Antivirus Comparison

Windows Defender Vs. Avast - The Ultimate Comparison

Written by Ria du Plessis - Web Developer

Updated on August 1 , 2021

Windows Defender or Avast  which one is a better choice for you? To make your job easier our experts have compared the core aspects of both software.

On this page, we will outline in clear terms the pros and cons, key features of Windows Defender and Avast, and provide you with our number one choice. 

  • Free antivirus protection
  • On-demand scanning
  • Firewall configuration
  • Simple user interface
  • Real-time malware protection
  • Advanced security features
  • Cross-platform compatibility
  • Value for money

Overall Comparison

Our verdict on overall best antivirus program is Avast 

Avast Antivirus Pros

Windows Defender Pros

  • Free
  • Great protection against malware
  • Powerful network security protection
  • Useful bonus features
  • Scans are relatively fast
  • 100% free
  • Tackles malware and spyware
  • Uses fewer resources than some competitors
  • Simple setup and user-friendly interface
  • Although a free version, there are no ads

Avast Antivirus Cons

Windows Defender Cons

  • Some bonus features require a purchase
  • A pop-up banner that can’t be disabled
  • Frequent reminders to purchase the full version
  • Little variety
  • Slow scan speed
  • Lower ability to detect issues

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Windows Defender and Avast Antivirus are both leaders in the world of computer security. Both these antivirus providers offer slightly different pricing structures. While Windows Defender is entirely free of charge, Avast offers a free version with the option to purchase more security features. While both these providers have decent malware protection, overall Avast offers more security without placing strain on system performance. 

Windows doesn’t annoy its users with unwanted ads. However, Avast does use ads to remind the user of their paid-for version, which can become a little irritating. Furthermore, Avast has a banner welcoming you as a user, and there is no way to remove this banner other than by purchasing Avast pro. 

Let’s start by analyzing in-depth the primary features of Windows Defender and Avast.

Key Features

When considering a new antivirus software, it’s important to know how well you will be protected, and to be aware of the areas where you may be vulnerable. Furthermore, you may not need all the features offered by an antivirus software provider. For example, if you don’t have children, you won’t need a parent control feature. So consider what you need from an antivirus software when reading through the table below.

Here we will outline the key features of Windows Defender and Avast


Windows Defender

Avast Antivirus

Virus Scanner



Threat Protection



Malware Removal



Phishing Detection

Yes, by flagging phishing sites


Spyware Protection

Yes, but not 100% effective


Ransomware Protection



Cloud Backup




Yes, but a very basic one





Browser Protection

Yes, with extensions for Google Chrome and Edge

Yes, with a dedicated Avast browser

Webcam Protection



Password Manager



Identity Theft Protection



Parental Control



Safe Banking



Performance Optimization



Cleaning Tools



File Shredder



Game Mode

Not a dedicated one, but it runs quietly in the background so doesn’t usually interfere with gameplay.


Mobile App

Yes, Windows Defender is available on Android devices.

Yes, Avast is available on Windows Devices.

Key Features Compared

As the table above illustrates, both Windows Defender and Avast offer good coverage and protection in relation to virus scanning, malware removal and threat protection. Both programs also have the ability to flag potential phishing sites, and offer a degree of spyware protection. However, if you require advanced spyware protection, you may be better off with a paid-for antivirus software. Windows Defender provides parental controls, whereas Avast does not. However, you can add this feature if you choose Avast’s premium version.  

The screenshot below shows the Windows Defender security center 

Windows Defender security center 

The screenshot below shows Avast Shield options 

Avast also has a password manager, file shredder, and dedicated game mode. 

Avast Shield options 

Malware Protection Capabilities

Malware is defined as any form of malicious software. Viruses, trojans, worms, and other harmful programs are considered malware. These types of programs are created with the sole purpose of causing harm to your computer. 

AV Tests is an independent organization that tests all antivirus programs annually. They test antivirus programs to check their level of protection, performance, and usability. AV’s protection tests also consider malware protection.

In their most recent round of testing, Windows Defender scored six out of six - a perfect score. They demonstrated excellent anti-malware capabilities. The software was also able to detect 100%  of all internet and email threats from a previously unknown virus (also known as a 0-day virus).  This is compared to an industry average of 99.3% (at the time of testing). 

This image shows the test results of Windows Defender against 0-day attacks

test results of Windows Defender against 0-day attacks

Avast scored five and a half out of six. They lost points on its 0-day virus detection as the antivirus software wasn’t able to detect all of the threats. The software also missed a few older threats (older than four weeks) which dropped their score to below the industry average. 

This image shows the test results of Avast against 0-day attacks

test results of Avast against 0-day attacks

Best for malware protection: Windows Defender

System Performance

You don’t want an antivirus that negatively affects your computer’s performance, causing it to slow down. All programs and functions that run on your computer use resources. You want to make sure that the antivirus you choose doesn’t use too many resources, as this could make your system frustratingly slow.

AV Tests also test the different effect that an antivirus has on system performance. You want to look for an antivirus that provides good malware protection without slowing down your computer too much. 

Windows Defender scored five and a half out of six. This is a solid score and indicates that this software doesn’t put too much strain on a computer's performance. However, Windows Defender did slow down quite a bit when popular websites were launched. 

Windows Defender system performance test screenshot

Windows Defender system performance test

Avast scored six out of six. Not only did they perform very well, but they were also awarded an advanced award for their exceptional impact score. 

Avast system performance test screenshot 

Avast system performance test

Best for System Performance: Avast Antivirus


Both Windows Defender and Avast offer free versions of their software. However, Avast also has a full suite of paid-for antivirus options. 

Since Windows Defender doesn’t even have a paid-for opportunity, there’s no way of comparing Windows Defender to Avast when it comes to the pricing options.

Avast’s Premium Security starts at $44.99/annum. You also get a 60-day trial period for free. The Ultimate version costs $59.99/annum, but they often offer specials, so keep an eye out for those. 

Windows Defender and Avast pricing

Best for price: Neither

Ease of Use and User Friendliness

Windows Defender has a straightforward interface and clear images. You do however, have to click on a few things before you get to their dashboards. The menu on the left allow you to click on different modules and operations. 

The software has a few different type of scans, but doesn’t have the option to schedule scans, which might be a negative point for some.

Windows Defender Interface on Windows 10

Avast’s interface is intuitive and straightforward. Avast also lets you customize certain skills, so users can fine-tune their experience of the software to suit their needs, like scheduling scans.

You can start your scan by clicking on the green button which says "run smart scan" on. When things are okey you will be seeing a green check icon and if you will have a problem on your device you will be seeing a red excalmation mark! 

The main menu includes status, protection, privacy and performance options. 

Avast Interface

Best for ease of use: Avast Antivirus

Customer Support

Customer support must be available and ready to assist you should you run into a problem with your antivirus software.

Windows Defender only offers ticket support, so unfortunately you may need to wait a long while to resolve any of your issues with this software. 

Windows Defender contact support

Comparatively, Avast offers a broad range of customer support. They provide email, phone and ticket support, so any issues or problems that may arise with this software will likely be quickly resolved.  

Avast support

Best for customer support: Avast Antivirus


Overall, Windows Defender and Avast are quite similar. As seen, however, Windows Defender offers more efficient malware protection. Yet, in terms of system performance Avast is the winner. 

Windows Defender is free and Avast offers a free version of its antivirus software. However, if you want to upgrade and invest in a paid-for version of Avast’s antivirus software you will receive a wider variety of improved features. 

Both Windows Defender and Avast offer impressive antivirus solutions. However, when it comes down to it, the overall best antivirus program is Avast. Avast comes in just slightly ahead of Windows Defender in terms of features and usability. 

Which antivirus do you think is for you? Choose Now!

Windows Defender ButtonAvast Button

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