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The 7 Best Antivirus for Laptop and PC (2024 Update)

Updated: January 2024

By: Tibor Moes is the founder of SoftwareLab. He has tested 28 antivirus brands and studied Cybersecurity at Stanford. Read how we test antivirus.

Norton is the best antivirus for laptop and PC of 2024

Norton Antivirus

Ranked #1 of 28 antivirus

  • Malware Protection 100% 100%
  • Security Features 100% 100%

Norton has the best anti-malware protection, excellent security features, and a great price. It’s the best antivirus for laptop and PC.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Norton stopped all 1,200 malware attacks in our test.
  • Security features: 100%. Anti-phishing, firewall, VPN, password manager, and more.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Norton did not slow down our test PC. 

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

Avast is the second best antivirus for PC and laptop of 2024

Avast Antivirus

Ranked #2 of 28 antivirus

  • Malware Protection 100% 100%
  • Security Features 80% 80%

Avast offers excellent protection, many bonus features, and a beautiful design. However, it lacks a password manager.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Avast stopped all 1,200 malware attacks in our test.
  • Security features: 80%. Avast does not include a password manager.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Avast did not slow down our test PC. 

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

The best antivirus for laptop and PC

Cybercrime is on the rise, and PCs and laptops are the primary target. Phishing attacks come in via email. Ransomware tries to lock essential files. Spyware attempts to steal passwords. And the list goes on. Luckily, antivirus software can shield you from these dangers.

In 2024, we tested 39 antivirus from 28 brands. We launched 1,200 attacks on our PC to test the anti-malware protection. We inspected the firewalls, password managers, VPNs, anti-phishing, and other security features.

These are the best antivirus for PC and laptop of 2024:

  1. 🥇 Norton Antivirus – The #1 in 2024
  2. Avast Antivirus
  3. TotalAV Antivirus
  4. Bitdefender Antivirus
  5. McAfee Antivirus
  6. Panda Antivirus
  7. Avira Antivirus

Scroll down for the reviews.

Norton Antivirus Review

Norton Review

Ranked #1 out of 28 Antivirus

Norton Antivirus 2024

Norton is ranked #1 of 28 antivirus brands.

Norton is the best antivirus of 2024. It has perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, all the security features you need, and an excellent price.

Buy it if you want complete protection. You will get excellent anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, a password manager, and an unlimited VPN, which will protect your privacy online.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Norton detected and removed each of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Norton’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
  • Features: 100%. Norton includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, VPN, password manager, and more.
  • Price: 100%. Compared to similar products at Bitdefender and McAfee, Norton offers more value for money.

Discount: Temporarily save up to 70% 🔥

Detailed Review

Norton Antivirus Review: Updated for 2024

In our quest to find the most effective antivirus protection, we at our software comparison website have thoroughly examined Norton 360 Antivirus. Here’s what we found:


Norton stands out with its 100% malware protection score, a feat not easily achieved by many brands. This was determined by averaging the last 10 test scores from AV-Test, an independent lab. Our tests echoed these results, with Norton detecting malware and phishing attempts in real time.

A key feature here is SONAR, Norton’s real-time malware protection tool. SONAR uses heuristic analysis and machine learning, making it adept at identifying both known and unknown threats by analyzing suspicious behavior rather than just malicious code.


Norton’s Smart Firewall goes a step further than typical firewalls. While standard ones, like Windows Firewall, check incoming connections, Norton also monitors suspicious outgoing connections from your device. It effectively cloaks inactive ports, thwarting hackers’ port scanning techniques.


We were impressed by Norton’s unlimited VPN service. It’s fast, secure (employing AES-256 encryption and OpenVPN protocols), and respects user privacy with a strict no-logs policy.

Additionally, it supports torrenting, has an automatic connect feature, a kill switch, ad tracker blocking, and split tunneling. Unlike competitors that limit daily data usage, Norton’s VPN is unlimited and included at no extra cost.

Password Manager

Norton’s password manager is user-friendly, offering easy password creation and accurate auto-fill capabilities. It also supports biometric access, like fingerprint or facial recognition, for accessing your password vault.

Prices & Packages

  • Norton Antivirus Plus costs € 15 (Europe) or $ 20 (USA). It offers antivirus, a firewall, and a password manager. It protects 1 PC or Mac.
  • Norton 360 Standard costs € 30 (Europe) or $ 40 (USA). It adds a VPN and dark web monitoring. It protects 1 (Europe) or 3 (USA) devices.
  • Norton 360 Deluxe costs € 35 (Europe) or $ 50 (USA). It adds a privacy monitor and parental controls. It protects 5 devices.
  • Norton 360 for Gamers costs € 35 (Europe) or $ 45 (USA). It adds a gamer optimizer. It protects 5 devices.
  • Norton 360 Advanced costs € 40 in Europe and is not sold in the USA. It adds identity theft protection and protects 10 devices.
  • Norton 360 Select + LifeLock costs $ 99 in the USA and is not sold in Europe. It adds LifeLock identity theft protection and protects 10 devices.

Bonus Features:

  • Web Protection: Blocks malicious websites.
  • Cloud Backup: Securely stores important files.
  • Parental Controls: Monitors and protects children online.
  • Privacy Monitor: Scans data brokers for personal information.
  • Webcam Protection: Blocks unauthorized webcam access.
  • Dark Web Monitoring: Scans the dark web for personal info.
  • LifeLock Identity Theft Protection: Available only in the US.

Is Norton the Best Antivirus for Laptop and PC?

After extensive testing and evaluation, we confidently conclude that Norton is the best antivirus program for 2024. It offers comprehensive protection, combining device security, online privacy, and identity theft protection.

Norton’s 60-day return policy allows you to try it risk-free, further solidifying our recommendation as the top choice for internet security suite.

Avast Antivirus Review

Avast Review

Ranked #2 out of 28 Antivirus

Avast Antivirus 2024

Avast is ranked #2 of 28 antivirus brands.

Avast is one of the best antivirus of 2024. It has perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, many security features, and one of the best designs we’ve seen.

Buy it if you want excellent protection and superb design. You will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, and a VPN. However, Avast does not include a password manager.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Avast detected and removed all of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Avast’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
  • Features: 80%. Avast one includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, VPN, and more. But no password manager.
  • Price: 100%. Considering Avast’s excellent security features and design, its price is more than fair.

Discount: Save up to 50%

Detailed Review

Avast Antivirus Review: Updated for 2024

In our comprehensive review of antivirus solutions, we put Avast One through its paces. Here’s our detailed breakdown of its performance:


Our tests involved scanning over 1,200 malware samples with Avast, and it successfully detected every single one. Full scans averaged about 54 minutes, and its real-time protection was effective against encrypted malware downloads. However, it’s worth noting that the free version of Avast tends to aggressively push for upsells.


Avast’s firewall allows for detailed monitoring of network traffic and the ability to manually block apps. However, compared to Norton and Bitdefender, it falls short in user-friendliness and automation.

Additionally, we noted the absence of the Wi-Fi Inspector tool for Windows, which is a useful feature for identifying vulnerable devices on your network.


The VPN provided in Avast One Essential is adequate for free users, offering a weekly data limit of 5GB. Yet, when it comes to paid plans, we found that Avast’s VPN speeds and its ability to unblock content were not as impressive as some of its competitors, like Bitdefender.

Bonus Features

Avast doesn’t skimp on utility tools. It offers browser data clearing, software updating, password protection, ransomware shielding, and email security. However, some of these features, such as tracking prevention, are reserved for premium users.

Is Avast the Best Antivirus for Laptop and PC?

Avast stands out for its excellent malware protection and comprehensive security features. It may lack a built-in password manager and is not as user-friendly as some competitors, but it remains a strong choice for robust, multi-platform security.

For those seeking additional features like a password manager or parental controls, we suggest considering alternatives like Norton 360 Deluxe. Avast’s 30-day return policy offers a risk-free opportunity to test its capabilities.

For more details, read the full Avast review.

TotalAV Antivirus Review

TotalAV Review

Ranked #3 out of 28 Antivirus

TotalAV Antivirus 2024

TotalAV is ranked #3 of 28 antivirus brands.

TotalAV is one of the best antivirus of 2024. It has near-perfect anti-malware test scores, an intuitive design, no impact on the speed of your PC, and lots of security features.

Buy it if you want an easy-to-use antivirus at a great price. You will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, a password manager, and a VPN, which will protect your privacy online. But no firewall.

  • Malware protection: 99.8%. TotalAV detected and removed nearly all of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
  • Speed impact: 100%. TotalAV’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
  • Features: 90%. TotalAV includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, VPN, and a password manager. But it doesn’t have a firewall.
  • Price: 90%. TotalAV offers generous discounts in the first year, but high renewal prices in the second year.

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Detailed Review

TotalAV Antivirus Review: Updated for 2024

We’ve extensively tested TotalAV to provide an updated review for 2024, focusing on its affordability, ease of use, and effectiveness.


TotalAV’s performance in malware detection is impressive. Utilizing Avira’s engine, it provides various scanning options including Quick, System, Smart, and Custom scans. Our System Scan, taking about an hour, showed minimal impact on system performance.

The software successfully caught 99.8% of diverse malware types, including ransomware and spyware. Its real-time protection was particularly effective, immediately stopping malicious downloads.


TotalAV’s Safe Browsing VPN is commendable. With 48 server locations and decent speeds, it stands out for compatibility with popular streaming services and P2P file-sharing support.

Key features include a kill switch and auto-connect on public Wi-Fi. While it may not match the speed of standalone VPN services, it’s an excellent addition to the antivirus package.

Password Manager

Testing Total Password, we found it reliable and secure, fortified by 256-bit AES encryption. It offers convenient features like auto-save and auto-fill, two-factor authentication, and a user-friendly password vault. While it lacks more advanced features such as hardware-based 2FA, it effectively covers all the essential functions.

Bonus Features

TotalAV also includes additional features like identity theft protection (partnered with Aura) and a system tune-up suite. This suite includes tools like a Startup Manager and Junk Cleaner, enhancing overall system performance.

Is TotalAV the Best Antivirus for Laptop and PC?

TotalAV stands out as a robust and affordable antivirus solution in 2024. It provides strong anti-malware protection, a competent VPN, and a practical password manager, offering comprehensive, hassle-free security.

The 30-day refund policy adds to its appeal, allowing users to try it risk-free. We recommend TotalAV for those seeking an effective and user-friendly antivirus solution.

For more details, read the full TotalAV review.

Bitdefender Antivirus Review

Bitdefender Review

Ranked #4 out of 28 Antivirus

Bitdefender Antivirus 2024

Bitdefender is ranked #4 of 28 antivirus brands.

Bitdefender is an excellent antivirus program in 2024. It has perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, many security features, and an excellent price.

Buy it if you want outstanding protection. But keep in mind that you will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, and a few bonus features. Not the password manager or unlimited VPN.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Bitdefender detected and removed each of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Bitdefender’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
  • Features: 80%. Bitdefender has anti-malware, anti-phishing, and a firewall, but it misses a password manager and a VPN.
  • Price: 100%. Although Bitdefender misses a few features, it has an excellent price, which gives it good value for money.

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Detailed Review

Bitdefender Antivirus Review: Updated for 2024

Our analysis of Bitdefender has been thorough, aiming to provide a clear and comprehensive view of its features and performance.


Bitdefender shines with a perfect 100% malware protection score in our tests. Its Advanced Threat Defense feature doesn’t just rely on traditional virus signatures but continuously monitors app behavior, blocking any app exhibiting suspicious activity like code injection.

This approach has resulted in excellent malware detection rates with very few false positives. In our tests, Bitdefender promptly detected the latest malware types.


Bitdefender’s firewall effectively blocks both inbound and outbound connections. It can detect and block port scans, a common technique used by hackers to find open ports on devices, enhancing network security.


The free version of Bitdefender’s VPN limits data usage to 200 MB/day, suitable for basic browsing but not for heavy data usage like streaming. The VPN, using Aura’s technology, is fast, secure with AES-256 & HydraVPN protocols, and ensures privacy with a no-logs policy.

For unlimited data, users need to upgrade to Bitdefender Premium VPN or Premium Security.

Password Manager

Bitdefender’s password manager, not included in basic packages, requires a separate purchase or opting for the Premium Security suite. It provides essential features but lacks advanced options like hardware-based 2FA.

Prices & Packages

  • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus starts at € 15 (Europe) or $ 15 (USA). It offers antivirus and anti-phishing. It protects 1 to 10 PCs.
  • Bitdefender Internet Security starts at € 19 (Europe) or $ 25 (USA). It adds a firewall and parental controls. It protects 1 to 10 PCs.
  • Bitdefender Total Security starts at € 35 (Europe) or $ 40 (USA). It adds an optimizer and support for other OS. It protects 5 to 10 devices.
  • Bitdefender Premium Security starts at € 55 (Europe) or $ 60 (USA). It adds an unlimited VPN and password manager. It protects 10 devices.

Note: The free version is basic and less effective than Microsoft Defender. For comprehensive protection, the paid versions are recommended.

Bonus Features

Online threat prevention, vulnerability scan, ransomware remediation, anti-spam, Safepay for secure online banking, webcam and microphone protection, anti-tracker browser extension, parental advisor, anti-theft features, one-click optimizer, and data protection/file shredder.

Is Bitdefender the best antivirus for PC and laptop?

Bitdefender excels with its advanced anti-malware, firewall, and additional features. However, it can be costly, especially if you require a password manager and unlimited VPN, which are part of the pricier Premium Security suite.

In comparison, Norton offers these features in its standard packages. Bitdefender, however, remains a top contender in our tests for its comprehensive security offerings. With a 30-day return policy, it’s a risk-free option to consider for robust antivirus protection.

McAfee Antivirus Review

McAfee Review

Ranked #5 out of 28 Antivirus

McAfee Antivirus 2024

McAfee is ranked #5 of 28 antivirus brands.

McAfee is an excellent antivirus program in 2024. It has perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, an intuitive design, and all the security features you need.

Buy it if you want complete protection. You will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, a password manager, a VPN, and, depending on where you live, identity theft protection.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Mcafee detected and removed each of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
  • Speed impact: 100%. McAfee’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
  • Features: 100%. McAfee includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, VPN, password manager, and more.
  • Price: 90%. McAfee is slightly more expensive than Norton, but allows you to protect an unlimited number of devices (in the US).

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Detailed Review

McAfee Antivirus Review: Updated for 2024

Our extensive testing and evaluation of McAfee Antivirus reveal its strengths and offerings in the current cybersecurity landscape.


McAfee has shown significant improvements in its cybersecurity capabilities. Since April 2020, it has consistently scored 100% in AV-Test protection tests. Our own testing mirrored these results, with McAfee efficiently detecting and removing all offline and online threats.

The Scan Engine is a key component, performing various functions such as running antivirus scans, executing malicious code in a safe sandbox environment, applying heuristic techniques, and repairing corrupted files.


McAfee’s firewall impressively filters both incoming and outgoing traffic and effectively hides open ports to prevent hackers from exploiting them with port scanning techniques.


The McAfee Safe Connect VPN offers unlimited data and performs well in terms of speed and security, using AES-256 encryption and maintaining no activity logs. It has servers in 45 countries and supports Netflix and torrenting. However, some features like a kill switch and split tunneling are not available on all operating systems, and the VPN data limit drops to 500 MB/day if auto-renew is turned off.

Password Manager

True Key, McAfee’s password manager, stands out for its ease of use and biometric login options (facial recognition and fingerprint scanner). It competes well with other top password managers like Dashlane.

Prices & Packages

  • McAfee Basic: €30/$30 for antivirus, anti-phishing, firewall, password manager, and VPN, protecting 1 device.
  • McAfee Essential (Plus in Europe): €40/$40 for the same features, protecting 5 devices.
  • McAfee+ Premium: €45/$45, adds personal data cleanup, protecting unlimited devices.
  • McAfee+ Advanced: €65/$80, includes identity theft protection, protecting unlimited devices.
  • McAfee+ Ultimate: $190 (not sold in Europe), with more identity theft protection features, protecting unlimited devices.

Note: Product names may vary by region, with some still known as McAfee Total Protection.

Bonus Features

Secure Apps, App Boost, Browser Security, Web Boost, Tracker Remover, ID Protection, File Shredder, File Lock, Anti-Spam, and Safe Family.

Is McAfee the Best Antivirus for PC and Laptop?

McAfee stands as one of the best antivirus solutions in our 2024 test. It excels in virus protection, offers an excellent password manager, includes a free unlimited VPN, and boasts a user-friendly and attractive design.

Its premium and advanced plans are particularly appealing for their extensive privacy and identity protection features, especially in the United States. With a 30-day return policy, McAfee presents a risk-free option for those seeking comprehensive antivirus protection.

For more details, read the full McAfee review.

Panda Antivirus Review

Panda Review

Ranked #6 out of 28 Antivirus

Panda Antivirus 2024

Panda is ranked #6 of 28 antivirus brands.

Panda is an excellent antivirus program in 2024. It has near-perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, all the security features you need, and flexible pricing.

Buy it if you want great protection and customization options. You will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, a firewall, a password manager, and an unlimited VPN, which will protect your privacy online.

  • Malware protection: 99%. Panda detected and removed nearly all of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Panda’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
  • Features: 100%. Panda Dome includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, VPN, password manager, and more.
  • Price: 80%. Compared to similar products at Norton, Panda Dome is expensive. However, its flexible pricing is excellent.

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Detailed Review

Panda Dome Antivirus Review: Updated for 2024

Our latest review of Panda Dome Antivirus aims to provide a thorough analysis of its features and overall performance.


Panda’s antivirus achieved a 99.9% score in real-world protection tests, which is impressive. However, it does exhibit a higher number of false positives compared to competitors, often misidentifying harmless software as malware.

This data is derived from our tests and the average of all tests by AV-Comparatives since 2020. Panda employs big data, AI, and machine learning to effectively counter various threats, including zero-day malware, ransomware, and API threats.


Panda’s firewall is adept at filtering both incoming and outgoing connections, automatically assigning permissions based on the risk level of each application. Users have the option to customize rules for individual apps, adding a layer of personalized security.


The built-in VPN in Panda’s antivirus packages is limited to 150 MB/day. While using Aura’s technology, ensuring speed and security (AES-256 & HydraVPN), this limit is quite restrictive for heavy users. The absence of features like a kill switch makes its €50.00 price point seem high.

Password Manager

Panda’s password manager excels in generating and storing passwords, offering accurate auto-fill functionality. It supports both two-factor authentication and biometric logins. The consistent design across browser extensions and mobile apps enhances the user experience across all major operating systems.

Prices & Packages:

  • Panda Dome Essential: Starts at €17/$24, offering antivirus and firewall.
  • Panda Dome Advanced: Begins at €23/$28, adds anti-phishing and parental controls.
  • Panda Dome Complete: Priced at €35/$43, includes a password manager and system optimizer.
  • Panda Dome Premium: Starts at €60/$67, adds an unlimited VPN and update manager.

All plans can be scaled to an unlimited number of devices.

Bonus Features:

  • Safe browsing, dark web scanner, PC cleanup, Wi-Fi protection, anti-theft, file encryptor, file shredder, and USB protection.

Is Panda the Best Antivirus for PC and Laptop?

Panda Dome Antivirus stands out in our 2024 test for its effective anti-malware capabilities, excellent password manager, and flexible pricing. While its VPN offering is limited, and it may not provide the best protection for Macs and mobile devices compared to competitors like Norton, it’s still a solid choice for Windows PC users.

Panda’s 30-day money-back guarantee offers a risk-free trial for those interested in a comprehensive internet security suite.

For more details, read the full Panda review.

Avira Antivirus Review

Avira Review

Ranked #7 out of 28 Antivirus

Avira Antivirus 2024

Avira is ranked #7 of 28 antivirus brands.

Avira is an excellent antivirus program in 2024. It has perfect anti-malware protection, no impact on the speed of your PC, all the security features you need, and a great design.

Buy it if you want excellent protection and intuitive design. You will get anti-malware, anti-phishing, a password manager, and a VPN. On top of that, Avira finally includes an excellent firewall.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Avira detected and removed all of the 1,200 malware samples in our test.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Avira’s anti-malware engine is lightweight and did not slow down our test PC.
  • Features: 100%. Avira includes anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, VPN, password manager, and more.
  • Price: 90%. Avira has a great price. But with Norton, you’ll get a few more features for the same amount of money.

Discount: Save up to 70%

Detailed Review

Avira Antivirus Review: Updated for 2024

Our detailed assessment of Avira Antivirus, based on extensive testing, showcases its strengths in providing effective protection and value for money.


Avira’s anti-malware capabilities are impressive. Its cloud-based scanner swiftly identified all types of malware in our tests without significantly impacting system performance. The Smart Scan feature is particularly noteworthy, extending beyond malware detection to flag privacy risks and system issues. This makes Avira an efficient tool for both novice and advanced users.


Avira’s firewall stands out for its high customizability. It uses sophisticated algorithmic rules to monitor data and enables users to set specific rules for different applications. The firewall also includes intruder prevention features to block unauthorized data extraction.


Avira’s Phantom VPN performed well in our tests, with only a 25-30% reduction in speed, which is reasonable for VPN services. It offers strong security with 256-bit AES encryption and supports P2P file sharing. However, it faces challenges in bypassing geo-restrictions for streaming services.

Password Manager

The password manager offered by Avira is feature-rich, providing unlimited storage even in the free version and securing data with 256-bit AES encryption and two-factor authentication. One limitation we noted is the absence of a password generator in the browser extension.

Bonus Features

Avira includes additional tools like a device optimizer, which effectively freed up over 1GB of space in our tests. Other notable features include a startup optimizer, driver updater, game booster, and a battery manager, although the latter could benefit from enhancements such as identifying power-draining apps.

Is Avira the Best Antivirus for Laptop and PC?

Avira Antivirus Prime emerges as a top-tier solution in our 2024 antivirus software review. It offers a comprehensive security suite with an excellent design. The 30-day return policy adds to its appeal, providing a risk-free trial opportunity.

While Avira stands strong on its own merits, those looking for additional features like parental controls might also consider alternatives such as Norton 360 Deluxe, which is similarly priced.

For more details, read the full Avira review.

Specification comparison

Below, we compare the following products:

  • Norton 360 Standard
  • Bitdefender Internet Security with the Premium VPN
  • TotalAV Total Security
  • McAfee Plus
  • Panda Dome Premium
  • Avira Prime
  • Avast One

Our focus was on cost-effective plans that offer protection for at least one PC with these key features:

  • Anti-Malware
  • Anti-Phishing (Web Protection)
  • Firewall
  • Password Manager
  • Unlimited VPN (no data limit)

Compare them in the table below.

#1 of 20
#2 of 20
#3 of 20
#4 of 20
#5 of 20
#6 of 20
#7 of 20
AV-Test anti-malware score
6.00 / 6.00
6.00 / 6.00
5.15 / 6.00
5.95 / 6.00
6.00 / 6.00
5.95 / 6.00
AV-Test speed impact score
5.85 / 6.00
5.90 / 6.00
5.90 / 6.00
6.00 / 6.00
5.90 / 6.00
5.95 / 6.00
1st year price
$ 39.99 / year
$ 29.99 / year
$ 49.00 / year
$ 81.98 / year
$ 39.99 / year
$ 66.99 / year
$ 29.99 / year
2nd year price
$ 94.99 / year
$ 99.99 / year
$ 179.00 / year
$ 139.98 / year
$ 84.99 / year
$ 133.99 / year
$ 104.99 / year
Operating software
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Money back
60 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
30 days
30 days




Password manager



Unlimited VPN

Test score comparison

We not only relied on our in-house tests but also evaluated data from AV-Test, a German lab known for stringent antivirus testing. Their scores are based on three factors:

  • Protection (1-6): How well the software blocks malware.
  • Performance (1-6): How much the software slows down your computer.
  • Usability (1-6): How often the software makes errors like false alarms.

To offer a unified measure, we calculated a final score using the formula: 60% Protection + 20% Performance + 20% Usability.

If a brand doesn’t appear in the AV-Test analysis, like Panda, ESET, and Sophos, that’s generally a red flag.

Source: AV-Test.

Final Score

Price comparison

Price matters. So, we compared the second-year prices in the U.S. for each software, rounding up for simplicity (e.g., $99.99 becomes $100). Note that some brands lack key features, affecting their overall value.

To make it a fair comparison, we looked at what it would cost us, to protect a  single Windows PC with the most essential features:

  • Anti-malware
  • Anti-phishing (web protection)
  • Firewall
  • Password manager
  • Unlimited VPN (no data limit).

Prices vary outside the U.S., so check the brands’ websites for your local pricing.

Total price
Missing features
$ 50
No firewall, password manager, and VPN
$ 80
No firewall and password manager
$ 90
No firewall
$ 130
No password manager
$ 180
No firewall

User reviews

TrustPilot scores offer another perspective. But caution is advised. Some brands, like TotalAV, are notorious for aggressive marketing that can inflate their scores. We found scores between 4.0 and 4.5 to be realistic and trustworthy. Anything higher is suspect, and lower scores (like McAfee’s) raise alarms about product or service quality.

Source: TrustPilot.

Review score
Review count

Buying Guide

Common questions about antivirus software

What is antivirus software and why do I need it?

Antivirus software is a program designed to detect, prevent, and remove malicious software, known as malware, from your computer. This includes a range of threats like viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, spyware, and adware. The necessity of antivirus software stems from the increasing complexity and frequency of these threats, which can compromise your personal data, corrupt system files, and even hijack system resources.

In today’s digital age, with a vast amount of sensitive information stored on computers, antivirus software acts as a first line of defense, safeguarding your data privacy and maintaining the integrity and performance of your system.

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

How does antivirus software protect my computer?

Antivirus software protects your computer through several key functions:

  • Real-Time Scanning: It continuously monitors your computer for signs of malicious programs or activity.
  • Virus Definition Database: Uses an extensive database of known malware signatures to identify threats.
  • Heuristic Analysis: Employs advanced algorithms to detect previously unknown malware by analyzing patterns and behaviors.
  • System Scanning: Periodically scans your entire system or specified files for malware.
  • Quarantine & Removal: Isolates and removes detected malware to prevent further damage.
  • Updates: Regularly updates its database and algorithms to stay effective against new threats.

This multifaceted approach ensures robust protection against both known and emerging threats.

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

Will antivirus software slow down my computer?

Modern antivirus software is designed to be efficient and have a minimal impact on system performance. However, the extent to which it slows down a computer can vary based on:

  • System Specifications: Older or less powerful computers might experience more noticeable slowdowns.
  • Antivirus Software Version: Some versions, especially full-suite packages, might be more resource-intensive.
  • System Usage: During full system scans or updates, temporary performance reduction can occur.

Choosing a lightweight antivirus program and scheduling scans during idle times can mitigate potential slowdowns.

Can antivirus software remove existing viruses from my PC?

Yes, most antivirus software can effectively identify and remove existing viruses from your PC. Upon detection, the software typically offers options to quarantine (isolate) the threat, delete it, or in some cases, repair infected files. The ability to remove a virus depends on the severity of the infection and the specific malware involved. Some sophisticated malware might require additional steps or specialized tools for complete removal.

Can antivirus software protect my mobile devices as well?

Absolutely, antivirus software is not just for PCs but is also available for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Mobile antivirus solutions provide similar protections, such as scanning apps for malicious behavior, protecting against phishing attacks, and securing your personal data. Given the increasing reliance on mobile devices for sensitive tasks, having antivirus protection on these devices is equally important.

What should I do if my antivirus detects a virus or malware?

If your antivirus software detects a virus or malware:

  • Don’t Panic: Modern antivirus tools are equipped to handle most threats effectively.
  • Quarantine the Threat: Allow the antivirus to quarantine any detected malware.
  • Remove or Clean: Use the antivirus software to remove the malware or clean the infected files.
  • Update Your Antivirus: Ensure your antivirus is up-to-date to protect against future threats.
  • Change Passwords: If the malware could have compromised sensitive information, change your passwords.
  • Backup Your Data: Regularly back up your data to prevent loss in case of future infections.
  • Seek Professional Help: If the infection is severe or you’re unsure, consult a professional for guidance.

Taking prompt and informed action is key to minimizing the impact of any malicious software.

What are the most common types of cyber threats today?

  • Viruses and Worms: Malicious programs that can replicate themselves and spread to other devices.
  • Trojans: Disguised as legitimate software, Trojans can carry out hidden harmful functions.
  • Ransomware: Malware that encrypts a victim’s files and demands a ransom for the decryption key.
  • Phishing Attacks: Fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information through deceptive emails or websites.
  • Spyware: Software that secretly monitors and collects personal or organizational information.
  • Adware: Unwanted software designed to throw advertisements up on your screen, often in a disruptive manner.
  • Zero-Day Exploits: Attacks targeting software vulnerabilities that are unknown to the vendor.
  • Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attacks: Attempts to overwhelm a network or service, causing it to be inaccessible.

These threats constantly evolve, requiring continual updates to cybersecurity measures.

What cyber threats can and can’t antivirus protect me from?

Antivirus Can Protect From:

  • Viruses, worms, and trojans.
  • Ransomware (to a degree; some advanced ransomware might bypass traditional antivirus).
  • Spyware and adware.
  • Rootkits, albeit often requiring more specialized components.

Antivirus Can’t Fully Protect From:

  • Phishing attacks, as these often rely on tricking the user rather than exploiting software vulnerabilities.
  • Zero-Day Exploits, until the antivirus software is updated to recognize the new threat.
  • Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs), which are complex, sophisticated threats often targeting specific organizations.
  • DDoS attacks, as these target network infrastructure rather than individual devices.


How do I choose the best antivirus software for my needs?

  • Determine Your Needs: Assess whether you need basic protection or additional features like a firewall, parental controls, or VPN.
  • Compatibility: Ensure the software is compatible with your operating system and doesn’t overly burden your system’s resources.
  • Effectiveness: Look for antivirus software with a high detection rate and low false positives.
  • Ease of Use: Choose software with an intuitive interface and easy-to-understand features.
  • Price vs. Features: Compare the cost against the provided features and decide if the price justifies the added benefits.
  • Reputation and Reviews: Research user and expert reviews to gauge the software’s reliability and customer satisfaction.


Is free antivirus software reliable enough for basic protection?

Free antivirus software can be reliable for basic protection, offering core antivirus defense against common malware. However, they typically lack advanced features found in paid versions, such as firewall protection, identity theft protection, and technical support. For users with minimal requirements and who practice safe browsing habits, free antivirus may suffice. It’s essential to choose reputable free antivirus software to ensure effective protection.

Does the antivirus software come with customer support?

Most reputable antivirus software comes with some level of customer support, but the extent varies:

  • Free Versions: Often have limited support, usually through FAQs or community forums.
  • Paid Versions: Typically offer more extensive support options like live chat, email, phone support, and comprehensive knowledge bases.
  • Premium Packages: Might include dedicated 24/7 support, personalized assistance, and more direct access to technical experts.

The level of customer support can be a deciding factor, especially for users who may require frequent assistance or have complex security needs.

Advanced questions about antivirus software

How do we test antivirus software?

At SoftwareLab, we are committed to delivering comprehensive and unbiased reviews of antivirus software. Our methodology encompasses a range of critical aspects to ensure that our assessments are thorough and relevant to our users’ needs.

1. Anti-malware protection (30%)

  • As the core function of antivirus software, we prioritize anti-malware protection. We conduct in-house testing with a diverse set of 1200 malware samples, including the latest threats, and simulate real-time attack scenarios to gauge the software’s effectiveness.
  • To reinforce the reliability of our findings, we compare our results with those from AV-Test, a respected independent security institute.

2. Security and privacy features (30%)

  • Web protection: We evaluate the software’s ability to protect against phishing sites and other web-based threats.
  • Firewall: Our tests include intrusion simulations to assess the effectiveness of the software’s firewall.
  • Password manager: We examine the ability of the integrated password manager to generate, store, and auto-fill passwords securely.
  • VPN: We test for VPN speed, encryption quality, server locations, and the ability to conceal IP addresses.
  • Parental controls: We assess the efficacy of filters and restrictions for safe browsing for children.
  • Identity theft protection: Monitoring capabilities and alert responsiveness are tested.
  • Secure cloud storage: We evaluate the software’s cloud storage solutions based on capacity, ease of use, and security.
  • Anti-ransomware: Effectiveness against ransomware attacks is a critical part of our testing.
  • Dark web monitoring: We check how well the software scans for personal information on the dark web.

3. Speed impact (10%)

  • We assess how the antivirus software affects system performance during common tasks, such as file copying, program downloads, and installations. Our assessment criteria are aligned with the AV-Test performance tests.

4. False positives (10%)

  • It’s crucial that antivirus software distinguishes between safe and harmful applications. We evaluate the frequency of benign software being incorrectly flagged as malware, referring to AV-Test’s usability tests for additional insights.

5. Price (10%)

  • We consider the overall value for money, analyzing the features offered against the long-term costs of the software.

6. Ownership and reputation (10%)

  • The trustworthiness of the software’s provider is integral. We examine the company’s history, its data handling practices, commitment to user privacy, and its response to any incidents of unethical conduct or data breaches.

Our rigorous testing approach ensures that we provide our users with reliable and up-to-date information, helping them make informed decisions about their cybersecurity solutions.

Read more on how we test antivirus software.

How does anti-malware work?

Anti-malware software works by identifying, blocking, and removing malicious software. It employs various detection methods to recognize malware, including signature-based, heuristic, and behavior-based techniques. Once identified, the malware is either quarantined or deleted. Anti-malware tools also typically include real-time scanning to monitor system activity and prevent new infections, and regular updates to their malware databases to stay effective against emerging threats.

What is signature-based detection?

Signature-based detection is one of the oldest and most common methods used in antivirus and anti-malware software. It involves comparing the digital signature (a unique string of bytes) of a file to a database of known malware signatures. If a match is found, the software flags the file as malicious. This method is highly effective against known malware but struggles to detect new, unknown threats that have not yet been cataloged.

What is heuristic analysis?

Heuristic analysis is a method used to detect new, unknown, or modified malware strains that do not match existing signatures. It involves examining the code of a file or a program to look for suspicious characteristics or behaviors typically associated with malware. This approach can detect previously unseen threats by looking for patterns or attributes commonly found in malicious software.

What is behavior-based detection?

Behavior-based detection focuses on observing the behavior of programs or files in real time, rather than solely examining their code. If a program acts similarly to known malware after it’s executed — such as trying to modify system files or send data over the network without permission — the anti-malware software flags it as potentially harmful. This method can be effective against malware that evades traditional signature-based detection.

What is machine learning within cybersecurity?

Machine learning in cybersecurity involves using algorithms to analyze large volumes of data to identify patterns that might indicate a threat. These algorithms learn from historical cybersecurity data, improving their ability to detect anomalies, predict potential attacks, and identify new types of malware. Machine learning enhances traditional security measures by providing a dynamic and adaptive approach to threat detection and response.

What is cloud-based antivirus?

Cloud-based antivirus is a security solution where malware detection and analysis occur over the internet, on remote servers, rather than on the user’s device. This approach allows for more powerful processing, real-time updates, and a larger database of threats. It also reduces the computational load on the user’s device, which can minimize the impact on system performance.

What is sandboxing within cybersecurity?

Sandboxing in cybersecurity is a technique where a suspicious program is executed in a separate, secure environment, isolated from the main system. This ‘sandbox’ allows the program to run without affecting the user’s device, enabling safe analysis of its behavior. If the program turns out to be malicious, it can be removed without having caused any harm to the actual system.

What are false positives within cybersecurity?

False positives in cybersecurity occur when an antivirus or anti-malware program incorrectly identifies a benign file or activity as malicious. This can lead to unnecessary alerts and can sometimes result in legitimate programs being blocked or deleted. Managing false positives is crucial to maintain a balance between security and usability, ensuring that protective measures do not interfere excessively with normal computer operations.

How does antivirus handle zero-day threats?

Antivirus software handles zero-day threats — newly discovered vulnerabilities or malware that developers haven’t patched yet — by using a combination of advanced detection methods:

  • Heuristic Analysis: Identifying unusual behavior or code patterns that resemble known malware.
  • Behavior-Based Detection: Monitoring how programs behave in real-time, flagging actions that are typically indicative of malicious software.
  • Cloud-Based Analysis: Utilizing cloud databases for the latest threat intelligence, providing quick updates against potential zero-day threats.
  • Machine Learning: Employing algorithms that learn from previous attacks to predict and identify new types of threats.

These methods enable antivirus software to detect and mitigate zero-day threats even without specific signatures.

How does a firewall work?

A firewall acts as a security barrier between a computer or network and the internet. It works by:

  • Filtering Traffic: Analyzing incoming and outgoing data packets based on predetermined security rules.
  • Blocking Unauthorized Access: Preventing unapproved connections to or from the network.
  • Monitoring: Keeping logs of network activity to identify potential security breaches or unauthorized attempts to access the system.

Firewalls can be hardware-based, software-based, or a combination of both, and are crucial in preventing unauthorized access and protecting against external threats.

How does a password manager work?

A password manager securely stores and manages your login credentials for various websites and applications. It works by:

  • Creating a Secure Vault: Storing all your passwords in an encrypted database.
  • Generating Strong Passwords: Offering tools to create complex and unique passwords for each account.
  • Auto-Fill Feature: Automatically filling in your username and password on login pages.
  • One Master Password: Requiring one strong master password to access all your stored credentials.

Password managers enhance security by allowing users to maintain unique, complex passwords for each site without the need to remember each one.

How does a VPN work?

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) secures your internet connection by:

  • Creating an Encrypted Tunnel: Encrypting data sent from your device, making it unreadable to anyone intercepting it.
  • Hiding Your IP Address: Masking your real IP address and replacing it with one from the VPN server.
  • Routing Traffic Through Servers: Sending your internet traffic through servers located around the world, which can help bypass regional restrictions and maintain anonymity.

VPNs are essential for protecting sensitive data, especially on public Wi-Fi networks, and for maintaining privacy online.

How does anti-phishing work?

Anti-phishing technology protects users from fraudulent attempts to obtain sensitive information. It works by:

  • Detecting Suspicious URLs: Identifying and flagging websites that resemble known phishing sites.
  • Email Filtering: Scanning emails for signs of phishing, like deceptive links or spoofed email addresses.
  • Browser Integration: Providing real-time alerts when a user visits a suspected phishing site.
  • User Education: Often includes features to educate users about the signs of phishing attempts.

Anti-phishing tools are vital in preventing identity theft and financial fraud.

How does ransomware protection work?

Ransomware protection in antivirus software works by:

  • Behavior Monitoring: Identifying activities typical of ransomware, like rapid file encryption.
  • Secure Backup: Offering options to back up important files, so they can be restored in case of an attack.
  • Prevention Measures: Blocking known ransomware and using heuristic analysis to detect new variants.

This proactive approach helps prevent ransomware attacks and mitigates their impact if they occur.

How does identity theft protection work?

Identity theft protection services monitor personal information and alert users to potential misuse. Key features include:

  • Credit Monitoring: Watching for changes in your credit report that could indicate fraud.
  • Dark Web Scanning: Searching the dark web for your personal information.
  • Real-Time Alerts: Notifying you of suspicious activity.
  • Recovery Assistance: Offering support in recovering your identity if theft occurs.

These services are crucial in quickly responding to and mitigating the effects of identity theft.

How do parental controls work?

Parental controls are tools or software that allow parents to monitor and limit their children’s internet use. They work by:

  • Content Filtering: Blocking access to inappropriate or harmful websites.
  • Usage Controls: Setting limits on how much time children can spend online or on certain applications.
  • Monitoring Tools: Tracking online activity to ensure children’s safety.
  • Age-Appropriate Restrictions: Tailoring access and restrictions based on the child’s age.

Parental controls are essential in safeguarding children from online risks while allowing them to explore the internet safely.

Common questions about PC and laptop security

What are common vulnerabilities on PCs and laptops?

  • Outdated Software: Running outdated operating systems, applications, or drivers can leave security holes.
  • Weak Passwords: Using simple or reused passwords across multiple accounts.
  • Phishing Attacks: Falling victim to emails or websites that trick users into disclosing personal information.
  • Unsecured Networks: Connecting to public Wi-Fi without proper security measures.
  • Malware Infections: From downloading malicious attachments or software.
  • Lack of Regular Backups: Not regularly backing up data can lead to significant loss in case of a cyber attack.
  • Physical Theft or Loss: Leaving devices unattended or in insecure locations.

What security features do Windows 10 PCs and laptops have?

  • Windows Defender Antivirus: Integrated antivirus protection that provides real-time protection against threats.
  • Windows Defender Firewall: Helps protect your device from unauthorized access.
  • Windows Hello: Offers biometric logins (fingerprint, facial recognition) for enhanced security.
  • BitLocker: Provides data encryption to protect data from theft or exposure.
  • Windows Update: Regular updates that include the latest security patches.
  • Device Encryption: Encrypts the system drive and essential system files.
  • SmartScreen Filter: Protects against phishing and malware websites and applications.

Do Windows 10 PCs and Laptops need 3rd party antivirus?

While Windows 10 comes with built-in security features like Windows Defender, whether you need a 3rd party antivirus depends on your usage, the level of risk you’re exposed to, and your personal preference for additional security features.

For basic users, Windows Defender is generally sufficient. However, those requiring advanced protection, such as in a business environment, might benefit from additional features offered by 3rd party antivirus software.

What security features do Windows 11 PCs and laptops have?

  • Microsoft Defender Antivirus: Continues to provide real-time protection against malware.
  • Microsoft Defender SmartScreen: Blocks phishing and malicious websites and applications.
  • Windows Hello: Enhanced biometric authentication for secure access.
  • BitLocker and Device Encryption: For protecting data on your device.
  • VBS (Virtualization-Based Security): Adds an extra layer of security against sophisticated attacks.
  • Secure Boot: Helps to prevent malicious software applications and unauthorized operating systems from loading during the startup process.
  • TPM 2.0 Support: Required for enhanced hardware security.

Do Windows 11 PCs and Laptops need 3rd party antivirus?

Windows 11’s enhanced security features, especially with TPM 2.0 and VBS, provide a strong defense against common threats. However, the need for a 3rd party antivirus can depend on the same factors as with Windows 10.

Users with high-security needs or those who prefer the additional functionalities (like parental controls, password managers, VPN, identity theft protection) that many 3rd party solutions offer might find value in installing additional antivirus software.

Other questions

What antivirus software have we tested?

We have tested 39 antivirus software from 28 brands. These range from free antivirus programs, to entry-level paid antivirus programs, mid-range paid antivirus software, and full-featured internet security suites.

These are the programs we recommend:

We believe that Norton Antivirus Plus is the best entry-level antivirus software and Norton 360 Deluxe the best antivirus all around.

Does this page exist in other languages?

Yes, at SoftwareLab, we write in 11 languages:

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

What sources and tools have we used?

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

Click the links to be taken to the source or tool of your choice.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

Tibor has tested 39 antivirus programs and 30 VPN services, and holds a Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate from Stanford University.

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

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.