Avast Antivirus Review

Avast offers features like a robust firewall, identity protection, and a secure browser for online activity.
Best for firewall security
Avast logo
3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2
  • pro
    VPN protection
  • pro
    Sandbox testing for suspicious files
  • con
    No parental controls
Plan
Price
Devices covered
Website protection
Avast One Essential$0.00/mo.1
Icon No  LightNo
Avast One$8.33/mo.5
Icon Yes  LightYes
Avast Premium Security$8.33/mo.10
Icon Yes  LightYes
Alina Bradford
Senior Writer, Safety & Security Expert
January 05, 2023
SafeWise is an independent review site. We may earn money when you click links on our site. Learn more.

Avast is the same company behind products like AVG Internet Security and AVG Secure VPN. Like AVG, Avast antivirus suites are designed to protect your PC from malware, ransomware, adware, and other threats to your hard drive. It offers a lot of great features, like identity protection and VPN, but it misses other features you may be looking for, like parental controls and password management.

Bell
2019 data breach

In December 2019, Avast collected unnecessary user data such as browsing history and activity through Avast subsidiary Jumpshot. Its privacy policy defends storing user data since it’s anonymized, but the company offered no clear policy on length of data retention.

Avast has since severed ties with Jumpshot, though we have to recommend this software cautiously because of its history.

pro
Pros
pro Free trial and money-back guarantee
pro Coverage for additional devices
pro Multiple protection features
pro Fast download and installation
con
Cons
con Data breach
con No password manager
con No parental controls
con Upgrade required for best features
con Known security breach

Avast vs other antivirus software

Product
Best for
Price Icon Tooltip  Dark
Number of devices
OS compatibility
Learn more
Read review
5Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Best overall5Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Expert recommended5Windows
macOS
Android
Best for families10Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Best for computer speed1Windows
macOS
Android
Best quick scan5Windows
macOS
iOS
Android
Chromebook

*Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.

Avast offers protection, but with strange plans

Avast security's additional features extend your security to your online experience beyond basic protection from viruses. Website protection makes sure you're not landing on any potentially dangerous websites. Avast also offers VPN protection to keep your private information safe and it monitors your accounts to alert you if your identity has been stolen. 

Of course, the extras will cost you. The free version, Avast One Essential, just covers advanced firewall protection and viruses, ransomware, and malware blocking. Avast free antivirus also comes with a free browser for safer internet use.

The other two plans are the same price, but the Avast One plan offers features and the Premium plan offers more devices covered. So, if you need the advanced features and more devices covered, you're out of luck, which is weird. 

Avast One

  • 5 devices protected
  • Advanced firewall protection
  • Viruses, ransomware, and malware blocking
  • Webcam protection
  • Website protection through the Avast secure browser
  • Document protection
  • VPN
  • Information breach monitoring
  • Automatic computer driver updates
  • Cookie tracking blockers
  • Clean up and tuning tools for devices

Avast Premium Security

  • 10 devices protected
  • Advanced firewall protection
  • Viruses, ransomware, and malware blocking
  • Webcam protection
  • Website protection
  • Document protection

At this price point, we'd hope to see a data shredder and parental controls included with the package to match competitors like Bitdefender’s Total Security.

""

Avast One Essential dashboard

Image: SafeWise

Avast helps and potentially hurts customers

When it comes to customer service, Avast seems to help and hurt its customers.

Once you settle on a plan, Avast has some nice customer-friendly policies, like a free thirty-day trial of the software so you can try it before you buy. If you do purchase the software and you're not happy with it, Avast offers a thirty-day money-back guarantee.

Automatic renewal isn't always good, but antivirus software is like health insurance: you don't want to be caught without it. Avast's yearly auto-renewal ensures there's no lapse in protection for your PC, but you can also opt-out at any time.

On the other hand, Avast has been caught selling its user's information to advertisers. This is ironic since it offers protection against advertising tracking in its Avast One plan. Avast has taken steps to allow users to opt-out of data collection, but we're hesitant about a company that says it's protecting your data while it once sold it.

Avast's firewall is more advanced

While many other antivirus software firewalls work by either allowing nothing in or nothing out, the Avast firewall uses a more sophisticated system of rules that allow it to decide what passes through. This is a smarter approach that still provides top-notch protection.

Avast's Sandbox feature allows you to test out new software in a separate, protected space on your computer before it interacts with the rest of your hard drive, so you can make sure it's safe.

Avast provides excellent protection and performance

Avast has one of the lightest touches on the market when it comes to quietly doing its job without interfering with your computer experience, but its scans may run longer than expected.

If Avast catches any suspicious threats that it doesn't recognize, it sends them to its virus lab in the cloud for analysis. If the lab identifies one of these threats as malware, it notifies all Avast users. Not only does this keep your antivirus software current, it also adds more layers of protection.

Avast One Essential blocked 100% of malware and 100% of malware encountered online—according to tests from October 2022, run by the independent testing organization AV Test. It is one of the top performing antivirus software suites tested by the organization.

When we tried out the antivirus protection software, the smart scan was speedy and didn't seem to bog down our computer. While that's great, the software alerted us to some "Advanced Issues."  The issues were, basically, that we were using the free version and didn't have VPN or website browser protection. Then the software prompted us to upgrade to the paid plans to fix the issues. That, along with the pop-ups to buy other Avast software, seemed a little swarmy to us.

Image: SafeWise

Final word

Avast software is a proven choice for those who want to go beyond basic antivirus programs and add the protection of a robust firewall and online security features. Its simple download, user-friendly interface, and light impact make it low-key enough for anyone to use, but its Sandbox features open up additional possibilities for the more adventurous.

Unfortunately, we are hesitant to recommend Avast antivirus and malware protection due to its poor customer data protection history. For other options, take a look at our top picks for the best antivirus software.

FAQs

A VPN (virtual private network) encrypts your connection, allowing you to be completely anonymous whenever you connect to any device. This keeps you safe from advertisers and others who try to track your online activities, and it also gives you added protection when using public Wi-Fi.

No, but you can purchase it as an add-on to the Internet Security package by buying Avast SecureLine VPN.

SafePrice is a deal alert browser extension offered for free from Avast. When Avast notices you shopping online, it will automatically start to search for a better deal for you. 

Avast no longer offers a password manager.

How we reviewed Avast

To write our Avast antivirus review, we studied Avast's independent test scores, read numerous online reviews from a variety of sources, and tried Avast avast online security software for ourselves. To learn more about how we review products, check out our methodology.

Dislaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of post date and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Alina Bradford
Written by
Alina Bradford
Alina is a safety and security expert that has contributed her insights to CNET, CBS, Digital Trends, MTV, Top Ten Reviews, and many others. Her goal is to make safety and security gadgets less mystifying one article at a time. In the early 2000s, Alina worked as a volunteer firefighter, earning her first responder certification and paving the way to her current career. Her activities aren’t nearly as dangerous today. Her hobbies include fixing up her 100-year-old house, doing artsy stuff, and going to the lake with her family.

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