McAfee vs Webroot: Full Antivirus Feature Comparison (2023)

Osama Zahid
Last Updated by Osama Zahid on June 02, 2023

McAfee is among the best antiviruses available, while Webroot offers reliable basic security without compromising performance. So, I tested these antiviruses against each other to learn if Webroot can perform on par with one of the best security apps.

After thorough tests, I found that Webroot has many strengths, like its lightweight design and 70-day money-back guarantee. However, I also learned that McAfee outperforms Webroot in most categories, including malware detection, customer support, and more.

So, while Webroot is a good choice if you want a light antivirus for basic security on all platforms, McAfee is the superior security app. It has a 100% malware detection rate, a customizable firewall, a built-in VPN, and more. Plus, you can try McAfee risk-free with its 30-day money-back guarantee.

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No Time? Here’s a 1-Minute Summary of Category Winners

McAfee performs better than Webroot in most cases. It detects more malware via scans, offers better real-time security, and includes a much larger variety of features. Webroot has its strengths, like its lightweight design and an impressive money-back guarantee, but McAfee is the better overall choice.

McAfee logo
Webroot logo
Virus Scanner Detects 100% of malware via its virus scans Offers multiple virus scans but only detects 95% of malware
Real-Time Malware Protection Blocks 100% of real-time threats and zero-day malware Misses multiple real-time threats
System Performance Causes minor slowdowns Lightweight security app that doesn’t impact system performance
VPN Has a built-in VPN with AES 256-bit encryption Does not offer a VPN
Parental Controls McAfee’s Safe Family parental controls provide various tools to protect children Does not come with parental controls
Firewall Has an intuitive firewall with many customization options Has a firewall but it doesn’t include customization options
Password Manager Comes with a reliable built-in password manager Provides the LastPass password manager
Gaming Mode Doesn’t offer a gaming mode Has a specific plan for gamers, but it doesn’t provide any benefits
Optimization Tools Has multiple tools that help improve overall performance Includes a System Optimizer tool, but it only helps free up space
Other Features Offers features like a network monitor, file shredder, app updater, and more Includes a sandbox environment for testing unsafe apps and provides up to 25GB of cloud storage
Device Compatibility Works on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android Secures Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices
Customer Service 24/7 live chat, phone support, and an online knowledge base Phone support, email support, and an online knowledge base
Price Excellent value for money on all plans Doesn’t offer the best value for its price
Free Trial 30-day free trial that requires a credit card 14-day-long free trial that doesn’t require a credit card
Money-Back Guarantee 30-day money-back guarantee 70-day money-back guarantee

Protect your devices with McAfee

How I Tested and Compared McAfee vs Webroot

  1. Virus Scanner — I tested the virus scanners in both antiviruses to see which app detects more malware.
  2. Real-Time Malware Protection — I analyzed how effectively each app blocks real-time threats and zero-day malware.
  3. System Performance — I tested both apps’ impact on overall performance and checked if they cause slowdowns.
  4. VPN — I checked if these antiviruses have VPNs and whether their VPNs offer security and anonymity online.
  5. Parental Controls — I looked at whether these antiviruses provide parental controls and how effectively they safeguard children.
  6. Firewall — I analyzed both apps’ firewalls to see which one offers more security and customization options.
  7. Password Manager — I compared the password managers in both antiviruses to check which one offers better protection for sensitive credentials.
  8. Gaming Mode — I checked if these apps offer gaming modes and if these modes benefit gaming performance in any way.
  9. Optimization Tools — I looked at whether either antivirus offers optimization tools and if these tools improve system performance.
  10. Other Features — I looked at which app offers more security features.
  11. Device Compatibility — I checked which antivirus protects more platforms.
  12. Customer Service — I contacted each app’s customer support through all available channels to see which one offers more help when needed.
  13. Price — I compared price plans to learn antivirus offers more value for money.
  14. Free Trial — I looked at which app offers a better free trial option.
  15. Money-Back Guarantee — I checked if these antiviruses offer money-back guarantees so people can try them risk-free.

Secure your system with McAfee

1. Virus Scanner — McAfee Detects All Malware via Its Scans

I started by testing each app’s various virus scanners to see how effectively they can find and remove malware from your system. I learned that McAfee’s scans are better at detecting and eliminating viruses because they found 100% of the malware on my device. Webroot also has a decent 95% malware detection score, but it isn’t nearly as good as McAfee.

You’ll get the following virus scans with these security apps:

McAfee Webroot
Quick Scan Quick Scan
Full Scan Full Scan
Custom Scan Deep Scan
Custom Scan

One difference between both apps’ scan options is that Webroot also offers a Deep Scan. The app says that the Deep Scan finds rootkits, Trojans, and other malware that other scans can’t detect. However, McAfee is still the superior choice because it doesn’t need this extra scan. Instead, McAfee discovers all threats via its Full Scan, including deeply hidden ones.

One thing worth noting is that Webroot’s scans are faster than McAfee’s. Its Quick Scan takes under a minute, while McAfee’s Quick Scan can take up to 5 minutes. However, this isn’t much of an advantage considering that Webroot’s scans failed to detect several malicious test files I planted on my computer.

Overall, McAfee wins in this category as its scans are a lot more effective, even though they’re a bit slower than Webroot’s scans.

Virus Scanner Winner: McAfee

Remove malware with McAfee

2. Real-Time Malware Protection — McAfee’s Real-Time Security Blocks All Zero-Day Malware

While both these apps offer effective tools for real-time security, I found that McAfee is better at blocking malware before it infects your system.

Based on self-testing and data from AV-TEST, an independent organization that evaluates antivirus performance, McAfee has a 100% malware detection rate against real-time threats. Plus, it offers effective web protection, ransomware protection, phishing protection, and more to secure your system. In my tests, McAfee blocked all malware samples I attempted to download. However, I want to highlight that it also flagged a few safe files as malicious, meaning its protection isn’t flawless.

McAfee offers reliable security via its real-time scans

McAfee offers reliable security via its real-time scans

Webroot also has an impressive variety of tools to secure your system against real-time threats. It includes a web shield, rootkit shield, script shield, and other features you can toggle on and off with a click. Unfortunately, Webroot’s real-time security wasn’t as good as McAfee’s during my tests, as it failed to block multiple cyber threats from infecting my system.

Independent testing carried out by SE Labs, another reputable independent organization that carefully evaluates security products, corroborated my findings and gave Webroot an accuracy of 86%.

Webroot provides multiple tools for real-time protection

Webroot provides multiple tools for real-time protection

McAfee’s 100% detection rate against real-time threats makes it the winner here.

Real-Time Malware Protection Winner: McAfee

Stay safe with McAfee

3. System Performance — Webroot Consumes Fewer System Resources

In my tests, I found that Webroot is a lightweight antivirus and takes fewer system resources compared to McAfee. To determine the lighter antivirus, I did tasks like opening sites and copying files while they idled in the background with only real-time protection active.

The following table highlights the slowdowns you can expect when using these apps:

McAfee Webroot
Slowdown when opening websites 26% 12%
Slowdown when copying files locally 2% 7%
Slowdown when launching applications 22% 9%

McAfee has a bigger impact on performance than Webroot, especially when opening websites and launching apps.

Besides this, I looked at the resources these apps consume while idle and during full scans. I got the following results:

Idle CPU Usage
Idle Memory Usage
Idle Disk Usage
Full Scan CPU Usage (Max) Full Scan Memory Usage
Full Scan Disk Usage
McAfee 2% 160MB 1MB/s 39% 383MB 124MB/s
Webroot 3% 68MB 2MB/s 24% 262MB 86MB/s

While both apps have similar resource consumption while idle, McAfee uses more resources during scans. So, Webroot wins in this category.

System Performance Winner: Webroot

Protect your system with Webroot

4. VPN — McAfee Offers a VPN to Keep You Safe and Anonymous Online

Of both choices, only McAfee offers a built-in VPN. It has an effective VPN that uses industry-standard AES 256-bit encryption and doesn’t keep logs of your activity, thus keeping you completely anonymous.

McAfee’s built-in VPN lets you safely and anonymously surf the web

McAfee’s built-in VPN lets you safely and anonymously surf the web

During tests, I was very pleased with McAfee’s VPN. It offers servers across 40+ countries, and each server performs very well. Even on the long-distance US server, I only experienced a 15% drop in connection speeds compared to my baseline values. So, connection speeds while connected to McAfee’s VPN remained fast enough for lag-free UHD streaming and smooth browsing.

Since McAfee’s VPN performs so well and Webroot doesn’t even have one, McAfee wins here.

VPN Winner: McAfee

Surf the web safely with McAfee

5. Parental Controls — You Can Easily Safeguard and Monitor Your Children Using McAfee

Webroot doesn’t include parental controls. On the other hand, McAfee has a feature-rich parental control suite called Safe Family that makes it easy to keep your kids safe. It has an array of tools you can use to track and manage your kids’ online activity.

You can easily monitor your kids’ activity using McAfee’s Safe Family parental controls

You can easily monitor your kids’ activity using McAfee’s Safe Family parental controls

You can set up McAfee Safe Family by manually downloading the app onto your children’s devices. Once set up, you can use the controls to block malicious apps or websites, limit screen time, view browser history, and even track your kids’ location.

Among the best features of McAfee’s parental controls is that they offer location-based notifications. So, they’ll immediately notify you if your child leaves or enters a designated area.

Despite Webroot not even competing in this category, McAfee’s excellent parental controls make it the clear winner of this round.

Parental Controls Winner: McAfee

Safeguard your children with McAfee

6. Firewall — McAfee’s Firewall Is More Intuitive and Offers Several Customization Options

Although you’ll get a firewall with both security apps, McAfee’s firewall stands out as it is far more customizable. It has an intuitive interface and a variety of toggles that let you adjust the settings to your preferences. Plus, it offers a Traffic Controller feature to manage which apps have internet access and a Net Guard feature to monitor and control connections.

McAfee’s firewall has various customization options

McAfee’s firewall has various customization options

Besides the customization, McAfee’s firewall includes a Net Guard feature that lets you choose what connections to allow, thus securing you against risky ones. On the other hand, Webroot’s firewall offers decent baseline security, but I was disappointed to learn that you can’t customize it in any way.

Screenshot of Webroot's firewall settings

You can’t configure Webroot’s firewall settings to your liking

All things considered, McAfee’s firewall wins here as it’s more secure and customizable.

Firewall Winner: McAfee

Protect your computer with McAfee

7. Password Manager — Both Apps Offer Reliable Password Managers

You’ll get a great password manager with both antiviruses, and you can’t go wrong with either one. McAfee’s True Key password manager offers storage for passwords, credit cards, and other sensitive information. I especially like how easy it is to use and how neatly organized the menus are.

McAfee’s TrueKey password manager lets you store your logins and safely use them online

McAfee’s TrueKey password manager lets you store your logins and safely use them online

Webroot’s password manager is powered by LastPass, meaning you can expect top-grade performance as LastPass is among the renowned names in this space. It also has an intuitive design, and you can organize all your passwords by category, thus making them easier to find.

Webroot is equipped with LastPass’ password manager

Webroot is equipped with LastPass’ password manager

Both apps’ password managers include key security features like multi-factor authentication and AES 256-bit encryption, so your passwords will always remain secure.

Overall, it’s a tie here since both these apps offer effective password managers with airtight security for your credentials.

Password Manager Winner: Tie

8. Gaming Mode — Neither Antivirus Has an Effective Gaming Mode

You won’t get an effective gaming mode with either antivirus. While Webroot has a gaming-focused plan called Webroot AntiVirus for Gamers, it doesn’t provide any real benefits or new features.

On the other hand, McAfee doesn’t offer a gaming mode or any gaming-focused plans at all.

So, since neither of these antiviruses comes with an effective gaming mode, it’s a tie in this category.

Gaming Mode Winner: Tie

9. Optimization Tools — McAfee’s Optimization Tools Provide Noticeable Performance Boosts

Although both apps offer their share of optimization tools, I found McAfee’s tools a lot more effective. McAfee includes App Boost and Web Boost features for optimization, which work by speeding up app launches and making websites load faster.

Webroot’s only optimization tool is its System Optimizer, which doesn’t really improve performance. It finds junk files to delete and clears space on your system, which is always a good thing, but that’s all it does.

Webroot’s System Optimizer only helps free up space by deleting junk files

Webroot’s System Optimizer only helps free up space by deleting junk files

Since Webroot’s only optimization tool is a junk remover, McAfee wins with its App and Web Boost features.

Optimization Tools Winner: McAfee

Optimize system performance with McAfee

10. Other Features — You’ll Get a Wider Variety of Features With McAfee

Each of these antiviruses has its share of extra features for additional protection. However, McAfee offers more tools to secure you against cyber threats.

McAfee’s extra features include the following:

  • File Shredder — lets you safely delete files so they’re no longer accessible.
  • ID Theft Protection — checks if your passwords or other information was leaked in data breaches.
  • Tracker Remover — removes trackers, cookies, and other files that cloud track your online activity and build a profile on you.
  • Secure Apps — removes vulnerabilities by ensuring you have updated versions of your apps and OS.

I like that the File Shredder offers multiple shredding options, thus letting you choose exactly how many times you want to shred a file. I advise choosing the Safe or Complete options for sensitive files you don’t want anyone else to access.

McAfee’s File Shredder is a useful tool for safely deleting files

McAfee’s File Shredder is a useful tool for safely deleting files

As for Webroot, it has the following additional features:

  • SafeStart Sandbox — provides a secure environment where you can test files that may be malicious.
  • Cloud Storage — offers up to 25GB of cloud storage for sensitive files and data.
  • ID Monitoring — secures your identity and monitors the dark web to check for leaked credentials.

Screenshot of Webroot's SafeStart Sandbox feature

You can use Webroot’s Sandbox to test potentially dangerous files

While both apps offer multiple extra tools for protection, McAfee wins here as it offers a larger feature variety.

Other Features Winner: McAfee

Safeguard your system with McAfee

11. Device Compatibility — You Can Use Both Security Apps on All Major Platforms

I was pleased to learn you can use McAfee and Webroot on all major platforms. Both options offer security apps for Windows, macOS, iOS/iPadOS, and Android, meaning you can use them to protect all your devices.

In my tests, I found all of McAfee’s apps easy to install and use. It only takes a few minutes to set them up on any platform, and they have intuitive interfaces for easy access to all features. Webroot’s apps are also easy to set up. Whether it’s on desktop or mobile platforms, you can easily install Webroot and use its features.

Since both antiviruses offer intuitive apps for all major platforms, it’s a tie here.

Device Compatibility Winner: Tie

12. Customer Service — McAfee’s Customer Support Has More Options and Feels More Responsive

Although both antiviruses have multiple customer support channels, McAfee has more options and feels more responsive.

Although McAfee’s support isn’t as fast as top choices like Norton, it’s fairly responsive and will provide the help you need to resolve most issues. I frequently contacted its live chat support and connected to an agent within a few minutes. The agents are knowledgeable, helpful, and always ready to assist in any way they can. McAfee also offers phone support and community forums for additional help.

McAfee’s customer support makes it easy to get the help you need

McAfee’s customer support makes it easy to get the help you need

Webroot’s customer service includes phone support, email support, and an online knowledge base. The obvious downside is that it doesn’t offer live chat, which many people prefer. Also, its phone support is only available in the US, UK, Australia, and Ireland. Thankfully, Webroot’s email support is helpful, and I got a detailed answer to my question when I contacted it.

You won’t get a 24/7 live chat option with Webroot

You won’t get a 24/7 live chat option with Webroot

Since McAfee provides 24/7 live chat besides its other support channels, it beats Webroot in this category.

Customer Service Winner: McAfee

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13. Price — You’ll Get Better Value for Money With McAfee’s Plans

Both antiviruses have multiple well-priced plans, but I found that McAfee offers more value for money. Starting at just $44.99/year, it has the following plans:

  • Total Protection Plus — provides McAfee’s core antivirus, firewall, web protection, password manager, ID monitoring, file shredder, and VPN for up to 5 devices.
  • McAfee+ Premium — provides everything in Total Protection Plus, access to McAfee’s Personal Data Cleanup scans, and protects up to 10 devices.
  • McAfee+ Advanced — includes McAfee+ Premium’s features, has McAfee’s full-service Personal Data Cleanup, lost wallet protection, $1M ID theft coverage, and monthly credit reports.
  • McAfee+ Ultimate — offers McAfee’s credit lock, daily credit reports, and $25K ransomware coverage besides everything in McAfee+ Advanced.

While you’ll get great value with any of its plans, I suggest getting McAfee Total Protection Plus because it includes every important security feature and protects up to 5 devices. On the other hand, you’ll get the following plans with Webroot:

  • SecureAnywhere Antivirus — protects 1 device with Webroot’s core antivirus and firewall (Windows only).
  • Internet Security Plus — secures up to 3 devices (all platforms) with Webroot’s antivirus, firewall, and web protection.
  • Internet Security Complete — includes Webroot’s optimization tools and all the features in Internet Security Plus. Also, it protects up to 5 devices.
  • Webroot Premium — provides all the above features and includes Webroot’s ID theft protection.

I found Webroot Internet Security Plus the best value plan of all available options. You can protect more devices with Internet Security Complete and Webroot Premium, but the extra price isn’t worth it for the features you get.

All things considered, McAfee wins here as its plans offer much more value for money.

Price Winner: McAfee

Secure your devices with McAfee

14. Free Trial — McAfee’s Free Trial Is Twice as Long as Webroot’s

Both McAfee and Webroot offer a free trial, but McAfee’s free trial is much longer. McAfee gives you a 30-day-long free trial to try the app’s premium features completely risk-free. On the other hand, Webroot’s free trial is only 14 days long, meaning you won’t have a lot of time to try all its features.

Besides the length, another difference between both apps’ trials is that McAfee requires you to sign up with a credit card for its trial, while Webroot doesn’t. To try Webroot, just sign up with your email, download the antivirus, and start using it.

So, while you can use Webroot’s trial without a credit card, I consider McAfee the winner because its free trial is over twice as long.

Free Version Winner: McAfee

Protect your system with McAfee

15. Money-Back Guarantee — Webroot Offers a Much Longer Money-Back Guarantee

Both antiviruses offer money-back guarantees, but Webroot’s 70-day money-back guarantee is much longer. This is the longest money-back guarantee I’ve seen an antivirus offer, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to try Webroot’s features completely risk-free.

Of course, McAfee also offers an impressive 30-day-long money-back guarantee, which should give you plenty of time to try its features.

I also like that it’s easy to refund both antiviruses. I refunded McAfee via phone call and had my money back within 7 business days. On the other hand, you can refund Webroot by filling out the refund request form on its website. I had my money back within 36 hours of refunding Webroot, which was much quicker than I expected.

While both antiviruses offer money-back guarantees, Webroot wins here because of its longer guarantee and faster refunds.

Money-Back Guarantee Winner: Webroot

Try Webroot risk-free for 70 days

And the Winner Is… McAfee

After thorough testing, I found McAfee to be the superior overall antivirus. McAfee wins in 10 categories, Webroot wins in 2, and both apps are tied in 3 categories.

Webroot is a decent antivirus with multiple highlights. For instance, it’s a great choice if you want to protect devices on all platforms with a lightweight antivirus that doesn’t slow down performance. Plus, its 70-day-long money-back guarantee gives you lots of time to try Webroot risk-free.

However, McAfee is better for comprehensive security against all cyber threats. It offers 100% malware detection via scans and against real-time threats, features like a built-in VPN and customizable firewall, and better customer support. Best of all, you can try McAfee risk-free as it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Overall Winner: McAfee

Secure your system with McAfee

How To Use McAfee’s Free Trial on Windows

The following steps let you install McAfee on Windows and use its trial to test all the app’s premium features. I’m using McAfee’s Windows antivirus as it’s the most popular choice for this app’s users. Of course, you can also install it on macOS, iOS, and Android.

  1. Choose the free trial on McAfee’s website — Open McAfee’s website and click on the 30-day free trial button.
    Screenshot showing the 30-day free trial option on McAfee's website
  2. Enter your details to start the trial — Enter your email address and payment details to start the trial. Your card won’t be charged until the trial expires.
    Screenshot showing the sign-up page for McAfee's 30-day free trial
  3. Download McAfee’s setup — You’ll be taken to the download page after subscribing. Click on Download to get McAfee’s setup.
    Screenshot showing the download button after subscribing to McAfee's free trial
  4. Install McAfee — Run McAfee’s setup, click on Install, and follow the steps to install the security app on your system.
    Screenshot showing the first step of McAfee's setup
  5. Use McAfee to secure your system — After installing McAfee, you can use its virus scans, firewall, VPN, and various other features to safeguard your system.
    Screenshot of McAfee after it's installed on Windows

Try McAfee risk-free for 30-days

FAQs About McAfee vs Webroot

Is McAfee better than Webroot?

Yes, McAfee is better than Webroot. It offers higher malware detection via scans, better real-time security, a customizable firewall, and a better variety of features. Plus, McAfee’s customer support has a 24/7 live chat option, while Webroot’s support doesn’t.

There are also other top antiviruses that provide airtight security. These offer excellent malware detection, advanced security features, and more to safeguard against cyber threats.

Can McAfee remove viruses effectively?

Yes, McAfee’s virus scans effectively find and remove viruses from your system. It offers multiple scans and a 100% malware detection rate, so it’ll detect and eliminate any cyber threats on your system. Plus, it has equally effective real-time security to block any further infections.

Can I trust Webroot?

Yes, Webroot is a trustworthy antivirus with various strengths and a long history of securing devices against cyber threats with a lightweight malware detection engine. However, it’s not the best overall option for airtight protection. It doesn’t have a perfect malware detection rate and is missing advanced security features like a customizable firewall.

For comprehensive security, I suggest you get a top antivirus like Norton. Norton offers industry-leading 100% malware detection, a built-in VPN, and other advanced features, which we’ve discussed in our in-depth Norton review.

How does McAfee and Webroot protection compare?

Overall, McAfee offers superior protection compared to Webroot. McAfee detects more malware via its scans, offers better real-time security, includes a customizable firewall, and has other features for better protection.

Can I get a free antivirus instead?

You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Premium antiviruses like McAfee offer more security features, better malware detection scores, more responsive customer support, and several other highlights at a reasonable cost.

While there are a few good free antiviruses you can get, I advise choosing a premium security app if you want comprehensive security.

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