When it comes to free antivirus for Windows computer, your friends will mostly recommend you either Avast Free Antivirus 2018, AVG AntiVirus FREE 2018, or Avira Free Antivirus 2018. But which one of them is the best? All are completely for free and offers plenty of advanced features. We’ll take a look at details on Avast and AVG.
Two biggest competitors, Avast and AVG, are today a single company. In October 2016 Avast acquired AVG company for $1.3B. From the end-user point of view, there is no change, both brands continue to coexist together. However, they use the same engine and technology in the background – the one from Avast. Feature-wise there are small differences, let’s take a closer look.
Feature Comparison Table – Does AVG Offer More Than Avast?
Both Avast and AVG are offering a solid protection against viruses, spyware, malware, rootkits and even ransomware which is a big topic now. Plus you will be secured while browsing online, chatting on Facebook, or watching videos on YouTube. Also, they will protect and scan your incoming and outgoing e-mails if you are using an e-mail client like Outlook or Thunderbird. If you’re a gamer, you can relax – both antivirus solutions offer smart gaming mode and keep themselves silent.
Free Antivirus 2018
AntiVirus FREE 2018
|Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware & Anti-Malware|
|Web Browsing Protection|
|E-mail Client Protection|
|Home Network and Router Security|
|Unwanted Browser Plugins Cleanup|
|Outdated Software Scanner|
|Spying and Data Theft Protection|
|Permanent Deletion of Sensitive Data|
|Free To Use Without Personal Registration|
|Windows Boot-time||28 sec.||33 sec.|
|Performance Test Score||2,116 pts.||2,115 pts.|
|Size of Installer||5 MB||5 MB|
|Price||Free ($0.00)||Free ($0.00)|
From official AVG website
With Avast you will get some cool features like Wi-Fi Inspector (formerly called Home Network Security), which scans your home network, Wi-Fi connection, and routers. An easy-to-use tool called Browser Cleanup for removing unwanted toolbars from your browser. Software Updater for monitoring the up-to-date status of the other software like browser, Java, Adobe Reader, etc. And you can ask your IT friend to fix your computer via the secured remote connection.
However, there are some differences. AVG offers spying and data theft protection controlling what kind of data you are sharing with the other applications, and File Shredder which can permanently delete your sensitive information, so they can’t be restored. A similar feature called Data Shredder is available also in Avast, but only in the top-tier product Avast Premier, not in the free one.
A big plus for AVG is that you don’t need to register or give out any personal information. You can just download, install, and keep using it. With Avast you have to activate the product within the first 30 days, and then once a year.
Impact on the System Resources – Which Product is Lighter?
We have measured the impact on the system resources using two ways:
- How long does the computer to boot into Windows desktop while the AVG or Avast is installed
- How does the computer perform in various areas (CPU, Graphics, Memory and Disk operations) while the AVG or Avast is installed
In the boot time test where less is better, it took only 28 seconds (on average) to load Windows desktop when Avast Free Antivirus was installed. The same operation took 33 seconds (on average) when AVG AntiVirus FREE was installed. Default boot-time without any antivirus solution in place took 20 seconds. So according to our testing, Windows loads faster with Avast.
In the second area, we have tested computer performance in various areas and impact of the AVG or Avast on the results. Test results (higher is better) were practically the same for both products, 2,116 points for Avast and 2,115 points for AVG. The default performance without any antivirus installed was 2,150 points. So the overall impact on the system performance is really low for both products.
Final performance test results are highlighted in the chart below. You can clearly see the difference between no antivirus and Avast or AVG present. Please note the vertical axis ‘Performance Score‘ is not starting from 0, but from 2,110 to clearly show the small differences.
Avast vs. AVG – Performance Test Results
You can find more details about how we tested in the ‘Additional Notes‘ section at the end of the article.
User Interface – Is Avast Easier to use Than AVG?
Avast user interface is really nice and clear. There is only one main action leading to Smart Scan, which runs all seven Avast scans: compatibility, viruses, outdated software, browser add-ons, router issues, performance and weak passwords. The green button ‘UPGRADE‘ (or ‘ACTIVATE‘) leads to comparison table of Avast Free Antivirus and Avast premium product (Avast Internet Security).
The status is also indicated by color when green obviously means ‘You are protected’ (note AVG is using the exact same term). Also, you are assured that ‘Everything is up-to-date‘. The top menu is easy to navigate and structured in fours groups – Scan, Tools, Passwords, and Store. What is pretty annoying is the top menu disappears every time you go from the home screen and you need to click on ‘Menu‘ to get it back.
Same as AVG, also Avast is using the bottom space for the up-sell offers.
AVG user interface is quite busy compared to Avast. When everything is fine, you will see green tick marks with the message ‘You are protected‘. The interface will go red if there will be some issue. What is nice is when some of the shields are disabled, you will see immediately which ones as they will also turn in red.
The main tiles show you the status of the specific shield protection. If you are looking for a scan, it’s the less visible button ‘Scan now‘. The ‘Fix performance’ button sounds pretty interesting, but you need to download other product (AVG PC TuneUp) to actually fix the performance. The last button is for checking if the program is up-to-date, of course, the virus definitions are updated automatically. ‘Join us on Facebook‘ link at the top bar is very visible and somehow distracting.
Bottom of the interface is used as an offer space to buy or try for free the paid-for version.
Localizations/Translations – Is The Product Available in my Language?
Both Avast and AVG are available in plenty of languages, of course for free. But Avast offers many more.
Avast languages (46): Arabic, Belorussian, Bengali, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (United States/United Kingdom), Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Norwegian, Persian, Pirate talk, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil/Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu and Vietnamese
AVG languages (22): Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Spanish, Turkish.
Popularity – Which is the Most Popular Free Antivirus? Avast or AVG?
The better product is, the most users it has. It’s simple as that. However, it’s not easy to say which is most popular antivirus, if Avast or AVG. For expressing popularity we are using several, publicly accessible methods.
1. Official Sources
According to the official website, Avast is protecting more than 400 million users worldwide, but that probably includes also AVG users. The last publicly available number was 230 million users. AVG doesn’t state anymore how many users are using their products, however using simple math it’s around 170 million (400 – 230 = 170). Therefore we believe it’s safe to claim Avast has more users than AVG.
2. Antivirus Vendor Market Share by OPSWAT
OPSWAT is regularly releasing reports about the antivirus market share. Data are based on the OPSWAT GEARS software installed on the client machines. According to the latest report from November 2017, Avast is dominating the worldwide market with 18.48%. Followed by ESET with 13.97%. AVG is still reported as a separate company and didn’t make it into top 10 for June 2017, however, AVG’s share was around 4% in the last few months. It is also important to mention Microsoft for some reason is not included at all.
3. CNET Download.com Ranking
Download.com by CNET is the World’s most popular download portal. According to its popularity rankings, AVG has more total downloads – almost 564 million, while Avast has ‘only’ 406 million. However, the recent trend shows Avast is slightly more popular, as it leads the last week downloads number.
Avast has higher editor’s rating – 4 stars (meaning excellent), while AVG has 3.5 stars (meaning very good). The user/community rating is also better for Avast – 4.5 stars, while AVG has 4 stars.
4. Number of Fans on Social Media Networks
Another way how to measure product/company popularity is the number of fans/followers on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Avast is leading on Facebook with 4.1 million fans vs. AVG’s 3.1 million. On Twitter, the leader is AVG with 216k followers vs. Avast’s 181k.
Independent Labs Test Results – Will AVG Protect You Better Than Avast?
If you are looking for a more advanced comparison of antivirus protection, the best resources are the independent test labs. These labs are regularly performing various tests like how many viruses will get through the antivirus software, or which vendor offers better performance.
Selection of the most important and relevant test results is below:
- AV-Comparatives Real Word Protection Test Results (November 2017)
- AV-Comparatives Performance Test Results (October 2017)
- AV-TEST Avast Results (October 2017)
- AV-TEST AVG Results (October 2017)
- Virus Bulletin VB100 Avast vs. AVG Comparison Test Results
As we mentioned the antivirus engine is the same for both products and that’s also visible in tests. In the latest AV-Comparatives Real-World Protection Test from May 2017, both Avast and AVG got 100% detection rate with 0 false-positives. Both products also scored the same score on the latest Performance Test.
Respected computer magazine PCMag gives both products the same rating of 4,5 stars in their comprehensive comparison of free antivirus solutions written by security expert Neil J. Rubenking. Actually, both Avast and AVG are their #1 recommendation for the free antivirus software.
Our current Editors’ Choice products for free antivirus utility are Avast Free Antivirus and AVG AntiVirus Free. Both get very good scores from the independent labs, and in our own tests as well. Both include some useful bonus features.
Neil J. Rubenking for PCMag
System Requirements & Compatibility – Will the Product Run on my Computer?
Both products will run on a majority of today’s computers as there are no special requirements. In fact, the system requirements are identical since the antivirus engine is the same. You just need to run a newer Windows than 2000, so at least Windows XP with Service Pack 3. Both Avast and AVG are also fully compatible with the latest Windows 10.
System Requirements for Avast Free Antivirus 2018
- Supported operating systems: Microsoft Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 SP1 or higher / Vista / XP SP3 or higher (any Edition, 32-bit or 64-bit)
- Processor: Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 64 or above
- Memory: 256 MB RAM or above
- Space: 2 GB of free hard disk space
- Please note that Avast Free Antivirus 2018 won’t work on Microsoft Windows 95 / 98 / ME / 2000 / Server, or any other operating system which isn’t specified above
System Requirements for AVG AntiVirus FREE 2018
- Supported operating systems: Microsoft Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 / Vista / XP SP2 or higher (any Edition, 32-bit or 64-bit)
- Processor: Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 64 or above
- Memory: 256 MB RAM for Windows XP or 1024 MB RAM for Windows Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 / Vista
- Space: 2 GB of free hard disk space
- Please note that AVG AntiVirus FREE 2018 won’t work on Microsoft Windows 95 / 98 / ME / 2000 / Server, or any other operating system which isn’t specified above
Test Conclusion – Both Avast and AVG are Worth of Trying!
Both products have their pros and cons. We don’t want to recommend only one of them, instead, we would like to encourage you to try both, and see if Avast or AVG will suit you better. Even they are offered completely for free, the level of protection you will get is comparable with the paid-for antivirus solutions. The download links are below.
If you are looking for a premium protection, check out our Internet Security suites comparison including Avast, AVG, Avira, ESET, and Norton (Symantec).
Information about the product features has been obtained from the official websites of each vendor. If you believe we have stated something not correct, please let us know, and we’ll fix it immediately. Our intention is to offer the fair and fact-based comparison of each product.
For measuring the boot time we have used a free tool called BootRacer. We have tested AVG AntiVirus FREE 2016 (2016.0.7163) and Avast Free Antivirus 2016 (2016.10.2.2215) released on March 23, 2015. Both tests were performed on a Windows 7 Professional x64 computer with CPU Intel Core i7 @ 2.70GHz and 8 GB RAM.
For measuring the overall PC performance we have used a free tool called PassMark PerformanceTest which tests various areas including CPU, graphics, disk, and memory.