We conducted a thorough test of Sophos and Avast to help you choose between these two services. The relevant grading categories are security, performance impact, pricing, ease of use, and customer support. Here’s the winner of each category:
- Security: Avast wins
- Privacy: Sophos wins
- Ease of Use: Sophos wins
- System Performance: Avast wins
- Pricing & Value: Tie
Sophos came out on top by winning in two very important categories. It’s an overall superior antivirus program packed with good security features. If you want to try Sophos right now, you can do so by clicking the button below and going to their official website.
According to the AV-Test Institute, 450,000+ new malicious programs appear every day. Using good security software like an antivirus program is a must in this hostile environment. However, picking the right product can be extremely challenging.
One of the choices you might encounter is between Sophos and Avast. Both are household names in the world of antivirus protection software, but which one is better for you?
The good news? We already did the legwork and tested all key aspects for this Sophos vs Avast comparison. We inspected their security features, performance impact, pricing, and more. In the end, we gave Sophos the win. Keep reading to find out why.
Avast vs Sophos: Features
Sophos is a UK-based company primarily focused on business-grade security software. It first launched a free product for private users back in 2015, followed by a premium version in 2018. They had a cloud storage breach in 2020, but the company bounced back quickly and fixed the problem. Today, this data exposure is no longer an issue.
Avast is based in the Czech Republic and also owns AVG. The company was founded way back in 1988 and has over 400 million active monthly users. In 2019, the company was caught selling data of Avast users to advertisers. This resulted in Google, Mozilla, and Opera removing Avast extensions from their respective browsers.
Below, we’ve captured features offered by the most complete antivirus-focused plans that Avast and Sophos offer. Keep in mind that Avast has an all-in-one internet security solution called Avast One. Since this comparison focuses on antivirus software, we’ve decided to focus on Avast Premium Security instead.
|Features||Sophos Home Premium||Avast Premium Security|
|Compatibility||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android|
|Number of Protected Devices||10 (unlimited on Android and iOS devices)||10|
|Real-time malware protection||✔||✔|
|Sandbox mode for suspicious apps||✖||✔|
|Protection against phishing||✔||✔|
|Digital fingerprint removal||✖||✔|
|Free trial||30 days||30 days (one device)|
|Money-back guarantee||30 days||30 days|
|Price||$44.99/year||$69.48 (first year, 10 devices)|
|Link to website|
Avast Premium Security offers more features than Sophos Home Premium. The lack of a firewall and dedicated VPN service in Sophos are particularly notable. That said, Sophos’s remote management feature can be pretty useful for monitoring your devices when away from home or the office.
Free versions of Sophos and Avast
We’ve reviewed the premium versions of Avast and Sophos for this article. However, both also offer free plans or tools. Avast’s free antivirus protects against viruses and email scams. This is the essential malware protection required for your devices. It does, however, lack web protection and ransomware protection.
While Sophos doesn’t have free antivirus software, it does offer free separate tools, like a Firewall and Cloud Security. The disadvantage of this is that installing four or five different apps can be burdensome. Of course, Sophos does offer a 30-day free trial for which you don’t need to enter any payment details. You can use this to try out its full set of tools and features.
Avast vs Sophos: Which Antivirus is Safer?
Good antivirus software should keep you safe from malware. If it can’t do that, it’s not worth your time (or money). Fortunately, both Sophos and Avast offer comprehensive protection against malicious programs. This includes viruses, spyware, and ransomware protection.
When gauging the security levels of antivirus programs, we usually refer to the test results provided by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. Here’s how Avast performed during their testing circuits in 2022:
- AV-Test results Avast (March-April 2022): 100% of threats blocked, 0 false positives, perfect rating, and the “Top Product” award
- AV-Comparatives results Avast (Jul-Oct 2021): 99.7% of threats blocked, 3 false positives, perfect rating, and the “Advanced+” title
Finding similar data for Sophos was almost impossible. With AV-Test and Comparatives, we have some results from 2011, 2015, and 2016, but those are hardly relevant anymore. Eventually, we were able to find test results for January-March 2022 by SE Labs.
Sophos did quite well on these tests. It received a total accuracy rating of 100% and did not throw up a single false positive. Consequently, it was awarded a AAA rating.
Avast was also tested by SE Labs in 2022 and received a perfect score. This shows us that both antivirus scanners are closely matched when it comes to detecting malware. However, Avast’s extra security features give it the edge when it comes to overall security.
Unlike Sophos, Avast comes with a “sandbox” feature that lets you run suspicious apps safely before allowing them access to your device. The Avast package also includes an advanced firewall that filters files, software, and other items you download from the internet for threats, providing more comprehensive malware protection.
Due to these extra security options, we crowned Avast the malware protection winner for this section. However, Sophos’s scores are very promising as well.
Sophos vs Avast: Which Virusscanner Offers Better Privacy?
As personal data has become more important to digital businesses, the role of antivirus scanners has expanded beyond just keeping you safe from malware. In fact, several leading antivirus providers pride themselves on the range of privacy protection features included in their products.
In this section, we look at the different privacy features that Sophos and Avast offer. We also check out their privacy policies and history when it comes to safeguarding user data.
The feature comparison table shows that Avast has several privacy features that are missing in Sophos. For instance, the Avast bundle contains webcam and identity protection, a VPN (Avast SecureLine VPN), and digital fingerprint removal. Sophos, on the other hand, has basic features like parental control.
The main drawback is the fact that personal data is collected and stored by both Sophos and Avast up to some degree. This can make your data vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Moreover, your information could also be handed over to law enforcement agencies.
Overall, there’s not much difference between the two privacy policies. Both antivirus programs do a lot of things right, but could also improve their privacy situation significantly by allowing users to remain more anonymous.
Known breaches and privacy scandals
There is a considerable difference in the historical records of Avast and Sophos regarding user data. Sophos suffered a cloud breach in 2020 that exposed users’ names, addresses, and other contact details. The breach was quickly discovered and patched up, and obviously not willingly caused by Sophos themselves.
While this incident dented Sophos’ reputation a bit, it pales compared to Avast, which was caught selling user data to third parties. Even though Avast claims to no longer sell user data, it is not easy for us to recommend the product as far as privacy is concerned.
Who’s most privacy-minded?
All in all, even though Avast has more features that might be interesting from a privacy point of view, the fact that they broke users’ trust by selling data weighs heavily against them. As a result, Sophos wins this round.
Sophos vs Avast: What is the Most User-Friendly Software?
When it comes to user-friendliness, we’re interested in three things:
- Installation process
- Layout and ease of use of the software
- Customer support
We want antivirus software that’s easy to install and offers apps that even beginners can use without difficulties. Let’s see how Sophos and Avast fare in that regard.
The Sophos website is easy to navigate and provides necessary information alongside its products. Downloading the software took us less than a few minutes.
Avast’s website is just as well-organized and informative. One downside is that the paid plans are not immediately visible and require a little searching. Besides that minor drawback, however, the website has a lot of information on Avast’s products and offerings.
Both Sophos and Avast are fairly easy to install. The process will take you just a couple of minutes. All you have to do is purchase your chosen option, download the setup file, and follow the instructions. Naturally, if you opt for Avast Free of Sophos’ free trial, you can skip the payment step and start the installation immediately. In short, the two antivirus providers go head-to-head so far.
Layout and ease of use
While their websites and installation processes are very similar, Sophos and Avast have very different approaches to app design.
With Avast, you can control and customize the software through its app with various menus and settings. Avast’s client is very sleek and streamlined, and the color tones are nice, too.
Scanning your system with Avast is pretty straightforward: you initiate a scan and receive a full threat report at the end. However, it can be difficult to locate advanced features, such as specific kinds of scans. For example, it’s not immediately clear that pressing the magnifying glass button next to “Run Smart Scan” leads to a new menu with different scan options.
Another problem with Avast is that the Avast SecureLine VPN and anti-track software must be downloaded and operated separately. It would’ve been far simpler if all tools could be accessed from a common interface.
Sophos takes a different approach. Their client only lets you initiate scans, with no options for configuration. For any other features, you’ll have to access a personal online dashboard. Being redirected to a web app to access additional features could be considered mildly inconvenient.
Even so, the online Sophos dashboard provides many different options. These are pretty intuitive and well laid out. There’s no heavy tech lingo, so you should have zero problems finding your way around.
In short, although Avast’s software is easier to access, Sophos’s user-friendly dashboard creates a better user experience, especially for novice users.
Both Sophos and Avast offer plenty of useful information on their respective sites. This includes FAQs, setup guides, and much more.
Apart from its on-site knowledge base, Sophos offers a live chat (available Monday to Friday, from 8 AM to 8 PM EST), an AI-powered chatbot called Sophia, Twitter support, and even a support forum for enterprise users. While the lack of a 24/7 live chat might be a small grievance, we received a fairly prompt reply from the Sophos team to our query sent over mail.
Avast has basic email support and usually gets back to you in a couple of days. Paid subscribers can also get in touch with Avast customer support via chat (24/7) or phone. We tried out the live chat and received satisfactory responses to our queries from the staff.
Despite the limited desktop app, Sophos emerges as the winner when it comes to ease of use. The web interface is so intuitive that even novice users can use it easily. On the other hand, the Avast interface can be slightly intimidating and confusing even for advanced users. While Avast offers 24/7 live chat, we found that Sophos was able to get back to us satisfyingly quickly over mail.
Avast vs Sophos: System Performance and Speed
Another key aspect of antivirus programs is their system load. Or, in other words, the effect an antivirus program has on your device’s overall speed. That’s why we tested how Sophos and Avast affect the CPU during various operations.
Here’s how Sophos performed during our testing phase:
- Running in the background: 0.4-0.9% of CPU
- Scanning: 0.5-4.1% of CPU
Sophos has one of the lowest CPU loads among all the antivirus software we’ve tested. You should notice no major slowdowns during regular day-to-day use or scans. You can simply continue your day-to-day work on Windows while scans happen quietly in the background.
Unfortunately, the same excellent performance does not carry over to a Mac. There, Sophos scans are quite intensive and take up a lot of CPU memory. The app also crashed several times during our scans.
On both Windows and Mac, Sophos takes between 23 and 25 minutes for a full scan. This is a very decent result, but still slightly longer than some competitors, including Avast.
A full scan on Avast takes less than 20 minutes, while a quick scan takes just about two minutes. These are great speeds, especially because quick scans are done without heavy CPU load. While the system load is higher than Sophos, it’s right in line with other scanners and shouldn’t affect your ability to use the device for other activities.
We got the following results for Avast during our tests:
- Running in the background: 0-0.5% of CPU
- Scanning: 15-20% of CPU
While both are closely matched in terms of performance, we have to give Avast the edge because of its consistent performance across devices. Moreover, its scans are a smidge quicker than Sophos.
Sophos vs Avast: Which Antivirus is the Cheapest?
Ideally, your antivirus program should protect you from digital dangers while sporting a reasonable price tag. Let’s have a look at the pricing options with Sophos and Avast to see how much value-for-money they offer.
Sophos offers only one premium package (usable on up to 10 devices) with varying subscription lengths:
- 1 year for $44.99
- 2 years for $74.99 ($37.50 per year)
- 3 years for $104.99 ($35.00 per year)
You can test Sophos Home Premium for 30 days without so much as providing your credit card info, giving you a workable and honest free trial. After purchase, you can even make use of their 30-day money-back guarantee, no questions asked. Sophos is reasonably priced for what it offers. However, we feel like adding some cheaper plans would flesh out their portfolio.
The pricing for a Sophos subscription is relatively stable, without many changes. Even so, Sophos could decide to change its pricing plan at any time. For the most up-to-date prices, you can check their website.
Avast offers the following packages*:
- Avast Free Antivirus: Completely free
- Premium Security: $50.28 (1 device); $69.48 (10 devices)
- Avast One: $50.28 (1 device); $69.48 (10 devices)
*All prices are for the first year, with automatic price increases after one year of use.
As you can see, Avast One has the exact same pricing as Premium Security, making it the better choice, as it comes with more features. It also has a free version available, which offers an essential online security package.
Aside from the completely free package, you can regularly get great discounts with Avast. However, note that these apply only to the first year of your subscription. After that, you’ll start paying the regular (higher) price. All purchases come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Avast often changes its subscription costs. For the most up-to-date overview of Avast’s available plans and prices, you can check out their website.
Who’s the cheapest?
Avast is currently slightly more expensive than Sophos, though it offers nice all-in-one solutions that could save you the trouble of getting different tools from different brands.
On top of that, you can still download the free version of Avast and have great malware protection without spending a dime. Sophos no longer offer a free version of its software. Since Avast gives you a better and more durable deal for its free software and Sophos offers cheaper premium packages, this Avast vs Sophos round ends in a tie.
Final Thoughts: Sophos vs Avast
We compared Sophos and Avast across five key antivirus aspects and came to the following conclusions:
- Security: Avast
- Privacy: Sophos
- User-friendliness: Sophos
- Speed and Performance: Avast
- Price and Value: Tie
Based solely on features, Avast seems a superior product to Sophos. It offers better security features paired with a free limited version. Its software is also easier to use and easier for beginners to master. Finally, it comes with a proprietary VPN service, which is a nice plus.
However, the sale of user data by Avast majorly drops its score for privacy, which is an important consideration for an antivirus scanner. As a result, we remain wary of recommending Avast to our users.
Although Avast has as many “wins” as Sophos, the wins that it obtained in security and speed were very close calls. That, combined with the serious missteps Avast has made in terms of privacy, made us decide to crown Sophos the winner of this Avast vs Sophos comparison. Sophos will keep your devices secure without compromising your privacy.
If Avast can prove that it has changed its ways when it comes to privacy, we’d feel more comfortable suggesting it over Sophos, especially for Mac users. But for the time being, Sophos is the better choice between the two.
Check out our other antivirus comparison reviews below:
- Sophos vs Bitdefender: Which is the Better Antivirus in 2022?
- McAfee vs Avast: Which Antivirus Takes the Crown in 2022?
Want to learn more about Sophos and Avast? Have some additional questions? Just click one of the frequently asked questions below to expand the answer.
Yes, Sophos is a superior antivirus program to Avast. It’s easier to use and provides a similar level of security. While Avast does offer great extra security and privacy features, its history of selling user data forces us to reduce its overall score. Learn more about both of these providers in our direct Sophos vs Avast comparison.
Yes! Sophos is a decent antivirus program, although it does come with a few flaws. It offers good security options as well as the possibility of remote management. It doesn’t impact your system much at all (save for providing malware protection) and beginners should have no problems finding their way around. Learn all about this antivirus in our full Sophos review.