McAfee vs Norton: Side-by-Side Comparison

Making the right choice when it comes to antivirus protection is essential. However, it might not be the easiest decision. It turns out there are so many details to take into account to get the best solution on the market. When users pick which antivirus software to install the choice comes to two products: McAfee vs Norton. In the article below we’ll compare these antivirus solutions side by side and try to define the better one.

Let’s look and compare the interfaces, performance, protection, extra features that can come in the bundle, and pricing policies.


Both antivirus solutions have pleasant and beautiful interfaces. However, McAfee is more confusing because the company dedicated the left side to locate the modules. The top of the window got the menu and the rest just reflects the protection status. Whenever a user reaches for a certain feature, that area delivers the information.

Norton has decided to use the space more economically. The screen contains 5 main modules. Choosing each, a user accesses the related features. More rational use of space makes it more convenient and straightforward.


McAfee impacts system performance more. A user can’t notice it at the first glance but when using more complicated and bulky programs, the software will show the delay.

Norton has a lighter impact and doesn’t cause any delays.


It’s the biggest category in the comparison and the most important one. To decide which program is a better antivirus solution, a user should study the scores given by the independent testing labs. They are said to estimate the protection and antivirus engines objectively and openly. After comparing the scores from such labs as SE Labs, AV-Comparatives, and AV-Test, Norton won in this category.

According to the SE Labs, Norton won. It received the AAA grade. McAfee also scored high but had some difficulties dealing with attacks. The lab gave it the AA grade.

Based on the AV-Comparatives’ tests, McAfee secured better protection. The lab tested real-world protection, online detection rate, and offline detection rate. Both programs scored very high. However, during tests for offline detection rate, Norton scored 3% less than McAfee.

According to the AV-Test, Norton got 100% detecting zero-day threats and malware. McAfee fell behind and failed to detect about 1% brand-new threats.

Based on these results, Norton wins. However, they came close and in some situations, McAfee is the leader. That’s why whatever solution you pick, the protection levels will be excellent.

Extra Features

McAfee is a winner here for sure. The company brings a huge variety of extras including the best-in-the-world password manager, identity protection, file encryption, a file shredder, and other utilities. However, some utilities require a separate installation.

Norton also has something extra to offer. The bundle also brings a password manager. Yet, most of the extra features deal with optimization and include a startup manager, a disk optimizer, and file cleanup. However, the premium plan also brings 25 GB of cloud backup storage.

<h2>Pricing policy</h2>

In fact, the price tags coincide. Both antivirus solutions cost $110 per year for up to 10 devices. This is an average price tag and a convenient way to protect all the household devices.

However, both companies have plenty of promotions. They let new users pay less for the 1st year of using the services. Here, McAfee offers a license for $45/year while Norton has a $50 price tag.

<h2>The verdict</h2>

While in most cases the programs showed almost identical results, Norton is a bit better antivirus solution. Yet, it also depends on the features a user wants and other preferences. So, use this comparison to decide which solution brings more use to you.