Avast Antivirus 2019: A Review of Products from Free to Ultimate


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Avast breach

In October 2019, Avast announced that a malicious actor accessed its network through a VPN over a five-month period. According to Avast's statement, the brand shut the perpetrator down before any users were affected. We plan to keep an eye on the situation going forward. If any negative impacts arise from the breach, we'll adjust our rankings accordingly.

>>Read their statement


Avast offers five plans with varied features and price levels. While the free version is most competitive compared to other products, the paid versions are worth consideration. However, the customer service leaves something to be desired.
Avast

    Plans start at no cost

    Overview

    Avast is one of our top picks for best antivirus software. It has many useful features for securing your identity across a variety of plans, but it has some concerning customer service reviews.

    Our favorite Avast product is Avast Free Antivirus. But your personal needs could make one of the paid plans a better choice for you.

    Avast has many useful features across a variety of plans but has some concerning customer service reviews.
    In this Avast review, we’ll help you decide whether Avast is the right choice to keep your devices safe from viruses and show you how the different plans compare.

    Compare Avast plans

    Avast software has five antivirus plans that offer virus protection, malware protection, and a few additional features.

    (You won’t see the Avast Pro Antivirus plan on the Avast site table, but it’s still available. Below, we’ve combined the information with the table from the website to make comparison easier for you.)

    Data effective 05/03/2019. Offers subject to change.


    Avast pros and cons​

    Pros
    • Pro BulletAutomatic renewal with all plans
    • Pro BulletMany different features to choose from
    • Pro BulletBiggest variety of plans compared to competitors
    • Pro BulletGood midrange pricing
    • Pro BulletIndefinite free plan with no termination of service or forced upgrade
    Cons
    • Con BulletPoorly reviewed customer service
    • Con BulletAutomatic renewals when uninstalling/deleting
    • Con BulletPopups and ads on free version

    What is the price of Avast?

    Avast’s prices are comparable to other antivirus brands.

    Avast plan prices:

    • $0.00
    • $49.99
    • $59.99
    • $69.99
    • $119.99

    Bitdefender plan prices:

    • $0.00
    • $39.99
    • $89.99*

    Kaspersky plan prices:

    • $0.00
    • $79.99*
    • $99.99*

    *New customer pricing for the first year may be up to 50% lower for this plan.

    Avast has the greatest variety of plans and price ranges. If you’re looking to scale up or down depending on your needs and financial circumstances, Avast is the best choice. If you want something more robust than the free plan, having all those extra plans gives you more options and lets you be pickier in finding a comfortable monthly price. In contrast, with Kaspersky, if you want something better than the free version, the lowest you can pay is $79.99 a year.

    Also, Avast’s pricing is consistent. What you see is what you get. Bitdefender and Kaspersky both offer first-year discounts, but prices increase dramatically in the second year of service. In the long run, Avast pricing is better.


    Features

    All Avast plans come with the standards of antivirus software, like virus detection and malware protection. They also detect and guard against ransomware (though you’ll get better ransomware protection through the paid plans than Avast Free Antivirus). However, there are also many special features not included with every antivirus software.

    Avast Secure Browser

     Looking for a browser more secure than Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, or Safari? The successor to Avast SafeZone Browser, Avast Secure Browser, comes with all Avast software and is available as a free, separate download. It’s designed for maximum privacy and security with several abilities:
    • Bank mode—prevents hackers from seeing what you type
    • Stealth mode—keeps your browser history from being stored and offloads cookies or web caches from each session
    • https encryption—forces sites to encrypt data being sent to and from your device
    This is a standout feature for Avast; its competition doesn’t offer browsers.

    Software updater

    All Avast products come with software updater functionality. Old software is a danger to your device, and updates are crucial to eliminate vulnerabilities. Premier and Ultimate run the updater automatically, while Free, Pro, and Internet Security need a manual start.

    Password manager

    Having a password manager bundled within antivirus software may not make sense at first. After all, there are tons of great, separate password managers out there. But a password manager is actually a smart addition to a security suite. If your password manager fills out sites for you, you won’t thoughtlessly enter your information on imitator sites. That split second of wondering, Why isn’t my password automatically being entered? may tip you off that something’s amiss. This protects you from viruses, phishing, or other security breaches.

    Wi-Fi weakness detection

    If there’s a weakness in the network you’re using, whether it’s your home network or a public network, Avast’s Wi-Fi weakness detection will find it and offer help in fixing it. You’ll be less vulnerable to anyone trying to gain access to your network or device.

    Real Site

    Have you ever stumbled across a site that looks familiar but is somehow off? Chances are it’s a fake or imitator site that’s trying to get your sensitive information. Real Site tells you when you’ve been redirected to a fake site. This warning prevents you from giving away your usernames, passwords, credit card number, or Social Security number.

    Spam email blocker

    Avast Internet Security, Avast Premier, and Avast Ultimate all offer spam and phishing email blocking functionality. Spam is both annoying and potentially dangerous, and blocking it makes your inbox easier to manage and safer to use.

    Data Shredder

    Data Shredder removes deleted data permanently by overwriting it. If there’s something you’d like to erase from a device, say last year’s tax info, Data Shredder is the perfect tool. It’s especially useful if you tend to resell your devices after use.

    Only one of Avast’s top competitors offers a similar tool (Bitdefender’s File Shredder), so if you want this feature, Avast is a leading option.

    Secureline VPN

    Avast’s VPN service hides your online activity and keeps your device secure even on public networks. It also boasts speedy connections, content block work-arounds, and safe streaming. Avast Secureline reviews indicate that users find this to be an overall solid VPN.

    Secureline VPN is part of the Ultimate plan package, but if you don’t want the Ultimate plan, you can add the VPN to any Avast purchase.

    Other features
    Our Choice

    These aren’t the only Avast features available. You can also block hackers, stop would-be webcam spies, clean up your disk space to increase device operating speed, and more.

    >>Learn more


    Customer service

    While the reviews on Avast product functionality are generally good, the reviews for interactions with Avast customer service representatives are generally negative.

    These reviews indicate that the customer support can be dicey. Both customer complaints and the brand’s responses highlight a couple issues:

    • Avast customer services representatives are hard to reach through either phone or email. They seem to be easier to reach through the official support forum.
    • Avast outsources some of its customer service functions to partner companies, some of which don’t give the best service.
    Fake Avast reps
    Our Choice
    The internet is riddled with fake Avast customer service representatives who require customers to pay spurious charges. Genuine Avast customer service representatives shouldn’t charge you for basic assistance. When contacting Avast customer service, be sure you’re using the official customer service number: 1-844-340-9251.
    Let’s look at some other pieces of the customer service puzzle...

    Availability

    Reliable information about Avast customer support availability doesn't seem to be present on the Avast website. Like we said above, current customers say that representatives are difficult to get ahold of. This is a sharp contrast to other antivirus software. For instance, Bitdefender offers 24/7 customer service through several different mediums.

    Contracts and cancellation policies

    Avast offers one- and two-year terms of service, paid up front. Service terms are automatically renewed unless you opt out, which is the easiest and most guaranteed way to cancel.

    If you sign up for a plan and decide it’s not for you, you can get a refund in the first 30 days through the Avast website.


    Avast vs. the competition

    So how does Avast stack up against our favorite antivirus brands?

    Compare free plans

    When it comes to free offerings, Avast Free Antivirus has the most innovative features, like Avast Secure Browser and the password manager. Kaspersky Free has no such features. However, Bitdefender Antivirus Free has some features you can’t get free with Avast.

    Avast Free Antivirus is a great free option, but whether you choose it may depend on how much you need a secure browser, software updater, or password manager.

    Data effective 05/03/2019. Offers subject to change.

    Compare basic paid plans

    In terms of least expensive paid plans, Avast Pro Antivirus falls short next to Bitdefender Antivirus Plus—especially since Avast Pro Antivirus is $10 more a year.

    Kaspersky Internet Security lacks most of Avast Pro Antivirus’s features and is far more expensive ($79.99) after the first year.

    Data effective 05/03/2019. Offers subject to change.


    Our recommendation

    Avast is a competitive option in virus and other malware protection with the best variety in pricing and feature options.

    Avast’s plans have a lot of great features, some of which come at lower prices than in competitor plans. We especially recommend Avast Free Antivirus as a leading free antivirus software. If you’re looking for special functionality beyond a secure browser, software updater, and password manager, you can select from one of the paid plans depending on your needs.

    One caveat: we’re concerned by the customer service problems highlighted in user reviews. If you choose Avast software, be extra diligent in making sure you’re using the official customer service number (1-844-340-9251) and be ready to champion your case as needed.

    If Avast sounds like a good fit for you, try it out.