10 Best Windows Antivirus Software in 2021

  • Compare the best antivirus for Windows in 2021
  • Explore which antivirus software ranked highest and why
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10 Best Windows Antivirus Software in 2021
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1st Place
  • Works with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10
  • Parental control included
  • 24/7 customer support
  • LifeLock™ security with select plans
  • Protects up to 10 devices
2nd Place
  • Works with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10
  • Lightweight and user friendly
  • Blocks malware & phishing websites
3rd Place
  • Limited Time Sale: Get 75% Off
  • Advanced malware scanning & removal
  • Windows virus protection insurance
4th Place
  • Quick & easy installation
  • Password manager included
  • Works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista and XP
5th Place
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Secures your web-browsing
  • Blocks data leakage
6th Place
  • Permanently deletes sensitive digital files
  • Protects up to 10 devices
  • An easy to use web-based console
7th Place
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Works with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista and XP
  • Secures your web-browsing
8th Place
  • Works with Windows 7, 8, & 10
  • Real-time protection & updates
  • Password manager included
9th Place
  • Scans external drives and USB
  • Real-time malware protection
  • Free VPN included
10th Place
  • Compatible with Windows 7 and higher
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Real-time malware protection

What is an antivirus?

An antivirus is software designed to detect and remove malware from a computer or mobile device. Traditional antiviruses scan your files against a built-in malware database, flagging unsafe files that match the database. More advanced antivirus programs use machine learning, heuristic analysis, and cloud-based malware directories to detect and remove zero-day threats and very sophisticated malware. All of the best antiviruses offer real-time protection, so they scan every file before it executes to ensure malware never even starts running on your device.

Why do I need an antivirus?

Millions of internet users are hacked every year — their personal information is traded on the dark web, their debit cards and PayPal accounts are hijacked, their devices get destroyed, and their work gets stolen.

No matter what platform you’re using, having an antivirus with proper internet security protections is the only way to protect yourself from a wide range of security threats — including malware, phishing, network exploits, identity theft, data mining, and privacy breaches.

Features comparison

Boot-Time Scan
AntiSpam
Firewall
Email Security
IDS
IPS
Macro Protection
CloudAV
Free Trial
Moneyback: 30 Days
Boot-Time Scan
AntiSpam
Firewall
Email Security
IDS
IPS
Macro Protection
CloudAV
Free Trial
Moneyback: 60 Days
Boot-Time Scan
AntiSpam
Firewall
Email Security
IDS
IPS
Macro Protection
CloudAV
Free Trial
Moneyback: 30 Days

Latest reviews on top Antivirus services

Norton
9.6
175 142

If I could give them NO stars I would. Had heard so many great things about Nort...

- J. John

Get Norton
TotalAV
9.2
545 374

I have had many protection programs on my PC for many years, spent a lot of mone...

- Hernandez

Get TotalAV
Intego
9.6
1 7

Since the update to Big Sur my Intego software slows my Mac extremely! I just no...

- barm

Get Intego

Best Antivirus by category

Norton
Windows
McAfee
Linux
Bitdefender
Mac

Frequently Asked Questions

Can an antivirus protect me against spyware, ransomware, and other malware?

Yes, but only some antiviruses offer protection against every type of malware. Built-in anti-malware tools from operating systems like Windows and Apple are usually pretty good against traditional viruses, but they can’t offer protection against newer threats like ransomware, rootkits, cryptojackers, and spyware.

The reason for this is that every piece of malware behaves differently — ransomware encrypts system files, cryptojackers run crypto-mining software on unused parts of your disk, and spyware passively shares your device usage with hackers.

However, companies like TotalAV and Norton include specialized tools in their anti-malware engines to detect every type of malware — they monitor your network traffic, disk usage, and system files to give up-to-the-minute protection against a full range of malware threats.

Is there really a difference between antivirus providers?

Absolutely. The cybersecurity market is crowded with hundreds of different apps and programs, but only a few of them provide comprehensive internet security protections.

Weaker antiviruses cross-reference user files against a built-in database of known malware. While these malware databases are occasionally updated, there are still thousands of new malware threats released every day, which is why you need an antivirus that uses advanced detection methods like machine learning, heuristic analysis, sandboxing, as well as a cloud-based malware database.

There are a number of antiviruses with good anti-malware protection, but premium antivirus suites like McAfee and Norton take internet security one step further. The very best antivirus providers include additional features like anti-phishing protection, virtual private networks (VPNs), password managers, parental controls, and even anti-theft features to provide protection beyond simple anti-malware scanning.

Can I use free antivirus software?

If you’re on Windows or macOS, you’re already using a free antivirus. Both Windows and Mac devices already come with basic antivirus protection, but these protections are not that good.

All free antiviruses limit essential features so that you’ll be forced to upgrade. That said, there are a couple of free antiviruses that include decent protections, but in general, it’s always better to opt for a low-cost premium antivirus like Norton or TotalAV than deal with the frustrating limitations of a free antivirus.

Do I need an antivirus for Windows 10?

Yes! Windows is by far the most popular operating system, which means that it’s also the biggest target for hackers. The same accessibility that makes Windows successful also makes it an easy target for malware developers.

Recently, Microsoft has made some big changes to Windows 10’s built-in protections. It now provides browser sandboxing for Microsoft Edge, an improved cloud-based malware scanner, decent parental controls, and some anti-phishing protections. Unfortunately, none of these built-in protections are as good as the security offerings from third-party antivirus developers.

If you want to protect your Windows PC from malware and keep your sensitive data and accounts safe from hackers, you should invest in premium antivirus software. Norton 360 is the best antivirus for PCs in 2021. It’s better than Microsoft’s Windows Defender in every way, offering a superior anti-malware engine and several additional protections that Windows’s built-in antivirus doesn’t have.

Do I need an antivirus for Mac?

Yes! Macs have a reputation for being unhackable, but that’s just not true. According to Apple, macOS users have been reporting more and more malware infections every year.

macOS comes with an excellent antivirus scanner that can protect you from things like viruses, worms, and trojans. However, Apple hasn’t improved its malware protection to block spyware, adware, and ransomware.

Intego is my favorite internet security suite for Mac users. Not only does it have an advanced anti-malware engine that can detect every type of Mac-specific malware, it also offers major improvements over Apple’s built-in security tools. Intego’s firewall, parental controls, file backup, and phishing protections are more secure, user-friendly, and customizable than Apple’s built-in tools.

Do I need an antivirus for mobile?

Yes, you also need antivirus protection for your mobile phone! It should come as no surprise, but mobile devices are hacked just as often as computers.

Android-specific malware has been on the rise in recent years, with huge ransomware and spyware infections affecting millions of users. If you’re on Android, you need to get a malware scanner that can also protect your information online with features like a VPN, a Wi-Fi network scanner, and a password manager. Norton is my favorite Android antivirus — especially because it scans apps for malware before you download them from the Google Play Store.

For iOS users, there aren’t as many risks — iOS is built with secure sandboxing, so there’s no way for a malicious file or app to make changes to your device. However, iOS users still need to worry about unsafe Wi-Fi networks and phishing sites which can steal data, in addition to the very real problem of iPhone theft. McAfee is the best iOS security app I’ve used — in addition to phishing protection, a Wi-Fi scanner, and secure vaults for photos and videos, it also has excellent anti-theft features which include a remote burglar alarm, automatic selfie capture, and remote data wipe.