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Best Windows 10 antivirus for 2024


Windows 10 is one of the main targets of cybercriminals because there are so many potential victims. Luckily, if you use Windows 10, a quality antivirus can help you counter the countless cyberthreats and potential attacks.

Although Windows Defender is a viable option, it is actually not as effective at detecting and protecting against established malware and zero-day threats as you might hope. Windows Defender also doesn’t come with a VPN, a password manager, or an ad blocker – the extras that many antiviruses now offer.

To help you make the right decision, we tested and reviewed the top 8 best antivirus software for your Windows 10 computers.

Top 5 best antivirus for Windows 10

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How to choose antivirus software for Windows 10

When shopping for the top Windows 10 antivirus, you need a service that guarantees as close to 100% protection as possible. 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. You need an antivirus that protects your device in real-time. Only antiviruses with uninterrupted monitoring can catch all threats before they affect your Windows 10 device. So make sure that your chosen antivirus provider has real-time protection.
  • Performance. Real-time protection and full system scans can be heavy on your device's resources, specifically the CPU and RAM. So, picking a provider that doesn't interfere with your work is important. Norton 360 and TotalAV are the top providers with low impact on Windows 10 performance.
  • Malware protection. Not all antiviruses can detect malware on Windows 10 systems equally well. Thus, we recommend referring to independent test results to ensure your chosen provider can catch malware effectively.
  • Ransomware protection. The best antivirus should have ransomware protection with safe file backups, protection against file corruption, and vulnerability scans. Ransomware is one of the most prevalent threats today, and so you need an antivirus that can help you keep your device protected against attackers who could hold your device and personal files 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 a vulnerability scanner for open ports, router misconfigurations, and critical software or operating system updates. When choosing the antivirus tool, make sure to check what kinds of scans are included.
Recent updates
After repeating our in-house tests and reevaluating the antivirus suites and what they have to offer, in the recent update, I have changed the final lineup featuring TotalAV as the best Windows 10 antivirus in 2024. I also provided more information about the most significant features of every antivirus to help compare them.

Best antivirus software for Windows 10 – 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. Here are my top 8 selections.

1. TotalAV – the best Windows 10 antivirus in 2024

Total AV banner
Free version
Yes
Max no. of devices:8
Platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Current deal:Get TotalAV, now 80% OFF!

TotalAV is the best Windows 10 antivirus software for quality protection against various digital threats. It offers both free and paid subscriptions with all the essentials to ensure well-rounded device security.

TotalAV ensures high security with a 100% success rate – it blocked 100% of zero-day malware threats and 100% of 4-week malware, as discovered by AV-TEST February 2024 evaluations. However, because the antivirus performed worse in January (98.2% protection rate against zero-day malware), TotalAV has a lower score than Norton 360 overall (5.5 vs 6.0).

The good news is that during in-house TotalAV scans, the system performance impact was minimal – I barely noticed that background scans were 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. It’s very easy to use, and you can download it for your Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browsers.

TotalAV ad blocker

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. This is one of the many reasons why I ranked Norton 360 and TotalAV so high on this list.

There's also the WebShield extension that filters out malicious websites and their password manager too. The only drawback is that I found it unintuitive and harder to navigate. It comes integrated into the app and is available on Chrome, Edge, and Opera browsers.

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. And if you have any trouble navigating, customer support offers different communication options, including 24/7 live chat.

You can get the TotalAV premium subscription from $19.00/year (TotalAV Antivirus Pro) and cover 4 devices. This makes it the cheapest solution on this list. For more devices, you’d have to upgrade your plan. You can protect up to 8 devices (TotalAV Total Security), and while you can protect more devices with Norton’s Select plan (up to 10), it’s also more expensive – $49.00/year vs $99.99/year.

The best part is that TotalAV has a free version and a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can safely try out this provider for yourself.

2. Norton 360 Antivirus – top straightforward antivirus for Windows 10

Free version:No
Max no. of devices:10
Platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Current deal:Get up to 58% OFF Norton Antivirus

Norton 360 is great easy-to-use antivirus for Windows 10. After Norton merged with Avast, both 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.

According to the Norton 360 analysis by AV-TEST conducted in February 2024, the antivirus gained the perfect 6.0 score and beat TotalAV (5.5 score). The suite caught 100% of zero-day and prevalent malware, detected no false positives, and demonstrated little system resource impact.

In terms of Norton 360 features, I reviewed 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 probably didn’t even know you needed. I found it very convenient that you can set up all of these amazing features from one panel via the Norton 360 interface.

Norton 360 interface.

One drawback is that Norton AV can be difficult to use at first. Features open in separate windows and some are excluded from the new interface version. On the other hand, I found its browser extension a bit more user-friendly than TotalAV’s.

Norton offers great customer support, including a 24/7 helpline. Besides efficient 24/7 live chat support, you can also make use of 24/7 phone support, email support, and even social media support via Facebook and X (formerly Twitter).

If Norton 360 catches your attention, you can try it out 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. Fortunately, there’s a 14-day free trial (7-day for US customers) and a 60-day money-back guarantee. So that’s plenty of time to try this antivirus software out and not lose your money.

3. Bitdefender Antivirus – all-inclusive Windows 10 antivirus package

Bitdefender interface
Free version: Yes
Max no. of devices:15 (Family pack)
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux
Current deal:Get Bitdefender for up to 50% OFF!

Bitdefender is an all-in-one Windows 10 antivirus solution. With budget-friendly pricing options, a solid free version, and a rich security suite, this provider can offer something for everyone.

Just like Norton 360, Bitdefender has been awarded the perfect 6.0 score by AV-TEST during the latest tests conducted in February 2024. The analysis showed that the PC antivirus blocks 100% of threats, including zero-day and 4-week-old malware.

Although Bitdefender runs frequent background scans and can be slightly demanding on your systems, it comes with numerous perks. 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. In fact, during in-house testing, this antivirus caught 90% of threats.

To top it off, Bitdefender provides a ton of additional features outside antivirus protection. I was particularly impressed by the Privacy Features that include Safepay, Password Manager, Anti-tracker, Parental Control, Video & Audio Protection, and, of course, the well-regarded Bitdefender VPN, which makes your online traffic unreadable to snoopers.

Bitdefender antivirus features

Unlike Norton 360 or 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 issues, Bitdefender’s customer support is available for both 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. Unfortunately, even the top-tier personal plan (Total Security) can only protect up to 5 devices. If you want more, you'd have to opt for the Family pack that can support up to 15 devices but costs $54.99/year. Of course, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee to enable you to test this solution risk-free.

4. Surfshark Antivirus – user-friendly everyday Windows antivirus

Surfshark AV banner
Free version: No
Max no. of devices:5
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android
Current deal:Get Surfshark Antivirus - 80% OFF + 3 months FREE!

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 Norton 360 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. The scanning process is quick and easy – during the test, Surfshark performed a full system scan in under 4 minutes. The quick scan for me took under 1 minute.

surfshark one antivirus interface

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. The inclusion of a reliable firewall is another reason why I ranked Norton 360 as the top antivirus for Windows 10.

Another great addition to the antivirus suite I was impressed by was the security alerts. They ensure that you are notified if your personal information – like email addresses or credit card numbers – is leaked online. Of course, I must mention Surfshark VPN too – it 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 from $47.85/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. Malwarebytes – solid Windows 10 antivirus for older devices

Malwarebytes-banner
Free version:Yes
Max. no. of devices:20
Platforms:Windows, Android, macOS, ChromeOS, iOS
Current deal:Get Malwarebytes, now 25% OFF

Malwarebytes performs exceptionally well catching malware without putting a strain on CPU power. That’s why I recommend it for users with older devices that might not be powerful enough for some of the more robust antiviruses on this list. There's also a free version to test Malwarebytes’ cybersecurity capabilities.

During the most recent AV-test analysis (October 2023), Malwarebytes Premium 4.6 version got a solid 5.5 score for protection and performance and a maximum of 6.0 for usability. This speedy Windows 10 antivirus caught 99.2% 0-day and 99.9% widespread malware threats and used 1-21% of CPU power, outperforming even such leaders as TotalAV or Bitdefender.

This is all thanks to a great Malwarebytes Real-Time Protection suite. It offers comprehensive protection against malware, PUPs, ransomware, and exploits. You even get a Brute Force Protection feature to ensure that attackers cannot access your computer remotely.

Malwarebytes Windows protection settings

As noted in our Malwarebytes review, the service includes a Privacy VPN in its Security + VPN plan. It boasts genuine no-logs policies, although I’d like to see an independent audit to prove it. Otherwise, it employs the advanced WireGuard protocol and offers 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 pricing starts from $38.24/year and offers a 14-day free trial, an extra generous 60-day money-back guarantee, and an unlimited free version to scan one device for malware. You can also protect up to 20 devices if you opt for the Malwarebytes Ultimate plan. Compared to other providers – even Norton 360 or TotalAV – this is an impressive number.

6. NordVPN Threat Protection – VPN with antivirus features for Windows 10

NordVPN threat protection banner
Free version: No
Max no. of devices:10
Platforms:Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows
Current deal:Get NordVPN Antivirus with 72% OFF + FREE travel data!

With NordVPN Threat Protection, you can easily secure your Windows 10 devices from malware, dangerous websites, and intrusive ads. In other words, with 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 during in-house tests. Also, it automatically scans your downloads for malicious components – it found 9/10 malicious files with the deep scan during our NordVPN examination.

On the downside, while Threat Protection is great for online security, it doesn’t offer real-time virus protection. If you want real-time protection, Norton 360, Bitdefender, and several other antiviruses on this list can do the job.

NordVPN Threat Protection Windows 10

Another great feature of NordVPN’s Threat Protection is its ad blocker. 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 all – 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 in all NordVPN plans starting from $4.39/month for 10 devices. Subscriptions also come with a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you change your mind.

7. Avira Antivirus – great option for users on a tight budget

Avira banner
Free version: Yes
Max no. of devices:25
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get 1 year of Avira at 43% OFF!

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 tool’s abilities, and the results showed that Avira blocked 100% of the latest malware threats. The same results were replicated by AV-TEST in February 2024. Just like Norton 360 and Bitdefender, Avira caught 100% of malware, demonstrated great performance, and presented no false positives – it scored the perfect 6.0.

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. Most extras, however, are available with the top-tier plan only.

The well-rounded Avira antivirus package offers good virus protection for Windows 10. You can customize the level of protection Avira handles, but I recommend turning it all on – real-time protection, web protection, and ransomware protection.

Avira Antivirus protection options

Upper-tier Avira plans, like Prime, add VIP customer support, an unlimited VPN, a price comparison tool, and premium mobile apps. You also get free access to upcoming products. So, whether this option is worth it depends on your desired features.

If you have money to spare, this is an intriguing proposition, but, in general, I’d recommend investing in the upper-tier plans of other antiviruses – you get more for less. For example, TotalAV’s Total Security plan costs just $49.00/year (compared to Avira Prime for $59.99/year) and comes with a VPN, an ad blocker, mobile protection, real-time protection, and other essentials.

When it comes to ease of use, I’d say Avira’s app is just as easy to use as Surfshark’s. All features are grouped into four easily-accessible taskbars. Unfortunately, Avira’s customer support is available only for paid subscription users. Moreover, from my experience, it’s not as efficient as other providers’ support, like TotalAV or NordVPN, so expect to wait to get a response.

To try Avira Antivirus, you can get a subscription starting from $26.99/year and cover one device. For more device coverage – and you can cover up to 25 – you’d have to upgrade your plan. If you’re dissatisfied with Avira, it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.

8. McAfee Total Protection – protection for unlimited devices

McAfee banner
Free version:
Yes (Android, iOS)
Max no. of devices:Unlimited
Platforms:Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Current deal:Get McAfee, save up to 70%

McAfee is a good antivirus service for Windows 10 PCs or laptops. It will secure not only your device but also your personal information while online. Additionally, it has a free version for essential security on mobile devices.

Regarding security, McAfee can confidently protect you from various threats like ransomware and crypto-jacking. Its real-time protection is always on, and during Cybernews testing, it resulted in 90% protection from zero-day and 4-week malware. Independent McAfee tests by AV-TEST (February 2024) confirmed that McAfee can deal with threats efficiently – the antivirus scored 6.0 for detecting 100% of widespread and zero-day malware.

There are some nice additional features, as well. For instance, if you want to quickly and safely delete files without recovery, there's the 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.

McAfee’s Firewall is another feature worth mentioning. Only half of the antiviruses on this list – including Norton 360, Bitdefender, and Avira – offer firewalls with their suites. While Windows comes with basic firewall protection, you want your antivirus to protect your network, too.

McAfee Antivirus Firewall menu

When it comes to using McAfee, I found the software 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, since it isn’t as easy to reach an agent – I had to wait a response for a day.

You can get a McAfee premium subscription from $39.99/year for the first year and cover an unlimited number of devices. This is the only provider on the list to offer that, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve included McAfee on this list. As expected, there’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.

How we selected and tested these antiviruses

To select only the best products, we do extensive research and testing of every provider. All of the antiviruses on this 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, various malware samples were installed 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, CPU and memory load was monitored 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 one another. 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, including 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:

RatingDevice coverageFree versionPricingPassword ManagerVPNFirewall protectionReview
TotalAV
4.9
Up to 8✅ Yes
From $19.00/year
✅ Yes
✅ Yes
❌ No
TotalAV review
Norton 360 Antivirus
4.7
Up to 10❌ NoFrom $29.99/year
✅ Yes
✅ Yes
✅ Yes
Norton review
Bitdefender
4.6
Up to 15✅ YesFrom $29.99/year✅ Yes✅ Yes✅ YesBitdefender review
Surfshark Antivirus
4.4
Up to 5❌ No
From $47.85/year
❌ No✅ Yes
❌ NoSurfshark AV review
Malwarebytes
4.1
Up to 20✅ Yes
From $38.24/year✅ Yes
✅ Yes
❌ No
Malwarebytes review
NordVPN Threat Protection
4.3
Up to 10❌ NoFrom $4.39/month✅ Yes✅ Yes❌ NoNordVPN Threat Protection review
Avira Antivirus
4.2
Up to 25✅ YesFrom $26.99/year✅ Yes✅ Yes✅ YesAvira review
McAfee Total Protection
4.2
Unlimited✅ YesFrom $39.99/year✅ Yes✅ Yes✅ YesMcAfee review

Does 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 guarantee. During our in-house testing, the scans failed to detect most malicious programs. During our tests, it caught between 10-40% of threats. 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.
Expert comment
Tech copywriter and security expert

How do I install antivirus on my Windows 10?

The process of installing antivirus on Windows 10 is quick and easy. Follow these simple steps to protect your Windows 10 device:

  1. Head to the provider's official page. Our recommended antivirus is TotalAV, now 80% OFF
  2. Register and pay for your subscription plan
  3. Download the installer
  4. Follow the instructions and complete the installation
  5. 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:

Conclusion

Protecting your Windows 10 operating system with a robust and reliable antivirus is essential. Although the overall number of successful malware attacks has decreased over the last few years, in 2023, it shot back up. Microsoft will end Windows 10 support in October 2025, which means that systems will no longer receive updates, including security patches. So, it’s more important than ever before to take care of your system and support it with a reliable antivirus suite.

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.


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