This comprehensive guide was created based on the research of our seasoned experts and the top independent labs in the world so that you could make an informed decision.

We follow the work of four labs that regularly release detailed reports: AV-Test Institute based in Germany, MRG-Effitas, and SE Labs found in the UK as well as AV-Comparatives based in Austria.

AV-TEST Institute discovered 144.91 million new malware samples in 2019 and a record of 38.48 million new samples in the first quarter of 2020. Malicious hackers are now attacking computers and networks at a rate of one attack every 39 seconds.

One of the fastest-growing threats is ransomware. This is a type of malicious software that takes over your computer and keeps your data for a ransom. As not paying usually means you’ve lost all your cherished photos and important documents for good, people are eager to pay up. And hackers have noticed this trend. Malware is recorded to be involved in 24 percent of malware security incidents.

So you can see that the stakes are higher than ever.

In this comparison, you’ll see the security products, features, and tools both companies offer. We take a look at how they stack up against each other regarding malware protection, system performance, user interface, cost, and more.

Here are the most important factors that we’ve compared:

  • Protection
  • Performance
  • Usability
  • Features
  • Pricing

That way, you can protect yourself against any digital threats and never have to pay criminals for your data.

So let’s see what’s what.

A quick overview of results

If you’re in a rush or just not too interested in all the statistics, we have compiled a handy summary of the results.

  • Protection

    In the last tests, Avast has detected and protected against all the malware attacks and threats, with an outstanding 100% result. Malwarebytes showed a low 95,9% result in protection and 99,8% in detection.

  • Performance

    Malwarebytes shows some significant slow-down when launching and installing everyday applications. Avast, on the other hand, performed a lot better, still causing your computer to slow down in some instances.

  • Usability

    Both products offer simple and straightforward to use interfaces. There were some issues with false reporting by Malwarebytes, but such a small amount doesn't affect its usability.

  • Features

    Malwarebytes and Avast both offer anti-malware and VPN features, but the list is a bit longer for Avast. So the winner is clear.

  • Pricing

    As Avast has a bit more to offer with extras, you can spend a bit more as well. But seeing that both software options provide about the same at the same price level, it has to be a tie.

A short verdict

Avast is clearly a better option than Malwarebytes. Tests show that Avast protects and performs better than Malwarebytes. Avast also offers better features. When it comes to usability and pricing, the two options are quite equal though.

  1. Overall winner
    Avast Antivirus Logo

    Avast

    Avast offers a good level of protection against malware and hackers. Still, all the features are not included in the entry-level product, so be ready to pay extra for them.

    Starting at $55,99 from Avast
  2. Easy to use option
    Malwarebytes Antivirus logo

    Malwarebytes

    Malwarebytes offers an excellent user interface and is easy to operate. The downsides are its protection abilities and performance issues.

    Starting at $39,99 from Malwarebytes

Detailed results

If short overviews aren’t for you and you’d like to dive into the details that were uncovered during our research, we’re happy to let you know everything we learned. We put Malwarebytes and Avast head-to-head in all the categories using data gathered by our experts and test results of top independent testing facilities.

So let’s see what we found out.

Protection

The main point of having antivirus software is its ability to protect your computer against malware. In the last tests run by independent test facilities, one of the competitors performed significantly better than the other regarding the protection against threats.

We usually highlight the test results of at least two labs. Out of four labs we follow, only one has tested Malwarebytes. SE Labs, MRG-Effitas, and AV-Comparatives have not considered testing Malwarebytes.

In the last tests, AV-Test put both software up against 402 samples of 0-day malware attacks and 20606 samples of malware in a four week period.

Malwarebytes tested a low 95,9% result in protection and 99,8% in detection. Avast showed a quite impressive outcome, getting a full 100% result in both tests.

Industry average Malwarebytes Avast
Protection against 0-day malware attacks, inclusive of web and email threats

402 samples used

Detection of widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last 4 weeks

20 606 samples used

Source: av-test.org

As you can see, the results show that Avast protected the computer a lot better. This one is an easy call. The winner is Avast with higher test scores.

Winner: Avast

Performance

If you choose to secure your digital life, it’s crucial for the solution to trouble your everyday tasks as little as possible. Trying to load websites or open applications when the computer keeps slowing down, can get quite infuriating.

Let’s see how the two competitors hold up against each other in that regard so that we can avoid any problems.

AV-Test labs research shows that Malwarebytes performed quite nicely with launching websites and downloading applications. When you try installing or launching said applications, it takes a considerable toll on your computer’s performance.

Industry average Malwarebytes Avast
Slowing-down when launcing popular websites

50 websites visited

Slower download of frequently-used applications

20 downloaded files

Slower launch of standard software

12 test cases applied

Slower installation of frequently-used applications

19 installed applications

Slower copying of files (locally and in a network)

7388 files copied

Source: av-test.org

The tests show better results for Avast, but some slow-down can also be detected when launching websites and applications. Because of the volume of slowing down Malwarebytes caused, there is once again a clear winner.

Winner: Avast

Usability

The usability of antivirus software can be measured in two aspects. The first is its interface and how easy it is to use. The second is the software’s false reporting. If the latter gets too frequent and notifications keep popping up every time you try to open a file, it prevents you from getting any work done.

First, let’s compare the interfaces.

Malwarebytes offers a modern and easy to understand application that is intuitive in its design. Colors are natural on the eyes, and everything can be found in a heartbeat.

The main window shows the status of your device and gives you an option to update the bundle if you need protection for more than one device.

On the left, you can see Detection History that shows the results of the last scan and items quarantined.

In the middle of the bottom portion, you can find Scanner and see when the next scan is scheduled. There is also a button for you to start a scan if you wish to do so.

On the right is the Real-Time Protection section that lets you know what features are turned on. You can turn on and off Web Protection, Malware & PUP Protection, Ransomware Protection, and Exploit Protection.

Notifications, settings, and information are in the top right corner of the main window.

Malwarebytes User Interface

Avast has a modern and simple design, a bit darker than the other contender, though. The interface is intuitive and lets you find the most important functions with ease.

The default layout is configured to suit most users. However, you can manually set your preferences in the Settings.

The most critical information is always there and lets you know if your computer is protected or not. There is a big circle with a tick to indicate that. You can also start a smart scan with just one click.

In addition to the status, you’ll find the information about protection, privacy and performance, on the left bar of the window.

Notifications and preferences can be found on the top right corner.

Avast User Interface

Now let’s dive into false reporting.

AV-Test also conducts usability tests that show if any false reports show up. Results indicate that both software have some issues with false reporting. But to be honest, for an everyday user, such a small number of false reports doesn’t impact the usability at all.

Industry average Malwarebytes Avast
False warnings or blockages when visiting websites

500 samples used

False detections of legimate software as malware during a system scan

964 585 samples used

False warnings concerning certain actions carried out whilst installing and using legitimate software

87 samples used

False blockages of certain actions carried out whilst installing and using legitimate software

87 samples used

Source: av-test.org

As you can see, both Malwarebytes and Avast had some issues with false reporting in the last tests. As an everyday user, that small amount doesn’t bother any work. That’s why the result can be nothing else than a tie for this category.

Winner: It’s a tie

Features

Malwarebytes and Avast offer the necessary features you need for the protection of your digital life online and offline. But Avast goes the extra mile with a lot of advanced options. But keep in mind you also have to pay extra to get access.

Let’s dig into the features of Malwarebytes first.

Malwarebytes offers antivirus for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Chromebook. There is also a free version of Malwarebytes. Still, you can only use it to clean up an already infected computer.

The paid version is called Malwarebytes Premium and offers different features based on the device you use.

The Windows version protects your identity and privacy from hackers as well as your documents and financial files from ransomware. It also includes security against malicious and fraudulent websites and offers malware protection.

If you use an Apple computer, Malwarebytes offers protection against viruses, spyware, and malware, as well as blocks adware and unwanted programs. Mac users also get notifications if they are about to open apps from developers of unwanted software.

You can buy the software for only one device or up to 5 devices.

The new addition to the product family is Malwarebytes Privacy. It helps protect your online privacy, secures your Wi-Fi connection, and delivers speeds way faster than older VPNs.

It helps keep your connection secure with 256-bit encryption and uses a newer and faster VPN protocol so you can get all the benefits of a VPN with less lag.

The Privacy software can stop advertisers and websites using your IP address to track your activity across sites by assigning you a virtual IP address.

You are also able to use it to make it appear like you’re connecting to the Internet from a different country so you can view new content.

Malwarebytes also offers its products a discounted Malwarebytes Premium Bundle, where you get both Premium Antivirus and Privacy as one package. You can use it on up to 5 devices.

View all Malwarebytes products

Now let’s take a look at what Avast has to offer.

Avast product line consists of three different categories – Security, Privacy, and Performance. From the security part, you can find two options.

Avast Free Security is the most basic antivirus bundle you can get.

It offers you Anti-Malware Security that blocks viruses, spyware, Trojans, and other malware, and scans your computer for already-hidden threats.

Web & Email Shields alert you of unsafe websites, blocks insecure downloads, stops dangerous email attachments, and prevent intrusive web tracking.

Wi-Fi Security Scan checks your entire network and all connected devices for vulnerabilities to help you stop hackers from stealing your personal data.

But for the everyday user, ongoing protection is much needed. For that, you have to opt for the Avast Premium Security option.

With the premium product, real-time Wi-Fi security alerts feature is added so you can instantly be alerted to network weaknesses and intruders.

Also, one of the essential features today is ransomware detection, as this is the fastest-growing segment in malware. Ransomware attacks in the US alone cost an estimated $7.5 billion in 2019. Avast Premium Security offers a Ransomware Shield to protect your files.

The premium product comes with two purchase options. The first lets you use only one PC, and the other is for up to 10 devices, but you can use it on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS platforms.

Avast also offers Avast SecureLine VPN for some extra. This product lets you keep everything you do online totally private thanks to the bank-grade encryption. You can browse, bank, message, and shop without having to worry about hackers or anyone else seeing what you do online or stealing your data.

Another extra is its Avast AntiTrack that helps you online. It lets you know when you’re being tracked, keeps your true identity private, stops targeted advertising, and erases your browsing history automatically. For some more money, you can find a Secure Browser in Avast lineup as well. Password protection is another add-on the company offers.

On the Performance segment, Avast offers three products. Avast Cleanup Premium lets you boost your computer’s speed and performance. The last two options are available for windows only. Avast Driver Updater keeps your drivers up to date with a single click, and Avast Battery Saver maximizes your laptop’s battery life.

For the best all-round protection you must opt for Avast Ultimate. This is Avast’s all-inclusive bundle where you get everything we have mentioned before.

View all Avast products

As the list of extra features is considerably longer for Avast, it is the clear winner. But remember, the company also requires that you pay extra for all of them.

Winner: Avast

Pricing

When deciding which option to go with, price always plays a role. You have to take all the details into account to make the best decision.

Investing in antivirus software, you are not purchasing an application but rather an ease-of-mind that your digital life is in safe hands.

So let’s look at the fees that this ease of mind requires. Here are the prices of both Malwarebytes and Avast products.

Malwarebytes offers a few options for its products. You can buy its antivirus and privacy products separately or as a bundle.

  1. Malwarebytes Antivirus logo

    Malwarebytes Premium

    Malwarebytes is smarter, faster, and lighter than ever before. Go beyond antivirus and stop worrying about online threats.

    Starting at $39,99
  2. Malwarebytes Antivirus logo

    Malwarebytes Privacy

    Next-generation VPN that helps protect your online privacy, secures your WiFi connection, and delivers speeds way faster than older VPNs.

    Get for only $49,99
  3. Malwarebytes Antivirus logo

    Malwarebytes Premium Bundle

    All the antivirus capabilities with an added VPN to give you all-round protection both offline and online.

    Get for only $74,99

In our opinion, there are two options to consider from Avast – Premium Security and Ultimate bundle.

  1. Avast Antivirus Logo

    Avast Premium Security

    A complete online protection for all of your computers, phones, and tablets.

    Starting at $55,99
  2. Avast Antivirus Logo

    Avast Ultimate

    Everything you need to keep all your computers, phones, and tablets secure, private, and running at their best.

    Starting at $79,99

Both software is priced pretty much the same. The more you pay, the more you get. As Avast has more to offer, it also can drive the price a bit higher, but you can get the same features at about the same price.

Winner: It’s a tie

Final Thoughts

Malwarebytes showed some significant strengths in ease of use and its interface but lacked in some of the most critical parts. Protection is the first and most important. Avast also towered over Malwarebytes with its performance indicators.

Keep in mind that we give our best to get you all the facts so you can make an informed decision for what is the best option for you. After all, you are the one that is going to use the software. We hope this review has been helpful to you.