Windows Defender vs Avast: Which One to Pick?

The growth of digital tech has led to the need for equally strong protection. There is countless antivirus software available in the market nowadays. But, Windows Defender and Avast antivirus have always made it to the top. 

Virus, malware, and other similar content are evolving. It has become challenging for people to find a reliable antivirus. Thus, it begs the question of which one is better – the avast free antivirus or windows defender? Let’s end this debate for 2021’s best pick: 

About Windows Defender and Avast

Before you begin considering, let’s take a brief look at each software to have a basic understanding.

Windows Defender

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Do you remember Microsoft Security Essentials? Windows Defender started in 2006 with Windows XP.  But, it became Microsoft Security Essentials in 2009 with Windows Vista and Windows 7. 

Since then, it has received various versions. It has become a popular anti-malware tool available for Windows users, for free. Windows Defender comes pre-installed in all Windows OS (from 8 onwards). There isn’t any subscription available. Windows Defender comes with a lifetime free subscription.

It is a well-versed anti-virus that covers both the in-system and internet security. There is a firewall and other internet security features like email scans. It also scans downloaded files.

At the same time, it also provides computer scans and data protection. There are plenty of security layers and encryptions that make Windows Defender great. This complete protection for free makes Windows Defender a good choice for users.

Unfortunately, it is not compatible with other platforms or OS like Android, Linux, or iOS. After all, it is a Microsoft product made for its users. This is the most noticeable drawback of Windows Defender. 

Avast Antivirus 

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Avast Antivirus has achieved popularity, thanks to its availability on many platforms. It started in 1995. The company has worked around the clock to bring the latest features. These include security upgrades in their anti-virus and anti-malware programs. With new spyware, adware, and malware content, Avast improved. Thus, it has become the best in the world. 

It is available for users on various operating systems. There are premium subscriptions available, as well. If users want full-fledged protection and access to a complete feature, you need to pay. But, these are still affordable to keep Avast on par with Windows Defender. After all, there is still a free antivirus option available with Avast. 

Regular updates keep the virus, malware, and other threat databases in check. This makes Avast the best antivirus software. Compared to many others available in the market, it is very useful.

Windows Defender Vs Avast

Now that you have basic information on the two software, it is time for you to put them against each other. Which one is worth it? Does it matter if you use Windows Defender or Avast Anti Virus? Why does it make any difference?

Here is a quick comparison chart that will help you learn about both of these antivirus software: 

Windows DefenderAvast 
Installation needmentIt comes pre-installed and ready-to-useneeds download and installation
Parental ControlsThere is Microsoft Parental ControlIt doesn’t come with a parental control
Password ManagerThere is no standalone password accessYou can set up a password manager. 
Regular UpdatesCloud-based database updatesRegular automatic updates 
Subscriptions Lifetime free with Windows Different subscription plans, including a free option, are available. 
Free Trial No free trial. 30-days free trial for Premium Package + Money-back Guarantee
Compatibility Windows Exclusive Works on all the major OS (Android, Linux, macOS, iOS, Windows)
Protection Rating5/66/6
Ease Of Use Rating5/66/6
System Performance Rating 6/66/6
Internet Security Firewall Complete internet security like VPN, Safe Browser, Email scanner, Wifi monitor, etc. 
AdvertisementsNo AdvertisementsThe free version comes with an Avast-related advertisement 
Suitable For Basic malware and virus protection. If you use the system for offline work, it is a perfect choice.All kinds of usage, offline or online. You can customize it to your requirements. 

It might be tempting to select Avast antivirus software as it seems more well-versed. But, while it does have a free version, it is limited in features. Avast Internet Security and other assets will need an extra subscription. Meanwhile, Microsoft Defender is available for free with access to all security features. 

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Note: The above-given protection and performance ratings are according to the tests conducted by AV. You can check out the official AV-Test website to learn more. 

Windows Defender vs Avast – Feature Comparison

Features have become a unique selling point of any product or tool available in the market. Several antiviruses have also invested in bringing you the best features. The same applies to Windows Defender and Avast. But, which one has better features?

Windows Defender Features

Windows Defender is a ‘basic protection tool.’ As it is available for free, there are some features it doesn’t have. But, it comes with real-time protection and scanning capabilities. It even scans any new files you download to the system. You will have complete control. There will be suggestions if the file poses any danger to your data or system.

Connecting it to the cloud database will keep it up to date on malware protection. It will have an updated list of threats. You can also select the files to whitelist or block. You can change the settings for four different scanning options available for you.

There is a quick scan and full-fledged scan available, as per your requirements. Furthermore, an offline scan option will turn the windows off. It will scan the system without booting it. This helps in detecting the malware that is otherwise hard to find with the active OS. 

There are many system maintenances and ‘optimization tools’ also available in Windows Defender. These help you customize or maintain the system for the best performance. 

Avast Antivirus Software Features

While Windows Defender is a basic protection tool, Avast is a customizable option available for you. It comes with almost every feature that Windows Defender has. But, there might be some name changes.

You get real-time scans and protection. There are different types of scanning options, including the boot scan. You can also make a Flash Drive or DVD backup to scan your system if it fails to boot up, almost like a restore point.

The freedom to change settings of each scan, and level of protection is very good. You can schedule Avast to perform scans after fixed intervals. You can also activate ‘Strict Mode’ that will make you a moderator for every file and app on the system. Avast very well scans all these and provides results.

So far, it seems Windows Defender and Avast are similar. But, Avast has more customization options. That’s where the similarities end. This is where the two branches out.

Avast also comes with a great collection of internet security. Yes, Windows Defender does have Firewall. It scans downloaded files, but that’s where the internet security ends there. Avast has better internet protection.

You can use Avast to scan your emails, monitor wifi connection. The ‘Core Shield’ feature also works against web attacks and other similar threats. With Avast, you receive internet security plus malware protection in a single tool. 

Avast vs Windows Defender 2021

Is Windows Defender not a standalone antivirus software? Do you need to rely upon third-party tools to boost your device performance? 

For Avast vs Windows Defender 2021, there’s no doubt that the Avast Ultimate package will win. But, Windows Defender is a great standalone option for basic protection. It can protect your system from external malware and scans your system. But, it won’t work against hacking or malware attacks on your system.

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Because of that, Avast Ultimate can provide you with a better solution. If you want to go for third-party antivirus software, Avast would be a much better option. 

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Using Avast Anti virus software

Advantages Drawbacks 
– Avast is budget-friendly and available for free to premium levels. 
– Avast is compatible with various devices and OS.
– It is highly customizable for scans and other settings. 
– It covers a wide array of security requirements
– Has low system performance requirements to work best. 
– It is user-friendly and offers various interactive features 
High malware detection accuracy
– The free package covers basic protection.
– You will need a subscription to enjoy it thoroughly on many devices 
– Notifications are intrusive and will popup
– Needs manual updates for best performance 

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Using Windows Defender

– Comes built-in with Windows 10 and other versions.
– It is freemium and offers basic malware protection
– It runs like a background task and doesn’t need high-end system performance
– Has several extra security features like parental control and find my device
– Cloud-based automatic database updates It comes with a Firewall without any extra cost 
– Lacks many features and internet security tools 
– Slightly less accurate than Avast in protection test
– You won’t receive any alerts or notifications, not even at an important time
– Scanning is slow, and there are fixed options available 

AV-Comparatives tests show that Windows Defender is 99.5% accurate in detecting malware. Meanwhile, Avast is 100% successful and precise. This puts Avast a bit higher on the ranking.

But, you also need to understand that Avast is a third-party antivirus. Like any other tool, it will take a toll on the system’s performance. 

Customer Support 

If you check for customer support, it might tip favors in Avast’s field. Windows Defender works on the ticket method. You can raise a query, inspection, troubleshoot a problem, and so on. But, as it is part of your operating system, it pretty much receives the same customer support. There isn’t anything that truly stands out. Microsoft Windows doesn’t have the best customer support either.

Meanwhile, as a software, Avast has much better customer support. Every version of Avast comes with a great support system. These include calls, emails, and a ticket system. There isn’t just an automated database to help you, but executives ready to support you. 

In short, for Windows Defender vs Avast, windows take a loss due to the lack of customer support. 

Windows Defender vs Avast: Provide Better Malware Protection?

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According to the malware protection test by AV-Test, Avast has a slightly higher edge. The AV comparatives are quite close, but Defender missed it by a single point. Meanwhile, Avast Antivirus scores 99% to 100% on all the tests. 

Avast free antivirus isn’t up to the mark with Windows Defender. Windows will take the lead. But, the premium Avast protection will easily win. It has an array of features and an excellent user interface. It has everything from Wi-fi protection to anti-phishing integrations. 

For essential protection, Windows Defender will win. But, Avast offers the greatest protection. These results are according to the Malware protection test by AV-Test. Many experts agree with it. 

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Windows Defender vs Avast: Which Antivirus Is Lighter On The System?

Both Avast and Windows Defender are apps available for your device. That’s why they both have the needment for CPU and RAM to work efficiently. So, it begs the question of which one is lighter on the system?

Windows Defender is a built-in app that runs in the background. Most of the time, you won’t even notice that it is working in the background. It acts like it is a part of the entire operating system. 

System Test: According to the test, Windows Defender consumes around 150 MB of RAM consistently. When manual scans take place, it can consume up to 50% CPU, and that’s for the standard system. If you have a robust system, the consumption will be much lower.

Avast is a third-party antivirus that you download separately. Despite that, it has achieved excellent performance as a background app. You won’t notice for the majority of the time that it is running in the background. This is the norm for any anti-virus software.

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System Test: If you run a manual scan, Avast has a varying performance from 15% to 45% of CPU consumption. It fluctuates between that, but it is lower than Windows Defender. It consumes around 300-400 MB of RAM at any given time.

The Bottom Line For Performance

You can say that Avast is more ‘flexible’ and works by understanding CPU and RAM performance. It doesn’t have a fixed usage but works to ensure that you receive the best malware detection. The only problem is the notifications that could arise anytime and disturb you. They might even impact the system. 

Meanwhile, Windows Defender has seemingly stable CPU and RAM usage. The fixed performance makes it easier for you to expect a certain level of performance. But, for a system that lacks resources, it is significantly more resource-consuming. 

If you take other factors like Malware detection and Avast internet security, Windows Defender will lose this round. Even though it is built-in, you can’t overlook Avast’s superior performance. 

Windows Defender vs Avast: Which Provides A Better Interface To Users?

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Windows Defender seems like it is part of the Windows Operating System. The color theme, font, and the entire interface feel like you’re accessing one Windows Control Panel. You can access it as Windows Security, as well. 

The minimum approach and simple design have their charm. You can find everything easy to access on the system. There is quick information and the classic help option available. Thus, you can learn about various functions and features with ease.

Avast has a more modern app appearance and theme. It has a unique color scheme and looks quite appealing. As a third-party antivirus, it doesn’t look like it belongs to any operating system and stands out.

Regardless of that, it has a simple layout that is easy to install. Even if you’re not a tech-geek, you will find it easy to browse through the app. All the features are easy to use and customize. 

Avast maintains regular updates and gives attention to user-interface daily. Windows Defender comes ready-to-use right from the start as you set up the system. It was once known for a rigid interface, but that is an old story now. 

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Windows Defender vs Avast: Which Is Less Expensive?

Windows Defender comes with Windows for free. It doesn’t need any subscription. Meanwhile, Avast has various package options available for you to browse through. Here is a quick overview of these versions of Avast products:

  • Avast Free Antivirus

The free antivirus software doesn’t need any subscription. It will show you advertisements, and you need to register to Avast’s official website to use it. But that’s about it. The free option covers essential protection and features. You need to subscribe if you want access to other enticing options. 

  • Avast Internet Security

The package covers the complete internet security from Emails to VPN requirements, including WiFi inspection. It costs around $50. 

  • Avast Premium Security

There are two options (single device and multi-device) available for premium security. This gives you access to most features and complete Avast security. It only lacks the cleanup tool that maintains the system and the VPN. Costs around $70 to $90.

  • Avast Ultimate Security

You get everything that Avast security software has to offer. With complete system resources, you also get the clean-up tool and the VPN as extra features. This becomes a full security suite for you. 

Avast Pricing Details

Check out the website for the current Avast Pricing Details

So, if we talk about affordability, then Windows Defender might win. But, Avast has a series of coupons and often offers available for their antivirus program. So, if you’re willing to invest in antivirus protection against malware threats, it might be a great option. 

Windows Defender vs Avast Wrapping Up!!!

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Windows defender doesn’t take any visible toll on the system, even if the scans are slow.

Avast can also run in the background but consumes more CPU and RAM during scans. But, it is still considerably low for the features of the security suite. 

There are limits to Avast free antivirus. Windows Defender is free with Windows 10 and the latest operating systems. Avast also offers a free package. But, it is much better with subscriptions like Avast ultimate. 

Of course, if you break it down, Windows Defender is great for basic protection. It lacks scanning schedules and many other features. Yet, it makes up for it with parental control and other assets. 

Meanwhile, Avast is user-flexible and customizable. You can access settings and set them according to your requirements. These aspects make it a worthwhile investment. 

Windows Defender vs Avast – Which One To Go For In 2021?

Windows Defender is the best antivirus if you don’t use your system for the internet. If you just use it offline, it is a great choice. Remember, if you have a low-specs system, you should stick to Windows Defender. Windows 10 will provide integral protection. 

Choose Avast if you have a system with the correct specifications to support premium anti-virus software. If you don’t run Windows, Avast will provide similar security to Windows Defender for free. 

Similarly, if you have a high-end system, you can use both Windows Defender and Avast. With the two working together, you will receive top-grade protection.

For budget-friendly and basic protection, Windows Defender is great. For basic protection to premium options, Avast is better.

If you can understand these requirements, you will have no problem finding the best antivirus.


Do I need Avast If I Have a Windows Defender?

If you can afford a premium subscription for Avast antivirus, then you should go for it. It will stack and work in sync with Windows Defender to provide better performance. 

Is Windows Defender Better Than Antivirus?

Microsoft Windows Defender performs better than other antivirus programs available in the market. It is free and has anti-malware protection, anti-phishing, and such. But, it is not the best antivirus. 

Is Windows Defender Good Enough?

Microsoft Windows Defender, malware protection, is good enough but not the best. It doesn’t have 100% accuracy. You will need another best antivirus. Especially if you spend a lot of time on the internet or with a connected network of computers. 

Is It OK To Run Windows Defender And Avast At The Same Time?

Both antiviruses can run in the background. But, it wouldn’t be wise to run scans on both of them. You can use Avast to scan for malware threats. The Defender antivirus can work in the background.