I compared the performance of the antivirus engine, real-time protection abilities, and other security features like web and ransomware protection. After all my tests, I found that although both antiviruses gave me perfect malware detection rates, Avira offered better performance. Avira won in almost every area except for lacking an in-built firewall and parental controls. Avira specifically has good device optimization features and a strong VPN. You can try Avira risk-free for 60 days using its money-back guarantee. Try Avira risk-free for 60 days

No Time? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary of Category Winners

Avira and ESET are good antivirus suites with robust security features. However, after comparing both antiviruses extensively, I found that Avira is more feature-packed and offers better value for money. Try Avira risk-free for 60 days

How I Tested and Compared Avira vs ESET

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1. Virus Scanner — Avira Offers More Scanning Options

Avira and ESET provide robust malware scanners and perfect malware detection scores. However, Avira offers more customizable scanning options. To test their robustness, I downloaded over 1000 malware samples on my test machine and ran multiple tests for each antivirus. Both antiviruses detected 100% of the malware samples, removing viruses, spyware, trojans, ransomware, and rootkits. After that, I compared the different scanning options provided by both contenders. Avira offers 4 categories of virus scanners:

Quick scan — Scans the most vulnerable areas of your device. Full scan — Checks your entire system for malware. Smart scan — Malware scanner and checks for privacy and performance issues. Custom scan — Specialized scans for rootkits, active processes, local drives, and external devices.

In comparison, ESET offers 3 types of scanners:

Full scan — Conducts thorough checks of every area of your hard disk. Custom scan — This allows you to choose and scan specific folders or files. Removable media scan — Scans external devices and drives plugged into your system.

Avira’s Smart Scan took less than 2 minutes to check my system for viruses and detect performance issues. The full scan took around 1 hour and 45 minutes to check my entire system. Avira uses a global cloud-based threat detection system to detect and block the latest threats and provide faster scans. ESET’s full disk scan took longer than I expected, taking almost 4 hours for the initial scan to complete. However, subsequent scans were faster. It marked safe files and skipped them for subsequent scans, which reduced the total scan time to 30 minutes. Try Avira risk-free for 60 days

2. Real-Time Malware Protection — Both Antiviruses Detect Zero-Day Real-Time Threats

Both contenders offer real-time protection from threats, scoring perfect detection scores during my tests. However, when I wasn’t connected to the internet, Avira only detected 90.6% of real-time threats. I opened several malware-laden sites, malicious URLs, and known phishing links to test for real-time protection. ESET blocked them all, including files hidden in a zip archive. Similarly, Avira blocked most threats, but it couldn’t detect some threats when I was offline. This shows that it relies on its cloud-based threat detection system for more accurate results. ESET also uses a cloud-based detection system to block threats. Its Host Intruder Prevention System (HIPS) feature successfully detected zero-day threats and malicious applications trying to alter my system. ESET blocked every malware-laden sample in real-time such as phishing attempts and malicious links. Overall, I was impressed that both antiviruses provide excellent real-time protection results for known and zero-day threats. These results put them at par with each other for this category.

3. System Performance — ESET Consumes Fewer System Resources

ESET and Avira offer lightweight antivirus apps, but ESET consumes fewer system resources. It had little to no impact on my PC’s performance. However, to measure each AV’s specific consumption of system resources, I decided to record my baseline CPU, Disk, and Memory utilization. Next, I compared the baseline values to those I took when running a full disk scan. This helped me determine in absolute terms the less resource-intensive antivirus. While it was a close contest from both antiviruses, ESET proved to be the more lightweight software. During my tests, my CPU utilization increased from 4% to 29% with ESET’s full scan running. Similarly, Avira slightly increased my CPU utilization from 5% to 22%. The impact on my PC’s performance was negligible. So, I didn’t experience any significant slowdowns. However, here’s an idea of how well ESET minimized the impact on system performance, compared to Avira:

Slowing down when launching a popular website: 17% slowdown (versus ESET’s 14%). Copying files, both locally and in a network: 9% slowdown (versus ESET’s 2%) Launching standard software apps: 7% (versus ESET’s 5%)

Overall, both antiviruses did not have a significant impact on my system’s performance. However, I found ESET to be the more lightweight antivirus software. It consumed fewer system resources, which made copying files and loading websites a breeze. Try ESET risk-free for 30 days

4. VPN — Avira’s VPN Is Below Average

Avira comes bundled with a VPN, while ESET doesn’t offer a VPN. Surprisingly, Avira even offers its VPN on the free plan. Although, it is limited to 500MB of daily bandwidth, and you can’t select a server to connect with. To get unmetered bandwidth, you have to subscribe to the premium service of Avira Phantom VPN or Avira’s premium plans. Avira’s Phantom VPN offers a decent server network of 1400 servers in 30+ countries. It offers robust security features and a no-logs policy. Unfortunately, Phantom VPN doesn’t do well with streaming. I could only access my Netflix US and Disney+ accounts. Even then, I experienced a few buffers on Disney+. The buffering I experienced was due to the VPN’s slow speeds. Avira’s VPN is slow on both local and distant servers. I experienced a speed reduction of 60% on nearby servers and a 90% drop in speed for distant servers. These poor results affected my streaming, downloading, and browsing. Despite having robust security features, I can’t recommend Avira Phantom VPN. The slow speeds and poor streaming abilities make it unusable for me. There are antiviruses on the market that come bundled with competitive VPN service. You can check the best antivirus with VPNs that offer perfect streaming abilities and ultra-fast speeds. Try Avira risk-free

5. Parental Controls — Only ESET Offers Parental Control Features

ESET includes a basic parental controls app with very few features. It allows you to block category-wide inappropriate sites. This includes adult sites, gambling, aggressive, and drug-promoting websites. I found it easy to use ESET’s parental controls app. I simply had to launch the desktop app, and navigate to “Setup” and “Parental controls.” After that, I created a password and set up the child profile for my daughter. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any geofencing feature or ability to track my child’s location as top antiviruses offer. ESET’s parental controls app isn’t available for iOS devices either. You can only use it on Android, Windows, and Mac devices. Overall, ESET’s parental controls app is more like a content filter, lacking many functionalities. In comparison, Norton’s Parental Controls app offers advanced features such as geofencing abilities, monitors browsing history, allows you to set time limits, and block specific websites. Try ESET risk-free

6. Firewall — ESET Provides a Robust In-Built Firewall

ESET offers robust and customizable firewall features. I consider a firewall feature a core component of antivirus software and was very surprised that Avira doesn’t have an in-built firewall. Instead, it has a firewall module that integrates with the Windows Defender Firewall, allowing you to turn it on and off. It also has an Advanced Settings button that takes you to Windows firewall settings. In comparison, ESET offers a smart in-built firewall with basic and advanced functions. It’s easily customizable and easily outperforms the Windows firewall. ESET’s firewall protected my devices, keeping my data safe from network intrusion attacks. I really like that ESET’s firewall blocks all unauthorized connections. The basic firewall settings were enough to protect my device. Basic users can set different filtering modes, such as:

Automatic Mode — Allows all outbound traffic and blocks most inbound traffic. Interactive Mode — Offers predefined rules that require your approval or disapproval for each request (which spammed my notifications). Policy-based mode — Involves user-defined rules and blocks all unspecified connections. Learning mode — Automatically creates and saves rules.

I found ESET’s advanced firewall options very impressive. It allowed me to set specific network rules, giving me complete control over how each app or system is connected to the internet. Overall, ESET proved to be the better antivirus for firewall protection. I like that the basic firewall settings offer different filtering modes. I suggest you leave it in Automatic Mode if you aren’t an advanced user. I recommend avoiding ESET’s Interactive Mode, however, as it spams your notifications. Once you make all of the initial approve/deny choices for programs, the notification spam becomes less of an issue but you might still get the odd popups asking for permissions, which can make focusing on productivity tasks more difficult. Try ESET risk-free

7. Password Manager — Avira Offers a Better Password Manager

Both antivirus contenders offer a password manager. However, after extensively testing both apps, I found that Avira offers more features and is more user-friendly. ESET offers a basic password manager. You can generate secure passwords, store unlimited logins in its vault, and use them on multiple devices. Its form-filling ability isn’t very effective, and ESET’s Security Report (password auditing) doesn’t prompt you to change affected passwords. Avira offers a pretty good password manager. Every antivirus plan includes a password manager (even the free version). Unlike many antivirus-bundled password managers, Avira’s free plan supports unlimited logins and multiple devices syncing. You can get features such as:

Secure password generator. Biometric login. Two-factor authentication (2FA). Password auditing (Pro plan). Unlimited passwords. Auto-save and Auto-fill. Dark web monitoring (Pro plan).

I like how intuitive Avira’s password manager is. It features a user-friendly interface on the mobile apps (Android and iOS) and the web browser extension. I used it to auto-fill multiple websites, even complex forms. The password auditing feature also worked well and prompted me to change all my weak passwords. Try Avira risk-free

8. Gaming Mode — Avira’s Gamer Mode Feature Improved My Gaming Experience

Avira and ESET offer gaming mode features, but I found Avira’s Gamer Mode the better option. ESET offers a basic gamer mode feature. It suspends scans, updates, and disturbing pop-up windows during a full-screen activity like gaming. However, it doesn’t do more than that. A good gamer mode feature doesn’t just stop notifications. It also allocates more system resources to you when gaming. However, while playing Grand-Theft Auto (GTA), I noticed no significant performance improvement with ESET’s gamer mode. In comparison, Avira’s Game Booster feature suspends unnecessary background processes while reducing CPU utilization. While playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, I noticed that Avira optimized my network settings, which contributed to my lag-free gaming experience. Overall, both antiviruses offer good gamer mode features but Avira wins this round. Avira improved my game’s performance while ESET only blocked notifications while gaming. Try Avira risk-free

9. Optimization Tools — Avira Hosts Powerful Device Optimization Tools

I compared both antiviruses and found that only Avira provided tangible system optimization tools. ESET offers a system cleaner tool that restores system settings to the condition before a malware infection. Its primary function is to remove modifications made by malware, and so I find the “Cleaner” label somewhat misleading. Avira, however, hosts a wide range of helpful system optimization tools. It offers the following device optimization tools:

Startup Optimizer (Free): Improves the boot time of your PC or Mac by blocking apps that slow down your device Hyper Boost (Paid): Part of Startup Optimizer, this tool saves up to 25% of your startup time by structuring your system’s booting sequence and other advanced optimizations Battery Saver (Paid): Optimizes and monitors your device’s battery usage to help extend its life Driver Updater (Paid): Automatically updates outdated software Duplicate Finder (Paid): Frees up space on your drive by removing double files Power Cleaner (Paid): Speeds up overall system performance by removing junk files and fixing registry errors

I really like Avira’s system optimization tools. I found the Startup Optimizer very useful. It alerted me about programs slowing down my PC, allowing me to boost my boot time. I was most impressed with the Hyper Boost tool. It shortened my PC boot time by 25%, allowing my system to start faster. Overall, Avira’s device optimization tools proved helpful. In contrast, ESET doesn’t offer any real set of optimization tools. Given Avira’s wide range of optimization tools, it wins this round by far. Try Avira risk-free

10. Other Features — Both Antiviruses Offer a Wide Range of Extra Features

Avira and ESET offer a number of security and optimization tools, but I found that Avira had the most useful extra features. Both antiviruses provide additional security features like ransomware, web, banking, and email protection. However, Avira offers more optimization features as extras. ESET’s extra features:

Ransomware protection — ESET’s Host Intruder Prevention System (HIPS) feature and the Ransomware Shield effectively counter ransomware threats. Bank and Payment protection — ESET allows you to securely carry out online banking transactions. It provides a secure browser that prevents hackers from stealing your payment information. Webcam Protection — ESET’s webcam protection helps you block unauthorized apps from spying on you through your webcam. Secure Data — You can create an encrypted virtual drive on your computer to store sensitive information or files. Web Protection — ESET offers a browser extension that blocks malicious links and files embedded in the websites you visit, keeping you protected from malware-laden sites. Email and Anti-spam protection — When activated, ESET email protection scans your messages on email clients like Outlook, filtering spam and blocking phishing links. Anti-theft — ESET’s anti-theft feature allows you to find your device if it goes missing. You simply have to mark your device as stolen on the ESET dashboard to track it.

Avira also offers a wide range of additional features that protects you online. It provides extra device optimization tools that ESET lacked. Avira’s extra features:

Ransomware protection — Avira free provides a signature-based detection system for known ransomware threats. However, the paid plan combines the signature-based system with a heuristic (behavior-based) system. Safe Shopping — Avira’s Safe Shopping is a free browser extension that scans every URL you visit and blocks ads, trackers, and other malicious activities. Mail protection — Avira’s email protection scans all your emails and blocks malware hidden in your messages. It is only available on the Avira paid plan. File optimization features — Includes file shredder, disk defragmenter, file encryption, and file recovery. Web protection — Avira’s web protection promises to block malicious links and phishing scams, but it failed to protect me from some phishing sites during my tests. Process manager — Tracks all running processes and stops unnecessary ones. Network traffic manager — Monitors your network traffic and lets you stop unwanted applications or devices. System restore — Lets you restore your system to a previous state. Software updates (Windows only) — Manages updates and patches for over 150 programs.

In summary, both antiviruses provided many useful extra features, including security-related features like web protection, secure banking, and ransomware protection. However, Avira offered many optimization-related features, which were very useful to keep my PC in top performance. Try Avira risk-free

11. Device Compatibility — Avira Supports Multiple Operating Systems

Both Avira and ESET are compatible with major operating systems. Avira’s premium plan can cover 5 or 25 devices, whereas ESET covers 1 device on the basic plan and a maximum of 5 devices for home users. Avira is compatible with the following operating systems:

Windows 7 or above macOS 10.15 or later Android 5 or later iOS 11 or later

It was very easy to install and set up Avira on all my devices. After installing the desktop app (Mac and Windows), I found the app to be user-friendly for beginners and advanced users alike. There are a few differences in the aesthetics and features of desktop apps. For instance, the Mac app lacked web and email protection features which I would have liked to see across apps.  Mac-friendly antiviruses often offer rich features that Avira doesn’t fully offer for their mac users. Avira’s mobile apps are really good. They offer antivirus protection, extra security features, and device optimization tools. The iOS app is similar to Android in layout but offers fewer features. Overall, both apps are good, and it took only 1 minute to scan my device for malware. In comparison, ESET is compatible with the following operating systems:

Windows 7 or above macOS 10.12 or later Android 5 or later Linux (major distros)

ESET is pretty easy to install as well. It took only a few minutes to set it up. I simply had to download the free trial to get started with it. Once you install the apps, you’ll have to manually activate most features before they appear on the main screen, which I found rather inconvenient. ESET’s desktop app is intuitive and well-designed. I found it very easy to use the windows and Mac apps — which had similar features and designs.  ESET’s Android app works similarly and is packed with many features. Unfortunately, ESET doesn’t have an iOS antivirus app, except for the standalone password manager. If you’re looking for an antivirus to protect your iPhone, you should check the best antivirus software for iOS devices. In conclusion, Avira supports more operating systems than ESET. It also offers more comprehensive coverage. ESET supports older versions of the supported OS, which I think is cool. It also has a Linux app, but that is set to be phased out in August 2023. Try Avira risk-free

12. Customer Service — ESET’s Support Options Are Fast and Reliable

After testing the support channels of both antiviruses, I found that ESET offers more worthwhile customer support. ESET’s customer support was faster and more helpful than Avira’s. ESET offers multiple support options:

Live Chat

ESET’s live chat support was fast and helpful. It took about 2 minutes to get connected with an agent. I asked the representative a question about the password manager feature. I got a helpful response, including a link to an article with a detailed guide.

Email Support

ESET’s email support is equally fast and helpful. I sent a message asking about the abilities of the parental controls app. I got a response from ESET’s email support in 2 hours with a detailed response.

Knowledge Base

Support Forum

ESET’s community forums are active and contain high-quality and helpful responses. It features responses from community members and the ESET team. In comparison, Avira offers 3 types of support channels. There’s an email, phone, and online knowledge base, but to my surprise, it doesn’t offer live chat support. I contacted Avira’s email support and got a response 3 days later, which was really disappointing. In conclusion, ESET offered more support options and helpful customer support. Try ESET risk-free

13. Price — Both Antivirus Offer Competitive Pricing Plans

I compared the pricing plans and features of both contenders and found that while ESET provided more premium options, Avira’s paid plans offered better value for money. Both antiviruses offer the following pricing plans: ESET offers other device-specific plans like the Cyber Security plan for macOS devices and the Mobile Security plan for Android devices. In conclusion, Avira’s low and top-tier plans offer more features at a more affordable price than ESET. That said, ESET offers competitive prices and top-grade features across all its paid plans. Try Avira risk-free

14. Free Version — Avira Offers an Impressive Free Version

I was very impressed with Avira’s free version. It is one of the few free antiviruses that offers tons of features. Avira free offers the following features:

Antivirus scanner Real-time protection Safe Shopping browser Phantom VPN (500MB of free data per month) Password Manager File Shredder

Most free antiviruses don’t offer such impressive features. You can also test all Avira premium plans for free using the 30-day free trial. It doesn’t even require linking your payment method. ESET doesn’t have a free version for its desktop app. However, you can use the Android app and ESET’s password manager for Android and iOS for free. You can also use ESET’s premium plans for free using the 30-day free trial. It also doesn’t require entering your payment method. Try Avira risk-free

15. Money-Back Guarantee — Both Antiviruses Have a Seamless Refund Process

Both antiviruses provide a seamless refund process. However, Avira offers a more generous money-back guarantee. It offers a 60-day money-back guarantee on its 1-year and 2-year subscriptions and a 14-day money-back guarantee on the monthly plans. I tested the money-back guarantee and got my refund processed the next day. I got my money in my account in just 5 days. ESET’s refund process is also seamless. It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. I only had to send an email to process my refund. After requesting a refund, it was processed the next day, and I got my money back in my account in 5 days. Just note that you have to contact the ESET region you originally purchased from to get your refund. Try Avira risk-free for 60 days

And the Winner Is… Avira

After rigorously testing both antiviruses and comparing their features, Avira stood out as the better antivirus suite. It provided better scanning options and security features. Avira offered many features that ESET lacked, including VPN and device optimization tools.

Virus Scanner — Avira Real-Time Malware Protection — Tie System Performance — ESET VPN — Avira Parental Controls — ESET Firewall — ESET Password Manager — Avira Gaming Mode — Avira Optimization Tools — Avira Other Features — Avira Device Compatibility — Avira Customer Service — ESET Price — Avira Free Version — Avira Money-Back Guarantee — Avira

ESET is also a good antivirus software. It offers many features, including a firewall, real-time protection, and other valuable extras. I like that ESET is a lightweight antivirus and, as such, consumes fewer system resources. You can try ESET risk-free using its 30-day free trial. ESET also offered really helpful customer support options and pretty good performance. Overall, both antivirus solutions offer top-grade performance comparable to those of the leaders in the industry. But after pitting Avira against ESET, Avira was the clear winner. Its free plan hosts impressive features, and the paid plans offer budget-friendly pricing and good value. You can test Avira’s premium plans for free using the 60-day free trial. Try Avira risk-free

How to Download Avira to Your Device

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Is Avira better than ESET?

Yes. Avira and ESET offer robust antivirus solutions, but Avira offers more security and optimization features than ESET. It provides multiple customization scanning options and a wide range of useful security extras. ESET is also a good antivirus with competitive features. However, Avira offers better value when its features are stacked against ESET’s.

Is Avira antivirus really free?

Yes. Avira offers an impressive free version packed with many security features. It is one of the few free antiviruses to offer real-time protection and a VPN. Avira free also provides a robust malware detection engine and many extra features. However, Avira free doesn’t give unlimited access to all the features. Most free features are limited. For instance, the VPN has a data cap of 500MB daily. You can try Avira’s premium plans for free using its 60-day free trial.

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