Updated on July 23, 2024
Our Rank
#1 2024 Editor’s Pick
2024’s top internet security suite. Advanced malware protection, top-quality extra features, user-friendly apps. Excellent value!
  • Full internet security suite for all devices
  • Secure VPN, password manager, cloud storage
  • Performance optimization tools
  • Parental controls - search + video supervision
  • Virus removal guarantee
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norton.com
Our Rank
#2 Best Value for Money
  • Real-time internet security engine (100% detection rate)
  • Excellent interface, high-speed scans, good price
  • Ransomware + identity theft protection
  • Fast VPN (with unlimited data)
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totalav.com
Get 360-degree protection for your digital life with Norton LifeLock!
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#3
  • Quick installation
  • Scans external drives and USB
  • Real-time malware protection
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pandasecurity.com
Our Rank
#4
  • Full cybersecurity protection for all OS and devices
  • 100% virus detection and removal rates
  • Extras like a VPN, parental controls, and gaming mode
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kaspersky.com
Our Rank
#5
  • Scans for Internet security breaches
  • Defends against phishing attacks
  • Wi-Fi connection and Internet security check-ups
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avast.com
Our Rank
#6
  • Comes with a VPN
  • Permanently deletes sensitive digital files
  • Protects up to 10 devices
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mcafee.com
Our Rank
#7
  • Full-suite online security engine
  • Fast, easy installation
  • Password manager included
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bitdefender.com

The Top 3 Antivirus Solutions

Why Do You Need an Antivirus?

Antivirus software is the best, easiest, and most reliable way to keep your device safe from all types of cybersecurity threats. Using traditional malware databases and advanced machine-learning tools, antiviruses are able to quickly detect and safely remove these threats from all of your devices. And thanks to their real-time malware protections, they can prevent malware from infecting your system in the first place.

But modern antiviruses are much more than just malware scanners. They come with a wide range of additional tools to protect your entire online experience. Top brands include security features like web protections to secure your browsing, firewalls to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic, virtual private networks (VPNs) to keep your online sessions private, parental controls to help you keep your kids safe online, and password managers to ensure your passwords are unbreakable.

In short, installing a good antivirus from a reputable, trustworthy company is essential for protecting your data and devices from known and emerging malware that is designed to make your devices unusable, gain access to your sensitive data, or both.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there really a difference between providers?

No. These are significant differences between the titles on the market (which is why our team enjoys reviewing them so much!).

For instance:

  • Platforms supported: Many antiviruses protect a number of devices with each license. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure that the platforms you use are all supported. You’ve found an antivirus with a great Android app, but do they also offer a program that will work with your son’s iPad?
  • Features: Some products offer an excellent virus scanner but not much else, while others provide a multi-faceted feature with a variety of internet security tools.
  • Focus market and use-case: Some products are targeted specifically at the enterprise market and are designed to be administered centrally by an IT team. Others are family-oriented and offer competitively-priced deals for multi-device households. Some are even specifically designed to protect internet of things (IoT) devices.

Can I get by without an antivirus?

Despite what you may have heard, every major class of operating system—including both Linux and Android (which is a mobile-optimized Linux fork)—is susceptible to viruses.  And although Windows includes a built-in tool to conduct basic scanning and firewall management, users should install a dedicated solution.

Most antiviruses are multi-faceted programs that provide protection against a wide variety of cybersecurity threats—and come with clever built-in automation (like turning on a VPN when an online banking website is accessed) designed to keep their users safe. Some browsers include built-in phishing protection, but in most cases, these don’t compare to software offered by professionals.

Use an antivirus—it’s a small investment in your privacy and the health of your computer.

What Is spyware and can an antivirus protect against it?

Spyware is a type of computer infection that transports your data back to its creator. Software of this kind has many uses, some of which are legal, such as:

  • Monitoring company computers to ensure no one is spreading sensitive information
  • User-consented tracking for targeted advertising
  • Parental control software to track children’s online activity
  • Website cookies to customize your browsing experience

Installing an antivirus can protect you from spyware.

While it’s preferable to stay ahead of spyware, install an antivirus and avoid disaster. If an infection has already happened, don’t panic—it can be resolved easily with a good antivirus scan.

Why You Should Trust Us

When choosing which antivirus to install, it’s important to know whom you can trust. The problem is that there are so many antivirus review sites online — and most of them are run by shady marketers trying to earn a quick buck by recommending products that offer the best affiliate programs. And as you can imagine, these products often aren’t the best ones for users.

Instead of going the quicker route — which we believe is both morally and ethically wrong — we decided to do things differently. We extensively researched, tested, and compared all of the most popular antiviruses on the market to determine which ones are really good. And we regularly re-test all of our top antiviruses and update our lists and reviews to make sure that everything you read on our site is 100% true.

We have years of experience in testing and reviewing security software, and our mission is to provide trusted and transparent reviews that can genuinely help our readers find the right antivirus for their needs and budget. We would never endorse a bad product, and you can rest assured that we only recommend antiviruses that we are perfectly happy with using ourselves.Before testing, we research which antiviruses have the best reputation, potential, and advanced features. We then use the software ourselves to test its claims, including malware detection capabilities, measuring its impact on system performance, and analyzing the rate of false positives to avoid unnecessary alerts. We also conduct usability tests to ensure the software is easy to use.

Each antivirus review involves at least 50 hours of in-depth testing, and we regularly update our recommended products. We consistently re-evaluate our top picks and spend many more hours updating our rankings each month to ensure that we only recommend the best antiviruses available.

After testing, our reviews are passed to our editorial team. These experts dissect every detail, ensuring the accuracy and relevance of our data and verifying that our conclusions reflect real-world use. We put each review through a rigorous triple-check, prioritizing precision and fairness in every word we publish.

For full transparency, we do have affiliate links on our website. This means that we may make a small commission if you click on a link and purchase a product — but this doesn’t impact your cost in any way — and this allows us to keep the site running. However, these links don’t decide how positively or negatively we rate a product. We may also review and rank providers with whom we share ownership (Intego). That said, we’ll only ever recommend products that we believe in and use ourselves.

The listings featured on this site are from companies from which this site receives compensation and some are co-owned by our parent company. This influence: Rank and manner in which listings are presented. 
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