Malwarebytes vs Norton – Which Is The Best For 2024?

Malwarebytes vs Norton

In this guide, we’ll compare the Malwarebytes vs Norton antivirus solutions and break down their features and functionality to help you decide which one is right for you.

With the ever-present threat of cybercrime online, having a reliable security solution is now essential. Malwarebytes and Norton are two of the biggest names in the industry and sit alongside the best antivirus software products. We’ll explore how they compare when it comes to pricing, security features, add-ons, compatibility, and usability – and which one is best overall.

Norton vs Malwarebytes Compared

Cybercrime rates are on the rise, so it’s wise to use an antivirus program to protect your devices from malware, viruses, ransomware, and other cyber-attacks.

Norton and Malwarebytes both provide protection from malware threats. But which is the best option? Here’s an overview of Norton and Malwarebytes’ key features.

Overview Norton Malwarebytes
Cheapest Plan $2.42/m for 12 months $3.75/m for 12 months
Free Version 30-day trial Free-forever plan
Antivirus Testing Results – 6/6 in usability
– 100% detection of prevalent malware
– 6/6 in usability
– 99.9% detection of widespread malware
Firewall
VPN With upgrade Add-on or with upgrade
Max Devices Supported 10/Unlimited 20
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, Android Windows, Mac, iOS (limited), Android
Money-Back Guarantee 60 days 60 days
Site

Norton Antivirus vs Malwarebytes Price Comparison

Winner: Malwarebytes is cheaper

Price is a major factor when choosing the right antivirus program.

Malwarebytes’s starter plan is Basic Security, which includes malware scanning and an ad blocker. You can also get the Identity Protection and VPN add-ons and upgrade to the Complete Protection package.

Norton Antivirus has six core plans. The cheapest plan, Norton AntiVirus Plus, includes malware protection, a 2GB cloud backup facility, and a password manager. Upgrading to Norton 360 Standard gets you a VPN and data breach monitor, and Norton 360 Deluxe adds parental controls.

There are then three levels of Norton 360 with LifeLock plans that offer increasing identity theft protection features and go from $99.99/yr to $299.88/yr for the first year.

It’s worth noting that Norton offers a significant introductory discount, with the prices of its three cheapest plans doubling on renewal.

Norton Malwarebytes
Free Version 30-day trial of all features Free-forever plan for Windows and Mac – includes scans
Starter Norton AntiVirus Plus
$2.42/m for 12 months (renews at $4.99/m) – malware, ransomware, hacking protection, cloud backup, and password manager
Malwarebytes Basic Security
$3.75/m for 12 months – malware, ransomware, phishing protection, and ad blocking
Advanced Norton 360 Deluxe
$4.17/m for 12 months (renews at $9.99/m) – adds VPN, data breach monitor, and parental controls
+ VPN + 3 devices
$6.67/m for 12 months – adds VPN
Premium Norton 360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus
$24.99/m for 12 months (renews at $29.17/m) – adds extensive identity theft protection
Malwarebytes Complete Protection
$20/m for 12 months – adds data breach monitor and identity theft protection

Norton increases the number of devices you can protect with a subscription from one (Plus) to three (360 Standard) to five (360 Deluxe) to ten (360 with LifeLock Select) and then to unlimited on the highest tier (360 with LifeLock Ultimate Plus).

Malwarebytes supports one device, and you can buy additional licenses for $5 per year for the second device and then $10 per device per year, up to 20 devices.

Norton is available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android, with Malwarebytes matching this but offering limited functionality for iOS.

Norton provides a free trial but does not have a free offering. Malwarebytes has a free-forever antivirus for Windows and Mac. Both providers offer a 60-day money-back guarantee, giving users plenty of time to get used to the systems.

Norton vs Malwarebytes’ Features – Which is Safer?

Winner: Norton has more robust core security features

Cybercrime is a major issue today. with an increasing number of digital threats, ranging from viruses and botnets to phishing attempts and ransomware attacks. Given this, it’s important to have protection in place that matches your needs.

Real-Time Protection and Firewall

Norton’s Insight protection system leverages AI to identify suspicious programs based on similarities to known malware.

By checking for unusual behavior in real time and scanning in the background, Norton can detect zero-day threats that haven’t previously been identified or logged. Norton updates automatically, ensuring your system always has access to the latest virus definitions.

Norton also includes a Smart Firewall and Intrusion Prevention System. The firewall monitors network traffic to identify abnormal behavior and potential attacks that may be attempting to take advantage of vulnerabilities. The second system monitors processes running on your system and can block outgoing traffic.

Norton Antivirus real-time protection
Norton Security History log

The Norton Safe Web browser extension alerts you to spyware and malware on websites you visit. It can also provide a safety rating before you click on a link, alerting you to potential dangers.

Malwarebytes’ real-time protection detects changes made in the system so any suspicious activity can be quickly addressed.

Malwarebytes real-time protection UI
Malwarebytes Premium dashboard

This protects against malware, ransomware, and exploits. The product also provides web protection, and the Browser Guard extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge can augment this by blocking web pages hosting malicious content and in-browser cryptojackers.

It also provides an easier, cleaner web experience on the whole and protects your privacy by blocking ads and third-party ad trackers.

Malwarebytes Browser Guard
Malwarebytes Browser Guard

Malwarebytes doesn’t have its own firewall but relies on those provided by operating system providers.

Anti-Phishing and Anti-Ransomware

If you click on a link in a phishing email, Norton’s Safe Web feature is able to block malicious sites, keeping you out of harm’s way. The platform’s password manager, available with the cheapest account, will also help to keep your accounts secure.

Norton provides anti-ransomware protection as standard, scanning for unusual network activity and unusual behavior on the system. The encrypted cloud backup feature is an added benefit here, as you can ensure important files and folders are backed up so they won’t be lost even if you were to lose access to your device.

Malwarebytes' anti-phishing setup
Malwarebytes’ DNS filtering settings

Malwarebytes provides anti-phishing features, like Norton, to assess and block potentially malicious sites in real time. Its ad blocker can also limit your exposure to pop-ups and other messaging intended to trick users into clicking.

System scans from Malwarebytes also look for malware, spyware, and ransomware so threats can be isolated and removed.

Security Scans

Of course, running virus scans is a core feature of an antivirus product. Norton allows you to run Smart, Quick, Full, and Custom scans, and you can schedule them. There are also options to whitelist files, optimize your device, and run the Power Eraser tool to tackle advanced threats.

Malwarebytes allows you to run a Threat Scan, Custom Scan, or Quick Scan and to schedule scans.

Exploring Norton and Malwarebytes’ Features

Winner: Norton has far more features

Your cybersecurity defenses shouldn’t stop at scanning for malware and removing suspicious files. Fortunately, both Norton and Malwarebytes include a range of features to provide you with digital protection.

Device Performance Optimization

Malwarebytes AdwCleaner finds hidden adware
Malwarebytes AdwCleaner

Malwarebytes’ AdwCleaner is designed to target and remove adware, spyware, PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs), browser hijackers, unwanted toolbars, and other hard-to-remove software installed on your PC. This can help speed up your device and remove potential threats on your system.

Norton, meanwhile, has tools like Startup Manager, File Cleanup, and Optimize Disk to help manage processes like what programs open on startup, removing temporary files and folders, and addressing disk fragmentation.

VPN

Both Norton and Malwarebytes have pretty straightforward VPN features. Norton offers a VPN on its second tier, while Malwarebytes offers it as an add-on.

Malwarebytes VPN
Malwarebytes VPN

Norton has the edge when it comes to VPN coverage, with split tunneling and kill switch features to prioritize traffic and avoid data leaks if your VPN connection fails. Both providers have no-logs policies, committing not to log user data, and use AES-256 encryption to protect users.

Norton Secure VPN
Norton Secure VPN dashboard

Malwarebytes has 500+ servers in 40+ countries around the world, while Norton has servers in 29 countries. Both are adequate for allowing you to browse the web securely and anonymously and to access the internet from other geographic locations.

That said, neither have the advanced features offered by premium providers like Surfshark, ExpressVPN, and NordVPN.

Identity Theft Protection

Norton LifeLock offers some of the most comprehensive identity theft protection services available. The LifeLock Plans include:

Select Advantage Ultimate Plus
$99.99 first yr. ($179.99 renewal) $191.88 first yr. ($249.99 renewal) $299.88 first yr. ($349.99 renewal)
  • LifeLock identity theft protection
  • Stolen Wallet Protection
  • SSN & Credit Alerts
  • Up to $25,000 in stolen funds reimbursement
  • Buy Now Pay Later Fraud Monitoring
  • Identity Lock
  • Bank & Credit Card Activity Alerts
  • Up to $100,000 in stolen funds reimbursement
  • 401(k) & Investment Activity Alerts
  • Home Title Monitoring
  • Up to $1m in stolen funds reimbursement

With the different plans, Norton can monitor and alert you to potential threats to your identity, and if you lose your wallet, Norton can help cancel and replace credit cards and driving licenses.

LifeLock Alerts dashboard
LifeLock Alerts dashboard

Norton also offers a credit monitoring service in which it closely monitors any changes or suspicious activity on your credit reports. Beyond this, there’s monitoring of unusual investment and home title activity and the potential for reimbursement in the event that funds are stolen – providing some solid insurance.

With its Identity Protection add-on (+$8.33/m), Malwarebytes offers similar features with identity monitoring and alerts, white-glove identity recovery and restoration, and $1m in identity insurance.

Purchasing the Complete Protection package, meanwhile, gets you advanced social media monitoring, three-bureau credit reporting, and $2m in identity insurance, in addition to dark web monitoring.

Norton’s Virus Protection Promise

Guaranteed protection or your money back
Norton’s Virus Protection Promise

Norton is apparently so certain of the quality of its product that it offers a Virus Protection Promise – a guaranteed refund if your device gets a virus that Norton can’t remove even with expert assistance.

The guarantee covers Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices, but not IoT devices, and is limited to the subscription purchase cost. It does not cover the cost of damage caused by viruses, however.

Norton’s Password Manager

Given the frequency with which companies are hacked and user password databases are leaked, it’s important to have strong, unique passwords for all your accounts – and using a password manager is a great way to handle this.

Norton includes a password manager with its cheapest account. It’s a convenient and easy-to-use tool that can help you keep your online accounts secure and safe, storing all your usernames and passwords in an encrypted online vault, which is protected by a master password.

Norton's password manager
Norton’s Password Manager

There’s an app and a browser plugin so you can log into your vault whenever you need, with your details being automatically synced. You can use it to store payment details, addresses, and notes, as well as passwords.

The app will also warn you about weak passwords, while Norton’s dark web monitoring features can alert you if your details have been leaked online so you can change them.

Malwarebytes has a free password generator, but it doesn’t provide a password manager.

Malwarebytes vs Norton – Which Devices Are They Compatible With?

Both Norton and Malwarebytes offer comprehensive protection across a wide range of devices. Both are compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

Device/Operating System Norton Antivirus Malwarebytes
Windows Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7 Windows 11, 10, 8.1, 8, 7
macOS Current macOS and previous two versions macOS 10.12 (or higher)
Android Android 8.0 or later Android 9.0 or later
iOS Current iOS and previous two versions iOS, iPadOS 15 and later

Norton’s Mac and Android products don’t include its Cloud Backup, Parental Control, or SafeCam features. On iOS, meanwhile, Malwarebytes provides Scam Blocker web protection features and a VPN, as well as call protection, ad blocking, and text message filtering.

For more details about mobile apps, check our list of the best Android antivirus software.

Are Malwarebytes and Norton Compatible With Each Other?

If you’re wondering if Malwarebytes and Norton are compatible with each other, the short answer is, technically, yes – but it’s really not a good idea to run the two programs at the same time.

The two programs theoretically could work together on the same system, and with separate malware databases, they may catch more potential threats.

Running both at the same time isn’t recommended, though, as it may lead to conflicts, and doubling up on real-time protection may well have a significant impact on the speed of your system, your internet connection, and installation and download processes.

What Do Customers Say – Is Malwarebytes Better Than Norton?

Our team of experts have tested and reviewed a wide range of leading cybersecurity products, but we still like to research customer feedback to get a sense of the long-term user experience. Here’s what Malwarebytes and Norton’s customers have to say about the products.

Norton is one of the most trusted names in cybersecurity and has consistently received great reviews from its users. Customers on GetApp stress that Norton offers an excellent service and also praised its password manager.

GetApp reviews of Norton
A Norton review on GetApp

Other customers said that they appreciated the easy-to-use interface, the product’s reliability, and its reasonable cost. The overall feedback for Norton is very positive. Where users had concerns, they typically related to the range of features available with the product and getting settings right.

On Trustpilot, meanwhile, Norton has 22,000 reviews and a “Great” 4.2/5 rating, with 72% of reviews at four or five stars.

Customers also had positive things to say about Malwarebytes’ performance, interface, and price. Many customers noted that it was simple to navigate and effective in blocking and deleting malicious programs. While users appreciated Malwarebytes’ free service, they did note that it was rather limited.

Malwarebytes has 3,983 reviews on Trustpilot and also has a “Great” 4.2/5 rating, with 85% of reviews at four or five stars.

Both providers offer good protection against cyber threats, but if you’re looking for a more comprehensive service with customer support included, Norton is the better choice.

For more product information, check out our Malwarebytes vs Avast guide and our complete Norton Antivirus review.

Norton vs Malwarebytes − Which is Best in 2024?

Norton Malwarebytes
Price Winner
Security Winner
Features Winner
Compatibility Draw  Draw
Customer reviews Winner
Overall Winner

When it comes to selecting a reliable antivirus solution, Malwarebytes and Norton both have advantages. Malwarebytes has a reliable free solution and is marginally cheaper after Norton’s introductory discount expires.

That said, Norton wins in nearly all other respects. It fares better under testing, has a more comprehensive starting package, and has far more features overall, as well as a firewall. With its introductory discounts in place, its plans are also generally cheaper than those from Malwarebytes or are closely comparable.

That said, Malwarebytes has a free solution and Norton has a 30-day trial, and both offer a 60-day money-back guarantee, so it’s easy to test them and find the product that’s right for you.

How We Tested and Compared Malwarebytes vs Norton

Our team of tech experts have extensively tested both Malwarebytes and Norton 360 to evaluate their features and usability. Our assessment process includes thorough, hands-on testing of the product as well as research into plans, the user experience, and the support available. We looked at:

  • Features – We tested the core security products provided by both providers and weighed up the benefits of all the extra options they included, such as identity theft protection, password managers, and VPNs.
  • Independent antivirus testing – For in-depth lab testing, assessing detection rates, false positives, and performance impact, we’ve researched third-party data published by AV-Tests.
  • Pricing – Value for money is critical, so we looked at Norton 360 vs Malwarebytes in terms of how much their various plans offer at each level.
  • Usability – We took an in-depth look into the user interface of both antivirus programs to assess how easy they are to navigate and how accessible they are to non-technical users.
  • Third-Party Reviews – We cross-referenced customer reviews on sites such as GetApp and Trustpilot to get a better understanding of how users rate both products and the issues they face.
  • Market Context – In addition to comparing Malwarebytes vs Norton 360 directly, we also evaluated them against other products on the market.

How to Choose the Best Antivirus Service

The best antivirus software products often have a wide range of plans and features, so it can be difficult to know how to compare them. Here are some of the key factors we considered when testing cybersecurity products:

  • Independent antivirus testing – Independent testing firms are able to conduct deep research into the performance of antiviruses, giving you concrete data on how they compare against each other for catching malware without slowing down your device.
  • Ease of Use – Products that are easy to use can make your life a whole lot easier – the best solutions should give superpowers to users, whatever their level of experience.
  • Compatibility – If a product doesn’t cover your device or won’t protect your whole digital ecosystem, then it may not be a fit. Consider what you need it to do and what you want to pay for.
  • Key Features – It’s important to look into the features available with each plan. Would a basic subscription be sufficient for your needs, or do you really need to upgrade?
  • Customer Support – Having high-quality support can make the difference between a broken product and something you’ll use for years. Check how easy it is to reach support and what users have said about it.
  • Price – The cost of the product is the bottom line. How much are you willing to pay, what will this get you, and what’s available at that price point in the market?

Additional Antivirus Guides

We’ve tested and compared the leading antivirus products for many different use cases and have created guides to help consumers find the right options for them. Here are some of our top antivirus guides and resources:

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Nick Saraev
Tech and SaaS Expert

Nick Saraev is a writer & entrepreneur who pivoted from a path in medicine to forge a series of successful digital media businesses. He's been featured in Popular Mechanics, Apple News, & Bloomberg, and is an Amazon Kindle best-seller. He has extensive experience in the tech and SaaS industry, writing in-depth guides to help users grasp technical concepts better.