McAfee vs Norton

by The Staff

Posted on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

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What are the major differences between McAfee software and Norton software when it comes to antivirus protection and internet security? These are two of the most popular brands in the business, and you're not alone in wanting to know which one is the best fit for you and all of your devices. Both McAfee and Norton have been repeatedly tested by third party review sites like and, and they always perform well in their rankings. In terms of reliability, either one will likely provide sufficient protection for your computer and mobile devices. They both offer a wide variety of coverage from single device protection for one year to unlimited device protection for multiple years, so it really depends on what features are most important to you and what you're willing to pay for said features. We've compared costs* and perks of some of the most popular products for both brands below to help make your decision easier.

*Costs shown are up to date as of the publish date of this article, and some prices are only available through our exclusive affiliate links on this page.

Single Device Protection:

  • McAfee AntiVirus Plus 2015
    • ~ Price: $49.99$24.99 for one PC for one year (does not support Macs)
    • ~ The Lowdown: This is a barebones version of their antivirus software that will scan and protect your PC against viruses, spyware, rootkits and other threats. It also has some limited internet security features such as detecting unsafe websites and malicious popup ads. Norton doesn't really have a comparable product to this one, as all of their software includes extras that this McAfee version has done without.
    • ~ This is a great choice for: Limited internet users who just want to protect against basic threats and keep their PC virus-free.

  • McAfee Internet Security 2015
    • ~ Price: $79.99$39.99 for one PC for one year (does not support Macs)
    • ~ The Lowdown: In addition to the AntiVirus Plus features, the next level of McAfee protection also gives you access to parental controls so you can set time limits for internet usage, as well as block and monitor what websites your kids are accessing. The Internet Security 2015 software also includes email protection to keep spam and phishing emails out of your inbox.
    • ~ This is a great choice for: Anyone with kids who spend time online and people who just have one laptop or desktop PC that the family shares to access the internet.

    • ~ Price: $59.99$44.99 for one PC or Mac for one year
    • ~ The Lowdown: This is Norton's most basic internet security option, and it closely matches the McAfee Internet Security product, but includes some additional features that more serious users may find useful. It provides real-time protection against viruses and malware, helps protect your identity when you shop or enter personal information online, and includes a secure storage for all of your usernames and passwords. Plus, all Norton products include a 100% guarantee – you stay virus-free or they'll refund you your money!
    • ~ This is a great choice for: Mac users looking for solid antivirus and online security protection or people who frequently pay bills, do banking and make other transactions online and are regularly signing in and out of multiple online accounts.

Multi-Device Protection:

    • ~ Price: $89.99$44.99 for up to 3 PCs for one year (does not support Macs)
    • ~ The Lowdown: This is a beefed up version of their Internet Security software. For only $10 more, you can use it on up to three PCs, and it includes additional features to help prevent identity theft, stop hackers from accessing your computer from shared networks, and flag dangerous links that may appear on social networking sites.
    • ~ This is a great choice for: Couples or families with up to three PCs in their household that frequently use social networking sites or access the internet from coffee shops, airports, and other unsecured locations.

  • Norton Security
    • ~ Price: $79.99$49.99 for up to 5 PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets for one year
    • ~ The Lowdown: This is the deluxe version of Norton Security for One Device. We think it's definitely worth the extra $5 to get protection for up to five devices, because many people use a combination of laptops, desktops, phones and tablets to access the internet these days. Other than the multi-device protection, it's essentially the same software as the cheaper Norton version.
    • ~This is a great choice for: Individuals or couples that want to protect all of their devices with one streamlined internet security product.

    • ~ Price: $99.99$49.99 for up to 5 PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets for one year
    • ~The Lowdown: McAfee All Access provides the same features as their Total Protection software, but it has been expanded for use on more than just PCs. Similar to the Norton Security (and currently offered at the same price), it can support any combination of computers and mobile devices. There are handy features for your smartphone and tablet that allow you to track it if it gets lost or stolen, remotely lock your phone, and backup and restore data as well.
    • ~ This is a great choice for: People on the go who rely on their smartphones or tablets as much as their home computers and want peace of mind if anything should happen to their precious mobile device.

    • ~ Price: $89.99$69.99 for up to 10 PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets for one year
    • ~ The Lowdown: This version will get you all the bells and whistles that Norton has to offer. On top of the great features that Norton Security offers, this version automatically backs up your data in their secure cloud, so you never run the risk of losing important files, documents or photos. It has stellar parental controls to protect your kids, and even helps teach youngsters how to keep from oversharing personal information online.
    • ~ This is a great choice for: Families with many different types of devices and parents who want to breathe easy when their kids go online, but can't be there every second to monitor what their kids are doing while browsing the web.

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