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The 10 Best Antivirus with a Firewall : Updated Test *
By Tibor Moes / July 2022
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.
- Device Security 100% 100%
- Online Privacy 100% 100%
The best antivirus with a firewall of 2022.
Norton is the only brand offering 100% anti-malware protection and an advanced firewall. It also has a range of excellent security features:
Password manager, VPN without a data limit, parental controls, dark web monitor, cloud storage, webcam protection, and web protection.
Choose Norton if you want the best protection for your devices and privacy. You can try it risk-free, thanks to the 60-day return policy.
- Device Security 99% 99%
- Online Privacy 96% 96%
Excellent antivirus and firewall, for a low price.
Bitdefender offers 99% anti-malware protection, an advanced firewall, and a broad range of security features:
Password manager, VPN with a data limit of 200 MB/day, parental controls, dark web monitor, anti-trackers, webcam protection, and web protection.
Choose Bitdefender for excellent protection at a fair price. You can try it risk-free, thanks to the 30-day return policy.
Antivirus Ranking and Reviews of 2022
We have tested and reviewed security software since 2014. Below, we have selected the top 5 from 19 paid and free antivirus software.
- 1. 🥇 Norton Antivirus - The best antivirus software of 2022.
- 2. 🥈 Bitdefender Antivirus - Excellent protection at a low price.
- 3. 🥉 Panda Antivirus - Most flexible pricing.
- 4. Kaspersky Antivirus
- 5. McAfee Antivirus
- Comparison table
- How we test
- How to choose
- Antivirus tested
- Frequently asked questions
Click the links or scroll down for more.
Norton Antivirus Review
Norton 360 Antivirus Review
Norton offers the best antivirus protection on all operating systems.
Norton antivirus is the only brand with a 100% malware protection score. No other brand has achieved this. Its real-time malware protection tool, called SONAR, is the best.
To get to this score, we averaged all test scores since 2016 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 software on your computer makes suspicious outgoing connections to other devices.
And that's not all. Norton's firewall also cloaks your inactive ports, so that 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.
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 starts at € 15 and offers basic protection: Anti-malware, firewall, and password manager. It protects 1 PC or Mac.
- Norton 360 Standard starts at € 20 and adds the unlimited VPN and webcam protection. It protects 1 device.
- Norton 360 Deluxe starts at € 25 and adds dark web monitoring. It protects 5 devices.
- Norton 360 Premium starts at € 30. It protects 10 devices.
- 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.
Is Norton the best antivirus software of 2022?
Yes, Norton is the best antivirus program in our test.
Modern security software need to offer far more than just anti-malware protection. By combining device security, online privacy, and identity theft protection, is Norton the best internet security suite you can buy.
You can try Norton risk-free, thanks to its 60-day return policy.
Bitdefender Antivirus Review
Ranked #2 out of 19 Antivirus
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 99% malware protection score. This was its average of all independent tests by AV-Test since October 2016. It puts Bitdefender ahead of all competitors, except Norton.
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.
Bitdefender's password manager is a bit useless, because it only supports Windows. And not macOS, Android, or iOS.
Prices & Packages
- Bitdefender Antivirus Plus starts at € 16 and offers basic antivirus protection: Anti-malware, VPN, and password manager. It protects 3 PCs.
- Bitdefender Internet Security starts at € 24 and adds the firewall and several extra features. It protects 3 PCs.
- Bitdefender Total Security starts at € 32 and adds several extra features. It protects up to 5 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.
- 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.
Is Bitdefender the best antivirus software of 2022?
Bitdefender is one of the best antivirus programs in our test. Its anti-malware is exceptional, and the firewall and VPN are highly advanced. On top of that, its extra features are excellent.
We prefer Norton slightly, because its password manager works on all operating software (Bitdefender's only on Windows), and its free VPN is unlimited (Bitdefender's is limited to 200 MB / day).
However, we're also big fans of Bitdefender's internet security software. And as its renewal price is lower than Norton's, it's one of the best antivirus deals.
You can try Bitdefender risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.
Panda Antivirus Review
Ranked #3 out of 19 Antivirus
Panda Dome: Get a 50% discount on this hidden page 🔥
Panda offers excellent virus protection on Windows. And it has the most flexible pricing for its antivirus packages.
Panda antivirus scores 99.9% in the real-world protection tests. This is the average of all tests by AV-Comparatives since 2020. The score puts Panda ahead of all competitors, including Kaspersky, Bitdefender, and Norton.
Note that there are two independent testing labs: AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. Both test the malware scanning capabilities of free and premium antivirus programs. Usually, we quote AV-Test. However, Panda only takes part in the independent lab tests of AV-Comparatives.
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.
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 and offers entry-level antivirus protection: Anti-malware, VPN, and a firewall.
- Panda Dome Advanced starts at € 23 and adds several extra features.
- Panda Dome Complete starts at € 35 and adds the password manager and several extra features.
- Panda Dome Premium starts at € 35 and adds the unlimited VPN and several extra 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.
Is Panda the best antivirus software of 2022?
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
Ranked #4 out of 19 Antivirus
Kaspersky offers exceptional online security for Windows PCs, Mac computers, and Android devices. And the introduction of Kaspersky Security Cloud brings protection to iOS too.
Kaspersky antivirus has a 99% 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.
It can offer such excellent malware protection through its triple-layer protection system:
- Locate vulnerabilities and threats pro-actively 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.
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.
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 Anti-Virus starts at € 20 and offers only antivirus protection. It protects 3 Windows computers.
- Kaspersky Internet Security starts at € 26 and adds the VPN, firewall, and several extra features. It protects 3 devices.
- Kaspersky Total Security starts at € 32 and adds the password manager and several extra features. It protects 5 devices.
- 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.
Is Kaspersky the best antivirus software of 2022?
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.
Therefore, we prefer Norton, which includes an unlimited VPN for free in its antivirus suite. And it doesn't track what you do online.
You can try Kaspersky risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.
McAfee Antivirus Review
Ranked #5 out of 19 Antivirus
McAfee: Save up to 75% on this secret page 🔥
McAfee Total Protection, McAfee's main antivirus product, is excellent. And its interface is one of the very best on all popular operating systems.
McAfee antivirus has a 96% malware protection score. Unfortunately, that puts it behind the top performers: Norton, Bitdefender, and Kaspersky. We got this score by averaging all test scores by AV-Test since 2016.
Luckily, McAfee has improved its cybersecurity tools a lot in recent years. Since April 2020, it has achieved a perfect 100% score in every 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 had some errors in our test. Although we had bought the unlimited VPN, we got a 500 MB / day limit on Android and iOS. And on macOS, the VPN didn't work at all. Only on Windows, it worked.
That said, the VPN is fast, secure (AES-256 & HydraVPN), and allows torrenting (P2P). But there are no extra features.
McAfee's cross-platform password manager 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 Total Protection Basic starts at € 30. It protects 1 device.
- Mcafee Total Protection Standard starts at € 35. It protects 3 devices.
- Mcafee Total Protection Plus starts at € 40. It protects 5 devices.
- Mcafee Total Protection Premium starts at € 45. It protects 10 devices.
- 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.
Is McAfee the best antivirus software of 2022?
McAfee has improved its virus protection significantly in recent years. On top of that, its password manager is one of the best, and its design is both user-friendly and beautiful. So it's a good antivirus program.
However, if we look at the long-term anti-malware performance since 2016, it is tied with Windows Defender, and behind Norton and Bitdefender. And its VPN still had some errors during our tests. So we prefer Norton.
You can try McAfee risk-free, thanks to its 30-day return policy.
Comparison table of the best antivirus software
Malware Detection Rate
Dark Web Monitor
Free VPN Data Limit
Number of Devices
Money Back Guarantee
How we test the best antivirus with a firewall?
To find the best antivirus with a firewall, we have tested 36 security products from 19 brands, on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. In this comparison, we have added a particular focus to the firewall and its ability to keep hackers and cyber threats out of your PC.
We have tested each of the security products in the following ways:
Malware protection test 1
In the past, the only feature of antivirus software was anti-malware protection. These days, the programs have evolved into far more complete security services. However, anti-malware remains at the core of what they do.
Anti-malware software works in two ways:
- It analyses potentially destructive computer code and compares it to malware samples in its database. This is called virus-signature detection and is the classic form of anti-malware protection.
- It analyses the behavior of all apps on your device. If it spots applications behaving suspiciously, such as the rapid copying of files to sensitive areas of your PC, those files are isolated and neutralized. This is called heuristic analysis or behavioral analysis. It uses modern security tools like machine learning, AI, and big data.
In both methods, anti-malware software can detect and remove a wide range of malware types, including adware, spyware, keyloggers, ransomware, viruses, trojans, scareware, worms, and more.
In our first malware protection test, we analyze the results of the independent test labs AV-Test, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs. These are three IT security labs that test the real-time anti-malware capabilities of antivirus software. Our preferred lab is AV-Test.
Malware protection test 2
We wouldn’t do our job very well if we relied entirely on the results of others. So we also run our anti-malware tests. During these trials, we infect our test PC with a wide range of malware samples via a USB drive. We also visit various malicious websites known for phishing attacks.
We then analyze whether the antivirus software can detect and remove all malware threats. And whether it can stop the malicious websites from opening before they can expose us to their phishing attacks.
Although we take our tests very seriously, we understand that they are performed on a smaller scale than those by the test labs. Therefore, the results of the independent labs have a more significant weight on our results.
False positives test
Nobody is perfect. That counts for antivirus software too. Sometimes, it can flag a harmless file as dangerous, block a safe website from opening, or mistake regular software for malware. These events are called false positives.
They are nothing to worry about. But when they happen frequently, they can become a real annoyance. AV-Test runs the Usability test, analyzing the number of false positives per brand. We use their test results to inform our writing.
System performance test
IT Security is one of the most crucial elements of our digital lives. However, it shouldn’t come at the expense of our PC’s performance. To measure whether antivirus programs slow down our system, we measure the CPU load by the security software while we run a complete system scan.
On top of that, we analyze the results of AV-Test’s Performance test. Here, the test lab measures the speed impact of the antivirus software on the downloading, installing, and launching of software. As well as on the opening of websites.
A two-way firewall sits between your computer and a network. This network can be a local area network (LAN) or the internet. The firewall will then filter incoming and outgoing data streams to keep malware and hackers out.
Firewalls can be software-based, hardware-based, or sold as a service. Within antivirus software, only the software-based firewall exists.
Software-based firewalls will consume some of your PC’s CPU and RAM. But in turn, they offer a high degree of protection against malware, can filter incoming and outgoing traffic, and offer you detailed control over the connectivity of each program on your computer.
We test whether the firewall successfully blocks all ports on our test PC using the ShieldsUP! test of the Gibson Research Corporation. On top of that, we test whether we can set custom rules for various network types, such as home, work, and public networks. And finally, we test whether we have fine-grained control over the connectivity rules for each app.
As this comparison dedicates itself to antivirus programs and firewalls, we will explain the various firewall types and their functions. However, many firewall types only apply to enterprises and are not sold with antivirus software. So if you’re not interested, feel free to skip this part.
A. Packet-Filtering Firewall
Applications exchange information with each other in data packets. Packet-filtering firewalls check whether these data packets are transmitted according to specific rules relating to IP addresses, protocols, and ports.
If a data packet does not fit the criteria, it is dropped. So the information in the data packet is not inspected. This makes packet-filtering firewalls inexpensive, fast, and straightforward. But also a bit of a blunt instrument with little logic behind it.
B. Circuit-Level Gateway
A Circuit-Level Gateway inspects initiation-messages, such as TCP handshakes, to decide whether a remote party can be trusted and whether a secure connection can be established.
It is another straightforward firewall type that doesn’t inspect the data packets. It is, therefore, best combined with a different kind of firewall, like an Application-Level Gateway.
C. Application-Level Gateway
Application-Level Gateways are sometimes called Proxy Firewalls. They function as the entry and exit points of a network. They analyze not just the address, port, and TCP header information but also the information inside the data packet.
Because they filter the data so thoroughly, Application-Level Gateways add a significant security layer to a network. However, the filtering can be labor intensive and, therefore, slow down the network’s performance.
D. Stateful Inspection Firewall
A Stateful Inspection Firewall, sometimes called a Multilayer Inspection Firewall, examines each data packet and checks whether it belongs to an established TCP or network session.
Combining data and circuit inspection, it offers a high degree of control over what is allowed in and out of the network. However, this attention to detail can be expensive and resource-intensive, potentially slowing down the network.
E. Next Generation Firewall
Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) are the most advanced firewalls, used by heavily regulated industries like finance and healthcare. They combine (deep) packet inspection and stateful inspection, with other network security systems like anti-malware.
Because they are so advanced and multi-functional, they require significant expertise and integration with other security systems. As you can imagine, this makes them the most costly firewall type.
Password manager test
Websites get hacked frequently. Having the same email and password combination for each website can pose a danger to your cyber safety. After all, if a single account gets hacked, all accounts will be accessible to the hacker.
It is, therefore, wise to use unique and secure passwords for each account. However, this can be cumbersome to implement and difficult to remember. Luckily, password managers can help.
A password manager helps you create and store unique passwords for each account. On top of that, it will automatically fill in your email and password when you attempt to log in.
And to keep those passwords safe, the best password managers offer two-factor authentication (2FA) and biometrics login via fingerprint or facial recognition.
We test whether all these features work on all operating systems. How accurate the auto-fill is. And how often the password manager gets in the way of your digital experience.
Parental control test
The online world can be a dangerous place for adults. So imagine how menacing it can be for a 7-year-old child. At the same time, it’s not as easy for parents to protect their children online, as it is to protect them offline. Luckily, parental controls can help.
Parental controls allow parents to set protective boundaries on their children’s digital experience. For instance, they can set screentime rules after which games and other apps won’t work anymore. Or they can set filters on specific website categories, like gambling and alcohol.
We test whether these features work. We do this by installing the protective boundaries on a test device, usually an Android phone. We then attempt to circumvent the screentime rules and internet filters, in the way a child might.
We also check how accurate our behavior is displayed in the admin panel of the parental controls. And whether this is done in real-time.
Security is no longer the only threat to our digital world. Since the rise of Facebook and personalized ads, privacy has also become a significant concern. VPN attempt to solve this issue.
When you surf the web with a VPN, your data is sent through an encrypted tunnel to a VPN server, from where it moves on the websites and apps. This hides your IP address and restores your anonymity online.
On top of that, it makes you safe on public wifi networks. Where hackers can intercept your data via man-in-the-middle attacks. If you have a VPN, you can safely shop and bank via public wifi networks.
We test the encryption strength, encryption protocol, log policy, download speed, and ping of a VPN. We also check whether the VPN allows you to download torrents via peer-to-peer networks and whether it works with VPN services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney Plus.
Operating software test
Many antivirus software offer many security features on Windows, but far less on macOS, Android, and iOS. As most of us own multiple devices, it matters whether the antivirus offers protection for each operating system.
We test the anti-malware, password manager, parental controls, and VPN on each device. We also test the firewall on Windows and Mac.
Not all antivirus software are built by respectable companies. The best example is Avast, which tracked and sold the browsing behavior of its users, via its subsidiary Jumpshot. Since then, most comparison sites have stopped recommending Avast.
To avoid the rotten apples, we read countless press releases, news articles, privacy policies, and tech blogs. When a company is caught spying on its users and trading their data, we remove it from our comparison.
Customer support test
We connect the support staff at the various cybersecurity companies, to check their problem-solving skills. We do so via 24/7 live chat, email support, and if available, phone support. We also read through their forums, FAQs, and knowledge bases.
Ease of use test
People of all backgrounds use antivirus software. Some are IT experts, and others are novices. Yet the software should be usable by all.
So we test how easy the security software is to install and use on default settings. And we explore how complex it is to adjust and optimize the advanced features.
Value for money test
Sadly, free antivirus software isn’t beneficial. Replacing Microsoft Defender with a free alternative rarely improves your security. To truly protect yourself online, you need to buy paid antivirus software.
Yet it shouldn’t cost a fortune. That’s why we compare the prices of all manufacturers. Both the first-year prices, which are usually heavily discounted, and the second-year prices. We also compare what features you get for each operating software and how many devices you can protect.
We look for anti-malware protection, a VPN, a dark web monitor, and a password manager on Windows 10, Windows 11, macOS, Android, and iOS. And a firewall for Windows and macOS. You should be able to protect at least 3 devices on a single purchase.
How to choose the best antivirus with a firewall?
You can skip looking for free antivirus software when choosing the best antivirus with a firewall. These never include a firewall. Instead, you should ask yourself two questions:
- What operating software would you like to protect?
- What features do you need?
What operating software would you like to protect?
Most antivirus software include a firewall on Windows 10 and 11. Not that many offer one on macOS. And zero feature one on Android and iOS.
This example says a lot about the cybersecurity industry. It is very Windows-focused. However, most of us have multiple devices to protect, including an Android or iOS phone. And perhaps a Mac.
For full-featured protection on each operating system, we recommend Norton. It is the only brand we’ve tested that offers complete protection for each device.
Should you want more detailed advice per operating software, then we recommend visiting our comparison pages below:
- The best antivirus software of 2022. Here you can find out about the best multi-device antivirus software.
- The best antivirus software for Windows 11. Here you can read about the best antivirus software for Microsoft’s latest operating system: Windows 11.
- The best antivirus software for macOS. Here you can learn about the best security software for MacBooks and iMacs.
- The best antivirus apps for Android. Here you can find out about the best security apps for Google’s mobile operating system: Android.
- The best antivirus apps for iOS. Here you can find out about the best security apps for iPhones and iPads.
- The best antivirus with an unlimited VPN. Here you can learn about the best antivirus programs that include a VPN without a data limit.
- The best VPN software. And for those who prefer to learn more about privacy-focused software, have a look at our VPN comparison.
What features do you need?
Everyone needs anti-malware protection, anti-phishing protection, a firewall, and a password manager. That much is clear. But there are optional features, which you might need, depending on your circumstances:
- Virtual Private Network (VPN). Using a VPN is essential for those who frequently use public or unsecured Wi-Fi networks. It will protect you from advertisers and hackers that attempt to track or hack your data stream.
- Ransomware Protection. Ransomware protection can be a lifesaver for those who manage a small business. Sadly, the rise of ransomware went hand-in-hand with the rise of cryptocurrency. So if you don’t want to get locked out of your data, stay protected.
- Parental Controls. For those of us blessed with younglings, parental controls can be an excellent tool to protect them online. For example, you can set boundaries on the internet and time limits on screen time. On top of that, you can finally see what you’re kids are up to on their phones (probably Tik-Tok).
Other features to consider are dark web monitoring, identity theft protection, and secure cloud storage, all of which Norton offers.
What antivirus software have we tested?
We have tested 36 security products from 19 different antivirus companies.
We have tested free versions, paid versions, entry-level versions, premium versions, stand-alone VPN, and much more. If it’s out there, we’ve tried it.
Below are the security tools we tested:
- Avast Antivirus Free, Avast Premium Security & Avast One
- AVG Antivirus Free & AVG Ultimate
- Avira Free Security & Avira Prime
- Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, Bitdefender Internet Security, Bitdefender Total Security & Bitdefender Premium VPN
- BullGuard Antivirus & BullGuard Premium Protection
- Comodo Antivirus
- ESET Internet Security Premium Protection
- F-Secure Safe & F-Secure Total
- Intego Mac Internet Security X9 & Mac Premium Bundle X9
- Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Kaspersky Internet Security, Kaspersky Total Security & Kaspersky VPN Secure Connection
- MacKeeper Antivirus
- Malwarebytes Free & Malwarebytes Premium
- McAfee Total Protection Premium
- Panda Dome Essential & Panda Dome Premium
- Norton Antivirus Plus, Norton Norton 360 Deluxe & Norton Secure VPN
- Sophos Home Premium
- TotalAV Antivirus Pro & TotalAV Total Security
- Trend Micro Antivirus Security & Trend Micro Maximum Security
- Webroot Antivirus & Webroot Internet Security
The best one? Norton 360 Deluxe.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best antivirus with a firewall?
How does antivirus software work?
Antivirus software works by scanning your computer for malware by inspecting the computer code and behaviors of files. If malware is found, it’s isolated and neutralized.
How does a firewall work?
A firewall works by filtering the incoming and outgoing data between your computer and a network. This can be the internet or a local network. Dangerous data is stopped.
Do you need antivirus software?
Yes, you need antivirus software. Although Windows and macOS come pre-installed with security tools, these aren’t as complete as the best antivirus software.
Do you need a firewall?
Yes, you need a firewall. If you don’t have a firewall, the ports on your computer are open to hackers or malware. It’s like leaving your front door open.
Is free antivirus software safe to use?
No, free antivirus software is not safe to use. If you have no money to spend on cybersecurity, stick to the pre-installed antivirus software on Windows and macOS.
Is Kaspersky safe to use?
Yes, from what we can see, Kaspersky is still safe to use. Its data processing was moved to Switzerland before the war in Ukraine. And there is no evidence of tampering by the government.
Below are the sources and tools we’ve used to analyze the antivirus software and write our article.
- Apple 1
- Apple 2
- AV-Test 1
- AV-Test 2
- AV-Test 3
- AV-Test 4
- Bitdefender 1
- Bitdefender 2
- Bitdefender 3
- Hotspot Shield
- Kaspersky 1
- Kaspersky 2
- Kaspersky 3
- McAfee 1
- McAfee 2
- Norton 1
- Norton 2
- Norton 3
- Norton 4
- Norton 5
- Norton 6
- Panda 1
- Panda 2
- Panda 3
- Panda 4
About the author
Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab
Tibor is a Dutch engineer and entrepreneur. He has tested security software since 2014.
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