This ultimate comparison 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. Since 2016, a total of 172 ransomware attacks have cost US healthcare organizations $172 million. And research shows that one out of every five Americans have dealt with a ransomware attack.

So you can see that the threat is more imminent than ever before.

In this head-to-head battle, 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

You need to be able to protect yourself against any digital threats and give yourself the best chance of never having to pay criminals for your data.

So let’s dive in.

A quick overview of the 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, both Norton and Avast showed impressive results, but according to SE Labs, Norton did a bit better.

  • Performance

    Norton showed some impressive results performing better than the industry average in all the tests. Avast, on the other hand, caused some above-average slow down in some instances.

  • Usability

    Both products offer simple and straightforward to use interfaces. There were some issues with false reporting by Avast.

  • Features

    Norton and Avast both offer anti-malware and VPN features, but the list is a bit longer for Norton. Including options like cloud backup and parental control, for example.

  • Pricing

    Both products offer different individual and bundle options, but Norton gives you a better price for everything you need.

A short verdict

Norton is a better option than Avast in all aspects. Its protection and performance are superior; it is easier to use and offers better features and pricing options.

  1. Our #1 rated antivirus
    Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton

    Norton offers advanced device security against viruses, phishing, and other online threats, plus a VPN for online privacy, a password manager, and more.

    Special offer - up to 60% offGet the best dealFrom $29.99 / year
  2. Good protection for all your devices
    Avast Antivirus Logo

    Avast

    Avast offers a high 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.

    Special offer 20% offGet the best dealFrom $55.99 / year

Detailed results

If you didn’t get enough information to make a decision based on our short overview, we have a lot more to offer. Let’s dive into the details and see all the nerdy stats that we uncovered during our research. We put Norton 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 dig in.

Protection

Protection is undoubtedly the most crucial part of any antivirus software. It is the whole reason you’re installing it in the first place. In the last tests run by independent test facilities, one of the competitors performed a little better than the other.

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 during a four week period.

Both Norton and Avast showed impressive results in getting a perfect 100% in both protection and detection. What a duel.

Industry average Norton 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

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. Norton once again scored a perfect 100. Avast, on the other hand, scored 98 out of 100.

Norton Avast
Protection score

Source: selabs.uk

As you can see, both software performed quite nicely, but according to SE Labs, one contender did a bit better. It’s a close call, but the winner is Norton with higher test scores.

Winner: Norton

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.

As this is quite a problem in some cases, we put the competitors head-to-head. Let’s see what the results were so you could avoid any issues.

AV-Test lab research shows that Norton performed better than the industry average in all the different tests run. An impressive result.

The performance of Avast is excellent as well. Still, some slow-down can also be detected when launching websites and applications.

Industry average Norton 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

There is nothing to debate here. The winner is clear.

Winner: Norton

Usability

The usability of antivirus software consists of two sides. 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.

Right off the bat, Norton creates a pleasant atmosphere boasting a scenic photo on the left of its main window. You can also see your subscription status there.

On the opposite side is the most crucial information about your device. You can see your security, VPN, cloud backup, and password manager.

With ease, you can open up the security panel or configure any of the above options.

Norton Main Screen User Interface

The security window lets you dive even more into detail. You can quickly start a new scan and see the date of your last scan.

You can also add devices if you have a bundled option or subscribe for more.

In the bottom part of the window, you’ll get easy access to all the features you have subscribed for. Plus, there is the length of your remaining subscription there.

Norton 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 laboratories also gather information on false reporting. The tests conducted show that Norton once again got the perfect score and no false reports showed up. Avast had some issues, though. But to be honest, for an everyday user, such a small number of false notifications doesn’t impact the usability at all.

Industry average Norton 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 contenders have a simple to use interface. Still, tests regarding false reporting showed that one software performed a bit better. This is the reason why we have to give this one to Norton as well.

Winner: Norton

Features

Norton and Avast both offer a wide variety of security features to protect your digital life. The main difference between the two companies is how these features are bundled. With Norton, you can get a lot more with just one purchase. Avast requires you to pay extra with a lot of advanced options.

Let’s see what Norton has to offer first.

Norton’s entry-level security product is called Norton AntiVirus Plus, available for PCs and Macs. It comes with real-time threat protection, a password manager and a firewall. If you’re using Windows, you’ll get 2 GB of cloud backup as well.

Norton also has a separate VPN option called Norton Secure VPN. It helps secure private information like your passwords, bank account details, and credit card information when using public Wi-Fi on your PC, Mac, or mobile device.

There are three options for the software – 1 device, 5 devices, and 10 devices. You’ll get bank-grade encryption and can browse anonymously if you’d like to. These options prevent you from being tracked by online advertisers and other companies.

Norton Secure VPN also offers you access to your favorite websites, videos, or apps when traveling. Even if these sites are not available in the location, you are right now.

Adblocking is also available that block unwanted tracking technologies to avoid being tracked by online advertisers and other companies.

Norton also offers bundle options with the name Norton 360. These are newer versions of Norton Security packages that the company no longer provides.

Norton 360 gives you all-around protection, both offline and online. All the bundles are available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices.

The entry-level package is named Norton 360 Standard and allows you to protect 1 PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet. It also includes a Secure VPN for your device.

If you’re using Windows, you’ll get a bit more than mac OS users, including 10 GB of cloud backup and SafeCam. This feature alerts you to attempts to access your webcam and helps you block unauthorized access to it.

If you opt for the mid-tier option Norton 360 Deluxe, you can use the software on up to 5 devices. Cloud storage size is upped as well to 50 GB.

For all the parents out there, one significant benefit is also its parental control features so that you can manage your kids’ activities online. It helps them to explore, learn, and enjoy their connected world more safely. Unfortunately, this option is only limited to PCs and smartphones.

Norton has developed an option for people who have a lot of devices or big families. Norton 360 Premium lets you use it for up to 10 devices and gives Windows users 75 GB of cloud storage.

Both Norton 360 and Antivirus Plus come with 100% virus protection promise. But to be eligible, you must have a qualifying subscription with automatic renewal.

If you choose to subscribe to one of Norton 360 bundles, a 24/7 phone, and chat support is also available.

View all Norton 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 both companies offer a long list of features, Norton has wallet-friendly bundles called Norton 360. This is the reason why the win goes to Norton.

Winner: Norton

Pricing

Price plays an important role when deciding which option to go with. You have to take all the details into account to make the best decision that is best for you.

When 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 compare the price points that offer you that peacefulness. Here are the prices of both Norton and Avast products.

Norton offers its products both bundled up and independently. For the best all-around protection, it’s better to go with complete packages, so we’ll start with these.

  1. Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton 360 Standard

    High-grade antivirus and VPN for 1 PC, Mac, or smart device. 10 GB of cloud backup included for Windows users.

    Special offer 60% offGet the best deal $29.99 / year
  2. Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton 360 Deluxe

    High-grade antivirus and VPN for up to 5 PCs, Macs, or smart devices. 50 GB of cloud backup and parental control options included for Windows users.

    Special offer 58% offGet the best deal $39.99 / year
  3. Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton 360 Premium

    High-grade antivirus and VPN for up to 10 PCs, Macs, or smart devices. 75 GB of cloud backup and parental control options included for Windows users.

    Special offer 52% offGet the best deal $49.99 / year

Norton AntiVirus Plus is available individually as well. If you go with this option, keep in mind that you don’t have a VPN bundled in.

Norton VPN comes with three price options depending on how many devices you use.

  1. Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton AntiVirus Plus

    Powerful protection for your one device and the personal information it stores. 2 GB of cloud backup included for Windows users.

    Special offer 57% offGet the best deal $14.99 / year
  2. Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton Secure VPN

    Bank-grade encryption, private browsing, and tracking block for your PC, Mac, Android, or iOS device.

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

In our opinion, the options to consider from Avast are its Premium Security and Ultimate bundle.

  1. Avast Antivirus Logo

    Avast Premium Security

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

    Special offer 20% offGet the best dealFrom $55.99 / year
  2. Avast Antivirus Logo

    Avast Ultimate

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

    Special offer 20% offGet the best dealFrom $79.99 / year

As Norton offers a lot more for a better price, the winner is evident in this category.

Winner: Norton

Final Thoughts

With overwhelmingly top protection, performance and more, Norton wins this comparison for sure. Avast still has some great features and may be the right choice for someone who is looking for an entry-level product.

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. Our #1 rated antivirus
    Norton Antivirus logo

    Norton

    Norton offers advanced device security against viruses, phishing, and other online threats, plus a VPN for online privacy, a password manager, and more.

    Special offer - up to 60% offGet the best dealFrom $29.99 / year