Best Antivirus Software for 2024 – Tested & Compared by Experts

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Why Trust Techopedia

The best antivirus software will ensure your system is protected against malware, spyware, and ransomware. Solutions offering real-time protection can detect suspicious activity on your device and block potentially dangerous websites and downloads online. Many modern solutions also have features to block ransomware, malicious adware, and phishing attacks.

Our team of experts has found and reviewed the best antivirus software available today, testing these products on criteria such as scan speeds, online protection, value for money, and customer feedback. Read on to find the best virus protection software for your needs.

Best Antivirus Software At a Glance

Editors' Choice

TotalAV – Superb antivirus software for complete, real-time protection

TotalAV – Superb antivirus software for complete, real-time protection

  • Starting From $19.00/year
9.6
5 Stars
VISIT SITE

Surfshark Antivirus – Great value antivirus protection with a VPN

Surfshark Antivirus – Great value antivirus protection with a VPN

  • Starting From $37.57/year (2-year plan)
9.5
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

Norton – PC antivirus with a virus protection promise

Norton – PC antivirus with a virus protection promise

  • Starting From $29.99/year
9.3
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

NordVPN Threat Protection – Antivirus Software with a global VPN network

NordVPN Threat Protection – Antivirus Software with a global VPN network

  • Starting From $53.87/year (2-year plan)
9.0
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

Trend Micro – AI-led antivirus for small business owners

Trend Micro – AI-led antivirus for small business owners

  • Starting From $19.95/year
9.1
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

Intego – Beginner friendly antivirus solution for macOS users

Intego – Beginner friendly antivirus solution for macOS users

  • Starting From $39.99/year
8.6
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

Avast – Free Antivirus Software With Smart Scan Functionality

Avast – Free Antivirus Software With Smart Scan Functionality

  • Starting From $35.88/year
8.6
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

Kaspersky – Family-Friendly and Accessible Antivirus Software

Kaspersky – Family-Friendly and Accessible Antivirus Software

  • Starting From $34.99/year
7.0
3.5 Stars
VISIT SITE
NOTE: In April of 2024, Joe Biden and Donald Trump signed an order to prohibit Kaspersky Lab from providing certain products to U.S. companies and citizens. While nothing has been fully confirmed yet, the change might result in Kaspersky Lab products being banned in the U.S. For more details, see our full breakdown of Kaspersky’s U.S. ban.

McAfee – Reliable antivirus software for Windows 10 users

McAfee – Reliable antivirus software for Windows 10 users

  • Starting From $39.99/year (2-year plan)
8.5
4.5 Stars
VISIT SITE

The Best Antivirus Software

  1. TotalAV – The best antivirus software for complete protection
  2. Surfshark Antivirus – An affordable antivirus with an excellent VPN and ransomware protection
  3. Norton – The best antivirus software for PC with real-time protection
  4. Nord Threat Protection – The best antivirus with a global VPN
  5. TrendMicro – The best antivirus for AI-led threat detection
  6. Intego – The best Mac antivirus software
  7. Avast – The best free antivirus software
  8. Kaspersky – Accessible, family-friendly antivirus software
  9. McAfee – The best antivirus software for Windows 10

In-Depth Reviews of The Best Antivirus Software Solutions For Complete Protection

With so many options on the market, picking the best virus protection software can take time and effort. After analyzing 20 of antiviruses, we’ve selected a shortlist that excel in malware detection rates, security, pricing, and user-friendly policies. Read on and find the best antivirus software for your needs.

1. TotalAV – Best Antivirus Software for Complete Protection

Starting Price $19/Year
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
Max Devices Supported 8
Free Trial/Plan Free scan
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

TotalAV is one of the best anti-malware products around. It has superb malware detection rates and an interface that’s ideal for both beginners and advanced users. It also offers a free smart scan that’s perfect for getting started. Over 25 million people trust TotalAV, and you can see why.

Features

While the free version lets you scan and remove malware, it doesn’t offer real-time protection. For that, you can upgrade to any of TotalAV’s reasonably priced paid plans.

The real-time scanning feature is switched on by default, so your device enjoys protection against viruses, trojans, ransomware, and more the moment the antivirus is installed. Of course, you’ll be free to go to the control panel and turn it off, but we don’t recommend doing that.

What makes TotalAV so good at identifying malware is its cloud-scanning feature. Anytime it finds a file suspicious during a scan, it’ll compare it with the known malware in its cloud database.

With lightning-quick identification, TotalAV can develop a fix for the attack much faster than competitors. The best part is that this cloud database is constantly expanding.

As soon as a new digital threat is recorded in any of the 25+ million devices that TotalAV is currently protecting – it’s added to the database to protect the rest of the users.

Enjoy 360-degree protection while browsing the internet, thanks to the WebShield extension – an add-on compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Edge. We like how it constantly searches for harmful websites and redirects you from any site that could hide malware or viruses.

For additional security, we recommend using TotalAV’s Safe Search feature. It’ll redirect all your searches through the TotalAV search engine. The safe sites will be marked with a green tick, and the unsafe ones will be flagged with a red cross. This reduces the chances of accidental visits to malicious websites to zero.

That said, if there is one drawback, it’s the lack of specific identity theft monitoring – but the platform has plenty of other tools.

Pricing

To get you started, TotalAV offers a free smart scan so you can find and quarantine any threats. The most affordable paid plan is $19/year, and it’ll give you protection for three devices, zero-day cloud scanning, PUA protection, and much more.

TotalAV Pro TotalAV Internet TotalAV Total
Features Real-time protection, Web Shield extension, ransomware protection, zero-day scanning, phishing protection Adds a VPN Adds Total AdBlock, password vault, device protection
Devices 4 5 8
Lowest Price $19/Year $39/Year $49/Year

If you’d also like an ad blocker and protection for multiple devices, upgrade to a premium plan – we recommend the Total Security package.

Try TotalAV risk-free today with the 30-day money-back guarantee. Don’t like it? Get a full refund.

Who It's Best For

With its system scans and real-time protection, TotalAV is a great pick for comprehensive protection. The introductory pricing also makes it very affordable, and it’s ideal for individuals and families alike.

Pros

  • Doesn’t burden system resources
  • Offers unlimited bandwidth VPN with paid plans
  • Provides excellent phishing protection
  • Access to real-time website tracking tools

Cons

  • Advanced features limited to higher plans
  • Higher prices on renewal
TotalAV
9.6
Review

2. Surfshark Antivirus – Affordable Antivirus with Top-Tier Protection Against Ransomware

Starting Price $36.32/Year (2 years)
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
Max Devices Supported 5
Free Trial/Plan 7 days for VPN
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

Surfshark is one of the safest antivirus solution on the market right now. As an added bonus, it offers a first-class VPN with a whole range of additional features and functionality.

This means you can browse securely and privately, with additional privacy protection against cybercriminals, advertisers, authorities, and ISPs.

Features

Surfshark sets out to offer a simple and effective security service with advanced protection against viruses and zero-day threats. You can run manual and scheduled scans, and the product also analyzes unknown files to prevent infections.

It’s easy to set up and configure and is also a lightweight service, so it should never take over your CPU or slow down your system. Another great feature is breach notification: if your email, password, personal ID, or bank details turn up in a breach, then Surfshark will let you know about it.

We love that Surfshark provides AES-256-GCM encryption for your connection. This is the toughest encryption option available, meaning the service can protect your device from all types of possible tracking and interference.

Surfshark takes data security seriously and even goes a step ahead of the competition with its SHA-512 encryption. This will scramble your authentication details into 512 binary digits, making your data incomprehensible to outsiders.

Surfshark’s VPN service also comes with a no-log policy. Independent third parties have audited this and given it a resounding vote of confidence” After all, security shouldn’t come at the cost of your data.

Subscribing to this package means you get the protection of one of the best antivirus apps, plus the anonymity of a VPN in a single subscription, saving you the cost and trouble of managing a separate VPN account.

Pricing

Surfshark, like Nord, is an antivirus + VPN combo, meaning you can get two products for the price of one. But as you can see, Surfshark is cheaper:

Surfshark One Surfshark One+
Features Secure VPN, ad blocker, Alternative ID, Webcam protection, anti-spyware and malware protection Adds data removal service
Devices 5 5
Lowest Price $2.69/month $4.29/month

The best thing about Surfshark is that it doesn’t reserve any premium features for its costlier plans. The plans only differ in their duration and prices, not their features. Get started with Surfshark risk-free with the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Who It's Best For

Surfshark provides an impressive security package, combining fully featured antivirus tools with one of the best VPNs on the market today, so you can use the internet securely and anonymously. Given this, it’s perfect for privacy-conscious users.

Pros

  • Top antivirus software, bundled with a VPN
  • Provides access to a private search engine
  • Excellent GPS spoofing to unlock streaming content
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
  • Private data exposure alerts

Cons

  • Security tools limited to five devices
  • Antivirus software requires upgrade from starter plan
Surfshark Antivirus
9.5
Review

3. Norton – Best Antivirus Software for PC With Real-Time Protection

Starting Price $29.99/Year
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
Max Devices Supported Unlimited
Free Trial/Plan 30 days
Money-Back Guarantee 60 days
Why We Picked It

In AV-Test lab tests, Norton routinely gets full marks for protection, performance, and usability and is able to catch 100% of prevalent and zero-day malware attacks.

In short, Norton Antivirus will consistently detect novel attacks, with minimal false positives and impact on your device’s performance.

Features

What we particularly like about Norton is how it can run quietly in the background without jeopardizing your system’s processing speed or taking up too much battery power.

In another test, Norton was able to detect custom-made ransomware in seconds. No matter what kind of attack you’re dealing with, Norton is the best antivirus to save the day.

Norton’s biggest USP is its SafeCam protection. It’s perhaps the only antivirus software that protects your device’s webcam from being hacked. A hacked webcam gives intruders access to some of your most personal details, making it all the easier for them to blackmail you.

Thanks to Norton, you don’t have to worry about it. Beyond this, another unique feature that Norton provides is Norton Insight. This tool will dig out files and apps that look suspicious so that you can run a custom scan on them – so a sneaky virus won’t escape Norton’s radar.

The antivirus generally has a low impact on system performance, but you may see a slight slowdown with older machines.

Pricing

Norton’s best value-for-money package is also priced at $29.99 for the first year. Although its renewal cost is lower than McAfee’s, it can only cover a single device instead of McAfee’s 5.

Norton Plus Norton 360 Standard Norton 360 Deluxe Norton 360 LifeLock Select
Features Malware, ransomware, and hacking protection, 2GB cloud backups, password manager Adds a VPN and dark web monitoring Adds parental control and privacy monitoring Adds LifeLock identity theft protection
Devices 1 3 5 10
Lowest Price $29.99/Year $39.99/Year $49.99/Year $99.99/Year

This plan will give you a PC cloud backup of 2GB, a password manager, online threat protection, and more. That said, you can protect up to 5 devices with the Norton’s premium Select + LifeLock plan.

With a 7-day free trial plus a whopping 60-day money-back guarantee, you’ll have ample time to judge Norton’s suitability for your needs before making any financial commitments.

Who It's Best For

Norton gets excellent results in lab testing, and it comes with a wide range of features to ensure you have complete, real-time protection. What’s more, the range of plans means that it’s easy to find one that’s perfectly suited to your needs.

Pros

  • Automatic cloud backups
  • Promises a 100% best Virus Protection rate
  • Top-notch identity protection features
  • Offers password manager and firewall protection
  • Best Reddit-recommended antivirus

Cons

  • Heavy on older systems
  • Need to upgrade for multi-device support
Norton
9.3
Review

4. NordVPN Threat Protection – Best Antivirus with a Global VPN

Starting Price $53.87/Year (2 years)
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
Max Devices Supported 10
Free Trial/Plan 7-day trial on Android
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

NordVPN Threat Protection is included with the excellent NordVPN VPN platform. It’s an excellent solution for securing downloads and your browser, and it also gives you access to a high-speed VPN network with huge numbers of servers around the world.

Features

The regular version works even without a VPN connection, whereas the Lite version requires your system to be connected to the VPN. Both versions come with their own USPs.

For example, the regular edition of the software automatically runs real-time scans of your executable files so possible threats can be detected fast and countermeasures can be taken.

The Lite version, on the other hand, works on the DNS level, filtering out and blocking the IP of websites known for malicious activities and shady ads. That said, NordVPN Threat Protection is likely best known for its wide coverage.

For instance, it automatically blocks all intrusive pop-up ads so that you can have an uninterrupted browsing experience without the risk of accidentally clicking on a malicious link.

To prevent targeted ads and data theft, Nord Threat Protection takes special steps against third-party data trackers. It does a great job of preventing data leaks by blocking trackers on every site you visit and leaving no trail behind for them to follow.

Of course, you also get a leading VPN service included alongside malware protection – giving you access to a secure, private, and generally high-speed connection.

Another great feature, available with Complete and Plus plans, is a cross-platform password manager, so you can securely access and store all your login information. It’s this comprehensive feature set that puts it ahead of the competition and more basic packages.

Pricing

You can get NordVPN Threat Protection only when you purchase NordVPN – the two are inseparable. The best bang for your buck lies in getting a 2-year + 3 free months plan, of which the Standard plan below is the one we recommend.

Nord Standard Nord Plus Nord Ultimate
Features Secure VPN, malware protection, ad blocker Adds password manager and data breach scanner Adds encrypted cloud storage and identity theft recovery
Devices 10 10 10
Lowest Price $3.09/month $3.99/month $5.99/month

If you’d like the full package, including a data breach scanner, a cross-platform password manager, and around 1TB of cloud storage, upgrade to the Nord Ultimate plan. The best part? You get a 30-day money-back guarantee. Try it risk-free and see if it’s for you.

Who It's Best For

NordVPN is great if you want to ensure you’re protected while browsing the internet. Of course, it comes with one of the best global VPN packages available, with coverage in over 110 countries, ensuring you can find fast servers in territories around the world.

Pros

  • One of the fastest antiviruses
  • Comes with a VPN and password manager
  • Facilitates remote LAN connections
  • Follows a strict no-logs policy
  • Advanced features like split-tunneling and MeshNet

Cons

  • Can’t scan hard drives
  • Limited free trial options
NordVPN Threat Protection
9.0
Review

5. Trend Micro – Best Antivirus For AI-Led Threat Detection

Starting Price $19.95/Year
Compatibility Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android
Max Devices Supported 10
Free Trial/Plan 30 days
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

Trend Micro uses cutting-edge AI technology to detect and remove digital threats from your system. Importantly, its advanced security features won’t compromise your device’s performance.

Features

Trend Micro runs on minimal CPU power, takes up significantly less space, and hardly impacts the device’s processing speed. So, unlike low-quality antivirus software, it won’t make your system crash or freeze.

As a preventative measure, Trend Micro has a unique Folder Shield feature that protects your files from viruses and malware. Its protective shield extends to files stored locally and those on the drives such as Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, and more.

This feature will also prevent unauthorized apps from changing these protected files, which further drives down the chances of an external virus attack. For web protection, it constantly checks the URL and blocks your access to the website the moment it detects suspicious activity.

You’ll receive a warning pop-up with the type of malware detected if you want to know more about it. One downside is that the platform doesn’t provide a firewall, though it does provide plenty of other security features.

Pricing

Trend Micro has a free antivirus software called HouseCall which tags along with threat reports and loads of custom scan options.

Trend Micro Antivirus+ Trend Micro Internet Trend Micro Maximum Trend Micro Premium Suite
Features Ransomware protection, advanced AI learning, Trend Micro pay guard Adds online children protection, secure social media tool, system optimization Adds password protection and management and secures mobile devices Adds a VPN, dark web monitoring, identity fraud insurance, remote diagnosis and repair, and 24/7 support
Devices 1 PC 3 PC 5 devices 10 devices
Lowest Price $19.95/Year $39.95/Year $49.95/Year $54.95/Year
Who It's Best For

Trend Micro has an excellent set of smart scanning tools. It’s a great option for businesses, and with the low starting price, it’s a good pick for users on a budget.

Pros

  • A cloud-based antivirus solution
  • Offers URL-level detection
  • AI-backed malware detection
  • Offers a basic free plan
  • A feature-laden browser extension

Cons

  • Doesn’t come with an integrated firewall
  • Higher prices on renewal
Trend Micro
9.1
Review

6. Intego – Best Antivirus Software For Mac

Starting Price $37.50/Year (2 years)
Compatibility Mac, Windows
Max Devices Supported 5
Free Trial/Plan 30 days
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

Intego is a popular antivirus solution designed especially for Mac devices. If a virus manages to enter your Mac device, you need the best malware removal for Mac, after all.

Features

Intego’s antivirus solution is available under the name VirusBarrier –designed to protect your device from virus attacks in real-time. Intego’s virus detection rates are also highly accurate and have been tested by independent testing agencies.

For instance, in a test run by AV-Comparatives, Intego passed with flying colors and could detect all the malware planted by the antivirus testing organization.

Along with antivirus protection, Intego will also help you keep your device clean and optimized with its Washing Machine feature.

Under this, it’ll run a scan and dig up all the junk files taking up unnecessary space in your device, such as cache files, logs, downloads, and duplicates.

Plus, you can then choose which files to keep and which to delete permanently. The more free space you have on your device, the better your device will run.

If there’s one addition we’d love, it would be having a secure browsing option.

Pricing

Intego has different pricing for Mac and Windows. The best Mac plan is the Mac Internet Security X9 plan, but the premium bundle is worth a look for those that need parental controls and smoother system performance.

Mac Internet Security X9 Mac Premium Security X9 Mac Premium Bundle + VPN
Features Virus and malware protection, automatic scanning, real-time protection, firewall, VirusBarrier, NetBarrier Adds Mac washing machine tool and personal backup Adds a VPN
Devices 1 Mac PC 1 Mac PC 1 Mac PC
Lowest Price $39.99/Year $69.99/Year $89.99/Year

Windows users should opt for the Family plan since it can cover 3 PCs:

Windows Personal Windows Family Windows Extended
Features Virus and malware protection, automatic scanning, real-time protection, firewall, VirusBarrier, NetBarrier Adds Mac washing machine tool and personal backup Adds a VPN
Devices 1 Windows PC 3 Windows PC 5 Windows PC
Lowest Price $39.99/Year $54.99/Year $69.99/Year
Who It's Best For

Given that Intego was specifically built for Mac, it’s a great option for Mac users. It offers a range of robust security tools, and the ability to scan your iPhone as an external drive is extremely useful.

Pros

  • Secure VPN
  • Offers excellent parental controls
  • It comes with an inbuilt firewall
  • One of the best antiviruses for Apple users

Cons

  • Relatively expensive plans
  • Support beyond Macs is limited
Intego
8.6
Review

7. Avast – Best Free Antivirus Software With Smart Scan Functionality

Starting Price $35.88/Year
Compatibility Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Max Devices Supported 30
Free Trial/Plan Free plan
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

Avast is one of the few top-tier antivirus providers that offers a fully-featured free version. It includes Smart Scan functionality, which can find hidden vulnerabilities and viruses that would be overlooked in Quick Scans.

Features

Avast also offers a File Shield that alerts you about suspicious files before you open them. If a file is infected, this feature will prevent it from spreading to the rest of the device.

Similarly, Avast’s intuitive Behavior Shield alerts you if any of your apps start misbehaving – you can either quarantine or delete them before the virus spreads. Avast’s expertise with malware detection and removal isn’t just self-proclamation.

It’s been backed by tests for independent antivirus testing labs. For instance, AV-Test ran a test on Avast’s paid and free versions, and Avast detected 100% of zero-day and prevalent malware and earned a “Top Product” certificate.

This isn’t unusual, either, and Avast routinely gets full marks for protection, performance, and usability.

In another test on Avast’s free version, run by AV-Comparatives, it blocked and offered a 99.5% online protection rate. On the whole, Avast has one of the best test scores in the industry, only behind Norton and Trend Micro.

Pricing

Avast is easily the best free antivirus software out there. The free Avast One Essential plan comes with data leak alerts, an advanced firewall, ransomware protection, and more.

On the Premium Security plan, Avast doubles up as a VPN, too, and covers ten devices for $69.99/year. Is Avast Premium Security the one for you? Find out with the 30-day money-back guarantee.

Avast Free Antivirus Free
Avast One Silver Individual (for security, privacy, or performance) $35.88/year per module
Avast One Silver Family (for security, privacy, or performance) – 30 devices $59.88/year per module
Avast Premium Security – 1 device $49.99/year
Avast Premium Security – 10 devices $69.99/year
Avast Ultimate Security – 1 device $49.99/year
Avast Ultimate Security – 10 devices $69.99/year
Avast One Gold Individual $83.88/year
Avast One Gold Family – 30 devices $131.88/year

You can see our list of the best free antivirus solutions for more recommendations.

Who It's Best For

Avast is the best free antivirus we’ve tested and provides a superb range of features with its free plans. Given this, it’s a great budget option – and it offers a wide range of plans if you choose to upgrade.

Pros

  • High antivirus detection scores
  • Offers a special Boot time scan
  • Comes with a secure and fast web browser
  • It has a built-in ad blocker
  • Fast background scans

Cons

  • May slow down lower-end devices
  • Confusing pricing structure
Avast
8.6
Review

8. Kaspersky – Family-Friendly and Accessible Antivirus Software

NOTE: In April 2024, Joe Biden and Donald Trump signed an order to prohibit Kaspersky Lab from providing certain products to U.S. companies and citizens. While nothing has been fully confirmed, the change may result in Kaspersky Lab products being banned in the U.S. For more details, see our full breakdown of Kaspersky’s U.S. ban.
Starting Price $34.99/Year
Compatibility Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Max Devices Supported 10
Free Trial/Plan 30 days
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

Kaspersky has 20+ years of experience in the cybersecurity industry. What adds to its popularity is the quick installation process and user-friendly interface, which makes it a good pick for families.

It’s worth mentioning though that there are a number of questions about its suitability for U.S. users.

Features

Kaspersky offers a range of scans, including Full Scan, Quick Scan, and Custom Scan. It also lets you scan removable drives such as USBs and hard drives.

In addition to that, you can also run a vulnerability scan to identify the possible areas in your device that a hacker might exploit. This way, you can stop virus attacks before they happen.

For mobile devices, Kaspersky provides an App Lock feature, which restricts access to selected mobile apps such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and so on, ensuring maximum privacy of your data.

Note that this feature is only available in the premium version of Kaspersky’s Internet Security Plan. Kaspersky also provides a VPN, though there are some limits on usage.

Pricing

The Kaspersky Standard plan will allow you to cover up to 3 devices. In contrast, the Premium plan is one of the best family antivirus software tools, with coverage for 20 devices plus a parental control app.

Kaspersky Standard Kaspersky Plus Kaspersky Premium
Features Anti-malware and anti-ransomware protection, safe web browsing, virus removal, firewall, anti-phishing, online payment protection, and more Adds hard drive health monitoring, data leak checker, a VPN, and password manager Adds identity protection wallet, remote access detection, expert virus check & removal
Devices 3 5 10
Lowest Price $34.99/Year $47.99/Year $67.49/Year

Try Kaspersky risk-free with the 30-day guarantee to see if it meets your needs without putting any money on the line.

Who It's Best For

Kaspersky offers great features and plans for families. However, given its history and fraught status in the U.S. it won’t necessarily be ideal for all users. For more details, you can read our guide to the best Kaspersky alternatives.

Pros

  • Excellent detailed scan reports
  • Offers useful browser extensions
  • Multilayered malware protection
  • Top-notch exploit detection feature
  • Comes with a virtual keyboard

Cons

  • Usage limits on VPN
  • Issues with suitability for U.S. users
Kaspersky
7.0
Review

9. McAfee – Best Antivirus Software for Windows 10

Starting Price $39.99/Year (2 years)
Compatibility Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Max Devices Supported Unlimited
Free Trial/Plan 30 days
Money-Back Guarantee 30 days
Why We Picked It

McAfee is a great antivirus software product that gets lots of praise for its usability, affordable plans, and decades of experience. It also offers a wide range of features and is among the best solutions for Windows 10 machines.

Features

Along with the usual scanning options, McAfee offers a unique Vulnerability Scan option that looks up security patches for areas of attack on your device and lets you know when an app needs to be updated to reduce the risk of an attack.

To prevent cyber attacks, McAfee has a firewall that filters out all malicious files and downloads that could be hiding viruses. This tool identifies and removes viruses even before they reach your system.

The best thing about this firewall is its beginner-friendly nature – you can easily navigate its interface, and every feature is easy to find and use. Beyond this, McAfee also provides exceptional security against ransomware through its intuitive layer of real-time protection.

Even better, the real-time scans don’t affect your browsing experience. You won’t even notice it’s there unless you purposely look for it or run into a security issue.

The moment McAfee detects an attempt to encrypt your files, known as File Content Transformation in McAfee’s language, it’ll drive up your security. Plus, it’ll also create protected backups of those files.

This means that even if the intruder corrupts them, you don’t lose the documents and valuable information. Need we say more? We do. McAfee will also keep your device in the best shape with its system optimizer called QuickClean.

It’ll clean all cookies, temporary files, junk files, and every unimportant item hogging up space in your device.

You also get support for cloud backups – though, there are some limits to the service.

Pricing

McAfee’s cheapest plan is just $39.99 for the first year. Here are your other options:

McAfee Essential McAfee Premium McAfee Advanced
Features Scam Protection, web protection, VPN, password manager Adds personal data cleanup, online account cleanup (scans only), and identity monitoring and alerts Adds bank and credit card transaction monitoring and identity theft coverage
Devices 5 Unlimited Unlimited
Lowest Price $39.99/Year for 2 Years $49.99/Year $89.99/Year

We recommend picking the Premium plan for identity monitoring and security freeze features. Plus, you’ll also get protection for unlimited devices with this one.

Unsure? McAfee comes with a lengthy 30-day free trial and a money-back guarantee. Try it for a full 60 days without risking any money.

Who It's Best For

McAfee is packed with features and is great at tackling ransomware and phishing attacks. It also has a great toolset for protecting your privacy, making it great value for money for individuals and families using Windows devices.

Pros

  • Offers a handy digital file shredder
  • Comes with a free VPN with all plans
  • Ability to customize scheduled scans
  • Integrated with a home network analyzer
  • Among the best Windows antiviruses

Cons

  • Many security features require upgrading plans
  • Relatively basic VPN
McAfee
8.5
Review

Techopedia’s Top Antivirus Software Picks Compared

This table highlights all the key differences between the top picks on our shortlist to provide you with all the details you need to make an informed decision when buying anti-malware tools:

Provider Starting Price Compatibility Max Devices Supported Free Trial/Plan Money-Back Guarantee
TotalAV $19/Year Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android 8 Free scan 30 days
Surfshark Antivirus $36.32/Year (2 years) Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android 5 7 days for VPN 30 days
Norton $29.99/Year Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android Unlimited 30 days 60 days
NordVPN Threat Protection $53.87/Year (2 years) Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android 10 7-day trial on Android 30 days
Trend Micro $19.95/Year Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS 10 30 days 30 days
Intego $37.50/Year (2 years) Mac, Windows 5 30 days 30 days
Avast $35.88/Year Windows, Mac, Android, iOS 30 Free plan 30 day
Kaspersky $34.99/Year Windows, Mac, Android, iOS 10 30 days 30 days
McAfee $39.99/Year (2 years) Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android Unlimited 30 days 30 days
Methodology

How We Review And Test Antivirus Software

15 Antiviruses Tested

20 Datapoints Measured

300+ Hours Testing

500+ User Reviews Read

We base our recommendations on first-hand experience and in-depth testing. All the Antivirus products we suggest, have been tested based on the following criteria:

  • Core Security Features: We make sure that the antivirus software is fully equipped with features like real-time protection, scanning, a firewall, web protection, and more.
  • Malware Detection Rates: We test malware detection rates ourselves by running both in-depth and quick scans on our devices. Additionally, we check independent lab tests.
  • Compatibility: We check which devices and operating systems the antivirus software is compatible with. Often, different-looking dashboards and slightly different packages of features may be available.
  • Performance Impact: A reliable and functional antivirus should not slow down your device significantly. So, we examine our device performance with and without the antivirus running.
  • Customer Experience: Alongside our own experience, we are curious to know what real users have to say regarding the services. So, we’ve scoured the web for feedback on each of our tested antiviruses.
  • Value for Money: We always consider value for money and how much each product is offering for the set price point.

Do I Need Antivirus Software?

Whether you’re using Windows or Mac, it’s a good idea to have an antivirus software solution installed on your machine. Some 89% of desktop users use antivirus software – and it’s the smart thing to do. Anti-malware software constantly scans your system in the background for viruses that might attack your computer or steal your data.

And there’s plenty to be afraid of, whether it’s hackers stealing the passwords for your bank account or unscrupulous individuals locking your computer and holding it to ransom. An antivirus program can shield you from a wide range of threats, including:

VirusesSpywareRansomwareAdware

Viruses

Experts have recorded more than 1.1bn pieces of malware circulating on the internet. This is an ever-increasing number, with 100m threats added to the count every year. Viruses are self-replicating pieces of malware that seek to infect computers and spread.

While viruses once only sought to create disruption, they’re typically used by criminals today to gain access to devices and to individuals’ personal details. This might result in the device being used as part of a botnet or for cryptomining – or it might see a hacker attempting to steal your identity or access your bank accounts.

Just being online puts you at risk of being infected with a virus, but antivirus software can protect computers against viruses.

Spyware

Spyware, as its name indicates, is a kind of malware that infects your device and spies on your activity to steal your personal data. This could include everything from passwords and credit card information to your financial details.

Some spyware programs will allow hackers to access your apps, use your microphone and camera, and disable your device. Fortunately, antivirus software can shield you against such spyware attacks.

Ransomware

In ransomware attacks, hackers gain access to systems and then encrypt files before demanding payment to release them. This can be extremely damaging for businesses.

Antivirus security apps can protect against this threat in several ways. For example, they can flag phishing emails that could expose users to malware, provide secure backups to ensure files can be replaced, and proactively prevent programs from encrypting files and folders.

Spam, Ads, and Adware

Pop-up advertising and spam websites are two of the most common methods for viruses to enter your computer and corrupt your files. Once the virus manages to enter your system, it does permanent damage. An antivirus works by blocking these spam emails and advertisements.

Free vs Paid Antivirus – Which Is Best for You?

The main difference between free and paid antivirus tools is the variety of features available. While paid software offers extra features for unbeatable security, free tools provide basic protection.

Krishi ChowdharyTech Expert
EXPERT INSIGHT

“A paid version is an excellent investment in digital safety if you save sensitive data digitally, use a computer for work, or own many smart tech gadgets. A free antivirus tool is a viable choice if you’re using your computer to check your email, read the news, and occasionally watch Netflix or YouTube. However, consider upgrading to a paid version for advanced features. Having said that, there's no simple solution to whether paid antivirus is better than free antivirus.”

How to Choose the Best Virus Protection Program for You

There are a variety of different factors and elements that can make a big difference when it comes to choosing the right antivirus software for you and your devices.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the most important factors to consider, whether you’re looking at Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Trend Micro Maximum Security, or other antivirus software:

Detection RatesPrivacySecurity MeasuresEase of UseSupport

Detection Rates

The most important factor to consider when selecting an antivirus software solution is just how well it can protect your device against current and future threats.

With tons of great options on the market that can deliver protection rates significantly above 95%, there’s no reason to settle for services that do less – and the best tools will consistently catch and quarantine threats with few false positives.

It’s also worth considering that if you are using a free service that has poor detection rates, then you’re likely exposing yourself to threats and compromising the security of your device.

Privacy

Some companies gather information on how you use your computer to enhance their products. While simple product use telemetry is normally anonymized, certain products may transfer suspicious documents from your computer to the vendor’s scanning cloud.

We recommend looking for a vendor that will provide guarantees about the secure and appropriate handling of your files and data to minimize the chance that your privacy might be breached. The best virus protection products will ensure your system remains secure and private.

Some providers, such as Surfshark, offer both antivirus and VPN features, providing additional privacy for your internet connection.

Security Measures

While it’s critical to have malware protection and a firewall, many of the top antivirus programs out there offer more than that. For example, you might look for support across browsers and devices and additional services, such as a VPN or a password manager.

Getting this functionality bundled with your anti-virus software adds convenience while keeping you secure, and it might also save you money, meaning you don’t have to run up additional subscriptions.

For more ideas, check out our guide to the best antiviruses with VPN tools.

Ease of Use

The usability of the antivirus application is another important factor. While some applications might be complicated to use, others are simple.

Try to find a security program that you feel at ease with – if you don’t use it or don’t make full use of it, you’re likely leaving yourself open to threats.

In the past, some antivirus programs had a negative impact on device performance – so make sure this won’t be the case for the product you choose.

Before paying for a paid subscription, take advantage of any free trials or money-back guarantees to test the platform and read online reviews from other users to make sure you’ve got a grip on the product.

Support

You might not consider customer service as being an important factor when considering anti-virus software, but it can make a big difference.

If you’re trying to tackle a piece of malware that seems to have made it through your firewall or you’re trying to optimize your antivirus system, which seems to be consuming your entire CPU, then it’s good to be able to get ahold of expert assistance.

Look for tools with 24/7 customer support with multiple options like live chat, email, chatbots, toll-free numbers, and so on. If the service has a reputation for providing terrible support then it may be worth cutting it off your list.

How to Use Antivirus Software

Getting started with antivirus software is relatively simple, but the process can be confusing. Here’s a guide with step-by-step instructions for setting up TotalAV and running a scan.

  1. Get a TotalAV account

    First, go to TotalAV, click Buy Now, and select the appropriate plan for your needs. The basic plan is sufficient for most users, but you can upgrade to get a password manager and VPN. Click Purchase & Agree to complete your purchase.

    <strong>Get a TotalAV account</strong>
  2. Download and Install TotalAV

    With the purchase complete, you can now download the app. Once that’s done, follow the install wizard’s instructions to finish the process. You can now use your login details to access your account.

    <strong>Download and Install TotalAV</strong>
  3. Run your first scan

    With TotalAV installed and set up, you can scan your device and make sure that your operating system is secure. You can pick from a smart scan or a full system scan – and it’s wise to run a full scan to ensure your device is comprehensively checked.

    With that, you’re good to go, and TotalAV will offer real-time protection, regular scans, and complete online security.

    <strong>Run your first scan</strong>

FAQs

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Krishi Chowdhary
Tech Expert
Krishi Chowdhary
Tech Expert

Krishi Chowdhary has half a decade of experience writing buying guides and product reviews for numerous leading technology websites. He spent two years writing for Business2Community.com before joining Techopedia.com. He has a degree in Commerce and extensive experience in the technology industry. He's also the key driver behind TechReport.com's news content, delivering expertise insight into the latest tech and cybersecurity news daily.