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The 5 Best Antivirus with a Firewall (2023 Update)

By Tibor Moes / Updated: September 2023

Do you need antivirus software and a firewall? Yes, you do. The digital realm can be a dangerous place.

  • Infecting your PC is surprisingly easy: You can download malware by visiting the wrong website, attaching a USB drive, installing free software, or opening an email attachment. And you wouldn’t even know it happened.
  • A firewall is your first line of defense: Your firewall stands between your computer and a network, like the internet. It controls the data that is allowed in and out. Without it, any hacker or program can access your device.
  • Antivirus software is your security team: It scans all apps on your computer for malicious code and suspicious behavior. Those attempting to harm you or your PC will be quarantined and neutralized.

By buying the best antivirus with a firewall, you build a fortified wall around your PC. You will strengthen your security and privacy, and restore your peace of mind. Not installing antivirus software with a firewall on your computer, is like leaving your front door open while you leave the house. Don’t take chances online.

Norton is the best antivirus with a firewall of 2023

Norton Antivirus

Ranked #1 of 28 antivirus

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

Norton has the best protection, excellent privacy features, and a great price. It’s the best antivirus with a firewall.

  • Malware protection: 100%. In the last 10 tests, Norton removed all malware. It will protect you against all threats.
  • Speed impact: 100%. In the last 10 tests, Norton had no impact on the speed of the test PC. It will not slow you down.
  • Features: 100%. Anti-phishing, firewall, VPN, password manager, identity protection, cloud backup, and more.

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

Bitdefender is the second best antivirus software with firewall of 2023

Bitdefender Antivirus

Ranked #2 of 28 antivirus

  • Malware Protection 95% 95%
  • Speed Impact 100% 100%

Bitdefender offers excellent protection and bonus features. However, it’s expensive if you want the VPN and password manager.

  • Malware protection: 95%. In the last 10 tests, Bitdefender removed nearly all malware. It offers great protection.
  • Speed impact: 100%. In the last 10 tests, It had no impact on the speed of the test PC. It will not slow you down.
  • Features: 95%. Anti-phishing, firewall, and more. But the VPN and password manager cost extra.

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

The best antivirus with a firewall

We have reviewed antivirus software since 2014. Based on our in-depth tests of 28 antivirus brands in 2023, these are the best antivirus with a firewall:

  1. 🥇 Norton Antivirus – The #1 in 2023
  2. Bitdefender Antivirus
  3. McAfee Antivirus
  4. Panda Antivirus
  5. Kaspersky 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 has the best device, privacy, and identity protection. It has all the security features you need and a great price too.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Norton averaged 6 out of 6 in the last 10 protection tests. It is excellent at detecting and removing malware.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Norton averaged 6 out of 6 in the last 10 performance tests. It does not slow down your PC.
  • Features: 100%. Norton offers anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, unlimited VPN, password manager, parental controls, and more.
  • Price: 95%. Norton offers better value for money than all competitors, except for Kaspersky, which is slightly cheaper.

Discount: Temporarily save up to 70% 🔥

Norton 360 Antivirus Review

Norton offers the best antivirus protection on all operating systems.


Norton is one of the few brands with a 100% malware protection score. Its real-time malware protection tool, called SONAR, is the best.

To get to this score, we averaged the last 10 test scores by AV-Test, an independent test lab. We also ran our own tests, during which Norton was able to detect malware attacks and phishing attempts in real-time.

Norton SONAR applies heuristic analysis and machine learning to spot known and unknown security risks. This means it identifies new threats through suspicious behavior rather than malicious computer code.


Norton’s Smart Firewall checks incoming and outgoing connections for suspicious behavior. It stops any attack before it becomes a problem.

By contrast, Windows’ firewall only checks incoming connections. It does not monitor whether the software on your computer makes suspicious outgoing connections to other devices.

And that’s not all. Norton’s firewall also cloaks inactive ports, so hackers can’t find them through hacking techniques like port scanning.


Norton’s unlimited VPN (Virtual Private Network) is outstanding. It is fast, secure (AES-256 & OpenVPN), private (no logs), allows torrenting (P2P), and features auto-connect, a kill switch, ad tracker blocking, and a split tunnel.

Most VPN services, like those by Bitdefender, have a daily data limit of 200 MB. To remove the data limit, you’ll have to pay extra. Norton, however, includes its unlimited VPN for free.

Password Manager

Norton’s password manager is excellent. Creating passwords is easy. Auto-filling them is accurate. And you can access your password vault using biometrics scanners (fingerprint or facial recognition).

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 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.

In some countries, Norton 360 Advanced is called Norton 360 Premium. This is essentially the same product, without identity theft protection.

Bonus Features

  • Web protection: Block malicious websites via the Safe Web extension.
  • Cloud backup: Back up important files in secure cloud storage.
  • Parental controls: Monitor and protect your kids online.
  • Privacy monitor: Scan data brokers for your personal information.
  • Webcam protection: Prevent unauthorized access to your webcam.
  • Dark web monitoring: Scan the dark web for your personal information.
  • LifeLock identity theft protection: Discover and restore identity theft.

Note: Norton’s identity protection features are only available in the USA.

Conclusion: Is Norton the best antivirus software of 2023?

Yes, Norton is the best antivirus program in our test.

Modern security software needs to offer far more than just anti-malware protection. By combining device security, online privacy, and identity theft protection, Norton is the best internet security suite you can buy.

You can try Norton risk-free, thanks to its 60-day return policy.

Bitdefender Antivirus Review

Bitdefender Review

Ranked #2 out of 28 Antivirus

Bitdefender Antivirus on Windows 11


Bitdefender offers excellent protection and bonus features. However, it’s pricey if you want the VPN and password manager.

  • Malware protection: 95%. Bitdefender averaged 5.95 out of 6 in the last 10 protection tests. It is excellent at removing malware.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Bitdefender averaged 6 out of 6 in the last 10 performance tests. It does not slow down your PC.
  • Features: 95%. It offers anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, parental controls, and more. But the VPN and password manager cost extra.
  • Price: 75%. If you only want the antivirus, Bitdefender offers great value. But if you want all features, Norton offers a better deal.

Discount: Save 50% on this secret page

Bitdefender Antivirus Review

Bitdefender’s antivirus engine is famous for its outstanding protection, many security features, and multi-layer ransomware protection, while being light on system resources.


Bitdefender antivirus has a 95% malware protection score. This is the average of the 10 most recent protection tests by AV-Test. It puts Bitdefender ahead of all competitors, except Norton, McAfee, and Kaspersky.

Bitdefender’s real-time protection feature, Advanced Threat Defense, offers solid virus protection and advanced ransomware protection.

It does not rely on traditional malware detection methods, which use virus signatures. Instead, it continuously monitors the behavior of apps. The apps are blocked if Bitdefender spots an anomaly, such as code injection.

This method offers excellent malware detection rates while having a low number of false positives. During our own tests, Bitdefender detected the latest malware types instantly.


Bitdefender’s firewall can block inbound and outbound connections on local networks and the internet. On top of that, Bitdefender detects and blocks port scans that hackers use to find open ports on your device.


Bitdefender’s free VPN has a data limit of 200 MB / day. That equals 5 minutes of streaming at 720p or the opening of 100 websites.

Bitdefender uses Aura’s VPN tech but has built its own apps. The VPN is fast, secure (AES-256 & HydraVPN), private (no logs), allows torrenting, and has a few extra features: start-up, auto-connect, kill switch, and split tunneling.

You will have to buy Bitdefender Premium VPN or Bitdefender Premium Security, for unlimited data transmission.

Password Manager

Bitdefender’s password manager is sold separately. It is not included with Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Internet Security, or Total Security. To get it, you have to buy it separately or buy Bitdefender Premium Security.

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: There is also Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, the free version of Antivirus Plus. This is the best free antivirus software. But honestly, it’s very basic and not much better than the built-in Microsoft Defender. So instead, we recommend Bitdefender’s paid antivirus software. It’s worth it.

Bonus Features

  • Online threat prevention: Anti-phishing protection for malicious sites.
  • Vulnerability scan: Scan the operating system, apps, and network.
  • Ransomware remediation: Restore files encrypted by ransomware.
  • Anti-spam: Customize anti-spam for Outlook and Thunderbird.
  • Safepay: Open a secure browser for online banking protection.
  • Video and audio protection: Webcam and microphone protection.
  • Anti-tracker: Remove tracking cookies via this browser extension.
  • Parental advisor: Monitor the digital activities of your kids.
  • Anti-theft: Locate and wipe your devices remotely.
  • One-click optimizer: Clean up your hard drive and browsers.
  • Data protection / file shredder: Permanently remove files.

Conclusion: Is Bitdefender the best antivirus software of 2023?

Bitdefender is one of the best antivirus software in our test. Its anti-malware, firewall, password manager, and VPN are highly advanced. On top of that, there are tons of extra features.

However, Bitdefender can be expensive. It sells its password manager and unlimited VPN separately or as part of its Premium Security suite. This makes it pricey if you want all security features.

By contrast, Norton includes these features for free.

You can try Bitdefender risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

McAfee Antivirus Review

McAfee Review

Ranked #3 out of 28 Antivirus

McAfee Antivirus on Windows 11


McAfee offers excellent device, privacy, and identity protection. However, some features are only available in the USA.

  • Malware protection: 100%. McAfee averaged 6 out of 6 in the last 10 protection tests. It is excellent at detecting and removing malware.
  • Speed impact: 85%. McAfee averaged 5.85 out of 6 in the last 10 performance tests. So it has a minimal impact on your PC’s speed.
  • Features: 100%. McAfee offers anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, unlimited VPN, password manager, parental controls, and more.
  • Price: 95%. McAfee offers better value for money than most competitors, except Kaspersky, which is slightly cheaper.

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McAfee Antivirus Review

McAfee allows you to protect an unlimited number of devices.


McAfee is among the few brands with a 100% anti-malware test score. It has improved its cybersecurity tools a lot in recent years. Since April 2020, it has achieved a perfect 100% score in every protection test by AV-Test.

In our tests, McAfee offered reliable protection against malicious software and cyber threats. Which means that it successfully detected and removed all offline and online threats.

McAfee can reach these results because of its Scan Engine:

  • It runs antivirus scans and matches files with malware samples.
  • It executes malicious code in a safe environment, called a sandbox.
  • It applies heuristic techniques to recognize new malicious threats.
  • It removes dangerous code from corrupted files.


McAfee’s excellent firewall filters both in- and outgoing traffic. On top of that, McAfee hides open ports so that hackers can’t identify unused ones with their port scanning techniques.


McAfee’s VPN, Safe Connect, is free and offers unlimited data. It’s fast, secure (AES-256), private (no activity logs), has servers in 45 countries, works with Netflix on many servers, and allows torrenting.

However, it’s not perfect. For instance, not all security features (like the kill switch and split tunnel) are available on all operating systems. And if you turn off auto-renew, the VPN is limited to 500 MB / day.

Password Manager

McAfee’s cross-platform password manager, True Key, is one of the best.

Creating and storing passwords is easy. Auto-filling them is accurate. And you can use biometrics (facial recognition and fingerprint scanner) to log in. As a result, it can compete with the best password managers, like Dashlane. 

Prices & Packages

  • McAfee Basic costs € 30 (Europe) or $ 30 (USA). It offers antivirus, anti-phishing, firewall, password manager, and VPN. It protects 1 device.
  • McAfee Essential (called McAfee Plus in Europe) costs € 40 (Europe) or $ 40 (USA). It adds no additional features but protects 5 devices.
  • McAfee+ Premium costs € 45 (Europe) or $ 45 (USA). It adds a personal data cleanup and protects unlimited devices.
  • McAfee+ Advanced costs € 65 (Europe) or $ 80 (USA). It adds identity theft protection and protects unlimited devices.
  • McAfee+ Ultimate costs $ 190 (USA) and is not sold in Europe. It adds more identity theft protection features and protects unlimited devices.

McAfee is in the process of renaming its products. So in some countries, you’ll be shown McAfee Total Protection instead, which has the same features as McAfee Basic and Essential.

Bonus Features

  • Secure Apps: A vulnerability scanner for security updates.
  • App Boost: A performance boost for apps you frequently use.
  • Browser Security: An anti-phishing browser extension.
  • Web Boost: A browser extension that stops videos from auto-playing.
  • Tracker Remover: A feature that deletes tracking cookies.
  • ID Protection: A dark web scanner for your personal data.
  • File Shredder: A shredder that can delete files securely.
  • File Lock: An app that creates password-protected file vaults.
  • Anti-Spam: An anti-spam feature for Outlook and Thunderbird.
  • Safe Family: A parental control feature to monitor and protect kids online.

Conclusion: Is McAfee the best antivirus software of 2023?

McAfee is one of the best antivirus software in our test. Its virus protection gets perfect scores, its password manager is excellent, its unlimited VPN is included for free, and its design is both user-friendly and beautiful.

On top of that, its premium and advanced plans allow you to protect an unlimited number of devices and offer extensive privacy and identity protection features, especially in the United States.

You can try McAfee risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

Panda Antivirus Review

Panda Review

Ranked #4 out of 28 Antivirus

Panda Antivirus on Windows 11


Panda offers excellent protection and has flexible pricing. However, it’s expensive if you want the unlimited VPN.

  • Malware protection: 99%. Panda averaged 99.9% in the malware protection tests. It is excellent at detecting and removing malware.
  • Speed impact: 99%. Panda averaged 99% in the performance tests. So it has almost no impact on your PC’s speed.
  • Features: 100%. Panda offers anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, unlimited VPN, password manager, parental controls, and more.
  • Price: 75%. Panda offers the most flexible pricing of all brands. But, if you want all the security features, Norton is more affordable.

Discount: Save 50% on this secret page

Panda Dome Antivirus Review

Panda offers the most flexible pricing for its antivirus packages.


Panda antivirus scored 99.9% in the real-world protection tests. However, it does have with a higher number of false positives than its competitors, which means that it frequently mistakes harmless software for malware.

This result is the average of all tests by AV-Comparatives since 2020. Usually, we quote AV-Test, another independent test lab. However, Panda does not take part in their tests. Both labs independently test the malware scanning capabilities of free and premium antivirus programs.

Panda combines big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to scan all apps on your device. This allows it to counter known malware and advanced emerging threats like zero-day malware, ransomware, and API’s.


Panda’s firewall filters incoming and outgoing connections on local networks and the internet. It automatically assigns permissions to each application based on its risk level. But you can edit the rules per app.


Panda includes a free VPN with its antivirus products. However, this built-in VPN is limited to 150 MB / day, which isn’t a lot. That equals about 4 minutes of streaming at 720p or the opening of 75 websites.

Like Bitdefender, Panda’s VPN uses Aura’s technology. This means that the VPN is fast, secure (AES-256 & HydraVPN), private (no logs), and allows torrenting. However, it lacks extra features like a kill switch, making its € 50.00 price expensive.

Password Manager

Panda’s password manager is excellent. Generating and storing passwords is easy. Auto-filling them is accurate. And both two-factor authentification and biometrics login is supported.

The design of the browser extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox is identical to the apps on Android and iOS, which gives it a seamless experience across all major operating systems.

Prices & Packages

  • Panda Dome Essential starts at € 17 (Europe) or $ 24 (USA). It offers antivirus and a firewall.
  • Panda Dome Advanced starts at € 23 (Europe) or $ 28 (USA). It adds anti-phishing and parental controls.
  • Panda Dome Complete starts at € 35 (Europe) or $ 43 (USA). It adds a password manager and system optimizer.
  • Panda Dome Premium starts at € 60 (Europe) or $ 67 (USA). It adds an unlimited VPN and update manager.

All of Panda’s plans can be upscaled to an unlimited number of devices.

Bonus Features

  • Safe browsing: Block malicious URLs and phishing sites.
  • Dark web scanner: Search the dark web for your email address.
  • PC cleanup: Delete cookies or files with the system optimization tools.
  • Wi-Fi protection: Check and improve the security of your Wi-Fi network.
  • Anti-theft: Locate your PC if it is lost or stolen.
  • File encryptor: Encrypt sensitive files with a password.
  • File shredder: Securely and permanently delete files.
  • USB protection: Scan a USB drive for malware.

Conclusion: Is Panda the best antivirus software of 2023?

Panda is one of the best antivirus software in our test. We really like the password manager and flexible pricing.

But we prefer Norton, because it includes an unlimited VPN at a lower price. And because it offers better protection for Macs and mobile devices.

However, if you only have a Windows PC to protect, Panda’s excellent internet security suites are a great choice.

You can try Panda risk-free, thanks to its 30-day money-back guarantee.

Kaspersky Antivirus Review

Kaspersky Review

Ranked #5 out of 28 Antivirus

Kaspersky Antivirus on Windows 11


Kaspersky has excellent protection at a low price. But the war in Ukraine raises concerns about its ties to the Russian government.

  • Malware protection: 100%. Kaspersky averaged 6 out of 6 in the last 10 protection tests. It is excellent at removing malware.
  • Speed impact: 100%. Kasperksy averaged 6 out of 6 in the last 10 performance tests. So it does not slow down your PC.
  • Features: 100%. Kaspersky has anti-malware, anti-phishing, firewall, unlimited VPN, password manager, parental controls, and more.
  • Price: 100%. Kaspersky Plus is the most affordable way to protect a Windows PC with all essential features, including an unlimited VPN.

Discount: Save up to 50%

Kaspersky Anti-Virus Review

Kaspersky offers exceptional online security at a low price.


Kaspersky antivirus has a 100% malware protection score. This was its average in the independent tests by AV-Test since October 2016. This puts it ahead of all other antivirus companies, except Norton and McAfee.

It can offer such excellent malware protection through its triple-layer protection system:

  • Locate vulnerabilities and threats proactively via heuristic analysis.
  • Block cyber threats in real-time.
  • Instantly isolate and remove dangers.


Kaspersky has one of the most advanced firewalls in the industry. It will filter incoming and outgoing network activity on local networks and the internet. And although it works perfectly on the default settings, there are plenty of customization options too.


Kaspersky includes an unlimited VPN for free with Plus and Premium.

Like Bitdefender’s VPN, it uses Aura’s technology. Therefore, the VPN is fast, secure (AES-256 & HydraVPN), and allows torrenting (P2P). It also features several extra features: Auto-connect, kill switch, smart protection, and website protection.

However, by default, Kaspersky will collect information on your device, location, VPN server, and WiFI network (including IP and DNS settings). It does this to improve product quality, send ads and create marketing offers.

Password Manager

Kaspersky’s password manager is excellent. Creating and storing passwords is easy, and auto-filling them is accurate. Unlike Norton and McAfee, Kaspersky’s password manager is a desktop app rather than a web app. But that doesn’t get in the way of a great user experience.

Prices & Packages

  • Kaspersky Standard starts at € 20 (Europe) or $ 28 (USA). It offers antivirus, anti-phishing, and a firewall. It protects 1 to 5 devices.
  • Kaspersky Plus starts at € 26 (Europe) or $ 37 (USA). It adds a firewall and an unlimited VPN. It protects 1 to 5 devices.
  • Kaspersky Premium starts at € 32 (Europe) or $ 48 (USA). It adds identity protection and parental controls. It protects 1 to 20 devices.

Kaspersky has replaced the old product names Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Internet Security, and Total Security, with Standard, Plus, and Premium.

Bonus Features

  • Internal scan: Scan for worms, spyware, rootkits, and other malware.
  • External scan: Scan external drives, like a hard disk or USB drive.
  • Vulnerability scan: Scan your device for security risks.
  • Kaspersky protection: A hardened browser extension for secure banking.
  • Parental controls: Monitor and protect your children online.
  • Webcam protection: Block programs from accessing your webcam.
  • Private browsing: Block and remove tracking cookies in your browser.
  • Backup and restore: Backup files to cloud backup storage.
  • File encryption: Lock sensitive files in a secure vault.
  • File shredder: Permanently delete files via advanced protocols.

Conclusion: Is Kaspersky the best antivirus software of 2023?

Kaspersky offers excellent antivirus protection. Its anti-malware is industry-leading, its firewall and password manager are excellent, and it provides a wide range of extra features.

However, its VPN privacy policy is disappointing. A VPN is a privacy product and shouldn’t be used for marketing. On top of that, Kaspersky struggles with the tensions between the West and Russia, due to the war in Ukraine.

Therefore, we prefer Norton, which includes an unlimited VPN for free in its antivirus suite, doesn’t track what you do online, and isn’t caught up in a geopolitical struggle.

You can try Kaspersky risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.

Specification comparison

Below, we compare the following products:

  • Norton 360 Standard
  • Bitdefender Internet Security with the Premium VPN
  • McAfee Basic
  • Panda Dome Premium
  • Kaspersky Plus

These products represent the most cost-effective solutions from each company, delivering core protection for a minimum of one personal computer. Key features incorporated in these solutions include Anti-Malware, Anti-Phishing (Web Protection), Firewall, Password Manager, and an Unlimited VPN with no restrictions on data usage.

#1 of 20
#2 of 20
#3 of 20
#4 of 20
#5 of 20
Speed impact
1st year price
$ 39.99 / year
$ 54.99 / year
$ 29.99 / year
$ 66.99 / year
$ 36.99 / year
2nd year price
$ 89.99 / year
$ 129.99 / year
$ 89.99 / year
$ 133.99 / year
$ 75.99 / year
Operating software
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



Password manager

Unlimited VPN

Test score comparison

We’ve juxtaposed the latest ten evaluation scores from all antivirus offerings. These assessments were carried out by AV-Test, a German-based anti-malware testing institution. Their testing framework is built upon three aspects:

  • Protection (1-6): Antivirus protection against malware attacks.
  • Performance (1-6): System slowdown caused by the antivirus.
  • Usability (1-6): Frequency of false alarms and disruptions.

We used their results, and this formula, to calculate the final score:

Final Score = 60% Protection + 20% Performance + 20% Usability.

Brands that are not present in our chart didn’t partake in the AV-Test evaluations. This could be a cause for concern as most well-established brands, barring a few exceptions like Panda, ESET, and Sophos, participate in the testing process.

Final Score

Price comparison

We’ve analyzed the pricing structure of leading antivirus solutions for Windows systems. To ensure a level playing field, we focused on the cost to safeguard a Windows PC with the fundamental features:

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

Some points to keep in mind:

  • Certain brands lack some features, which negatively affects their cost-effectiveness.
  • The prices considered are for the second year in the USA, disregarding first-year promotional offers.
  • Prices are rounded to the nearest whole number for ease of comprehension (for example, $99.99 is rounded to $100).

Pricing varies outside the USA, and for specific details, you should check the respective brand websites.

Total price
Missing features
$ 60
No firewall and password manager
$ 65
No firewall, password manager, and VPN
$ 90
$ 90
No firewall
$ 100
$ 130
No password manager
$ 179
No firewall

User reviews

We’ve assembled user reviews for all antivirus providers. We leveraged scores and review volume from TrustPilot, a preeminent user review platform. However, exercise caution while interpreting these results since some brands are known to actively work towards boosting their ratings.

We approach extremely high ratings with skepticism. Brands like TotalAV, notorious for their assertive marketing and sales strategies, are an example.

Ratings falling between 4.0 and 4.5 are considered good and credible. Scores above this range are viewed with suspicion, while scores below it may suggest shortcomings in the product or customer service. For instance, the scores received by McAfee are cause for concern.

Review score
Review count

What is antivirus software?

Antivirus software is a specialized program designed to safeguard computers and networks from various forms of malicious software, often referred to as malware. This umbrella term encompasses a wide range of threats, including viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, spyware, adware, and more.

Antivirus software plays a crucial role in detecting, preventing, and eliminating these digital threats, thereby ensuring the safety and integrity of the user’s data and system functionality.

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

How does antivirus software work?

The primary function of antivirus software is to scan for and remove malicious software from your system. It achieves this through various detection methods, each designed to counter different types of malware. The three primary methods are signature-based detection, heuristic analysis, and behavior-based detection.

Signature-based detection

Signature-based detection is one of the most traditional and commonly employed methods in antivirus software. It operates on the principle of malware signatures, which are unique strings of data or ‘patterns’ that are characteristic of specific malware. Antivirus software maintains an extensive database of these signatures and regularly updates it to include new ones as they are discovered.

When a file or a program on your computer matches one of these signatures, the antivirus software flags it as potential malware. This method, while effective against known threats, struggles to detect new, unknown malware that doesn’t have an associated signature in the database yet.

Heuristic analysis

Heuristic analysis is designed to counter the shortcomings of signature-based detection. Instead of relying solely on known malware signatures, heuristic analysis allows antivirus software to detect new or modified malware by examining the code for suspicious commands or structures.

This method works on the premise that while malware signatures can be altered to avoid detection, the underlying behavior and structure of the malware remain largely unchanged. Therefore, it allows the antivirus to potentially identify unknown threats. However, heuristic analysis is not perfect and can sometimes lead to false positives, where legitimate programs are incorrectly flagged as malware.

Behavior-based detection

Behavior-based detection, also known as behavioral analysis, is a more advanced method that monitors the behavior of programs within a system to identify malicious activity. Instead of focusing on the program’s code, behavior-based detection watches for abnormal actions, such as attempts to modify system files or send data to unknown servers, which may indicate the presence of malware.

This method can be particularly effective against zero-day threats, which are new and unknown to antivirus databases. However, similar to heuristic analysis, behavior-based detection can sometimes result in false positives, as it might mistake legitimate system operations for malicious activity.

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

Do you need a firewall?

A firewall is an essential line of defense in the digital world and should be an integral part of your system’s security measures. It serves as a robust barrier between your internal network or computer system and the external world of the internet, controlling the traffic that comes in and goes out based on predetermined rules. A firewall is particularly important in preventing unauthorized external access to your system, thereby reducing the risk of various online threats, including hackers, malware, and more.

Working in conjunction with antivirus software, a firewall bolsters your digital protection. While antivirus software scans your system for known threats and removes them, a firewall helps prevent such threats from entering your system in the first place. It’s like a security checkpoint, stopping potential threats before they cross your system’s boundaries.

There are several types of firewalls, each providing a different level of protection and functioning in a unique way:

  • Packet-Filtering Firewalls: The most basic type of firewall, packet-filtering firewalls work by inspecting packets (the basic units of data transmission) of information being transferred to and from your system. They check the packets against a set of rules concerning source and destination IP addresses, ports, and protocols, and then decide whether to allow or block them.
  • Stateful Inspection Firewalls: More advanced than packet-filtering firewalls, stateful inspection firewalls monitor the state of active connections and use this information to assess the legitimacy of packet information. This means they can make more nuanced decisions about which packets to allow or block.
  • Proxy Firewalls: Proxy firewalls operate at the application layer of network protocols and effectively shield your network’s IP address by processing requests coming from the internet, thereby providing a layer of anonymity and additional security.
  • Network Address Translation (NAT) Firewalls: NAT firewalls hide an entire network’s IP addresses behind a single IP address. This not only conserves IP addresses but also provides additional security, as it’s difficult for an attacker to discover the individual IP addresses of devices on the network.
  • Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFWs): These are advanced firewalls that incorporate traditional firewall capabilities with quality-of-service (bandwidth rate limiting), intrusion prevention systems, and other network security functions.

When it comes to antivirus software, they commonly incorporate a type of firewall often referred to as a personal firewall or software firewall. This is a type of firewall installed directly on a device (as opposed to a network), which monitors and controls network traffic on that device in much the same way as a packet-filtering or stateful inspection firewall. Personal firewalls are essential for individual devices, particularly those used on unsecured networks or for activities that could make them a target for cyber threats.

For more, read our blog posts on firewalls:

In conclusion, while antivirus software is critical for detecting and removing threats, a firewall acts as a preemptive shield, stopping many threats from ever reaching your system. The combination of both offers a more comprehensive approach to cybersecurity.

How do we test antivirus software?

Our evaluation process of antivirus software is a meticulous and multi-faceted exercise. We scrutinize each product based on six key parameters, each assigned a specific weightage to reflect its importance in the overall performance of the software:

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

The above elements are carefully selected to give us a comprehensive understanding of the software’s capabilities, its impact on system performance, its affordability, and the reputation of the provider.

Anti-malware protection (30%)

One of the primary functionalities of antivirus software is its ability to detect and eliminate malware. For this reason, our testing places a significant emphasis on anti-malware protection. We utilize a two-pronged approach to test this aspect: in-house testing and analysis of results from AV-Test, a renowned independent IT security institute.

In-house testing

In our in-house tests, we employ a rigorous procedure designed to simulate real-world scenarios as accurately as possible. We introduce hundreds of malware samples to the test computer via a USB drive, putting the antivirus software’s malware scanner to the test. The software needs to identify and neutralize all these malware instances to pass this test.

In a separate examination, we mimic malware attacks by executing malware files and initiating ransomware attacks. The objective here is to evaluate the effectiveness of the software’s real-time protection. An efficient antivirus software should be able to thwart these attacks instantaneously, preventing any potential harm to the system or its data.

AV-Test results

Alongside our in-house testing, we also consider the anti-malware protection scores given by AV-Test. AV-Test’s analysis is thorough and is respected industry-wide. They carry out routine evaluations for Windows, Mac, and Android platforms, which provides a broader perspective on the antivirus software’s capabilities across various operating systems.

By amalgamating the results of our in-house tests and AV-Test’s evaluations, we strive to offer a detailed and unbiased assessment of the anti-malware protection each antivirus software provides.

Security and privacy features (30%)

The breadth and quality of security and privacy features offered by an antivirus software significantly influence its overall effectiveness. We dedicate 30% of our total score to this aspect and test several vital features, as detailed below.

Web protection (anti-phishing)

Web protection serves as your first line of defense while browsing the internet, guarding against phishing attacks that aim to steal sensitive information. We test this feature by visiting a curated list of known phishing websites and other potentially dangerous sites to see if the antivirus software correctly blocks them.


The firewall feature is crucial in preventing unauthorized external access to your system. We test it by trying to breach the firewall using various common techniques. Additionally, we also evaluate its user-friendliness and its ability to distinguish between legitimate and malicious traffic.

Password manager

A good password manager should securely store passwords, help generate strong ones, and auto-fill them on websites and apps. We test its efficiency and user experience, and we also check whether it uses strong encryption to secure the stored passwords.

Virtual private network (VPN)

A VPN ensures private browsing by encrypting your internet connection, making your online activities invisible to others. We check the VPN’s speed, security level, and data limits, if any. We also examine whether the VPN keeps logs of user activity, which could be a privacy concern.

Parental controls

Parental controls allow parents to monitor and control their children’s online activities. We test this feature by setting up various control parameters (such as website blocking and time limits) and assessing how effectively the antivirus software enforces them.

Identity theft protection

Identity theft protection should alert users about potential risks to their personal information. We assess this feature by checking if the software monitors various data points (like credit reports and social media), alerts users of potential identity theft, and assists in recovery.

Secure cloud storage (cloud backup)

This feature provides a secure space to backup important files and data. We evaluate its user-friendliness, storage limit, and security measures. We also test the recovery process to see how easy it is to retrieve data when needed.


Anti-ransomware tools protect your system from ransomware attacks, which lock your files until a ransom is paid. We test this feature by simulating ransomware attacks to see if the software can prevent them and safeguard your data.

Dark web monitoring

Dark web monitoring alerts users if their personal information appears on the dark web, a common place for illegal activities. We test this feature by checking the extent of its monitoring and its responsiveness in alerting about potential data breaches.

In essence, an antivirus solution should offer a well-rounded suite of security and privacy features that can protect against a variety of threats and risks. By thoroughly testing these features, we ensure that our evaluation covers all the significant aspects of an antivirus software.

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 impact of an antivirus solution is another significant factor in our testing. A great antivirus tool should protect your system without significantly affecting its speed and overall performance. To gauge this, we leverage the performance tests carried out by AV-Test.

AV-Test’s performance test measures the impact of an antivirus software on the system’s speed during typical usage. This includes activities like visiting websites, downloading and installing applications, copying files, and more. A lower impact score means the software has a minimal effect on system speed and performance, which is desirable for uninterrupted, smooth operations.

False positives (10%)

While an antivirus tool’s primary job is to identify and neutralize threats, it is equally important that it does not incorrectly flag safe files or applications (false positives). Such incidents can disrupt regular activities and even lead to vital data loss.

To evaluate this aspect, we take into account AV-Test’s usability tests. These tests focus on the frequency of false alarms during system scans, software installations, and while using legitimate websites and applications. A lower score on false positives indicates that the software is accurate in its threat detection and does not unnecessarily raise alarms, thus minimizing disruptions.

Price (10%)

In our analysis, we also consider the affordability of the antivirus software, focusing on its value-for-money proposition. We understand that cost can be a deciding factor for many users, and a higher price does not always guarantee superior performance.

While comparing prices, we look at both the first-year price, often discounted, and the second-year price, which gives a more accurate indication of ongoing costs. Notably, there can be significant differences between these two prices, which we highlight to help our readers make informed decisions.

Ownership and reputation (10%)

The credibility and trustworthiness of the company behind the antivirus software also play a crucial role in our evaluations. It’s important to remember that not all companies are created equal, and past behavior can be indicative of how the company might act in the future.

A case in point is the Avast scandal, where the company was found to be selling user data via a subsidiary called Jumpshot. Such practices raise serious questions about user privacy and data security. Thus, we take into account the ownership and reputation of the companies to ensure that our recommendations are not only technically sound but also ethically reliable.

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

How to choose the best antivirus software?

Selecting the right antivirus software requires careful consideration of various factors. This not only includes the effectiveness of the software in tackling threats but also its impact on system performance, regular updates, security features, customer support, and cost. Let’s break down these aspects:

Reliable protection from malware

At its core, an antivirus solution should provide robust and reliable protection from various forms of malware, such as viruses, ransomware, trojans, spyware, etc. This includes real-time scanning, in-depth system scans, and prompt removal of detected threats. You should look for software that consistently achieves high scores in independent antivirus testing by organizations like AV-Test.

Security updates

The world of cyber threats is continually evolving, with new forms of malware appearing regularly. As such, it’s crucial that the antivirus software you choose releases frequent updates to keep its virus database current and adapt to new threats. Regular updates ensure that your software stays effective against emerging malware.

Security features

In addition to fundamental malware protection, consider the additional security features offered by the antivirus software. These might include a firewall, web protection (anti-phishing), a password manager, a VPN, parental controls, and more. These features add layers of security and can significantly enhance your defense against cyber threats.

Performance impact

While robust protection is critical, it shouldn’t come at the expense of your device’s performance. Some antivirus software can slow down your system due to heavy resource usage. Choose a solution that provides excellent protection while having a minimal impact on your system’s speed and performance.

Customer support

Excellent customer support can be a lifesaver if you encounter any issues or need assistance with the software. Check whether the antivirus provider offers multiple support channels like email, phone, and live chat. Also, consider the availability of online resources like FAQs, tutorials, and user forums.

First-year and second price

Finally, price is an important factor. While many antivirus tools offer discounted prices for the first year, the renewal price (second-year price) can be significantly higher. Consider both these prices to understand the actual cost of ownership. Remember, a higher price doesn’t always guarantee superior protection, so focus on value for money.

In conclusion, selecting the right antivirus software involves a balance of several factors. Always consider your personal needs, device compatibility, and budget when making your decision.

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?

While antivirus software originally began with the sole focus of protecting against computer viruses, it has since evolved into a more comprehensive solution against a wide range of cyber threats. However, it’s important to note that while robust, antivirus software cannot guarantee 100% protection from every conceivable threat. Here’s a brief overview of some common cyber threats that a comprehensive antivirus solution can defend against:


Malware is a broad term that encompasses several types of malicious software designed to harm or exploit any computing device or network. This includes viruses, worms, trojans, ransomware, spyware, and more. Antivirus software scans your system and files, detecting and eliminating such threats.

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


Adware is unwanted software designed to throw advertisements up on your screen, most often within a web browser. These ads can severely affect your user experience and can sometimes serve as a conduit for other malware. Antivirus software can block adware, preventing these intrusive ads.

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


A botnet is a network of private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge. Botnets can be used to carry out distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack), steal data, send spam, and allows the attacker access to the device. Antivirus software can detect and remove the malicious software, disconnecting from the botnet.

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


Keyloggers are a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and record each keystroke you make on your device. This can lead to serious breaches of privacy and data theft. Antivirus solutions can detect and neutralize keyloggers.

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


Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts a victim’s files. The attacker then demands a ransom from the victim to restore access to the data upon payment. Modern antivirus solutions are equipped to prevent ransomware attacks and restore encrypted files.

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


Rootkits are a type of malicious software that provides privileged access (root access) to a computer. Rootkits are known for their stealth and can often evade detection. Comprehensive antivirus software can detect and remove rootkits to protect your system.

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


Spyware is malware designed to spy on you, collecting information about your internet activity and personal data without your knowledge. Antivirus software can detect and remove spyware, helping to safeguard your privacy.

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


Trojans are harmful pieces of software that look legitimate but can take control of your computer or open a backdoor for other malware if run or installed. Antivirus software can detect and eliminate these disguised threats.

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


A virus is a type of malicious code that, when executed, replicates by modifying other computer programs and inserting its own code. Viruses can cause harmful effects, like corrupting the system software or destroying data. Antivirus software was initially designed to combat computer viruses, a function that remains at its core.

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


Worms are a type of malware that can spread copies of itself from computer to computer. A worm can replicate itself without any human interaction, and it does not need to attach itself to a software program to cause damage. Antivirus software can prevent a worm from embedding and spreading.

In conclusion, a robust antivirus solution can safeguard against these and many other threats. Regular updates and comprehensive scanning are key to ensuring optimum protection.

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

What cyber threats can antivirus not protect you from?

While antivirus software provides an essential line of defense against many types of cyber threats, it is important to understand that it does not offer complete protection against all threats. Certain threats, particularly those involving deception and manipulation of human behaviour or exploiting yet undiscovered vulnerabilities, can circumvent even the most advanced antivirus software. Here’s a look at a few of these threats:


Phishing attacks involve deceptive emails, messages, or websites designed to look like they come from reputable sources. The goal of these attacks is to trick users into revealing sensitive information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, or social security numbers. Antivirus software can’t necessarily prevent you from being targeted by phishing attacks because they hinge on manipulating the user, not the device or software.

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

Online Scams

Similar to phishing, online scams manipulate user trust to gain unauthorized access or deceive victims into sending money. Scams can take many forms, from fraudulent auctions, “get rich quick” schemes, or deceptive tech support calls. While antivirus software can block known malicious websites and flag suspicious emails, they cannot protect users who voluntarily provide their information or funds due to a scam.

For more, read our blog post on online scams.

Social Engineering

Social engineering is a method of tricking people into revealing confidential information or performing actions that give access to their data or systems. Techniques can involve impersonation, manipulation, and exploiting trust or authority. While antivirus software can guard against the software often used to facilitate these attacks, it cannot protect against the manipulation tactics used in these types of attacks.

For more, read our blog post on social engineering.

Zero-Day Exploits

Zero-day exploits are attacks that take advantage of vulnerabilities in software that are unknown to the software maker or antivirus software. These vulnerabilities are called “zero-day” because once discovered, the software’s developers have zero days to fix the issue before it can be exploited. Antivirus software struggles to protect against these threats as they are, by nature, unknown until they are discovered and exploited.

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

In conclusion, while antivirus software is a crucial element of any cybersecurity strategy, it should not be the only line of defense. Users must stay informed about the various threats that exist and take proactive steps, such as secure browsing habits and regular software updates, to bolster their digital security.

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. 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 with a firewall?

Bitdefender and Norton offer the best antivirus software with a firewall, providing robust protection at a fair price. Check our website for unique discounts.

Do you need antivirus software and a firewall?

Both antivirus software and a firewall are crucial for comprehensive protection. They function together to provide a robust defense against cyber threats.

How does antivirus software work?

Antivirus software works by scanning, identifying, and removing malicious programs from your device. It uses signature-based detection, heuristic analysis, and behavior-based detection methods.

Will antivirus software slow down your device?

The best antivirus software, like Bitdefender and Norton, are designed to have minimal impact on your device’s performance. However, lower-quality antivirus solutions might slow down your device.

Is free antivirus software safe?

Free antivirus software often lacks the comprehensive protection of paid versions and may not be safe due to less frequent updates and lower-quality defense mechanisms.

Is Kaspersky still safe?

While Kaspersky originates from Russia, there’s no proven evidence that it’s unsafe. It continues to be a reputable provider of antivirus software.

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.