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Best antivirus software for Windows 11


Microsoft Defender Antivirus (formerly Windows Defender) is the default security package included with Windows 11. Overall, the protection software is adequate but less effective than third-party antivirus apps.

Dedicated antivirus services focus on dealing with malware and other cyber threats by quickly adapting to the changing landscape, while Microsoft Defender takes longer to update. Moreover, Microsoft Defender is free, meaning it doesn’t have as many resources allocated to it as excellent premium services have. As such, we recommend installing one of the best antiviruses for Windows 11 to enhance your computer’s cybersecurity.

To help you make the right decision, we researched and tested 25 antivirus services. Continue reading to find out our best antivirus programs for Windows 11 regarding features, security, and more.

Top 5 antivirus for Windows 11 in 2024

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Do you need antivirus for Windows 11?

Yes, you need a reliable antivirus for Windows 11 to gain robust digital protection. While Microsoft Defender is good enough to deal with common malware, it won’t protect you against more sophisticated zero-day attacks, virus-laden ads, and other online nuisances. Here’s an overview of what the best third-party antiviruses for Windows 11 can accomplish:

  • Detect risky websites. A website can be dangerous even if it looks legitimate on the surface. Antivirus software can help you avoid wandering off to the shady side of the web.
  • Block ads. The best antiviruses block online advertisements because they are frequently used to distribute malware. Meanwhile, Microsoft Defender doesn’t provide such functionality. Note that removing ads from websites will also improve overall loading times and improve your browsing experience.
  • Protection from malicious threats. What appears like a harmless download can infect your device with malware. Even your friend might unknowingly send you an attachment with a cyber threat. Using an antivirus can stop malware from infiltrating your device.
  • Help keep your children secure. If you’re a parent, the safety of your children is probably your biggest concern. Some antivirus services include parental control features or even location monitoring tools.

If you’re still unsure whether you need a malware detection and removal tool, many providers offer free versions or 30-day money-back guarantees with their products. We suggest utilizing these offers to see if the services suit your needs.

The best antivirus software for Windows 11 – detailed list

We researched 25 antiviruses for Windows 11 and their features, independent lab test results, and more. During our evaluations, we performed multiple scans and their impact on device performance. Additionally, most of the services we recommend offer free versions because that’s one of the primary reasons users continue using Microsoft Defender. So, without further ado, here are our best Windows 11 antivirus picks:

1. TotalAV Antivirus – best Windows 11 antivirus for everyone

Total AV banner
Max devices:
6
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
Current deal:🔥 Get TotalAV, now 84% OFF!🔥

TotalAV is the best antivirus for Windows 11 due to its excellent handling of cyber threats and top additional features. It's very secure – blocking 100% of malware on AV-Test.

Even though TotalAV offers one of the best feature suites in the business, it also provides seriously good prices, making it a very wallet-friendly option. There is even a free option: but, naturally, you'll get the best features on the paid version.

The free TotalAV version grants adequate protection against malware and phishing attacks. It also includes several scan options to ensure viruses aren’t lurking in your device. However, the free version lacks real-time protection, which is vital for well-rounded security.

On the flip side, paying customers unlock real-time protection, which guards devices against malware, ransomware, and phishing emails. It also blocks entry to malicious websites. The Smart Scan feature goes even further, doing a regular security check for malware, junk, trackers, and cached files.

We evaluated TotalAV and its real-time protection capabilities. It managed to stop 90% of the malware we sent against it, while the full scan was only 60% effective. On the other hand, the latest AV-TEST results paint a different picture where TotalAV is 100% effective against prevalent and zero-day malware.

As for additional premium features, you'll get Safe Browsing VPN. It offers unlimited data and a solid browsing experience with no visible slowdowns. Top-of-the-line TotalAV plans also have a secure password manager, which helps you store, organize, or recover your login credentials. Most importantly, these perks are included in all TotalAV apps, which are compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.

While the application has many features, the user interface isn’t overwhelming to newcomers. It was simple to use, thanks to organization to categories, and didn't noticeably affect system performance.

Considering TotalAV is one of the top antivirus software in the market with an impressive feature package, the prices are excellent – starting at $19.00/year. We highly recommend choosing the premium version with real-time protection over the free plan.

2. Norton 360 – solid all-around antivirus for Windows 11

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

Norton is a feature-rich antivirus that also makes it to this list of best tools for Windows 11. In addition to great malware detection and real-time protection, there are plenty of extra tools to keep every facet of your online life as secure as possible. Unfortunately, it lacks a free version, making it unsuitable to users looking for effective unpaid alternatives to Microsoft Defender.

Norton uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect any kind of danger online. It protects your devices from malware, spyware, ransomware, and potentially unwanted applications (PUPs).

It also includes the Norton Safe Web tool that helps you detect which links can cause potential harm. Other useful features include Isolation Mode, Dark Web monitoring, a free password manager, and cloud backups.

Our most recent Norton 360 evaluations were only somewhat satisfying. Real-time protection was 80% effective and slower than we experienced with Avira, Malwarebytes, and Bitdefender. Similarly, the full scan was also 80% effective and was heavy on system resources. On the other hand, AV-TEST results show 100% malware protection effectiveness and minor impediments regarding performance and usability.

Norton 360 plans also include a built-in Virtual Private Network (VPN) – Norton Secure VPN. With this tool, no third parties can access your information or your online activity. A two-way firewall is another feature of Norton. It monitors sent and received network traffic on your computer.

The interface requires some getting used to because there are two separate interfaces containing different features. We found this approach makes it difficult to find the features we need. Moreover, the settings menu was also somewhat confusing.

Norton 360's starting costs ($29.99/year) are almost the same as TotalAV's, making it relatively affordable. And while it lacks a free plan, the 60-day money-back guarantee is an excellent alternative for risk-free testing.

3. Bitdefender Antivirus – exceptional protection for Windows 11

Bitdefender interface
Max devices:15
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux
Current deal:🔥 Get Bitdefender for up to 50% OFF! 🔥

Bitdefender is an amazing antivirus for Windows 11 due to exceptional malware detection rates, reliable real-time protection, and other security features. It’s also frequently mistaken with Microsoft Defender due to its similar name and solid free version.

As expected, the free version has only a handful of essential features. To be precise, you’ll get a virus scanner, web attack prevention, and even real-time protection, which is missing from other free AVs, such as TotalAV.

For paying users, Bitdefender’s star feature is the Advanced Threat Defense tool that monitors all device processes. A password manager, a file shredder, a firewall, ransomware remediation, web protection, and a free VPN are also in the package. Just remember that you’ll be limited to 200 MB daily traffic per device.

Our internal Bitdefender antivirus test results were pretty satisfactory. Both real-time protection and Whole System Scan garnered a 90% success rate. Furthermore, the Bitdefender Windows app showed 100% effectiveness against various malware in the latest AV-TEST evaluations, earning it perfect scores in all categories.

Regarding compatibility, there are apps for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. The apps are easy to use and pleasant, especially because they don’t spam you with random pop-up notifications. Plus, the features are conveniently placed into separate categories with settings panels nearby.

Bitdefender prices start from $29.99/year. Depending on the plan you pick, you can connect up to 15 devices. If anything, there’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee available.

4. Surfshark Antivirus – support for multiple devices

Surfshark AV banner
Max devices:5
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android
Current deal:🔥 Get Surfshark Antivirus - 77% OFF + 2 months FREE! 🔥

Surfshark Antivirus is another reliable anti-malware solution for Windows 11. It’s not just a simple scanning tool – you get a full security suite with malware protection features and Surfshark VPN for online security. However, there’s no free version, making it unsuitable for low-budget users.

Regarding malicious programs, Surfshark antivirus offers excellent real-time protection and continuously monitors your device for suspicious activity. You can also manually perform quick, complete, scheduled, and drag-and-drop item scans.

More so, this antivirus suite includes additional security features like webcam protection to make sure your sensitive information is safe. It even has a private search engine to prevent data tracking when browsing online.

We were somewhat satisfied with the performance results while reviewing Surfshark antivirus. Regarding numbers, real-time protection garnered a solid 90% success rate, while the full scan was only 70% effective. We must also note the scan was pretty heavy on system resources. Additionally, independent evaluations from AV-TEST are relatively old (December 2022), making their findings rather unhelpful in 2024.

While Surfshark VPN is compatible with almost any device, the antivirus only works with Windows, macOS, and Android. It’s also worth mentioning that this antivirus has an intuitive Windows app that is easy to set up and use.

As for the price, you can protect up to 5 devices from $48.86/year, and each subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

5. Avira Antivirus – a reliable virus detective

avira antivirus banner
Max devices:50
Free version:Yes
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥 Get 1 year of Avira at 43% OFF! 🔥

Avira is one of the best free antivirus options for Windows 11. However, even though the free plan offers some extra benefits, the paid subscription has many more helpful features.

To be precise, Avira’s free version includes real-time protection, scanning, malware blocking, a VPN with 500MB of monthly data, and even a password manager. While that doesn’t seem like much, it's more than what Microsoft Defender includes, making it a superior free antivirus for Windows.

Unsurprisingly, upgrading to the premium version greatly improves the free version’s features and unlocks more perks. Additional features include web and email protection, which keeps you safe from phishing attacks, browser hijackers, and viruses in attachments. And if you’re a gamer, you’ll benefit from Game Booster, which optimizes performance by disallowing unnecessary apps from using CPU resources.

We performed thorough real-time and scanning tests while writing our Avira Antivirus review. Our latest findings showed an impressive 90% success rate for real-time protection and only 70% system scanning effectiveness. Meanwhile, the most recent AV-TEST Avira evaluations show 100% effectiveness and perfect scores across the board.

Like any worthwhile antivirus, Avira works with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Whichever platform you use, you’ll gain a good-looking and intuitive antivirus application that’s manageable to newcomers and experts alike.

Starting at $30.99/year, the cheapest version offers basic antivirus features – and the more premium plans come with a software updater, PC speed, and tune-up tools. All in all, Avira offers a solid all-around package based on your needs.

6. ESET NOD32 – great antivirus for protection

Max devices:5
Free version:No
Platforms:Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Current deal:🔥 Get ESET, save up to 15%🔥

ESET Antivirus gets great independent lab test results in overall protection, protection, and usability. It’s a good all-around protection suite for your Windows device. Sadly, this robust Windows antivirus tool doesn’t offer a free plan that could replace Microsoft Defender at no cost.

This antivirus provides ransomware protection, which secures your device data from being forcibly encrypted. The software also includes a banking and privacy security tool. It starts working when you enter a financial website and prevents your payment data from leaking.

Regarding performance, our ESET antivirus tests showed excellent results. The service’s real-time protection feature was 100% effective, while scanning didn’t fall behind with its 90% positive score. And while AV-TEST results are a bit outdated (from February 2023), they also show near-perfect malware detection rates.

You can get ESET applications for Windows, Mac, and Android. It also has an interesting anti-theft feature, which gives you access to the location of your stolen laptop or even a webcam. Additionally, ESET includes a password manager, a firewall, Gamer Mode, and allows the encryption of sensitive data.

This antivirus is easy to set up and use. It has a clear and organized user interface, making it simple to navigate. The provider doesn’t have 24/7 customer support, but phone and email response times are still quick, and the agents are super helpful.

The prices are similar to many other antivirus providers in the market, starting at $49.99/year. With solid overall protection, ESET is a decent choice to stay safe online.

7. Trend Micro – easy-to-use antivirus for threat protection

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

Trend Micro is another solid antivirus software option for Windows 11. This antivirus provider offers robust protection with a user-friendly interface. It does not only efficiently catch threats using AI technologies but also has a few extra features to keep your everyday browsing as secure as possible. Sadly, its free version is only available on Android or iOS mobile devices.

Trend Micro offers innovative features like Social Media Privacy Protection or Pay Guard for secure online shopping. There’s also dark web monitoring that will inform you if your data leaks to malicious databases. However, Trend Micro doesn’t offer a bespoke firewall. It relies on a pretty strong built-in Windows Firewall for all typical firewall tasks.

The most recent Trend Micro tests we conducted returned average results. Real-time protection was 70% successful at stopping malware, while the full scan underperformed and was only 40% effective. However, December 2023 results from AV-TEST show different results where Trend Micro is 100% effective against malware and only has minor issues regarding usability.

Besides Windows, Trend Micro works with Mac, Android, and iOS devices. The apps look clean and easy to use, but some quirks confused us during the testing process. It appeared that some malware samples were undetected when, in reality, the antivirus simply removed the malware from the files and left them untouched.

You can use the free version to test some functionalities of this antivirus on mobile. As for the paid version, the prices start at $19.95/year, and you can use a 30-day money-back guarantee if needed.

8. Malwarebytes – resource-friendly Windows 11 protection

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

Malwarebytes is a popular alternative to Microsoft Defender due to its ease of use, effectiveness, and free plan. However, whether you choose the paid or costless plan, this Windows 11 antivirus lacks some crucial security features.

Malwarebyte’s free plan is limited to various scanning options for periodically checking your computer for malware. Unfortunately, real-time protection is absent, leaving you vulnerable to immediate attacks.

On the other hand, the paid version provides efficient real-time protection with a particularly nice-looking dashboard. It blocks malicious sites and protects against ransomware, malware, and PUPs. What's more, it monitors apps for vulnerability exploits, keeping your device safe at all times.

You can use one of three scan options if you suspect a virus infection. The Threat scan inspects memory, startup, registry, and other files for malware. The Quick scan is reserved for memory and startup only, and you can modify the Custom scan to check the entire drive or just specific folders.

The tests we conducted for our Malwarebytes review yielded some interesting findings. Under normal circumstances, real-time protection was only 60% effective, but the results improved to 90% when we installed Browser Guard, the antivirus web extension. Disappointingly, the full system scan was only 50% successful at finding malware. Moreover, evaluations from AV-TEST show Malwarebytes is almost 100% effective at detecting malware.

Unlike most Windows antiviruses that also support Mac, iOS, and Android, Malwarebytes expands its compatibility to include ChromeOS. The software on all systems is approachable but looks a bit outdated by modern standards.

Malwarebytes Premium Plus plan includes Privacy VPN and costs $38.24/year to secure 3 devices. You can also use a limited free Malwarebytes version or a 60-day money-back guarantee to try it out.

How we selected and tested these antivirus tools

We researched 25 antiviruses and their additional security features, independent lab malware test results, price, and more. We then tested each of their performance. Here’s exactly how we selected the best antiviruses for Windows 11:

  • Independent lab tests. We continuously check and update our providers with the latest independent lab test results. This includes ratings from AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives.
  • Performance. Our antivirus software testing process involves downloading various malware samples in controlled environments to see the overall success rate of scanning and real-time protection features. We also monitor system performance impact during this time.
  • Security features. We researched what features each antivirus provides. Such additions as a firewall or real-time protection are beneficial for better protection.
  • Customer support. We took into consideration the customer support options that antivirus providers offer. We included services that provide you with human support – even better if it’s 24/7.
  • Price. We choose antiviruses that include a fair price. We take extra tools, virus detection rates, and customer support into consideration.

Best antivirus software for Windows 11 compared

TotalAV Norton 360BitdefenderSurfshark AVAviraESET NOD32Trend Micro Malwarebytes
BrandMalwarebytes
Rating
4.6
4.7
4.9
4.4
4.2

4.3

4.2
4.1
Free version
Pricefrom $19.00/yearfrom $29.99/yearfrom $29.99/yearfrom $48.86/yearfrom $30.99/yearfrom $49.99/yearfrom $19.95/yearfrom $38.24/year
Windows app
Features
  • Safe Browsing (VPN)
  • WebShield extension
  • Secure Password Vault
  • Ad blocker
  • System tune up
  • Dark Web monitoring
  • Disk cleaner

  • Real-time threat protection
  • VPN
  • Smart Firewall
  • Password manager
  • Cloud backup
  • SafeCam
  • Dark Web monitoring
  • Parental control
  • Advanced Threat Defense
  • Profiles
  • Ransomware remediation
  • AntiSpam
  • Anti-tracker
  • File shredder
  • Anti-webcam hijack
  • VPN
  • Password manager
  • Parental control
  • CleanWeb
  • Data breach monitoring
  • Excellent VPN included
  • Great customer support
  • Private search engine
  • Real-time protection
  • Includes password manager
  • Supports many operating systems
  • Safe shopping suite
  • Adds up to your browser protection
  • Reliable malware removal
  • Software updater
  • PC speed and tune up tools
  • Anti-theft tools
  • Password manager
  • Switch Protection Mode
  • Secure browser
  • Sensitive data encryption
  • Folder Shield
  • Password manager
  • Mobile device protection
  • 24/7 customer support
  • VPN for secure browsing
    • Real-time protection
    • Threat scan
    • Quick scan
    • Custom scan
    • VPN included
    • Free version available
    • Excellent malware detection

    How do I install antivirus on my Windows 11?

    Antivirus installation is most often a simple and fast process. Here are a few main steps applicable to most antivirus software:

    1. Go to the provider’s official website. We recommend TotalAV, now 84% off!
    2. Choose a plan and register
    3. Download the app and follow the installation instructions
    4. Open the application, and… voilà! Now you can run a scan

    Can I use a free antivirus for Windows 11?

    Yes, a free antivirus will be good enough to protect your Windows 11 device if you follow proper cybersecurity hygiene. After all, Microsoft Defender is free, the default option on Windows PCs, and has solid results on independent lab tests like AV-TEST.

    However, as mentioned previously, it lacks many extra features free antivirus services from third-party vendors provide. For example, you won’t have a password manager, a VPN, or ad blocking and will be more vulnerable to zero-day attacks.

    Moreover, premium antivirus software can provide comprehensive real-time protection, device optimization, dark web monitoring, and numerous other security perks. Naturally, the overall package depends on the paid antivirus you choose.

    At the end of the day, a free antivirus is not the worst choice. It’s better to have some security layers than no security at all. And who knows, maybe you’ll find that your online privacy is worth spending money on!

    Video review: Best antivirus for Windows 11

    Find the best Windows 11 antivirus recommendations in our detailed video review:

    Conclusion

    Using an antivirus with your Windows 11 is essential for putting an end to various cyber threats that Windows Defender can’t handle. You need a service that ensures above average independent malware test results and includes important security features, such as real-time protection.

    To help you choose, we researched and tested dozens of antivirus programs to see how good they are for Windows 11. We only selected antiviruses that don’t impact your device performance too much and provide you with excellent malware protection rates.

    Our top choice is TotalAV. Starting from $19.00/year, it secures you in real time and can block 100% of threats according to independent lab test results.


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