About a million new viruses appear on the internet every day. Maybe 10 million. It’s a lot, anyway.
These binary threats can infiltrate your computer or phone, steal your personal information, and cause irreparable damage to your devices.
The only way to protect yourself from these digital beasts is to find a reliable, professional antivirus program that keeps itself up-to-date so it can recognize and neutralize all the latest threats.
How can you know what is the best antivirus software on the web right now?
You’ve come to the right place. We’ve created a comprehensive list of the 10 most effective, merciless virus-annihilating applications in the world.
Go through our entries, see what features they have to offer, and choose the one that best suits your needs. It’s time to take your system’s security into your own hands.
Bitdefender’s dashboard is fairly simple and clean with only a handful of buttons on the left sidebar and a couple of fully customizable quick actions in the main window. That means that you can choose what you want to prioritize and make the whole experience run smoothly with a minimum of effort.
Bitdefender antivirus software allows you to perform various scans to ferret out malware and identify system vulnerabilities. You can also create a custom scan if you suspect a certain folder, database, document, or application is infected. Bitdefender’s thorough scans are able to catch most, if not all, threats. Results from AV-TEST show that Bitdefender slows down your PC by about 19%. This isn’t a major concern, but it’s not great either.
The software’s network threat prevention feature identifies and shores up your system’s exploitable weaknesses before viruses can get inside. The antiphishing system prevents the sending of personal information without using the best encryption software. It guards against brute-force attacks that aim to guess your password using trial-and-error methods.
This antivirus program offers support for all the major operating systems, including Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. This means that Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is also compatible with Windows 10, which was a major concern for a number of online users. If your computer automatically upgrades to Windows 10, Bitdefender will do so as well.
Bitdefender offers some basic VPN features that you can upgrade if you want to get past the free 200MB limit, which covers only very light browsing. The program’s anti-ransomware system quickly tracks down threats and restores your encrypted data.
A basic one-year subscription to Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 costs first-time buyers $39.98 and covers three devices. This is a great offer because it lets you save $20 and it provides all the protection you need.
If you’re not all that tech-savvy and you want to make sure your antivirus program is installed and set up properly, Bitdefender even offers an “Install & Setup” option that summons a remote team of experts to help you out.
Like other top programs, Norton implements a clean and simple design that effectively uses a color system for diagnostics. If every section is green when you open the program, you have nothing to worry about. The sections are Security, Online Safety, Backup, and Performance. They cover all the basics you need without burdening you with too much information.
Norton antivirus scans are quite thorough and they don’t affect the computer’s performance too much. There are many scans to choose from, starting with full system scans that are effective but rather slow. In addition to quick and custom scans, you can also use Norton Power Eraser for complicated infections, as well as Norton Insight, which marks trusted files to save you time. Finally, there’s the Diagnostic Report scan that basically analyzes itself to check for any internal problems.
AV Test results show that Norton’s best antivirus software is more than capable of dealing with all the latest online threats, including malware attacks, malicious links on the web, and email infections. Even though it’s been a weak point for Norton in the past, phishing protection is now performing very effectively. There’s even a “scam insights” feature that explains potential security leaks on websites you visit.
Norton Security works on all the major operating systems and devices, so you can get Norton antivirus for Mac as well as Windows, Android, and iOS. However, if you’re using an ancient version of Windows (for example Vista or XP) you won’t get all the latest product updates. You will, however, still get the most recent malware definitions to keep you protected from new threats.
Norton 360 offers a Safe Cam feature that warns you if someone is trying to spy on you. Essentially, it’s Norton’s answer to the low-tech solution of sticking a piece of duct tape over your camera. The Dark Web Monitoring feature notifies you if your personal information somehow shows up on the dark web. Of course, Norton also offers secure VPN browsing for people who are willing to go with a slightly more advanced plan.
The least expensive of Norton’s products is the $39.99 Norton Antivirus Plus, which lets you use it on just one device – not including mobile phones. This is a somewhat steep price, especially since it is a first-year discount from $59.99 and you can’t use it on Android or iOS.
McAfee’s antivirus interface is easy to navigate with categories like the device’s security status and performance at the top of the screen and scanning options at the bottom. The center of the screen offers useful security suggestions and a huge checkmark on the left tells you that everything is all right. The interface also lists all the devices that are currently under the program’s protection, which turns out to be a handy feature.
Antivirus McAfee-style means using a cloud-based threat analyzer that doesn’t burden your system or cause it to slow down. That said, the initial full system scan is quite slow. It can take longer than two hours, which is just too much. Subsequent scans are a lot faster but still around the industry average, which isn’t that great.
The anti-phishing feature works exceptionally well, along with Ransom Guard, which specializes in protecting your system from ransomware. Real-time protection usually gets rid of all the threats, but if anything manages to slip in, the best ransomware protection takes over and removes the threat instantly. The feature also makes a copy of the file just in case there’s been a mistake and the wrong file was deleted.
McAfee Antivirus is compatible with all the major devices including PCs, Macs, smartphones, and even tablets. The fact that one program work on so many devices is a huge plus for McAfee and the company’s developers.
This antivirus comes with its own, reliable McAfee firewall that uses Smart Access mode to automatically protect you from attacks. You don’t need to deal with annoying notifications or make tough decisions because the firewall does it for you quietly. The My Network page is another great aspect of McAfee software: It shows you not only the devices that are currently protected by it but also devices that aren’t under its protection. It’s a great way to monitor the safety of all your devices in one place.
Before we get into the prices, we should acknowledge the fact that McAfee’s website makes a bold claim that they will remove your viruses or give you your money back. McAfee Antivirus Plus costs $54.99 (which is a $5 discount for new users) and it covers up to 10 devices. If you need more features and a higher level of protection, you can go for Total Protection, which costs even less for new customers ($44.99) but comes back strong at renewal time ($109.99).
The Webroot interface is intuitive and user-friendly. The main part of the welcome screen provides information about previous and future computer scans, while the sidebar offers self-explanatory setting options. The “learn more” button will help you understand option; you can also access the Webroot community from the main menu and get advice from other users. The color scheme is a clear indicator of whether everything is in order (green) or not (red).
The first thing you’ll notice about Webroot SecureAnywhere system scans is the fact that they are incredibly fast. This software does a full computer scan within minutes, while other programs need a couple of hours or more. The high speed of the scans doesn’t seem to reduce their effectiveness. SecureAnywhere automatically recommends scans when it spots a problem, making sure there aren’t any traces of the threat left.
When it comes to online, real-time threat prevention, SecureAnywhere doesn’t seem to be as proactive as some other programs. While it does deal with all the problems that appear, you’ll notice a lack of instant reaction. The same can be said about its ability to recognize ransomware – it keeps a watchful eye, but at times you have to take the initiative. You can’t exactly call the system beginner-friendly.
Webroot SecureAnywhere antivirus is compatible with all desktop and mobile devices, but if you want to secure phones and tablets you’ll need the to upgrade to the Internet Security package. It protects up to five devices, including Android and iOS phones. You could also opt for the wi-fi security and antivirus protection package, which provides the best VPN service to secure connections for all devices.
Webroot has a completely separate product dedicated to keeping PC gamers safe, which is why many call it the best antivirus software of 2019. The selling point here is that the antivirus not only protects you without interfering with your gaming but also improves your PC’s performance. Webroot also has an interesting feature for advanced users – SafeStart Sandbox. It lets you start a suspicious program in a controlled environment to see how it will behave. That way you can see exactly what aspect of a program displays suspicious behavior and how it might be harmful to your computer.
Webroot has an assortment of customizable prices so you can choose exactly what level of protection you need, on how many devices, and for how many years. The one-year subscription for the basic antivirus program on one computer will set you back $29.99. Internet security packages help secure online shopping and banking for a bit more cash.
Don’t expect anything flashy or complicated from the Kaspersky user interface; this company is all about the functionality. The welcome screen contains four main sections: Scan, Database Update, Reports, and On-Screen Keyboard. The first three are self-explanatory. The fourth is an interesting safety feature that prevents spyware from tracking your keystrokes on the hardware keyboard. It is an added layer of protection that shows you just how serious Kaspersky is about your security.
In order to prevent future threats, Kaspersky anti-virus uses a vulnerability scan that locates weak points in your system and patches them up one by one. Kaspersky’s System Watcher is an added security measure that monitors suspicious activities on the computer even when real-time protection is turned off. This component launches early during the boot-up process, so there’s little chance that any threats can bypass it. After scanning your system and dealing with malware, Kaspersky’s best malware removal mechanism goes through everything again to find and fix damage.
Real-time protection monitors not only your online browsing and potential threats but also internal changes on the computer, installation of harmful files, and execution of suspicious programs. You can boost the thoroughness of the monitor, but your system’s power consumption will go up too.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus is available on all major devices and operating systems. That said, the basic antivirus subscription lets you use the software only on PCs. For Macs and mobile phones you need a slightly larger package. Every package allows you to increase the number of devices and extend the plan’s duration, making it easy to customize plans based on your wishes.
Kaspersky’s privacy cleaner isn’t groundbreaking but it is useful. Besides the usual cleanup of history and cookies, this tool attempts to get rid of any tracks you might have left on the web. Kaspersky also has a rescue disc feature
Kaspersky antivirus 2019 costs about the same as products from other companies. For $29.99, new customers get a one-year subscription for three PCs. In this case, the basic protection isn’t our recommendation. For just $10 more, you get protection for all devices and your online transactions, which is pretty important in today’s world. For another ten bucks you can add parental control, a password manager, and a file protection system. Overall, if you’re going to go with Kaspersky, you’re better off choosing some of the bigger packages.
There is something inherently creepy yet reassuring about the Eset NOD32’s cyborg “mascot” and the way it stares at you from the software’s welcome screen. We could say that the main page doesn’t effectively use its space because you can scan your system and update the program both from the blue panels at the bottom and the menu on the left. The sidebar also gives you access to tools, settings, and support. That leaves a lot of screen space unused.
Eset NOD32’s first full system scan lasts for more than an hour, which can’t exactly be considered fast. However, it gets faster with every subsequent scan as the software learns what programs and disk sectors are trustworthy. Interestingly, the antivirus doesn’t seem to have a quick scan option, which most security programs do. That said, you can create one yourself through customization if you know what you’re doing.
Eset’s Host-Based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS) is intended to protect critical parts of your system. The real-time file-system protection monitors your computer and allows you to customize which files you want to scan.
Eset NOD32 antivirus offers a number of device-specific products as well as a multi-device options for users who need diverse protection. You can find specific products for Windows, Mac, and Android, while multi-device also puts Linux into the mix. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be iOS support, so you won’t be able to hide your iPhone under NOD32’s umbrella.
The Device Control feature allows you to block access to certain devices – a handy tool for businesses that are concerned about privacy and security. There is also the malware cleaner, which aims to fix any damage caused by removed malware. Besides that, there is an interesting SysInspector tool that gives you a comprehensive report on your PC’s configuration. It is a great way to keep track of your computer’s condition.
The best antivirus software for Windows 10 this company has to offer costs $39.99. It offers support for a single Windows device. You can get a discount if you subscribe for a longer period of time, but the price is still on the expensive side. Every additional device will cost you $10 more, and you can add up to 5 devices – making the one-year subscription cost $79.99. On the other hand, antivirus protection for Android is fairly inexpensive at just $14.99 a year.
Trend Micro’s antivirus software design is extremely simple but not entirely intuitive. At the center of the screen is a round button with Scan written on it, plus four tiny icons: Device, Privacy, Data, and Family. You might think that the family button will lead you to some form of parental control within the program but you’d be wrong. It directs you to the software upgrade page. Strange.
One thing you’ll notice immediately is that Trend Micro antivirus scans very slowly. It is not just the initial scan that takes ages but later ones as well. Despite the lack of speed, the scans do a good job of identifying system threats.
Phishing websites aren’t that much of a threat to overall security, but they can be quite a nuisance, especially for beginners. Trend Micro internet security is especially good at tracking and blocking phishing sites. In order to fight a slightly more serious issue – ransomware – the software uses a protection system that works on a number of different levels. The most important feature is the Folder Shield, which prevents unauthorized changes to specific folders and directories.
Trend Micro is compatible with all major devices, but if you want to use them all you have to go with the maximum security plan. The program is available on desktop computers, laptops, Macs, tablets, Android systems, and iPhone devices.
When it comes to online financial transactions, you can never be too careful. That is why it’s important that your antivirus program also has a reliable way of protecting your money. Micro Trend offers PayGuard, which is widely used around the web. Another interesting feature is Mute Mode, which blocks notifications while you’re gaming, watching a movie, or simply don’t want to be disturbed.
With the most basic one-year PC subscription priced at $29.95, you can give one PC device the best antivirus protection and use PayGuard for online transactions. The same goes for Mac devices. Ten dollars more will get you parental controls and social media privacy, but if you want to use the program on additional devices, you will need to go for the maximum security option: $49.95. Keep in mind that these are special discounts for new customers. The full price is a bit higher.
The F-Secure interface is uncomplicated and clear, so it’s highly unlikely you’ll have problems finding your way around. There is a main screen that lets you know you’re protected, along with a blue button for launching scans. A tab on the left lets you access the tools page and that’s it.
The in-depth full scan takes about an hour, which is more or less average. Like any other professional antivirus program, F-Secure optimizes subsequent scans so they are faster. It successfully locates numerous types of viruses, including trojans, which is commendable. However, you should expect to get a false positive now and then.
Besides signature-based detection, F-Secure also uses a mechanism called DeepGuard to monitor unknown processes and figure out if they’re malicious or not. That is a pretty effective real-time protection feature, even though the program doesn’t seem to have a dedicated anti-phishing mechanism at all.
The basic program seems to be PC-focused, while the Total package supports most of the popular devices today – including Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android operating systems. However, if you want to protect your tablet ARM, you’re out of luck. This device is not supported by F-Secure.
F-Secure Antivirus is just what the name suggests. There are no other special features – it focuses on its main goal of locating and removing viruses and malware from the system. If you want to go beyond that, you’ll have to choose another of the company’s products. For example, F-Secure Internet Security offers a browser protection feature, while F-Secure Key is one of the best password managers available. F-Secure Total gives you all of that, including VPN and other features, for a hefty price.
Speaking of prices, the basic F-Secure Antivirus annual subscription costs $35.99. It works on just one PC. For just a few dollars more, you can protect up to three PCs The all-inclusive Total package protects three devices for $99.99 and adds a host of features the basic program doesn’t have. It’s expensive but it might be worth your while if you’re looking for premium service.
VoodooShield is based on the concept of allowing whitelisted programs to run and blocking everything else. That is why it’s necessary to spend about 10 minutes initially teaching the software what to accept and what not to. Afterwards, the learning AI takes over and you don’t need to worry about it again. The whole process is quite simple and doesn’t require any extensive knowledge on your part.
The main problem with VoodooShield is that you can’t use this program by itself. It blocks viruses from infecting your system but it does nothing to remove viruses that are already there. So in addition to VoodooShield you need a program with a decent scanning ability. That said, VoodooShield uses a multi-engine blacklist online virus scan to figure out if the blocked file is harmful or not.
Voodoo Shield’s real-time protection kicks in when it encounters a problem and turns off when there’s none. While this may seem like an energy- and memory-saving option, it leaves room for errors and mistakes. The best virus protection from VoodooShield is not based on blocking programs that might be potentially bad but on running exclusively whitelisted programs. This approach is a lot safer and minimizes the risk.
The program is compatible with Windows 7 and all the newer version of the operating system. It is also compatible with Windows 2008 R2 Server through Windows Server 2016.
The multi-engine blacklist scan is an interesting feature, as it utilizes results from various sources to check out a file’s legitimacy. The pro anti malware version will give you a chance to choose your own preferences, create security profiles you want, and define as many rules as you’d like.
The software comes in a free version and a pro version that costs $29.99 per year. That price lets you use it on just one computer. You can get substantial discounts if you decide to buy this home antivirus software for multiple computers. If you buy it for over 10 computers, you’ll pay just $19.99 each, which is a great option for companies and businesses.
The Kure is based on an interesting and straightforward concept that seems to work quite well. When the program is enabled, it virtualizes all of the changes made to the system so that when you restart your system, they can all be discarded. It’s basically like Groundhog Day except you have a chance to save as many personal files as you want. It’s a nifty system used in many public places to ensure virus-free environments upon reboot.
Considering its working mechanism, the Kure doesn’t use or need any computer virus scans. The program relies on its purging abilities and that’s about it. If you want additional scans to be performed between reboots, you will need to rely on one of the other best antivirus software products. The problem is that many of them won’t work together, so you will have to test a couple of them out to see what works.
You won’t get any real-time protection from the Kure, and you may not need it. Whenever you install a new program, you need to turn off the Kure, reboot, then install the program, enable the Kure, and reboot again for the security program to memorize it. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that this type of behavior is in itself the best antivirus prevention.
The Kure is compatible with Windows Vista and any newer versions. This software does not support Mac or mobile phones. For now, it’s Windows-only.
There are really no special features. The Kure’s effectiveness is based on wiping the slate clean. This mechanism seems to work most of the time, which ensures the program a place on the list of the best antivirus programs in 2019.
The price is pretty straightforward, just like the service provided – $19.95 for a yearly subscription for a single computer. You can order more if you want, but there are no volume discounts.
We have developed a unique assessment protocol that allows us to identify the industry’s best antivirus programs. Here is everything we take into consideration – and everything you should consider – before committing to a product.
The UI is the first thing we evaluate when researching antivirus software reviews. Software design plays a huge role because it affects the user experience in significant ways.
The interface should be simple and easy to navigate, even for new users. Short explanations that are integrated into the interface are also welcome – software security is a complicated business.
That said, it is also important for the design to be aesthetically pleasing. Face it, the process of using antivirus software is more tedious than thrilling. If the antivirus software can make it more interesting, we think that’s worth a point.
This is the heart of the matter: the software’s ability to locate and get rid of threats. By any measure, this must be the most important criterion.
How effective is the program at spotting viruses? How big is its database and how often is it updated? How fast is the scan? Does the av software prevent you from using your computer, or can it run alongside programs?
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an old saying, but it still applies when it comes to computer viruses. Does the software have an effective online shield to prevent various types of viruses from infecting your computer? Can malware removal be integrated with your browser of choice and protect you from infections at the sites you visit? Software should be able to protect you from viruses on the go and block malicious links you happen to click. This includes various types of malware and phishing websites that try to get hold of your personal information.
It used to be that you didn’t need to worry about viruses on mobile phones – people hardly ever surfed the Web using mobile devices. All that has changed. Phones are a primary internet tool for millions of users around the world. A commercial antivirus program should be able to cover all the devices you use to access the internet. This means that you should expect the same level of protection on your computer, laptop, tablet, phone, and even your smart TV.
Every antivirus program handles the basics. Some offer more. We evaluate features we deem interesting or significant. Does the software come with its own VPN service? Is there a backup system? Automatic patching? Can you cover your tracks for good with a file shredder or reboot a disc to get rid of hardcore viruses?
Finally, we take a look at the price to determine if the software is worth your money. We will tell you how much you need to spend for an annual or monthly plan and present special discounts if there are any. At the end of the day, you have to be realistic and know what level of protection you can expect for the amount you are willing to pay.