It is good to have one of the best antivirus programs running on every Windows PC, it doesn’t matter if the program seems to be the best free antivirus programs.
The Windows Defender antivirus software which is built into the Windows 10 is quite good, although this program is much better than the other free rivals, this software can’t be compared to the better features provided by other best paid antivirus protection.
A lot of features is provided by the paid anti-virus and this tend to be more than the basic and simple malware protection.
Some software can provide dedicated defenses against webcam hijacking and ransomware, it has extra functions like system optimization as well as file shredding, as well as other features which competes with other stand-alone services like password managers, identity theft protection as well as cloud-backup solutions.
The Antivirus makers usually provide multiple paid Windows products that have identical malware protection using different numbers of extra features which is added as the retail price increases.
For instance, you could get the basic Kaspersky Anti-Virus, the midrange Kaspersky Internet Security and the top-line Kaspersky Total Security. It has different features which are targeted at different customers, and we provide better explanation as regard antivirus protection pricing and their different features at the end of this guide.
What is the best antivirus software?
Among our top antivirus software is the Kaspersky Total Security, this provides excellent protection against malware, a full complement of extra features as well as an easy-to-use interface. Following it is the Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, which is an entry-level paid program which could be seen as the best bargain for an antivirus software, and the Norton 360 Deluxe, which provides excellent protection with unlimited VPN service and also a ton of extra features, which includes an option to add Life Lock identity protection.
Any one of the three would serve well, although the best choice is dependent on what suits you better. To get more information, check out our section below on how to choose the best antivirus software. Or you can get our stand-alone antivirus buying guide. The Kaspersky Security Cloud Free could be our best Free antivirus protection, it sailed past Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition to get the top spot.
Both of these software offers very good protection against malware and doesn’t slow down your system, Kaspersky helps you to better schedule scans, provides a quick-scan option, adds a ton of very useful extra features and had the smallest impact on system performance that we’ve actually come across.
Following our free rankings is our paid rankings shown below.
The best antivirus software you can buy today
1. Kaspersky Total Security
Using the Kaspersky Windows products was able to score excellently in the malware detection and also a moderate system-performance impact, and these two are the major criteria that decides our rankings. The Kaspersky Anti-Virus for the entry-level program has some dedicated ransomware protection, also comes with a virtual keyboard as well as a good online account portal. The Bitdefender has more features and is better than the Kaspersky at this level. Our best choice among the mid-range packages still remains the Kaspersky Internet Security. It also comes with a good parental controls, the browser is well secured, has great webcam protection, laptop anti-theft protection, it equally has a limited- use VPN client which sets in when you connect to an open Wi-Fi network. It equally comes with a software for your macOS, Android and iOS.
The premium antivirus suite, Kaspersky Total Security, also includes a backup software, a file shredder, file encryption and comes with an unlimited password manager. It remains the best software you can purchase.
2. Norton 360 Deluxe
All the eight of the Norton’s antivirus products, provides you with a wonderful protection against malware and it also tend to make lighter the once-heavy system-performance. The amount of extra features that come with each of the program greatly varies with price, although the Norton 360 Deluxe remains the best in the lineup.
It comes with an effective password manager, has unlimited VPN service, dark-web personal-data monitoring, has parental controls and about 50GB of online storage space. There are just two retail-only offerings, Norton 360 Premium and the Norton 360 Platinum, which gives you more online storage and help you expand the antivirus and the VPN coverage to about 10 and 20 devices, respectively.
The Norton also offers you full-on identity protection with its three bundles that come with varying degrees of LifeLock service and even more online storage space. Although They have an expensive annual subscription price, it is still cheaper than when you decide to get the password manager, identity protection, cloud-backup storage and then the Antivirus software all separately. Norton doesn’t provide a file shredder, file encryption or secure web browser along with its products as other best antivirus software makers. Despite this, it still comes with a digital-protection service that you would love attached to some of its bundles.
3. McAfee Internet Security
There has been major improvement in the McAfee’s malware detection in the past few years, yet it still isn’t the top-of-the-line. Despite this, the entry-level McAfee Antivirus Plus’s bargain of about $60 per year could get software for about 10 devices, whether they are run on Windows, OS X, iOS or Android, and the software then comes together with a file shredder as well as a two-way firewall. (A single-device license costs may cost about $40.) McAfee Internet Security comes with an excellent password manager, but before you get parental control then you’ll need to spring for the 10-device license of the McAfee Total Protection or you can choose the McAfee LiveSafe, which is usually pre-installed on many new PCs.
Along with the two security suites of the multi- device licenses is the identity-protection service, although none of the McAfee products comes with a secure browser or webcam protection which is usually gotten with the best antivirus programs.
At the top of this list is the McAfee Total Protection +VPN, which provides unlimited VPN service. The Gamer security provided by the McAfee may be an attraction for Hardcore gamers, for just as little as $60 for a year, provides you with a low-overhead protection for a single rig.
The best free antivirus software
Different sort of things can be done with the best paid antivirus suites, such as: protection of personal details from identity thieves, prevent your children from watching or seeing wrong things in the internet, help to optimize the system performance, helps you to manage your password as well as your mobile devices, helps you to back up your files to cloud as well as easily monitor the firewall of your computer.
Yet these wonderful features cannot be afforded and most PC users cannot pay for this many features. All they want is that their computers be protected from malware as well as threats yet without any need of paying to get it.
Getting the Free antivirus seem to be a trade-off, this is because so many ads that you’ll have to tolerate or your personal data will be easily collected to get malware defenses which doesn’t meet up the best paid programs.
This has changed considerable in the last few years. Kaspersky and Bitdefender, two of the best paid antivirus makers, now provide free programs. Also, two of the free-antivirus makers, Avast and AVG, joined together to produce a now-combined malware a detection engine which provides better services than any of its predecessors. Also the Windows Defender Antivirus has had great improvement recently.
The advantage is that you can now easily get free malware protection which is almost equivalent to what you can buy with money. Below is a list of the best free antivirus programs which are based on their system impact, malware protection, ease of use as well as other useful extra features.
What are the best free antivirus programs?
Without possible doubt, the Kaspersky Security Cloud Free Antivirus remains the best free antivirus program that we’ve come across.
This device comes with an excellent malware protection, a good number of extra functions as well as features, and also a system-performance impact which is so small that it slightly increased the speed of our computer. You can easily schedule scans as it also comes with a quick-scan option.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, which was once our favorite still remains the best free antivirus in terms of functionality. This virus can take care of itself without any need for user intervention. If you intend to put the antivirus in a child’s or your grandparent system, then this provides the perfect solution.
The Windows Defender also referred to as the Windows Defender Antivirus, is built into Windows 8.1 and 10. This program has grown over the years to become among the best of available antivirus.
The Defender still has limited features than when compared to the paid antivirus programs or even the few free ones. Though it has a malware detection rate which beats the paid brands.
In case you need features such as an unlimited password manager or a hardened web browser, then Avast Free Antivirus might be a great choice. Although, the malware protection can’t be compared to the last three and it has a heavier performance impact.
The closely related AVG comes with similar malware detection engine but doesn’t have Avast’s so many useful features. The AVG really just have a file shredder and also a system optimizer. The Malwarebytes Free, although not an antivirus program, is worthy of mention.
Basically, the Antivirus programs help to prevent the machine from getting infected by a Malware, the Malwarebytes on the other hand helps to cleanup, takes away adware or potentially unwanted programs. It works perfectly well with any antivirus program.
The best free antivirus software you can get today
1. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free
Not a lot of announcement is made by the Kaspersky about its free antivirus product, and you might find it hard getting the download page for the free Kaspersky software on the company’s website. This isn’t good due to the fact that Kaspersky Security Cloud Free is seen as the best free antivirus product that we’ve tested. Never have it been seen that such kind of combination of both excellent protection as well as extra features will be found in a free antivirus program.
It has an excellent and easy to understand interface, it still needs a lot of customization potential as well as Kaspersky’s unbeatable Malware protection. Using this program enables you to set schedule for scans, it had little performance impact which increased the speed of our test machine.
Kaspersky has extra features which include a file shredder, an email scanner as well as an on-screen keyboard. The password manager and the VPN service are just so limited, but this can be gotten only after you’ve made payment.
2. Avast Free Antivirus
The Avast Free Antivirus comes with different features such as the unlimited password manager, a gaming mode, a hardened browser, a gaming mode as well as Wi-Fi network scanner.
The program can also be easily customized and its appearance can be changed to meet your style. This also offers limited access to Avast’s VPN service.
Although, the Avast Free Antivirus led to a heavy system overload during our testing and a lot of time was spent while scanning. This also made us consider upgrading to Avast’s paid antivirus protection which led to bait-and-switch with the features that appeared as though free but in essence were not.
More important is the fact that the malware protection in the Avast Free Antivirus which is a peg down from Kaspersky’s or Bitdefender’s, that provide wonderful free programs and had very light system uploads.
Still yet, the Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition has an excellent Bitdefender malware-detection engine which is a bit lower than the Kaspersky and the Norton as regard the lab-test rankings.
This is the best free antivirus software if you want a security which you can set up and forget about. It’s still perfect if you intend to protect the PC of an elderly relative without the stress of doing so from afar.
3. AVG Antivirus Free
The AVG provides a simple malware detection engine similar to Avast and yet still maintaining a much lighter system-performance impact.
The AVG Antivirus Free also comes with lesser useful extra features than the Avast Free Antivirus. The Avast antivirus is a security suite with a lot of whistles and bells, the AVG Antivirus on the other hand is quite useful although most times neglected.
The AVG still has good customization options as well as functional file shredder and also a system optimizer all available, coupled with an open and easy to use interface. The major issue is that it is similar to the Avast Free Antivirus, the AVG Antivirus Free constantly keeps asking you to upgrade to the paid antivirus software. Also, since it doesn’t have a lot of extra features and a middling malware detection, you won’t have a reason to select the AVG Antivirus Free over the built-in and the overall better Microsoft Defender.
Before purchasing an antivirus protection, it’s right you figure out what you intend to use it for. If you’ve got kids then you’ll need to check out the mid-range antivirus products, most of which includes parental control. If you’re in need of a robust security solution, then many of the top priced premium products offer features like identity-theft protection, password managers, backup software and VPN service. Then if you’re concerned about the risks of an attack while making use of the internet, then just a low-priced basic program might be all that is needed.
You’ll also to need to determine how many machines that will need protection. Vendors might offer single-device licenses for Windows PCs. You can get protection for multi-device, multi-platform licenses with five, ten or more desktops, laptops or mobile devices, whether they run on Windows, MacOS, Android, iOS or in some cases even Linux, are available in mid-range as well as in premium antivirus packages. Some of the vendors provide plans that accommodate an unlimited number of devices.
Nowadays, you can no longer pay for a one-time fee for an antivirus product which came in a box off from the shelf. The vendors now sell subscriptions for software based on yearly or in multiyear subscriptions. This means you can easily get the latest software downloaded and installed directly from the internet.
Antivirus pricing and features
A lot of the Antivirus available online are sold at prices lesser than their list prices. Although, each brand will offer a basic, midrange and premium configurations of features as well as pricing, and every set up will have an increased feature.
Just like cars at dealership, you can easily get a base-model car which will get you from place to place conveniently. Adding extra money, then you can get a satellite radio, but you won’t get a heated side-view mirrors, in-car Wi-Fi hotspot or alloy Wheels. You can also choose to pay more to get a car with all the needed features.
The Antivirus makers also expect that you go for extra options as well, not minding if you need them or not. One thing you should definitely go for is a bigger engine, this means all the Windows antivirus products which is found in a given brand’s lineup altogether, and this uses similar malware-detection engine to provide the same level of necessary protection. The Basic paid Antivirus software is called “Antivirus” or similar, and it has a yearly subscription of about $40-$60. The software comes with an essential malware protection and probably a password manager or a two-way firewall.
The Midrange Antivirus Software packages are usually nameplated as “Internet Security” and comes at a price of $60-$80 annually. They just usually add very good parental controls and some other features such as webcam protection. They also come with multi-device licenses as well as Anti-Virus software for both the Mac and Android devices.
At the top of the list comes the premium “security suites”, which has all the extra security tools which an antivirus brand can offer, like password managers, VPN client software, backup software, online storage as well as identity-protection services. It comes at mild price range of $80-$100 per year, just ensure the extra tools being paid for are actually needed. It has very good password managers, although the online storage may not be really great and the VPN services often don’t provide unlimited data.