Avast is a leading name in the cybersecurity world. This Czech-based company has been around for over thirty years and boasts of over 430 million users globally. Avast also owns AVG Technologies, another formidable brand in the cybersecurity business.
In 2020, Avast’s spotless reputation was sullied after investigations revealed that the company was selling user data to advertisers. Hence, potential users may question whether Avast Antivirus software is safe to use.
How good is Avast Antivirus? Can Avast be trusted? Does Avast protect against malware?
In this Avast Antivirus review, we dig deep into Avast’s security and privacy features to answer these questions. We also look at how the antivirus affects a computer’s performance and assess its ease of use and customer service. To provide some context on Avast’s performance, we’ve also compared it with some leading antivirus providers, such as Norton.
Check out the visual below for a quick summary of our Avast Antivirus review. The final score is determined by arriving at a weighted average of the scores in each category. The weights assigned are security (0.4), privacy (0.3), ease of use (0.2), and speed and system load (0.1).
Avast Antivirus Short Review
|Real-time protection||Concerns over data sharing practices|
|Excellent malware detection||Add-on apps need to be downloaded separately|
|Built-in VPN for premium users||It is difficult to get human assistance when you contact Avast’s customer support team|
|Useful privacy tools, such as Avast AntiTrack||Additional security features are only available for premium plans|
|Intuitive and well-designed interface|
|Quick Scan functionality|
|Knowledgeable customer support team|
Avast Antivirus offers a solid package overall — especially the paid versions.
Avast Free Antivirus boasts a robust anti-virus scanner and protection against ransomware. However, advanced features, such as a virtual private network (VPN) and Clean Up utility, are only available in the Ultimate version, which starts at $107.99/year. This is much higher than similar internet security suites offered by competitors.
The user interface of both the website and app is well designed. The antivirus scanner is easy to use and supports different types of scans. These scans are completed fairly quickly and don’t overload your CPU.
Avast’s customer care section is full of informative answers and forum posts. Premium users can get in touch with the support team through email, live chat, or by phone. We found the team to be informative and helpful.
Click on the button below to check out the latest offers for Avast Antivirus.
Avast Antivirus Specifications and Subscriptions
Avast offers a range of antivirus software solutions and pricing options. Avast Free Antivirus is the most basic option. It provides protection against viruses, malware, and ransomware, but not much else.
The Avast Premium Security package comes with several internet security tools in addition to the features you get with the free version. These include WiFi network security and protection against phishing scams. The Avast Premium Security plan costs $75.99/year for a single device, but you pay $39.99 for the first year. You can pay $98.99 for a plan that covers up to 10 devices, but you only shell out $49.99 for the first year.
Avast’s full security suite is known as Avast Ultimate. It comes with a VPN and other useful features like identity protection in addition to an antivirus scanner and some internet security tools. Avast Ultimate starts at $107.99 for one device and goes up to $127.99 for ten devices. For a single device, you only pay $69.99 for the first year and $10 more for a plan that covers 10 devices.
Note: The prices listed above are for the worldwide store. In some jurisdictions, such as the USA, you may only see Avast Premium Security along with Avast’s new security bundle, Avast One (discussed later).
|Feature||Avast Free Antivirus||Avast Premium Security||Avast Ultimate|
|Pricing||Free||From $75.99||From $107.99|
|WiFi Network Verification||✔||✔||✔|
|Remote Access Prevention||✖||✔||✔|
|Live Customer Support||✖||✔||✔|
|AntiTrack — Identity Management||✖||✖||✔|
|PC Cleanup Utility||✖||✖||✔|
|Download Link||Get Avast Free Antivirus||Get Avast Premium Security||Get Avast Ultimate|
Avast has launched a new security suite, called Avast One, in a handful of countries. Avast One replaces the Ultimate plan and offers upgraded privacy and online security features.
Avast One Essential, which replaces Avast Free Antivirus, provides added features, such as VPN protection, data breach protection, and a password check. It also provides a PC tune-up utility. Avast One Essential is a significant upgrade to the Avast Free Antivirus.
The same cannot be said for the paid version of Avast One, which is very similar to Avast Ultimate Plus. The most notable additions are on the internet security side of things. For instance, Avast One includes a webcam protection utility, which is not available with Avast Ultimate. It is also cheaper than Avast Ultimate, with the basic version (covers up to 5 devices) starting at $99.99/year.
The Family version, which covers up to 30 devices, costs $139.99 yearly.
Security: Can Avast Antivirus Be Trusted?
Avast Antivirus provides real-time protection and comes with some important security features. Some features that caught our eye are:
- 99.5% detection rate on AV-Tests
- Real-time protection
- Useful additional security features for Avast Ultimate users, such as a VPN and Cleanup utility
Security testing: How does Avast Antivirus measure up?
Avast claims its antivirus software stops approximately 66 million threats per day. The popularity of Avast is an enormous advantage in this respect as its network is constantly exchanging information about the latest threats and viruses, such as keyloggers, trojans, and worms.
Avast’s remarkable ability to detect the latest malware and other online threats is reflected in its performance on leading antivirus tests. On the well-known AV-TEST, Avast Antivirus software scored a 100% zero-day malware detection rate in January/February 2022. It also detected all widespread and prevalent malware with just one false detection.
Not only does this showcase the excellent malware protection that Avast Antivirus provides, but it also highlights improvements to this product in a relatively short time. In the December AV-TEST on Windows, Avast had a slightly lower detection rate of 99.3% against prevalent zero-day malware attacks.
Avast Antivirus was similarly impressive in AV-Comparatives tests (March to June 2021), where it had a 99.5% online detection rate. Only Norton LifeLock, which is one of the best antivirus solutions on the market, had a higher detection rate.
These results were confirmed during our daily use. When we tried to download a malicious test file, we immediately received a pop-up saying the download was blocked as the file could be harmful.
Real-time threat protection
Avast’s real-time protection comprises two components: shields and scans. The former, as the name suggests, shields your computer from threats on a continuous and automatic basis. The four shields that Avast offers are:
- File Shield — Scans new files added or downloaded onto your device
- Web Shield — Blocks web attacks, prevents unsafe downloads, and bolsters your online security
- Email Shield — Blocks dangerous attachments
- Real Site — Blocks fake and phishing sites
Coupled with Avast’s effective firewall protection, the Core Shields ensure that no new virus or malware can infect your device.
Besides the automatic shields, you can also scan your computer manually using Scan Central. Avast Antivirus offers a few types of scans. They include Smart Scan (scans the important files on your device), and Deep Scan (thoroughly scans all the folders on your device). You can even set up targeted scans for specific folders.
Avast Antivirus also lets you scan external storage devices, like a USB.
You can schedule scans and view your scan history on Scan Central. You can also manually configure each type of scan to your specifications. For instance, you can specify which files should be scanned. Exceptions to scans and shields can also be added from the menu.
Avast WiFi Inspector
Avast Premium Security and Ultimate both come with some additional security features. One of the more useful features is the Avast WiFi Inspector. The tool scans your network to detect vulnerabilities. This is useful when connecting to a public network or a private network with weak security.
The WiFi Inspector also detects unwanted devices on your private network. This is handy if you suspect that someone is free-riding on your internet connection.
Avast Ransomware Shield
Another key component of Avast Antivirus is its Ransomware Shield. Ransomware is malware that infects and prevents access to your device unless a ransom is paid. While ransomware attacks typically target large corporations that can cough up hefty amounts, individuals are not safe from them.
Avast’s Ransomware Shield prevents third-party software from changing, deleting, or locking your personal files. You can choose which folders you want to secure using Ransomware Shield.
Avast SecureLine VPN
The features we’ve described so far can be accessed from within the Avast Premium Security app. However, the VPN service and Cleanup utility are standalone apps and need to be downloaded separately. Moreover, they are only available with the Avast Ultimate plan.
Avast’s SecureLine is a pretty decent VPN that fulfills most digital privacy and security requirements. A VPN helps protect your digital identity by encrypting your internet traffic and changing your IP address.
Avast uses IPSec, and its own Avast Mimic protocols to encrypt your data. IPSec is widely regarded as a secure protocol. Avast’s VPN also features a kill switch, which is an important security feature.
A VPN can also unblock content that has been geo-restricted by streaming platforms or censored by governments. Avast SecureLine VPN gives you access to servers in 34 countries, so it can unblock content from several nations. The VPN also comes with specialty servers for torrenting and streaming.
In terms of speed, Avast SecureLine performs pretty decently. While connected to nearby servers, it recorded a roughly 25% drop in download speeds, which is comparable to some premium VPN providers we’ve reviewed.
However, the speeds dropped significantly when we connected to servers further away. While this is to be expected, it reduces the utility of Avast SecureLine VPN for streaming and downloading.
Although nothing of concern came up during our review of Avast VPN’s logging policy, we are hesitant to give it a thumbs up because of the company’s chequered past with the handling of user data.
AntiTrack is another useful feature that’s included in the Avast Ultimate suite. It is a digital identity protection solution that works by disguising your online identity. It blocks trackers from collecting and sharing user data.
The app also lets users schedule regular deletion of their browsing history and cookies, which can take up significant space on devices.
Avast AntiTrack’s ID & privacy protection status suggests measures you can take to improve your overall privacy. Stats on blocked trackers and total cookies are visible on the home screen of the app.
Avast Cleanup Premium
Avast’s Ultimate package also includes Cleanup Premium. The app helps declutter your device by removing unused files and photos. It also uninstalls apps that are no longer used and clean up duplicates, thus saving drive space and boosting your device’s performance.
You can choose the size, type, and location of files that you want Cleanup Premium to target. During our tests, we noticed that Cleanup Premium boosted the performance of our laptop slightly.
Privacy: How Does Avast Antivirus Handle Your Data?
Privacy is a major sticking point for Avast. Our key takeaways in terms of privacy are:
- Avast Ultimate bundle has some privacy-oriented features, such as a VPN and Identity Monitor
Avast’s Privacy Protection Features
Avast Free Antivirus doesn’t come with any privacy protection apps. However, the Premium Security and Ultimate bundles include some useful additions, such as:
- Avast SecureLine VPN
- Avast AntiTrack
- Avast Core Shields
- Avast WiFi Inspector
These apps work together to help you browse the web freely, without worrying too much about privacy. With that said, Avast SecureLine VPN lacks some crucial features, such as a clear no-logs policy. If you’re looking for a private and reliable VPN that’s also fast, check out NordVPN.
|Type of Data||What’s included|
|Billing Data||E-mail address, masked credit card number, and license key|
|Account Data||Name, e-mail address, and username|
|Product Data||a) Device Data – This includes information about your operating system, hardware, error logs, applications running, and location|
b) Service Data – This includes samples, detection details, usage statistics, and IP address
Most of the data that Avast collects is used to ensure the smooth operation of its services. For example, malware samples and virus detections are used to make the antivirus software as effective as possible.
If one user encounters a virus, the virus signature is added to their library, and they build defenses against it. This means other users get protection from the virus even before they encounter it.
The fact that Avast collects users’ IP addresses and locations give rise to some concerns. Of course, you can decide what information you want to share with Avast in the settings menu. You can even turn off data sharing for app and security improvement. We recommend you do this given Avast’s history with users’ personal data.
Avast sold data to third-parties
In January 2020, a joint investigation by PCMag and Motherboard revealed that Avast indirectly sold user data to third parties. It did not deal directly with companies such as Google, Yelp, and Microsoft, but used a subsidiary called Jumpshot.
Avast passed on a lot of specific information to third parties, including users’ locations, Google searches, YouTube videos, LinkedIn pages, and the porn websites they visited. This sensitive information was collected from over 100 million devices and then resold.
Users could indicate in their settings whether they wanted to participate in this data collection or otherwise. However, many Avast users were unaware that this data was subsequently being sold and unknowingly opted in. Avast was not transparent about the process and did not respect the privacy of its users.
While Avast has confirmed that it no longer sells user data, the public’s trust in the company has been seriously damaged. The lack of transparency and the fact that this incident occurred recently influenced Avast’s overall privacy score.
Usability: How User-Friendly Is Avast Antivirus?
Avast Antivirus is quite user-friendly, but contacting customer care can be a complicated process. Here are some highlights of Avast’s usability:
- Intuitive app and website
- Apps for VPN and anti-tracking need to be downloaded separately
- Human customer support is helpful but not easily accessible
How do I install Avast Antivirus?
The Avast website is available in over 50 languages. The homepage prominently advertises the Avast Free Antivirus software. You will immediately notice the button to download it.
The paid version and Avast’s other products aren’t immediately visible. You’ll have to look for them via the menu or scroll further down the page.
The Avast website is easy to navigate. The various products on offer are all introduced with a short informative text, download buttons, and their prices. There are separate sections for people looking to use Avast for their homes or businesses. There’s also a section for people who want to partner with the company.
Installing Avast is easy. Follow the steps listed below to get it up and running on your device:
- Click the Store button on the Avast homepage.
- Select the Avast package/suite you’d like to purchase and click on buy now.
- If you’re purchasing a paid version, you’ll be redirected to the payments page.
- Fill in the required information and make your payment.
- Once the payment is complete, you’ll be redirected to the Avast website and prompted to download the Avast software.
- Download Avast on your device from the website.
- Once the download is complete, double click on the .exe or .dmg file to open the installer.
- The installer will guide you through the process. You will be prompted to grant Avast permissions on your device, such as the permission to access your network settings. This is required for the antivirus to function properly.
After installation, Avast Antivirus should boot up on its own. You can configure the antivirus scanner according to your preferences. If you’re using an iOS or Android device, you can also download Avast Antivirus by going to the App Store or Play Store.
Avast’s antivirus app is well-designed and visually pleasing. The color tones are nice and easy on the eyes. In terms of usability, the antivirus software is moderately easy to use.
While most settings and features can be accessed easily, others can take a bit of effort to figure out. For instance, it wasn’t immediately clear that you need to click the magnifying glass on the home screen to access Scan Central.
We were also bugged by the fact that the VPN and Anti-track software have to be downloaded separately. Another thing worth mentioning is that on macOS, the app window is quite small, which can make it difficult to read the settings.
These minor issues aside, Avast’s user interface is pretty intuitive. It is easy to perform a scan and execute any follow-up actions that are required. The same can be said about other apps in the suite. The SecureLine VPN app, for instance, is designed so well that even beginners can easily use it.
With that said, the Avast AntiTrack dashboard can get a little cluttered and difficult to understand.
How easy is it to cancel an Avast Antivirus subscription?
Canceling your subscription to Avast Antivirus is not possible through the app. Instead, you need to visit Avast’s website and log in to your account. Overall, the process is pretty easy and only takes a couple of minutes.
Follow the steps outlined below to cancel your Avast Antivirus subscription:
- Go to the Avast website and log in to your account.
- On the landing page, click on ‘My Subscriptions‘
- You should be able to view your existing subscription and payment details. Click on unsubscribe to stop automatic billing.
- If you purchased the subscription less than a month ago, you can take advantage of Avast’s 30-day money-back guarantee to get a refund. To do this, go to the Payments page and click on Request a Refund. You may be asked why you’re canceling your subscription. Simply check one of the options provided.
- Avast will email you to confirm that you have successfully unsubscribed. Refunds, if any, are processed within five to seven working days.
Avast’s customer support
Customer support is integral to an antivirus’ utility. It is particularly important if there are any technical issues that affect your device’s performance or security. In our experience, Avast’s customer support team is knowledgeable and professional.
If you are having issues with Avast Antivirus software, you can start by visiting the dedicated support website. The website lists commonly asked questions under different topics, such as requesting a refund and canceling a subscription. The site also provides access to the Avast forum, where you can view solutions to similar problems other users have encountered.
If you can’t find an answer on the forum or in the FAQ section, you can contact Avast’s support team.
However, access to the support team depends on the subscription package you have. For free users, customer care is limited to the forum and FAQs while premium subscribers can access support by email, live chat, or over the phone.
We found Avast’s customer support team to be knowledgeable and friendly when could get through to them. They guided us through the cancellation and refund process. For non-Avast-related technical issues, such as device repair, Avast has a separate service called Premium Tech Support. However, the service is quite expensive — it costs upwards of $70 per call.
Overall, Avast’s customer support is good but not great. While the resources and staff are helpful, accessing human customer support can take a lot of time.
Speed and Performance: Will Avast Antivirus Slow Down My System?
Avast delivers quick scans without overloading your CPU. Here are our key observations about its speed and performance:
- A Quick Scan takes about two minutes, while a Deep Scan takes close to 20 minutes
- Avast had nearly no impact on our device’s performance when running in the background
- Running a scan only takes up about 20% of your CPU’s processing capacity.
How long does a scan take?
To test Avast’s scan speeds, we ran a Quick or Smart Scan and a Deep Scan. We measured how long each of these took. The results are:
- Smart Scan: 2-3 minutes
- Deep Scan: 17-20 minutes
Bear in mind that these tests were conducted on a MacBook Pro with an M1 processor. This is a fairly powerful device and test results on other devices may differ. Nonetheless, Avast’s speeds are pretty impressive and compare favorably with competitors’.
How does Avast Antivirus impact my CPU?
Antivirus software can sometimes affect a device’s performance. They can slow down a device’s processing capacity and hamper your daily activities. We did not experience this with Avast antivirus.
While running in the background, Avast did not take up more than 0.5% to 1% of our CPU’s processing capacity. During a Quick Scan, this shot up to around 15%. Since the Smart Scan only takes a couple of minutes, it didn’t have any noticeable impact on the performance of our device.
Surprisingly, even the Deep Scan didn’t take up too much of our CPU’s processing power. While marginally higher than the Smart Scan, at around 20%, the Deep Scan did not affect our ability to browse the web, edit documents, or view videos.
Final Verdict: Is Avast Antivirus a Good Virus Scanner?
Avast is a great option if you’re looking for reliable antivirus software that will keep your device free from malware and viruses. However, its data-sharing practices raise some concerns for us. Also, Avast Ultimate lacks some security and privacy features that competitors like Norton provide, like cloud backup, data breach notification, and identity theft alerts.
If you’re convinced that Avast is a good fit for you, click the button below to check out Avast’s subscription plans.
Alternatively, you can check out some of the other high-quality antiviruses we’ve reviewed.
Do you have a question about Avast Free, Avast Premium Security, or Avast Ultimate? Below, we answer the most frequently asked questions about this antivirus program. Simply click a question to read the answer.
Avast offers three different subscription plans: Avast Free, Avast Premium Security, and Avast Ultimate.
Avast Free will cost you absolutely nothing. Avast Premium Security is a paid plan. A package for one computer costs $38.99 for the first year and $75.99 for every subsequent year. Avast Ultimate is also a paid plan and starts at $107.99/year, but you pay $69.99 for the first year.
You can remove Avast from your device by following these steps:
- Go to your settings and open the programs or software app. To do this on Windows, click the Windows icon in the bottom left corner of your screen, then click the cogwheel, and then “Apps.”
- Look for Avast Antivirus on the list and click “Uninstall.”
- Click “Uninstall” again when the confirmation pop-up appears.
- Follow the steps to confirm once again that you want to uninstall the program.
The uninstallation process may take a few minutes. If this doesn’t work, you could also try to use Avast Clear — this is Avast’s uninstall utility.
Avast has a free version of its antivirus software. This free version, Avast Free, has fewer features than the paid version but is an excellent antivirus tool that can stop many online threats. You can read more about both the free and the paid versions of Avast Antivirus here.
Avast recently launched Avast One Essentials, which is a free yet holistic security suite.
Avast is one of the most popular internet security brands. Although it was caught selling user data in 2020, it is still a safe and effective cybersecurity tool. However, due to the lack of trust we now have in Avast when it comes to privacy, we advise you to be careful with this antivirus program.
Overall, Avast is a great antivirus with solid malware protection and useful additional apps. Its apps are user-friendly and don’t overload your CPU. However, there are some concerns about Avast’s privacy and data sharing practices.
Check out our Avast antivirus review for more information.