Best Windows 10 antivirus software
Windows PC is one of the easiest catches for a hacker and not because it’s unsafe, but the number of users makes it a target. In fact, if you are on Windows 10, a quality antivirus is what you need to counter the countless cyber threats and potential attacks.
While some think that relying on built-in Windows Defender antivirus is enough, it’s actually not as effective and advanced in detecting and protecting you against the newest malware and zero-day threats as you might hope.
A good antivirus can additionally offer a VPN, password manager, or ad blocker. And all of these extra features help to detect a bigger variety of malware and other threats.
Considering it all, we have tested and picked the best antivirus software for Windows 10 in 2023, that could secure your Windows from any kind of threats. So, read on to find the best antivirus suit that fits your needs.
Top 5 best antivirus for Windows 10
- Norton Antivirus – best antivirus for Windows 10 overall
- Bitdefender – feature-rich Windows 10 antivirus protection
- TotalAV – Windows 10 virus protection with a robust ad blocker
- Surfshark Antivirus – intuitive antivirus with next-gen features
- NordVPN Threat Protection – market-leading VPN with a good antivirus
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How to choose the best Windows 10 antivirus
When you're shopping for a Windows 10 antivirus, you're looking for the service that will be the final frontier against malware. Essentially, your workflow, files, and privacy depend on the quality of the service, so here are the features that the best Windows 10 antivirus should have:
- Real-time protection. Constant monitoring for threats is the best protection your device could have, so make sure that your chosen antivirus provider has it. Keep in mind that often free antiviruses or free versions don’t offer real-time protection.
- Firewall. At the forefront of your device’s defense lines, a firewall monitors all incoming and outgoing traffic for potential threats.
- Parental controls. In case you want to monitor and ensure your family’s online safety as well, a parental control feature is a must-have. That way, you’ll be able to guard your family members from all sorts of malicious activities, including phishing attempts, accidental downloads, and malicious websites.
- Ransomware protection. As ransomware is gaining popularity in the malware world, it is increasingly important to make sure that your antivirus provider offers top-tier ransomware protection. It may include safe file backup and protection against file corruption.
- Scanning features. A quality antivirus suite must have scanning systems for all sorts of threats, including rootkit detection and vulnerability scanner for passwords, router errors, and critical updates.
- File shredder is an important feature to have in case you work with sensitive data, want to sell your device, or clean it up from any remnants of malicious or other files.
The best Windows 10 antivirus software – our detailed list:
We’ve tested many antivirus software for Windows 10 to pick the best options for our list. Below, you'll find the best antivirus providers in more detailed descriptions. Every provider meets our requirements for device security, real-time protection, and malware scans. Also, they include some extra features like VPNs, password managers, or file shredders. So you can easily find the best antivirus option for you.
1. Norton 360 Antivirus – best antivirus software for Windows 10
|Features: ||Smart firewall, parental controls, tracker blocker, VPN|
|Max no. of devices:||5|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, iOS, Android|
|Current deal:||🔥Get up to 83% OFF Norton Antivirus🔥|
After Norton merged with Avast, they formed a super-cybersecurity company. With the combined experience and expertise, Norton 360 is the best antivirus service for Windows 10, offering excellent protection from viruses and other online threats.
According to a recent AV-test, Norton's performed perfectly. The suite caught 100% of zero-day malware, detected no false positives, and had little impact on system resources.
In terms of features, we’ve tested Norton’s AI-powered real-time protection that prevents malware and ransomware from harming your device, and the results were great. It provided quick and reliable protection from malware. Also, there’s a two-way Firewall that monitors both received and sent network traffic.
The suite also includes Norton Secure VPN to encrypt your online traffic. Plus, there's a password manager that stores your credentials in an encrypted vault. You can even store your most important files in Norton PC file backup. Simply put – Norton has absolutely everything you might need, as well as a couple of things you didn’t know you needed.
Also, no matter your experience level, Norton is exceptionally easy to use. The software interface is clear, and all features are just a few clicks away. And in case of any issues, Norton offers great customer support, including a 24/7 helpline.
If Norton 360 catches your attention, then you can try it out starting from $9.99/year for the first year and cover one of your devices. If you need to cover more devices, then you’ll have to upgrade to more expensive premium plans. Also, there’s a 7-day free trial and a 60-days money-back guarantee. So that’s plenty of time to try this antivirus software out and not lose your money.
To learn more about this antivirus software, visit our Norton antivirus review.
- Excellent protection
- Plenty of extras
- Powerful identity-theft suite
- Low resource usage
- No free version
2. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus – all-inclusive Windows 10 antivirus package
|Features:||Tracker blocker, online payments protection, VPN|
|Max no. of devices:||15|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Android, iOS|
|Current deal:||🔥Get Bitdefender for up to 62% OFF!🔥|
Bitdefender is an all-in-one Windows 10 antivirus solution. With budget-friendly pricing options, a solid free version, and an enviable security suite, this provider fits everyone. It blocks 100% of threats, including zero-day and 4-week-old malware and virus attacks. It runs frequent background scans, so it can be slightly demanding on your systems.
In terms of security features, this antivirus brings a gun to a knife fight. It includes real-time protection, advanced threat defense, web attack prevention, and anti-phishing filters. We’ve tested this antivirus software and can confirm that it is a complete powerhouse that will keep you safe even if you're in the habit of clicking links on shady websites.
To top it off, Bitdefender provides a ton of additional features. This includes a Bitdefender VPN, which makes your online traffic impossible to read for snoopers. Then, there's SafePay – a sandboxed and secure browser for online payments. Also, microphone and webcam protection to ensure that no one is spying on you via your PC or laptop.
Initially, the Bitdefender app can be a little confusing, but once you get used to it, this antivirus software will be very easy to use. And if you run into any issue, Bitdefender’s customer support is available for free and paid subscription users.
You can get the full security package with a Bitdefender premium subscription starting from $23.99/year, and then upgrade to get more device coverage. Plus there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
If you want to find out more, take a look at our in-depth Bitdefender review.
- Excellent free version
- Great value for money
- Frequent updates
- Exceptional scores in independent tests
- Full VPN access for an extra price
- Uses too many resources
3. TotalAV – Windows 10 antivirus with a robust ad blocker included
|Features: ||Ransomware protection, ad blocker, protection from malicious websites|
|Max no. of devices:||6|
|Platforms:||Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux|
|Current deal:||🔥Get TotalAV, now 84% OFF!🔥|
TotalAV is an exceptionally secure and reliable Windows 10 antivirus software for quality protection against all kinds of digital threats. It offers both limited free and complete paid subscriptions with all the needed tools to ensure full device security.
This antivirus ensures high security with a success rate of 97% of blocked zero-day malware threats and 100% of 4-week malware. When we tested the TotalAV scans, we noted that the system performance impact is minimal with this software. You'll barely notice that the background scans are happening.
The TotalAV security features include protection against threats ranging from ransomware to phishing emails. For example, there’s a market-leading ad blocker, which removes adware and trackers.
Speaking of all-around protection, there's also TotalAV's Safe Browsing VPN, which encrypts your connection and changes your public IP. This is impressive considering not many antivirus software provide a VPN as an extra feature. Then, there's a WebShield Chrome extension that filters out malicious websites and their password manager too.
All of these features are really easy to access once you’ve installed the Windows app. The application is minimal and straightforward, so the security options are just a few clicks away. Another great thing is the customer support, which offers different communication options, including a 24/7 chat option.
You can get the TotalAV premium subscription starting from $19.00/year and cover 3 devices. For more devices, you’d have to upgrade your plan. Additionally, there is a free version and a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can safely try out this provider for yourself.
To find out more, read our in-depth TotalAV review.
- Good protection against most cyberthreats
- A basic free version
- Fast customer support
- Real-time and cloud protection
- Includes optimization tools
- Only covers six devices
- Difficult-to-use browser extension
4. Surfshark Antivirus – user-friendly everyday Windows antivirus
|Features:||Data breach alert, safe search engine, VPN|
|Max no. of devices:||5|
|Platforms:||Windows, macOS, Android|
|Current deal:||🔥Get Surfshark Antivirus - 76% OFF!🔥|
A somewhat new addition to the regular Windows 10 antivirus lineup – Surfshark VPN now comes together with a next-gen antivirus program. And having high hopes for this provider’s security bundle is completely legitimate.
Sufshark One offers near-perfect security from malware. That being said, it scores a solid rate of 91.9% of zero-day attacks and a perfect 100% of 4-weeks old threats. It’s also gentle on your system resources, so you won’t experience performance issues. When we tested malware scans, the CPU usage averaged around 22%, and while it peaked slightly higher, it quickly went down again.
For features, Surfshark covers all essentials, such as real-time protection and device scanning which allows you to schedule your scans in terms of items and timing. You can also benefit from safe online searching by using Surfshark’s secure search engine.
Additionally, in case your data is threatened, you will receive security alerts. And, finally, your online traffic will be protected with Surfshark’s VPN, which shines in our best VPNs list.
Like with other Surfshark products, the antivirus app for Windows has a very clean design and is really easy to use. So, you shouldn’t experience any issues with it. But just in case, Surfshark customer support is available for 24/7 chats.
If Surfshark has won you over, you can get it starting from $41.88/year and secure up to 5 devices. In case this antivirus isn’t up to your expectations, you also get a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Learn more about this fresh AV in our Surfshark antivirus review.
- Extremely strong VPN included
- CleanWeb feature
- Secure search engine
- Excellent customer support
- No firewall
- ID check isn't available in all countries
5. NordVPN Threat Protection – top VPN with antivirus features for Windows 10
|Features:||VPN, antimalware, ad blocker|
|Max no. of devices:||6|
|Platforms:||Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows|
|Current deal:||🔥 Get NordVPN Threat Protection – 63% OFF + 3 months FREE! 🔥|
With NordVPN Threat Protection, you can easily secure your Windows 10 devices from malware, dangerous websites, and intrusive ads. In other words, within a single app, you receive all-around protection.
Once you have a NordVPN app installed on your computer and enable the Threat Protection feature, it continuously runs in the background. You will be protected against visiting infected websites as it successfully blocked access to 90% of malware-hosting pages when we tried it. Also, it automatically scans your downloads for malicious components – found 9/10 malicious files with the deep scan during our examination.
Furthermore, those ads that appear when you browse are not only annoying but can be used to distribute malware as well. Luckily, Threat Protection blocks all types of adware that may appear during your browsing sessions.
But that’s not it – since NordVPN is actually a VPN, your information is encoded using advanced encryption ciphers to prevent any sensitive data leaks when connected to unprotected networks. You can also connect to one of the many servers and unblock geo-restricted content, like various Netflix catalogs.
Threat Protection is included with each NordVPN plan starting from $3.29/month for 6 devices. Subscriptions also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind.
Get more information in our full NordVPN review.
- Powerful ad blocker
- Automatic download scanner
- Top class internet security
- Solid protection from trackers
- No real-time virus protection
- No advanced scanning options
6. Avira Antivirus – best option for users on a tight budget
|Features:||Virus scanner, online shopping protection, password manager|
|Max no. of devices:||5|
|Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|Current deal:||🔥Get 1 year of Avira at 40% OFF!🔥|
Avira is known as a lightweight Windows 10 virus protection that performs like a heavyweight champion. It's accessible to users for free and as a paid service.
The software provides a near-perfect track record: we’ve tested this software’s abilities, and the results showed that Avira blocked 100% of the latest malware threats.
Additionally, Avira has some solid features to secure your device. Their antivirus bundle also includes Phantom VPN, password manager, safe shopping, and file shredder features. It’s a pretty good premium antivirus package that offers good versatile protection.
Some even more expensive plans, like Prime, also add VIP customer support, unlimited VPN, a price comparison tool, and premium mobile apps. You also get free access to their upcoming products. So, whether this option is worth it to you depends on the features that you want.
Additionally, Avira’s app is really self-explanatory and easy to use. All features are grouped in four easily-accessible taskbars. But if you need additional help, Avira’s customer support is available – only for paid subscription users.
To try out Avira Antivirus, you can get a subscription starting from $30.99/year and cover one device. For more device coverage you’d have to up your subscription plan. Also, you can test out Avira for yourself and, if you’re dissatisfied, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To find out more, read our in-depth Avira antivirus review.
- Protection from ransomware
- Intuitive user interface
- Integrated VPN
- Free version
- Might report false positives
- The free version lacks the web protection feature
7. McAfee Total Protection – protection for unlimited devices
|Features:||File shredder, VPN, identity protection|
|Max no. of devices:||Unlimited|
|Platforms:||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS|
|Current deal:||🔥Get McAfee, save up to 67%🔥|
McAfee is a good antivirus service for Windows 10 PC or laptop. It will secure not only your device but also personal information and online activity. Additionally, it has a free version for base protection needs.
In the case of security, McAfee can confidently protect you from ransomware, crypto-jacking, and malware. Its real-time protection is always on, and during our testing, it resulted in 100% protection from zero-day and 4-week malware.
There are some nice additional features, as well. For instance, if you want to quickly and safely delete files without recovery, there's a file shredder.
The suite also includes a vulnerability scanner to go through potential weak spots that hackers could exploit. You also get their web extension and password manager, so it's a full suite.
When it comes to using McAfee, this software can be a little confusing to start, but once you’ve got time to learn it, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. Yet, if there are any issues, you might have to wait to get in contact with a customer support service, since it isn’t as easy to reach an agent for help.
You can get a McAfee premium subscription beginning from $39.99/year for the first year and cover up to 5 devices. In cases of more device coverage, you’ll have to upgrade your plan. And to secure your experience, there’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To find out more, read our in-depth McAfee review.
- All plans support major platforms
- Generous device limits
- Basic package is feature-rich
- Solid firewall
- Some independent test results are poor
- Performance could be better
Best antiviruses for Windows 10 compared
Here’s how different providers compare to each other in terms of protection rates, price, and features:
|Norton||Bitdefender||TotalAV||Surfshark Antivirus||NordVPN Threat Protection||Avira||McAfee|
|Review||Norton review||Bitdefender review||TotalAV review||Surfshark AV review||NordVPN review||Avira review||McAfee review|
Do I really need antivirus for Windows 10?
Yes, you need an antivirus for Windows 10 PC or a laptop. Even though Windows 10 devices already come equipped with Microsoft Security suite, previously known as Windows Defender, investing in a third-party antivirus would be in your best interest. Here’s why you need an antivirus for Windows 10:
- 100% malware and zero-day threat protection is not something that the built-in Windows Defender can offer you. During our in-house testing, the scans failed to detect any malicious programs. Meanwhile, third-party antivirus providers usually react to threats faster and more efficiently
- Additional features, such as a VPN or password manager are offered by the best antivirus programs currently on the market. Windows Defender doesn’t have any of them.
- Browser protection. The best antivirus suites include features for safe browsing and preventing any online threats from harming your device. Windows Defender allows safe browsing only with MS Edge, which isn’t ideal.
- Extra security layer. Using a third-party antivirus software together with Windows Defender is the best way to go. Once you install an additional security program, Windows Defender operates in the background to check whether your chosen antivirus works properly, which ensures 100% protection at all times.
How we selected and tested these antiviruses
In order to select only the best products, we do extensive research and testing of every provider. All of the antiviruses in our list were tested using a virtual machine with AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3945WX 12-Cores processor, 3.99 GHz, 8GB RAM, and 64-bit operating system on a Windows 10 device, and employing in-house antivirus testing tools.
Here's what criteria we used to find the best antivirus for Windows 10:
- Independent antivirus testing. Several independent antivirus testing labs field-test every antivirus service. Their research provides us with detailed reports on how each antivirus service stacks against each other. We picked only those that showed good results.
- In-house antivirus testing. We use our in-house antivirus testing tools such as virtual machines and specifically curated malicious files to see how well providers protect your device from spyware, adware, and other types of malware.
- False positive record. We tested how many malware detection events were actually accurate, and which were falsely alarmed. Generally 1 out of 10 is acceptable, but anything more than that raises suspicions about the software’s accuracy.
- Additional features. Some features might make a world of difference, i.e., firewall or real-time protection. We looked at how useful and how many extra features the Windows 10 antivirus programs have.
- Performance. The best antivirus software should have as little impact on device performance as possible. During our testing, we looked at the average CPU load while running scans, and chose the providers with the best performance.
- Ease of use. Evaluating app interface is usually subjective, but we tried to be objective when checking how easy it is to navigate in the program and make use of the features.
- Customer support. We reached out to support of all the providers on our list, and checked their response timing, helpfulness and overal efficiency.
- Price. To get the best deals possible the closest to you, we looked at pricing differences in different tiers, compared them to the amount of features, and made our decisions based on that.
How do I install antivirus on my Windows 10?
The process to install antivirus on Windows 10 is no different from other programs set up. You'll be using the provider's app, so you need to install it on your machine.
- Head to the provider's official page. Our recommended antivirus is Norton Antivirus.
- Register and pay for your subscription plan.
- Download an installer's executable file.
- Follow the installation wizard instructions and complete the installation.
- Log in to your account, and run the first scan.
What is the best free antivirus for Windows 10?
While many quality antiviruses won't break your bank, it may happen that you're not in the position to pay for an antivirus. In that case, it's perfectly acceptable to use a free antivirus, but it does come with several caveats.
First of all, the free version of a product won't have many features. If you're looking into Firewalls or real-time protection capabilities, likely, they won't be available. This leaves you with generic full system scan options, which might not be enough.
Our current top pick is TotalAV since they have the best free antivirus version for Windows 10 on the market. The free package includes the Safe Site browser extension that protects from harmful sites. Plus, it guarantees 100% malware detection rates and provides you with a smart scan that goes through your startup programs and finds junk. That is quite the security for a free plan. So it is a really reliable and secure free antivirus provider.
Video review: Best antivirus for Windows 10
No time to read the whole article? Take a look at our video review of the best antiviruses for windows 10 – the same content, just condensed into under 9 minutes:
Whether you're looking for the best antivirus for Windows 10 to increase your overall security, or get rid of viruses from your hard drive, you can see that there are plenty of providers to choose from. Some of the best antivirus providers for Windows 10 right now are Norton, Bitdefender, and TotalAV. These security programs will ensure the highest device protection.
When picking an antivirus remember that a quality antivirus service not only helps against malware threats. It is also a multi-functional tool to keep you safe when you're browsing the web, working, or exchanging files.
Our top suggestion for Windows 10 is Norton 360 antivirus. It is the safest antivirus that is considerate of your system resources. Additionally, this antivirus suite has a vast list of extra features to protect your device systems and secure your activity online.
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Which antivirus software is the best for Windows 10?
The best antivirus software for Windows 10 is Norton. It has 100% malware protection rates according to independent testing labs, excellent real-time protection, and numerous additional features such as a VPN, password manager, file backup, device performance optimization, parental controls, and more.
Does Windows 10 have its own virus protection?
Yes, every Windows PC has a built-in Windows Security suite that includes virus and threat protection. This acts as a default antivirus that comes with every Windows 10 or 11 installation.
Is Windows 10 built-in antivirus good enough?
Yes, Windows 10 built-in antivirus offers basic, but good protection. It scores nearly a 100% in real-time protection independent testing, has device scanning, and more. However, a third-party antivirus, like Norton 360, is able to detect and remove more advanced infections.
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