The best antivirus software on the 2024 list. 

The best antivirus software on the 2024 list. The best antivirus software helps protect your Windows computer from viruses and other online threats. While Windows Defender can keep your PC safe, paid antivirus software offers more features.

Each antivirus program has its own way of detecting malware. The main difference between them is the extra features they offer. Antivirus companies usually provide a free version, a basic paid version, a more advanced version with extra features, and a premium version with all the features, similar to internet security suites. Some antivirus software is also available for Mac and Android devices.

Here are the best antivirus programs we’ve tested and reviewed, as well as the best free antivirus software.

Here are the top three best antivirus brands.

Why you can trust Fonrey: Our team spends a lot of time researching and testing products, services, and apps to help you find the best ones.

1.  Norton 

Norton antivirus products come with a lot of extra features. These include a password manager, unlimited VPN data, identity theft protection, parental controls, and online storage. If you’re willing to pay, you’ll get almost all the digital security you need.

platforms, unlimited VPN service, dark-web personal-data monitoring, parental controls, and up to 50 GB of online storage.

There are two other options, Norton 360 Premium and Norton 360 Platinum, which offer more online storage and cover more devices with antivirus and VPN protection (10 and 20 devices, respectively).

If you need identity protection, Norton offers three bundles with different levels of LifeLock service and even more online storage. While these bundles can be expensive, they’re cheaper than buying identity protection, a password manager, cloud backup, and antivirus software separately.

Norton doesn’t include a file shredder, file encryption, or a secure web browser with its products, unlike some other antivirus software. However, it does include pretty much every other digital protection service you might need in at least some of its bundles.

2. Bitdefender

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is our top choice for basic antivirus protection. It has very good malware detection scores, although its background system impact is a bit heavy.

It offers great value, including a secure browser with a virtual keyboard, a Wi-Fi network scanner, a file shredder, protection against encrypting ransomware, and Bitdefender’s web-privacy software. These are features that are often only found in more expensive antivirus packages.

Bitdefender Internet Security, a midrange option, adds parental controls, webcam protection, and a two-way firewall. Bitdefender Total Security includes all of these features, plus anti-theft protection for laptops, a system optimizer, and licenses for Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac and Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android.

Bitdefender Premium Security is similar to Total Security but includes unlimited VPN usage, a cross-platform password manager, and priority tech support.

The best value is the Bitdefender Family Pack, which allows you to use Total Security on up to 15 devices for $120 per year.

3. Kaspersky Total Security

Excellent protection with plenty of useful extra features

Kaspersky’s antivirus products for Windows are great at detecting malware and have a moderate impact on system performance, which are the two most important factors for us.

The basic program, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, offers ransomware protection, a virtual keyboard, and an online account portal. However, it doesn’t have as many features as Bitdefender Antivirus Plus.

Kaspersky Internet Security is our top choice for midrange packages. It includes a secure browser, anti-theft protection for laptops, webcam protection, and a VPN client for open Wi-Fi networks. It also works on macOS, Android, and iOS devices.

Kaspersky Total Security, the premium antivirus suite, adds backup software, parental controls, file encryption, a file shredder, and an unlimited password manager.

The best antivirus software for banking Image of Trend Micro Maximum Security 2021 box art.

Trend Micro provides strong protection, but its malware-detection engine can slow down your system during scans and may give some false alarms.

4. Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security is the basic program, offering essential tools and a secure web browser. The mid-range option, Trend Micro Internet Security, includes parental controls, a system optimizer, and a file shredder.

For more features, Trend Micro Maximum Security adds a password manager, secure browser, and file encryption. The new Trend Micro Premium Security includes a VPN and monitors personal data on the dark web.

However, none of Trend Micro’s programs include a two-way firewall or webcam protection, which are standard in other brands’ mid-range offerings. The premium product also lacks cloud storage or backup software, features found in some of the best antivirus brands’ flagship packages.

5. The best antivirus software for performance Best antivirus: ESET Smart Security Premium

ESET is a major antivirus brand in Europe. It has a very low impact on system performance and scans quickly. While its malware detection used to be average, recent tests show significant improvement.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus is the basic version, which is easy to use but lacks extra tools. ESET Internet Security adds webcam protection, parental controls, and a browser extension for safer browsing. It also includes ESET security for Mac, Android, and Linux devices.

ESET Smart Security Premium includes file encryption and a password manager. However, it doesn’t include a VPN, backup software, or a file shredder.

ESET’s pricing is per device, which is good for users with a few devices. But for users with many devices,

How to choose the best antivirus software for you

Before buying antivirus software, think about what you need. If you have young children, consider antivirus products with parental controls.

Do you want comprehensive security? Premium products include identity theft protection, password managers, backup software, and VPN service.

If you understand internet risks and just need basic protection, a low-priced program might be enough.

Once you know what you need, decide how many devices you need to protect.

Most vendors offer single-device licenses for Windows PCs. Midrange and premium packages cover multiple devices, including Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and sometimes Linux.

Antivirus software is now sold as yearly subscriptions, not one-time purchases. This means you’ll always have the latest software.

Antivirus pricing and features

Antivirus products come in basic, midrange, and premium versions, each with more features.

Basic antivirus software costs $40-60 per year and includes essential malware protection.

Midrange packages, labeled as “Internet Security,” start at $60-80 annually. They add features like parental controls and multi-device licenses.

Premium “security suites” start at $80-100 per year and include all extra security tools, like password managers and VPNs. Make sure you need all these extra tools before buying.

How we test antivirus software

We test antivirus software based on interface, performance, protection, and extra features.

Our tests are done on a Lenovo ThinkPad T470 laptop. We measure performance impact by how long it takes to complete tasks.

For malware detection, we use results from independent labs like AV-TEST, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs. They test the software with thousands of malware samples.

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