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Tried & Tested: 5 Best Anti-Malware Software for 2019

Tried & Tested: 5 Best Anti-Malware Software for 2019
Aviva Zacks
Posted: December 12, 2018

While most decent antivirus software can detect and remove malicious threats from your computer, hackers can still find other ways to steal your data, spy on all your activity in real-time, hijack important computer resources, damage or encrypt sensitive information using crypto locker ransomware, or even install backdoors to gain access to your PC when you least expect it.

By not adding one of the latest anti-malware security software as a crucial extra layer of defense to your existing antivirus protection, you risk exposing your computer to malicious infections.

Malware is designed to evade detection, which is why the best anti-malware software must always be one step ahead of the hackers. But with so many brands on the market, how can you know which is truly effective?

We painstakingly tried and tested 47 different brands considered to offer the best malware protection on the market, and paired the list down to just the top five to save you time and help you find an option that works best for your specific needs.

In our hunt, we found Total AV to be the best option available. The AV solution is easy to use and automatically protects against most Windows and Mac threats.

Quick List

Free vs Paid Malware Removal

When selecting a malware removal tool, you will encounter both free and paid options. But what exactly should you choose? Are there any advantages in getting a paid AV solution or will a free software be enough?

The key difference between free and paid malware removal programs is the level of protection offered. Paid products with their real-time and system-behavior monitors are far better at detecting malware and warning you against possible threats.

Free anti-malware programs, on the other hand, are severely limited and don’t offer much in the way of stopping infections. Most lack the capabilities needed to combat modern-day malware and can end up costing you in some way – whether it be through safety and performance compromises or accessing a feature locked behind a paywall.

What is Malware?

Malware is any malicious program that is built to corrupt a device and grant access to personal information.

There are different types of malware, designed to do different things, such as phishing scams that trick you into sharing your information or downloading more malware, and ransomware that takes your data hostage and forces you to pay a ransom to release it.

What’s the Difference Between a Virus and Malware?

While viruses and malware do similar things, the terms are not interchangeable. A virus is a type of malware, but malware is not always a virus. A computer virus is a malicious string of code that’s created to replicate and infect your computer system.

Malware, on the other hand, is an umbrella term used to describe any unwanted software created to harm your system by way of viruses, spyware, adware, worms, Trojans, and more.

What’s the Difference Between Antivirus and Anti-Malware Software?

An antivirus is software is created to protect you against a specific threat – computer viruses. And although many antivirus programs have expanded to cover other types of malware, such as keyloggers, they can’t always detect every single threat or protect against the most advanced types of malware in the same way the best antimalware software can.

Because they offer expert protection against different threats, it’s easy to see why antivirus and antimalware programs complement each other (and why you need both).

For full protection against all types of threats, you’ll need to combine a reputable antivirus along with a top malware removal programs to defend against ransomware, spyware, spam, and phishing attacks.

How to Check and Remove Infections From Your Device?

The most obvious signs of infection include your computer slowing down or crashing, a sudden onslaught of pop-up ads, inexplicable changes in files sizes, automatic keystrokes, and the appearance of emails in your outbox that you didn’t send.

On mobile phones infected with malware, you may also notice an inexplicable increase in data usage; apps appearing on your device that you didn’t download; battery life draining quickly, and unexplained charges on your monthly bill.

To remove an infection, you should run a full system scan using your antivirus and anti-malware software together (different programs will offer different malware scan types). Once the threats have been identified and quarantined, delete them entirely. Restart your computer and rerun the scan to confirm whether all infections have been cleaned.

What are the Consequences of Malware?

Malware can mess with your computer’s ability to function, causing pop-up ads, error messages, and sudden system crashes. Depending on the type, malware can also collect your private data and steal your identity or hack into your bank accounts.

One of the most sinister malware out there is ransomware, which can lock down your computer or encrypt all your files. Once this happens, you’ll have a short time to pay the hackers their ransom money before you get back all your valuable data and personal information.

Ransomware can be extremely harmful to people or companies working with highly sensitive or classified documents on their machines. Luckily, with the best anti-malware software, you can seal all security loopholes and keep your PC safe.

With that said, let’s look at our top picks for defending against such malicious attacks:

What’s the Best Malware Protection?

The best way to protect yourself against malware is to install a powerful antivirus. Here are our top picks:

1. Total AV – Best for Ransomware Protection

$19.95 - $59.95 / year

Total AV is a free antivirus that offers top-notch security for your devices. Not only that, but it also boosts performance, making your device faster and smoother to use.

Total AV has great scores from independent labs and effectively prevents ransomware attacks, bots, and browser backdoors. We were also impressed by the software’s Safe Shield feature, which automatically blocks suspicious web and social media links, that can put your PC security at risk.


  • Ransomware Prevention
  • Decent phishing protection
  • Real-time protection
  • Web shield extension
  • Safe password vault
  • PC and smartphone optimization

What we like

  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.
  • Fast scanning with no impact on performance
  • Finds and removes duplicate files
  • Excellent malware test scores

What we don’t like

  • Features such as Safe Browsing (VPN) require a separate purchase
  • Parental controls features are limited

Bottom line

Total AV has some great tune-up tools that speed up your device as well as security features that go above and beyond virus protection. It protects against a wide range of malware and can even reverse the effects of encrypting ransomware. For more advanced features, you’ll have to pay to upgrade.

2. Norton Security – Best for PC Optimization

$49.99 - $109.99 / year

Norton Security is a name with a reputation for delivering excellent malware prevention. It offers both robust defense and great value for effective protection against dangerous Trojans, adware, spyware, and ransomware. Norton also includes some great security features, such as a firewall and handy system cleanup tools that keep your device running safely and smoothly.


  • Real-time protection
  • Advanced ransomware protection
  • Phishing protection
  • A firewall
  • Robust parental controls
  • PC tune-up
  • A 30-day money back guarantee

What we like

  • Compatible with PC, Mac, and smartphones
  • Ultra-fast vulnerability scanning
  • The gamer mode that halts notifications and scanning temporarily
  • Family safety features for kids
  • Secure VPN
  • 30-day free trial version

What we don’t like

  • The password manager features are limited
  • Unlimited VPN access requires separate subscription

Bottom line

Norton has a proven reputation as an effective and robust defender against viruses and malware infection. The software comes with a 30-day free trial, so you can go ahead and give it a try risk-free. The company also offers a limited free version as well, for those not ready to commit.

3. Avira Internet Security Suite – Best for Real-Time Protection

Avira Internet Security Suite is an immensely popular free anti-malware tool that does an excellent job at detecting and removing all kinds of malware, including ransomware and Trojans. The software’s heuristic engine allows it to detect and prevent zero-day threats before they infect your PC.

While it may not be the obvious choice for tech-savvy individuals who require comprehensive features or phishing security on browsers other than Firefox and Chrome, it’s a great choice for beginners or those who don’t have the time or expertise to customize their antivirus settings themselves.

What we like

  • Compatible with Windows PC, Mac, and Smartphones
  • Accurate detection with few false positives
  • Free rescue disk
  • Secure and private surfing with VPN
  • Premium customer support

What we don’t like

  • Scans aren’t the fastest
  • The user interface could use some improvements

Bottom line

If you’re looking for an affordable anti-malware solution, then this will work very well for you, but if you require something a little more comprehensive then perhaps Avira’s add-ons or an alternative anti-malware product would be best.

4. Comodo CyberSecurity – Best for Online Shopping

$39.99 - $89.99 / year

With its battle-tested enterprise-level technology, Comodo Cybersecurity has an impressive set of security features, including an antivirus, a firewall, sandboxing, a web browser, and secure shopping portals.

What makes it truly stand out is its Default Deny approach – a defense technique unique to Comodo – that separates all incoming files and applications into three categories (known good, known bad, and unknown) and only allows unknown apps to run after they’ve been analyzed and confirmed harmless.

Another notable feature is the integration with Malware Analysis that runs another check for malicious activity before any programs are allowed to run on your device.


  • Reliable malware protection (Removes Trojans, rootkits, spyware, keyloggers, and adware)
  • A powerful antivirus scanner
  • Default Deny Approach for Zero-day threat detection
  • Integration with cloud Malware Analysis for real-time analysis of unknown processes
  • Instantly identifies and stops untrusted processes
  • Automatic updates

What we like

  • Works with Windows (10, 8, 7), Mac, Android, and iOS
  • Virus definitions are regularly updated
  • End to end VPN encryption with Comodo TrustConnect
  • Includes a Game Mode for silent detections

What we don’t like

  • Few customizations
  • Not suitable for low-end PCs

Bottom line

As Comodo Cybersecurity comes with first-in-class emergency malware removal capabilities, we highly recommend it as a comprehensive yet affordable security product.

5. Avast Internet Security – Best for Secure Browsing

$47.99 - $119.99 / year

Consistently rated “excellent” by industry experts and used by 400 million users worldwide, Avast Internet Security is an award-winning and extremely lightweight anti-malware software that really lives up to its reputation.

The software detects all threats, including viruses, adware, and spyware, and it has reliable ransomware protection – all while having a minimal impact on your computer’s performance

Avast also has a fantastic Web Shield that blocks malicious URLs and file downloads and email attachments for malicious threats before they are opened. Also, users have access to a secure VPN which has servers in 34 countries across the world.


  • Powerful malware removal
  • Ransomware protection
  • Enhanced password security
  • Home network protection
  • Browser cleaning
  • Low impact on performance

What we like

  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Software
  • Powerful and fast antivirus engine
  • Email and anti-spam protection
  • Free trial for Avast SecureLine VPN
  • User-friendly interface
  • Light impact on performance

What we don’t like

  • Basic parental controls
  • VPN access after 7 days requires a subscription

Bottom line

While Avast’s free version may be an adequate short term solution, if you’re looking to clear up your computer fast, the paid version with its SafeZone technology is a better solution for the long run.


Best Malware Removal Software FAQs

I have an antivirus software, why do I need an anti-malware program too?

Antivirus and antimalware programs are better at different things. For example, an antivirus is better at eliminating more established threats (worms, virus, trojans), while antimalware software detect and remove new and more sophisticated types of malware.

For the best protection,  we recommend using both antivirus and antimalware 2019 programs. You’ll have a better chance of removing any threats you might find.

Is it possible to run an antivirus and an anti-malware program at the same time?

Yes, you can. Antimalware programs are complementary to antivirus software, and both are compatible with each other. Depending on your provider, you should be able to run them at the same time without any issues.

Does antimalware replace antivirus?

No, antimalware does not replace your antivirus; it is meant to work alongside it towards the same goal, – keeping your device safe.

Am I 100 per cent protected using both antivirus and antimalware software program?

Because online threats are constantly shifting and changing and becoming more sophisticated, there are no guarantees, and 100 per cent detection cannot be promised. But combining your antivirus with the best malware removal software 2019 will give you the best chance of staying safe.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Getting a decent anti-virus is the absolute bare minimum you can do to protect yourself from an attack. However, these programs alone are not robust enough to catch all of the malicious malware threats available today.

For 100% protection and removal, you’ll also need to install one of the best malware software removal programs recommended here.

About the Author

Aviva Zacks
Aviva Zacks

Aviva Zacks is a content manager, writer, editor, and really good baker. When she's not working, she enjoys reading on her porch swing with a cup of decaf.

Transparency and Trust – We pride ourselves on being the only site where users can freely contribute and share their reviews on any antivirus with other community members. When you visit an antivirus site we link to, we sometimes get affiliate commissions that support our work. Read more about how we operate.