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Webroot vs McAfee: What Antivirus Software is Better?

Computer viruses are everywhere. From file infectors and ransomware to worms and Trojan horses, computer viruses can arrive hiding behind cute pictures of puppies, clinging onto funny videos of cats, or even wrapped up in innocent-looking computer programs.

Luckily, there are plenty of high-quality antivirus software packages available which you can install on your laptop, desktop or mobile phone, to protect your hard drive against infection. But with so many programs to choose from, it’s hard to know which is best.

Today, we’ll be comparing two of the leading antivirus programs: Webroot and McAfee.

What is McAfee Antivirus?

McAfee Antivirus is software developed by Intel Security, a company which offers a range of computer security products for consumers and businesses. One of its most popular consumer products is McAfee Antivirus Plus, which offers protection against viruses and malware on multiple devices.

What is Webroot Antivirus?

Webroot has been around since 1997. Its core product is called Webroot SecureAnywhere, which offers multi-device protection, and is considered to be the lightest and fastest antivirus product on the market.

McAfee Antivirus Plus VS Webroot SecureAnywhere

Both of these programs have received very high scores from independent reviews.

PCMag gave both programs an “Excellent” Editor Rating of 4.5/5 (PCMag’s review of McAfee Antivirus Plus and Webroot SecureAnywhere), and both have similarities, as well as their own unique pros and cons.

As far as similarities go, both companies offer satisfaction guarantees, which means you can get your money back if you don’t like their products. However, if you want to really test the waters with the software, it’s worth noting that McAfee only offers this guarantee for 30 days, whereas Webroot gives you 70 days free trial. Both programs are also similar in that they offer you a variety of protection levels for multiple devices, ranging from very basic protection to complete internet security, depending on your budget and needs.

Here are some unique pros that users really like.

McAfee Pros:

  • Plenty of independent lab scores with excellent results
  • Very good protection against phishing websites
  • Well-established company with a good reputation

Webroot Pros:

  • Very fast and lightweight – takes just 6 seconds to install, requires very little space
  • Excellent protection against malware, and able to decrypt ransomware
  • User-friendly central interface to manage multiple devices

With the good, of course, comes the bad.

McAfee Cons:

  • Takes up more storage space and runs more slowly
  • Updates can feel intrusive and slow performance down
  • Software seems less consistent on certain operating systems

Webroot Cons:

  • Limited number of independent lab tests
  • Slightly less effective at detecting phishing websites
  • Company is younger than McAfee (1997 vs 1987)

User experience is also a very important part of deciding which software you will decide to use. Although both McAfee and Webroot received identical scores from the editor of PCMag, there is a significant difference when we compare user ratings. For example, crowd-sourced reviews on TrustRadius gave McAfee an overall score of 6.7, whereas Webroot received an overall score of 8.3


McAfee and Webroot are both well-established antivirus options for protecting your devices against malware and infections. If you choose either of these antivirus programs, you are making a wise choice. There are, however, a few differences which we feel tip the scales slightly in favour of Webroot:

Whereas McAfee has been trading slightly longer and has a few more independent lab tests to its name, Webroot has proved to be just as effective in its own lab tests. Webroot is also considerably faster than McAfee, which has a tendency to slow down computers with low processing power. McAfee and Webroot both score equally in expert reviews, but Webroot boasts a considerably higher user satisfaction score. To top this off, comparing the two products on a like-for-like basis, it works out far less expensive with Webroot.

If you are determined to buy a product which has been around for a little longer, and which has had a few more independent tests, then you should choose McAfee – but if you want a faster and more user-friendly alternative, which offers the same strength of protection at a lower cost, then we would recommend Webroot all the way.

For more advice or IT support services, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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