Avast Antivirus Review: Is It Really the Best Choice


  • Many excellent antivirus lab scores
  • Includes no-limits VPN
  • Very good scores in our hands-on tests
  • Protection for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS
  • Enhanced privacy and performance features


  • Protection limited on Android, more so on iOS
  • Tracker Prevention only present on macOS
  • No Wi-Fi Inspector







Parental Control





Any PC must have antivirus protection, but there are other security options as well. A comprehensive security suite is a better option for the majority of users. A no-limits VPN, privacy protection, performance optimization, and antivirus are all included in the new Avast One suite. In Avast’s most recent pantheon, it is the best product. It offers protection for your Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS-powered devices, just like its free edition, Avast One Essential. However, it doesn’t significantly improve upon what you can get for free aside from removing restrictions on the VPN component.

Release of a New Product Line at a Scale

The US, UK, Canada, and Australia are the initial markets for the Avast One product line. The entire lineup of Avast’s current products, including Avast Premium Security, is still accessible for download or purchase. While Premium Security does cost less than Avast One, it also offers fewer features. Avast One is all-inclusive, in contrast to the old suite’s numerous features, most notably the VPN, which call for separate payments. The future wave is undoubtedly the Avast One product line.

The launch of this new product line has no apparent relationship to the upcoming merger of Avast and NortonLifeLock. Keep in mind that after the merger, Norton will be the owner of Avast, Avira, AVG, and BullGuard.

What Is the Price of Avast One?

There are two versions of Avast One. You can install protection on up to five of your devices with the Individual edition, which has an annual list price of $99.99. The Family edition increases that security to 30 licenses for $139.99 annually.
You can purchase five licenses for Kaspersky Total Security and ESET Smart Security Premium for $99.99 annually. However, the next tier for both of these products is 10 licenses for $149.99, which is significantly more expensive per license than Avast’s family plan.
Five Norton 360 Deluxe licenses cost $104.99 per year, which is a little bit more. You receive five no-limits VPN licenses from both Norton and Avast, but Norton goes a step further by providing 50GB of hosted storage for your online backups and a more complete security suite for your desktops.
For $159.99, you can get licenses for McAfee Total Protection on all the devices in your home. However, for the majority of households, the difference between 30 licenses and unlimited probably isn’t very noticeable.


With the Free Edition Shared

Naturally, you have access to all the features of the free Avast One Essential when you purchase an Avast One subscription. For complete information, please read my review of that product. I’ll summarize my results here.

Comparing the Avast One product line to the company’s current offerings is like night and day. It has a light, airy background rather than a dark one. No rectangles with straight edges either. Round-ended buttons with cheery line drawings and pastel color daubs are common. When there is room, happy people are depicted in the drawings. It looks very different from his previous bleak, stoic appearance.
The home page of the majority of security suites is where security status is displayed, frequently with buttons for crucial operations like starting a scan or activating VPN security. The home page of Avast One focuses on the security feature that requires your attention the most. For instance, it prompts you to perform a Smart Scan right away after installation. You can access all of the program’s features, broken down into Device Protection, Online Privacy, and Smooth Performance, by selecting Explore from the menu on the left.
Avast is tested by all four of the independent antivirus testing labs I keep up with, and its results are nearly flawless. According to my algorithm, Avast receives 9.5 out of a possible 10 points. Only Norton and Kaspersky have a higher rating among the products tested by all four labs, each scoring 9.6 and 9.9 respectively. Because AVG Internet Security was not included in the one difficult test that Avast failed, it received a higher overall score—9.8—than Avast.


Total Lab Results

Avast’s full scan took just 34 minutes to complete, and a subsequent scan reduced that time in half. You can run the Boot-Time Scan before Windows loads to detect stubborn malware that resists removal. This prevents malware from defending itself.

Avast receives a 9.4 out of 10 possible rating in my personal malware protection test. That score falls short of the lab tests’ standards, but I give the lab tests more weight. Avast successfully blocks 98% of the malicious URLs it is presented with, most of them by blocking all access to the risky page.

Tests for Malware Protection

Any browser can use Avast’s Web Shield protection because it operates below the level of the browser and doesn’t need any additional extensions to function. The same feature can identify phishing websites, which are scams that attempt to trick users into disclosing their login information. Avast achieves yet another outstanding result by identifying 99% of the confirmed frauds in a test using the most recent suspected phishing URLs.

Tests for Phishing Protection

Although it is never good news when malware manages to bypass your antivirus, in most cases a malware definition update will quickly eradicate the infestation. If it was a ransomware attack, however, the harm has already been done. Your maliciously encrypted files won’t be restored by removing the malware. Avast’s response to this serious situation is to strengthen protection for the common ransomware targets. Unauthorized alterations to those targets are prevented by its ransomware defense system. It prompts you for action after spotting an attempt to modify a target file and displays a warning. Simply mark a new image editor as trusted if you’re using it for the first time. However, block the program if you don’t recognize it trying to tamper with your files!

protection against a fire wall simply

Even with the free edition, you do get firewall protection. When you’re on an untrusted network, Avast’s firewall places additional limits in addition to blocking network-based attacks. It allows you to manually stop any program while listing all programs that are now utilizing the internet and how much bandwidth they are consuming. If you use such authority carelessly, you could seriously hurt a program by blocking the incorrect one.

Advanced firewall systems, like the one Norton offers, automatically set network permissions for well-known good programs and keep a close eye on how unauthorized users access the network. Simple-minded firewalls prompt perplexing questions with every new attempt to access the internet, forcing you, the user, to make crucial security choices. Even at the premium level, program control in Avast’s firewall only happens if you manually search through the program list.

The Advanced network security page in the firewall settings can be accessed after upgrading to premium. Your computer’s name is concealed from other networked devices by the firewall. If it notices a port scan attack, it alerts you. And if it finds any indication of ARP spoofing, it alerts you. It’s important to remember that some hardware-based parental control systems use ARP spoofing to legitimately carry out their content filtering functions. These are merely minor improvements, in reality.

Device Safety Features

Three of the features listed under Device Protection on the Explore page have a fee associated with them. Any attempt to use these with Avast One Essential only results in an upgrade invitation.

There’s a good chance that sensitive information on your computer is in documents that a thief or snooper could use against you. Such documents are sought after and given an additional layer of security by Sensitive Data Shield. Other user accounts on the computer cannot open files marked for protection, and you can restrict which apps are permitted to open them.

To act as bait for ransomware attacks during testing, my test system’s Documents folder has a haphazard collection of personal files. The scan didn’t turn up any of these, which surprised me. My Avast representative clarified that this scan specifically examines documents of the.pdf,.doc,.docx,.xls, and.xlsx file types. It searches for information like email addresses and up to 20 other identifying characteristics. Evidently, it didn’t find enough sensitive information in my test files, so I manually added a few to its protected list.

I didn’t receive a message from Avast when I attempted to open protected files using a different Windows user account, but my attempts were unsuccessful and I received the error message “An unexpected error occurred.” This is operating as intended, according to my contact.



I anticipated that the application blocking system would function similarly to ransomware protection, blocking unknown files until the user approves them. But that isn’t how it operates. Unless you proactively add it to the blacklist, any app running under your own Windows account has full access. I’m not sure how much this feature increases your security.

Human-friendly domain names like pcmag.com are converted into machine-friendly IP addresses like by the Domain Name System (DNS). DNS hijacking is the term for attacks that manipulate DNS and direct you to a risky website. Even though the displayed page is a fake, the address bar still displays the expected domain, which is similar to phishing. Such hijacking is avoided by Web Hijack Guard, which is enabled by default. Since I can’t test it, I must assume that it functions.

The ultimate spyware attack might be a malware infection that allows a rogue to peek at you through your webcam. Because this kind of software can activate the webcam without also activating its warning light, you won’t be aware that you are being watched. Avast, like Bitdefender, ESET Smart Security Premium, and Kaspersky, permits authorized applications to access the webcam while alerting you whenever an unauthorized program tries to do so. If you’re using a new app for face-to-face meetings, trust it if it asks you to, but if you didn’t ask to use the webcam, close the peephole. Additionally, you have the option to disable all access to the camera or set Webcam Protection to require permission from known and trusted programs.

Complete VPN

Deep scanning technology from Avast removes any malware infestations from your devices, and real-time antivirus technology finds and blocks new attacks. With this security in place, your data ought to be secure. However, antivirus protection is rendered useless the moment you communicate online. You require a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, to secure your data while it is in transit.

Your device and a hardened server run by the VPN provider are connected via a secure, encrypted VPN tunnel. Your data cannot be accessed while it is in transit by anyone, not even the owner of the dubious coffer shop network you are using. The VPN server communicates with the website you chose and sends you the results using the same secure connection. The fact that your network traffic appears to be coming from the VPN server is a side benefit of this process. That means a website can’t use your IP address to determine where you are. You may also be able to access material that would otherwise be blocked based on where you are.

With restrictions, Avast’s free edition offers integrated VPN security. You are forced to use the servers and locations that the system selects; you have no choice in the matter. Additionally, your weekly bandwidth allotment is 5GB. Fair enough, that’s more kind-hearted than most. A little less than Avast, Hotspot Shield VPN’s free edition allows 500MB per day. Non-paying users of TunnelBear VPN are limited to 500MB per month. On the other hand, there are no bandwidth restrictions when using ProtonVPN.
The standalone Avast SecureLine VPN was examined by PCMag, which concluded that it was a serviceable but not exceptional VPN. For a thorough understanding of Avast’s VPN technology, read our review. In a nutshell, it employs recommended VPN protocols and provides a large, if somewhat limited, selection of servers (55 locations in 34 countries). Reviewer Max Eddy pointed out that it collects more data than is necessary and more than most competitors because its privacy policy is very clear about the data it gathers. Although it doesn’t provide features beyond VPN like some comparable products do, it performed well in our speed tests.

Although the VPN in Avast One is integrated rather than a standalone product, the underlying technology is the same. When available, you select the location within the country as well as the country itself. To secure your web traffic, you enable the VPN. You only really need to do that.
When you connect to an untrusted network, the VPN prompts you to enable protection. Since there is no bandwidth cap, you might just want to have it connect automatically. I don’t suggest disabling the warning about untrusted networks. You can ask for a reminder to use the VPN whenever you connect to a trusted network or conduct online banking, for example.

The choices for VPN configuration are finished. Split-tunneling, which lets you send less-sensitive traffic outside of the VPN’s protection like with CyberGhost VPN or SurfShark VPN, is not available. The additional security of a multihop VPN connection is not an option. Get a static IP address is not possible (useful for evading services that try to block VPN usage). Some VPNs have a kill switch, which disables all connectivity in the event that the VPN connection drops. With Avast, that is not the case.

Full VPN protection is also included in Norton 360 Deluxe, and we give Norton’s VPN the same three stars as Avast’s as a standalone product. Yes, if you’re a VPN enthusiast, a top-notch standalone VPN will serve you better. However, having VPN technology built into your security suite is a huge advantage.

Additional Privacy Options

VPN protection is listed under the Online Privacy category in the extensive feature list on the Explore page. Clear Browsing Data and Password Protection fall under that category as well. The free edition’s Clear Browsing Data feature removes browsing traces like cookies and cached information from Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Opera. By pressing Ctrl+Shift+Del in any of those browsers, you can accomplish the same task with more precision.
To see if your email address has been exposed in any data breaches, use the Privacy Protection feature. You can learn a little more about a listed breach by clicking on it. You can also click to modify the impacted password (and thereby remove the warning).
That much is freely available. You can sign up one or more email addresses for real-time monitoring in the premium edition. Avast will now notify you instantly if a breach involves your email.
Another premium feature is browser password protection, though it may not be as useful. It blocks unauthorized apps from accessing passwords saved in Chrome, Edge, and Firefox when it is active. Naturally, our recommendation is to remove all of your passwords from your browsers and secure them in a password manager. Then you won’t require this magical defense.

Features of a smooth performance

Although it’s not strictly a security task, optimizing your device’s performance can’t hurt. Under the Smooth Performance category, Avast One offers the following four features: PC Speedup, Software Updater, Disk Cleaner, and Driver Updater.

The free version of PC Speedup also identifies programs that run in the background and consume resources even when not in use. By using this component, you can make those apps more efficient by having Avast stop them from using resources unless they’re actually doing something useful.

Software Updater searches for popular application security patches that are missing in the free edition, but it doesn’t install them until you instruct it to. Avast One can be set to automatically apply any updates it finds for paid users, making the process simple.

The Driver Updater performs the same function, as stated in the product’s description. The paid edition automatically updates to the new versions of hardware drivers while the free edition only notifies the user when a new version is available. Even in the free version, it is stated that upgrading to the premium version will automate updates. This isn’t true, according to observation. Similar to Software Updater, there is no option to enable automatic updates. My contact at Avast confirmed that the driver updater runs a background scan automatically and only alerts the user if it discovers any new updates.

Only Disk Cleaner is left. This feature in the free edition finds unnecessary files and other things that take up disk space but doesn’t remove them. So that you could handle the cleanup manually (and laboriously), it doesn’t even list what it found. Premium users only need to select Clean now to take advantage of this scan’s findings. It recovered nearly 650MB of disk space on my test system.


Small Effect on Performance

In the dim and distant past, large, bulky security suites had a well-deserved reputation for consuming system resources and slowing normal PC usage. When a user turns off a security product in a fit of rage to address performance issues, it is of little use. Thankfully, security companies took note of their mistakes. The majority of the time, modern products barely affect performance. I still conduct a few quick tests to make sure they aren’t reverting, though.

My boot time test is pretty straightforward. It begins interrogating Windows about overall CPU usage right after a reboot, which spikes as startup programs go through their loading sequences. I determine the computer is ready for use after 10 seconds with a CPU usage of less than 5%. The boot time is obtained by deducting the boot process’s beginning (as indicated by Windows). A measure of how much the boot process was slowed by the suite can be obtained by averaging a large number of runs before and after installation. The procedure was not at all slowed down by Avast One.

Performance tests for security suites

Even a product with a significant boot impact might not be alarming because most users don’t reboot their computers frequently and modern computers boot up quickly. On the other hand, it might be a problem if vigilant monitoring by antivirus software and other components makes routine tasks like copying and saving files take longer than they should. By using a script to move and copy a sizable collection of various types of files between drives while averaging the time needed with and without the suite, I test for that possibility. The duration required to repeatedly zip and unzip those files is measured by another test. With Avast running, the move and copy test took 2% more time, while the zip/unzip test only took 1% more time.

ESET, K7, and Webroot SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete had an average impact of exactly 0% and didn’t increase the time needed for any of my tests. Technically, that’s superior to Avast’s 1% impact, but you won’t experience any slowdown in either case.


  • Many excellent antivirus lab scores
  • Includes no-limits VPN
  • Very good scores in our hands-on tests
  • Protection for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS
  • Enhanced privacy and performance features
  • Protection limited on Android, more so on iOS
  • Tracker Prevention only present on macOS
  • No Wi-Fi Inspector

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