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McAfee vs. Norton 360 Antivirus 2023: Two OG Antiviruses Go Head-to-Head

McAfee vs. Norton 360 Antivirus 2023: Two OG Antiviruses Go Head-to-Head

If you‘re looking for protection against the latest cybersecurity threats, you‘re probably considering two giants in the antivirus software industry – McAfee and Norton. Both companies offer robust antivirus products packed with features to keep your devices safe. But which one provides the best security in 2023?

I‘ve taken an in-depth look at McAfee and Norton 360 Antivirus across key categories to bring you the ultimate head-to-head comparison. Read on to see which antivirus comes out on top this year based on pricing, features, malware protection, system impact, ease of use, and support. By the end, you‘ll know exactly which solution best fits your needs and budget.

McAfee vs. Norton 360: At a Glance

Let‘s start with a high-level overview of how McAfee and Norton compare:

  • Pricing: Norton 360 is cheaper for single device plans, starting at $24.99 per year. But McAfee has better pricing for multiple devices.
  • Malware Protection: Both score 100% in independent lab testing. Norton rates higher for zero-day threat detection.
  • System Performance: McAfee has less of an impact during antivirus scans.
  • Features: Both include full security suites with VPN, password manager, etc. Norton provides 50GB cloud backup.
  • Usability: Norton 360 has a cleaner interface that‘s easier to use for beginners.
  • Support: Norton 360 offers more extensive 24/7 live chat and phone support.

Overall, Norton 360 ranks higher for its superior malware catch rates, intuitive interface, and stellar customer support. But McAfee remains robust and is ideal if you need to protect multiple devices on a budget. Keep reading for a more detailed feature-by-feature comparison.

Comparing McAfee and Norton 360 Pricing

One of the first considerations when choosing antivirus software is the pricing and subscription plans offered. Here‘s how McAfee and Norton 360 stack up when it comes to costs:

  • McAfee Antivirus Plus – $29.99 per year for 1 device
  • Norton 360 Antivirus – $24.99 per year for 5 devices

Right off the bat, Norton provides better value for individuals looking to protect a single PC or Mac. You get full Norton 360 antivirus capabilities for only $24.99 annually.

McAfee‘s entry-level pricing is $5 more expensive at $29.99 per year. However, this plan only covers 1 device compared to 5 devices with Norton.

Now let‘s look at family plans offering protection across multiple devices:

  • McAfee Total Protection (5 devices) – $49.99 per year
  • Norton 360 Deluxe (5 devices) – $49.99 per year
  • McAfee Total Protection (10 devices) – $89.99 per year
  • Norton 360 Premium (10 devices) – $99.99 per year

For families and multi-device coverage, McAfee becomes significantly more affordable. The 10 device plan costs $89.99 with McAfee but $99.99 for Norton.

So while Norton 360 is cheaper for individuals, McAfee offers better pricing for bundle packages covering more computers, phones and tablets.

Both vendors offer 30 to 60 day money-back guarantees if the software doesn‘t meet your needs. Ultimately Norton has lower single plan costs, but McAfee wins for multi-device savings.

McAfee vs. Norton 360 Features and Tools

Now let‘s dive into the security features and additional tools that come with McAfee and Norton 360 plans:

Antivirus Features:

  • Real-time malware protection: Both McAfee and Norton provide continuous scanning to block the latest threats.
  • Behavior monitoring: Analyzes questionable programs and stops suspicious activities before damage occurs.
  • Ransomware protection: Unique algorithms prevent and reverse encryption from ransomware attacks.
  • Phishing/fraud prevention: Detects scam emails, links, and unsafe websites attempting to steal private data.
  • Smart firewall: Monitors network traffic and blocks unauthorized access.

-Vulnerability scanner: Identifies missing software patches and configuration weaknesses.

  • Gamer mode: Disables notifications and unnecessary processes during gaming sessions.

As you can see, McAfee and Norton 360 share the same core antivirus capabilities like real-time scanning, anti-ransomware technology, firewalls, and phishing protection. Both keep your essential security defenses covered.

Internet Security Features:

  • VPN: Encrypts data over public WiFi and masks your IP address. Norton VPN unlimited bandwidth vs. McAfee VPN limits to 2GB per day.
  • Dark web monitoring: Scans black market sites and alerts you if personal info like SSNs are leaked.
  • Multi-layer malware scanner: Combines signature-based, heuristic, and emulation methods for detecting threats.
  • Webcam protection: Prevents camera access without your approval to stop spying.
  • Microphone protection: Blocks unauthorized recording via your microphone.
  • Parental controls: Sets limits on a child‘s internet access and monitors activity.
  • Password manager: Encrypts and stores website credentials in secure digital vault. Norton provides unlimited passwords versus 15 with McAfee.

The additional tools like VPN, dark web monitoring, webcam protection, and password manager make both McAfee and Norton 360 robust internet security suites rather than just antivirus-only options.

Norton comes out a bit ahead here by offering unlimited password storage and VPN bandwidth compared to the caps imposed by McAfee.

Backup and Performance:

  • Cloud backup: Norton 360 plans include up to 50GB of secure cloud backup for files and documents. McAfee lacks cloud backup capabilities.
  • PC optimization tools: Cleans up junk files, fixes registry errors, removes bloatware.
  • Gamer-friendly: Game mode minimizes interruptions and system usage during gameplay.
  • Light system impact: Scanning and monitoring run efficiently without slowing normal computer use. McAfee has less noticeable performance drag.

While both optimize system performance, Norton 360 adds value with cloud backup to easily recover your data after data loss or device failure.

And independent testing confirms that McAfee has less of an impact when running scans compared to Norton, making it a bit more game-friendly.

So in summary, Norton 360 Antivirus edges out McAfee when it comes to internet security tools. But McAfee is lighter on system resources.

Malware Protection Results

I‘ve covered the various features, but what really matters is how well McAfee and Norton 360 actually protect your computer from viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware and other cyber threats.

To evaluate real-world effectiveness, I‘ll look at testing conducted by independent antivirus testing labs:

AV-Test Results:

  • Malware Protection:
    • McAfee: 6/6 points (100% protection)
    • Norton: 6/6 points (100% protection)
  • Performance Impact:
    • McAfee: 6/6 points (low slowdown)
    • Norton: 5.5/6 points (moderate slowdown)

AV-Comparatives Results:

  • Malware Protection
    • McAfee: 99.7% block rate, Advanced+ award
    • Norton: 99.7% block rate, Advanced+ award
  • Protection against 0-day threats
    • McAfee: 99.1% block rate
    • Norton: 99.9% block rate

The testing shows both McAfee and Norton provide 100% fully-featured malware protection with minimum performance drag. However, Norton was able to detect more brand new 0-day threats that didn‘t have existing antivirus signatures.

So while both stop the vast majority of cyber attacks, Norton holds a small edge when it comes to rapidly responding to new threats. But McAfee scans cause less system slowdown.

Ease of Use

An antivirus doesn‘t help much if it‘s difficult and confusing to use on a daily basis.

Between McAfee and Norton 360, Norton generally offers smoother usability:

  • Cleaner interface design that‘s easier to navigate
  • Less frequent popups, notifications and alerts
  • Simpler installation process with less configuration steps
  • Settings are streamlined into fewer menus

Norton 360 also provides handy tools like built-in tutorials, threat maps, and security report cards to help novice users understand their protection status.

McAfee gives you all the same capabilities but the dashboard can feel more crowded at times. Initial installation also involves more hands-on configuration to enable all the components.

For non-technical people seeking the simplest antivirus option, Norton 360 has a more intuitive and user-friendly experience overall. But McAfee is still straightforward enough for most to figure out after learning the interface.

Customer Support and Assistance

Having access to prompt customer support can be crucial for resolving issues or questions with your antivirus software.

In this area, Norton 360 definitely outperforms McAfee in the support experience they deliver:

  • Norton provides 24/7 live chat, email and phone support with minimal wait times. Agents are well-trained in quickly handling technical issues.
  • McAfee lacks 24/7 live chat, and phone support hours are more limited. Wait times to speak to agents are also longer.
  • Norton has a significantly larger knowledge base and FAQ section with helpful how-to guides.

So customers report much faster and more satisfying support from Norton 360. But McAfee still offers decent email-based and online self-help options for troubleshooting.

Choosing the Right Antivirus: McAfee or Norton 360?

So ultimately, which antivirus solution comes out on top in 2023 – McAfee or Norton 360?

Here is an overall comparison looking across all categories:



  • Competitively priced for multiple devices
  • Very light impact on system performance
  • Feature-packed security suite


  • More expensive for individuals
  • Interface can feel cluttered
  • Less extensive customer support

Norton 360


  • Affordable single plan pricing
  • Leading malware detection rates
  • Intuitive, user-friendly interface
  • 24/7 live support
  • Helpful online resources


  • Slight performance drag during scans
  • Fewer features in entry-level packages

Based on these comparisons, Norton 360 Antivirus edges out McAfee as the best option for 2023 thanks to:

  • Superior malware protection scores from AV testing
  • Smoother, easy-to-use interface experience
  • Cheaper entry pricing for individual plans
  • Significantly better 24/7 customer support

Norton combines air-tight security with intuitive design and helpful support – making it my top recommendation for most users.

However, McAfee remains a very solid antivirus choice that competes closely with Norton across the board. It excels in particular with:

  • Competitive bundle pricing for protecting many devices
  • Very low system impact during virus scans
  • Packed security suite with lots of extra tools

So for shoppers on a tight budget who need to cover multiple computers and mobile devices, the affordability of McAfee makes it an appealing choice over Norton.

Ultimately both McAfee and Norton 360 are leading options in the antivirus space, packed with features and capabilities. You truly can‘t go wrong with either for protecting your data and privacy.

But for the optimal balance of robust malware blocking, usability and support, Norton 360 Antivirus gets my vote as the winner of this head-to-head match-up.

I hope this comprehensive feature comparison has helped provide clarity in choosing between these two veteran antivirus providers. Let me know if you have any other questions!


Streamr Go

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