Avast Free Antivirus review

Finally, Avast scored 98% overall in both of the last two quarterly rounds of 2019 evaluations by London-based SE Labs, which factors in false positives and how malware is handled after detection. Microsoft got 99% and 100% in those two rounds, while Kaspersky garnered 100% both times.

Avast Antivirus

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Overall Rating 3.3 out of 5

About Avast Antivirus

Avast Antivirus Software provides protection for your devices from viruses, malware and other potential internet threats. Avast is known for offering features you don’t often find in a free program, including a Wi-Fi network scanner, a password manager and a gaming mode.

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Pros & Cons


  • Password manager
  • Customizable protection
  • Free product is robust


  • Previously sold user data
  • Can slow your device

Bottom Line

Avast Antivirus Software provides both free and premium protection against risks to your devices. The free version is pretty thorough, but the paid version adds many useful features.

Featured Reviews

Wilmington, NC

I discovered Avast by accident… I’m rather glad I did though, they deliver the protection in which they claim. … I’d highly recommend all that uses today’s technology on a regula.

Stone Mountain, GA

The Avast has been very good. I have not had any problems since using it. My computer has always been online. I would recommend avast. Avast has kept my computer clean. The price .

What is Avast Software?

Avast is antivirus software designed to protect your devices. A subsidiary of AVG Antivirus, Avast is currently one of the most popular antivirus programs available. The company offers free and paid options for customers.

Along with antivirus and anti-malware software, Avast offers several other security services. Users can also purchase a virtual privacy network (VPN), anti-tracking software and BreachGuard.

What does Avast Software do?

The free program offers malware protection, a performance scanner and a scan scheduler. Its basic scan also finds network issues, out-of-date software, weak passwords, malicious browser add-ons and more. Features such as an email scanner, a secure browser and a URL screener are all available for free as separate tools.

As for the antivirus and malware scanning itself, independent lab tests give it a high rating. Avast detects most forms of malware before they reach your computer by quarantining and deleting the files. If it can’t stop the malware before, it interrupts the downloading process.

The premium Avast software adds several features. These include:

  • A file shredder
  • Webcam protection
  • Automatic software updater
  • A firewall
  • Spam protection
  • Secure folders for important files
  • Protection from phishing sites (sites that duplicate important login screens to steal information)

Avast Cleanup Premium helps improve your computer’s performance, and its driver updater takes care of old or broken drivers. Not everyone will find these premium features necessary, but they can be helpful. If you’re looking for more basic coverage, the Avast free software will do.

Avast antivirus price

Avast has a free option and paid options. While its free coverage is thorough, there are several benefits to the premium options. A one-year subscription for a single Mac or PC device is $69.99. You can upgrade your coverage to include as many as 10 devices for $89.99 a year. This includes PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices.

There is also an Ultimate option that includes a secure-line VPN, Premium Cleanup and Passwords Premium. Ultimate costs $99.99 annually for a single device or $119.99 a year for 10 devices. You can try the single-device subscription free for 30 days without a credit card, and there is a 30-day money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied.

Avast FAQ

How good is Avast Antivirus?

Avast Antivirus is generally ranked as a good program. Its free software is surprisingly robust, though its premium product isn’t always worth the upgrade for some users.

Is Avast safe for Macs?
Avast is safe for your Mac computer or laptop. It offers full protection for free.
Where is Avast located?

The Avast headquarters is in Prague, Czech Republic. There are Avast offices around the world, including two in the United States.

What is Avast behavior shield?

Avast behavior shield adds a layer of active protection to your antivirus program. It monitors for suspicious behavior in code.

Is Avast malware?

Avast is not malware and is safe to use on your computer or mobile devices. Its purpose is to detect and stop malware before it harms your system.

Is Avast safe?

Avast is a highly popular antivirus program and has been for a long time. It provides good malware protection and several features that you don’t often find in free software. Many people appreciate the password manager or Wi-Fi network scanner. If you’re looking for extra protection from internet threats, it’s worth checking out Avast Antivirus.

Avast Antivirus Reviews

ConsumerAffairs has collected 389 reviews and 801 ratings.

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Page 1 Reviews 0 – 10
Tom Lakeland, FL
Customer Service Staff

Reviewed Sept. 13, 2023

It has been 4 years since I have used their products and I have cancelled all subscriptions (by speaking with their representatives over the phone) with them multiple times since. I am still receiving charges on my credit card for their software. Their product is good but their way of doing business is dishonest at best.

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Ronald Spokane, WA
Customer Service Contract & Terms Sales & Marketing

Reviewed Aug. 16, 2023

Just have my phone now, since Avast Driver didn’t protect my computer and hackers got in and held my computer hostage. Anyways no big deal except poor protection, but the big deal is that my contract renewed just 6 days ago, and I called to cancel it and they want $99 to do so. Shawn ** more like Hredhaan, took the then brunt of what I have to say after he quoted this one time special. I get it, let’s run our business like a scam. Don’t buy poor product and business model.

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Angela Chino Hills, CA
Customer Service Staff

Reviewed July 25, 2023

Terrible and unprofessional customer support. I had to politely beg for a refund for a charge that was automatically renewed without my authorization. The entire request lasted 30 minutes while the customer support agent named Kennedy, attempted to exhaust me with alternatives and delayed responding for nearly 5 minutes. The agent tried to exhaust me by asking several times why I wanted a refund and tried to only offer a 75% partial refund.. It was quite obvious their intentions were to frustrate me and delay the entire process.

This agent also made underlying taunting & mocking comments of my Asian heritage last name — which was quite obvious and extremely unprofessional. It was difficult to maintain my composure but I continued to say thank you and please to my requests despite the constant disrespect that I had received. I was really happy with Avast programs and features but I will never ever do business with Avast ever again because of this. I have never written a ConsumerAffairs review either or a 1-star review. Ever. So I hope this can speak volumes to my experience.

Thanks Angela (3)

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Dexter Cowansville, Other

Reviewed March 30, 2023

I downloaded this Antivirus that was supposed to be a FREE trial, so when running program, it would show error BUT IN ORDER correcting the problem, I was continually asked to pay more and more. ARE YOU ALL A BUNCH OF THIEVES. You lie to the people to get them to download your antivirus free then you sock it to us. SHAME ON YOU.

Thanks Dexter (11)

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Jerry Winnipeg, Other

Reviewed March 2, 2023

Avast makes a good product with lots of extras. The anti-virus program works very well, slows your computer very little (assuming that the computer is fairly new). I love the product and it has a lot of add-on tools – too many! Avast Premium Internet Security is just fine for most people. Avast is broken down into too many components, each of which you have have to pay for. To get the total package is very expensive. Watch your install as Avast often includes bloatware that, if you’re not careful, is easy to miss.

Avast, like many companies today, always puts auto-renew on every purchase. Auto-renew CAN be turned off but it’s tricky to find. Just one ploy of modern sales, turn on auto-renew and hope people don’t notice or don’t complain. For myself, if the company does not allow you to turn off auto-renew, watch out! I’ve run into this with a number of software programs and, if they don’t allow it to be turned off, I cancel my subscription and take it off my computer but I usually do tell them why they’re losing customers.

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Irving Ambler, PA

Reviewed Jan. 15, 2023

I’ve been using the paid app for years. It worked well though there were annoying pop-ups all the time. Today I opened my computer and the screen showed that Avast was updated overnight. But my computer would not boot up and a white screen kept flashing. I was on the phone with customer support for 2 hours and finally at the end they told me I needed to pay for additional support to resolve the problem. After I complained and demanded that they fix what they broke they fixed the issue in 2 minutes. Beware the upsell. I’m past the 30 day period since my last renewal so I cannot get refunded I will not be renewing again.

Thanks Irving (6)

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Tom Young America, MN

Reviewed Dec. 5, 2022

Invasive! Can’t uninstall it. Been trying for half an hour. Computer keeps crashing. Even downloading their uninstall.exe doesn’t work. Great. Counting their browser, which I didn’t ask for and also can’t uninstall, I now have THREE UNWANTED AVAST PROGRAMS ON MY COMPUTER. And the popups won’t stop coming. Avoid them.

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Tony Castle Rock, CO
Sales & Marketing

Reviewed Sept. 21, 2022

I bought Avast antivirus software and recently added their Cleanup software and their Driver updater. After buying the Driver updater I was not able to use my scanner, which is connected via WIFI. Avast’s solution is to have me buy another $200 package to fix their flawed software. Scammers!

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Greg Tulsa, OK

Reviewed June 30, 2022

BE CAREFUL OF AUTO RENEWAL SCAMS BY AVAST! I purchased the 3-1 bundle which included Avast Cleanup Premium fro $119.99 on June 15. On June 30 Avast still initiated the auto renewal for the Avast Premium Cleanup product for $63.99 on June 30. I knew there was an auto renewal but thought since I purchased the product in the bundle, their sophisticated system would recognize this and AUTO CANCEL THE RENEWAL SINCE I JUST ORDERED IT! Their support, Poojitha, said I should be managing my subscriptions online and it is not their fault I WAS CHARGED TWICE FOR THE SAME PRODUCT! I cancelled the $119.99 order! BE VERY AWARE OF HOW THEY MAKE DUPLICATE CHARGES AND CHEAT YOU. MY SYSTEM IS STILL VERY SLOW!

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Selim Menah, Other

Reviewed April 15, 2022

Well, I have bought Avast Premium Security from the partner avast-tn.com. I really appreciate all the features starting from the efficient firewall, the wifi inspector, the remote access shield, but what is impressed me is that I can prevent access to apps and block my webcam when I need. And also the password protection is also feature I really like. Good job!

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Avast Antivirus Company Information

Company Name: Avast Antivirus Year Founded: 1988 Address: 1700 S Amphlett Blvd. City: San Mateo State/Province: CA Postal Code: 94402 Country: United States Website: www.avast.com

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Avast Free Antivirus review

Avast Free Antivirus has tons of features, less-than-perfect protection

published 11 August 2020

Avast Free Antivirus review

(Image: © Avast)

Tom’s Guide Verdict

Avast Free Antivirus offers a ton of features for a free antivirus program but has mediocre malware protection and a heavy system load.

Avast Free Antivirus deals

Avast Free Antivirus


  • + Wi-Fi scanner, password manager
  • + Customizable protection


  • – Slow scans
  • – Mediocre defenses
  • – Heavy system impact during scans

Why you can trust Tom’s Guide

Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what’s best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

Today’s best Avast Free Antivirus deals

Avast Free Antivirus

Updated with addition of Avast’s Ransomware Shield. This review was originally published May 4, 2020.

Closer to a mini security suite than a basic free antivirus program, Avast Free Antivirus includes an unlimited password manager, a Wi-Fi network scanner and a silent gaming mode. It also gives you full control to adjust its sensitivity and customize its activities to match your wants and needs.

Avast Free Antivirus specs

Malware protection: So-so
System impact, background: Light
System impact, scans: Heavy
Windows compatibility: 7 through 10
Email scans: Yes, as a separate free tool
File shredder: No
Game/silent mode: Yes
Hardened/secure browser: Yes, as a separate free tool
Password manager: Yes
Performance scanner: Yes
Ransomware file reversal: Shield only
Rescue disk: ISO built-in
Scan scheduler: Yes
Support options: FAQs, forums
URL screener: Yes, as a separate free tool
Upsell nag factor: Omnipresent

    Avast Free Antivirus subscription options:
  • 12 month plan – $0 per month ($0 total cost)

But be warned: Avast takes a long time to scan a computer and slows down the system during scans, and the program provides mediocre malware protection that’s arguably worse than that of the built-in Microsoft Windows Defender. At least the company says it has stopped collecting and sharing anonymized data about how you use your PC.

Kaspersky Security Free Antivirus offers nearly as many extra features, top-notch malware protection and a nearly nonexistent system-performance impact. It’s our choice for the best free antivirus software. If you can do without the extra features and would rather just “set it and forget it” with your antivirus software, then Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition may be best for you.

Read on for the rest of our Avast Free Antivirus review.

Avast Free Antivirus: What’s covered and upgrade options

Avast Free Antivirus supports only Windows 7, 8.1 and 10. For Windows XP or Vista, you can install an older version of Avast that might not have the latest features but will have the latest malware signatures.

Think of Avast Free Antivirus as a security suite on the cheap. It includes features you don’t normally find with free antivirus software, such as a password manager, a Wi-Fi network scanner, a gaming/movie mode to minimize interruptions, a limited performance scanner and, as of August 2020, a ransomware shield that prevents designated files from being altered.

Kaspersky Security Cloud Free also has a password manager, but it’s limited to 15 entries before you have to pay for it.

Avast also sells paid antivirus programs. The cheapest is Avast Premium Security, which costs $60 a year for a single computer, or $80 for up to 10 devices (Windows, Mac or Android). It adds a firewall, a file shredder, an automatic software updater, webcam protection, defenses against spam and a secure folder that can protect key files in a ransomware attack.

Avast’s Ultimate program costs $100 yearly for a single PC. It includes unlimited versions of Avast’s Cleanup, Passwords and SecureLine VPN programs, which would cost a total $130 if purchased separately.

Avast Free Antivirus: Antivirus protection

Avast Free Antivirus’ malware scanner compares files and programs to a database of known malware and looks for telltale signs of an infection. Suspicious items are uploaded to Avast’s lab for analysis, and new malware signatures are pushed out to Avast’s 400 million users every few hours. Avast Free Antivirus also scans USB flash drives for malware.

The Avast Online Security extensions for Chrome and Firefox block known malicious websites and web trackers and examine webmail attachments, but the extensions must be downloaded on their own.

Avast Free Antivirus: Antivirus performance

Avast shares its malware-scanning technology with its sister company, AVG. Third-party lab tests reveal that both deliver acceptable but mediocre malware protection.

In all 26 monthly tests carried out in 2018, 2019 and the first two months of 2020 by the German lab AV-Test, Avast (and AVG) spotted 100% of both “widespread” known malware and “zero-day” unknown malware 14 times, which is commendable.

But it failed to detect at least 99.5% of zero-day threats nine times over those two years, which means that a significant amount of the worst kind of malware sailed right past Avast’s defenses.

By comparison, Windows Defender missed more than 99.5% of zero-day malware only five times in those two-plus years. Bitdefender did so only twice. And Kaspersky detected 100% of both kinds of malware in all 26 tests.

Avast’s results on evaluations conducted by Austrian lab AV-Comparatives were also meh. Its average detection rate of “real-world” online malware from February through May of 2019 was 99.2%, well short of Kaspersky’s 100% and Bitdefender’s 99.9%, and less than the 99.6% scored by Microsoft.

In July through November 2019, Avast got an average of 99.3%, ahead of Kaspersky’s 99.1% and tied with Microsoft (and AVG, naturally), but behind Bitdefender’s 99.9%.

In February-March 2020, Avast stopped 99.7% of threats, again tying AVG and Microsoft. Bitdefender was behind with 99.5%, but Kaspersky aced it.

AV-Comparatives’ tests elicited more false positives than AV-Test’s, and Avast performed adequately, racking up only five in the first half of 2019, eight in the second half and five in February-March 2020.

In each half of 2019, Microsoft got 74 and 58, respectively, but suffered only five in February-March 2020 after AV-Comparatives turned off Microsoft’s Smart Screen feature. On the other end of the spectrum, Kaspersky consistently got zero, indicating a very well-tuned detection engine.

Finally, Avast scored 98% overall in both of the last two quarterly rounds of 2019 evaluations by London-based SE Labs, which factors in false positives and how malware is handled after detection. Microsoft got 99% and 100% in those two rounds, while Kaspersky garnered 100% both times.

For SE Labs’ January-March 2020 tests, Avast got 98%, same as AVG, while Microsoft got 99% and Kaspersky 100%. Bitdefender was not tested.

Avast Free Antivirus: Security and privacy features

Avast’s Secure Browser is intended for online shopping or banking, but you’ll need to download it separately. Based on Google’s Chromium code, Avast’s browser forces sites to establish a secure HTTPS connection if possible and doesn’t allow extensions.

Avast’s Passwords password manager holds an unlimited number of entries and works with Chrome, Firefox and Avast’s Secure Browser. Passwords Premium costs an extra $20 (or comes with the Avast Ultimate paid package) and adds a data-breach monitor and fingerprint logins.

Avast’s Wi-Fi Inspector examines your home network to compile a list of connected devices and ferret out old firmware, insecure passwords and incorrect settings. But Avast’s SecureLine VPN client software, once built into Avast Free Antivirus, is now a separate download. It costs $60 a year; there’s no more limited free option, but there is a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If a Windows computer is hopelessly infected, Avast Free Antivirus contains software to create a rescue disk on a flash drive or DVD that will boot the system into a secure Linux environment for scanning and repairs.

Avast Free Antivirus: Application-usage data collection

Until a few months ago, Avast and AVG notified you when you first launched the software that, with your permission, it would “collect anonymous data about your computer, network and the websites you visit” and that Avast “may share this data with 3rd parties for analytics purposes.” You could opt out of that collection.

That was a long-standing practice, but a couple of media reports in January 2020 about where that collected data went generated a public outcry. Avast’s stock price tanked, the company said it would end the practice, and the data-collection notification window no longer appears when you first launch Avast Free Antivirus.

However, there are a couple of new items buried in the “Personal Privacy” part of the Settings. You can now choose whether to share threat data with Avast; to share application-usage data with Avast to “help us with new product development”; to share application-usage data with 3rd-party analytics tools; and to share application-usage data with Avast “so that we may offer you 3rd-party products.”

Those last two items sound rather like what Avast said it would no longer do. An Avast spokeswoman clarified to us that Avast no longer shares user data with third parties for purposes of analyzing broader trends in business and marketing, rather than for specifically analyzing the performance and use of Avast’s own software.

We realize that Avast Free Antivirus offers a lot for free, but we recommend turning off anything that would result in your data being shared with third parties, even if that data is aggregated and anonymized.

Avast Free Antivirus: Performance and system impact

Avast’s Free Antivirus is not only one of the most resource-hungry AV programs we’ve encountered but is also one of the slowest to scan a drive.

To check system performance, we used our custom benchmark test, which measures how long the CPU takes to match 20,000 names and addresses in an Excel spreadsheet. We used an Asus X555LA notebook with a 2GHz Core i3-5005U processor, 6GB of RAM, 59.5GB of files on a 500GB hard drive and the latest version of Windows 10.

Before loading Avast Free Antivirus, we established a baseline score by measuring the benchmark’s completion time at an average of 13.7 seconds. After we installed the program, but without an active scan running, the completion time slowed to 14.3 seconds, indicating a 4.3% background decline in performance.

Active scans exact a heavier toll. Our benchmark’s average completion time was 17.7 seconds during Avast’s full scans, a drop in performance of 24% from the background level, and 29% from the baseline before Avast was installed.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition’s scan caused a 26% drop from the background level; AVG AntiVirus Free’s scan caused only a 7% performance decline.

If that weren’t bad enough, the benchmark time for Avast Smart Scan was 21.0 seconds, a 47% performance drop from the background levels, and a 53% drop from the preinstallation levels. That’s four times the performance hit of Kaspersky Free Antivirus.

It took Avast an average of 1 hour, 22 minutes and 44 seconds to complete a Full Scan, slightly longer than AVG AntiVirus Free’s Deep Scan result. Of the five free antivirus programs we looked at, only Microsoft Defender took longer. Avast’s full-scan times also didn’t shorten over time, unlike other programs that learn what to ignore and what to focus on.

Avast Free Antivirus took 3 minutes and 9 seconds to run a Smart Scan, the equivalent of a quick scan that checks the most likely sectors to be infected. That’s more than twice as long as AVG AntiVirus Free’s similar Computer Scan.

AV-Comparatives’ Impact Score has a different take, with a score for Avast of 6.2. That ties its corporate cousin AVG for the best among the five programs we looked at. Microsoft Defender was the worst at 27.3.

Avast Free Antivirus: Interface

The interface for Avast Free Antivirus has a dark blue Status page with bright, easy-to-read text saying “You’re Protected” when everything is right. When you need to address an issue, that turns to a red “X.”

On the left is a column of major security activities, including categories for Protection (scanning, quarantine and Wi-Fi Inspector), Privacy (Passwords) and Software (updater and Do Not Disturb mode).

The Performance section has links for the Do Not Disturb mode, the Software and Driver Updater applets as well as what Avast calls Cleanup Premium. These features, however, only identify problems — you’ll need to either pay for the downloadable applets, or get Avast’s Premium package, to make changes.

The Status screen also has a Menu link and a powerful Settings screen. In that, you can whitelist safe items and change the interface language; Avast still honors the seafaring with a Pirate Talk option.

Avast Free Antivirus lets you adjust its scanning sensitivity, turn major components on and off, customize its activities and opt out of having data collected from your system. If all you want to do is run Smart Scans, the Start button is part of the Status page. All other scans are two clicks away.

Avast Free Antivirus: Installation and support

Avast Free Antivirus’ installation starts with a 223KB installer file that downloads the rest of the program, but be careful because it will also install the Google Toolbar in your web browser unless you opt out. All told, it took a little under 7 minutes to get and install the program.

You don’t need to set up an Avast online account to use Avast Free Antivirus, but it’s a good idea because then you can monitor the status of all your systems running Avast software.

Like other free security programs, except for Microsoft Defender, Avast Free Antivirus offers no telephone tech support. But there are a lot of online resources, including installation help, tips and FAQs and a direct link from the program to the company’s support pages.

Avast Free Antivirus: Bottom line

Avast Free Antivirus includes a full-featured password manager, a gaming mode and a Wi-Fi network scanner, which is great. But the software ultimately falls short on protection and performance.

Kaspersky Security Cloud Free offers better protection, a much lower performance hit, lots of customization and nearly as many extra features as Avast.