Avast and Norton are two of the most well-established antivirus providers in the market today. They both deliver effective tools for protection against malware and viruses, with additional tools for privacy and performance as well. Avast is a simple and easy-to-use tool with a free edition alongside its premium plan, while Norton is feature-rich and flexible but devoid of a free plan.
But which one is best for you? It depends what you need most in your antivirus solution:
- Avast: Best for crucial security features and straightforward pricing plans that are suitable for remote workers.
- Norton: Best for delivering value to small businesses with up to 10 devices.
Avast vs. Norton at a glance
Avast and Norton continue to stand the test of time in the antivirus market, as they continue evolving to provide effective and high-quality solutions.
With hundreds of millions of subscribers globally, Avast is one of the top choices for protecting devices against malware and other internet threats. It possesses an array of effective features to secure its customers, such as a malware-scanning engine offering real-time detection of threats.
Norton on the other hand delivers an expansive set of security tools for the protection of its users against malware, spyware, viruses, and more. Its antivirus solution is augmented by impressive performance and privacy tools that ensure that it continues to stand out not only as an antivirus solution but as a cybersecurity solution.
|Price||Free to $99.99 for the first year||$19.99 to $99.99 for the first year|
|Core features||• Antivirus, malware, and ransomware protection|
• Device Lock
• Advanced firewall
|• Antivirus, malware, ransomware, and hacking protection|
• Password manager
• Cloud backup
• Smart firewall
|Sign-up required||No||Yes; requires payment|
|Platforms||Windows, Mac, iOS and Android||Windows, Mac, iOS and Android|
|Ease of use||Sleeker and more modern UI compared to Norton. Easy to navigate.||More complex to navigate. Scans often have performance impact. No cloud backup feature for Mac.|
|Privacy||Anti-snooping and anti-spoofing features||Privacy Monitor on Lifelock plans|
|Free trial||30 days||7 days|
Best for pricing: Avast
When it comes to comparing prices, Avast easily beats Norton. It offers simple pricing plans with three tiers: Avast One Essential (free), Avast One, and Premium Security. Avast One is also available for a 30-day free trial.
|Avast plan||Devices||Cost per year|
|Avast One Essential||1||Free|
|Avast One||5 / 30||$99.99 / $139.99|
|Premium Security||1 / 10||$79.99 / $99.99|
Norton offers a variety of plans ranging from Norton AntiVirus to Norton 360 products. Although Norton’s free trial is available for all of its products, it only lasts for 7 days, and payment information is required upfront. Its subscription approach is also quite inflexible compared to Avast. Norton does not have a free antivirus product, with its only free tools consisting of Norton Power Eraser, a virus and malware removal tool, and Norton Password Manager.
|Norton plan||Devices||Cost (first year only)|
|Norton AntiVirus Plus||1||$19.99|
|Norton 360 Standard||3||$39.99|
|Norton 360 Deluxe||5||$49.99|
|Norton 360 with LifeLock Select||10||$99.99|
Although it may not appear that Avast is priced competitively compared to Norton, keep in mind that Norton’s prices increase dramatically in the second and subsequent subscription years (e.g., to $59.99 for Plus and $179.99 for LifeLock). Avast also has frequent sales that lower their first-year cost below Norton’s as well. With those considerations, Avast emerges as the clear winner.
Best for core features: Norton
Both Avast and Norton offer a wealth of features that complement their antivirus tools. However, Norton edges ahead of Avast because of the variety of its core features and their applicability in different use cases.
The core features of both companies include antivirus, malware, ransomware, and hacking protection, but Norton adds a password manager and cloud backup. Additional features at higher tiers, such dark web monitoring and parental controls set it further apart from Avast. Also, one of its core features, the 100% Virus Protection Promise, offers a service that guarantees complete virus removal or customers are entitled to a refund. Finally, its Select plan with LifeLock provides identity theft protection in addition to all of its other security features.
Avast offers a very helpful Device Lock feature which assists a user to locate a lost device and lock it down from unauthorized access, but most of its other features are also included in Norton’s plans.
Best for ease of use: Avast
Avast is available on all major operating systems (OSs)—Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android—with similar features across each. It also has a nice, modern user interface (UI) that I found sleeker and easier to navigate than Norton’s.
Norton works across the same OSs, but the Windows version offers the most features. However, it can also prove to be clunky on Windows, especially during deep scans, resulting in a negative performance impact. The Mac and mobile versions don’t have the Cloud Backup feature.
Norton presents a consistent design across these platforms, with an interface that’s simple to navigate, though a bit dated compared to Avast’s. However, getting a bearing of all the features and capabilities on offer may prove to be overwhelming for new users.
Comparing performance tests run on both Norton and Avast by AV-TEST Institute, although both solutions were given a perfect score in their December 2022 tests, Avast experienced a higher performance impact when launching popular websites, downloading frequently-used applications, and launching standard software applications compared to Norton. However, the installation of frequently-used applications and copying of files either locally or in a network had a greater performance impact on Norton than Avast.
With no clear performance winner, Avast’s sleeker aesthetic and consistent user experience give it a slight advantage over Norton.
Best for privacy: Norton
When it comes to online privacy assurance, Norton is the clear winner thanks to its Privacy Monitor feature and, more importantly, Avast’s shadowy record with users’ personal information.
Our interconnected world makes it easy to look up almost anyone’s personal information on the web. Your publicly available personal information can be legally used or sold on the web on data broker sites. This raises several security, identity, and online privacy concerns. You obviously don’t want your antivirus solution to add to these concerns.
Norton offers the Privacy Monitor feature (only on Deluxe and Select plans) to enable its users to opt out of being listed on data broker sites, which trade publicly available personal information online. This gives users not only control over the use of their data, but also confidence in Norton as a company.
Despite Avast’s dependable malware protection, the company itself has suffered a couple of security and privacy issues within the last 5 years. It suffered an internal network breach in 2019. Worse, it faced allegations of snooping in 2019 via its antivirus software and browser plugins and selling user data through a subsidiary company in 2020. It should be mentioned that Avast One currently offers features for protection against online snooping and other threats to privacy such as spoofing, but the company’s history may be a deal breaker for some.
Avast vs. Norton: Potential deal breakers
If your use case prioritizes internet privacy, you’ll definitely want to favor Norton over Avast. Norton not only has a better track record with overall privacy but also includes dedicated features catering to privacy.
Avast is better suited to more straightforward antivirus use cases in comparison to Norton. Therefore, if your use case is more complex or comprehensive, Norton provides a better suite of features and plans to meet your protection needs.
On the other hand, you may consider avoiding Norton in favor of Avast if you are working with a limited budget, if you’re seeking a package for an individual user, or if you’re in search of a solution with a flexible subscription model. Avast is better priced for these types of users.
Remote workers and solopreneurs are also better served by Avast than Norton. Additionally, if you’re not the most tech-savvy customer, Norton may not be the solution for you, as it may come off as complex and perhaps overwhelming. Its RAM usage may also be a deterrent for users with limited system resources.
Top 3 Avast and Norton alternatives
McAfee Total Protection 2023
McAfee Total Protection 2023 delivers advanced monitoring, automated privacy, custom guidance, and personal data cleanup as part of its package to ensure that whether it’s a single user or multiple users, each user enjoys unique identity and privacy protection.
Trend Micro Maximum Security
Trend Micro Maximum Security uses cloud-based AI technology to protect its customers from ever-evolving malware threats, ransomware, online scams, and more. Its mobile security tool also ensures that mobile devices enjoy advanced protection from threats.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus
The 2023 edition of the ESET NOD32 Antivirus provides users with fast and light antivirus protection and multilayered proactive protection for Windows and macOS devices. It also promises anti-phishing protection and no system slowdowns.
How we evaluated Avast vs. Norton
In addition to data points such as price and features listed on official websites, datasheets, and other documentation, we compared Avast and Norton antivirus solutions directly by using the free trials of their premium products to get hands-on experience with their UIs. We augmented our findings with the latest publicly available research from AV-TEST Institute.
Bottom Line: Is Avast or Norton the best antivirus solution?
Both Avast and Norton are competent antivirus solutions that deserve consideration. Your choice should be based on which one better provides the protection you require and whether its products are compatible with your operating system.
Avast proves to be a solid, inexpensive choice for beginners and remote workers, while Norton ensures superior personal privacy and provides a comprehensive array of features that would deliver best value to small businesses.
Always remember that, as much as both solutions offer protection against malware, viruses, and more, antivirus solutions are not enough to exhaustively secure your computer systems and devices against cyber threats like social engineering, phishing, zero-day attacks, and more.
Explore other top antivirus solutions for the enterprise—and learn how to defend yourself against the threat of ransomware.