Updated on Apr. 13, 2021
1
2021 Editor’s Pick
1
9.9
Outstanding
  • Protects your device against the latest malware
  • Lightweight and user friendly
  • Blocks malware & phishing websites
  • Complete online protection
  • Real-Time spyware removal
Over 6,000 people have picked TotalAV Antivirus in the last 30 days
9.9
Outstanding
Visit Website
totalav.com
2
2
9.8
EXCELLENT
  • Automatically checks apps for malware & ransomware
  • Parental control included
  • 24/7 customer support
  • LifeLock™ security with select plans
9.8
EXCELLENT
Visit Website
norton.com
3
3
9.1
Very Good
  • Receive automatic security recommendations
  • Protects Windows, Mac and Android
  • Password manager included
9.1
Very Good
Visit Website
bitdefender.com
4
4
8.8
Good
  • Predictive protection feature
  • Premium Android antivirus support
  • Redesigned user-interface
8.8
Good
Visit Website
avira.com
5
5
8.4
Good
  • Complete privacy protection while browsing
  • Permanently deletes sensitive digital files
  • Protects up to 10 devices
8.4
Good
Visit Website
mcafee.com
6
6
8.2
Good
  • Real-time scan of every app you download
  • Scans external drives and USB
  • Real-time malware protection
8.2
Good
Visit Website
pandasecurity.com
7
7
7.9
Good
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Lightweight and user friendly
  • Secures your web-browsing
7.9
Good
Visit Website
pcprotect.com
8
8
7.6
Good
  • Fast, instant scanning capabilities
  • Free 24/7 customer support
  • Connect safely to public WiFi
7.6
Good
Visit Website
bullguard.com
9
9
7.3
Good
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • An easy to use web-based console
  • Real-time malware protection
7.3
Good
Visit Website
scanguard.com
10
10
6.9
Good
  • Secures your web-browsing
  • Phishing protection included
  • Blocks data leakage
6.9
Good
Visit Website
heimdalsecurity.com

These Antivirus services have been featured on:

guardian
new-york-times
cnet
forbes
wired

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.

Disclaimer

SafetyDetectives’s antivirus reviews are the honest opinions of our team of expert cybersecurity professionals. Our reviews are neither paid for nor sponsored by antivirus providers, although we may earn affiliate commission through some of our referral links.

At SafetyDetectives, our goal is to provide transparent, informative, and easy-to-understand reviews of antivirus solutions for all devices and operating systems. We hope these reviews will give you the insight needed to make an informed decision about your antivirus purchase.

Best Antivirus for

Best Value

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.

The Top 3 Antivirus Solutions

  • Automatically checks apps for malware & ransomware
  • Parental control included
  • Protects your device against the latest malware
  • Lightweight and user friendly
  • Blocks malware & phishing websites
  • Receive automatic security recommendations
  • Protects Windows, Mac and Android

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.