2023’s Best Antivirus Software

2023's Best Antivirus Software

The Best Antivirus Software of 2023

No matter the price of a computer, the best PCs are susceptible to viruses and malware. It’s essential to regularly check your computer’s health to save yourself from headaches in the future, whether they be from scammers or your computer just not working as it should. That’s why it’s important to invest in good antivirus software.

Windows devices make up three out of every four laptop or desktop operating systems, according to the latest data from Statcounter. Windows-targeted malware has a larger base of devices to infect, giving it more potential in the eyes of cybercriminals, so all our antivirus picks work on Windows.

Note: Pricing for antivirus services can be complicated, since providers frequently offer low introductory prices to entice you to sign up for their services. After the first billing period – typically a year or two, depending on the plan you purchase – the amount you pay for the service may increase substantially (sometimes double the introductory rate). Be sure to check the terms of the subscription plan before you buy, so you won’t get an unwelcome surprise when your subscription renews.

The Best Antivirus Software

Microsoft Defender – Best free antivirus for Windows

Microsoft Defender Free version? Yes, free antivirus built into Windows 10 and Windows 11.

Microsoft Defender is the best free antivirus software for Windows users. It comes built into Windows 10 and Windows 11, offering real-time protection against viruses, malware, and other online threats. With its advanced scanning and threat detection capabilities, Microsoft Defender ensures your computer stays safe without compromising on performance.

Norton 360 With LifeLock Select – Best antivirus subscription

Norton 360 With LifeLock Select Platforms: Windows 10 and 11 plus MacOS, Android, iOS.

For those looking for a reliable antivirus subscription, Norton 360 With LifeLock Select is the top choice. It provides comprehensive protection across multiple platforms, including Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS. With features like advanced threat detection, identity theft protection, and secure VPN, Norton 360 ensures your devices and personal information are safeguarded.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition – Best free antivirus

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition Platforms: Windows 10 and 11 plus MacOS, Android, iOS.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition offers robust protection against viruses and malware without the need for a paid subscription. It provides real-time scanning, phishing protection, and automatic updates to keep your computer safe. Whether you’re a casual user or an avid gamer, Bitdefender’s lightweight and efficient design make it an excellent choice for free antivirus software.

Malwarebytes – Best malware removal service

Malwarebytes Platforms: Windows 10 and 11 plus MacOS, Android.

When it comes to malware removal, Malwarebytes is the go-to solution. It specializes in detecting and eliminating malware, including adware and spyware, that can slow down your computer and compromise your privacy. With its powerful scan engines and intuitive interface, Malwarebytes ensures your system stays clean and secure.

Other Antivirus Software to Consider

In addition to our top picks, several other antivirus tools are worth considering:

  • McAfee Total Protection: A good choice for antivirus subscription, available on Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS.
  • Trend Micro Maximum Security: The best antivirus subscription for businesses, supporting Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS.
  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus: An easy setup antivirus subscription available on both Windows and MacOS.
  • Sophos Home: A free anti-malware antivirus for Windows and MacOS.

How We Test Antivirus Software

We understand the importance of finding the antivirus software that best fits your needs. Our recommendations are a combination of recommendations from independent third-party labs like AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, SE Labs, and our own anecdotal hands-on testing. We prioritize software that consistently performs well in terms of virus and malware detection and provides a user-friendly experience.

However, it’s important to note that antivirus software is only one piece of the cybersecurity puzzle. Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated, and it’s crucial to take additional steps to protect your online security. Consider using a secure virtual private network (VPN) for enhanced privacy and a password manager to create and manage stronger login credentials.

Why We Don’t Recommend Avast

Avast Antivirus for Windows has performed well for malware detection, and we have recommended it in the past. However, the company was involved in privacy concerns related to data collection. Avast allegedly collected user data through its browser plugins and antivirus software, selling it through its subsidiary Jumpshot. In response to these reports, Avast terminated Jumpshot data collection and closed its operations. While Avast has taken steps to address these concerns, we recommend considering alternative antivirus options from our list.

Why We Don’t Recommend Kaspersky

Kaspersky Lab, known for producing excellent antivirus software, faced a federal ban prohibiting US government agencies from using its products due to alleged ties to the Russian government. While the ban does not apply to its consumer products, it raises questions about the safety of using Kaspersky antivirus software. Despite earning top scores and awards for virus and malware detection, and being reasonably priced, we believe it’s safer to choose one of the alternative options listed above.

Antivirus Basics: What to Look For

When choosing the best antivirus software for Windows, several factors should be considered:

Effectiveness: Look for antivirus software that can successfully identify and protect against known viruses and malware, while minimizing false positives.

Light on System Resources: Avoid software that heavily taxes your computer’s resources, leading to sluggish performance. All our recommended antivirus programs offer free trials or money-back guarantees for testing purposes.

Cost and Discounts: Before purchasing, check for discounts on the company’s website. Additionally, consider packages for a lower number of covered devices to reduce costs.

Privacy: Antivirus software should maintain your privacy while monitoring your PC for potential threats. Review the privacy policies of the security companies to ensure your information is protected.

Protection for Other Platforms: While Windows is the primary target for viruses and malware, protection for other platforms like Android can provide additional security for your devices.

Antivirus FAQ

Can antivirus protect against phishing?
To a degree, yes. Some antivirus programs can warn or block you from visiting suspected phishing sites and automatically block suspicious emails. However, it’s important to remain vigilant and educated about phishing threats, as antivirus software cannot catch everything.

Will antivirus slow down my computer?
While antivirus software running in the background shouldn’t significantly affect performance, actively running a scan can slow down your computer. Consider scheduling scans during off-peak usage times to minimize any impact on performance.

Does my Mac need antivirus?
Despite the common misconception of Macs being immune to malware, they have become increasingly targeted by cybercriminals. While MacOS has a built-in antivirus solution, adding a third-party antivirus program can provide additional protection against malware designed for the MacOS operating system.

Choosing the right antivirus software is crucial for keeping your computer and personal information safe. Consider our recommendations and keep in mind the specific features and functionalities that align with your needs and preferences. With the right antivirus software in place, you can browse the internet with confidence, knowing your devices are protected.