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The 5 Best Antivirus for Android Tablets (2023 Update)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: August 2023

Do you need antivirus software for Android tablets? Yes, you do. Just as you lock your doors at night, online safety is crucial in our digital era.

  • The first reason to invest in antivirus software is to safeguard against malicious apps. Android’s open nature can be exploited, making it an easy target for viruses.
  • Second, a good antivirus helps secure your personal data. Cybercriminals work around the clock to access your sensitive information. Without protection, your photos, banking details, and private conversations are at risk.
  • Finally, investing in antivirus software promotes safe browsing. You can surf the internet with peace of mind, knowing that harmful websites will be blocked.

By purchasing the best antivirus software for Android tablets, you fortify your device’s defenses. This helps you stay one step ahead of potential threats, ensuring your data remains safe and secure.

Norton is the best antivirus for Android tablets of 2023

Norton Antivirus

Ranked #1 of 28 antivirus

  • Malware Protection 100% 100%
  • Speed Impact 100% 100%

Norton has the best device, privacy, and identity protection for Android tablets.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Norton removed all malware in the last 10 protection tests. It will keep your devices safe and secure.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Norton had no negative speed impact in the last 10 performance tests. It will keep your devices quick and capable.
  • Features: 100%. Norton offers anti-phishing, app security, an unlimited VPN, ad tracker blocking, dark web monitoring, and more.

Try it risk-free, thanks to its 60-day return policy.

Kaspersky - the second best antivirus app for android tablets of 2023

Kaspersky Antivirus

Ranked #5 of 28 antivirus

  • Malware Protection 100% 100%
  • Speed Impact 100% 100%

Kaspersky offers excellent protection on Android, but lacks Norton’s unlimited VPN.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Kaspersky scored near-perfect results in the last 10 protection tests. It is excellent at removing malware.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Kaspersky had no negative speed impact in the last 10 tests. It does not slow down your Android tablet.
  • Features: 90%. It offers anti-phishing, anti-theft, app lock, safe kids, and more. But the VPN is limited to 300 / MB per day.

Try it risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

The best antivirus for Android tablets

We have reviewed antivirus software since 2014. Based on our in-depth tests of 67 brands in 2023, these are the best antivirus for Android tablets:

  1. 🥇 Norton Antivirus – The #1 in 2023
  2. Kaspersky Antivirus
  3. Bitdefender Antivirus
  4. McAfee Antivirus
  5. Panda Antivirus

We have tested their anti-malware protection, security features, speed impact, false positives, and price. Scroll down to read the in-depth reviews.

Norton Antivirus Review

Norton Review

Ranked #1 out of 28 Antivirus

Norton Antivirus on Windows 11


Norton Mobile Security is the best antivirus app for Android of 2023. It ticks all the boxes by combining anti-malware, web protection, an identity theft scanner, and an unlimited VPN.

On top of that, it has a range of bonus features, including an app advisor, WiFi scanner, vulnerability scanner, anti-tracker, and SMS security checker.

Most importantly, its VPN doesn’t have a data limit. By contrast, all other antivirus apps have a VPN limited to a few hundred MB / day. When you frequently surf on public Wi-Fi networks, Norton’s unlimited VPN will keep you safe on those unsecured connections.

We, therefore, highly recommend Norton for anyone who spends a lot of time surfing, socializing, shopping, or banking on their phone. It is the best antivirus for Android tablets.

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Norton Mobile Security for Android Review

There are 4 things you need to know about Norton’s Android antivirus app:

  1. The Security Features
  2. The Privacy Features
  3. The Identity Features
  4. The difference between Norton Mobile Security and Norton 360

Let’s dive in.

Security Features

Norton packs a lot of security features into its Android app. Outside of the big yellow “scan now” button at the top, which scans your mobile phone for malware, there are five security features:

  • App Security: Set up the App Advisor, which tells you which apps are safe to download from the Google Play Store. It also scans your existing apps for suspicious behavior (a classic indicator of malware), privacy risks, and intrusive ads.
  • Internet Security: Install the Safe Web Browser to block fraudulent websites. You can also add Norton Safe Search to your home or notification screen. This is Norton’s custom search engine, in partnership with Ask.com, that filters malicious websites out of the search results.
  • Wi-Fi Security: Scan your Wi-Fi network’s password strength and encryption standard and get notified if the network is unsafe.
  • Device Security: Check your tablet for multiple security risks, such as untrusted certificates, KRACK vulnerabilities, USB debugging, and whether you have correctly set up your lock screen and fingerprint scan.
  • SMS Security: Allow Norton to check your text messages for phishing links that try to steal your data.


Norton’s Android antivirus app offers you two outstanding privacy features:

  • VPN: A VPN (Virtual Private Network) hides your IP (Internet Protocol) address and encrypts your internet connection. This makes you anonymous online and safe on public Wi-Fi networks. Norton is the only antivirus app that includes an unlimited VPN.
  • Ad Tracker Blocking: By blocking and removing tracking cookies from your devices, Norton ensures that marketing and data companies can’t follow your movements around the web.


Norton’s identity protection feature, Dark Web Monitoring, does what its name suggests: It scans the Dark Web for your data and will inform you if any of it is being traded. It searches for your home address, driver’s license, insurance information, email accounts, credit cards, bank accounts, and phone numbers.

Note that this feature is not part of the actual app. To access it, you can either log in to your account at my.norton.com or download Norton’s separate app called Norton LifeLock Identity.

Norton Mobile Security vs. Norton 360

If you buy Norton’s Android app on their website or in the Google Play Store, you will get Norton Mobile Security. This app allows you to protect a single Android tablet or phone. For most users, this is the perfect solution.

However, there is another version available called Norton 360. This is the Android app you will get if you buy one of Norton’s 360 products; Standard, Deluxe, or Premium.

Norton Mobile Security and Norton 360 are nearly identical, with two exceptions:

  • Norton Mobile Security does not include the password manager, which Norton 360 does.
  • Norton Mobile Security’s VPN automatically selects a VPN server for you; it does not allow you to choose a server location. The VPN included with Norton 360 does offer the sever selection option.

As Norton Mobile Security is cheaper, it is the best option to protect a single Android tablet or phone. If, however, you want to protect multiple devices, we recommend Norton 360 Deluxe. It protects up to 5 gadgets (across Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS) and offers you access to the full-featured VPN and password manager.

Is Norton Mobile Security the best antivirus app for Android?

Yes, Norton is the best antivirus for Android. Although we miss the anti-theft features other brands offer, Norton makes up for it by including an unlimited VPN, which its competitors don’t. The VPN will keep you safe and private on unsecure networks like public WiFi, which is crucial in the modern world.

Kaspersky Antivirus Review

Kaspersky Review

Ranked #5 out of 28 Antivirus

Kaspersky Antivirus on Windows 11


Kaspersky is one of the best Android antivirus apps that we’ve tested. Although its VPN is limited to 300 MB / day, whereas Norton’s VPN is unlimited, Kaspersky compensates by having a complete feature set and a slightly lower price.

It covers all the core features, including anti-malware, web protection, anti-theft tools, an identity theft scanner, a VPN, and a range of bonus features. These include a call filter, safe messaging, app lock, settings scan, parental controls, and app permissions scan.

Still, if you frequently surf on public Wi-Fi networks, we believe Norton is the better security app because its unlimited VPN will protect you on those unsafe networks.

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Kaspersky Internet Security for Android Review

Kaspersky’s security app is one of the best Android antivirus apps. It is both beautifully designed as well as incredibly complete.

Let us talk you through the feature set:

  • Scan: Run a quick, custom, or full scan of your phone or tablet.
  • Update: Manually update the malware database of the antivirus app and directly run a quick scan after.
  • Real-Time Protection: Turn adware detection on or off and get an update on the security status of your device.
  • Call Filter: Block phone numbers so they can’t reach you.
  • Anti-Theft: Lock and locate your phone if it gets stolen. You can also trigger an alarm, take a photo with the front camera, or wipe the device’s hard drive. All remotely from Kaspersky’s website.
  • App Lock: Set a four-digit code to specific apps on your phone, ensuring that no one but you can access them.
  • Safe Messaging: Let Kaspersky scan your text messages for phishing links that try to hijack your data.
  • Internet Protection: You can add a layer of protection to your browser to block dangerous websites known for phishing, spoofing, and other forms of cybercrime.
  • Data Leak Checker: Instruct Kaspersky to scan the Dark Web for your data, such as email addresses, credit cards, and social security numbers.
  • Weak Settings Scan: Check your device for vulnerable settings that can cause security risks.
  • My Apps: Check what apps can access your calendar, camera, contacts, location, microphone, and more.

And if that wasn’t enough, you can install Kaspersky’s other security apps as well:

  • VPN: A VPN will encrypt your internet connection and hide your IP address, making you anonymous online and safe on public Wi-Fi networks. You’ll get 300 MB / day for free.
  • Safe Kids: Monitor and protect your children online with a basic version of Kaspersky’s parental controls.

The unlimited versions of the VPN and Safe Kids apps are available as separate purchases or as part of Kaspersky Security Cloud, which will also include the excellent password manager.

Is Kaspersky Internet Security the best antivirus app for Android?

It depends. If you frequently surf public Wi-Fi networks, Norton beats Kaspersky due to the inclusion of the unlimited VPN. However, we believe Kaspersky is the best Android antivirus app if you prefer anti-theft features over an unlimited VPN.

Bitdefender Antivirus Review

Bitdefender Review

Ranked #2 out of 28 Antivirus

Bitdefender Antivirus on Windows 11


Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android covers all the core features: Anti-malware, web protection, anti-theft tools, an identity theft scanner, and a VPN. However, it can’t match the Android apps by Norton or Kaspersky.

Norton and Kaspersky have a more comprehensive range of security features, a better design, and a higher data limit on their VPN. While Bitdefender’s VPN is limited to 200 MB / day, Norton’s VPN is unlimited.

Unless you’re a big fan of the Bitdefender brand, we believe Norton and Kaspersky are better Android antivirus apps.

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Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android Review

Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android isn’t a great-looking app. It certainly can’t match the design excellence of its American rivals, Norton and McAfee. This is a shame. Because feature-wise, it checks most boxes.

Let us walk you through each:


Bitdefender’s first menu item, Dashboard, informs you of the security features that must be installed. These include the Scam Alert, App Lock, Web Protection, and Anti-Theft features. Once all of them are installed and active, the sole purpose of the Dashboard is to inform you that you are safe.

Malware Scanner

The second menu item, Malware Scanner, allows you to scan your phone for malicious apps. It checks visible and invisible apps for a wide range of malware, including ransomware, adware, spyware, or crypto miners.

Web Protection

The third menu item, Web Protection, focuses on browser protection. It will scan your online activities and incoming traffic to shield you from malicious intent. What’s excellent about it is that it works with an extensive range of browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Edge, Brave, Samsung Internet, Huawei Browser, and Dolphin.

Scam Alert

The fourth menu item, Scam Alert, looks for malicious text messages containing links to scams and phishing attacks.


The fifth and last menu item, More, includes a wide range of features:

  • VPN: A VPN encrypts your internet connection and hides your device’s IP address. This makes you anonymous online and safe on unsecured Wi-Fi connections. You can use the built-in VPN, but we recommend downloading Bitdefender’s separate VPN app, which is considerably better. Note that Bitdefender’s free VPN is limited to 200 MB / day. By contrast, Norton’s VPN is unlimited, and Kaspersky offers a daily limit of 300 MB.
  • Anti-Theft: Bitdefender’s anti-theft feature lets you remotely locate, lock, and wipe your phone. On top of that, the phone will take a photo with the front camera after three failed login attempts.
  • Account Privacy: Similar to the Dark Web Monitor by Norton, Bitdefender checks whether your data, like email addresses, has been compromised and is traded on the internet.
  • App Lock: Protect sensitive apps with a pin code or your gadget’s biometrics scanner (face or fingerprint).

Is Bitdefender Mobile Security the best antivirus app for Android?

No, it’s not. Although it covers all the features you need from an Android security app, its design is disappointing, and its VPN data limit of 200 MB / day is among the lowest in our test.

We believe that Norton, with its unlimited VPN, is the best antivirus app for Android users who frequently surf on public Wi-Fi networks. And for those who prefer anti-theft features over an unlimited VPN, we think Kaspersky is the best security app, as it’s more complete than Bitdefender.

McAfee Antivirus Review

McAfee Review

Ranked #3 out of 28 Antivirus

McAfee Antivirus on Windows 11


McAfee has a beautiful design and covers most of the features we want in a security app. It includes anti-malware, web protection, an identity theft scanner, and a VPN limited to 500 MB / day. But it lacks anti-theft tools, and its bonus features only include a Wi-Fi security checker.

We prefer Norton for its unlimited VPN for users who frequently use public Wi-Fi networks. And for users who want an affordable yet complete security app with anti-theft tools, we believe Kaspersky is a great option.

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McAfee Mobile Security for Android Review

McAfee’s Mobile Security for Android is a beautifully designed app divided into three tabs, which you can access at the bottom of the screen.

In the most left tab, McAfee aims to educate (“how can unsecured Wi-Fi affect me?”) and inspire action (“Let’s protect you from risky websites – get safe browsing”).

In the second tab, the security elements appear. These include five components:

  • Antivirus Scan: Scan your apps, files, photos, and videos for malware and dangerous apps.
  • Identity Protection: Give McAfee your email addresses, credit card details, and other personal data to scan the Dark Web for these.
  • Secure VPN: Activate the VPN to surf anonymously and privately across the web. McAfee’s VPN is limited to 500 MB / day, which is more generous than Bitdefender’s 200 MB / day and Kaspersky’s 300 MB / day but falls short of the unlimited data provided by Norton.
  • Wi-Fi Security Scanner: Test your Wi-Fi network’s encryption and password strength.
  • Safe Browsing: Add anti-phishing protection and a web advisor to your browser.

Is McAfee Mobile Security the best antivirus app for Android?

No, it’s not. Although the design is excellent, and its VPN data limit of 500 MB / day is generous, there are better options.

For privacy-minded users, we recommend Norton for its unlimited VPN. And for users who worry about theft, we prefer Kaspersky due to its excellent anti-theft features.

Panda Antivirus Review

Panda Review

Ranked #4 out of 28 Antivirus

Panda Antivirus on Windows 11


Panda covers some security features, including anti-malware, a VPN, and anti-theft features. But it misses web protection and an identity theft scanner.

However, it offers a few bonus features, like a call blocker, app locker, and permissions scan. Especially the last one, the permissions scan, is a rare feature we would like to see more often in other antivirus apps.

On the plus side, the core of Panda’s offering (anti-malware, VPN, anti-theft, and the permissions scanner) is available in the app’s free version. This makes Panda the best free antivirus for android in our test.

However, if you’re willing to part with a few dollars, we believe that Norton offers better protection for users who frequently use public Wi-Fi networks, thanks to its unlimited VPN.

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Panda Dome Antivirus for Android Review

Panda offers two versions of its antivirus app for Android, a free and paid version. And although the paid version offers a few extra handy features, we think most of the value is provided by the free app. So let us talk you through the characteristics of each.

Panda’s free antivirus app includes the following:

  • Antivirus: Scan your apps, files, and SD cards for malware, either manually or automatically, at regular intervals.
  • VPN: Hide your IP address and encrypt your internet connection to restore online anonymity. Panda’s VPN is limited to 150 MB / day, the lowest data limit in our test.
  • Privacy Auditor: Scan the permissions of all apps on your phone to see which can track your location, access your media files, and more. You can delete any overly intrusive apps from within Panda’s app.
  • Anti-Theft: Locate and lock your phone when lost or stolen. You can also remotely erase all the data on your hard drive.

Panda’s paid antivirus app includes everything above and adds the following:

  • Advanced Anti-Theft: Remotely trigger an alarm or take a photo using the front camera of your phone or tablet.
  • Call Blocker: Block specific, unknown, and hidden phone numbers from reaching you.
  • App Lock: Add an extra layer of security to your most sensitive apps in the form of a 4-digit pin code.

Is Panda Dome Antivirus the best antivirus app for Android?

It depends. If you want one a free antivirus app for android, Panda has a compelling offer. For free, you can get the core of its features, including anti-malware, VPN, basic anti-theft, and permissions scan. We, therefore, think that Panda is the best free antivirus for Android in our test.

If, however, you want the best protection, it’s not found in a free Android security app. Instead, the paid options by Norton and Kaspersky are both considerably better. In addition, each offers more security features, such as anti-phishing web protection and a higher VPN data limit.

Specification comparison

In the subsequent section, we delve into an in-depth comparison of key features for top-notch Android antivirus software. We chiefly examine five vital components: anti-malware protection, anti-phishing capabilities (web protection), anti-theft mechanisms, identity theft scanning (including dark web monitoring), and access to an unrestricted VPN.

We’ve assigned scores to anti-malware performance based on meticulous tests conducted in our own labs and on protective assessment scores from AV-Test, a distinguished independent testing lab based in Germany. Likewise, we’ve evaluated the impact on system speed using Android performance metrics from AV-Test.

Regrettably, Panda antivirus does not participate in the AV-Test trials, leaving us with no empirical data to gauge its anti-malware defense or speed impact.

#1 of 20
#5 of 20
#2 of 20
#3 of 20
#4 of 20
Speed impact




Identity theft Scanner

VPN Data Limit
300 MB / day
200 MB / day
Unlimited (if auto-renewal is active)
150 MB / day
Money back guarantee
60 days
60 days
30 days
30 days
30 days

User reviews

In our analysis, we’ve drawn on user ratings for each antivirus solution. We’ve utilized the score metrics and the volume of reviews on TrustPilot, a prominent platform for customer feedback. However, interpret these findings with caution, as some companies actively work to inflate their ratings.

We approach exceptionally high ratings with a degree of skepticism. Brands like TotalAV, infamous for their aggressive marketing and sales strategies, are known to have such high scores.

We find scores ranging from 4.0 to 4.5 to be commendable and realistic. Scores above this range raise suspicions, while lower scores suggest the possibility of a subpar product or disappointing customer service. McAfee’s ratings, for instance, raise serious concerns.

Review score
Review count

What is antivirus software?

Antivirus software is a specialized program designed to protect your devices—be it a computer, smartphone, or tablet—from a wide range of digital threats. These threats include but are not limited to, viruses, malware, ransomware, spyware, and phishing attempts. These malicious entities can compromise your device’s performance, steal sensitive data, or even lock you out of your system.

In today’s digital era, with growing online threats, antivirus software plays an essential role in ensuring the security of your device and the privacy of your personal and financial information. Apart from providing real-time threat protection, modern antivirus software also offers additional features such as firewalls, email protection, web protection, and identity theft protection to provide a comprehensive shield against a myriad of cyber threats.

For more, read our blog post on what antivirus software is.

How does antivirus software work?

Antivirus software utilizes several sophisticated techniques to identify and neutralize potential threats to your device. Here, we’re discussing three primary methods: signature-based detection, heuristic analysis, and behavior-based detection.

Signature-based detection

Signature-based detection is one of the oldest and most commonly used methods by antivirus software. In this approach, the software uses an extensive database of known ‘signatures’—unique bits of code that are identifiable in specific pieces of malware.

When a file is scanned, the antivirus software breaks down the file into small chunks of code and compares each chunk with its database of malware signatures. If a match is found, the software recognizes the file as malicious and takes action to quarantine or delete it. While this method is highly effective against known threats, it can be less effective against new, unrecognized malware.

Heuristic analysis

Heuristic analysis addresses the limitations of signature-based detection by detecting previously unknown threats or variations of existing threats. This approach analyzes the properties, activities, and behaviors of files, looking for suspicious or abnormal patterns that may indicate malware.

The heuristic analysis can identify a piece of code as potentially harmful based on its resemblance to known harmful code in structure or behavior, even if the exact signature isn’t in the database. While this method increases the chances of detecting new threats, it may also result in false positives, identifying benign files as harmful.

Behavior-based detection

Behavior-based detection, also known as behavioral analysis, is a more advanced antivirus method. Instead of examining the code of a file, it monitors the behavior of applications in real-time.

If an application starts to engage in suspicious activities such as modifying system files, monitoring keystrokes, or attempting to connect to an unknown server, the antivirus flags it as potentially malicious. This method is particularly useful for detecting advanced threats such as zero-day exploits and ransomware. However, like heuristic analysis, it may also lead to false positives.

For more, read our blog post on how antivirus software works.

Do Android tablets need antivirus software?

Absolutely, Android tablets indeed require antivirus software for a variety of reasons. Although Android’s in-built security measures are commendable, they aren’t completely invincible. With the exponential growth in the number of Android users worldwide, these devices have become an increasingly popular target for cybercriminals.

Firstly, malware threats to Android are real and evolving. Malware authors continually adapt their tactics and generate sophisticated threats designed to infiltrate Android’s defenses. These can include harmful apps that impersonate legitimate ones, phishing scams sent through SMS or email, or ransomware that can lock you out of your device.

Secondly, Android’s open-source nature, which is one of its strengths, also contributes to its vulnerability. This design allows for great flexibility and customization but also opens avenues for potential security breaches. It’s easier for malicious entities to infiltrate the system or install harmful apps.

Moreover, Android tablets often contain a wealth of personal and sensitive information. This can range from banking and credit card details to personal photos and emails. In the wrong hands, this information can be used for identity theft, fraudulent transactions, or even blackmail.

Antivirus software provides a crucial line of defense by offering real-time protection against malware, phishing attempts, and other cyber threats. But it’s important to remember that not all antivirus solutions are created equal. For the best protection, look for an antivirus that includes features like anti-malware, anti-phishing, anti-theft, and identity theft scanning.

One feature that is becoming increasingly important in our interconnected world is an unlimited VPN. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, encrypts your internet connection, making it much harder for hackers to intercept and steal your data. This is particularly important when using public Wi-Fi networks, which are often unsecured and can be a hotbed for cybercriminal activity.

A VPN without a data limit allows for safe, private browsing without having to worry about exceeding a data cap. This is particularly useful for those who use their Android tablets for tasks that consume a lot of data, such as streaming videos or downloading large files.

In conclusion, to keep your Android tablet safe and your personal data secure, a comprehensive antivirus solution, preferably with an unlimited VPN, is highly recommended.

For more, read our blog post on whether Android tablets need antivirus.

How do we test antivirus for Android?

When we evaluate antivirus software, we consider six critical elements, each carrying different weightage:

  • Anti-malware protection (30%)
  • Security and privacy features (30%)
  • Speed impact (10%)
  • False positives (10%)
  • Price (10%)
  • Ownership and reputation (10%)

This multifaceted approach ensures that we present a comprehensive evaluation of the antivirus software’s overall performance, covering areas from essential security aspects to user experience and value for money.

Anti-malware protection (30%)

Anti-malware protection is one of the key components in our testing methodology, accounting for 30% of the overall score. The core purpose of antivirus software is to shield devices from malware, hence it’s crucial to assess how effectively it achieves this goal.

In-house testing

To test the anti-malware capabilities of each antivirus software, we perform an array of rigorous in-house tests. We expose an Android test phone to numerous malicious apps, putting the software’s malware scanner to the test. This process evaluates the software’s ability to accurately identify and eliminate all malicious apps it encounters.

Following this, we conduct a separate test where we simulate real-world malware attacks. This involves executing malware files to gauge the effectiveness of the antivirus software’s real-time protection. A superior antivirus should be capable of halting these simulated assaults in their tracks, promptly preventing the malware from infecting the device.

AV-Test results

In addition to our in-house evaluations, we incorporate the protection test results for Android from AV-Test, a renowned independent testing lab based in Germany. AV-Test performs rigorous evaluations of antivirus products under various conditions and scenarios, providing an independent and objective assessment of their capabilities.

The combination of our own meticulous tests and AV-Test’s rigorous assessments offers a robust and comprehensive evaluation of the anti-malware performance of each antivirus software, ensuring that our reviews provide you with reliable and thorough insights.

Security and privacy features (30%)

The assortment and quality of security and privacy features offered by an antivirus software contribute significantly to its effectiveness and user-friendliness. They constitute 30% of our evaluation criteria. Here are some of the key features we focus on:

Web protection (anti-phishing)

Web protection, particularly anti-phishing, is designed to safeguard users against deceptive websites that attempt to steal personal data, often by masquerading as trustworthy entities. We test this feature by visiting known phishing websites and gauging whether the software accurately identifies and blocks these threats.


A firewall serves as a protective barrier between your device and external networks, monitoring and controlling network traffic based on predetermined security rules. Though typically unavailable on Android, we assess this feature on the PC versions of the antivirus software, looking at how effectively it prevents unauthorized access to your system.

Password manager

Password managers store and encrypt all your passwords, enabling you to generate, retrieve, and manage complex and unique passwords for each of your online accounts. We test password managers for their encryption strength, ease of use, and additional features like password generators and auto-fill capabilities.

Virtual private network (VPN)

A VPN conceals your online activity by routing your internet connection through a private server, enhancing your online privacy and security. We test the VPN feature for its speed, server availability, data cap, and its effectiveness in maintaining anonymity online.

Parental controls

Parental control features allow adults to limit and monitor the online activities of their children, providing a safer digital environment. We test this feature for its effectiveness in filtering inappropriate content, setting screen time limits, and tracking the child’s device location.

Identity theft protection

Identity theft protection features monitor the dark web and other sources for unauthorized use of your personal information, alerting you to potential identity theft. We evaluate this feature based on its ability to detect data breaches, its responsiveness, and the support provided in case identity theft occurs.

Secure cloud storage (cloud backup)

Secure cloud storage offers a protected space to backup important files, providing an added layer of data loss prevention. We assess this feature based on storage capacity, security, and ease of use in data backup and restoration.


Anti-ransomware features protect your device from ransomware attacks, which restrict access to your system until a ransom is paid. We test this feature by deploying ransomware samples and observing if the software can prevent the attack and safeguard the device.

Dark web monitoring

Dark web monitoring involves scanning the dark web for your personal information, alerting you if your data is found on these hidden networks. We evaluate this feature for its efficiency in detecting exposed personal information and its promptness in notifying the user.

It’s worth noting that not all features, such as firewalls, are available for Android. In these instances, we evaluate them on the PC equivalent of the antivirus software, ensuring a comprehensive analysis across platforms.

Bonus features

An antivirus program can come with various entry-level functions, such as spam filters and secure browsers, and premium options like online storage with enhanced security. We consider the following bonus features worthy of your consideration:

  • Ad Blocker
  • Anti-theft
  • Email protection
  • File encryption
  • File shredder
  • Gaming mode
  • Microphone protection
  • PC maintenance features
  • Secure browser (hardened browser to protect your online banking)
  • Spam filter
  • Startup optimizer
  • Tune up tools
  • Virtual keyboard
  • Webcam protection

Speed impact (10%)

The performance of antivirus software should not noticeably impede your device’s speed or its day-to-day operations. To assess this, we utilize the performance test results from AV-Test.

These tests measure the software’s impact on the speed of common device tasks such as launching applications, installing and uninstalling apps, and copying files. Lower impact scores translate to minimal performance disruption, which we deem superior.

False positives (10%)

False positives occur when an antivirus software mistakenly identifies a safe file or website as harmful. These can be quite disruptive, blocking access to safe resources or causing unnecessary worry. To gauge how often these errors occur, we consult the usability test results from AV-Test.

This evaluation involves exposing the antivirus software to a sample of safe websites and files to measure its accuracy in identifying threats. A lower false-positive rate is preferable, as it suggests a higher level of precision.

Price (10%)

While pricing is an essential consideration, the focus is not solely on the cost but also on the value derived from the software. We analyze each product’s features, effectiveness, and usability against its price to determine if it offers good value for money.

It’s crucial to note that there can be significant price variations between the first and second years of subscription. Often, the first-year price is discounted to attract new customers, with the price rising substantially in the second year.

Ownership and reputation (10%)

The reputation and conduct of the company behind the antivirus software can significantly impact trust and user confidence. Not all companies operate with the same level of integrity and transparency.

A case in point is the Avast scandal, where the company faced backlash for selling user data via a subsidiary, Jumpshot. In our assessments, we consider the company’s history, any scandals or controversies, and overall customer sentiment to understand their standing in the industry.

It’s essential for users to trust the company that’s protecting their devices and personal information. Therefore, we regard companies with clean records and positive reputations more favorably.

For more, read our blog post on how we test antivirus software.

How to choose the best antivirus for Android?

Selecting the ideal antivirus software for your Android tablets involves weighing various elements to ensure that it effectively caters to your security needs while offering good value for your investment. Here are some key aspects to consider:

Reliable protection from malware

At the core of any antivirus software is its ability to provide robust protection against malware. You should look for a solution that demonstrates high effectiveness in identifying and neutralizing a wide range of malware threats, including viruses, ransomware, spyware, and more. Independent test results from labs such as AV-Test can provide valuable insights into the software’s anti-malware performance.

Security updates

Regular security updates are crucial to keep the antivirus software adept at combating the latest threats. Cybersecurity is a rapidly evolving field, with new malware forms surfacing continuously. The best antivirus software stays abreast of these changes through frequent updates to its malware definitions and detection mechanisms.

Security features

Beyond basic malware protection, examine the additional security features offered by the antivirus software. These might include web protection for safe browsing, a VPN for enhanced online privacy, secure cloud storage for data backup, identity theft protection, and more. Remember, not all antivirus solutions offer the same set of features, so pick one that aligns with your specific needs.

Performance impact

An antivirus should provide optimal protection without significantly slowing down your device. Review the software’s performance impact to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with your everyday tasks. Performance test results from independent labs, like AV-Test, can help you gauge this aspect.

Customer support

Reliable customer support is essential, especially if you encounter issues or need guidance with the software. Consider the availability and quality of customer support channels, including live chat, email, and phone support. Also, look at user reviews to understand the company’s responsiveness and the overall customer support experience.

First-year and second price

While the first-year price for an antivirus software might be attractive due to introductory discounts, it’s crucial to consider the cost from the second year onward. Ensure that the software continues to offer good value for money even when the regular pricing kicks in. Factor in the features provided, performance, and overall effectiveness against the price to determine whether it’s a sound investment in the long run.

Operating system

If you have a specific operating system that you would like to protect, we probably have a dedicated antivirus comparison for it:

Click the links to be taken to your comparison of choice.

What cyber threats can antivirus protect you from?

Antivirus software serves as a robust defense mechanism against an extensive variety of cyber threats. It’s important to understand, however, that while they provide comprehensive protection, no antivirus can guarantee 100% safety from all threats. Below, we explore some of the significant cyber threats that antivirus solutions are designed to combat:


This term is an abbreviation for “malicious software” and acts as an umbrella term encompassing various types of cyber threats, including viruses, ransomware, and spyware. Malware’s primary objective is to cause damage, steal data, or gain unauthorized access to a device or network.

For more, read our blog post on malware or malware examples.


Adware, or advertising-supported software, auto-displays or downloads promotional material, often in the form of pop-ups, on a user’s device. While not always harmful, adware can infringe on your privacy, slow down your device, and be a conduit for other malware.

For more, read our blog post on adware or adware examples.


A botnet is a network of private devices infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge. These can be used to carry out large-scale malicious acts, such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, spamming, or spreading malware.

For more, read our blog post on botnets or botnet examples.


Keyloggers are a type of monitoring software designed to record keystrokes made on a device. Cybercriminals often use them to capture sensitive data, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details.

For more, read our blog post on keyloggers or keylogger types.


Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts the user’s files and demands a ransom for their decryption key. It can cause significant data loss and financial damage if not dealt with correctly.

For more, read our blog post on ransomware or ransomware examples.


Rootkits are a set of software tools that enable unauthorized access to a computer. They are notoriously hard to detect as they can conceal themselves in the operating system, making them a significant threat.

For more, read our blog post on rootkits or rootkit examples.


Spyware is software that covertly collects information about a user’s activities without their knowledge or consent. It’s often used to gather sensitive data, such as login credentials or personal information.

For more, read our blog post on spyware or spyware examples.


Named after the legendary Trojan horse, these are deceptive software programs that appear legitimate but carry harmful functionalities. Trojans can provide cybercriminals with remote control over a compromised device.

For more, read our blog post on trojans or trojan examples.


A computer virus is a type of malicious code that replicates by copying itself to other programs, data files, or the boot sector of the hard drive. Viruses can cause severe system damage and data loss.

For more, read our blog post on viruses or virus examples.


Worms are a type of malware that spread across computer networks by exploiting operating system vulnerabilities. They can cause network congestion and system failures by consuming bandwidth and overloading servers.

For more, read our blog post on worms or worm examples.

What cyber threats can antivirus not protect you from?

Despite the comprehensive defense offered by antivirus solutions, there exist certain cyber threats that can bypass these security measures. It’s primarily due to these threats relying more on human weaknesses rather than software vulnerabilities. Below, we delve into some of these cyber threats that antivirus solutions often struggle to counter:


Phishing involves tricking users into sharing sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card numbers, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. This is typically executed via deceptive emails or websites. While some antivirus software includes anti-phishing tools, they might not catch all phishing attempts, particularly those that are well-disguised or new.

For more, read our blog post on phishing or phishing examples.

Online Scams

Online scams encompass a wide variety of deceptive practices carried out on the internet, including advance-fee scams, auction fraud, romance scams, and more. While antivirus solutions can block known scam websites, they cannot protect users who willingly participate in transactions on these platforms out of trust or hope.

For more, read our blog post on online scams.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a manipulation technique that exploits human error to gain access to sensitive data or systems. Tactics can range from impersonation to baiting and tailgating. Antivirus software, focusing on code-based threats, cannot shield users from being tricked into bypassing security protocols themselves.

For more, read our blog post on social engineering.

Zero-Day Exploits

A zero-day exploit is a cyber attack that occurs on the same day a weakness is discovered in software. Because the vulnerability is unknown until the attack happens, even the most robust antivirus software can’t provide protection. Although some advanced solutions may employ behavior-based detection to identify these threats, it’s not foolproof.

The above emphasizes the importance of good cyber hygiene and user education. Even the most advanced antivirus cannot replace mindful internet use and the awareness of potential online threats.

For more, read our blog post on zero-day exploits.

What antivirus software have we tested?

We have tested 28 antivirus brands, ranging from entry-level free antivirus programs, to mid-range paid antivirus software and full-featured internet security suites.

As a general rule of thumb, even the best free malware removal programs, like Avast One, cannot compete with the comprehensive malware protection offered by paid solutions, like Norton 360 Deluxe or Bitdefender Total Protection.

Below is the list of the 20 most important brands:

The best antivirus programs are Norton 360 Deluxe, Norton 360 Advanced, and Bitdefender Total Security. By comparison, the other antivirus software cost too much, offer less capable protection from malware threats, or have no unlimited VPN access.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

What is the best antivirus software for Android?

Norton and Kaspersky offer comprehensive protection at a fair price. Check our website for exclusive discounts!

Do you need antivirus software on Android?

Absolutely. Antivirus for Android is vital to protect against growing cyber threats.

How does antivirus software work?

Antivirus software uses multiple techniques such as signature-based, heuristic, and behavioral detection to identify and eliminate threats.

Will antivirus software slow down your Android device?

Quality antivirus software like Norton and Kaspersky won’t slow down your Android. Subpar software might have a performance impact.

Is a free antivirus app for Android safe?

Free antivirus apps often lack comprehensive protection and could jeopardize your data’s security. We recommend investing in a premium solution.

Is Kaspersky still safe?

Despite its Russian origin, no evidence suggests Kaspersky is unsafe. It remains a reputable, trustworthy antivirus provider.

Languages and sources

Similar pages in other languages on SoftwareLab.org:

Below are the sources and tools we’ve used to test the antivirus software:


Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.

Over the years, he has tested most of the best antivirus software for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS, as well as many VPN providers.

He uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords.

This website is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and is built with DIVI on WordPress.

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.