Antivirus software has become an integral part of staying safe online, whether you’re at home or out and about on your phone or laptop. There are many antivirus programs out there, so how do you know which one to choose? This list of the best antivirus programs will help you compare the different software options available so that you can find the right one for your device and needs. We’ve even included some great free options so that there’s no need to break the bank to stay safe.
10 Best Antivirus Software to Protect Your PC
What is antivirus?
An antivirus program protects your computer from malicious software that can harm, like viruses and other forms of malware. If you own a desktop or laptop, an antivirus program is essential. There are hundreds of choices, so it can be hard to know which one you should install on your device. We’ve taken the time to narrow down these choices and have rounded up our picks for the best antivirus software for Windows PCs and Macs below.
Why antivirus for your pc
The field of anti-malware technology has changed radically over a decade, and an antivirus program is one of your best defenses. The market is crowded with excellent products, but we’ve found these 10 offer above-average protection for a reasonable price. The best antivirus programs don’t just find or remove threats on your PC—they also help protect you in real-time from new attacks through internet worms and drive-by downloads, which automatically launch when you visit certain infected sites.
Kaspersky is a trusted name in antivirus software. It keeps malware, viruses, and cybercriminals from infecting your device. The program is also easy to use and compatible with most operating systems. Kaspersky is a good choice for novice users who want something that’s user-friendly but still protects their devices well.
While it doesn’t have quite as many features as some of its competitors, it does everything users expect of an antivirus program for a fair price. This program comes in both free and paid versions; if you go with Kaspersky Free, you can run scans at no cost but won’t get any technical support or extra features.
If you pay for a subscription (around $50 per year), you get access to premium customer service, extra security tools like secure banking protection, and more frequent updates.
Bitdefender provides antivirus, antispyware, and firewall protection for Windows users. Unlike some other free options, Bitdefender can even protect you against hackers when you’re connected to public Wi-Fi.
The setup is seamless and requires no interaction from you—just install it once and forget about it. Like many of its competitors, Bitdefender has a standalone program but also offers browser-based protection as well. The best part? Bitdefender won’t slow down your computer like some of its rivals might.
If you’re not a fan of subscriptions, take a look at Norton AntiVirus, which offers an optional $30 one-year upgrade. Another effective solution is Malwarebytes Antimalware and HitmanPro.Alert (which scans for both viruses and malware).
The Kaspersky Internet Security is another great solution, but you should keep in mind that it’s only available as a subscription. In addition to antivirus protection, McAfee also offers firewalls and VPNs. Bitdefender has more than just antivirus software—it also protects against ransomware, hackers, spam emails, infected websites, and more.
Lastly, ESET Cybersecurity is a comprehensive security suite with multiple layers of defense against malware attacks.
Avast is a free antivirus solution that consistently ranks at or near the top of best antivirus lists. The program works in your browser and on your smartphone, and it has some great features for Windows, Mac, Android, and iPhone users.
Avast also blocks annoying ads on websites you visit (such as video ads) and protects you from phishing attacks by verifying secure connections. It’s easy to use and very powerful. You can try Avast for free with a 14-day trial.
5. Trend Micro
The Trend Micro internet security suite is packed with some of your favorite antivirus features, including content filtering and web-browsing protection.
It’s easy to set up and install on a single computer or across an entire office—and it won’t cost you a bundle. Its downside? The user interface is about as basic as it gets. For tech-savvy users, though, that may be just what you need in an antivirus suite. Trend Micro offers separate versions for home use and business use.
The key feature of both is anti-malware software that protects against viruses, spyware, phishing attacks, and other threats to your data.
McAfee is not just an antivirus. It also protects against spyware, spam, and identity theft. This suite is easy to install and use with a variety of security features like firewall protection, anti-spam capabilities, parental controls, password management tools, and web browsing protection.
You can easily upgrade from one product to another at no extra cost. McAfee makes it easy for you to keep your entire computer protected without costing you too much money or being difficult for you to use.
7. AVG Internet Security
This software program has a free edition that provides basic protection and automatic updates for a single user. It can detect, block and remove viruses as well as spyware, adware, and other Internet threats. In addition, it blocks hackers from gaining access to your computer.
The paid version of AVG Internet Security offers additional features like VPN connectivity, identity theft protection, and public Wi-Fi security. There is also an unlimited subscription option for businesses.
8.ZoneAlarm Free Firewall
There are lots of free firewall programs out there, but we recommend ZoneAlarm Free Firewall for its comprehensive package of features and relatively easy installation. If you’re looking for antivirus protection in addition to a firewall, be sure to check out Bitdefender Total Security 2015, another freeware favorite.
If you’re shopping around for a commercial solution, look no further than Kaspersky Internet Security. It offers powerful security features at an affordable price point. (Note: This is not a sponsored recommendation.)
9. Panda Free Antivirus 2018
This free antivirus program comes with good malware detection, but it doesn’t protect you against phishing scams and can be hard to manage. Panda Free Antivirus also suffered from a large number of errors and crashes. When we tried to install it on our lab PCs, it failed on three separate machines. That led us to uninstall it within 24 hours of testing. We wouldn’t recommend using Panda Free Antivirus as your primary protection software. It might work for some users, but others may find that it causes more problems than it solves.
10. Avira Free Security Suite
Avira Free Security Suite is a free, cross-platform security suite for Windows, Mac, and Android systems. The antivirus software provides malware protection, blocks adware and spyware, and also includes a firewall, spam filter, and tracker removal.
Additional features include browser add-ons that block trackers by default and an optional password manager. However, Avira Free Security Suite is no longer compatible with Windows XP or Vista. While it’s not as full-featured as some of its competitors, it’s a good option for those who don’t want to pay for security software.
So there you have it, 10 of the best antivirus programs available right now. We tried to include a range of options, whether you’re looking for free or paid software, software with strong user reviews, or something a little less well-known.
Hopefully, you can use our list to protect your computer from viruses and hacks and ultimately keep your personal information safe. And if we forgot any that are worth mentioning—or you think we should add more on—leave us a comment below.