The 8 Best Windows Antivirus Software of 2019

Make sure your PC is always protected

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: Malwarebytes Premium, "Hosts a real-time heatmap of global virus detections where it finds something that another installed antivirus tool didn't."
  • Best Budget: Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security, "A great budget option that undercuts the most economical competition by as much as 25 percent."
  • Best Free: Avast Free Antivirus, "Includes a number of great protective features, including anti-ransomware."
  • Best for Many Devices: AVG Ultimate, "Provides a great feature set and can be installed on an unlimited number of devices within your family."
  • Best Identity Protection: Norton 360 with Lifelock, "A household name in the PC security industry and its latest suite of products are its most impressive yet."
  • Best Per-Device Value: McAfee Total Protection, "One of the best Windows antivirus applications around, offering comprehensive protective measures."
  • Best for No-Hassle: Windows Defender, "Windows Defender is for many, the front-line defense against viruses and it does an excellent job at it."
  • Best for Upgrades: BitDefender Total Security 2020, "Offers a broad selection of computer security systems, including solid threat detection for Windows 10 and more."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Malwarebytes Premium

Malwarebytes

 Courtesy of Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes has traditionally been a remediation tool rather than a comprehensive antivirus solution, but that's all changed. Today, Malwarebytes' Premium anti-malware solution is the best Windows antivirus you can use. It is so confident in its ability to beat the competition in virus detection and PC security, that it hosts a real-time heatmap of global virus detections where it finds something that another installed antivirus tool didn't.

Its comprehensive internet security software combines traditional signature detection with modern machine-learning algorithms to detect and quarantine emerging threats. It also utilizes strong anti-ransomware protection to block rogue encryption efforts in their tracks and even reverse them where possible.

The software is easy to use and understand and it's one of the more affordable options if you are only using a handful of devices. It also works on the widest range of Windows versions we've come across, protecting Windows XP users, as well as those using Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 (and 8.1), and Windows 10.

It also offers great usability features, like a Game Mode for no interruption play, and a free browser extension for better online computer protection.

Best Budget: Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security

Trend Micro Antivirus

Courtesy of Trend Micro 

While it might not be the best Windows antivirus for everyone, Trend Micro's Antivirus+ Security software is a great budget option that undercuts the most economical competition by as much as 25 percent. You can make even greater savings if you take out a two-year (rather than a one-year) subscription, too, and there's a 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren't sold on it.

You'll only be able to protect one device with this subscription but with it your get protection from more than 250 million daily threats, as well as built-in e-mail protection, and anti-ransomware computer protection. 

Compatible with Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and Windows 10, Trend Micro's Internet security software represents a great value-for-money option for those who want solid antivirus coverage, but don't want to pay through the nose for it. 

If you want to enhance your PC security subscription later on too, there are options for service plan support that give you access to 24/7 emergency assistance and regular security health checks.

Best Free: Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free Antivirus

 Courtesy of Avast

Winner of the AV Comparatives Product of the Year award in 2018, Avast's free antivirus software is an impressive application considering it doesn't cost you anything. Installed on more than 400 million computers worldwide, Avast's free antivirus includes a number of great protective features, including anti-ransomware and its Webcam Shield, which protects your camera from spying.

Compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10, Avast Antivirus is also available for your mobile device if you want to protect your PC and your smart device with the same software package. Both can enjoy Avast's cloud-based antivirus protections, which ensure that your system is protected even if a virus attempts to break your PC security or hide in a legitimate file.

Its interface is easy to get to grips with, and tweaking its settings to your liking is a breeze, even if you aren't hugely knowledgeable about PC security. Within minutes of installing you'll have one of the best antivirus for Windows solutions, and you didn't have to spend a thing.

Best for Many Devices: AVG Ultimate

AVG

 Courtesy of AVG

AVG is a beloved antivirus solution and it's protected many millions of users from many millions of threats for years. Its suite of software are all excellent antivirus solutions, but our favorite is AVG Ultimate, because it provides a great feature set and can be installed on an unlimited number of devices within your family, giving everyone you care about most top-notch protection.

It is more expensive than others, but for that, you get a whole host of protective measures, including antivirus coverage, ransomware protection, webcam hacking protection, and password protection. Additional features bundled in this package include AVG's top-notch VPN service and its driver updater, which makes sure that your system is always running the latest software.

That's a PC security solution that goes well beyond what most will offer and it does so across any number of devices. Compatible with Android smart devices and Windows PCs running Windows 7, 8, and 10, AVG Ultimate gives you complete peace of mind that no matter how many devices you have, they'll all be protected with some of the latest and more versatile internet security software out there.

Best Identity Protection: Norton 360 with Lifelock

Norton

 Courtesy of Norton

Symantec's Norton antivirus is a household name in the PC security industry and its latest suite of products are the most impressive yet. Norton 360 with LifeLock goes beyond protecting individual devices and actively protects you, the user, with safeguards in place to prevent a hacker from stealing your online and/or real-world identity.

It combines the same real-time threat protection as many of the best Windows antivirus solutions with a password manager, secure VPN connection, 100GB cloud backup for saving your most precious files and media, and an in-depth identity protection package.

LifeLock Identity Alert warns you if any of your most important personal information, like your name or Social Security Number, appear in any applications for credit or services; Credit Monitoring keeps an eye on your credit score to make sure it's not compromised, and SafeCam stops hackers trying to access your webcam when you aren't aware.

If that isn't enough, Symantec also offers its Million Dollar Protection Package, which guarantees up to $1 million coverage for legal fees and experts in the case that your identity is compromised while using its software. 

Compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10, Norton 360 with LifeLock is full protection for your PC and your life.

Best Per-Device Value: McAfee Total Protection

McAfee

 Courtesy of McAfee

McAfee Total Protection is one of the best Windows antivirus applications around, offering a comprehensive suite of protective measures that ensure you stay safe online. Better yet, its reasonable pricing includes support for up to 10 devices on one subscription, so you can guarantee that almost everyone you care about will be fully protected with just one purchase.

McAfee Total Protection includes its award-winning anti-malware software that protects against existing and new threats as they appear. It also has full support for safe web browsing, so you can avoid any attacks that come from rogue or infected websites.

It includes a built-in password manager to ensure all your login details remain secured against hackers and snoopers, and software encryption for your PC. That way any important documents and files you keep on your system are completely unreadable by anyone but you.

If you run into problems, there's free, 24/7 support over the phone, chat, or online for the entire life of your subscription.

McAfee Total Protection is compatible with Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Best for No-Hassle: Windows Defender

Windows Defender

 Courtesy of Microsoft

Windows Defender is Microsoft's answer to those who don't know they need antivirus software or don't want an additional application on their Windows PC slowing them down. Built into Windows 8 and 10 and available to download and install for Windows Vista and 7, Windows Defender is for many, the front-line defense against viruses and it does an excellent job at it.

Some security experts have argued that as long as you practice safe web browsing with computer protection in mind, make sure that all of your applications and drivers are up to date, and have Windows Defender enabled and installed, you don't need anything else. While for many, it's probably worth having Windows Defender installed with another antivirus solution, but you can rest assured that Windows Defender will keep you mostly safe if you stick to the less-shady parts of the Internet.

Just make sure that it's fully updated and running. For more tips on how to get the best out of Windows Defender, check out our in-depth look at Microsoft's real-time internet security software.

Best for Upgrades: BitDefender Total Security 2020

BitDefender

 Courtesy of BitDefender

BitDefender's suite of anti-malware software regularly ranks among the best Windows antivirus rankings and with good reason. They perform well, with strong detection and mitigation techniques and do so without requiring much in the way of system resources, so your PC continues to run well while being healthy.

Our favorite of the lot, though, is BitDefender Total Security 2020. It offers a broad selection of computer security systems, including solid threat detection for Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, as well as robust and multi-layered defense against ransomware attacks. It even manages to do so without draining systems resources, which helps keep your PC snappy and responsive while it's protected.

We love the upgrade options available with BitDefender Total Security, too. If you're feeling under-confident about installing and configuring it, you can take out the Install and Setup package, which has an expert set up your PC security system for you. There is also the option of BitDefender's Premium VPN bundle, which offers a different (but equally important) bit of internet security software to your PC.

Our Process

Our writers spent 4 hours researching the best Windows antivirus software on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 20 different antivirus software overall, screened options from 12 manufacturers, read 6 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 4 of the antivirus software themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.