Besides AVG AntiVirus FREE, another solid free security option for Windows is Avira Free Antivirus (sometimes also “misspelled” as Advira) from Germany. How does it compare to Avast Free Antivirus? Both products are very similar to great sets of features. However, Avira is scoring lately as #1 antivirus in the independent tests, especially in the virus and malware detection and a low number of false positives.

On the other hand, Avira is much more aggressive in terms of up-selling to paid versions and the pop-up offers are extremely annoying. Of course, Avast is using them too, but not that frequently. Anyway, let’s take a closer look at both products and see which one is the best.

Avira has also recently started pushing a new product called Avira Free Security Suite which combines all Avira free products – Antivirus, Phantom VPN (500 MB/month), Password Manager, System Speedup, Scout (browser) and Software Updater. Obviously, the whole free suite requires much more system resources, so we recommend staying with the basic Free Antivirus and adding components you need.

Feature Comparison Table – Does Avira Offer More Than Avast?

Avast definitely offers more in terms of advanced features and tools like Home Network Security for scanning router vulnerabilities, Browser Cleanup for scanning browser extensions, or Software Updater for scanning outdated software in your system. Avira is purely an antivirus, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Both products offer an option to create a bootable disc with the latest antivirus version to clean your system when it doesn’t start.

Avast Free Antivirus 2018Avast
Free Antivirus 2018
Avira Free Antivirus 2018Avira
Free Antivirus 2018
Anti-Virus & Anti-Spyware & Anti-Malware & Anti-Rootkityesyes
Bootable Rescue Discyesyes
Web Browsing Protectionyesyes (via extension)
E-mail Client Protectionyesno
Silent/Gaming Modeyesno
Home Network and Router Securityyesno
Unwanted Browser Plugins Cleanupyesno
Outdated Software Scanneryesno
Windows Firewall Managementnoyes
Free To Use Without Personal Registrationnoyes
Windows Boot-time30 sec.28 sec.
Performance Test Score2,138 pts.2,147 pts.
Size of Installer5 MB5 MB
PriceFree ($0.00)Free ($0.00)

The only feature which has Avira on top of Avast is the Firewall management. It’s not a built-in Firewall, it’s just providing front-end management for the default Windows Firewall. What is nice about Avira is that it doesn’t require a user to register/activate the product (as Avast does). So you can install and use the product for free forever.

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 Avira or Avast is installed
  2. How does the computer perform in various areas (CPU, Graphics, Memory and Disk operations) while the Avira 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 Avira Free Antivirus was installed. The same operation took 30 seconds (in average) when Avast Free Antivirus was installed. Default boot-time without any antivirus solution in place took 28 seconds. So according to our testing, Windows loads faster with Avira. Actually, Avira has no delay or impact on the system startup.

Avast vs. Avira – Performance Test ResultsAvast vs. Avira – Performance Test Results

In the second area, we have tested computer performance in various areas and impact of the Avira or Avast on the results. Avast scored 2,138 points and Avira got even slightly more  2,147 points. The default performance without any antivirus installed was 2,156 points. So the overall impact on the system performance is really low for both products, but again Avira is the winner here.

Final performance test results are highlighted in the chart below. You can clearly see the difference between no antivirus and Avast or Avira present. Please note the vertical axis ‘Performance Score‘ is not starting from 0, but from 2,116 to clearly show the small differences.

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 Avira?

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’re protected’. The left menu is easy to navigate and structured in four groups – Status (home screen), Protection, Privacy and Performance. At the bottom part, there is usually an up-sell banner which is quite soft and does blend nicely within the Avast interface.

The whole Avast interface is quite large (1010 x 674 pixels) and will not work on 800 x 600 pixels screens. On 1024 x 768 pixel screens it takes almost whole monitor space.

Avira user interface was completely redesigned in the 2018 version and looks so much better compared to the old one. Although it is much nicer, it is definitely not better in terms of user experience. It kind of lacks the main call-to-action to lead user – there are several different elements which attract user attention (‘Get Pro’ and ‘Register’ buttons in the header, almost invisible button for a quick scan, and a bottom banner promoting mobile security).

The left menu is quite straightforward and allows user to open quarantine (virus chest), schedule a scan or disable specific protection modules (real-time protection, firewall).

Avira Free Antivirus 2018 User Interface

Avira Free Antivirus 2018 User Interface

Similar to Avast the status is also indicated by green colors and the message ‘Your computer is secure‘. The components ‘Web Protection‘ and ‘Mail Protection‘ are available only in the paid versions. Game Mode is no longer available in the 2018 version, not sure why it has been removed. What is nice about the interface is that there is no up-sell banner in the whole user interface. The only way to up-sell within the interface is the green ‘Upgrade Now‘ button.

You can start system scan or update directly from the main page although it’s not much visible. Settings are accessible through the cog wheel in left-bottom part of the user interface. Unfortunately, you can’t change program language using the settings.

Localizations/Translations – Is The Product Available in my Language?

Both Avast and Avira 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

Avira languages (12): English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese, Turkish, Russian, Japanese, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional)

What is really annoying is that you can’t change language manually within the Avira product. It’s somehow automatically detected based on the system settings.

Popularity – Which is the Most Popular Free Antivirus? Avast or Avira?

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 Avira. For expressing popularity we are using several, publicly accessible methods: official websites, OPSWAT reports, CNET Download.com ratings and social media.

1. Official Sources

According to the official website, Avast is protecting more than 400 million users worldwide, but that also includes AVG products. Last publicly available number was 230 million users before the AVG acquisition. Avira is not stating user numbers publicly anymore before they usually claimed to have over 100 million users. In the recent tweet, Avira stated over 500 million users are protected by their technology. Based on these reliable claims, Avast has at least twice more users than Avira.

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 December 2017Avast is dominating the worldwide market with 19%. Followed by ESET with 14.03% and Malwarebytes with 12.73%. Avira is in the eighth position with 5.81%. It is also important to mention Microsoft for some reason is not included at all.

Avast vs. Avira – Market Share Report December 2017 by OPSWAT

Avast vs. Avira – Market Share Report December 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, Avast has more total downloads – more than 406 million, while Avira has ‘only’ 147 million. Avast is also leading the ost popular downloads list for the recent week, while Avira is not even in the top 20.

However these stats are influenced by each vendor download model. Avast is sending visitors from Avast.com to Download.com while Avira is downloaded from their own internal servers which are not counted to Download.com statistics.

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

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

Both vendors have great editor’s rating of 4 stars (meaning excellent), but Avast has better user/community rating of 4.5 stars versus Avira’s 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 4.1 million fans vs. Avira’s only 1.2 million. On Twitter the difference is even bigger. Avast has 181 thousand followers and Avira only 19 thousand.

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

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

Independent Labs Test Results – Will Avira 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.

In most of the independence tests the winner is Avira, whether it’s the Real Word Protection Test or Performance Test. Avast is usually in the top 3. However Avira usually sends their paid product (Avira Antivirus Pro) for testing while Avast is being tested on the free version.

Selection of the most important and relevant test results is below:

Respected computer magazine PCMag gave Avast rating of 4,5 stars and Editor’s Pick award in their comprehensive comparison of free antivirus solutions written by security expert Neil J. Rubenking. Avira got only 3,5 stars.

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. The major difference is that Avira is not supporting older versions of Windows (XP or Vista), but it will probably run there too. Both Avast and Avira 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 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: 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 Avira Free Antivirus 2018

  • Supported operating systems: Microsoft Windows 10 / 8.1 / 8 / 7 (any Edition, 32-bit or 64-bit)
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 64 or above
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Space: 2 GB of free hard disk space
  • Please note that Avira Free Antivirus 2018 is not officially supported on Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 95 / 98 / ME / 2000 / Server, or any other operating system which isn’t specified above

Test Conclusion – Both Avast and Avira are Worth of Trying!

Both products have their pros and cons. Avira is definitely more straightforward product with simple features but better level of protection. Avast offers great protection and lots of extra features on top.

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 Avira 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).

Additional Notes

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 Avira Free Antivirus 2016 (2016.0.7163) and Avast Free Antivirus 2016 (2016.11.1.2253) released on February 3, 2016. 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 15 comments | Did we miss anything? Just let us know in the comments!

  1. June Reply

    I had to start putting questions to google in the address line after getting avast, because it just sits there (waiting on google)

  2. Taylor Devin Reply

    Avast is easier to use and is so much lighter on your system. Avast uses less than 20MB of RAM while Avira uses more than 100MB. Avira also quarantines a suspicious file, but when I restore it, Avira has already modified the permission of the file, I can’t edit or rename it! Such an inconvenience.
    Avast on the other hand, has a very straightforward virus chest (quarantine). You can restore multiple files all at once to a specific directory. Avast has once quarantined my Plants VS. Zombies application but I have easily restored the file and reported it as false positive.

    If you are a malware researcher, you should use avast and nothing else.
    I have tried ALL of the antivirus out there, but there’s nothing like avast.

    • Decopi Reply

      Are you using just AVAST Antivirus?
      Nothing else for ransomware, anti-exploits etc?
      Don’t you feel the need for AVAST + some complement like Malwarebytes?

  3. julian poelmann Reply

    THIS IS OUTDATED: Avira now has much more options like that email and software updater

  4. CYNTHIA Reply

    I’ve been using the paid version of Avast and they’re always trying to upsell me to more. Now they say my automatic renewal is going up from $29.99 to $39.99 with no explanation. that’s too damn much. I think I’ll switch to Avira for free and see how I like it.

  5. pinkygirl Reply

    will you plese tell me whteher does it effect the perfomance of the computer

  6. Domingo Umali Reply

    One thing good for avast is its virus definition update which very easy to use. Unlike in Avira, it still needs extraction which is so annoying to the user.

  7. jraju Reply

    Avast is by far the superior free. Avira gives protection, but current days, the attack is thro the modem, network. Here comes the Network security tool of avast. It gives much idea and shows the vulnerability. Avast , is injecting add ons without user consent. This is the area , where avast first gives the addon and later analyse and change the vulnerability. The Safe zone is one among them and also some price add on. I came to know that the safe zone has a serious vulnerability and avast has rectified after comments from user.
    I would like you to add how avast works with coming and outgoing emails. Please. Thanks for the article . I use avast, the best but if it does not include the add ons, with consent from users, it is safe

  8. J. Alan Remark Reply

    I have used all the free antivirus programs over the years. I prefer Avast, which I currently use on my laptop since I use it while traveling; but use Avira on my desktop. Why use two different ones? Avast conflicts with my paid slide show making program, even when disabled. Panda does the same. I have read from some “experts” that not having e-mail and web features with an antivirus does not matter so long as the program has secure file protection. Besides, with a secure firewall on my router and using Windows Firewall I feel safe with Avira on my desktop.

  9. Bill Tod Reply

    Thanks for an admirably even-handed comparison despite being an Avast aficionado. I’ve used Avira happily (though not without the occasional hiccup) for over a decade but am always interested knowing whether a good free alternative exists just in case. One thing that has made me particularly loyal is their continuing (though not guaranteed) support for older versions – I still occasionally use a Windows 2000 system and by George the last version that runs there is still getting signature and even occasional engine updates.

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