When it comes to free antivirus for Windows computer, your friends will mostly recommend you either Avast Free Antivirus 2016, AVG AntiVirus FREE 2016, or Avira Free Antivirus 2016. But which one of them is the best? All are completely for free and offers plenty of advanced features. We’ll take a look in details on Avast and AVG.
Two biggest competitors, Avast and AVG, are soon to be a one company. In July 2016 Avast announced a planned acquisition of AVG for $1.3B. It’s not yet clear what it means for both products.
Feature Comparison Table – Does AVG Offer More Than Avast?
Both Avast and AVG are offering a solid protection against viruses, spyware, malware, and rootkits. 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 e-mail client like Outlook or Thunderbird. If you’re a gamer, you can relax – both antivirus solutions offers smart gaming mode and keep themselves silent.
Free Antivirus 2016
AntiVirus FREE 2016
|Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware & Anti-Malware & Anti-Rootkit|
|Web Browsing Protection|
|E-mail Client Protection|
|Home Network and Router Security|
|Unwanted Browser Plugins Cleanup|
|Outdated Software Scanner|
|Secured Remote Access To Other Computer|
|Spying and Data Theft Protection|
|Permanent Deletion of Sensitive Data|
|Remote Control via Web Portal|
|Free To Use Without Personal Registration|
|Windows Boot-time||28 sec.||33 sec.|
|Performance Test Score||2,116 pts.||2,115 pts.|
|Installer Size||5 MB||5 MB|
|Price||Free ($0.00)||Free ($0.00)|
With Avast you will get some cool features like Home Network Security, which scans your home network, Wi-Fi connection, and routers. 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. Similar feature called Data Shredder is available also in Avast, but only in the top-tier product Avast Premier, not in the free one.
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 register (name and e-mail) 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 performs 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 (in average) to load Windows desktop when Avast Free Antivirus was installed. Same operation took 33 seconds (in 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 on 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 ‘REGISTER‘) leads to comparison table of Avast Free Antivirus and Avast premium product (Avast Internet Security).
Avast Free Antivirus 2016 – User Interface
The status is also indicated by color, when green obviously means ‘You are protected’ (note AVG is using the exactly 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.
AVG AntiVirus FREE 2016 – User Interface
The main tiles shows you the status of the specific shield protection. If you are looking for 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. 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 a 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 official website, Avast is protecting more than 230 million users worldwide. AVG claims on their homepage to have more than 200 million users worldwide, in November 2015. Based on these reliable claims, 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 January 2015, Avast is dominating the worldwide market with 21.4%. Closely followed by Microsoft with their Security Essentials and 19.4%. AVG is at the third place with only 8.6%.
Avast vs. AVG – Market Share Report by OPSWAT
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 559 million, while Avast has ‘only’ 381 million. However the recent trend shows Avast is slightly more popular, as it leads the last week downloads number.
Avast vs. AVG – Number of Downloads & Rating on CNET Download.com
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 by the number of fans/followers on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Avast is leading on Facebook with almost 4.4 million fans vs. AVG’s 3.2 million. On Twitter the leader is AVG with 220k followers vs. Avast’s 161k.
Avast vs. AVG – Number of Fans/Followes on Facebook and Twitter
Independent Labs Test Results – Will AVG Protect You Better Than Avast?
If you are looking for 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 2015)
- AV-Comparatives File Detection Test Results (September 2015)
- AV-Comparatives Performance Test Results (October 2015)
- AV-TEST Compare Manufacturer Results
- Dennis Technology Labs Home Anti-Virus Protection Test Results (December 2015)
- Virus Bulletin VB100 Avast vs. AVG Comparison Test Results
Respected computer magazine PCMag gives AVG AntiVirus FREE better rating than Avast Free Antivirus in their comprehensive comparison of free antivirus solutions. Actually AVG is their choice #1 with 4.5/5 rating and Editor’s Choice award.
System Requirements & Compatibility – Will the Product Run on my Computer?
Both products will run on majority of today’s computers as there are no special requirements. You just need to run a newer Windows than 2000, so at least Windows XP with Service Pack 2. Both Avast and AVG are also fully compatible with the latest Windows 10.
System Requirements for Avast Free Antivirus 2016
- Supported operating systems: Microsoft Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 SP1 or higher / 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 or above
- Space: 1.5 GB of free hard disk space
- Please note that Avast Free Antivirus 2016 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 2016
- 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 1.5 GHz or faster
- Memory: 512 MB RAM for Windows XP or 1024 MB RAM for Windows Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 / Vista
- Space: 1.5 GB of free hard disk space
- Please note that AVG AntiVirus FREE 2016 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.
Information about the product features have 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.