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.

One of the biggest global cyberattacks took place in 2017. Hackers used tools widely believed by researchers to have been developed by the US National Security Agency and crippled the NHS, hit international shipper FedEx and infected computers in 150 countries.

More than 300,000 computers were infected while the countries most affected were Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine and India, according to Czech.

It is believed that the attack cost the NHS more than 100 million dollars as 19000 appointments were cancelled.

So you can see that the importance of good protection is higher than ever.

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.

So let’s dive in.

A quick overview of results

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

  • Protection

    Our two competitors were quite neck-to-neck, but Avast did a little better when put up against threats.

  • Performance

    Sophos is an all-around good performer, not taking much of a toll on your computer. Avast, on the other hand, has some problems with launching websites.

  • Usability

    Both contenders have a simple to use interface and tests results regarding false reporting are almost perfect.

  • Features

    Both companies offer a long list of features, but Avast has a list much longer that Sophos. That is why we have to announce it as the winner.

  • Pricing

    Sophos offers a better price, but you can get more features with Avast. Then again, the main features are priced higher with Avast as well.

A short verdict

Both Sophos and Avast have their pros and cons, but as security is the most important aspect of an antivirus software, we have to say, Avast is a better choice.

  1. Overall winner
    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.

    Starting at $55,99 from Avast
  2. Protection for up to 10 devices
    Sophos Antivirus logo

    Sophos

    Industrial grade security for your home to protect against viruses, malware, ransomware, privacy invasions, and more.

    Get for only $37,50 from Sophos

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 Sophos 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

To be honest, protection is really the most important aspect of antivirus software. Keeping you, your identity, and data safe, is the reason you’re looking for it in the first place. Am I right?

In the last tests, Sophos and Avast both showed quite good results regarding the detection of malware, but the first contender had some problems with protection.

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

AV-Test only tests business version of Sophos, so we have to compare both software business options. Still, the antivirus engine is mostly the same for both business and home usage.

In the last tests, they put both software up against 304 samples of 0-day malware attacks and 20236 samples of malware for a four week period.

Sophos did really well with detection getting a perfect 100% score, but had some problems protecting against threats with only a 96,4% success rate. Avast, on the other hand, protected against 99% of threats with an industry average result. Detection score was a perfect 100%, just like the competitor.

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

304 samples used

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

20 236 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. Both Sophos and Avast scored 98 out of 100.

Sophos Avast
Protection score

Source: selabs.uk

As the two contenders were equal in SE Labs we have to rely on AV-Test’s results. Because of the results regarding protection against threats, we have to call Avast as the winner.

Winner: Avast

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.

That is why antivirus products are examined for their impact on system speed to see how resource-intensive they are.

Once again we have to take a look, how the business options of the software did.

Sophos shows pretty good results by staying close to industry average scores. You can say that an everyday user will not feel too much of a difference when using a computer that has Sophos installed.

Avast, unfortunately, had some problems with launching websites. Installation of applications, on the other had, were quicker that the competition with this software.

Industry average Sophos Avast
Slowing-down when launcing popular websites

50 websites visited

Slower download of frequently-used applications

20 downloaded files

Slower launch of standard software

6 test cases applied

Slower installation of frequently-used applications

20 installed applications

Slower copying of files (locally and in a network)

7254 files copied

Source: av-test.org

Sophos is an all-around good performer, while Avast has some problems with launching websites. As surfing the web is an everyday activity and it can get infuriating waiting for pages to load, we have to say that Sophos is the winner of this category.

Winner: Sophos

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.

Sofos has a home screen that lets you see the most important information first. There is a big green circle, if everything is alright with your computer. When there are some problems, it will turn red.

The bottom of the screen shows the status of malware protection, web protection, ransomware protection, privacy protection, and malicious traffic protection.

On the left bar of the window, you can select between different views. The status is actually the home screen. You can also check your activity and toggle settings. Adding a device is also very simple, from the left side of the window. There is a button the called “Share Sophos”. If you do this, you may get different perks. The help is also available there.

The most important button is on the left bottom corner of the window. That’s where you can start a scan.

Sophos Home User Interface Screenshot

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. Once again we will have to compare the business options of both software. The tests conducted show that Sophos had only one issue. Well below the industry average still. Avast got a clean result. But to be honest, for an everyday user, such a small number of false notifications doesn’t impact the usability at all.

Industry average Sophos Avast
False warnings or blockages when visiting websites

500 samples used

False detections of legimate software as malware during a system scan

920 486 samples used

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

70 samples used

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

70 samples used

Source: av-test.org

As you can see, both contenders have a simple to use interface. As tests results are basically perfect for both contenders, we have to call it a tie.

Winner: It’s a tie

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 Sophos has to offer first.

Sophos has a free software version that doesn’t offer real-time antivirus, so we will not discuss it.

That means Sophos’ lineup for the home user only consists of one product called Sophos Home Premium. It offers protection for up to 10 devices (Windows, Mac, Android, iOs)  and comes with a variety of features, that are designed to protect against viruses, malware, ransomware, privacy invasions, and more.

Sophos Home premium offers advanced ransomware security, that blocks ransomware attacks, preventing your personal data, photos, and videos from being locked and held for ransom.

It also comes with privacy protection that warns you when a third party is trying to access your webcam or mic.

Real-time antivirus utilizes the extensive SophosLabs databases to constantly protect your computerc from known viruses, malware, Trojans, worms, bots, potentially unwanted apps (PUAs), ransomware, and more.

Parental web filtering  gives you parental control over the web content your children can access while on a device. Simply select filtering categories for their safe online engagement with websites and social networking blogs.

Web protection leverages the vast, continuously-updated SophosLabs database of known malicious websites, and ensures you never connect to compromised, dangerous, or otherwise blacklisted sites.

You’ll also get premium support with 24/7 Knowledge Base that is always available for a quick topic search.

View all Sophos 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

Both companies offer a long list of features, but Avast has a list much longer that Sophos. That is why we have to announce it as the winner.

Winner: Avast

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 Sophos and Avast products.

Sophos Home Premium is the only product that Sophos offers for a home user. They also have a 30-day money back guarantee.

  1. Sophos Antivirus logo

    Sophos Home Premium

    Industrial grade security used by Fortune 500 companies, for your home to protect against viruses, malware, ransomware, privacy invasions, and more.

    Get for only $37,50

In our opinion, two 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.

    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

Sophos offers a better price, then again you can get more features with Avast. Still, the main features are priced higher with Avast as well.

Winner: Sohpos

Final Thoughts

Adding up the wins in each category, it seems we have a tie. But you have to take into consideration the fact that protection is the most important part of any antivirus software. That is why we would suggest going with Avast.

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.