The 8 Best Antivirus Software to Buy in 2018

Keep your personal information safe from hackers

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

  • Best Overall: BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2019 at Bitdefender.com, “Consistently scored exceedingly well against its competitors for identifying problems and striking them down.”
  • Best for a Budget: AVG Antivirus at Amazon, “An ideal solution if you want to be protected, but don’t want to dole out serious cash to make it happen.”
  • Best for Home and Business: ESET Nod32 at Amazon, “The ESET Nod32 platform includes phishing support to stop would-be hackers from accessing your data.”
  • Best for Ease-of-Use: F-Secure Anti-Virus at F-secure.com, “Scans your machine for everything from viruses to spyware and completes automatic updates behind the scenes.”
  • Best for Multiple Devices: Kaspersky Anti-Virus at Amazon, “Designed for simplicity, so you can set it to run and let it do its thing in the background without much input over the long term.”
  • Best for Option-Seekers: Norton AntiVirus at Amazon, “A handy tool protects your financial information when you’re inputting information online.”
  • Best for Per-Device Costs: McAfee at McAfee.com, “Removes bloatware (unwanted software often installed by PC vendors) from your machine and will lock your files if a device is stolen.”
  • Best for Trials: Avast at Avast.com, “Allows you to try out its software before you commit to its paid platform.”


Our Top Picks

Best Overall: BitDefender Antivirus Plus 2019

BitDefender

Courtesy of BitDefender

BitDefender AntiVirus Plus 2019 is an outstanding option for your PC. It comes with a host of tools that work in the background to keep you safe and it’s consistently scored exceedingly well against its competitors for identifying problems and striking them down.

On the anti-virus side, BitDefender performs several operations. It sniffs out possible threats and keeps an updated list of potential threats to limit your chances of being targeted.

Additionally, the BitDefender team is available 24/7 for support to help you get through malware-related problems. And since it comes with BitDefender VPN and BitDefender Safepay in the box, you’ll be able to maintain your privacy and protect yourself against financial threats with ease.

New in 2019, BitDefender Antivirus Plus comes with a “multi-layer ransomware protection” solution that will limit chances of hackers shutting down your computer unless you pay them for regained access.

Overall, BitDefender’s AntiVirus Plus 2019 is a fantastic option.

Best for a Budget: AVG Antivirus

AVG Antivirus is an ideal solution if you want to be protected, but don’t want to dole out serious cash to make it happen.

AVG is available for free on PC, Mac, and mobile. It uses what the company calls “powerful protection” features to identify potential viruses and other malware and keep you safe. Better yet, it features a Webcam Protection tool that will protect your computer’s Webcam from being taken over by hackers to spy on you. And in case you face ransomware threats, AVG aims at keeping you protected against them, too.

Since AVG’s software can work on a variety of devices, it can keep you safe whether you’re on a computer or a smartphone. In fact, the company’s mobile antivirus option is designed to protect you from viruses, spyware, and thieves by giving you the option of locking your device.

Best for Home and Business: ESET Nod32

ESET Nod32 offers a full suite of services designed both for the home and the office. The software protects you against a range of threats, including viruses, rootkits, ransomware, and spyware, among others. Like many others on the market, the ESET Nod32 platform includes phishing support to stop would-be hackers from accessing your data.

One of ESET’s chief selling points is productivity. The company claims its software will keep you safe without slowing down your computer or doing anything that would otherwise make your machine more difficult to use. And since it’s constantly analyzing malware threats in the cloud from people around the world using its software, there’s a good chance it’ll find newer threats.

Best of all, Nod32 is a robust solution for both the home and office. So if you have a need for both your family computer and small office machine to be kept safe, Nod32 could be a winner.

Best for Ease-of-Use: F-Secure Anti-Virus

F-Secure Anti-Virus

Courtesy of F-Secure Anti-Virus

If you’re looking for something simple to use to improve your computer safety, F-Secure Anti-Virus is a good place to start. In fact, it’s one of the few options that you can set to scan your computer and look for malware and not need to do much with it after it’s setup.

F-Secure scans your machine for everything from viruses to spyware and completes automatic updates behind the scenes so you can stay on top of the latest threats without needing to be too heavily involved. The software automatically removes the malware, of course, and according to the company, will perform all of its functions without slowing down your machine.

If it’s a hands-off experience you’re after, F-Secure’s Anti-Virus is a great solution.

Best for Multiple Devices: Kaspersky Anti-Virus

Kaspersky is one of those platforms that’s designed specifically for those who want to keep several different types of devices protected. The software, which is available on both the computer and mobile, works much the same way across devices and aims at keeping you safe regardless of the threats you’re facing.

The software continually scans your machine for possible threats, including viruses, spyware, and others. It will also attempt at keeping your machine safe from possible ransomware threats by identifying problems and responding accordingly.

The basic version of Kaspersky Anti-Virus is designed for simplicity, so you can set it to run and let it do its thing in the background without much input over the long term. However, if you want more capable versions that come with kids-safety features and password protectors, those, too, are available.

Best for Option-Seekers: Norton AntiVirus

Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus has long been one of the most notable and reliable names in the antivirus market. Indeed, its market share today is still major with no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. And that, along with outstanding features, might make it an attractive option.

Norton AntiVirus is designed to protect you from viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other malware threats. Additionally, it comes with a handy tool that protects your financial information when you’re inputting information online. And since it relies so heavily on what it calls its “global civilian organization,” it’s constantly analyzing what’s happening in the real world to keep your machine updated and focused on threats.

If you’re looking for more advanced features, you’ll need to up your option to some of the more expensive versions. But the basic model should keep you safe without much concern.

Best for Per-Device Costs: McAfee

McAfee

Courtesy of McAfee

There are a variety of paid options in the antivirus market that, at first blush, would seem affordable. But when you consider that their costs are for one license, it might not seem like the best option.

McAfee, however, is a different story. When you pay for McAfee’s Total Protection, you might pay a bit more than you would for single options from competing providers. But when you amortize that cost over the 10 licenses you get with purchase, you quickly realize that you’re paying little per unit to get your hands on a robust option.

In addition to that, McAfee’s solution includes a variety of features to keep you safe, including virus and malware protection. It also removes bloatware — or unwanted software often installed by PC vendors — from your machine and will lock your files if a device is stolen.

When you’re surfing the Web, a feature called McAfee WebAdvisor analyzes the sites you’re on and tells you when you’re trying to access risky pages. One other benefit: a password manager that helps you create secure credentials and safely store those credentials in your machine.

Best for Trials: Avast

Avast

Courtesy of Avast

One of the nice things about Avast — another company that has been competing in the antivirus space for years — is that it allows you to try out its software before you commit to its paid platform. And since the free option will go a long way in protecting you, you could stick with that version and protect yourself from possible threats.

In addition to features that block antivirus and malware issues, it works with Avast’s VPN, which will anonymize you on the Internet and allow you to access your corporate network anywhere in the world.

To add even more layers of protection, Avast comes with a webcam protector to stop hackers from peering in at you. And if you have passwords you want to protect, Avast is a fine solution for that, as well.