Best Windows 10 antivirus for 2024
Windows PC is one of the easiest catches for a threat actor because there are so many potential victims. Luckily, if you use Windows 10, a quality antivirus is all you need to counter the countless cyber threats and potential attacks.
While some think relying on Windows Defender is enough, it’s actually not as effective at detecting and protecting against established malware and zero-day threats as you might hope. A good antivirus can additionally offer a VPN, password manager, and an ad blocker. These extra features protect against various malware and other threats.
So, what are the top antivirus products suitable for Windows 10? Is Windows Defender sufficient, or should you opt for another free alternative? Read our expert analysis below and find the best Windows 10 antivirus solution for your needs.
Top 7 antivirus for Windows 10
- TotalAV – best antivirus for Windows 10 with a free version
- Norton Antivirus – Windows 10 virus protection with a robust ad blocker
- Bitdefender – feature-rich Windows 10 antivirus protection
- Surfshark Antivirus – intuitive antivirus with next-gen features
- NordVPN Threat Protection – market-leading VPN with a good antivirus
- Avira Antivirus – budget-friendly antivirus recommended for Windows 10
- McAfee Total Protection – good Windows 10 antivirus for unlimited devices
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How to choose the best Windows 10 antivirus
When shopping for a top Windows 10 antivirus, you need a service that guarantees 100% protection. 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:
|Malware detection rate:
|Real-time protection, firewall
|VPN, password manager, ad blocker
- Real-time protection. Constant monitoring is necessary to catch all threats before they affect your Windows 10 device. So make sure that your chosen antivirus provider has it.
- Performance. A full system scan can be heavy on your device's resources, so picking a provider that doesn't interfere with your work is important. TotalAV and Norton are top providers that offer low impact on Windows 10 performance.
- Malware protection. Not all antiviruses can detect malware on Windows systems equally well. Thus, we recommend looking through independent test results to ensure your chosen provider can catch 100% of malware.
- Ransomware protection. Antivirus should have ransomware protection that has safe file backups, protection against file corruption and scans your device for possible vulnerabilities. This way, it will prevent threat actors from holding your device hostage.
Scanning features. To protect a Windows 10 device, a quality antivirus suite must have various scanning systems for all sorts of threats, including rootkit detection and vulnerability scanner for open ports, router misconfigurations, and critical software or operating system updates.
The best Windows 10 antivirus software – detailed list
We’ve tested 25 antivirus services for Windows 10 to find the best options with the highest malware detection rates, excellent real-time protection, and numerous additional security features. Ultimately, we selected 7 providers worth using in 2024.
1. TotalAV – Windows 10 antivirus with a robust ad blocker included
|Max no. of devices:
|Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
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TotalAV is exceptionally secure and reliable Windows 10 antivirus software for quality protection against various digital threats. It offers both limited free and complete paid subscriptions with all the needed tools to ensure well-rounded device security.
This antivirus ensures high security with a success rate of 97.5% of blocked zero-day malware threats and 100% of 4-week malware, as discovered by AV-TEST August evaluations. When we tested the TotalAV scans, we noted that system performance impact is minimal. You'll barely notice that background scans are happening.
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 noticeably improves page load times.
Speaking of all-around protection, there's also TotalAV's Safe Browsing VPN, which encrypts your connection and masks your public IP. This is impressive considering few antivirus services provide a VPN as an extra feature. Then, there's the WebShield Chrome extension that filters out malicious websites and their password manager too. The only drawback is that we found it unintuitive and harder to navigate.
All these features are 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 24/7 live chat.
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.
2. Norton 360 Antivirus – great antivirus protection with a robust ad blocker
|Max no. of devices:
|Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
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After Norton merged with Avast, they formed a superb cybersecurity company. With the combined experience and expertise, Norton 360 offers reliable protection from viruses and other online threats targeting Windows 10.
The most recent August 2023 Norton 360 test by AV-TEST shows results surpassing TotalAV. The suite caught 100% of zero-day and prevalent malware, detected no false positives, and had little system resource impact.
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. Also, there’s a two-way Firewall that monitors 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 need, plus a couple of things you didn’t know you needed.
One drawback is that Norton AV can be difficult to use. Features open in separate windows and some are excluded from the new interface version. Also, you may find its browser extension a bit more user-friendly than TotalAV’s. 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 $29.99/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 (14-day for US customers) and a 60-days money-back guarantee. So that’s plenty of time to try this antivirus software out and not lose your money.
For Norton 360 pricing options and other information, check our review.
3. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus – all-inclusive Windows 10 antivirus package
|Max no. of devices:
|Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux
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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.
The latest AV-TEST Bitdefender analysis showed that the PC antivirus blocks 100% of threats, including zero-day and 4-week-old malware. It runs frequent background scans, so it can be slightly demanding on your systems.
Bitdefender benefits include 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 an absolute powerhouse that will keep you safe no matter what.
To top it off, Bitdefender provides a ton of additional features outside antivirus protection. This includes Bitdefender VPN, which makes your online traffic unreadable to 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.
Unlike TotalAV, the Bitdefender app can feel a little cluttered, 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 $29.99/year, and then upgrade to get more device coverage. Plus there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
4. Surfshark Antivirus – user-friendly everyday Windows antivirus
|Max no. of devices:
|Windows, macOS, Android
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An unexpected addition to the Windows 10 antivirus lineup – Surfshark VPN. The service comes with a next-gen antivirus program among other excellent cybersecurity tools.
Surfshark One offers near-perfect security from malware. That being said, it scores a bit lower than TotalAV on zero-day attacks – 91.9%, but has a perfect 100% score of 4-weeks old threats. Similarly to Norton, this antivirus is gentle on your system resources, so you won’t experience performance issues. When we tested Surfshark Antivirus 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. You can also benefit from safe online searching by using Surfshark’s secure search engine. However, keep in mind that this provider doesn’t offer a firewall.
Additionally, in case your data is threatened, you will receive security alerts. Finally, your online traffic will be protected with Surfshark VPN, which shines in our best VPNs list.
Like other Surfshark products, the Windows antivirus app has a clean design and is easy to use. So, you shouldn’t experience any issues with it. But just in case, Surfshark customer support is available 24/7.
If Surfshark has won you over, you can get it starting from $48.86/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.
5. NordVPN Threat Protection – top VPN with antivirus features for Windows 10
|Max no. of devices:
|Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows
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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 Threat Protection, it continuously runs in the background. You will be protected against 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 – it found 9/10 malicious files with the deep scan during our NordVPN examination. While Threat protection is great for online security, it doesn’t offer real-time virus protection.
The ads that appear when browsing are not only annoying but can be used to distribute malware, too. Luckily, Threat Protection blocks all types of adware that interfere with 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. 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 $3.39/month for 6 devices. Subscriptions also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind.
6. Avira Antivirus – best option for users on a tight budget
|Max no. of devices:
|Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
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Avira is known for lightweight Windows 10 virus protection that performs like a heavyweight champion. It's available 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. Similar results were replicated by AV-TEST, where Avira blocked 98.8% of zero-day and 100% of widespread malware.
Additionally, Avira has some solid features to secure your device. Its antivirus bundle includes Phantom VPN, a password manager, safe shopping, and file shredder features. The well-rounded Avira antivirus package offers good virus protection for Windows 10.
Some even more expensive plans, like Prime, 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 depends on your desired features .
Additionally, Avira’s app is just as easy to use as Surfshark’s. 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. But it’s not as efficient as other providers, like TotalAV or NordVPN, so expect to wait to get a response.
To try Avira Antivirus, you can get a subscription starting from $30.99/year and cover one device. For more device coverage you’d have to upgrade your plan. If you’re dissatisfied with Avira, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
7. McAfee Total Protection – protection for unlimited devices
|Yes (Android, iOS)
|Max no. of devices:
|Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
|🔥Get McAfee, save up to 70%🔥
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 essential security on mobile devices.
Regarding security, McAfee can confidently protect you from various malware like ransomware and crypto-jacking. Its real-time protection is always on, and during our testing, it resulted in 100% protection from zero-day and 4-week malware. Independent McAfee tests by AV-TEST confirmed these reliable findings, where the Windows 10 antivirus garnered perfect scores in all areas.
There are some nice additional features, as well. For instance, if you want to quickly and safely delete files without recovery, there's file shredder.
The McAfee suite also includes a vulnerability scanner to go through potential weak spots that malicious hackers could exploit. You also get their web extension and password manager for all-round protection.
When it comes to using McAfee, the software can be confusing at first, but, given time to practice, you shouldn’t have much trouble. Yet, if there are issues, you might have to wait to get in contact with customer support service, since it isn’t as easy to reach an agent.
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.
8. Malwarebytes – solid Windows 10 antivirus for older devices
|Max. no. of devices:
|Windows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS
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Malwarebytes performs exceptionally well catching malware without putting a strain on CPU power. There's also a free version to test its cybersecurity capabilities.
During the most recent AV-test analysis, Malwarebytes Premium 4.6 version got a solid 5.5 for protection and performance and a maximum of 6 for usability. This speedy Windows 10 antivirus catches 99.2% 0-day and 99.9% widespread malware threats and uses barely 0.2% CPU power during our in-house tests, outperforming many others.
As noted in our Malwarebytes review, the service includes a Privacy VPN in its premium plan. It boasts genuine no-logs policies, although we'd like an independent audit to prove it. Otherwise, it runs on the advanced WireGuard protocol to protect the 500+ servers in 40 countries.
Malwarebytes also provides a free Browser Guard extension that turns off ads and trackers and blocks access to malicious websites. This antivirus silences notifications during gaming sessions, greatly enhancing gaming PC security without overloading it.
This Windows 10 antivirus costs $38.24/year and offers a 14-day free trial, a 60-day money-back guarantee, and an unlimited free version to scan one device for viruses.
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 PC, and employing in-house antivirus testing tools.
Regarding in-house evaluations, we installed various malware samples before performing quick and detailed scans to see the results. Other tests included visiting malicious websites while the Windows 10 antivirus software was enabled to see how the tool would behave. During this time, we monitored CPU and memory load to ensure the software doesn’t severely impact overall performance.
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 false alarms. It’s difficult to pinpoint an acceptable false-positives rate, but ideally it shouldn’t exceed 0.01%.
- 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.
- 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.
Best antiviruses for Windows 10 compared
Here’s how different providers compare to each other in terms of protection rates, price, and features:
|NordVPN Threat Protection
|Max no. of devices
|Surfshark AV review
Do Windows 10 need antivirus?
Yes, you need an antivirus for Windows 10 PC or a laptop. Even though Windows 10 devices come equipped with the Microsoft Security suite, which includes Windows Defender antivirus software, 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 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 TotalAV
- Register and pay for your subscription plan
- Download the installer
- Follow the 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.
Additionally, unreliable free antivirus services could be malicious, leading to more cybersecurity issues. Thus, it’s vital to opt for well-renowned and trustworthy no-cost antiviruses.
Our current top pick is TotalAV since it has the best internet security 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 antivirus for Windows 10 – the same content, just condensed:
Whether you're looking for the top 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 TotalAV. 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
More antivirus guides from Cybernews:
Which antivirus is the best for Windows 10?
The best antivirus software for Windows 10 is . 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, device performance optimization, 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 , is able to detect and remove more advanced infections.