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Best Antivirus Software for 2021

Buying Guide • last updated: July 30, 2021

Protect your PC with these top-ranking antivirus picks.

best antivirus 2021 shield

Don't leave your data to chance.

Choosing the right antivirus can be tricky. Our guide simplifies the best options.

Best Value Protection

kaspersky antivirus

Kaspersky

Kaspersky boasts some of the best malware detection in the industry.

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Best Overall Protection

norton 360 antivirus

Norton 360

Norton provides comprehensive protection both online and offiline.

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Best Phishing Protection

trend micro antivirus

Trend Micro

A reliable no-fuss antivirus program that has all the features you need, and more.

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Choosing the right antivirus?

There are many competing antivirus programs available. At times, it can get a bit daunting to decide which one you should get.

This article will help you find the best antivirus software for your needs. It includes a short summary of each program so that you can see what each one offers before downloading it to your computer.

Why should I use antivirus?

There are many reasons why you should consider using an antivirus program.

Some people use it to make sure they aren't accidentally downloading a virus onto their computer. Others use it to ensure they have a good firewall as well as virus protection built into their system.

Still others prefer to limit the amount of time that they spend on the internet so they download only a few files at a time and make sure that these files are always scanned for viruses before installation.

The best method to avoid infection is to prevent being infected in the first place.

With antivirus software, your chances of infection are lowered substantially. They can even alert you when you attempt to visit a malicious or unprotected website, so you will know to avoid giving your bank and personal details.

What should I be looking for?

Before you download any antivirus program, you should be looking out for the following:

  • Check whether the company has a good track record.
  • Read online reviews, particularly for positive and negative ones.
  • Make sure the software works with your computer and operating system, whether that's Windows, macOS, or Android and iOS.
  • Consider a program which blocks threats in real-time and in your browser.
  • Ask yourself if you need extra features such as parental controls and VPN.

You might also want to consider getting a networking router with antivirus built-in. Some mesh Wi-Fi systems have integrated protection, as do higher-end routers.

With that out of the way, let's run through some of the top-performing antivirus solutions.

kaspersky antivirus

Kaspersky

Kaspersky Total Security

  • Malware detection is close to 100% accurate, making it unlikely a virus will infect your computer.
  • Works on Windows, macOS, iOS and Android.
  • Defends your network against attacks.

Kaspersky's renowned, comprehensive antivirus is our top value pick to keep your PC safe without breaking the bank.

Their software consistently achieves top results in malware detection, making it very unlikely that a virus will slip through the cracks to infect your computer. According to some tests, Kaspersky's Total Security product line is 100% successful in defending against malware threats.

It also contains a useful feature called Restore Assistant, which can help restore Windows after it's infected with malware.

Furthermore, if you often shop online or use Internet banking services regularly, Kaspersky's Safe Money solution offers a safe environment to protect your financial details. It can detect whether you're about to pay or use online banking services. It opens a stable, malware-impenetrable 'sandboxed' browser window and uses Kaspersky's Virtual Keyboard to bypass keyloggers. 

Overall Kaspersky offers a powerful, well-designed antivirus suite that performs flawlessly in malware detection.

Shop Kaspersky from under $15 today. 

norton 360 antivirus

Norton

Norton 360 Premium

  • Includes a range of extra features such as VPN, password manager, and 10GB of cloud storage.
  • Device and online security helps to provide fully featured security whether you're offline or browsing the web.
  • Machine Learning antivirus engine.

Norton Antivirus uses a single, powerful scan engine to manage all the latest and most advanced threats.

Even with Norton 360 Standard (the cheapest plan), users get real-time malware protection, unrestricted VPN access, password manager, and 10 GB protected cloud storage.  This is an extraordinary benefit for this level antivirus product.

Higher plans also have some significant advantages: more licenses, more storage space, and access to state-of-the-art parental control software.

Norton provides 100% guaranteed malware protection and a myriad of great features - limitless VPN, password manager, secure storage, and more. All Norton plans also include a 60-day money-back guarantee so you can try it risk-free.

Shop Norton on our store today.

trend micro

Trend Micro

Trend Micro Maximum Security

Japanese cybersecurity company Trend Micro offers a wide range of antivirus subscriptions, including:

  • Internet Security. Protects up to 3 devices (PC only) with malware, internet privacy and parental controls protection.
  • Maximum Security. Protects up to 10 devices (all operating systems), plus a password manager, online banking protection and system cleaning tools.
  • Maximum Security (Premium Service). Protects up to 5 devices, plus 24/7 premium support and specialized virus removal service.

All of Trend Micro's features work fine (although Norton's parental controls are much better). However, protection against phishing is where the brand stands out. Phishing scams are becoming more common and can be very difficult for antiviruses to detect. Cybercriminals can duplicate websites (a tactic known as "domain spoofing") designed to trick you into giving away your personal details and passwords. Web browsers like Chrome and Firefox come with some form of phishing protection built in. However, this basic protection is not enough.

Trend Micro's anti-phishing feature scores exceptionally well in phishing protection tests, detecting more scam websites than its competitors.

Some of the customer support options offered with the Maximum Security Premium Service subscription are impressive.

Shop Trend Micro on our store today.

eset internet security

ESET

ESET Smart Security Premium

ESET Security provides one of the most reputable and popular options for protecting your PC. It includes a powerful anti-malware scanner and works on almost every platform, from Windows, Mac, Android and Linux.

Unlike some other antivirus programs, ESET is designed to be relatively lightweight and non-intensive on system resources. This lets your PC remain fast without the dreaded 'bloat' of conventional antivirus software (similar to Kasperky in that aspect).

ESET also includes many advanced features in its premium variant, such as:

  • Bank transaction protection
  • Private photo encryption
  • Password management
  • Home network protection

However, the base model is quite basic and limited to virus protection only. The Mac, Linux and Android versions also do not provide as much functionality as the Windows variant.

Shop ESET on our store today.

bitdefender total security

Bitdefender

Bitdefender Total Security

Bitdefender has grown into one of the largest players in the cybersecurity software industry, with more than half a billion users worldwide.

In addition to being a powerful and highly effective antivirus solution, with perfect detection rates, Bitdefender offers one of the most comprehensive security suites on the market.

Here are some of Bitdefender Total Security's many features:

  • On-demand, real-time protection against malware.
  • Web protection, including protection against phishing, fraud and spam.
  • Anti-theft tools.
  • Optimisation tools.
  • VPN.
  • Parental control.
  • Password manager.

The only downside is that the software is relatively complex, and installation and configuration are particularly time consuming. But if you have the time to configure it properly, you will benefit from a particularly powerful antivirus.

avira prime antivirus pro

Avira

Avira Prime Antivirus

Avira has one of the world's best antivirus engines, producing consistently flawless test scores. Avira incorporates this powerful antivirus engine in a number of Internet security packages. We selected Avira's Premium Antivirus Bundle for this comparison, Avira Prime, which includes the premium version of each Avira product, including the following features:

  • Real-time malware protection
  • Password manager
  • VPN (unlimited data)
  • Advanced ransomware protection
  • System optimisation
  • Premium Android / iOS apps

Avira's System Speedup is a very useful maintenance tool to help your computer run smoothly and free up hard drive space. 

Avira's software is also very light. Even with Avira 's comprehensive background scanning, you can use computers with little to no slowdown. Therefore, Avira Prime is an excellent investment if your machine runs slowly or is frequently out of hard drive space.

mcafee antivirus plus

McAfee

McAfee Antivirus

McAfee is a name you might already be familiar with. Over the years, they've improved their antivirus software substantially, becoming one of the best suites available on the market today.

Their threat detection model can detect and block most malware and zero-day attacks. Furthermore, McAfee includes many useful features alongside its antivirus, including:

  • Safe Web Browsing
  • Performance Optimisation
  • Password Manager
  • Permanent File Deletion

In particular, the safe web browsing filter is effective in blocking potentially dangerous downloads, mitigating the chances of getting a malware infection from the internet.

That being said, McAfee's scanning speed is slightly slower than the industry average and is outdone by providers such as Trend Micro, which complete malware scans much faster than McAfee's antivirus.

totalav antivirus icon

TotalAV

TotalAV Antivirus Pro

TotalAV's antivirus engine runs on software from Avira. Although TotalAV is a newer brand, it uses some of the market's most trusted cyber-security technologies.

TotalAV also has an easy-to-use interface. With a few clicks from your home screen, you can access all of TotalAV's functionality, making it very easy to use. If you're unfamiliar with antivirus software, you'll probably enjoy its simplicity.

TotalAV also provides several additional security features:

  • Password manager.
  • VPN.
  • Spyware and phishing protection.
  • Performance optimisation.

Most of its features are fantastic (except for phishing, which we believe requires some improvement). TotalAV's Performance Optimizer will clean up even more room than Avira 's System Optimizer. Avira has more options and is much more mature. But if you're not looking for anything 'advanced', TotalAV is a good option.

Finally, all TotalAV includes a generous 30-day money-back guarantee for peace of mind.

Contents

  1. Choosing the right antivirus
    1. Why should I use antivirus?
    2. What should I be looking for?
  2. Kaspersky
  3. Norton
  4. Trend Micro
  5. ESET
  6. Bitdefender
  7. Avira
  8. McAfee
  9. TotalAV

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