Avira is one of the best antivirus solutions out there, with great lab results, a fantastic interface and good pricing. In fact, it would give Bitdefender a run for its money for the top spot were it not for its poor support. As you can read in our Avira review, however, that may not be that big an issue.
Avira is among the best antivirus software because of its unrivaled feature set and low price point. It even manages good lab results and a user-friendly interface. The support system is lacking, though.
In this Avira review, we’re going to cover the pros and cons of the service so you can see if it’s the right antivirus for you. We’ll discuss features, pricing, user-friendliness, protection and support before giving our verdict.
We can’t find many reasons not to recommend Avira. It has an excellent lineup of plans with a free option, to boot. Customer support is the Achilles’ heel of this provider, which is a con that you might be able to overlook given how much else it has to offer.
- Strong hands-on & lab results
- Thorough support system
- Ransomware protection
- Included password manager
- PC only on inexpensive plans
- No firewall on base plan
- Strong lab results
- Easy to use
- Excellent video tutorials
- Confusing knowledgebase
- Impressive features
- Easy to use
- Good lab results
- Many free tools
- No support for free plans
- Weak support system
Avira offers many security and privacy products, which could be considered features depending on the package you purchase. Paid products are built around Antivirus Pro, Avira’s base subscription plan. It includes some features, but most are focused on security and privacy to make the antivirus more secure.
That includes ransomware, network, download and email protection. Other notable features on the base plan are Avira’a Intelligent Repair System, which repairs damage caused by malware, and Self-Defense, which prevents malware from altering or disabling your antivirus protection.
Antivirus Pro and all other plans can use Avira’s suite of free tools. Some, such as the virtual private network and password manager, are limited versions of paid products. Even so, there are plenty of tools that are free of charge.
Two of our favorites are Privacy Pal and Home Guard. Privacy Pal gives you a new way of handling Windows privacy settings. It controls how your browser and operating system tracks and stores your data. For example, you can disable location sharing, Cortana and Microsoft Store app access.
Home Guard lets you see all devices on your network. Avira gives you the name, type and status of each, as well as details such as the IP address. You can click the “security check” button in the Home Guard user interface to scan the devices on your network for suspicious behavior.
Privacy Pal and Home Guard are included with Avira Prime, the most expensive plan, along with nine other apps, some free and some premium. Prime includes unlimited use of Phantom VPN, which is better than other bundled VPNs we’ve seen. It has a good spread of locations, support for unlimited connections and a no-logs policy.
Phantom VPN is excellent for bypassing the dangers of public WiFi. That said, since it lacks information on security and protocol options, you’ll probably do better with one of our best VPN providers, such as ExpressVPN (read our ExpressVPN review).
Our favorite Prime feature is System Speedup Pro. It gives your system scores in disk performance, overall performance and privacy and informs you of actions you can take to improve those areas. When we started, we had a three in disk performance, a 59 in system performance and a 56 in privacy, all out of 100.
Those are “bad” scores, according to Avira, with disk performance stooping to “critical” territory. We ran a scan and allowed Avira to resolve it found automatically, if possible. It cleaned 4GB off our test machine and increased our score to 100 in each category.
System Speedup Pro has manual settings, too, including system restore options, disk optimization settings and a network traffic manager.
Phantom VPN and System Speedup Pro are only two of the products included with Prime. Each of the other products has its own range of features and all can be accessed from the main interface. Even the most feature-dense antiviruses on the market can’t go toe-to-toe with Avira here.
Not only does Avira have all the features we want and more, they are high quality. There are other options that have the same features, such as Avast’s premium security package, but they don’t feel nearly as good as Avira Prime’s do.
Avira is on par with other providers, but prices are for a single device. While not as expensive as Avast (read our Avast Pro review), the price increases with each device you add to your plan, which is the same model ESET uses (read our ESET NOD32 review).
Even so, the price isn’t bad. In fact, considering the features Avira offers, the rate is good. The free plan is impressive, too. It’s best described as “Avira lite” and includes limited versions of the VPN and password manager. The VPN, for example, is capped at 1GB per month.
That’s generous compared to most free VPNs, but you can get 10GB or more with Windscribe for free, too (read our Windscribe review).
|Plan||Free||Antivirus Pro||Internet Security||Prime|
$ 44 99yearly
$ 57 99yearly
$ 99 99yearly
|Details||Real-time protection, Adblock||Up to five PCs & Macs, Support||Password manager, Ransomware protection||Free access to future products, VPN, Premium mobile applications|
Antivirus Pro is, essentially, the free plan with priority. You can purchase protection for multiple PCs and Macs, access the support phone number and download updates faster. It’s a strange intermediate plan that doesn’t look impressive against the rest of the lineup.
Internet Security isn’t much more, but it comes with enough features to justify an upgrade from the free plan. The core protection is the same, including web-based protections against ransomware and phishing (read our what is ransomware guide). Internet Security is Antivirus Pro with two more premium products bundled in.
Software Updater Pro and Password Manager Pro cost $31.99 per year on their own. Software Updater Pro, while not sexy, is an important security tool. It gives you a single place to download drivers, hotfixes and updates. Keeping your applications and operating system up to date is a critical safeguard against cybercrime.
Internet Security and Antivirus Pro are available for one to five Macs, PCs or a combination of the two for one to three years. Each plan has a monthly rate, too, with no commitment required. You’ll spend more, but not by much.
For example, a monthly Antivirus Pro plan will cost $15 more after one year.
The top of the line, Avira Prime, is available for five or unlimited devices.Prime is the only true multi-device plan, as it gives you access to Avira’s premium antivirus on Android and iOS. Like all the others in the lineup, it can be purchased monthly, annually, biennially or triennially.
The core protection is the same, though. Prime is Antivirus Pro plus all of Avira’s premium products. That includes Phantom VPN, System Speedup Pro and Identity Scanner Pro. We’d like to note that Prime includes all premium products on all devices, so those for specific operating systems, such as AppLock+ on Android, are available, too.
For around $10 a month, Prime is a steal, but the “unlimited” device plan isn’t actually unlimited. Avira has a fair-use policy that allows 25 devices per household. Still, that is far and above what the competition offers, even at higher price points.
Avira’s interface changes depending on which product you have. Internet Security and Prime users will have a home screen that shows all products included with their plan. Since Antivirus Pro is just one of the products in those bundles, you won’t open directly to your protection interface.
Prime’s main screen has three tabs: “this computer,” “my devices” and “licenses.” The first and default tab shows you all of the products included with your plan, so Prime users will see everything. It is where you can open the protection window.
There are actions you can take from this screen, though. For example, Antivirus Pro can run a quick scan and Phantom VPN Pro can connect you through a secure line. Next to those actions, you’ll find a button to open each application.
The Antivirus Pro Interface
For the remainder of this section, we’re going to focus on the Antivirus Pro interface. Additional products included with Prime and Internet Security have their own, though.
The Antivirus Pro interface is excellent. The main screen shows you what core protections you have enabled, including ransomware and phishing protection. There’s also a large button to run a quick scan.
You can find more scan options in the “scan” tab in the left-side menu. Avira has three main scan types: full, quick and custom. Custom scans include several presets, though. For example, there are active process and rootkit scans. You can create as many custom scans as you like and store them in the application.
That is one of the best features Avira has to offer. If you’re trying to pinpoint a problem on your machine without scanning everything, a custom scan can accommodate you. The presets make it easier than ever to do so, too.
The scan menu also has a scheduler that can hold as many custom scan schedules as you want.
There are three tabs below that manage your protection modules, show quarantined files and give you a log of the application’s activity. The most you can tweak is in the modules area, where you can turn different protections on or off.
You can find more advanced settings by clicking the gear icon in the bottom left of the interface, which is where you can control all aspects of Avira. For example, there’s a “threat categories” section where you can specify the types of applications it should look for. For instance, you can set it up to detect joke applications, which aren’t dangerous but can be unsettling.
Avira’s segregation of settings makes it powerful and usable. You don’t have to mess with them, though, and most people won’t. That said, if you want to configure how the antivirus responds on a deeper level, it gives you the control to do so.
There’s a web-based management tool called Avira Connect, too. It gives you an overview of your account and the devices you have protected. It has other useful features not offered in the Antivirus Pro interface, as well.
The first is your digital health. Avira will generate a score for the protection of all of your devices. The overall score you’re given is based on the security, privacy and performance ratings you have.
You can access Family Locator and Identity Scanner, too. Family Locator will allow you to track devices that have the Avira app installed on them and notifies you if certain criteria are met. It’s an optional feature.
Identity Scanner is excellent. You can enter your email address and Avira will search the surface and dark web for traces of your personal data. It’s a small sample of the paid version of Identity Scanner, which will perform the same actions for credit cards, passports and more.
We use hands-on testing and lab results to assess the protection of an antivirus. We lean more on lab results as they use more samples and stricter testing conditions. Our hands-on testing uses established testing tools as a way for us to see the antivirus perform.
Starting with the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization’s feature settings check for desktop antiviruses, Avira passed five of the six tests, failing the phishing test. It allowed a drive-by download and cloud download to occur, but removed the files before they were run.
The other tests were blocked before downloading.
We tested live phishing URLs from OpenPhish. Of the 10 tested, Avira blocked eight. Chrome’s built-in protection nabbed the other two. It isn’t perfect protection, but it’s still good.
We used the 13 malicious payloads offered by Wicar for the next tests. Three were not compatible with our software configuration, meaning nothing happened to our test machine or Avira. The 10 that were compatible were blocked immediately.
Avira earned perfect marks in AV-Test’s July and August analysis. It was 100 percent effective against 275 zero-day malware samples and 99.9 percent effective against 19,747 widespread malware samples. The industry average at the time for both was 100 percent, though.
It’s had good results overall, but there isn’t a high level of consistency. In April 2018, for example, it was 100 percent effective against zero-day malware and 99.8 percent effective against widespread malware, compared to a 99.5 percent and 99.9 percent industry average, respectively.
The previous test, ran between January and February 2018, had subpar results, though. It was 99 percent effective against zero-day malware against the 99.6 percent industry average. While it was 100 percent effective against widespread malware in February, it was only 98.7 percent effective in January.
That said, the performance results aren’t inconsistent. AV-Test gave it a perfect score in August, April and February. In all tests, Avira was on par or better than the industry average. In the speed test for launching popular websites, it was 9 percent faster.
AV-Comparatives got excellent results. During its August 2018 testing, it found Avira 100 percent effective, with only one false positive returned. While only 193 samples of malware were reported in the final data, AV-Comparatives tests tens of thousands, some of which must be discarded.
With 100 percent blockage, Avira is in a class with only a few other antiviruses for this test. Bitdefender and Kaspersky were 100 percent effective with no false positives (read our Bitdefender Antivirus review and Kaspersky Anti-Virus review). Norton was also 100 percent effective but suffered from four false positives (read our Norton Security review).
The most recent performance data, from April 2018, is good, but Avira has performed better in the past. It was awarded an advanced rating, which is the second highest tier. In tests dating back to March 2015, though, it earned advanced+, the highest tier.
MRG Effitas returned impressive results. Avira was one of only two antiviruses to earn a Level 1 certification in its Q1 and Q2 full spectrum analyses. Kaspersky was the other. A Level 1 certification means that all threats were detected on first exposure or blocked through behavior monitoring.
Depending on the lab you consult, it’s easy to think that Avira has inconsistent performance. That said, given the data from the labs we reference, the protection is excellent. Avira dropped the ball in a few AV-Test results, but, overall, the data shows that it’s among the most secure antivirus software on the market.
Avira has a good support section that’s made up of a knowledgebase and YouTube channel, with direct contact options over email and phone. Direct support is only available for paying customers, though, so free users are restricted to the static resources.
The knowledgebase is good, overall. Avira uses a single article to explain a topic on multiple operating systems, each with step-by-step instructions. There’s no way to navigate topics, though. You can search for your question and browse the list of commonly searched questions, but nothing else.
The video tutorials have the same inconsistency. Avira provides a long list of videos, both for educational topics and tutorials. Some of the videos are dated, but still provide a wealth of information. Avira mixes multiple languages in the same spot, though.
Browsing the YouTube channel is a nightmare because of the three or so copies of each video, each in a different language. Even worse is that there isn’t duplicates for every video. For example, there’s a video discussing phishing exclusively in German and a password manager overview that’s only in English.
You can learn more about phishing in our what is phishing guide.
The dedication to multiple languages is good, but there’s no way to filter out what’s relevant to you on YouTube or Avira’s website. Avira provides you with a bulk of support resources and asks you to make sense of it.
Direct support is good, though. While restricted to paying customers, Avira offers email and phone support in six languages. The only annoyance is verifying that you’re a premium user before contacting support. Even if you’re logged in to Avira Connect, you need to enter that information.
All of the pieces for an excellent support system are there. Avira has a long list of video tutorials, a helpful knowledgebase and multiple contact options. The infrastructure surrounding those resources needs some attention, though.
Avira is an antivirus with good lab results, despite a few inconsistencies. It’s strongest selling point is support for multiple devices at a low price point and an unrivaled list of features.
It’s also easy to use and light on system resources. Overall, there are few reasons not to consider it, especially if you can afford Prime. It offers affordable, high-quality security and privacy features for multiple users. The only blemish is the support system.
If Prime is too expensive, or you just want to shop around more, make sure to read our other antivirus reviews.
What do you think of Avira? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.