With Avast One, you can protect your device from viruses, malware and ransomware for free. That’s right, and you don’t have to pay a dime for the extra security features the antivirus throws in, including its VPN, firewall and more.
Avast One’s redesigned security package for consumers gives you a plethora of tools to keep your Windows PC, Mac, Android device, iPhone or iPad safe from malicious software at no cost. Free antivirus software isn’t anything new, and there are some great options around. Still, Avast One takes the cake by scoring top marks in protection and delivering an easy-to-navigate interface. Of course, if you’re after even more security features for more devices, the paid package is also a great option.
Thanks to the revamp, Avast One is without a doubt one of the best antivirus software to get and is among the best free antivirus packages, too.
- Excellent package for free
- Top-quality protection
- No slow down
- VPN is hit or miss
- Less security tools on iOS and Android
Avast One is best for…
The everyday internet user after reliable antivirus protection without spending anything.
Avast One will safeguard your device from malware, comes with ransomware protection, blocks harmful websites and downloads from the web, scans your emails for malicious attachments, stops hackers from infiltrating your device through Wi-Fi with a firewall – the list goes on. That’s a lot of tools for software that’s free, and the included VPN and the ability to speed up your PC are a welcome bonus.
It’s the ideal antivirus software for home use, as it takes the hassle out of staying wary of cyber threats lurking around, even if you’re not a tech whizz. What’s more, if you are looking for added precautions, its paid Individual and Family packages still boast great value.
- Bitdefender review: All-in-one premium security
Avast One pricing and subscriptions
Avast One is an overhauled version of the cybersecurity company’s antivirus software. It’s available in select locations, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, Switzerland, France and Germany. Its previous Avast antivirus packages, such as Free Antivirus and Premium Security, are still available in other regions, but Avast One’s offerings are far more beneficial.
The best offering is Avast One Essential, seeing as it’s completely free and runs on Windows, Mac, Android or iOS. This comes with the usual antivirus features, ransomware protection, a firewall, online privacy tools, a limited VPN (5GB per week in one location) and device optimization perks. There’s a lot on offer, even when compared to Bitdefender’s Antivirus Free package.
The Avast One Individual subscription is a step up, priced at $11.67 AUD (around $12.77 NZD) per month or $140 AUD (around $153 NZD) for the first year. As of writing, however, this price has plummeted to $4.05 AUD (around $4.43 NZD) per month. This means you can expect prices to usually stick around this price, as these limited-time offers come about frequently. The paid package offers protection for five devices, more online privacy tools like a webcam safeguard and online banking protection, an unlimited VPN (55 locations, 34 countries), more optimization tools, and a few extra security features.
There’s also Avast One Family, which comes with the same features as the Individual package but lets you protect up to 30 devices. This is originally priced at $15.83 AUD (around $17.32 NZD) per month or $190 for the first year. Not exactly cheap, considering the Bitdefender Premium Security package will set you back $89.99 AUD (around $98 NZD) for the first year and $199 AUD (around $217 NZD) every year after. However, thanks to the discount, this number is actually around $65 AUD for the first year. That’s a far more attractive offer.
Avast also has a number of tools for specific needs, including its SecureLine VPN from $4.59 AUD (around $5 NZD per month) and Avast AntiTrack to keep your online identity hidden for $69 AUD (around $75 NZD) per year. When on sale, Avast One is priced competitively, but the real star of the show is Avast One Essential.
How Avast One runs
Avast One is far better looking and more user-friendly than its past iteration and is simple for anyone to use.
I downloaded Avast One from the official website, and it walks you through the setup easily. It even offers the option to use the Avast Secure Browser, which is available on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. That’s only if you want to avoid phishing websites or ad-tracking automatically, and you’re not forced to make it your official browser.
Once installed, the main hub will open up and offer an overview of the features it offers and the first steps you should take. I started by running the first Smart Scan, which it states will “remove security threats, improve privacy and speed up your device.” With this in mind, I ran a PCMark 10 benchmark before and after running the Smart Scan. My test device received a productivity score of 6,953 before the scan and 7,151 after the scan. The results show that Avast One can boost speeds after just a scan.
As for the first scan itself, it took just 43 seconds to get done, which is way faster than Bitdefender’s long scan at 24 minutes. No threats were found, but I had seven “advanced issues” that could be sold with a premium subscription, with one fault saying that the VPN is “limited to 5GB per week.” I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a fault on my end, Avast.
Otherwise, the main hub is well-organized and easy to navigate around. It shows the more useful features to the average user on its home page, including a one-click Smart Scan, a browser and disk cleaner to free up space, a drive updater, and how gigabytes are left to use on the VPN (which can be toggled with a flick of the switch).
The Explore tab is where all the cybersecurity features are placed, with an explanation of each security tool and what it does. Many of these features, such as Ransomware Protection and Firewall, aren’t automatically switched on, unlike other antivirus services. It’s up to you to switch these on manually, although it would have been better to have these on from the get-go.
Regardless, it only takes a couple of clicks to get protected, and Avast One even offers an Online Safety Score with tips on how to be safer. It’s important to note that you also don’t have to sign up to Avast One Essential to use it – it’s completely free of any login information.
What can Avast One protect you from?
- Zero-day exploits
- Phishing attacks
Avast One lab protection tests
Avast One’s antivirus software has received near-perfect scores across the board, including in malware protection, advanced threat protection, real-world protection, and anti-phishing. Across three independent antivirus testing labs, Avast One consistently scored top results.
Researchers at AV-Comparatives test a number of antivirus services, giving them a score from Standard certification to Advanced+ certification. The latter is awarded to software that goes above and beyond just passing tests, and Avast received this certification for sox out of the seven tests performed. This includes getting a 100% protection rate in the real-world protection test, beating Bitdefender (99.7%). It also received a 100% online protection rating, with a 98.8% online malware detection rate and a 93.9% offline detection rating. Only AVG, G Data and McAfee received the same 100% protection score. In performance impact, Avast received an impact score of 6.1 (the lower, the better). It barely makes an impact on your system, and placed ninth out of 17 antiviruses tested.
|AV-Comparatives||Real-World Protection||Online Malware Protection||Online Detection Rate||Offline Detection Rate||Performance Impact (lower is better)|
As for the AV-Test Institute, Avast One scored a perfect 18 points. The researchers score a service based on their protection against malware, impact on a device’s performance, and overall usability. Like Bitdefender, it protected against 100% of zero-day malware attacks, including websites and email threats, and detected 100% of malware discovered in November and December 2022.
|AV-Test Institute||Malware Protection||Malware Detection||Overall Score|
MRG-Effitas was a little harder on Avast. Researchers use a banking Trojan test and throw different types of malware at it. To pass the first test, the antivirus software needs a perfect score, while the malware test offers two scores: Level 1 for blocking every malware and Level 2 for having some malware slip through but being destroyed in 24 hours. Avast failed the banking Trojan test and scored Level 2 in the malware test. Bitdefender, Malwarebytes and Windows Defender received Level 1 certification.
|MRG-Effitas||Banking Trojan Test||Malware Test Certification|
|Avast One||Fail||Level 2|
All in all, Avast One is a highly rated antivirus and seeing how it can be free to use, it’s clear what a majority of home users should get if they want to stay protected.
Avast One personal tests
Judging from the tests, I expected Avast One to defend against everything I threw at it, such as known malware and dodgy websites. I used a Windows PC for this test.
Upon executing a malicious file, Avast One immediately detected the threat and alerted me with a loud “ping!” sound. A window pops up stating that the threat has been blocked and gives you a list of options on what to do next. It can be moved to Quarantine or be made an exception if you know the file is safe to resume its process. It also gives you details on the threat name, file path and process – all so you can investigate the problem yourself.
It’s a simple threat detection message, but considering the antivirus service is free, it does a fantastic job at blocking any potential threats making their way to your device.
However, I did encounter a false positive (when an antivirus unintentionally identifies a program or file as harmful when it isn’t). This was when I was running the PC Mark benchmark. It isn’t the worst thing for an antivirus to trace program behaviour that resembles malware threats, and Avast gives the information to look up the supposed malicious code before moving it to Quarantine.
I also tested Avast One’s anti-phishing capabilities, which should be able to scan a malicious web page for dodgy links and signs of fraud. I launched each link using different browsers, including Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Firefox. Avast one could detect and block each site I opened, showcasing that it will protect you even when you mistakenly open a link with malicious code.
Avast One VPN
As if it needed to throw in more features, Avast One also comes with a VPN. The Essential package is limited to 5GB of data per week, and you can only connect to one location (usually the location you are based in). That’s better than Bitdefender’s 200MB of daily bandwidth, as 5GB a week gives you more space and freedom to use your data how you like. Still, the limited VPN is mainly used to encrypt your traffic, keep you anonymous online and potentially bypass restricted sites – but not ones abroad.
As for its Unlimited VPN service, it’s pretty by the numbers. There are 55 locations in 34 countries to connect to, it can bypass streaming services such as Netflix, and now includes a kill switch. That’s about it. Fortunately, there are useful auto-connect options you can choose, such as automatically turning on the VPN when banking, shopping, torrenting and when connecting to untrusted networks. These are all handy, but it doesn’t give you the freedom of choosing a VPN protocol or offering a list of other features, such as split tunnelling.
Avast One VPN doesn’t put the brakes on internet speeds too much, but there’s some slowdown. I tested 114.6Mbps download speeds before switching the VPN on, and after, I received 64.3Mbps download speeds. That’s nearly cutting my internet speed in half, but that’s still enough to browse around the web and watch YouTube videos with ease.
I also tested to see if Bitdefender’s VPN would bypass streaming services like Netflix and Disney Plus. Connecting to several servers, I had no trouble accessing Netflix to binge-watch any show in their catalogue, but I wasn’t able to access Disney Plus. That’s worth keeping in mind if you’re thinking of opting for Avast One’s VPN.
Avast One dishes out a serviceable VPN, but don’t expect a full-fledged offering like the best VPNs offer.
Avast One is a marvellous revamp that was sorely needed, mostly due to its free-tier antivirus service. While most free antivirus software will do what it says on the tin, Avast One Essential goes off-script by offering a bundle of security tools and threat prevention features while offering a top-standard antivirus.
Contending with the best antivirus software around, Avast One holds its own when it comes to lab protection tests and our own personal tests. Its easy-to-use interface lets pro and casual users manage what they need protecting, and its scans apparently do boost your devices’ performance.
Avast One works great on Windows, along with Android and iOS, but the mobile counterparts don’t offer as many security tools. The included VPN isn’t nearly as useful as big-brand VPNs, despite offering 5GB of data per week. Even with the paid version, this is a bog-standard VPN.
Regardless, the main attraction of Avast One is that it’s free without sacrificing cybersecurity detection and protection rates. With that being the case, Avast One lands on our list of best antivirus software.