New threats are emerging on the internet every day, and the best you can do to install the best antivirus software you can find. But, with everyone claiming that their software Is the best thing that has hit the market in this century, how can you decide?
We’ve conducted a review of the most popular antivirus programs to determine if the companies’ big talk is justified. Many of the results were expected, but there were also some surprises along the way. Read on to find out more.
The dashboard is relatively clean and straightforward. It only has a few buttons on the left sidebar and several fully customizable quick action buttons in the main window. So, we suggest you customize them according to your preferences. This will make the program much easier to use later.
The software allows you to perform different scans to detect malware and system weaknesses. So, if you suspect that a specific part of your computer is affected, you can create a custom scan. During the testing, Bitdefender’s in-depth scans were able to detect and eliminate all threats. Unfortunately, Bitdefender’s best virus protection comes with a drawback. Results from AV-TEST show that it can slow down your computer a bit. However, that’s a small price to pay for online safety.
Bitdefender’s network threat prevention feature detects and fortifies your system’s weak points before malware gets inside. The anti-phishing system warns the user about phishing and fraudulent websites and prevents the sending of sensitive personal information without using the appropriate encryption software. It also stops the brute-force attacks when the malware is trying to guess your password using a trial-and-error approach.
Bitdefender antivirus software offers support for all the leading operating systems—Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android. What’s nice is the fact that you don’t have to worry about updates. If you upgrade your OS, the antivirus software will auto-update.
With Bitdefender, you can also get a free VPN. Unfortunately, it has limited features and only 200MB of daily traffic. If you want more features and data flow, you will have to pay extra. The company equipped its antivirus program with an anti-ransomware feature that swiftly detects threats and restores your encrypted data.
Well, the best antivirus protection can’t be free. But luckily, it’s not expensive either. A basic one-year subscription will cost first-time buyers $39.99 and covers up to three devices. However, we must commend the “Install & Setup” option. If you’re not good with computers or you’re unsure if you can install and set up the program correctly, this option provides a remote team of experts to assist you.
Like some of the best internet security software, Norton has a clean and straightforward design. It uses a color scheme to present the current status. If every section is green when you start the program, you are in the clear. These sections are Security, Online Safety, Backup, and Performance. They cover all the essentials and don’t overwhelm you with too much information.
The scans are thorough and most of them don’t affect the computer’s performance. You can choose between a large selection of scans, starting with a full system scan. This provides the best malware removal results but is somewhat slow. However, if you don’t want to wait, quick and custom scans are available. More complicated infections can be dealt with using a tool called Norton Power Eraser.
Another interesting feature is the Norton Insight. This feature saves you time by marking trusted files and sites. And, to keep things running smoothly, a Diagnostic Report scan analyzes the antivirus program itself to check for any internal issues and weaknesses.
AV-TEST results proved that Norton’s top rated antivirus is excellent in dealing with the latest online threats. Even though Norton wasn’t famous for its phishing protection in the past, it performs excellent now. A “scam insights” feature will explain potential security risks on the websites you visit.
Norton Security works on all the major operating systems and devices—Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Unfortunately, if you’re using some old Windows version (Vista or XP), you won’t get all the latest updates. However, you won’t be defenseless because you will still receive the latest malware definitions to protect you from new threats.
Norton’s Safe Cam feature warns you if somebody is trying to turn on your camera and microphone to spy on you. Using the best malware protection is definitely much better than sticking a piece of duct tape over the camera and the microphone.
Moreover, Norton scans the Dark Web. If your personal information ends up there, it will notify you. The company also offers a secure VPN if you want to go with a more advanced plan.
The cheapest Norton product is its AntiVirus Plus version, which costs $39.99. It can be used on just one device. The price is high, mainly because it is a first-year discount down from $59.99. Android or iOS versions are not included. So, if you’re looking for the best free antivirus for an Android phone, you should consider other top options.
McAfee’s interface is fairly easy to navigate. The device’s security status and performance categories are located at the top of the screen. Additionally, you can find scanning options at the bottom. The center of the screen is reserved for useful security recommendations. The program also lets you know which devices are currently protected by the antivirus.
McAfee uses a cloud-based threat analyzer, just like most of the best PC antivirus programs do. So, it doesn’t burden your system too much. But still, the initial full-system scan may be quite lengthy. Sometimes, it can take more than two hours. Although we appreciate McAfee’s desire to be thorough, this can be annoying. The good news is that the next full scan will be finished much quicker as it should take about 20 minutes.
The software includes anti-phishing and Ransom Guard features. Phishing has become more popular among the bad guys online because it’s much easier to duplicate some established websites where you will willingly give the information than trying to get the best of strong security software.
McAfee performs brilliantly, with a 100% dummy website recognition rate. Anti-ransomware features also worked well. Furthermore, we especially liked the fact that, as soon as it notices a file may be in danger, its encryption software feature creates a secure copy. After dealing with the malware, the antivirus will restore the original file from that copy.
McAfee Antivirus is fully compatible with all of the most popular devices, PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets. Unfortunately, McAfee doesn’t support Windows 7 and older, and the company is suggesting that users migrate to newer OS. They are working closely with Microsoft to ensure that their software is the best antivirus for Windows 10.
This antivirus has a reliable firewall that uses Smart Access mode to protect you from attacks. It deals with threats automatically and doesn’t bother you with constant notifications.
The My Network page shows you which devices are currently protected but also devices that are not. This way, you can monitor the safety of all your devices.
App Lock is an interesting feature that locks your vulnerable apps behind a PIN. That way, even if your phone or laptop gets stolen, the thieves couldn’t access your email, PayPal account, etc. You just have to choose which apps you will protect.
McAfee makes a pretty bold claim that it will eliminate your malware or give you your money back. And its prices are in line with that self-confidence—if you want the best antivirus software, you will have to pay for it.
McAfee is not cheap. Antivirus Plus costs $54.99 ($5 discount for new users included), and it includes up to 10 devices. If you need even more features and an even higher protection level, you can opt for Total Protection, which is cheaper for new customers ($44.99), but you will have to pay $109.99 when the renewal time comes.
The good thing is that there is a free 30-day trial period, and you don’t have to give your credit card number. A trial period this long and the fact that you don’t have to cancel your subscription after it probably makes McAfee the best free antivirus software (free for a limited time, of course).
The Webroot interface is very user-friendly, and users won’t have any problem navigating it. A big central part of the screen provides information about previous and future scans, while the sidebar shows clear and easy-to-follow setting options.
If you still have trouble figuring out some of the options and features, there’s a handy “learn more” button. You can also access the Webroot community from the main menu to get the information you need from other users and go through their antivirus reviews. The usual color scheme of the interface is green when everything is alright, but it turns red when the software notices a threat.
The first thing you’ll notice about the system scans is the fact that they are incredibly fast. Webroot does a full computer scan within minutes, while other antivirus programs need hours. This speed might raise some questions about the scan’s effectiveness, but tests have shown that quality is not compromised, and users will always get the best virus protection for their PC.
The SecureAnywhere feature automatically recommends scans when it spots a problem. This isn’t a groundbreaking feature, but with other antivirus programs, even when we get the notification, we tend to postpone it because we don’t want to wait for hours for the scan to be complete. With Webroot, there is no reason to delay it, so it greatly improves the overall security.
For some people, the way that SecureAnywhere functions may look a little bit strange, and sometimes it can even make them skeptical about the program’s effectiveness. It’s not as proactive as other antivirus programs. But there is a good reason for that. Webroot’s best anti-malware software is all about speed and agility. The installer is just 4MB, and the antivirus itself doesn’t slow down the computer.
To achieve that, the files are not examined in detail when they are downloading but rather when they are executed. So, don’t be surprised when you get an alert one day after downloading a particular file. This in no way reduces the effectiveness of this top antivirus software, but some people might find it unsettling.
As for the anti-ransomware and anti-phishing protection, we can say that it performs excellent, even with custom-coded malware that was not featured in any malware library.
Webroot SecureAnywhere is compatible with all computers and smartphones, but you’ll have to upgrade to the Internet Security package if you want to secure tablets and smartphones. It covers up to five devices; Android and iOS phones are included.
You could also choose the WiFi security and antivirus protection package. You’ll be happy to know that Webroot equipped its best antivirus for Android with one of the best free VPN, which protects your connection on unsecured WiFi networks.
Webroot is somewhat unique on the market because it has an antivirus program dedicated to gamers. It doesn’t only protect the computer against attacks but also improves its performance.
Advanced users will be thrilled with the SafeStart Sandbox feature. You can start a suspicious-looking program in a controlled and safe environment to see how it behaves. If the program shows any sign of “bad” behavior, you will get a detailed analysis of what and how it’ll affect your computer.
Webroot has a wide array of customizable plans and prices, so you can easily choose the best antivirus plan for your PC, Mac, Android, or iOS. The prices start at $39.99 for a one-year subscription plan and one device. The nice thing is that there are also specialized packages for businesses and different kinds of protection. Of course, they are more expensive.
Kaspersky’s user interface is all about functionality, so don’t expect anything flashy and colorful. The main screen has four sections: Scan, Database Update, Reports, and On-Screen Keyboard. The first three features don’t need to be explained, but the fourth one is interesting. It prevents spyware from tracking your keystrokes on the physical keyboard. This nice feature shows that Kaspersky really cares about your security.
Kaspersky is very proactive, as you would expect from one of the best antivirus software on the market. It doesn’t just wait for your computer to be attacked. It conducts a vulnerability scan to detect the system’s weak points and fix problems one by one.
Kaspersky’s System Watcher monitors unusual activities on your device even when real-time protection is inactive. This mode starts early during the boot-up process, and it’s active before your computer is. This minimizes the chances of any malware slipping through.
After the scanning and removing malware is complete, this antivirus program goes through everything again to fix the potential damages. Due to its meticulousness, no wonder it’s one of the best antivirus programs out there.
Kaspersky’s real-time protection keeps an eye out for any potential threats and checks for internal changes on the computer, such as the installation of unsafe programs and files. You can actually increase the sensitivity level, but this will slow down the computer and increase power consumption.
Kaspersky is available on all major operating systems and devices. Still, if you opt for the basic subscription, you can use the software only on PCs. If you want to use Kaspersky’s best antivirus software for Mac or smartphone, you will have to pay more. As far as the effectiveness is concerned, the antivirus works great on all devices, and the interface is pretty much the same.
Safe Money is a useful feature for people who use online banking. When you visit a banking or some other sensitive website, Kaspersky will ask you if you want to open that website in the Safe Money secure browser. If you agree, it will remember that setting and access it every time in Safe Money mode.
As far as phones are concerned, Kaspersky’s best mobile antivirus offers a nice set of anti-theft tools such as locking your sensitive apps with a PIN. Even if your unlocked phone gets stolen, the thieves couldn’t access the PIN-locked apps.
Kaspersky costs roughly the same as its competitors. New customers will pay $29.99 for a one-year subscription plan for three PCs. But, for just $20 more, you can get a Total Security plan that includes five devices and two users and neat features, such as free VPN, Kaspersky Password Manager Premium, and Safe Kids Premium.
If you are not into paying for antivirus, you’ll be happy to know that Kaspersky has one of the best free antivirus software currently available.
You will first notice the Eset NOD32’s cyborg “mascot” on its welcome screen, and it’s eerie and reassuring at the same time. This cyborg takes up a lot of space in the central part of the screen as a pledge of the best malware protection. Next to it, you can find a large note about your current protection status. You will find the setting and the scanning option bars at the bottom of the screen and its left side. Overall, the system is pretty much easy to understand and use.
The initial Eset NOD32’s full system scan can last for more than an hour. Even though this result can’t be considered fast, it’s not slower than other best paid antivirus software, and it still fits in the industry average. The good thing is that all the subsequent full scans will be much faster because the software will learn which disk sectors, apps, and files are trustworthy.
If you are hoping for some quick scan function, we’ll have to disappoint you—there is none. You can create one using scan customization options, but we can recommend this only if you know what you are doing.
ESET NOD32 uses proprietary self-defense technology as a part of HIPS (Host-Based Intrusion Prevention System) to prevent malware from contaminating or incapacitating your antivirus and antispyware protection. Our antivirus software reviews showed that it worked perfectly, even with custom code.
The company offers products that cover many platforms and devices. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be iOS support, so you won’t be able to use it on your iPhone, which we believe is a significant oversight.
On the other hand, ESET has put a lot of effort into making its Android version. With features like Payment Protection to secure your online banking activities and a set of anti-theft tools, it’s clearly contending for the title of the best antivirus software for android smartphones.
The Device Control feature enables you to block access to specific devices, which can be very useful for businesses. A feature called Malware Cleaner will fix any damage caused by deleted malware. You may also find the SysInspector tool to be helpful. It will give you a thorough report on your computer’s performance and condition.
ESET NOD32 isn’t cheap. The best antivirus software for Windows 10 ESET has to offer is priced at $39.99, and it covers just one Windows device. The price goes down if you buy a long-term subscription plan, but it’s still on the pricier side. You can add more devices, and each one will cost you $10 more. You can add up to five devices which brings us to a total of $79.99. Although it’s not the best free antivirus for Android, the Android version isn’t expensive—it costs just $14.99 a year.
The software design is simple but not very intuitive. How can that be? Well, at the center of the main screen, there’s a big round button with Scan written on it and four small icons: Device, Privacy, Data, and Family. The way it’s located next to the important function controls would probably lead you to believe that it has something to do with parental supervision and similar, but it doesn’t.
Clicking on it will direct you to the software upgrade page, which can be confusing. What’s more confusing is that clicking on the same button in the company’s best antivirus for Mac opens a basic content filtering system.
The scans are slow, and we are not talking only about the initial scans. Almost all antivirus programs take a really long time to perform the initial scan, but the subsequent scans are much quicker. That’s not the case with Trend Micro. Every scan will be long and thorough. On the upside, the scans are extremely efficient.
Trend Micro is extremely good at identifying phishing websites. Even though they are not much of a threat to overall security because the fraudulent system is based on users’ willingness to divulge their personal information, they are still very dangerous for beginners on the internet. So in this sense, we can say that this is the best android antivirus for beginners since young people are usually using smartphones to access the online world.
When it comes to fighting ransomware, Trend Micro is excelling in this area too. It uses a multi-level protection system. The most significant protection layer is the Folder Shield, which prevents unapproved modifications to certain folders and directories.
The Trend Micro antivirus software is compatible with all major devices, but the basic plans cover just one PC or Mac. The upside is that the company offers a plethora of free tools for every platform, which quite possibly makes it the best free virus protection for people who want to protect multiple devices.
Trend Micro protects your online transactions using PayGuard. You don’t have to worry about turning it on, as it automatically becomes active when you visit a financial website. Another interesting feature is the Mute Mode. It blocks all notifications when you are gaming, watching movies, or conducting any other activity in a full-screen mode.
First, we have to mention Trend Micro’s vast array of free tools, which makes it one of the best free anti-malware software around. But even though it covers all of the most popular devices and operating systems, it’s still limited compared to paid plans. So, if you need more protection, you should opt for a paid plan.
The basic one-year PC or Mac subscription costs $29.95. Ten dollars more will get you features like parental controls and social media privacy. Still, if you want to enjoy the best internet security across multiple different devices and operating systems, you’ll have to buy the maximum-security option costing $49.95.
The F-Secure interface is very straightforward, so you will have no problems navigating it. You will see a notification about your protection status and a button for launching scans on the central part of the screen, and the tab on the left is used for accessing the tools page.
The first full PC scan usually takes about an hour, which is somewhere in line with other best antivirus software for Windows 10. What’s nice is that the subsequent scans will be much shorter, sometimes even less than 10 minutes. The testing showed that the scans were successful in finding and eliminating threats. As the scans are always thorough, don’t be surprised if you get a false alarm from time to time.
F-Secure uses signature-based detection and a DeepGuard system to keep an eye on suspicious files and programs you encounter on the web. It’s ready to act instantly if they try to do something fishy. This feature is very efficient in detecting threats, which is nice, considering that F-Secure doesn’t have a dedicated anti-phishing mechanism.
These features are available only with paid plans. It’s evident that F-Secure is not looking to become a top free antivirus because the number of free tools and their features is minimal.
F-Secure Anti-Virus is intended only for Windows, so if you want to protect more devices with different operating systems, you will have to choose options like F-Secure Total or F-Secure Safe.
F-Secure Antivirus is a clear-cut antivirus software without any special features. it does exactly what the name says—protects against viruses. If you’re interested in more than just finding and eliminating viruses, you should choose one of the company’s more expensive plans that include not only its best Mac and Windows antivirus software but also cover other devices and have an abundance of features.
For instance, F-Secure Internet Security has a set of online security features, while the F-Secure Key is a great password manager. If you are interested in one plan to cover every aspect of your computer and online safety, you will be pleased with the company’s F-Secure Total plan.
The basic F-Secure Antivirus annual subscription is priced at $35.99, and it offers the company’s best virus protection for just one PC. If you want to protect up to three devices, it will cost you several dollars more. The Total package covers three devices and adds many features that basic plans don’t have, but it costs $99.99. This price places it in the top half of the category price table.
Some users might find the VoodooShield confusing at first. That’s because it’s not an antivirus in the true sense. It does lock your computer and blocks any suspicious activity, but it doesn’t find or destroy malware like other top antivirus software.
The new users will have to spend 10 minutes teaching the software what’s acceptable and what’s not. The upside is that you only need to do it once. After that, the AI will take over, and you won’t have to bother with it again. The process is simple and doesn’t require any previous knowledge.
As we said before, VoodooShield can’t scan for viruses or destroy them. It just locks your computer while you are browsing so the malware can’t get in. So, if you need the scanning feature, you will have to get a traditional antivirus. Luckily, VoodooShield is compatible with most of the best free antivirus software for Windows 10, so it’s an excellent way to beef up your security for free.
This is where VoodooShield excels because it’s not based on blocking programs and files that might be infected but on allowing only whitelisted programs to run. This approach is a lot “lighter” on the system because it’s not using resources to determine if a particular file or program is suspicious.
There is a significant drawback to this approach. When you install VoodooShield, it will take a snapshot of your system and note that everything is trustworthy. So, if you have malware on your computer, the software will remember it as trustworthy and allow it to run. That’s why it’s important to clean your computer using the best free antivirus for a PC you can find before installing VoodooShield.
The program can only be used on PC and laptops, and it’s compatible with Windows 10, 8, and 7. This will make many people happy because it’s hard to find antivirus, especially a free one, that supports the older Windows version. Well, the VoodooShield does support them, and we can say that this is probably the best free antivirus for Windows 7.
The multi-engine blacklist scan uses results from various databases to check out a file’s validity. The pro version will allow you to set up the system according to your own preferences—create different security profiles you want and define rules of engagement.
This software is free for home use. If you want a pro version, it will cost you $30 per year. This plan will allow you to use it on just one computer. The price per computer decreases as you increase the number of devices covered by the plan. For instance, 10 computers will cost you $20 per device. We can’t say if it’s the best anti-malware for the money, but it’s one of the most interesting.
The Kure has an interesting and straightforward feature that works very well. When the program is active, it virtualizes all of the system’s alterations, and they will all be discarded when you restart the system. Think of it as a computer Groundhog Day, but it does allow you to choose which changes you want to save.
The Kure’s working mechanism doesn’t use or need any virus scans, and it relies solely on its cleaning capabilities. If you still want to conduct an antivirus scan, you should use the best antivirus for a PC you can find, just to be safe. Unfortunately, some antivirus programs are not compatible with Kure, so you will have to test a few of them to find the one that 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 works on Windows Vista and newer versions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t support Mac or mobile phones.
No special features here. The software’s effectiveness is based on its ability to wipe all changes on every reboot. But it does it well, and that’s what makes it stand out.
The pricing plan is not complicated—you’ll have to pay $19.95 for a yearly subscription for one computer. Unfortunately, adding more computers will not get you a discounted price.
Here are the things we take into consideration—and you should also—before clicking the Buy button.
The UI is the first factor we evaluate. It needs to be intuitive and straightforward—it shouldn’t discourage new users. It would also help if the design were interesting and engaging, making the tedious work of using an antivirus a little less tedious.
This is the core of any antivirus program. We will determine how effective they are, if the virus database is updated regularly, and how fast the scan is.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. The best antivirus program should be able to prevent viruses from even reaching your computer and stop phishing attacks and similar attempts of acquiring your personal information.
An antivirus program should protect all of your devices, computers, tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, etc.
While every antivirus program covers the basics, some offer more. We took a closer look at these features to determine if they are useful and efficient or just a marketing trick to sell the latest “Best Ever Android Antivirus App!” and similar.
This is one of the most important factors in choosing a product. We are not only interested in the price as such, but also the price-quality ratio. Is the program a good buy or just a rip-off?
When choosing antivirus software, you have to consider what devices you want to cover and the software compatibility. Many companies prioritize one system or device, and if a company makes the best free Android antivirus, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the best for iOS. You should do a bit of research to determine which antivirus will best suit your needs and offer the best features for your devices. Although this research seems like a daunting task, your effort will be rewarded. As a result, you will be well protected from online threats.
Some of the top-ranked antivirus programs on the market are Norton and McAfee AntiVirus Plus, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, ESET NOD32 Antivirus, etc. They are all great solutions to keep you safe, and it’s hard to say which one is the best. It all depends on users’ preferences and needs as some programs offer different features for specific devices and operating systems.
There is a fierce battle for the title, and we have to say that the main competitors are pretty much even, and only details decide on the winner. If we have to choose just one, it would be the Bitdefender. It offers excellent protection on various devices, works perfectly on Windows 10, and gives you the best quality-to-price ratio. The runners-up are Norton and Kaspersky.
Some of the top-ranked antivirus programs are Avast Free Antivirus, Bitdefender Antivirus Free, Kaspersky Security Cloud – Free. But keep in mind that they are inferior to paid plans. People often think a free antivirus makes them safe and start acting recklessly.
But the truth is that free antivirus programs are limited. It’s always better to invest in a good paid antivirus. Many companies offer free trials, so you can get to know the software before buying it.
Both McAfee and Norton programs offer premium protection services. Norton offers many different types of scans, the Safe Cam feature, and has excellent VPN. McAfee is compatible with many devices, has a useful Ransom Guard feature, and provides a good and discreet firewall. Both programs offer excellent features, but McAfee is slightly cheaper than Norton, and that makes it a better buy.
Windows Defender is not better than McAfee. Although it’s continuously improving and sometimes even comes close to third-party internet security suites, that’s still not good enough. It often falls behind the top-ranked antivirus programs when it comes to malware detecting and removing. McAfee has much better threat detection scores and offers many features and customization options that Windows Defender doesn’t have.
Both are extremely effective and offer excellent features. Unfortunately, with Kaspersky, many top features are available only with pricier plans, while McAfee offers them even with entry-level subscriptions. McAfee has one more advantage—it puts less strain on your system.
On the other hand, Kaspersky’s interface is more beginner-friendly and offers webcam, online banking, and ransomware protection. The bottom line is that no matter which program you choose, you are guaranteed to have one of the best antivirus software on the market.