It’s no surprise that as our lives become increasingly digital, there is an increase in the number of online threats, including viruses and other types of malware. I will be talking in-depth about two contenders you should consider when looking to purchase antivirus software for your devices: TotalAV and Avast.
Don’t have time to read the whole article? Here’s the quick answer: the software I would recommend is TotalAV, due to its great malware protection and substantial first-year discounts on the subscription fee. Want to know how I reached this conclusion? Read on for my full comparison of the two products.
Summary: TotalAV vs Avast
- Ransomware protection
- System tune-up
- Cloud scanning
- Ransomware protection
- Sandbox tool
- Password manager
|Feature||TotalAV||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 TOTALAV:Save $80 on a TotalAV subscription and protect up to 6 devices at the same time.
BEST DEAL FOR AVAST:Up to 67% off an Avast Ultimate subscription which includes Avast SecureLine VPN and much more.
Avast was developed in Prague and has over 435 million users worldwide. As of April 2020, it was the second-largest antivirus software company in the world. Avast is dedicated to creating a safe and private world through the products it offers. Furthermore, it receives a constant stream of data from its users through a cloud-based machine-learning engine, helping the software stay up to date.
Of note was its acquisition of AVG in 2016, which allowed Avast and AVGs products to share the best features they each had to offer. In late 2020 it was acquired by NortonLifeLock (formerly Symantec), the makers of Norton Antivirus.
Owned by Protected.net Group Limited, TotalAV is a registered company in the United Kingdom. Despite being a relatively new piece of software on the antivirus market, TotalAV is still an award-winning product, and it attained a perfect score according to the Virus Bulletin. Currently protecting more than 25 million users around the world, TotalAV regularly conducts tests alongside other leading products, checking that they still provide the best protection possible.
Pricing and compatibility
Choosing a free antivirus software can be a tempting option, especially if you don’t know which product to choose. However, if you want to reliably protect your data and privacy, you can expect a decent product to come at a cost. Affordability is also important when picking the right product, especially as you will probably come to use it for many years if you are happy with the results. Below, I have outlined the prices and packages of the plans that TotalAV and Avast offer.
|Avast Free Antivirus||Avast Premium Security - 1 PC||Avast Premium Security - 1 Mac||Avast Premium Security Multi-device - 10 Devices|
|Free||$69.99 per year||$59.99 per year||$89.99 per year|
Avast offers a free version and three paid options. The free version may entice customers to upgrade to the paid version if they are happy with the services. Unlike other antivirus software products, Avast offers distinct packages for Windows and Mac operating systems, with the Mac package being $10 (GBP £7.24) cheaper per year than the Windows alternative.
The packages can either be used on one device or up to 10 devices, with no middle ground. Avast does not offer any discounts on a yearly subscription, so if you like to try before making a costly purchase, it may be better to check out Avast Free Antivirus first before committing.
|TotalAV Antivirus Pro||TotalAV Antivirus Pro (3 devices)||TotalAV Antivirus Pro (5 devices)||TotalAV Antivirus Pro (6 devices)|
|Free||$99.99 per year||$119.99 per year||$149.99 per year|
With a similarly tiered structure to Avast, TotalAV offers a free version of its antivirus software, along with three paid plans. For the paid versions, you have the choice of how many different devices you want to protect: three, five, or six. The paid tiers range from $99.99 to $149.99 (GBP £72.42 to £108.64) per year. Additional features come with the paid packages, such as VPN—Safe Browsing for the $119.99 (GBP £86.91) tier, and Ad Blocker and Secure Password Vault for the $149.99 (GBP £108.64) tier.
At the time of writing, TotalAV has a discount of 80 percent off its paid version, so you can purchase TotalAV Antivirus Pro across three devices for just $19 (GBP £13.76). However, once the first year of your subscription is over, you will be charged the full price. TotalAV is also compatible across all Windows, Android, and Mac operating systems, and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
TotalAV offers a clear, tiered plan structure, good discounts, and additional features, making it my winner for this round. Carry on reading to find out more about what each product has to offer.
Effectiveness against malware
Malware is a dangerous piece of software used in cyberattacks, damaging your computer and potentially stealing your sensitive information in the process. Types of malware can include trojan horses, rogue software, and adware. These threats continue to adapt to ever-changing technology. I wanted to test the effectiveness of TotalAV and Avast against different types of malware, with my results in the table below.
|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 (Trojan)|
I downloaded four different test files of malware from the European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR) and turned off real-time detection when I conducted my tests. The second test I carried out evaluated the performance of the software in real-time and how well malware was detected and quarantined.
As the table above shows, TotalAV blocked one EICAR sample, allowing the other three. However, Avast allowed all of the EICAR samples when they were downloaded over HTTPS, but blocked them on HTTP. Furthermore, all live samples were detected, but not blocked from being downloaded with TotalAV, yet Avast managed to block and remove all three.
They both allowed the EICAR samples when downloaded over HTTPS, but blocked them on HTTP. This is likely due to them not scanning HTTPS web traffic, which itself can create security holes. TotalAV also missed the EICAR text file, likely due to only scanning certain file types.
Even though both TotalAV and Avast performed well when I carried out my own tests, I wanted to check if independent test results supported my conclusions. I looked at two independent test websites: AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.
The most recent report from AV-Test is from May 2020 and June 2020. This showed that TotalAV scored 98.2 percent in May and 98.9 percent in June, with Avast scoring 100 percent for both May and June.
The most recent Real-World Protection Test report from AV-Comparatives is from February 2020 to May 2020. This test finds out how effective antivirus software is at protecting the computer against a malware threat while accessing the internet. TotalAV received a 98.5 percent protection score, with Avast scoring 99.7 percent.
During the test period of March 2020, AV-Comparatives also highlighted false alarms. False-alarm tests show how accurately a file is picked up as safe or a threat. TotalAV gave two false positives, and Avast gave eight false positives.
With only two false positives and no discrepancy between HTTP and HTTPS, TotalAV is my winner for this round.
Impact on PC performance
If you use technology in your everyday life, performance issues can be annoying and disrupt your daily routine. In this section, I will determine which antivirus software had less impact on my PC. I tested Avast and TotalAV while running full and quick scans and when no scan was running.
|Test Type||Full Scan Time (minutes)||Full Scan Items Scanned||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 for both Avast and TotalAV. Avast completed a full system scan in an hour, which is almost a third of the time it took for TotalAV. In 60 minutes, Avast managed to scan almost 2 million files, whereas TotalAV only managed 120,000 in 199 minutes.
For the quick scan, Avast took 146 seconds, which is over 10 times faster than the 1,740 seconds that TotalAV took. Generally, Avast affected the performance of the CPU and memory usage less when carrying out quick scans, except with the disk usage, which was lower for TotalAV.
So, how did these programs and their scans affect the performance of my PC?
|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)|
For the full and no scan, Avast used fewer system resources than TotalAV in all areas except disk usage. Considering the number of files that Avast scanned compared to TotalAV, the performance really is exceptional.
To further solidify my conclusions, I also examined the latest data from AV-Comparatives’ April 2020 test. This performance test looks at how each antivirus software copes when carrying out 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
TotalAV scored very well during all the common tasks, apart from installing and uninstalling applications that gained a mediocre score, and downloading files that scored a fast rating. However, Avast was rated as fast when it came to launching applications and downloading files, with all other tasks rated as very fast.
Avast scanned much more than TotalAV, which just gives it an edge and makes it my winner for this round, especially as you cannot compromise on safety.
It’s time to look at additional functionality, and I have picked out a couple of the features that are offered by TotalAV and Avast.
- 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
- Secure passwords
- Avast SecureLine VPN
- Block malware
- Block spam and phishing emails
- Safer shopping
- Webcam protection
- Lockout hackers with an advanced firewall
- Scan for wi-fi security weaknesses
- Permanently shred sensitive files
- Get an extra layer of ransomware security
- Safely run suspicious apps
- Install on all your devices
Here are some of the main highlights:
- Cloud scanning: This is the fastest way to protect your devices against malware threats, ensuring when you use your device, it is scanned and protected.
- System tune-up: This tune-up tool identifies any potential areas where you could enhance the performance and speed of your device.
- Protection against phishing scams: This tool blocks the latest phishing URLs, making sure that you are protected against malicious scams that could potentially cause harm to your device.
- Automatically update apps: By automatically updating your apps, you no longer need to worry about outdated software being a risk for potential hackers.
- Wi-fi security weaknesses: Avast’s wi-fi Inspector automatically scans your home network, helping to address any security issues with vulnerable devices, providing step-by-step instructions on how to fix them.
- Safer shopping: You can be assured you are shopping safely and securely with this feature, especially as it stops you from being sent to fake sites that have been designed to steal account information and passwords.
Both Avast and TotalAV provide a robust range of services to ensure that your devices remain protected against malware.
Signup and installation
Whether you’re a beginner or someone who has been around the block when it comes to antivirus software, it can still be a daunting prospect when you need to install anything on your computer. However, Avast and TotalAV offer swift and easy signup and installation processes.
If Avast is your software of choice, you simply select the version you need and you’re directed to the payment screen straight away. The layout is super simple, with a clear outline of your purchase and billing period. However, if you want to add any extra products to your order, you need to go back to the main website and select them there. Once you’ve completed your purchase, Avast provides you with the installation link within seconds, so you can have the software installed and protect your device within minutes.
Like Avast, TotalAV takes you straight to the checkout once you’ve selected the product you’ve decided to purchase. TotalAV clearly shows you how much you’re saving and states whether you have ‘free tune up’ and ‘free additional devices’ added to the product.
How easy is the interface to use?
Avast’s interface is minimalistic and simple to use. Your current protection status is available as soon as you open the program, and you have the option to run a smart scan. This smart scan checks to see if there are any issues with security, privacy, or performance. There is a panel on the left-hand side, with sections and subsections for protection, privacy, and performance. While the design appears nice and simple, the layout could be confusing if you don’t know what section a feature belongs to.
TotalAV is more user-friendly if you have less experience using antivirus software. When you open the program, it tells you straight away whether you are protected, with the option to run a smart scan. There is an icon on the left-hand side, which allows you to navigate to malware protection, adjust your settings, and much more.
Customer support is important for any product, especially when it’s for something that protects your personal data and comes with a pricey annual subscription.
Avast offers live chat and email support through its website. However, if you want to speak to someone over the phone, it comes at an extra cost. Despite this, there are plenty of questions and answers, help guides, and other support options available on the website if you have any problems.
TotalAV offers 24/7 live chat support, which is quick, easy, and often the preferred method of contact by consumers. You can also reach TotalAV via email or via the phone, or you could simply turn to the support section of the website.
TotalAV vs Avast Conclusion
To conclude, TotalAV is my preferred antivirus software when compared to Avast. It offers robust security and provides top-of-the-range scanning abilities. It comes with a variety of excellent features, and support is always available should you have any issues. The discounts of up to 80 percent in the first year make it hard to beat on price and value.