norton effectiveness

AVG EICAR results

Overall, Norton and AVG both performed well in my tests.

However, these tests alone do not give a clear result, so I also looked at independent tests conducted by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives for a more comprehensive picture.

According to AV-Test’s evaluation, Norton and AVG both received a 100 percent score during its experiments in September and October 2021. These results were based on tests using nearly nineteen-thousand samples, giving a thorough and in-depth look at how AVG and Norton function. It’s clear AVG’s and Norton’s products are at the cutting-edge of technology.

AV-Comparatives’ latest Real-World Protection test summary looked at data from July to October 2021. These tests gave AVG a score of 99.8 percent and Norton received a 100 percent protection rate.

Norton flagged 37 false alarms during this period of testing, compared to AVG’s five. A false alarm occurs when a safe file is mistakenly identified as a threat. The industry average for false alarms is seven, so Norton has room to improve in this regard.

It’s difficult to determine a comprehensive winner as both perform well. For the more cautious user, Norton would be my recommendation thanks to a 100 percent record in all recent lab tests.

Impact on PC performance

The speed and performance of your PC is important, so having antivirus software that doesn’t slow down the function of your computer is key. I ran some more tests to determine which software has the least impact on PC performance.

No valueAVGNorton
Websitewww.avg.comwww.Norton.com
Full Scan Time (minutes)35121
Number of scanned objects4031671,420,276
Full Scan CPU Utilization %3584
Full Scan Memory Utilization %7175
Full Scan Disk Utilization (seconds) (no scan)425381
Control CPU Utliization % (no scan)5114
Control Memory Utilization % (no scan)8672
Control Disk Utilization (seconds) (no scan)12113
Quick Scan Time (seconds)22171
Quick Scan CPU Utilization %3637
Quick Scan Memory Utilization %7976
Quick Scan Disk Utilization %122741
Best deal (per month)$6.49
Save 53% on the annual plan - 10 devices
$3.33
GET 52% off the first year!

The table above shows the impact each antivirus service had when running full and quick scans. Norton’s full scan time took 121 minutes, which is four times the length of AVG’s full scan service. Norton scanned over twice as many items as AVG, delivering a more thorough result.

The table below also shows the data I collected on the impact of each software on PC performance without a scan and when a full scan was running.

In this area, Norton outperformed AVG with only 14 percent CPU utilization compared to AVG’s 51 percent. When a full scan was running, this reversed and AVG’s CPU utilization was less than half of Norton’s.

Looking at AV-Comparatives’ recent performance tests from October 2021, I checked to see if their results matched my own. These tests are very in-depth and show data on 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

Norton was given the highest “very fast” rating in all but one area, which was installing applications. AVG also received a very fast rating in all but one area, which was running applications. Installing applications is an action that most users perform less often than running applications, although it is clear that both applications are light on performance.

Overall, AVG appears to match Norton in many areas for performance. This being said, Norton does provide a more thorough and in-depth scan with minimal impact on CPU utilization when no scan is running. As a result, Norton wins this round.

Features

As well as scanning your device for viruses and malware, most antivirus software boasts an abundance of additional features to protect you online. I have listed the standout features of Norton’s 360 Deluxe and AVG’s Internet Security services below to give you a clearer picture of what is on offer.

Norton 360 Deluxe

  • Cloud backup 50GB
  • Real-time threat protection
  • Password manager
  • Secure VPN
  • Dark web monitoring
  • PC SafeCam
  • Parental control

AVG Internet Security

  • Advanced antivirus
  • Behavior shield
  • AI detection
  • Real-time updates
  • Do not disturb mode
  • Password protection
  • Webcam protection
  • Data shredder

Norton 360 Deluxe

50GB cloud backup: Norton allows you to store and protect files and documents against device failures and ransomware. It also provides protection if your device is stolen.

Parental controls: The parental control features allows you to easily protect your children online.

PC SafeCam: The SafeCam feature will alert you to any unauthorized access to your camera, providing you with peace of mind.

Interested in the other features on offer? Find out more in our full Norton antivirus review.

AVG Internet Security

Webcam protection: This service protects you against webcam hacking and requires untrusted apps to ask your permission for access to your webcam.

Data shredder: The data shredder securely deletes files and data from your device to fully protect all your information.

Password protection: AVG’s password protection service prevents blocked apps from reading, changing, or deleting your passwords.

Norton and AVG provide similar services to protect your personal data and webcams online. Norton’s packages offer more robust protection for your personal information, as well as secure storage for your most important data.

Signup and installation

Even if it’s your first time installing and using antivirus software, most services are straightforward and easy to use.

Norton’s website is clear and concise with its Subscribe Now button taking you to another webpage to input your details and view a summary of your order. There is a clear outline of your order, with a breakdown of the subscription, number of devices on your plan, and the available backup storage included. It also provides the compatibility of your plan and the renewal cost for the following year. One drawback is that Norton does not alert you ahead of renewal, so make sure you set a reminder in your calendar. You can also add Norton Computer Tune Up for an additional $9.99.

AVG takes you straight to a payment screen after you select the plan you want. The layout is straightforward and only requires you to input your personal and payment details on one page.

Both services are quick and easy to download and install, giving you protection as soon as you need it.

How easy is the interface to use?

Usability is often one of the most underrated factors when considering which antivirus software to purchase. But having a user-friendly system makes a huge difference as you will use it regularly to scan your device.

Norton interface

Norton’s dashboard uses the brand’s recognizable green and yellow color scheme. The breakdown is also clear and concise, providing a visual experience that is simple to navigate. The top panel keeps you up to date regarding your device protection. The icons are easy to understand and there is access to a web portal so you can monitor all of your devices.

AVG scan

AVG’s interface is very modern and clean. It uses images to create a visually-driven experience. It also provides a very clear message at the top of the window to give you the quickest reassurance that your devices are protected. Smart scan can be launched very easily with one click and navigation is straightforward as each section is marked clearly.

Customer Support

For extra reassurance, it’s important to pick an antivirus service with solid customer support in place.

AVG’s website provides a forum, but there is little indication as to how long response times are. Phone services also incur an extra cost, but the support hub allows you to search for your queries and provides answers in the form of help guides. There is no technical support line.

Norton offers support for all of its products 24/7, year-round, even if you purchase its lower-tier options. There is also live chat support available as well as online communities, FAQs, and social media support. Norton’s support is comprehensive in comparison to competitors.

Antivirus testing methodology

At Comparitech, we use a carefully thought out antivirus testing methodology to identify important antivirus features and benchmarks. In addition to testing how easy the antivirus is to set up and use, we check the company’s reputation, the service’s privacy policy and data, and the company’s jurisdiction. Our method also aims to identify:

  • The impact that both quick and full scans have on system resources
  • The amount of time it takes to run quick and full scans
  • The efficacy of the real-time scanning and online protection features
  • The effectiveness of the antivirus software’s detection and malware removal during scans

Our process combines in-house testing with laboratory results from the world’s leading antivirus testing authorities:

This combined approach allows us to provide information about how an antivirus performs in a real-world setting, and how this compares to other products. It also allows us to provide unbiased information regarding each product’s ability to identify and deal with threats across different platforms and operating systems.

AVG vs Norton: FAQs

Is there a difference between free antivirus and paid antivirus software?

Both free and paid antivirus programs use a database of exploit definitions to scan your computer, or mobile device, for malicious payloads. However, a paid antivirus usually has important additional features that help to keep your devices as safe as possible.

While a free antivirus program can ‌scan and remove any exploits that have made their way onto your devices, a paid antivirus will use real-time canning to check all incoming downloads and data packets. This prevents your device from becoming infected in the first place, which is a much more comprehensive way of protecting yourself.

Besides real time scanning, paid antivirus programs also provide additional advanced security features that give you additional security for your machine. These extras are not as important as real time and on-demand scanning, but they are extremely beneficial, which is why paid antivirus programs usually provide them.

How do I uninstall Norton or AVG?

Removing an antivirus is no different from removing any other program on your device. You can do so by reading to the Control Panel and then selecting Programs and Features. 

Now, find your antivirus in the list and right-click it. In the drop-down list select Uninstall, and follow the on-screen prompts to remove the program and all its components. You may need to restart your computer to finalize the removal process. 

On a Mac, head to the Applications folder and look for the dedicated uninstaller program for either AVG or Norton, depending on which you currently have installed. Run the removal tool and follow the instructions to completely remove the program from your Mac.

Conclusion

Norton and AVG provide relatively similar antivirus software services. However, Norton’s customer service is superior, its scans are more in-depth, and it has minimal impact on PC performance, making it the clear winner in my opinion. With its focus on security and stellar customer service, Norton is worth its higher price point.

See also:

FAQs about Norton vs AVG

Does Norton offer a free version?

Norton does not offer a free version of its antivirus software. However, Norton does offer a 60-day money-back guarantee for all of its products that let you try the product before committing to it long-term.

What are the most common types of malware?

Many types of malware can infect a computer system, including spyware, viruses, Trojans, and worms. These malicious programs can compromise your data, steal your personal information, or even take control of your computer.

Some of the most common types of malware include ransomware, keyloggers, rootkits, and botnets. To protect your computer from these threats, it is important to use reliable antivirus software and update your system with the latest security patches. Additionally, you should be careful when downloading files or clicking on online links and always be cautious when opening emails or email attachments.