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The 5 Best Antivirus for Android Phones (2022 Update)

By Tibor Moes / September 2022

The Best Antivirus Apps for Android Phones and Tablets of 2022

Our test process

When we test and review the best antivirus apps for Android, we go through the following process:

  • We install the software on Windows 10 and 11, macOS, Android, and iOS.
  • We analyze the anti-malware protection by averaging all AV-Test scores since October 2016.
  • We test the firewalls by running the ShieldsUP! test of the Gibson Research Corporation.
  • We test the password managers by creating, storing, and auto-filling passwords for several websites.
  • We test the parental controls by setting content filters and screentime rules, and attempt to circumvent them.
  • We test the VPN by analyzing the speed, security, encryption, privacy, data leaks, and server locations.
  • We test secondary features like anti-phishing, anti-theft, dark web monitoring, secure browser, and more.

Below you can find the best Android antivirus apps. We hope you will find our work helpful.

About the author

This article was written by Tibor Moes, founder and CEO of SoftwareLab.

Tibor is an engineer from the Netherlands that started reviewing security software in 2014. Since then, he has tested most leading antivirus software, VPN, password managers, and hosting services.

Currently, he uses Norton to protect his devices, CyberGhost for his privacy, and Dashlane for his passwords. This website, SoftwareLab.org, is hosted on a Digital Ocean server via Cloudways and built with DIVI on WordPress.

Norton - The Best Mobile Antivirus of 2022

Norton

Mobile Security for Android

  • Device Security 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 100% 100%

Advanced Protection & Privacy

Norton is the only antivirus app for Android that combines excellent security features with an unlimited VPN. If you spend a lot of time surfing the web, Norton’s VPN will keep you safe and anonymous online.

Norton is the best antivirus for Android.

Kaspersky - The Second Best Smartphone Antivirus of 2022

Kaspersky

Internet Security for Android

  • Device Security 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 96% 96%

Complete & Affordable Protection

Kaspersky is a full-featured antivirus app. Although its VPN is limited to 300 MB / day, where Norton’s VPN is unlimited, Kaspersky is a bit more affordable and offers excellent anti-theft tools. 

Kaspersky is the best alternative to Norton.

Reviews of the Best Antivirus for Android Phones of 2022

You want the best antivirus app for your Android phone or tablet of 2022. We are here to help.

Since 2014, we have tested, reviewed, and compared the best antivirus for Android, Windows, Mac, and iOS. Above, you can see the two antivirus apps we recommend the most. Below, you can find in-depth reviews of the best antivirus apps for mobile phones of 2022.

Click on the links to be taken to your review of choice.

Or simply scroll down.

Prices vary per country. Click the buttons below to see it in yours:

Norton Mobile Security for Android Review

Norton

Mobile Security for Android

  • Device Security 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 100% 100%

Norton for Android – Review Summary

Norton Mobile Security is the best antivirus app for Android phones of 2022. By combining anti-malware, web protection, an identity theft scanner, and an unlimited VPN, it covers all the core features, except for anti-theft tools.

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, with some distance, the best antivirus for Android smartphones and tablets.

Norton's Antivirus for Android Review

Norton Mobile Security for Android Review

There are four 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 smartphone 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.

Privacy

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 makes sure that marketing and data companies can’t follow your movements around the web.

Identity

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. Things it searches for include 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 phone or tablet. 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 yourself. 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 phone or tablet. If, however, you want to protect multiple devices, we recommend Norton 360 Deluxe. It allows you to protect up to 5 gadgets (whether Android, iOS, Windows, or macOS) and offers you access to the full-featured VPN and password manager. We believe it’s the best antivirus software of 2022.

Is Norton Mobile Security the best antivirus app for Android?

Yes, we believe so. Although we miss the anti-theft features other brands offer, Norton more than makes up for it by including an unlimited VPN, which its competitors don’t.

We highly recommend Norton for Android devices. For more information, read our review of Norton 360 Deluxe.

Kaspersky Internet Security for Android Review

Kaspersky

Internet Security for Android

  • Device Security 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 96% 96%

Kaspersky for Android – Review Summary

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

It covers not only all the core features, including anti-malware, web protection, anti-theft tools, an identity theft scanner, and a VPN, but also a range of bonus features. These include a call filter, safe messaging, app lock, settings scan, parental controls, and app permissions scan.

If you frequently surf on public Wi-Fi networks, we believe Norton is the better security app due to its unlimited VPN, which will protect you on those unsafe networks. However, if you don’t frequently use public Wi-Fi or value anti-theft tools greatly, we believe Kaspersky is an excellent choice.

We highly recommend Kaspersky for Android devices.

Kaspersky's Antivirus for Android Review

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, if you prefer anti-theft features over an unlimited VPN, we believe Kaspersky is the best Android antivirus app out there.

We highly recommend Kaspersky for Android devices. For more information, read our review of Kaspersky Internet Security.

Bitdefender Mobile Security for Android Review

Bitdefender

Mobile Security for Android

  • Device Security 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 94% 94%

Bitdefender for Android – Review Summary

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.

Both Norton and Kaspersky have a more comprehensive range of security features, a better design, and a higher data limit on their VPN. Where Bitdefender’s VPN is limited to 200 MB / day, Kaspersky’s VPN offers 300 MB / day, and 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.

Bitdefender's Antivirus for Android Review

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:

Dashboard:

Bitdefender’s first menu item, Dashboard, informs you of the security features that need to 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 both 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, keeps an eye out for malicious text messages containing links to scams and phishing attacks.

More:

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 enables you to locate, lock and wipe your phone remotely. 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 a bit of a disappointment, 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.

For more information, read our review of Bitdefender Total Security.

McAfee Mobile Security for Android Review

McAfee

Mobile Security for Android

  • Device Security 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 94% 94%

McAfee for Android – Review Summary

McAfee Mobile Security has a beautiful design and covers most of the core features you need from 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 are limited to a Wi-Fi security checker.

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

McAfee's Antivirus for Android Review

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 so that it can 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 out there.

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.

For more information, read our review of McAfee LiveSafe Antivirus.

Panda Dome Antivirus for Android Review

Panda

Dome Antivirus for Android

  • Device Security 100% 100%
  • Online Privacy 82% 82%

Panda for Android – Review Summary

Panda covers some of the core security features we like to see, including anti-malware, a VPN, and anti-theft features. But it misses web protection and an identity theft scanner.

It does, however, feature a few additional bonus features, like a call blocker, app locker, and permissions scan. Especially the last one, the permissions scan, is a rare and valuable feature that 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 app of 2022 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. And should you desire an affordable yet full-featured security app, we believe that Kaspersky also beats Panda.

Panda's Antivirus for Android Review

Panda Dome Antivirus for Android Review

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

Panda’s free antivirus app includes:

  • 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 your anonymity online. Panda’s VPN is limited to 150 MB / day, which is 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 a free antivirus app, Panda is a compelling offer. You can get the core of its features, including the anti-malware, VPN, basic anti-theft, and permissions scan, entirely for free. We, therefore, think that Panda is the best free antivirus app 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. Each offers more security features, such as anti-phishing web protection and a higher VPN data limit.

For more information, read our review of Panda Dome Antivirus.

Noteworthy Mentions

Due to the size of an article like this, we can’t feature all the antivirus with VPN we’ve tested, such as Avast Mobile Security, Avira Antivirus Security for Android, BullGuard Mobile Security, ESET Mobile Security, TotalAV Mobile Security, and more.

Each offers excellent antivirus protection but didn’t make our top five. We believe that Norton and Kaspersky are the best antivirus deals available for Android phones and tablets.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions from across the web.

Which antivirus is best for Android?

Of the 10 apps we’ve tested, Norton Mobile Security and Kaspersky Internet Security proved the best antivirus apps for Android. However, each has its unique strengths. For example, Norton has an unlimited VPN, but Kaspersky has anti-theft tools. Visit SoftwareLab.org to find out which is the best mobile antivirus app for you.

Which is the best free antivirus for Android?

Panda Dome Antivirus for Android is one of the best free antivirus apps for Android. Although there is a paid version of the app, we believe the free version offers 90% of the value. It’s not perfect, however, as it misses a few key features compared to the best Android antivirus apps. Visit SoftwareLab.org to learn whether it is the best mobile security app for you.

Do you really need antivirus for Android?

Yes, you do. Not only is the malware threat very real for Android devices, but there is also the risk of identity theft and privacy invasion. The best Android antivirus apps will keep you safe from all those threats. Visit SoftwareLab.org to see which antivirus app is best for you.

Sources

Below are several sources used to analyze the software.

 

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