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Best antivirus software in 2022

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Getting the best antivirus software is crucial, as new cyber threats, like ransomware, spyware, and malware appear every day – they are even more infectious than before. Currently, there are a variety of malicious programs that can steal data stored on your device and also put your online privacy at risk.

Even though the latest operating systems, like Windows 11 and 10 have in-built security solutions, they’re not robust enough to provide all-round protection from the highly advanced malware infections spread by cybercriminals.

For this reason, we’ve researched multiple antivirus software providers to find the most effective security tools. Once you download a third-party antivirus, it will not only safeguard all of your devices but even boost your online security.

Here, I'll cover the best antivirus software of 2022 that offers robust virus protection. And it's not just the #1 pick which rules: these are all great options, and the perfect solution for you might just be a few floors below!

The best antivirus software of 2022

  1. Bitdefender Antivirus – best overall antivirus in 2022
  2. Norton Antivirus – most feature-rich antivirus suite
  3. TotalAV Antivirus – antivirus package with essential security tools
  4. McAfee Total protection – top security software for multiple devices
  5. Avira Antivirus – great free antivirus subscription
  6. Trend Micro – good protection against online threats
  7. ESET NOD32 – most lightweight antivirus solution

📢 LIMITED OFFER: Get Bitdefender today with 60% off!

Now that you have already seen our short list of the best antivirus software, you might also be interested to dive into our detailed list for more information. All of our listed providers have the necessary tools to provide maximum protection and bonus features that you may find useful.

1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus – best overall antivirus protection in 2022

Bitdefender interface
Max simultaneous connections:5 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥Get all Bitdefender plans at 60% OFF!🔥

Bitdefender is our best antivirus software that comes as a full cybersecurity suite. You get advanced protection against malware and ransomware, webcam and microphone protection, a password manager as well as features, such as Antispam, SafePay, Anti-tracker.

What’s even better is that Bitdefender antivirus includes a VPN with a daily data limit of 200 MB for encrypting traffic for online activities. Additionally, you can get some useful extras, like a file shredder or parental controls, and protect up to 15 devices with the Family Pack plan.

If you wonder how effective this antivirus is, the independent testing lab results show that Bitdefender successfully blocks 100% of both 0-day and 4-week old malware and other cyber threats.

When it comes to apps and interface, setting up this antivirus on your device might take a while. However, you get intuitive and user-friendly desktop and mobile apps right after the installation. It supports Windows, macOS, Android and iOS systems.

There are three different antivirus software packages to choose from: the Antivirus Plus ($23.99/year for 3 devices), the Internet Security ($32.00/year for 10 devices), and the Bitdefender Total Security ($36.00/year for 5 devices) plans.

If you decide to get Bitdefender, it accepts credit card and PayPal payments, as well as cash at 7-Eleven/ACE. There’s also a 30-day free trial that might help make up your mind before committing.

Verdict

To conclude, Bitdefender has packed all the security essentials into its cheapest plan, the Antivirus Plus, so that home users can enjoy the best malware protection without spending a fortune. That’s why it’s our best overall antivirus of 2022.

Visit Bitdefender to read more about the features

2. Norton 360 Antivirus – premium antivirus with top security features

Max simultaneous connections:10 devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥Get up to 83% OFF Norton Antivirus!🔥

Norton 360 antivirus is one of our top anti-malware programs as well. It offers a wide range of security features: a smart firewall, secure cloud backup, a VPN, and a password manager. Apart from that, you can get SafeCam and Dark Web Monitoring features, as well as Parental Control and School Time options for families.

What’s really unique about this protection suite is that it also provides identity restoration support if it gets stolen and monitors your social media accounts for an extra layer of security.

Additionally, you can get Norton Crypto, which is an option to use your device to mine cryptocurrency – great when your device is idle. It's an unusual addition to the service, but certainly something many users will enjoy.

When it comes to protection, Norton antivirus shows great results from multiple independent testing labs – catches 100% of zero-day malware, has minimal impact on the speeds, and detects no false positives.

You can easily install this antivirus on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. The interface is simple and easy to navigate, yet some of the additional features open up in different tabs which can seem inconvenient for some.

In terms of pricing, Norton has four different subscription options. Its cheapest offering is the Norton AntiVirus Plus plan starting from $19.99/year for 1 device with 2 MB of cloud storage. There’s even an option to get a free 7-day trial to test the antivirus before purchasing.

Other subscriptions include the Norton 360 Standard plan ($39.99/year, 1 device, 10 MB cloud backup), Norton 360 Deluxe plan ($49.99/year, 5 devices, 50 MB cloud storage), and Norton 360 Premium ($54.99/year, 10 devices, 75 MB cloud backup).

Verdict

To sum up, Norton 360 offers excellent protection while not overloading your device. It’s easy to use but at the same time provides plenty of options for advanced users.

Visit Norton 360 to read more about the features

3. TotalAV – the essential free antivirus package

Total AV user interface
Max simultaneous connections:6 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux
Current deal:Get TotalAV, now 84% OFF!

TotalAV is among the best antivirus suites which also has useful security features that come free of charge. Without spending a single dollar, you get a malware scanner and anti-phishing protection.

If you get a subscription, your security coverage expands a great deal with real-time protection and ransomware shields. On top of that, it also includes a Cloud Scanner, a Disk Cleaner, and optimization tools. These will help you free up some space in your hard drive and make your startup more efficient.

Apart from that, TotalAV offers a VPN with unlimited data, a password manager, and an Ad Blocker to ensure safe online browsing.

It’s also worth mentioning that independent testing labs show that this antivirus successfully blocks 97% of zero-day and 100% of 4-week old malware attacks. So, you can be sure that your device would get robust protection against various cyber threats.

Since there’s support for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices, you can protect almost any gadget. The interface of dedicated mobile and desktop apps is well-organized and simple, just as the installation process itself.

Apart from the free plan, there are three other paid subscriptions: the TotalAV Pro ($19/year for 3 devices), the TotalAV Internet Security ($39/year for 5 devices), and the TotalAV Total Security ($49/year for 6 devices). You’re also entitled to a full refund since each plan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Verdict

Overall, TotalAV is a simple but powerful addition to your system. It will remove most online germs you caught while surfing the web, but it won't overload your device. This antivirus can be recommended to everyone who needs a simple solution to stay safe online or offline.

Visit TotalAV to read more about the features

4. McAfee Total Protection – great cross-platform support with basic plan

McAfee user interface
Max simultaneous connections:10 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get McAfee, save up to 67%!

McAfee falls into the category of our top antivirus suites since it offers not only protection against the latest cyber threats but also provides additional security features. Its core package includes a VPN, a password manager, file encryption, and a file shredder, among other features.

Additionally, McAfee Antivirus provides protection for your network as well. The Home Network Security allows managing all devices connected to the wifi and alerts you of any intrusion attempts.

Independent testing labs have examined the security capabilities of this antivirus and show that it catches 100% of both 0-day and 4-week old cyber threats, as well as they rated its performance, protection, and usability with 6 out of 6 points.

What’s also worth mentioning is that McAfee supports both desktop and mobile devices and has pretty easy-to-use apps. So, going back to mobile security, I really liked the mobile-oriented Guest Mode, which allows you to lock certain apps and give the phone to your kids to play some games or watch some videos.

If you’re interested in McAfee, you can get a single license for any device for $29.99/year. Keep in mind that this antivirus also has a plan for couples which gives 2-year protection services for up to 5 devices for $39.99/year price. However, if you need security for more devices, McAfee's Family plan costs $49.99/year.

Also, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee for you to test all the features without the risk of committing to an unsatisfactory service.

Verdict

When summed up, it’s clear that McAfee belongs on this list, but it’s certainly not at the very top. Nevertheless, I can recommend this cross-platform antivirus software to anyone, especially families and groups.

Visit McAfee to read more about the features

5. Avira Antivirus – best free plan on the market

Avira user interface
Max simultaneous connections:25 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get 1 year of Avira at 40% OFF!

Avira Antivirus is one of the best antivirus software available in both free and premium segments. Without opening up your wallet, you can get a VPN, a firewall, and a password generator when most of the time you’ll be paying extra to get some or all of them.

Apart from that his antivirus has advanced ransomware protection, a complete web protection for safe online shopping, as well as email protection. There’s also automatic software updating feature, a tool for browser safety, and a password manager along with regular malware protection solutions.

Furthermore, what distinguishes Avira from other antiviruses is its system optimization tools. For example, you can speed up the booting of your device or concentrate the juice towards one resource-heavy task, such as video rendering.

In terms of protection, I was glad to see great scores from independent test labs, such as AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. It successfully blocks 99.2% of cyber threats and is rated as an advanced security tool in terms of its malware protection features and performance.

Avira antivirus software is compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices and is one of the most intuitive solutions. However, it’s important to note that not all features are available for macOS – email protection and download scans are for Windows users only.

The pricing starts from $30.96/year for the Pro plan and from $41.04/year for the Internet Security plan. The company accepts PayPal and credit card payments and offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Verdict

I would conclude that Avira antivirus is a great security solution that offers a decent price-quality ratio and has great test results.

Visit Avira to read more about the features

6. Trend Micro – simple and secure antivirus for online threat protection

Trend Micro antivirus banner
Max simultaneous connections:10 devices
Free version:Yes (Android and iOS)
Platforms:Windows, Linux, macOS, Chromebook, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get Trend Micro, now 54% OFF!

Trend Micro is another great antivirus software that can help you protect your devices from cyber threats. It uses AI technologies to scan for malware, as well as offer its clients real-time protection.

This antivirus also offers PayGuard and Folder Shield features for safe shopping and document protection from ransomware. You can also enjoy using Social Media Privacy Protection, Fraud Buster, Dark Web Monitoring features and a VPN to add an extra layer of security when browsing online.

One of the nicest parts about the security of Trend Micro is that it actually avoids flagging legitimate websites as suspicious, which is something we see often even among top antivirus suites.

What’s even better is that Trend Micro gives the possibility to use system optimization tools and a password manager to boost your device’s performance and keep all of your credentials safe.

It’s also wise to know that this antivirus is rated as the Top Product choice by AV-Test, the independent testing company, and showed the ability to catch 100% of the latest malware during the examination.

Trend Micro is compatible with all major operating systems so that you could use it on both desktop and mobile devices and it’s ideal for beginners.

Windows users can get Trend Micro Antivirus + Security or the Internet Security plans for $19.95/year and $39.95/year respectively. If you want complete protection for all types of devices, there’s a Maximum Security plan for $49.95/year or the Premium Security Suite for $59.95/year.

Verdict

All in all, Trend Micro is a solid antivirus service. However, it doesn’t support simultaneous scans. Good thing that the scanning process itself is relatively quick.

Visit TrendMicro to read more about the features

7. ESET NOD32 – the best lightweight antivirus software

NOD32 user interface
Max simultaneous connections:10 devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android
Current deal:Get ESET, save up to 33%!

ESET NOD32 is the leading Slovak cybersecurity product and falls into the category of our best antivirus software. With its core package, you get real-time protection against malware and ransomware.

If you're worrying that the NOD32 Essential Protection might not be enough, you can opt for ESET Advanced Protection which includes the Safe Browsing feature to prevent harmful JavaScript injections and a network monitoring tool.

For those who want to go all-in, there's an option to pick the ESET Ultimate Protection package. It will add a password manager and encryption for personal files.

What’s really exceptional about ESET NOD32 is that it’s cloud-based and offloads most of the heavy processing to their servers. This means much less work for your device and better performance.

There's also a Gaming mode, which suspends all scans and notifications, so you can be focused on the more important things, while your antivirus doesn't get in the way.

In terms of security, the independent testing lab scores doesn’t disappoint either – ESET Nod32 is categorized as a Top Product that blocks 100% of attempted attacks. You can get ESET on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android. Unfortunately, it’s not available on iOS but other apps are clean and user-friendly.

In terms of pricing, the basic plan starts from $49.99/year. However, if you want to get access to all security features that will cost you from $59.99/year. The price of each package increases with the number of devices that you need to protect.

Verdict

ESET aims to be a lightweight solution for your devices. It's perfect for those who need a quick scan once in a while to make sure their devices are clean. However, the pricing is quite steep, especially if you need protection for multiple devices.

Visit ESET to read more about the features

8. Malwarebytes – simple and intuitive antivirus platform

Malwarebytes-banner
Max simultaneous connections:5 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, ChromeOS
Current deal:Get Malwarebytes, now 25% OFF!

Malwarebytes is considered to be a solid antivirus program that uses real-time malware protection to monitor your device activity and stop any potential cyber threats before they enter the system. Additionally, there’s a ransomware prevention feature to help you avoid file-encrypting viruses from attacking your device.

What’s also worth mentioning is that Malwarebytes includes exploit protection which is useful when stopping malware from both infecting the device and spreading further.

When it comes to extra features, Malwarebytes offers a VPN to help you encrypt your Internet traffic and protect private information when browsing online. Not only will your devices be protected from viruses, but also incoming and outgoing internet traffic and other data.

Keep in mind that this antivirus performs really well in independent lab testing, especially when it comes to detecting malware. Let it be a zero-day old recent threat, or one that’s been around for more than 4 weeks or more, it stops 100% of them.

You can install Malwarebytes on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android platforms. Dedicated apps allow you to set different scans, including daily Threat scans, and enable Device Alerts to warn you about any security issues.

What’s worth mentioning is that there’s a free Malwarebytes version but it only offers a malware scanner. If you want full protection, Malwarebytes Premium plan costs from $29.99/year while the Premium + Privacy package from $99.99/year.

Verdict

Malwarebytes is a decent antivirus. We wish that the options to use it on multiple devices were a bit more lenient, and there are some missing premium features like anti-theft, device cleaning tools, as well as performance optimization features. Nevertheless, if you’re after a simple antivirus that offers excellent basic protection for your main device, Malwarebytes is a great choice to go for.

Visit Malwarebytes to read more about the features

9. AVG Antivirus – reliable protection from a well-known company

AVG banner
Max simultaneous connections:10 devices
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get up to 50% OFF AVG!

AVG Antivirus is a great anti-malware software which comes from one of the biggest online security companies in the world. It offers an all-around security package, including advanced scans for all the main types of online threats: viruses, spyware, ransomware, Trojans, toolkits, and more.

But of course, prevention is the best medicine. AVG has a solid Enhanced Firewall feature, a dedicated VPN for secure browsing, as well as AI-based phishing threat detection. Plus, advanced webcam protection will give you peace of mind, so even the most security-conscious users can go through video calls.

Additionally, this antivirus shows great malware detection scores. AVG blocks 99.98% of cyber threats with approximately 10 false positives. It’s also received 6 out of 6 points in protection, performance, and usability tests.

You can install this security software on all major desktop and mobile devices and enjoy easy-to-use apps. When it comes to mobile security, AVG has an anti-theft phone tracker, allowing you to access, lock, and locate your phone from a distance, and even take a sneaky picture of the thief.

In terms of pricing, you can get basic malware protection with AVG Antivirus Free without spending a single dollar. However, other security features are only available with AVG Internet Security and AVG Ultimate plans for $59.99/year.

Verdict

AVG offers a very exciting array of various security features, some of them going above and beyond what regular antivirus should do. However, it is a premium option, and if you're not looking to use all of the features to their full extent, AVG might look a bit expensive. But if you're looking for a premium antivirus including everything – including the kitchen sink – AVG is a great way to go.

Visit AVG to read more about the features

10. Surfshark AV – decent everyday antivirus program

Surfshark AV banner
Max simultaneous connections:Unlimited devices
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, Android
Current deal:Get up to 83% OFF Surfshark Antivirus!

Surfshark AV is a freshly baked security software that earns a place among the best antivirus suites. As this program is a part of the Surfshark One bundle, it alone carries a seemingly small suite of features. That being said, your device will be constantly monitored with the real-time protection feature. Therefore, your device will be secured from malware, trojans, adware, and more.

Nevertheless, the whole Surfshark One bundle will provide you with an incredibly strong next-gen VPN that protects your privacy when browsing online.

Additionally, you’ll get data breach monitoring, known as the, Surfshark Alert.

It’s here for scanning the web to find out whether any of your data, including email, credit card, and ID details, got leaked.

Moving further, you get to swap your casual search engine option to Surfshark’s secure search engine where everything stays strictly private. Meaning, no search history nor activity logs will be collected. And only organic results are provided.

I was also impressed with this antivirus performance during my full scan test – the average CPU usage reached 22% with peak usage of 53%. So, I would also say that it’s a relatively lightweight solution.

It will only take a few minutes to set this antivirus on your Windows or Android device. The apps are easy to navigate and intuitive, yet the support for macOS and iOS is only coming soon.

However, Surfshark offers amazing pricing and unlimited simultaneous connections – for a yearly subscription you would pay only $1.99 per month.

Verdict

Even though Surfshark antivirus is only available on Windows and Android devices for now, it’s clearly going to have a bright future. Overall, it’s a set of comprehensive cybersecurity tools that radically improve your online security.

Visit Surfshark to learn more about the features.

How we tested the best antivirus software

Picking the best antivirus solutions isn’t easy. First of all, we had to weed out all the software that doesn’t meet our security standards, i.e. the programs that aren’t good at detecting malware (which is their primary job) or the apps that are just simply too buggy.

Providers tested:19
Operating systems used:Windows, macOS, Android
Minimum virus detection rate:>95%
Features tested:Real-time protection, spam filters, firewall, parental controls, bonus features

Then, we paid attention to the selection of features. Naturally, most antivirus software offers a similar set of features, such as real-time scanning or defense against ransomware.

For most users, solid basics can be enough, and they don’t have any reason to pay more for something they don’t want. On the other hand, unique features are what make an antivirus solution stand out from the others.

Here are the criteria that we used to determine the best antivirus programs in 2022:

  • Independent antivirus testing. Does the company even invest in such testing? What are the results? We take a look at results from AV-Test Institute, SE Labs, AV-Comparatives, and others.
  • In-house antivirus testing. This one is mostly for spyware, adware, and other types of malware. It’s one thing to launch an antivirus that scores highly and another to retain the position throughout the year.
  • What is its record with false positives? New malware examples come out each day, and even the best antivirus software can’t catch it all 100% of the time. But how does one solve the problem of false positives? I look at which antivirus solutions don’t overreact and let you browse freely.
  • Bonus features. I check which antiviruses offer firewalls, spam filters, secure browsers, and other extras. Then I compare the number of features you get and the asking price.
  • Supported devices. If you’ve found the best antivirus for Windows 11, that doesn’t mean it will work on your iPhone.
  • Performance. If you don’t have the latest hardware, an antivirus scan can hamper your device’s performance.
  • Ease of use. No matter how sophisticated the best antivirus software is, any user should be able to scan their device.
  • Reputation. It’s hard to stay clean, but only clean antiviruses can reach the top. And that’s why you won’t see AVG or Avast at the top of our list.
  • Price. You shouldn’t be trying to save on protecting your devices. On the other hand, there’s no reason to choose overpriced antivirus software. In any case, the majority of best antivirus software developers offer different packages for individuals, families, and businesses.
  • Customer support. Is there 24/7 support? If so, is that via email or a live chat? These are important questions that say a lot about your provider’s outlook on its clients.

Do I need antivirus at all?

Whether you need an antivirus at all depends on your level of IT skills and online browsing habits. It’s relatively hard for us to give a straightforward yes or no answer.

However, there are a few simple questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if you need an antivirus.

  • Do you often end up on suspicious websites? Unreliable websites are the primary source of various cyber threats that can infect your devices. Premium antivirus tools can block malicious sites and intrusive ads to help you avoid malware.
  • Do you shop online regularly? If you’re entering your credit card details nearly every day, it would be wise to use an antivirus that puts your transactions in an encrypted secure browser screen.
  • Do your kids use your device? If you have family and kids, making sure they stay safe is even more important. With parental controls, such as webcam blocking, you can protect your children even while not at home. Chances are there are more than a few devices connected to your home wifi. An antivirus can protect all of them at once, saving the hassle of catering to each separately.
  • Do you have multiple other security solutions as individual tools? If you use a password manager, a VPN service, or a secure email as separate products, you might benefit from a quality antivirus suite. Nowadays, they incorporate most of these cybersecurity tools, so it’s significantly easier to use them and ensure all-round security of your device.

If the majority of the answers are positive, we advise you to get a trustworthy antivirus product for your device. It doesn’t have to be a premium option, but at least a trustworthy one.

As the years go by, it’s less about viruses and malware but about cybersecurity in general. Keep in mind that great antivirus solutions are feature-rich and come cheaper than getting a file encryptor or a VPN separately.

Antivirus is not a cure-all remedy

Just like any other software, antiviruses are prone to vulnerabilities. They can also slow your device down or even collect data about you, especially when we’re talking about free versions. Besides, if you’re a Windows user, you already have a robust anti-malware tool in Defender. If you’re a Mac owner, there’s simply less malware and vulnerability points to lose your sleep on.

Finally, it’s all about your online habits – if you throw your credit card details all around the dark web and let your children play with your phone, you’re in the risk group. And compared to the possible damage of a ransomware attack or identity theft, those few bucks a month for the best antivirus software should be a no-brainer.

Best antivirus software compared

Bitdefender Norton 360TotalAVMcAfeeAviraTrend MicroESET NOD32MalwarebytesAVGSurfsharkAV
Brandlogologologologologologologologologologo
Rating
4.9
4.7
4.6
4.5
4.3
4.3
4.2
4.1
4.1
4.1
Free versionYesNoYesYes (Android, iOS)YesYes (Android and iOS)NoYesYesNo
Pricefrom $23.99/yearfrom $9.99/yearfrom $19.00/yearfrom $34.99/yearfrom $30.96/yearfrom $19.95/yearfrom $49.99/yearfrom $29.99/yearfrom $59.99/yearfrom $29.88/year
Free vs paid
  • Network Threat Prevention
  • Multi-Layered Ransomware Protection
  • Vulnerability Assessment
  • Rescue Environment
  • The dedicated SafePay browser
  • Password Manager
  • VPN
  • File Shredder
-
  • Real-time protection
  • Ransomware protection
  • Cloud scanning
  • Phishing scam protection
  • Disk cleaner
  • Optimisation tools
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Desktop apps
  • Internet protection
  • Email protection
  • Customer support
  • Desktop apps
-
  • Three system scan modes
  • Real-time protection
  • Device Alerts
  • Desktop apps
  • Malware protection
-
Customer supportFAQs, guides, phone, email, live chatGuides, FAQs, live chat, phonePhone, email, ticketGuides, FAQs, live chatPhone, email, guides, FAQsPhone, email, social mediaPhone, email, guides, FAQsGuides, FAQs, email formsFAQs, guides, phone, live chatFAQs, guides, video tutorials, 24/7 live chat
Device supportWindows, macOS, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, iOS, AndroidWindows, Mac, iOS, Android, LinuxWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, Mac, Android, iOSWindows, macOS, Android, iOSWindows, Linux, Mac, AndroidWindows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOSWindows, macOS, Android, iOSWindows, Android
Features
  • Advanced Threat Defense
  • Profiles
  • Ransomware remediation
  • AntiSpam
  • Anti-tracker
  • File shredder
  • Anti-webcam hijack
  • VPN
  • Password manager
  • Real-time threat protection
  • VPN
  • Smart Firewall
  • Password manager
  • Cloud backup
  • SafeCam
  • Safe Browsing (VPN)
  • WebShield extension
  • Secure Password Vault
  • Ad blocker
  • System tune up
  • Ransomware protection
  • QuickClean
  • Shredder
  • Vulnerability scanner
  • McAfee WebAdvisor
  • McAfee Speed Up
  • Password manager
  • Includes password manager
  • Supports many operating systems
  • Safe shopping suite
  • Adds up to your browser protection
  • Reliable malware removal
  • Most advanced antivirus on the market
  • Great at removing malware
  • Highly customizable
  • Many bonus features
  • Layered ransomware protection
  • Sophisticated spam filter
  • Mute mode
  • Anti-theft tools
  • Password Manager
  • Switch Protection Mode
  • Secure browser
  • Real-time protection
  • Exploit protection
  • Browser Guard
  • Data breach monitoring
  • VPN protection
  • Secure file and media vault
  • Wi-Fi protection
  • Phishing protection
  • Example text
  • CleanWeb monitoring
  • Data breach monitoring
  • Excellent VPN included
  • Great customer support
  • Private search engine
Cons
  • Restrictive VPN
  • macOS support only with paid plans
  • iOS app is a lackluster
  • Paid options somewhat expensive
  • Not the cheapes
  • No free version
  • Prompts to open additional tabs and apps
  • Only covers six devices
  • The browser extension isn't particularly user friendly
  • Safe search doesn't always work
  • Interface could be more intuitive
  • Web and App Boost are lackluster
  • PC Web Boost only works on Chrome
  • LiveSafe and Total Protection difference unclear
  • May report false positives
  • Free version lacks web protection
  • Slow customer support
  • Resource-hungry
  • Expensive
  • Limited parental controls
  • Setup can be tricky
  • More expensive than Norton 360
  • No iPhone app
  • Gets very expensive with more than one device
  • Example text
  • Free version has no real-time protection
  • No live chat or phone support
  • Only covers up to five devices
  • No firewall feature
  • Expensive premium support
  • Unhelpful knowledge base
  • No version for Linux products
  • No macOS and iOS apps
  • Scans take longer than usual
  • No real-time protection on Windows
  • No firewall
ReviewBitdefender reviewNorton 360 reviewTotalAV reviewMcAfee reviewAvira reviewTrend Micro reviewESET NOD32 reviewMalwarebytes reviewAVG reviewSurfshark AV review

How to choose the best antivirus software?

Choosing the best antivirus software might seem challenging at first. There are so many options offering a variety of features. So, how to decide which one suits your needs?

Here are a few simple factors that you should consider before choosing an antivirus:

  • Check security features. The best antivirus solutions should include high quality security features. You can pick one of our top 5 products which are listed above – they come in an all-in-one bundle. However, if you’re already using some kind of online protection (maybe it’s a VPN or a password manager), you can get other antivirus programs that are not so feature-rich.
  • Seek for all-round protection. If you’re not the only one using a computer or a mobile device, you should consider getting an antivirus that would provide extra protection. Some providers have solid parental control features while others protect your whole home network and alert about possible dangers.
  • Consider your budget. Not all antivirus programs offer the same bang-for-the-buck ratio. That’s why spending less (or more) can sometimes get you many more features.
  • Try the software first. Keep in mind that you have to like the software because most companies sell 1-year or longer subscriptions. Thus, you should test it before purchasing. Luckily, the majority of products offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so testing before buying will save you both time and money.

Video review: Best antivirus software of 2022

Best antivirus based on your OS

The market for antivirus programs is wide and can be confusing. Also, each OS works best with specifically customized antivirus software. For example, the perfect antivirus for Windows might deliver disappointing results on your Android device. Therefore, we have tried many antimalware programs with different operating systems for the best security results.

The key points that we paid attention to have helped us to discern the AV programs. Independent organization lab scores, efficiency, available features, quality of customer support, and, of course, price – all of this can help you find out which tool offers the strongest protection.

After lots of testing, we have picked Bitdefender as the best AV option. It’s versatile, secure, and adapted for various operating systems. Yet, you can find our full lists of the best antivirus services for different OS down below:

  • Antivirus for Windows. Many antivirus providers claim to offer all the most important features for security, as well as great protection scores. However, the programs may still lack development. Thus, we have done the testing for you and listed the top antivirus programs for Windows 10 and Windows 11.
  • Antivirus for Mac. Many antivirus programs for Mac were ported from Windows AV programs. Therefore, most of them lack personalized features. The application ends up as incomplete and not as safe as the built-in security options. So, we have tested and picked the best antivirus fully customized for Mac.
  • Antivirus for Chrome. It is said that Chromebooks are incredibly safe and immune to malware. Thus, many people skip fully securing their Chrome devices. The remained gap omits viruses and malware. Moreover, the AV for this OS must be compatible with Android, as Chrome OS and Android are basically the same. That’s why researched the most suitable antivirus programs for Chrome OS.
  • Antivirus for Android. Even though Android devices have Google’s built-in security, they are not as protected as they should be. The built-in security may overlook malware and detect false positives. To secure your mobile even more, you can choose the best antivirus software for Android from our list.
  • Antivirus for iOS. It’s a pity how most of the antivirus providers skip developing applications for iOS. This causes their apps to have low-quality security without real-time protection. So, we have chosen for you the best antivirus options specifically for iOS devices.

Free vs. paid antivirus: should you pay?

When looking for the best value protection for their devices, many people are interested in choosing free antivirus software options. In fact, most of the world's major security platforms include a free plan. So, a natural question arises: should you even pay, or is a free option enough?

This is where remembering the basics of business can help. Companies need to make money: either from premium plans or from your personal data.

Some free antivirus software can include pop-up ads or even malicious programs that can infiltrate you with malware (the last thing you want from an antivirus). Meanwhile, serious, legitimate companies offering free plans are still interested in you paying. So, expect fewer features and serious limitations as you go. Often, free plans will let you run simple system scans. But features like custom scanning, ransomware protection, and advanced firewalls are usually only available when purchasing a premium plan.

So, don't pick up untested security programs – and expect legitimate free options to come with some serious compromises. To help you find out which free options are the best and safest of the bunch, we’ve picked the best free antivirus services for you to check out.

How does antivirus work?

In most cases, antivirus software scans your computer for possible malware and compares your files and programs to known viruses. It also checks possible variants of known malware types. Finally, the so-called heuristic scan tries to detect unknown malware by looking at the way your programs behave.

There are two types of scans that are usually available. The background scan provides real-time protection by actively checking the programs that are currently opened. In contrast, a full system scan checks every file on your hard drive. It’s recommended to run one after installing the antivirus and after the real-time scan finds an infection.

There’s always the chance of a false positive. It’s when your antivirus program thinks that it has found a virus while in fact, it’s a new but safe app that you’ve downloaded. Whitelisting can prevent future false positives.

FAQ

Comments

wounducknow
wounducknow
prefix 11 months ago
How necessary is antivirus software? forgive me but I’ve been using my computer for ages without any protection and nothing happened. I never click on random links and generally try to be careful online so I don’t see how my computer could get infected. I also use vpn with blockers. I would be interested to know if I may actually face any threats even with such low risk . I’m genuinely interested, always eager to learn. Thank you for your help.
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 11 months ago
Dear wounducknow,
Words cannot describe how essential the antivirus software is. I’m happy that you were able to dodge malware so far, but the fact is that it’s getting more sophisticated, and there’s more and more of it. No matter how internet-savvy you are, you may still get infected with malware one day. Besides, Antivirus Suite would check whether your email ended up on a leaked database. Therefore, for starters, I recommend you install Bitdefender, which has a powerful free version. If you like it, you can get the full suite that will cost you less than a couple of bucks per month.
Andreas
Andreas
prefix 1 year ago
After similar hacking experiences on an Android cellphone as several posters mentioned (with VPN in fact), purchased a desktop-Windows 10 to discontinue internet use with cell. Have Comcast internet service with modem. Main use consists of sensitive and financial information. while having once burned twice shy-itis, which comprehensive paid anti-all program is best? Choosing a replacement for gmail is another conundrum. Don’t intend to sync with other devices or WiFi anything if can help it.
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 11 months ago
Hey, Andreas. In your case, I suggest the Norton Antivirus suite. It has its own VPN and password manager. And since none of the suites above offer a secure email service, you should choose either Tutanota or ProronMail.
Lannie
Lannie
prefix 1 year ago
Any article that includes Norton 360 in it, automatically is removed as a valid source. Their software has been a bloated nightmare for years. In corporate world their software is dangerous as it missed a LOT. Replacing with other solutions makes you aware of how much it misses.
It really is that bad of a product. When you lose up to 33% of resources because of it, you must uninstall.
AuSS
AuSS
prefix 1 year ago
The 5 best antivirus software of 2021?
Is this a joke?
I had trouble with them… not good experience… ha ha
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 1 year ago
Hi, AuSS. No, I’m afraid that’s not a joke. I’d love to hear about the antiviruses that you love most, though. Have a good day!
Leon
Leon
prefix 1 year ago
I can’t imagine my life without gaming. Actually, I spend a fortune on games, however, I don’t want to spend money on antivirus. They are expensive and not always needed ( on the daily basis). Suggest the best free antivirus for gaming. I sometimes download stuff for games (skins, mods, and so on) and websites mostly are very suspicious and download stuff at my own risk.
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 1 year ago
Hey, Leon. As there are not that many good free antiviruses, I’d consider choosing from our list of best free antivirus software for 2021.
Jourdan
Jourdan
prefix 1 year ago
Can someone explain the difference between antivirus and antimalware? Antivirus is detecting, blocking, and removing viruses, malware, and ransomware, as well as preventing identity theft and block phishing and fraud. Isn’t antimalware the same? It’s so confusing.
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 1 year ago
Dear Jourdan,
There is some confusion with these terms. Technically, malware is any type of software that does something bad to you. This includes viruses, Trojans, ransomware, and so on. However, there are plenty of products named Antivirus, while in fact, they combat all sorts of malware. Therefore, when choosing the best antivirus software, you should look at the features and whether there’s everything that you want. Some tools might not include ransomware protection, while others might ignore adware.
Anseel
Anseel
prefix 1 year ago
I guess Bitdefender is not only the best antivirus but also the world’s most popular antivirus. The premium plan is not expensive, and you get a lot in one bundle. That’s why I don’t buy a VPN for example. I used Avast when I purchased my first PC, however, I’ve switched to Bitdefender. It has a very understandable UI, and when I needed some help, live support just saved me.
TRAN VAN THUAN
TRAN VAN THUAN
prefix 11 months ago
Việt Nam
Oli Oli
Oli Oli
prefix 1 year ago
you can never be too secure, right? i use a vpn, which has some ad blocks, so many suspicious websites do not even load. but the main concern is – can i have two antivirus programs on my computer? will they conflict with each other, or it will just like double protection if one antivirus didn’t find potential malware, the other will?
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 1 year ago
Dear Oli Oli,
Thanks for the comment. You can have two antivirus programs, but they will most likely conflict with each other. In a way, it’s like using two condoms – double doesn’t always mean two times better. I’d suggest adding a password manager to your security suite instead. Stay safe!
JapanGO
JapanGO
prefix 1 year ago
i always thought that the answer to do smartphones need antivirus is no. i mean, i rarely download anything to my phone from suspicious places. however, i was so wrong! i visited one website and something automatically went downloading 🙁 my son when was playing with my phone installed it (simply clicked yes-yes-yes) and my phone went to brick mode.i had to install software from zero. from that moment – always use antivirus on my phone, on my pc, and even on the tablet.
RockerChell
RockerChell
prefix 1 year ago
My old man is so bored with this quarantine that he decided to pull out his old dusty Thinkpad. It takes eons to load, runs as fast as a crippled tortoise yet sounds like a jet engine. I don’t understand why he doesn’t get a new one.
Anyway, now he’s going to dive head first into the new internet. I’m a bit concerned, but I can’t stand over his shoulder all the time and tell him to not click on some weird links. And there’s no way that he would pay for a program. So, long story short – I’m looking for the best free antivirus for older computers. Any ideas?
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 1 year ago
Dear RockerChell,
Well, it seems that your dad is not yet ready to let it go 🙂 Convinging him into installing Panda Dome should work. Good luck!
Eddy Hepburn
Eddy Hepburn
prefix 1 year ago
Ok, here’s the thing – I got a Macbook Air for Christmas. Now, I’m not really a big fan of Apple so I never really used their products that much in the past, but I have a feeling this might change. I was told that Macs have better security than Windows, but I’m not convinced. I’d feel better with some extra security layers. Problem is – I don’t know what to choose. Do you have any suggestions on what’s the best antivirus scanner for mac? Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll get back to me!
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 1 year ago
Hi, Eddy. You’re right about not trusting your online security on Mac alone. As always, you can try a free antivirus first. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Kaspersky Anti-virus, and Avira Antivirus can all be great for macOS.
Duncan N.
Duncan N.
prefix 1 year ago
All these articles about hacks got me a bit concerned. I could use a program that would protect all of the devices in my house. What do you think is the best antivirus for multiple pcs? And would I need a different program for phones or tablets? So many devices are connected to the internet, yet I’m not sure if a VPN on my router would be enough protection.
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 1 year ago
Hey, Duncan! Thanks for stopping by. While using a VPN is a big step towards securing your home network, there are still many potential threats that only a reliable antivirus can handle. In your case, I’d suggest McAfee Total Protection. It works on both desktop and mobile devices, comes with plenty of features, and allows to easily manage all devices that are connected to wifi.
Phillip Hedley
Phillip Hedley
prefix 1 year ago
So my grandma decided that she needs a laptop. I think it’s great that she decided to stay more connected to everyone, was always against modern tech, but the pandemic really made her reconsider. Problem is she got some really cheap one with weak specs. So I have to ask – do you have recommendations for best antivirus for low resources computers? Not something that I can test on my own beastly rig so I got to ask the professionals.
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 1 year ago
Dear Phillip, thanks for the comment. I’m happy that your grandma has decided to go online! I suggest trying Panda Dome – it’s both free and doesn’t require the latest hardware to run smoothly.
Sherri Hardwick
Sherri Hardwick
prefix 1 year ago
Do you know what’s the best antivirus for students? A lot of us have to study remotely now and the universities don’t provide us with things like that, have to manage all of these cybercriminals by ourselves. Which is understandable I suppose, but I’d still like something that gives a good discount to students.
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 1 year ago
Hi, Sherri. First of all, you don’t have to pay for a good antvirus! There are at least a few with great free versions. I suggest you to try Bitdefender Antivirus Plus or Kaspersky Anti-virus.
MountainShard
MountainShard
prefix 1 year ago
Hey there, Cybernews. I was curious about what you think is the best antivirus for small businesses. We’re not in the IT business, but I’ve been reading all these stories about how all kinds of businesses get attacked with ransomware or other kinds of hacks. I have an online store so it’s really important to keep it running all the time. Right now we don’t need a lot of computers secure, but that could change in the future. I want something that wouldn’t cost too much when the amount of computers increases. Perhaps there are some antiviruses that have an unlimited amount of devices?
Mindaugas Jancis
Mindaugas Jancis
prefix 1 year ago
Hello, MountainShard. Getting an antivirus for business protecion is a very good idea. In your case, the best choice is Bitdefender Antivirus Plus. It has a great free version and isn’t pricey in case you decide to upgrade. When it comes to unlimited devices, McAfee Total Protection is probably your best bet. Good luck!
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