• Level of protection: Real-world protection: 99.7% And Malware protection: 100%
  • Price range: Free to $119.99 per year
  • Free trial: Yes, a 30-day free trial for most products
  • Free version: Yes
  • Platform compatibility: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
  • Number of devices: 1 to 10 devices
  • Ease of use: 10/10

2021 Avast Review [Features, Ratings, Price]

Fact-checked
  • Level of protection: Real-world protection: 99.7% And Malware protection: 100%
  • Price range: Free to $119.99 per year
  • Free trial: Yes, a 30-day free trial for most products
  • Free version: Yes
  • Platform compatibility: Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
  • Number of devices: 1 to 10 devices
  • Ease of use: 10/10

Best For

Those who want basic but robust free antivirus software.

STRENGTHS

  • A range of free and premium packages to choose from
  • Modern and easy-to-use apps
  • Huge range of security and privacy-orientated features and tools
  • Superb scores for online threat prevention
  • Effective ransomware protection

WEAKNESSES

  • Somewhat slow scan that may impact performance
  • Mixed scores for offline threat blocking

Avast is most popular for its free antivirus software that often comes bundled with operating systems and other products. However, it also offers a complete suite of tools that covers everything from security and performance to privacy. It’s also received numerous awards and recognitions, recently winning the 2020 Top Rated product award from AV-Comparatives.

In this Avast review, we’ll take an in-depth look at all the features and benefits that this renowned antivirus software offers.

About Avast

With over 400 million monthly users, Avast is one of the largest players in the consumer security scene.

However, Avast was recently the subject of a major controversy as it was revealed that they had been selling user data to a subsidiary called Jumpshot. Jumpshot, in turn, has been selling this data to big-name clients like Google, Microsoft, McKinsey, and others. This information included browsing data that was collected when users download Avast software which was then repackaged and resold by Jumpshot.

That said, Avast has always operated within legal boundaries and complied 100% with GDPR regulations. Avast has defended itself by saying that data collection always has and will remain opt-in only so that users have control over whether this data will be collected in the first place.

Security experts have supported this view, saying that it shouldn’t affect the security or legitimacy of using Avast products. Still, in January 2020, Avast stated that it will wind down Jumpshot and stop its data collection practices. This is welcome news in light of it launching its VPN service. In this Avast security review, we’ll also cover some of the Avast products’ new privacy features in more detail.

Avast Antivirus Platform Compatibility

The first good news for our Avast review for 2021 is that this antivirus is available on what are probably the four most popular platforms in the world: Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. That’s useful because you can use Avast on up to 10 devices with an upgraded license. This means that you can secure all your personal devices or even those of your whole household.

That said, it doesn’t perform equally well on all these systems. There’s not much of a difference between the macOS, Windows, and Android versions of the Avast software, however, the iOS version lags behind when it comes to the variety of features. Aside from removing the photo limit and setting multiple identity protection addresses, there isn’t much beyond the typical scanning tools. The VPN is also very trimmed down, not even allowing you to pick a specific server you want to connect to.

Avast Products and Services

Most Avast.com reviews focus on the free software that is typically combined with other software and operating systems for home users. However, Avast actually offers tailored security solutions for different types of customers, such as:

  • Home: This is Avast’s suite of consumer security products for personal use. The suite is divided into three versions, namely Free, Premium, and Ultimate. Each comes with more features and capabilities than the previous one, including an antivirus, VPN, PC cleaner, etc.
  • Businesses: This is Avast’s suite of cybersecurity solutions aimed at modern workspaces. Avast offers cloud-based cybersecurity that can be employed across all the business’s devices. Packages are priced according to the number of devices customers want to secure.
  • Partners: Avast partners with ISPs, MNOs, and OEMs to help them offer secured services to their customers. This spans everything from IoT security and AI technologies to network malware detection and blocking.

In this Avast security review, we’ll focus mostly on the Home line of products as this is the most popular Avast product that most consumers are interested in. However, we’ll also look at its Business and Partner offering where applicable. Here you can find a quick breakdown:

Avast for Home Avast for Businesses, MSSPs, and Resellers Avast for Partners
Products

Services

  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Performance
  • Essential protection against viruses, malware, and ransomware
  • Next-gen AV
  • Patch management
  • Endpoint protection
  • Cloud network security
  • Business hub security platform
  • CloudCare security platform
  • Security
  • Privacy
  • Digital parenting solutions
Best for Personal use Small, mid-size businesses and IT service providers Mobile and broadband network operators

Avast for Home 

Avast for Home is by far this security company’s most popular product, used by hundreds of millions of people to secure their personal devices and the focus of this Avast antivirus review. It’s also more than just antivirus software. It features a number of other tools, such as a VPN and PC cleanup tool, to help protect your PC and ensure the privacy of your devices.

Avast Security

Avast Security is divided into three separate plans with features that tier up from Avast Free Antivirus to Ultimate. Avast Free Antivirus is the most popular plan because it is free and is often bundled with other software products.

Avast Antivirus Features

As you can see on the Avast official website, they offer a variety of tools to help keep your PC secure and private as well as operating smoothly. More expensive plans come with a wider variety of tools and more advanced features. While we’ll dig more into the details of the individual plans’ pricing and offers later on, here are the most important features you need to be aware of when considering Avast:

  • Intelligent Antivirus: Even the free Avast antivirus is a robust security tool that can detect and block viruses, spyware, ransomware, and phishing attempts.
  • CyberCapture: Leveraging cloud computing and analytics, Avast sends new potential threats to its cloud servers and then releases security patches to users if needed.
  • Wi-Fi Inspector: Avast can automatically detect security weaknesses in your home Wi-Fi configuration as well as find suspicious connections piggybacking on your network.
  • Smart Scan: Avast’s scanner will not only look for potential malware, but also for out-of-date apps, settings, or passwords that may lead to security vulnerabilities. Take note that advanced issues can only be resolved via the paid version although the free version will still pick them up and alert you.
  • Layered Protection: Avast utilizes multiple layers of protection to shield you from a broad variety of threats.
  • Fake site protection: Guides you away from suspicious or malicious sites through the Chrome browser extension or using the “Real Site” feature for paid plans. The latter protects you from connecting via suspicious or insecure routers or being redirected to sites that can be potential threats.
  • Download protection: Download protection scans the downloaded files from websites or your email in real-time to block or remove malware or malicious attachments.
  • File shield: Avast scans any file as soon as you open it to block and quarantine it if it appears malicious. This is a major contributor to the effectiveness of the Avast antivirus.
  • Behavior shield: Avast continually scans running applications. If it detects any threats or suspicious behavior, it immediately stops the app and quarantines it.
  • Ransomware shield: Available for the free plan and Premium users, the ransomware shield prevents unauthorized apps from encrypting or deleting your files in real-time.
  • Remote access shield: This feature prevents hackers from remotely taking control of your devices. It can block brute force attacks, patch OS vulnerabilities, and block malicious RDP ports. This feature is only available to Premium users.
  • Do Not Disturb Mode: When enabled, Avast detects when you are watching videos/playing games and blocks invasive or obstructing pop-ups, ads, etc.

Avast Privacy

Data privacy is important. If your personal info gets leaked, it can leave you open to identity theft, fraud, or hacking. It’s no surprise that Avast also provides tools to help maintain your privacy as an added protection which we also looked at as part of our Avast review for 2021:

Avast Privacy Products

  • SecureLine VPN: A VPN encrypts your connections to prevent your browser activity from being leaked or your location from being tracked. SecureLine is a paid VPN tool, similar to NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or SurfShark. You can use it to protect your privacy, unblock geo-blocked content, and secure your public Wi-Fi connections.
  • AntiTrack: This tool allows you to see what information of yours is already tracked online, which websites are collecting your data, and provides the tools to help you avoid information about you being harvested by websites.
  • Avast Secure Browser: This is Avast’s own browser that’s supposed to be a more secure and faster option than others such as Chrome, Firefox, etc. You can download the Avast browser on PC, Mac, Android, and iOS. The browser features built-in ad and malicious website blockers and uses encrypted connections to protect your privacy and safety.
  • BreachGuard: BreachGuard scans the web for data collection companies that have harvested your data. It can then send data removal requests to these companies on your behalf as well as give you advice on how to prevent your data from being leaked again.

With all of these tools, Avast can compete with some of the most popular identity theft protection companies.

Avast Performance

Avast also offers a complete suite of tools to help you maintain your PC or other devices for better performance and overall health. While these products are paid products, they do come with free trials. These tools are popular for their ease of use as well as relative affordability. These tools are included in the Ultimate Avast antivirus price:

Avast Performance Products

  • Cleanup Premium: This tool cleans your PC by removing unused files, bloatware, browser cache, plugins, and toolbars, stopping background apps, and by defragmenting your hard drive. It can also keep your PC updated. Using this tool, you can free up space, make your PC run faster, and minimize security risks.
  • Driver Updater: This tool scans your computer for outdated or corrupted drivers and then updates them with the latest legitimate drivers. This can help fix a range of device issues as well as improve performance and security.
  • Battery Saver: Battery Saver scans your device and finds ways to optimize battery usage for longer uptime. This can include stopping unwanted background apps as well as auto-adjusting your display brightness and CPU frequency.

Avast for Home Plans and Pricing

Here, you’ll find a concise Avast free vs paid plans review. There’s a range of pricing packages so that you can choose the option that matches your budget and needs. Most of their products are priced separately with free 30-day trials or money-back guarantees. Prices are also adjusted depending on your country and currency, so they might differ slightly from the dollar amount listed here:

Plan Features Price + Subscription Free trial and money-back guarantee Number of devices Best for
Avast Free Antivirus
  • Intelligent Antivirus
  • CyberCapture
  • Wi-Fi Inspector
  • Smart Scan
  • Multi-layered security
$0 for life N/A Unlimited Personal PC protection for those who aren’t in the high-risk category
Avast Premium Security
  • Detect and avoid malicious websites
  • Defend against remote hacking attacks
  • $69.99/year ($34.99 for the first year) for 1 device
  • $89.99/year ($44.99 for the first year) for up to 10 devices
30-day money-back guarantee 1-10 devices Heavy internet users that regularly shop online, use online banking, etc.
Avast Ultimate
  • Avast Premium Security
  • Avast SecureLine VPN
  • Avast Cleanup Premium
  • Avast AntiTrack
  • $99.99/year ($49.99/month for the first year for 1 device
  • $119.99/year ($59.99 for the first year) for up to 10 devices
30-day money-back guarantee 1-10 devices Heavy internet and PC users who need complete security

Ease of Use

We found the software is incredibly easy to use, with a modern and minimal interface. The entire suite of products has a familiar feel so that you’ll be comfortable using any of their tools.

Avast is available on different types of devices, although how you install and use it may differ from app to app. For the PC version, all you need to do is go to the Avast website and download the installer. When you run it, you will be taken through a very straightforward setup wizard that doesn’t require any special configuration.

The Android and iOS versions can be installed from their respective app stores. Avast software reviews often highlight its ease of use as one of its top benefits.

When you purchase a premium Avast license, you’ll be given an activation code. You can then get your Avast software simply by going to Menu -> Enter activation code and copy/pasting the code. The easiest way to handle updates is to leave the automatic updates enabled, although you can update manually at any time by going to Menu -> Updates.

Avast Safety

Like many other security software providers, the effectiveness of Avast is tested by independent labs to establish their legitimacy and performance, particularly their antivirus tools. According to an AV-Comparatives real-world protection report from July/August 2020, Avast blocked 99.7% of the widespread malicious file samples. According to other tests by Panda, F-Secure, G-Data, and TrendMacro, Avast blocked 100% of the threats.

In another malware protection test carried out in September 2020, Avast was effective against 100% of online threats. However, its effectiveness against offline threats was only 92% and it produced 10 false alarms.

While this is not the most secure result, it’s pretty good for free antivirus software, and Avast stands out for its online protection.

Customer Support

Avast offers different levels of support depending on what products you use. There’s a knowledge base with tutorials, info guides, FAQs, and an official forum. Avast customer service reviews are generally positive, especially regarding availability.

No matter what product you own, paid customers can get one-on-one support via either online chat or email. Lastly, there are also three premium support tiers that will get you 24/7 phone support. However, these are expensive, starting at $79 per call or $199 per year.

Ratings and Reviews

Avast software reviews are somewhat mixed. On Trustpilot, Avast scores a decent 3.6/5 from around 4,690 reviews while it averaged 2.5/5 on Consumer Affairs based on 532 reviews. On BBB, it has a low score of 1.36, but from a very small number of only 35 reviews, although it is BBB accredited with an A+ rating.

Most complaints are due to billing issues, and some are about Avast installing its other tools with specific software without the users’ knowledge and consent. Most positive reviews are about how easy to use the software and tools are. Users are generally satisfied regarding usability and performance.

Avast Alternatives

Here are some of the top competitors we identified when writing our Avast Premium security review:

Avast vs Kaspersky

Kaspersky might not offer a free security software like Avast, but its priced packages start at a cheaper price if you only need to secure up to 3 devices at a time. While both have diverse catalogs of products, they differ slightly in the exact tools they offer. Kaspersky has password managers, parental controls, and a standalone VPN. While Kaspersky’s apps aren’t as user-friendly as Avast’s, it does score slightly higher for performance and security.

Avast vs Norton

Norton also doesn’t offer a free antivirus like Avast, however, pricing starts slightly below Avast’s antivirus price. Norton slightly outperforms Avast in terms of security, although Avast is still the more user-friendly option. The two have received similarly mixed reviews from customers. Norton has a wider range of security-related tools while Avast has more in the way of performance optimizers.

Avast vs McAfee

McAfee can be one of the most affordable antivirus options if you only need to secure a single device. Avast, however, is still the only option for a free version and is more cost-effective for larger numbers of devices. In terms of performance and security, the two are even with Avast being slightly more secure but McAfee detecting fewer false positives. McAffee places a larger emphasis on security tools, especially banking and fraud-related, while Avast offers more utility.

Conclusion

While writing our Avast review, we found it to be one of the best software suites around. It will not only secure your devices from malware and hackers but also help you protect your privacy and even optimize your devices.

The best part is that you can take advantage of most of Avast’s antivirus features with the completely free version of the software. Avast also stands out for its user-friendliness with its modern and intuitive apps.

FAQ

Does Avast Free Antivirus work?

Yes! Avast’s free antivirus comes with many of the same protections as its premium software, including CyberCapture, malware scanning, and a Wi-Fi inspector. Its effectiveness has been confirmed by independent auditors with particularly good performance in blocking online threats.

Is Avast Antivirus safe?

Yes. The effectiveness of Avast’s antivirus software is regularly independently audited for legitimacy and efficacy. Despite recent controversy regarding its data collection practices, Avast has never been implicated in major security threats or illegal activity and has now stopped the practice of gathering its users’ data altogether.

Is Avast the best free antivirus?

Avast is a rare example of completely free antivirus software from a trusted and popular name in the security industry. With user-friendly and robust apps as well as independently verified effectiveness, it’s definitely one of the best free antivirus software options.

Is Avast Premium worth it?

In this Avast review, we compared the free and premium Avast versions. Whether the premium version is worth it depends on your needs and budget. However, it does come with handy extra features, especially if you frequently work and do transactions online.

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