Is Norton Better Than McAfee [Difference & Which is Better]

Every year millions of people complain that their desktops, laptops, or smartphone has been hacked and accessed by unauthorized people. In simple terms, many people fall prey to cyber-attacks and lose their valuable data. Thus, you must protect your devices from hacking, phishing sites, malware, and unauthorized access.

In this regard, Norton and McAfee are two of the most popular security programs loved by millions of people. However, you can’t install both security programs, so you have to decide between one. It brings up an important question, “Is Norton better than McAfee or vice-versa?” People also ask, “What is the difference between McAfee and Norton?

During our antivirus and security program testing, we put both Norton and McAfee into rigorous checking to find which is more recommendable. We will discuss the testing results, including antivirus identification and removing score, performance, impact on the device performance, security options, additional features, pricing of their security plans, and brief history.

Is Norton Better Than Mcafee

However, if you lack time and want to know who is the winner between Norton vs. McAfee, here’s the answer. Norton emerged as a clear winner with a 5.5 score in antivirus and malware testing out of 6.0.

Moreover, Norton has multiple high-end features for the most improved internet and end-user device security options. Norton includes a Password manager, cloud storage, and firewall protection for the best user experience.

Nonetheless, McAfee isn’t far behind either. It offers brilliant optimization options, protection against personal data thefts, VPN service, etc.

So, let’s jump deep into the discussion and find which antivirus software offers better protection, user-friendliness, and optimum performance within your budget.

A Brief History of Norton and McAfee:

It’s always better to go through the introductory part of any product or service before discussing its benefits. It helps you know which security program has a better name and fame in the market and how it developed into a tech giant. Also, many people ask, “Are McAfee and Norton the same company?”

No, they aren’t the same company. They had a unique history. So, let’s get into the history of Norton and McAfee.


Norton Security

Although Norton has been in the market since the early 1980s, Symantec Corporation acquired Norton in 1990. Since then, Norton has become one of the most reliable and top digital security programs and software.

Thanks to aggressive marketing and brilliant security, Norton has become one of the top choices among end-point device users. In 2017, Norton purchased LifeLock identity protection. It allowed them to use the advanced internet security options of LifeLock for their antivirus programs. What’s more, Norton, in late 2020, announced that they would soon take over Avira antivirus. It is one of the top antivirus programs.

Next, Norton has also announced that it will acquire Avast in 2022 as they are engaged in a discussion regarding the acquisition terms and conditions. Also, Avast has already taken over AVG antivirus. So, Norton can now use the best digital security technologies of the following companies.

1. Avira
2. Avast
3. AVG

It showcases its powerful business plan and commitment to bringing the best internet security and antivirus program for every user worldwide. Currently, Norton, with its Norton Internet Security and Norton 360 programs, has been serving millions of people. According to its official website, Norton has served more than 300 million end-user devices in the past 29 years.


McAfee Security

McAfee is one of the oldest internet and malware security suites, originally established in 1987. So, it has been serving internet users for almost 35 years now. John McAfee founded the internet and digital security company, and soon, it became a leading antivirus and security suite developer worldwide.

As their official website information suggests, McAfee has served over 525 million end-user devices in the past 30 years. McAfee is based in California, America, and has a different program for different users in the market.

Is Norton Better Than McAfee?

Now that we know the history and origin of both internet security programs, it’s time to focus on the main discussion, “Norton vs. Mcafee, which is better?”

Since this question has no shortcut answer, we will go through key points such as malware and antivirus detection facility, performance, impact on the device, user-friendliness, customization options, and pricing.

So, let’s get with it.

Top Features of Norton and McAfee:

When selecting any antivirus and security software, you must look at the program’s top features. It will help you know what type of security and add-on facilities you will get with the program. Plus, it will let you know what you can expect and will get from the software.

McAfee features:

McAfee has five different product plans for different users, from individual ones to professionals and large companies. Similarly, their features also vary extensively from one product plan to another.

McAfee Features

Nonetheless, we considered McAfee Total Protection as a standard for these features. Yes, it sits right in the middle of its product plans. The award-winning Internet security and antivirus program has the following features to offer to its clients:

  • Optimization options to boost performance
  • Home and personal network security
  • Security experts for any troubleshooting
  • Excellent online-based customer care support
  • Multi-device compatibility
  • Strong and reliable password manager
  • Safest web browsing options
  • File shredder to hide your important files and documents
  • Encrypted cloud storage
  • Theft protection for your identity

On top of it, you will also get the following benefits when you use McAfee. So, it has a wide range of practical features that you will love to improve the security of your devices.

  • McAfee Total Protection provides you with a VPN service for safe browsing and hiding of your identity. You will get 5 secure VPN accounts with it.
  • Superior customization of the McAfee dashboard allows access to the functions you will use the most.
  • Secure browsing options with cloud and encrypted web browsing
  • US users will get additional information theft protection services and dark web monitoring. It is a matter of great regret that McAfee doesn’t extend this brilliant service to worldwide users.
  • Finally, you will get parental controls for kids and a reliable password manager service.

Norton features:

Like McAfee, Norton also has five different product subscription plans for different users. Whether you want an individual or family plan for multiple devices or large companies, Norton has it. Their most popular internet and antivirus security product is Norton 360 Deluxe.

Norton Key Features

The most common features of Norton 360 deluxe include the following ones:

  • Protects your device and information from different threat sources with multi-layer protection.
  • Up to 50GB of encrypted cloud storage facility to back up your most important files and documents with 100% protection.
  • You will get reliable and brilliant firewall protection.
  • Norton 360 product plan offers unlimited VPN without any restrictions. You will also get secure dark web browsing for safe internet use.
  • You will get an advanced browser extension service for Norton 360 for all the common browsers, including Chrome, Mozilla, etc.

But the benefits of McAfee don’t end here. You will also get the following advantages when you use Norton internet and antivirus security suite.

  • Anti-Spyware, antivirus, malware, and ransomware protection
  • Online threat protection
  • Smart and advanced firewall protection
  • Up to 50GB of secure cloud storage, as we already mentioned
  • Password manager along with parental controls
  • Secure VPN
  • SafeCam for PC

Winner: As the features show, Norton has more features than McAfee. So, in terms of features, Norton is way better than McAfee. Also, it is reliable.

Malware protection service:

When you buy any internet and antivirus security suite, you want to know its performance against malware, viruses, and ransomware. So, what is better, McAfee or Norton, against malware and viruses?

Malware Protection

For this, we choose two testing options. It includes:

1. Real-time detection: It scanned the computer in real time for malware and viruses
2. Offline test based on the different test files for malware from EICAR (The European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research).

When the test went on, both Norton and McAfee performed brilliantly in real-time scanning and testing. They blocked all the live malware. It included Trojan files and Adware also. However, Norton failed in detecting the malware samples of EICAR. It could detect and block only a single EICAR sample but allowed three samples to download to the computer. On the contrary, McAfee blocked all the EICAR samples successfully.

Nonetheless, as the EICAR offline test progressed, Norton blocked the three samples immediately after downloading. So, it also performed quite well.

AV-Test Results:

We also looked at the AV-test compatibility results. According to AV-Test results in early 2020, Norton scored a perfect 6.0 out of 6.0. It is brilliant in any respect. The testing information showed that Norton could detect and block 1000+ different malware, viruses, and ransomware. It could also detect and block “0-day” malware perfectly.

On the contrary, McAfee scored 5.5 out of 6.0 scales in AV-Test results. It is still brilliant as it could block and protect the user-end devices from 98.3% of threats.

What’s more, both Norton and McAfee offer anti-phishing protection. Norton 360 blocked and limited your access to all malicious and suspicious websites and links during our test results. Also, it blocks any downloads from malicious websites.

During the testing, McAfee also performed quite well in blocking phishing websites. Thus, you can also depend on it when it comes to anti-phishing protection performance.

Winner: Norton and McAfee performed brilliantly when it comes to malware protection. However, Norton has a slight edge since it scored the perfect 6.0 in AV Comparative and AV-Test results.

Firewall protection facility:

Norton Firewall

Firewall protection is important to safeguard your device from online and offline threats. So, which is better, Norton or McAfee, for Windows 10 firewall? We ran several tests to find a better firewall service for Norton and McAfee.

We found that the McAfee firewall is truly efficient. McAfee LiveSafe offers two-way firewall monitoring and protection facility. Thus, it offers to filter and block services for both outgoing and incoming traffic on your computer. It ensures better protection of the devices from any unwanted and unauthorized access.

Norton Security Deluxe and Norton 360 also offer superior firewall protection services. It monitors the traffic of your computer continuously. So, it safeguards your sensitive information. What’s more, Norton provides you with a 100% guarantee for the firewall service. If the Norton firewall service fails to protect your device, you can immediately consult the Norton support team.

When you see malware or virus or rootkit attack on your device, you may consult the Norton support team. The support team will help you clean and remove the virus, malware, or rootkit to ensure 100% firewall security of your device.

You can’t contact the support team of McAfee for such firewall service. So, Norton gets an edge in this section.

Nonetheless, Norton and McAfee offer firewall services for Windows, Mac, and even smartphones. They are compatible with ios and Android devices equally.

Winner: Norton and McAfee have brilliant firewall services. Norton came as a winner due to its 100% guarantee. You can take the help of their support team to clean up your device from malware and rootkits.

Scanning Options:

When you install a new antivirus and internet security software on your device, what’s the first and most frequent thing you do? The obvious answer is you will scan the device to find the viruses, malware, and other rootkits inside it so that you can block and remove them.

Thus, when you ask which is better, Norton or McAfee for Windows 10 and Mac, you need to look at their scanning performance. Yes, you should find their scanning speed, convenience, and how they perform.

We have looked at the different scanning features of McAfee and Norton. Our research has found that both antivirus security suites offer three types of common scanning facilities.

Scanning System
Is Norton Better Than McAfee?

Full scan:

When you run the full scan, Norton and McAfee will look through your entire device. The scanning includes your files, documents, apps, software, and running processes. The full scan option works for all devices, including desktops and smartphones.

Quick scans:

The quick scan option lets you thoroughly scan your device for a regular checkup. The quick scan will only check your device’s most vulnerable and susceptible portions. It takes only a few minutes and will give you a detailed report if you need to take any action or run the full scan.

Customized scanning:

You can run a customized scan if you think your device’s specific software, app, or file has been attacked by malware and viruses. Also, you may run the customized scan if you suspect that there has been unauthorized access or security compromise with your device.

However, we found that Norton completed a standard desktop’s full and quick scan faster than McAfee. Also, during the quick scan, Norton could even detect the latest ransomware and viruses to block them successfully.

But there’s a benefit of McAfee too. During the full or quick scan, Mcafee uses fewer resources than Norton. So, it doesn’t slow down the device that much. It will be helpful if you need to work with your computer or smartphone while the security software runs the full or quick scan.

Winner: Norton competes for the scanning faster and better. However, it slows down your device system as it uses too many resources. On the contrary, McAfee takes more time to scan your device but won’t affect your device that much.

Impact on device performance:

You must also look if the antivirus and internet security suite slows down your PC, laptop, smartphone, Android, and iOS devices. While Norton and McAfee will undoubtedly make your computer safer, it’s not uncommon for them to slow down your PC performance.

Thus, people often ask, “Does Norton slow down the computer? Or, Does McAfee slow down the computer?” We have run several tests and scans to see how these security suites impact the device’s performance.

During our testing, Norton took 120 minutes to complete his full scan. It could scan around 1 million files, documents, apps, software, and running processes in the background. The quick scan took only 170 seconds.

During both tests, our team noticed a slight performance drop. For instance, Adobe Premier took more time to open and run during the full scan.

On the contrary, Mcafee took around 220 minutes to complete the full scan on the same device. However, it scanned only around 800000 files. Thus, it was clear that although Mcafee needs more time to scan your device, it has worse performance than Norton. Also, its quick scan took almost 633 seconds which is more than 3X of Norton’s time.

Nonetheless, McAfee didn’t slow down the PC performance. So, it was a good bonus to have, although McAfee required more time to finish off the full and quick scans.

We have also looked at the performance test on AV-Comparatives. The test was run from October 2019 to September 2019. McAfee got a very fast performance score in all formats during the AV-Comparative test for impact on device performance. On the contrary, Norton was tested slightly slower than McAfee.

Out of the 6 testing criteria, Norton performed very fast in four categories. In two categories, it got a quick rating. The six testing categories in the AV-Comparative performance test include:

  • File copying
  • Installing and uninstalling applications
  • Archiving and unarchiving
  • Launching applications
  • Downloading files
  • Website browsing

Result: Norton uses more resources to run scans compared to McAfee. It also is slightly slower than McAfee. So, McAfee is the winner regarding the impact on PC performance and their actual performance and speed.

User-friendliness of the interface:

The interface on the dashboard of Norton and Mcafee is pretty clean and clutter-free. Their dashboard design is intuitive, easy to use, and minimalistic. Thus, it comes down to the smoothness and better intuitiveness of the software.

McAfee uses white and dark grey colors as its background and looks highly neat and clean. When you go to the main dashboard, it will highlight the current security status of your installed device. The menu bar is easy to access and navigate. You will find all the useful menus within the menu bar without going too deep inside them.

The control panel of Norton is divided into four different blocks within the main dashboard. The current status of your device is shown in the top corner. Norton will warn you with an alert when there’s any change in the software or your running apps. Whether it is annoying or useful will depend on your individual preference.

Winner: The user interface of Norton and McAfee is clean and simple. You can use both of their control panels without any complexity at all. So, this section of user-friendliness is a draw.

Products availability and pricing:

Is Norton better than McAfee? When you want a concrete answer to this question, you must compare their different product plans. Also, you must compare their pricing. It will help you know which product plan or antivirus suite you should choose.

When we looked at their pricing, at first glance, McAfee appeared to be costlier than Norton. But, when we looked at their higher-end product plans, it did nicely.

McAfee has five individual product plans. The first plan is the McAfee Total Production for 1 device, which starts at $79.99. As the number of devices and different features are added to the base, the price also rises.

Product Name –
McAfee Total Protection – 1 Device$79.99
McAfee Total Protection – 5 Devices$99.99
McAfee Total Protection – 10 Devices$119.99
McAfee Total Protection Plus VPN – 5 Devices$99.99
McAfee LiveSafe – Unlimited Devices$119.99

Like McAfee, Norton also has five different subscription plans for different users. Their Norton 360 Standard also starts at $79.99, similar to McAfee. Nonetheless, their pricing is comparatively more expensive for high-end product plans than McAfee.

Product Name –
Norton 360 Standard$79.99
Norton 360 Deluxe$99.99
Norton 360 + LifeLock Select$149.99
Norton 360 + LifeLock Advantage$249.99
Norton 360 + LifeLock Ultimate Plus$349.99

The two tables clearly state that the top-tier products of Norton’s security suite are way more expensive than McAfee’s. However, Norton also offers more features, such as unlimited VPN service and firewall support and guarantee, which McAfee doesn’t have. Thus, the pricing eventually becomes almost identical.

Winner: We can’t choose a clear winner between Norton vs. McAfee in their pricing. Three of their starting product plan has similar pricing. So, individuals may choose either one. On the contrary, Norton charges more than McAfee for its high-end products. But, it also offers many extra features for the added pricing.

Norton Vs Mcafee Comparison:


Comparison Point –NortonMcAfee
Top FeaturesNorton has maximum features with each of its different product plans.McAfee offers fewer plans than Norton.
PerformanceNorton slows down your device only slightly.McAfee doesn’t slow down device performance noticeably.
AffordabilityThe two top-tier products from Norton are seriously expensive.McAfee offers all of its products at truly affordable pricing.
VPN serviceNorton offers unlimited VPN service for its top-tier products.McAfee only has 5 devices that support VPN in its top-tier products.
Easiness in useNorton is easier to use with a  clean and simple dashboard design.McAfee also offers a cleaner dashboard, but it still looks a bit cluttered.
SupportNorton has an excellent support team with the quickest response.McAfee also offers superior after-sales support and troubleshooting through quick response.
Money-back guaranteeNorton offers a lifetime money-back guarantee for its firewall protection.McAfee provides you with a 60-day of money-back guarantee.

You may also read: Norton Vs McAfee Vs Kaspersky: Which One Is Better


Question 1. Is Norton faster than McAfee?

Answer: No, Norton isn’t faster than McAfee. In the performance test of AV-Comparatives, McAfee scored very fast in 8 sectors while Norton received a very quick rating for six sections, and its two other sections were rated as fast.

Question 2. Is Norton still the best antivirus?

Answer: Yes, the standard Norton 360 security suite is one of the best antivirus programs. Its brilliant real-time protection, outstanding malware, rootkit detection performance, and feature-packed dashboard make it a top-tier antivirus for all users.

Question 3. Do Norton and McAfee work together?

Answer: No, Norton and McAfee won’t work together. When you try to install both security systems simultaneously, your system will malfunction. Also, if you already have one program installed, it will detect the other one as a virus and block it.

Question 4. Is McAfee better than Norton 360?

Answer: No, Mcafee isn’t better than Norton 360. Although McAfee excels slightly in detecting viruses and malware, in other sectors such as features, overall performance, and reliability, Norton 360 wins clearly.

Question 5. Can I run Norton and McAfee at the same time?

Answer: No, you can’t run McAfee and Norton simultaneously. Both security systems state that they can’t be used with another antivirus program. So, you need to uninstall one security program to run the other one on your device.

Question 6. Is McAfee LiveSafe good or bad?

Answer: Yes, McAfee LiveSafe is useful and worthy of your investment. You can depend on its malware detection and blocking ability to boost your device and individual information safety.

Question 7. Do you have to uninstall Norton before installing the new version?

Answer: No, you don’t need to uninstall the older version of Norton to install the latest one. You can simply install the new version, and the old one will be updated automatically.

Final Words:

Is Norton better than McAfee? Yes, Norton is the winner of the Norton vs McAfee contest. It offers more features than McAfee, such as a better password manager, parental control, VPN service, and users clean dashboard. McAfee gets a slide edge in detecting and blocking malware only. However, Norton and McAfee will perform equally brilliantly for individual uses.

You may choose either an antivirus or a security suite to protect your device from unauthorized access and use. You won’t need to worry about your personal information with Norton and McAfee.

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