ESET vs McAfee

by Jake Doevan - -

An increasing number of various cyber threats targeting online users are not a surprise. In order to protect themselves against these threats, users have to use a reliable security and antivirus system that provides not just award-winning antivirus protection but also a decent set of additional features.

However, it could be hard to choose among various offerings and providers. Thus, security researchers at Reviewed by Pro constantly tests new products, in order to provide our readers with up-to-date information and reviews of the latest Internet security and antivirus applicationsprivacy solutionsrecovery tools, and other utilities, not just for your Windows PC, but also for your Mac and Android devices. 

Both ESET and McAfee are well-known in the cybersecurity industry and are used by millions of consumers around the world. If you are struggling to choose between these two, you came to the right place!

ESET or McAfee?

If you do not have time to read the entire article, check out the table below which reveals the main features we have tested and the winner.

ESET offerings are more flexible.
Antivirus protection
McAfee demonstrates slightly better malware detection rates.
Security features
McAfee offers more security, performance and privacy features.
System-performance impact
McAfee demonstrates lower impact on system performances.
User Interface
Both applications are easy to understand and use. 
McAfee has a larger market share.

ESET Overview

ESET[1] has been known for its quality products for a while – established in 1992, it has been awarded to be the best Slovak company three times already. The company is well known for its innovative and comprehensive security and antivirus products for both business users and individual users. 

ESET develops a variety of products for home users covering all major operating systems, including ESET NOD32 AntivirusESET CyberSecurity for MacESET Mobile Security for Android, and iOS devices.



Antivirus protection


Additional features

The suite lacks some premium features that other competitors offer

System-performance impact


Scanning performance

Average scans that have a medium impact on a system

User interface

A bright and very functional user interface

Mcafee Overview

McAfee, Inc is an American-based security software provider which is headquartered in Santa Clara, California, USA.[2]

The company founded in 1987 by John McAfee and was purchased by Intel Corporation in 2011.

Today, McAfee is one of the largest companies and provides a list of comprehensive cybersecurity solutions for home users, small and medium businesses, large enterprises and government institutions.

McAfee offers a range of products for Windows (McAfee Total Protection, McAfee LiveSave), Macs (McAfee Total Protection for Mac), Android (McAfee Mobile Security & Lock for Android), and iOS users, it also secures endpoints, networks, and cloud from viruses, malware, and other security threats.



Antivirus protection

Very good

Additional features

A decent set of extra security and privacy features

System-performance impact



Scans are very informative

User interface

Light and simple


ESET offers a variety of products for Windows devices.

Users can choose from the following:

  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus provides users with basic antivirus features.
  • ESET Internet Security offers advanced protection.
  • ESET Smart Security Premium.

All ESET products:

Products for Home users   Get it
ESET NOD32 Antivirus (PC) from $39.99 for 1 device
ESET Internet Security from $39.99 for 1 device
ESET Smart Security Premium from $39.99 for 1 device
ESET Mobile Security for Android from 29.99 for 1 device
ESET Multi-Device Security from 69.99 for 3 device
Products for MAC users    
ESET Cyber Security Pro (Mac) from $49.99 for 1 device
ESET Cyber Security (Mac) from $39.99 for 1 device
Products for Business users    
ESET Endpoint Protection Standard (for Business)

from $165.00 for 5 devices

ESET Small Business Security Pack (for Business)

from $190.00 for 5 devices

ESET All products for Home Users from 29.99 for 1 device

ESET offers free 30-day trials for all its products.[3]

ESET Installation

McAfee develops a variety of products. When it comes to Windows antivirus, McAfee lets users choose from the following two packages.

  • McAfee LiveSafe
  • McAfee Total Protection

McAfee also offers a 30-day free trial.[4]

McAfee Total Protection


As it was already mentioned before, ESET for PC users offers three packages. The cheapest tier from ESET, NOD32 offers limited feature set and covers basics, such as Anti-Phishing, Exploit Blocker, UEFI Scanner, Ransomware Shield, Free Support, Script-Based Attack Protection, and others.

ESET Internet Security adds features such as Banking and Payment Protection, Firewall, Network Attack Protection, Parental Controls, and others.

Finally, ESET Smart Security Premium offers features as Password Manager and Secure Data.

McAfee Total Protection offers protection up to ten devices and also comes with separated licenses for Android devices, Macs, and iOS handsets. It delivers a premium feature set including antivirus, anti-malware, anti-ransomware, performance features, Firewall, Network Monitoring, ID Theft Protection, Parental Controls, and others.

McAfee LiveSafe adds the same Premium features and can cover an unlimited number of devices.

ESET and McAfee both offer a decent set of features. However, we would like to say that ESET actually has more flexible plans, for those, who only look for a decent antivirus system.

Antivirus protection

ESET and McAfee apply same malware detection techniques for its Windows products. The defenses combine traditional malware-signature matching engine with heuristic monitoring. As a result, antivirus software can detect both widespread and zero-day malware.

All suspicious actors are sent to the companies’ cloud-based servers for further examination.

We installed samples of Windows-based malware and adware in our Windows 10 test PC. All the samples were simply present on the system, as we did not move them from the Downloads folder.

ESET and McAfee were capable of detecting and successfully removing all the malicious actors on our PC.

In addition, we checked how they perform on the bigger tests, conducted by the independent German-based  AV-TEST.[5]

When it comes to ESET, the antivirus did not participate in the most recent, but in the previous tests, ESET NOD32 detected 98.9% of zero-day malware attacks and 100% of widespread and prevalent malware.

McAfee was tested in the most recent test and also demonstrated decent but not perfect malware detection rates of 98.6% and 99.4% against zero-day malware attacks, and 100% of widespread malware. However, in the previous tests, McAfee demonstrated superior 100% detection of both zero-day and widespread malware.

All in one, we can note that McAfee offers slightly more consistent malware detection rates.

System-performance impact and scans

When it comes to using CPU and system resources, we couldn’t say that ESET is a market leader. The boot time takes a few seconds longer than the competition average.

However, it won’t drown your system resources when ESET is running in the background, nor will it cause any problems when it runs a full system scan, as it takes up no more than 9% of RAM memory.

We have also checked AV-TEST results and noted that ESET demonstrated pretty heavy impact on the system. Worth mentioning that ESET did not participate in the most recent test, so the data is taken from the previous tests.

  • Impact on a system when launching popular websites – 8% (13%).
  • Impact on a system while downloading frequently-used applications – 8% (1%).
  • Impact on a system while launching standard software programs – 66% (15%)
  • Impact on a system while installing frequently-used programs – 40% (26%)
  • Impact on a system while copying files 1% (3%)

ESET Antivirus

While McAfee was working in the background, we did not notice any interruptions or lags. In addition, according to AV-TEST, the application a minimal impact on a system

  • Impact on a system when launching popular websites – 4% (13%).
  • Impact on a system while downloading frequently-used applications – 0% (1%).
  • Impact on a system while launching standard software programs – 10% (12%)
  • Impact on a system while installing frequently-used programs – 30 (25%)
  • Impact on a system while copying files 1% (3%)

McAfee Total Protection

As you can see, McAfee demonstrates better performance rates. 

User interface

When it comes to user interface, ESET has a convenient interface and a navigation system. Even though the text is relatively small on some of the settings and options, we had no problem while using the software. 

McAfee also looks bright and light. The main window cannot be resized or run full screen but can be moved around. All the main features appear in the main window, so it is easy to navigate and understand.

We could also mention that the interface of the app is designed very well and it is extremely user-friendly.

Both applications are easy to understand and use. 


According to OPSWAT’s[6] streamlined Windows Anti-malware Market Share Report, which includes the most recent data collected for 6 months from June to December, McAfee is in the second place with 12.58% of the market share, just followed by ESET (9.09%).

Antimalware marketshare report

As you can see in the graph above, other popular products include Avast Software a.sMalwarebytesBitdefender, WebrootKaspersky LabSafer Networking Ltd with SpyBot Search & DestroyAvira, and Symantec with Norton.

As you can see, McAfee is more popular among users than ESET. 

The final verdict

ESET is a decent choice for those who look for advanced malware protection, long and useful feature set and a great navigation system. It is a better choice for those, who look for flexible plans and might need an antivirus without various of features that may seem unnecessary.

McAfee demonstrated a very decent antivirus detection and removal results on Windows PCs. It also has a great set of features and offers unlimited licensing. We highly recommend this security suite for those who want to protect their families under a single license. 

Final thoughts

Even though ESET is one of the best choices in the market, McAfee is a better choice as it offers slightly better malware detection results and great performance rates. It is also a great choice for those who want to protect the entire family or household under a single license.

The table below summarizes our test results.

Manufacturer Detection rate Performance Usability
9 8 10
9 10 10

If you are still not sure which program to choose, our researchers constantly test and review different security applications for Windows, Macs, and Android devices. Check out our Security section and choose the right solution for you!

About the author

Jake Doevan
Jake Doevan - Computer security guru

Jake Doe is a security expert and news editor of His major is Communication and Journalism, which he obtained from the Washington and Jefferson College.

Contact Jake Doevan
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