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Best Overall: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020
"It has little drain on resources, so even when a virus scan is in progress it’s barely noticeable that it’s working."
Best Award-Winning Protection: Kaspersky Total Security
"As you would expect, Total Security does antivirus and antimalware very well, but it also includes loads of additional security features."
Best Free: Microsoft Windows Defender
"Offers real-time definition-based protection for viruses, malware, trojans, ransomware, and other threats."
Best for Easy Navigation: Trend Micro Maximum Security
"Trend Micro Maximum Security is one of the top-of-line offerings."
Best Alternative Free Antivirus: Avast Free Antivirus
"Top-of-the-line considering it’s a free product."
Best for Older Windows Computers: F-Secure SAFE Antivirus
"It’s easy to use, offers great protection from viruses, malware, and other internet threats."
Best for Deeper Protection: Norton 360 With LifeLock Select
"This product is everything you need to protect your computers and devices from viruses."
Best for Multiple Windows Computers: McAfee Total Protection
"An excellent suite of protection products that include antivirus, ransomware, a file shredder, a firewall, plus a password manager."
Best for No System Lag: AVG Internet Security
"AVG Internet Security offers great protection against viruses, malware, Trojans, and other internet security threats."
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020 is an award-winning antivirus application that works very well with Windows 10 computers. It has very little drain on resources, so even when a virus scan is in progress it’s barely noticeable that it’s working.
Bitdefender Plus protects your computer in a number of ways. Virus definitions are regularly updated, so as you would expect, you’re protected even from the newest malware threats. But Bitdefender also includes multi-layer ransomware protection and includes a personal VPN that lets you surf the web anonymously, without being tracked. A password manager, online payment protection, social network protection, and rescue mode round out a well-chosen set of many security tools.
Bitdefender Plus allows for a 30-day free trial, and the base annual subscription costs around $50 per year. That base subscription supports up to three devices, but a slight price increase will up that to 5 or 10 devices depending on your needs.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020 is available for Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and Windows 7 (SP1). It does not support macOS, Android, or iOS, but other versions of the Bitdefender product are available to support devices running those platforms.
Kaspersky is one of the best-known names in internet security for a variety of reasons, but the best one is for the number of awards Kaspersky has won for its Total Security internet security product. As you would expect, Total Security does antivirus and malware very well, but it also includes loads of additional security features.
One nice benefit of Kaspersky Total Protection that you may not find with some of the other antivirus applications on this list is the two-way firewall included in the Total Protection package. This ensures that the perimeter of your system is completely protected both for incoming and outgoing traffic. Additional, Kaspersky Total security offers webcam protection, a VPN, exploit prevention, password protection, a file shredder, and many more features you may not expect to find on a mid-range antivirus product.
Kaspersky Total Security costs around $50 per year and offers protection on up to five devices. You can increase that 10 devices for a slight bump in cost. It supports Windows 10, 8.7 and 8.1; macOS X 10.12 or higher, Android 4.0 or higher, and iOS 10.0 or higher.
Microsoft Windows Defender Security Center comes pre-installed on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, but it is much improved over past versions of Windows Defender. It offers very good antivirus and antimalware protection, but also includes a firewall, a secure boot feature, and heuristic monitoring that takes note when something seems out of the ordinary on your computer.
Of course, Windows Defender offers real-time definition-based antivirus protection for viruses, malware, trojans, ransomware, and other threats. Also available are parental controls and scanning for USB drives, external hard drives, and disk drives. Windows Defender’s usability is also greatly improved, with a graphical user interface that is easy to navigate and includes explanations for first-time users and those not familiar with what should be protected or why. Advanced users can tweak capabilities for the antivirus scanning and firewall, and even make changes at the registry level to gain greater control of their Windows PC.
Trend Micro is a name that is more often associated with business antivirus and security products, but the company does offer a host of personal antivirus applications, too. Trend Micro Maximum Security is one of the top-of-line offerings designed to keep your computer safe from viruses and all manner of internet threats.
Maximum security is very easy to navigate and offers the antivirus scanning you would expect, as well as many other features such as e-mail scanning. Password protection, ransomware protection, and parental controls. The most exciting features that Maximum Security offers, however, are the cloud protection scanning, which scans Microsoft and PDF documents in your cloud storage accounts and the social media privacy controls. Unfortunately, you won’t get a firewall with this security suite.
An annual subscription for Trend Micro Maximum Security is on the low-end of the price scale, coming in at around $50 for up to five devices and a very modest jump in price will get you protection for up to 10 devices. The security suite also works for Microsoft Windows 10, 8.1, and 7 (SP1 or higher), as well as for macOS 10.12 to 10.14 or higher, Android4.1 or later, and iOS 9 or later.
Avast Free Antivirus is a full-service antivirus that protects users from viruses, malware, trojans, and other types of attacks. It won the 2018 Product of the year award from AV-Comparatives and consistently tests high in the AVTest Best Antivirus Software for Windows Home Users category.
Aside from being very easy to navigate, one aspect of Avast Free Antivirus we really liked during testing is the ability to download, install, and use the application without having to provide any kind of personally-identifying information, including an email address. The security provided by the application is also top-of-the-line considering it’s a free product. Avast provides definition-based scanning as well as heuristic monitoring, ransomware detection, and a Gaming Mode for distraction-free gaming and streaming. Avast Free Antivirus also includes some premium-level features like a Wi-Fi scanner and a password vault.
Avast is available for Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7 (SP1 or higher) Vista, and XP (SP3 or higher); macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or later, and Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean, API 16) or higher.
F-Secure SAFE may not be an antivirus product that you’re familiar with, but don’t let that fool you. The application preforms consistently best-in-class on all categories of AV-Test. It’s easy to use, offers great protection from viruses, malware, and other internet threats, and it causes very little system drag, even during complete scans.
You won’t find a lot of bells and whistles with F-Secure SAFE; it does a good job with antivirus protection, protecting you while you’re surfing or shopping online, and provides ransomware protection and parental controls. There’s not much more to it than that. Where F-Secure wins, however, is in its ability to run nearly seamlessly on older Windows computers. And while it works beautifully on Windows 10 computers, it doesn’t devour system resources, so even users running older Windows 7 (SP1) computers won’t encounter lots of difficulties with conflicts and other system issues when F-Secure SAFE is installed.
F-Secure SAFE is also a very affordable antivirus application. For around $40 per month, users can install F-Secure SAFE on up to three devices, but there are also plans for five or seven devices if you need to add more computers. And additional platforms supported include macOS 10.12 (Sierra) or later, iOS 11 or later, and Android 5.0 or later. Unfortunately, ARM-based tablets are not supported.
Symantec’s Norton products are nearly synonymous with antivirus protection; the company has been around for a long while. So, it’s no surprise that when it comes to the complete, deeper protection that some internet users desire, Norton has an answer in the Norton 360 with LifeLock Select product. This product is everything you need to protect your computers and devices from viruses, malware, and internet threats, including identity theft.
Aside from the normal antivirus protection, you would expect from any Norton product, Norton 360 with LifeLock Select offers a secure VPN, credit monitoring, and 100GB cloud backup capabilities. 360 with LifeLock Select also provides Dark Web Monitoring, webcam security, social security number and credit alerts, and a host of additional features. For users who want to know that not only are they protected from viruses and malware, but also from other threats they could encounter, this is a full-service package that offers nearly everything you could ever need.
Of course, with this kind of protection comes a much higher price tag than some of the other products in this list. Users can pay monthly, for around $10 a month or a yearly subscription costs around $100 per month, and the subscription includes up to five devices, including Windows computers, Mac computers, smartphones, and tablets.
In the past, McAfee had a reputation for being a not-so-great option for antivirus protection on Windows computers. That’s because McAfee constantly conflicted with various aspects of the operating system. Those times are gone. Since 2016, McAfee has been steadily improving and now works great with Windows 10 and other Windows versions.
That’s great, because McAfee Total Protection offers an excellent suite of protection products that include antivirus, ransomware protection, a file shredder, a firewall, network monitoring, plus a password manager. Add in identity theft protection and parental controls, and you have a well-rounded antivirus application designed to keep you safe from any threat you may encounter online or through e-mail.
Subscriptions for McAfee Total Protection can be a little confusing because you’ll pay almost as much for a single license as you will a license that covers 10 devices. The higher subscription level is around $45 per month and the lower is around $35. There’s also a mid-tier subscription level, which covers five devices, but we think the extra cost of the 10-license package is with an extra $10 per month because the lower two tiers don’t include all the features that are available for McAfee Total Protection. And since McAfee also works on a variety of devices, including Microsoft Windows 10, 8.1, 8, and 7 (SP1), macOS X 10.12 or later, Android 4.1 or higher, and iOS 10 or later, 10 licenses will disappear very quickly.
AVG Internet Security is the first-tier antivirus application provided by AVG. A step above the AVG Antivirus free application, AVG Internet Security offers great protection against viruses, malware, Trojans, and other internet security threats.
In addition to the usual quick scan and full scan capabilities that you’ll find with most antivirus applications, AVG Internet Security also offers easy-to-use scans for USB and DVD drives, individual files and folders, and e-mail messages and file attachments. Of course, you’ll also find the usual ransomware protection and privacy protection capabilities, but AVG Internet Security also includes an Enhanced Firewall and webcam protection.
The one pitfall to using AVG Internet Security is the constant, persistent attempts to get you to upgrade to the higher AVG offering, AVG Ultimate.
At around $80 per year, AVG is a little on the expensive side, and you must declare the number of devices you intend to use the application on during the purchase process. However, AVG Internet Security is supported on Windows 10; Windows 8/8.1 (Except RT and Starter Edition), and there are also apps available for macOS and Android devices.
Our writers spent 9 hours researching the most popular antivirus software for Windows 10 on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different antiviruses overall, screened options from 30 different brands and manufacturers, read over 30 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 4 of the antiviruses apps themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.