This comprehensive comparison is created based on the research of our seasoned experts and the top independent labs in the world. This way, you can make an informed choice, making a tough decision a bit easier.

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.

Another lab called SonicWall Capture Labs recorded 9.9 billion malware attacks in 2019. The number has grown over 2 billion from 7.9 attacks registered in 2016. In addition, over 4 trillion intrusion attempts were logged just last year. Yes, that is 4 with 12 zeros.

It means that every second, over 120 000 intrusion attempts are happening. And since you started reading this article, there have been about 5 million intrusion attempts. Seems crazy, right?

CyberEdge Defense Cyberthreat 2020 report says that 81% of surveyed organizations were affected by a successful cyberattack in 2019. More than two-thirds of IT security professionals believe a successful cyber attack is imminent in 2020.

Ransomware attacks are on the rise as well. Ransomware is malware that locks your files and data so hackers can release it when you pay the ransom. Emisoft says that US ransomware attacks cost an estimated $7.5 billion in 2019.

So you can see that the stakes are pretty high when it comes to digital security.

In this comparison, you’ll see the security products, features, and tools both companies offer, as well as 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 hackers to get your precious files and photos back.

So let’s dive right in.

A quick overview of results

If nerdy stats are not your thing and you’d just like to get a clear idea, what’s what, you’re in the right place. We have done a small overview of the results in each category.

  • Protection

    Both software showed good results, but AVG did a bit better according to independent testing labs.

  • Performance

    AVG puts a considerable toll on your computer while launching websites and apps. That's why we have to announce McAfee as the winner.

  • Usability

    Competitors offer easy-to-use interfaces, but AVG had a little more problems with false reporting.

  • Features

    McAfee and AVG offer entry-level products as well as complete bundles with everything you'll ever need.

  • Pricing

    McAfee offers all-round bundles with similar or even lower prices as AVG entry-level products.

A short conclusion

Though AVG offers a bit better protection, McAfee is superior in every other aspect. As McAfee’s protection level is still above the industry average, we have announced it as the overall winner.

  1. Overall winner
    McAfee Antivirus logo

    McAfee

    Though McAfee had a bit of trouble with few samples, its virus definition database is updated frequently, at least once a day. But more importantly, McAfee offers all-around protection, minimal impact on system performance, and great features for a reasonable price.

    Special offer - up to 63% offGet the best dealFrom $34.99 / year
  2. A good alternative
    AVG Antivirus logo

    AVG

    With AVG, you'll still get everything you'll ever need for securing your computer against viruses, malware, and more.

    Special offer 43% offGet the best dealFrom $39.99 / year

Detailed results

If a short overview and quick summaries aren’t for you, get ready for some in-depth analysis. We put McAfee and AVG 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’s what.

Protection

Protection against malware is the most critical aspect of any antivirus software. In the last tests, McAfee and AVG both showed an above industry average result regarding the protection of a computer against threats.

Let’s compare the test results of two labs, AV-Test and SE Labs, so that you can see for yourself.

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

McAfee tested a high 99.1% result in protection and a clean 100% in detection. AVG showed an even more impressive outcome, getting a full 100% result in both tests.

Industry average McAfee AVG
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

SE Labs use a bit of a different testing method. It conducts tests and gives each product a protection score based on the overall level of protection, making no distinction between neutralized and blocked incidents. For each product, they add blocked and neutralized cases together to create a straightforward tally. AVG scored a perfect 98 out of a 100, and McAfee scored 96 out of a 100.

McAfee AVG
Protection score

Source: selabs.uk

As you can see, both facilities found that AVG offered a bit better protection against malware. It’s a close call, but the winner is AVG with higher test scores.

Winner: AVG

Performance

Another vital aspect to keep in mind when choosing antivirus software is its performance. It means that the safety it provides shouldn’t be overshadowed by the trouble of slowing down your computer.

Let’s see how the two competitors hold up against each other in that regard.

AV-Test independent research shows that McAfee performs better than the industry average in almost every aspect. AVG, on the other hand, showed some considerable slow-down during launches of websites and apps.

Industry average McAfee AVG
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

Because of the toll AVG puts on your computer while launching websites and apps, we have to announce McAfee as the winner.

Winner: McAfee

Usability

When deciding how usable an antivirus software is, we have to take a look at two aspects. The first is its interface and how easy it is to use. The second is the software’s false reporting. Error notifications that start popping up each time you open a perfectly virus-free photo or document prevent you from doing anything on a computer.

First, let’s compare the interfaces.

McAfee offers a sleek, simple, and easy-to-use client that is intuitive for anyone who has used computers before.

Everything is well laid out, and you can easily find anything you’re trying to find.

At the top of the window, you get five tabs: Home, PC Security, PC Performance, My Privacy, and My Info. There are also icons for alerts, tips, and settings in the top-right corner.

Home is your basic dashboard for the application.

PC Security is a deeper dive into the status of your computer. At any time, it shows you if your computer is secure or if it has identified any threats. It also keeps you in the loop of how many apps, web connections, and background processes it is protecting.

On the bottom of the window, you can start a scan for viruses, update apps, use safe browsing, and remove cookies and trackers there. In the center of the window, you can also start a scan by choosing between a full scan and a quick scan.

Left part of the window shows which parts of the security engine are running as needed – R

real-time scanning, firewall, automatic updates, and scheduled scans.

Mcafee User Interface

AVG has a simplistic, modern design that is easy on the eyes. The excellent color contrast makes information easy to grasp, and minimalist icons are understandable at first sight.

The first thing you notice is a green tick that says if your computer is protected. If there are some problems with malware or any of the features is disabled, it lets you know.

On the main screen, you will find all the features separately as well – Computer, Web & Email, Hacker Attacks, Privacy, and Payments.

You can also see when you ran the last scan and when the virus definition database was updated.

With just one click, you can start a smart scan. If you prefer to run a different scan, click on the three dots that are part of the button.

AVG User Interface Screenshot

Now let’s dive into false reporting.

AV-Test laboratories also gather information on false reporting. Results show that McAfee had some problems, and a few incorrect notifications showed up. AVG tried even harder to falsely prove that regular files were infected.

Industry average McAfee AVG
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

For everyday users, these kinds of small numbers really don’t impact usability too much. Still, as McAfee did a bit better, we have to call it the winner

Winner: McAfee

Features

McAfee and AVG have long lists of features. The lineup consists of good value entry-level products as well as complete bundles.

Let’s dig into the features of McAfee first.

McAfee’s antivirus is called McAfee Total Protection, and it works on Windows, macOS, Android, as well as on iOS. It is the company’s flagship product and also the most popular option available.

It offers three distinct options depending on how many devices you want to use it for.

There is a Single Device option that you get to use for only 1 device. With this option you’ll get its antivirus capabilities that let you protect your computer and personal information from hackers and criminals.

The Secure VPN is also available when you’re enrolled in auto-renewal to keep your personal information and online habits private with their bank-grade encryption. Performance Optimization features block auto-play videos on websites and minimize bandwidth usage while Home Network Security secures your firewall and blocks hackers from accessing your home network.

You’ll also get the Password Manager to store and manage all your online passwords in a single location and Safe Web Browsing lets you browse confidently knowing risky sites will be blocked. The Encrypted Storage keeps sensitive files private by storing them on your PC with 256-bit AES encryption.

All Total Protection options offer security experts online support to get technical assistance and peace of mind from their team and support knowledge-base.

When you go for the Individual & Couples option, you get to use the software on up to 5 devices. An extra layer of online protection is made available as well, called Identity Theft Protection.

The Family package adds support for up to 10 devices and the Safe Family feature so you can get peace of mind knowing your kids are protected online.

McAfee also offers another antivirus option called McAfee LiveSafe. This software is only available as one bundle and offers cross-device protection. You’ll get the same protection. The main difference is that thanks to the next-gen scanning engine that offers real-time malware protection, it provides all-around security for your identity and data across all your devices. The Secure Cloud Storage feature that safeguards your cloud-based folders, is also included.

Another product in McAfee’s lineup is McAfee Gamer Security that makes the gaming experience even better. It has a Game Boost Engine that squeezes more performance out of your rig and ensures games stay prioritized over background applications. You’ll also get to monitor your computer’s performance in real-time thanks to a dashboard like in your car. You’ll get immediate access to and control over how your rig is performing.

The company gives you access to separate products like McAfee Safe Connect VPN, McAfee Safe Family, McAfee WebAdvisor, and McAfee Identity Theft Protection as well. But if you go for the antivirus bundles, you’ll get these features anyways.

View all McAfee products

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

AVG’s product line consists of security, performance, and privacy tools. Let’s talk about the most important ones first – the security line.

AVG entry-level product is actually free and called AVG Antivirus Free. It is available both on PC and MAC, as well as for your mobile devices. You can scan your device and find the viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other malware. It also blocks unsafe links, downloads, and email attachments. AVG’s free option can also point out any performance issues your PC has.

But if you want real ongoing protection, it’s better to opt for AVG Internet Security with a lot more features. That way, you’ll get real-time security updates, and your webcam is safe from any peeping Toms. AVG’s enhanced firewall will keep any hacker out, and your private folders will get an extra layer of ransomware protection. AVG Internet Security will also help you avoid fake websites so you won’t get scammed online. It’s available as one device option and a ten device bundle for families.

AVG performance division offers two products – AVG TuneUp for PC and Mac, and AVG Driver Updater for PC. TuneUp lets you get the most out of your computer with automatic maintenance and removing unneeded files and apps. Driver Updater keeps all your drivers up to date without you having to lift a finger.

AVG also offers three privacy products – AVG Secure VPN and AVG Secure Browser for PC and Mac, as well as AVG AntiTrack for PC. Secure VPN will secure any WiFi wherever you go, so your browsing, banking, and online payments stay hidden and protected. It will also keep your online activity private with an encrypted connection. That means nobody sees what you do online, including hackers, your ISP, and even the government. VPN also gives you unrestricted, worldwide access. A list of anonymous international servers lets you pick a country of your choice, and surf and stream as if you were there.

All of AVG products are also available as a big bundle called AVG Ultimate. It consists of AVG Internet Security, TuneUp, and Secure VPN. When going for this option, you’ll get all of AVG’s products at a reasonable price.

View all AVG products

The list of extra features seems long for both McAfee and AVG. Both software options have anti-malware and VPN abilities. That is why we have to call it a tie.

Winner: It’s a tie

Pricing

Whenever you spend money, it’s good to keep in mind what you are really investing in. With antivirus software, you are not buying an application but rather an ease-of-mind that your digital life is in safe hands.

Let’s see what the price points are that this ease-of-mind comes in. Here are the prices of both McAfee and AVG products.

  1. McAfee Antivirus logo

    McAfee Total Protection

    Premium antivirus, safe web browsing and password manager with VPN & ID theft protection.

    Special offer 56% offGet the best dealFrom $34.99 / year
  2. McAfee Antivirus logo

    McAfee LiveSafe

    Ultimate all-round protection for all your devices – PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets.

    Special offer 67% offGet the best deal $39.99 / year
  3. McAfee Antivirus logo

    McAfee Gamer Security

    A faster, quieter, safer gaming experience with performance-enhancing technologies and renowned security.

    Special offer 33% offGet the best deal $39.99 / year

Here are two main options from AVG. If you’d like to see all the prices for their separate extras, go to AVG.com.

  1. AVG Antivirus logo

    AVG Internet Security

    Antivirus, ransomware protection, a customizable firewall, and more.

    Special offer 43% offGet the best dealFrom $39.99 / year
  2. AVG Antivirus logo

    AVG Ultimate

    Antivirus, tuneup, and VPN in one ultimate package.

    Special offer 33% offGet the best deal $79.99 / year

McAfee and AVG both have reasonable prices. But as McAfee offers all-around bundles with similar or even lower prices as AVG Internet Security, we have to give McAfee the win.

Winner: McAfee

Final Thoughts

Well, this one is a pickle. Though AVG offers a bit better protection, McAfee is superior in almost every aspect. It takes a smaller toll on the computer’s performance, gives fewer false reports, and is more reasonably priced. As McAfee’s protection level is still above average, we have announced it as the overall winner.

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.

  1. Overall winner
    McAfee Antivirus logo

    McAfee

    Though McAfee had a bit of trouble with few samples, its virus definition database is updated frequently, at least once a day. But more importantly, McAfee offers all-around protection, minimal impact on system performance, and great features for a reasonable price.

    Special offer - up to 63% offGet the best dealFrom $34.99 / year