When it comes to free antivirus for Windows computer, your friends will mostly recommend you either Avast Free Antivirus 2018AVG 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
AVG AntiVirus FREE 2018AVG
AntiVirus FREE 2018
Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware & Anti-Malwareyesyes
Web Browsing Protectionyesyes
E-mail Client Protectionyesyes
Silent/Gaming Modeyesyes
Home Network and Router Securityyesno
Unwanted Browser Plugins Cleanupyesno
Outdated Software Scanneryesno
Spying and Data Theft Protectionnoyes
Permanent Deletion of Sensitive Datanoyes
Free To Use Without Personal Registrationnoyes
Windows Boot-time28 sec.33 sec.
Performance Test Score2,116 pts.2,115 pts.
Size of Installer5 MB5 MB
PriceFree ($0.00)Free ($0.00)

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:

  1. How long does the computer to boot into Windows desktop while the AVG or Avast is installed
  2. 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 ResultsAvast 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).

Avast Free Antivirus 2018 – User Interface

Avast Free Antivirus 2018 – User Interface

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.

AVG AntiVirus FREE 2018 – User Interface

AVG AntiVirus FREE 2018 – User Interface

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.

Avast vs. AVG – Market Share Report November 2017 by OPSWAT

Avast vs. AVG – Market Share Report November 2017 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 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 vs. AVG – Number of Downloads & Rating on CNET Download.com June 2017

Avast vs. AVG – Number of Downloads & Rating on CNET Download.com June 2017

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.

Avast vs. AVG – Number of Fans/Followes on Facebook and Twitter

Avast vs. AVG – Number of Fans/Followers on Facebook and Twitter

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:

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.

From official AVG website

If you are looking for a premium protection, check out our Internet Security suites comparison including Avast, AVG, Avira, ESET, and Norton (Symantec).

Additional Notes

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.

Written by Paul B.

My name is Paul and I love Avast since the Home Edition v4.8 (2008). I am recommending it to all my friends, but I realized they don't know how to use it. So I started this site in order to help others getting maximum from this awesome antivirus. Feel free to contact me via Facebook, comments below or this form.

This article has 14 comments | Did we miss anything? Just let us know in the comments!

  1. Zikes Reply

    I don’t trust either of those options, free or not I would opt for the following…

    1. Microsoft’s Defender – Because every Windows 10 install has it;
    2. Bitdefender – Highest rated detection rate;
    3. Avira – Another alternative to Bitdefender;
    4. Trendmicro – A drop in replacement for AVG/Avast unfortunately their security suite is not free;

    If you still insist on AVG/Avast I would direct you to their license agreements, then let us all know what you think.

  2. Mix Reply

    What is need for normal consumers – Avast Home Network and Router Security or AVG Spying and Data Theft Protection??

  3. ElizAnn Reply

    Thank you so much for this comparison. It’s the best I’ve found and helps me better understand the differences between both programs. I was surprised to learn that Avast owns AVG. I had recently switched to Avast free after years of using AVG free. My reason for switching was that AVG stopped my access to the shredder. After the switch, I learned that Avast also doesn’t provide a shredder on the free version, so I am using CC Cleaner as well. That seems to work even better than the shredder I had with AVG. All is well for the moment.

  4. Harry Pootis Reply

    I think Avast is better because my mom uses it and I have been using AVG and it detected a lot of false positives. It deleted someone’s medical records and one of my games.

    • Steve Reply

      That it happens because the .exe of game it take this as a virous and it deleted it.
      I want change the avg to avast now because my ram is too low for avg.

  5. chairul Reply

    if I choose avast things to watch

    check all files / folders is slow
    while for other products above average

    things to note
    the size of the data if you install this product
    avast = 640 MB + update software = 22 MB
    AVG = 50 MB + update software = 100 MB
    avira = 345 MB + update software = 10 MB
    norton = 295 MB / 300 MB update software = 15/19 mb
    360 security = 102 MB + update software = 9/10 MB

    Memory sometimes be slow when it is
    check for viruses

    so I memlih avira because the windows boot time 29 sec
    and easy to use

  6. Kan Reply

    Hi. The information on your website provided a great help in choosing the right or appropriate free security software for my computer system. Many thanks!

  7. joemach Reply

    My Microsoft Surface 3 running Windows 8./1definitely has a virus that Avast does not detect. Why is that and what can be done about it?

    • K.Davis Reply

      The first thing you can do about it is be more specific. There are a million difference scenarios, and no one is going to sit here and list them all.

  8. Robert Owen Reply

    I went to download and instal Avast on my second computer and AVG’s ad was so prominent I hit their download button instead by mistake! Anyway, I’ve decided to stick with my “mistake” and see how AVG shapes up.

    • Merel Reply

      I wanted to download Avast but the damn cookies at the website still is convinced that French must be the language used in Belgium ! Actually majority being Flemish people are using Dutch. Anyway I had to Google and search for an English download page, since I always got back to the French page over again.

      Like you AVG managed to mislead me somehow and eventually I ended up with AVG being downloaded and installed !!! I think AVG download pages are somehow misleading on purpose, using confusing “look alike” pages.

      I will remove AVG also because it has some delay behind Avast to update the database.
      So protection is a bit later and that might be the fatal difference.

      • KidKobee Reply

        If you were on Chrome you could have right-clicked and translated the page on the spot.

  9. Theresa Reply

    I really like how you compare Avast and Avg. I have use both, I do use Avast because it seems to work me. I do recommend to my clients.

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