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Malwarebytes vs McAfee 2023: McAfee Is Simply the Best

Antivirus software is one of the most essential tools for protecting your devices against cyber threats. With so many options on the market, it can be tough to decide which antivirus is right for you. Two of the top contenders are Malwarebytes and McAfee, but which one reigns supreme in 2023?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare Malwarebytes vs McAfee to help you determine which antivirus better fits your needs and offers more value. We’ll examine their features, malware protection capabilities, system performance impact, pricing, ease of use, and more.

Whether you‘re a casual user looking for basic security or a power user needing maximum protection, read on to find out if you should choose Malwarebytes or McAfee!

At a Glance: Malwarebytes vs McAfee

Before we dive into the nitty gritty details, here’s a high-level overview of how Malwarebytes and McAfee stack up:


  • Best for casual users who want a basic, easy-to-use antivirus
  • Free version available but with limited scanning capabilities
  • Paid plans offer strong malware protection but lack extra security features
  • Lightweight program doesn’t slow down system performance
  • Interface is intuitive and user-friendly


  • Best for power users who want maximum security and extra features
  • No free version, but paid plans offer better value overall
  • Includes firewall, parental controls, password manager, VPN, and more
  • Slightly heavier program but not a significant performance drag
  • Packed interface requires a learning curve but offers robust controls

In general, Malwarebytes excels at no-frills malware protection while McAfee shines with its extra security tools and comprehensive feature set. Let‘s take a deeper look at what each antivirus brings to the table.

Malware Protection Capabilities

The most important factor for any antivirus is how well it detects and blocks malware threats like viruses, spyware, ransomware, and more. Both Malwarebytes and McAfee offer robust malware protection using signature-based detection, heuristics, machine learning, and other advanced techniques.

Overall, independent lab tests from outlets like AV-Test reveal that both programs have near perfect detection rates, stopping 99% or more malware samples.

Malwarebytes scored a 17/18 on AV-Test‘s widespread and prevalent malware benchmark using Windows 10, with 0 false positives. This shows it has excellent detection rates for common malware.

McAfee received a flawless 18/18 score in the same test, demonstrating it is adept at handling both widespread and emerging threats. McAfee also aced AV-Test‘s macOS and Android tests, while Malwarebytes was not tested on those platforms.

Both Malwarebytes and McAfee offer specific ransomware protection tools that monitor for suspicious file encryption activity. They also have specialized tech to detect and block malware distributed via email phishing scams.

When it comes to malware protection, the bottom line is you can‘t go wrong with either program. However, McAfee edges out Malwarebytes with its slightly higher scores across more platforms.

Impact on System Performance

Antivirus software can tax system resources, resulting in slowdowns and lag while scanning files and running in the background. So it‘s important to consider each program‘s performance impact.

Malwarebytes is purposefully designed to be lightweight and avoid bogging down your device. Independent tests confirm it uses minimal CPU, RAM, and hard drive resources while idle. Users are unlikely to notice any performance drag during day-to-day use.

McAfee is slightly heavier, using extra memory and CPU power due to its expanded feature set. Benchmarks show it consumes more background resources than Malwarebytes. However, its impact is not excessive enough to significantly slow down modern PCs and devices.

In real-world use, both antiviruses avoid major performance degradation. Malwarebytes holds a slight edge for being gentler on system resources. But McAfee is a close second—its high detection rates make the somewhat higher resource usage worthwhile for most users.

Pricing and Plans Compared

One major difference between Malwarebytes and McAfee is their pricing and plan options, including whether they offer a free version.

Malwarebytes Pricing

Malwarebytes has a free version available, but it only allows manual scans, not real-time protection. Paid plans start at $39.99 per year for one device and go up to $129.99 per year for five devices.

Here‘s an overview of Malwarebytes‘ pricing tiers:

  • Malwarebytes Free:
    • Price: Free
    • Features: Manual scans
    • Limitations: No real-time protection, limited to scanning, 1 device
  • Malwarebytes Premium:
    • Price: $39.99/year per device
    • Features: Real-time protection, ransomware prevention, ad blocker
    • Support: 1 device
  • Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy:
    • Price: $59.99/year per device
    • Features: Adds webcam security, privacy audit
    • Support: 1 device
  • Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy bundle:
    • Price: $104.99/year for 3 devices, $154.99/year for 5 devices
    • Features and support: As above for multiple devices

McAfee Pricing

McAfee does not have a free offering. But its paid plans start at just $29.99 per year for individuals, making it more budget-friendly than Malwarebytes.

Here are McAfee‘s subscription options and prices:

  • McAfee Security – $29.99/year
    • For individuals, covers 1 device
    • Safe browsing tools, password manager
  • McAfee Plus – $34.99/year
    • Adds ID theft protection
  • McAfee Multi Access – $44.99/year
    • For families, covers 5 devices
  • McAfee Plus Multi Access – $49.99/year
    • For families, with ID protection
  • McAfee Advanced – $79.99/year
    • High-end plan for unlimited devices
    • Includes firewall, file shredder, parental controls
  • McAfee Ultimate – $159.99/year
    • Maximum protection with identity and privacy features
    • Covers unlimited devices

Malwarebytes offers more flexibility with per-device pricing, but McAfee‘s unlimited device plans offer better value, especially for larger families.

Overall, McAfee pulls ahead in pricing with competitive rates, especially considering its larger feature set compared to Malwarebytes.

Key Feature Comparison

In addition to pure malware scanning, antivirus products often include extra security-related features. Let‘s examine how Malwarebytes and McAfee stack up in this regard:


  • Real-time protection
  • Ransomware prevention
  • Adware/PUP blocker
  • Exploit mitigations
  • Browser guard
  • Web protection
  • Scam call blocking (Android)


  • Real-time protection
  • Ransomware prevention
  • Firewall
  • Parental controls
  • Password manager
  • VPN
  • PC optimization tools
  • File shredder
  • Web protection
  • Vulnerability scanner

McAfee clearly offers a fuller suite of security tools. Highlights like the firewall, parental controls, password manager, and VPN provide deeper protection for your entire digital life. Malwarebytes focuses more narrowly on malware defense.

For users that don’t need extras beyond an advanced antivirus, Malwarebytes provides sufficient protection. But McAfee is worth the premium for its more robust feature set.

Ease of Use

To provide effective security, an antivirus needs to be easy to use with intuitive controls and options.

Malwarebytes sports a streamlined interface that‘s simple to navigate for malware scans and options. Even security novices can get the hang of it quickly with a shallow learning curve.

McAfee has a more packed interface with tabs for each security feature. It can take longer to fully grasp all of the settings and capabilities available. However, McAfee makes routine tasks like launching scans straightforward.

Both companies let you schedule regular malware scans and exclude files/folders from scanning if desired. Key settings are also accessible from system tray icons for convenience.

While more simplistic, Malwarebytes gets the nod for being slightly more user-friendly. But McAfee is reasonably intuitive despite its more robust capabilities.

Malwarebytes vs McAfee: Which Is Better for You?

So when all is said and done in this Malwarebytes vs McAfee showdown, which antivirus reigns supreme?

For most home users, McAfee is the better choice for complete, customizable security powered by robust features. Even though it costs more, you get far more for your money with McAfee.

However, Malwarebytes still shines for casual users who want capable yet fuss-free malware scanning. If you don‘t need extras like a firewall or VPN, Malwarebytes provides solid protection at a reasonable price. Its lighter footprint also appeals for older or underpowered devices.

Here are some guidelines to pick the right antivirus for your needs:

Choose Malwarebytes if you:

  • Want basic malware protection without extras
  • Have an older or underpowered computer
  • Seek a low price and free option

Go with McAfee if you:

  • Need maximum security and bonus features
  • Use Windows extensively (best Windows support)
  • Own multiple devices (great value plans)
  • Seek robust technical support

Now let‘s take a closer look at each product‘s pros and cons.

Malwarebytes Pros and Cons


  • Intuitive, easy-to-use interface
  • Light on system resources
  • Longer 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Generally inexpensive paid plans
  • More flexible per-device pricing
  • Free version available


  • Lacks extra security tools like a firewall or VPN
  • No 24/7 live support
  • Limited options for tech support
  • Mediocre results in some independent lab tests
  • No full system scans on Mac

McAfee Pros and Cons


  • Excellent malware protection
  • Robust extra features like firewall, VPN, and parental controls
  • Unlimited device coverage on higher-tier plans
  • Strong customer support with 24/7 live chat
  • Solid value and competitive pricing
  • Superior test results across platforms


  • No free version offered
  • Slightly higher system demands
  • Busy interface with steeper learning curve
  • Occasional pop-up notifications can be annoying

As this analysis shows, McAfee excels in the areas of malware protection power, added security capabilities, and overall value. For most users, McAfee is worth the higher price tag.

But Malwarebytes still suits more casual users nicely. Determine which pros matter most to your situation when choosing between the two.

Malwarebytes vs McAfee: Final Verdict

McAfee antivirus brings outstanding malware blocking coupled with an impressive roster of extra tools for complete protection. From parental controls to a VPN to a password manager, McAfee has you covered on all fronts.

While the interface may be denser and McAfee lacks a free option, its robust capabilities and competitive pricing make it our top pick. Malwarebytes remains a solid choice for basic protection, just expect to miss out on the fuller feature set.

Visit McAfee and Malwarebytes to learn more and try them for yourself. Both offer money-back guarantees, so you can easily get a refund if you change your mind.

With its superior feature breadth, malware catching prowess, and better value, McAfee takes the crown in this antivirus showdown. Protect all your devices and critical data with complete confidence by choosing McAfee.


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StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.