McAfee vs Norton: Which One to Go For in 2020?

Choosing the right antivirus is very important. One needs to take into account many different factors and compare various aspects to pick the best-suited option. Today, we’ll take a look at the top choices users often choose from. Let’s compare McAfee vs Norton to find out which one is a better option.

We’ll evaluate their interfaces, performance, protection levels, prices, and extra features.


Both Norton and McAfee have visually appealing interfaces. Yet, McAfee is a bit more complicated. It has the left sidebar and the menu at the top. The rest of the screen is dedicated to showing the current status.

Norton, on the other hand, has a more intuitively-navigated interface. The screen has five main modules clicking on which users get access to the needed features and information. All in all, it uses space more rationally bringing better interface.


A series of tests have proved that Norton is a winner in this category, too. It has a very light impact on system performance. McAfee, however, has a greater impact and slows down the system at times. While it’s usually imperceptible to the naked eye during everyday activities, more complicated programs or video games are sure to reflect that.

Protection levels

This is probably the most important factor one should pay attention to. That’s why we’ll take a closer look at the results of the test from the independent labs. They’ll evaluate the protection levels objectively. We’ll take data from AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs.

AV-Test showed that McAfee hit between 98.6 and 99.4% detecting zero-day threats in different periods. However, it got 100% detecting malware. Norton, on the other hand, got 100% detecting zero-day threats and malware.

AV-Comparatives stated that real-world protection is high for both antivirus programs. Norton got on average 99.5% bringing several false positives. McAfee got on average 99.2%. Yet, it had fewer false positives. The lab also performed the malware detection test. Testing online detection rate, Norton got 99.9%, while McAfee scored 99.8%. Offline detection test brought up bigger differences. Norton got 81.5%, while McAfee 84.8%. They both scored a 100% online protection rate.

SE Labs rated antivirus programs differently. The lab used targeted attacks and defined that Norton gets AAA grade while McAfee gets AA grade. It turned out that McAfee has bigger difficulties dealing with attacks.


The pricing policies are almost the same with McAfee bringing a better price for the first year of using the software.

In general, users have to pay $45 for McAfee and $50 for Norton during the first year of subscription. From the second year on, both antivirus programs cost $110 per year and cover up to 10 devices. Since one license can cover up to 10 devices, the programs are great family solutions.

Extra features

This is where McAfee is the winner. The antivirus offers a wider selection of extra tools and utilities (but some of them need a separate installation). McAfee brings the best password manager and a set of tools like identity manager, Life Safe file encryption, file shredder, update manager, etc.

Norton doesn’t fall far behind. It also has a password manager and a few optimization tools including file cleanup, disk optimizer, and a startup manager. Yet, it stands out offering 25 GB of cloud backup storage.


Using this information, Norton is a better choice between these two. It detects threats more efficiently, has a lesser impact on system performance, and has a user-friendly interface. However, McAfee doesn’t fall far behind. Moreover, it offers some extra features that Norton doesn’t.

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