Best Windows Antivirus Software in 2023
It's hard navigating the vast sea of antivirus options. But don't worry, we're here to help. We researched all the top products on the market to find you the best security possible.
It was disappointing to see that many solutions only focus on generic protection, leaving devices vulnerable to unique and emerging threats. But through rigorous testing, we separated the champions from the amateurs. These antiviruses will detect and neutralize threats before you even know they exist.
What's the best antivirus?
Norton comes out on top. It's beginner-friendly, packed with features, and uses machine learning to stay up to date on current virus trends. All this means your device will never be left behind. Throw in Norton's excellent customer support and affordable prices and it's easy to see why they're the gold standard of antivirus software.
- Works with Windows XP, 7, 8, 10 & 11
- Lightweight and user-friendly
- Blocks malware & phishing websites
- Complete online protection
- Real-time spyware removal
- Works with Windows XP, 7, 8, 10 & 11
- Parental control included
- 24/7 customer support
- LifeLock™ security with select plans
- Scans external drives and USB
- Real-time malware protection
- Free VPN included
- Permanently deletes sensitive digital files
- Protects up to 10 devices
- An easy to use web-based console
- Quick & easy installation
- Password manager included
- Works with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 & XP
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Works with Windows 11, 10, 8, 7 & XP
- Secures your web browsing
- Protect up to 10 Windows devices
- Excellent at blocking and removing all malware
- Tons of extras (VPN, parental controls, and more)
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.
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
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 2023. 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.