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ESET Antivirus Review (2024 Update): The Pros & Cons

By Tibor Moes / Updated: November 2023 / Rating: 3 of 5

ESET Antivirus Review 2024

ESET Antivirus 2024: Review Summary

ESET is ranked #17 of the 28 best antivirus of 2024.

ESET is a versatile antivirus suite. It offers solid protection for Windows and Android, and basic security for Mac. ESET outperforms many competitors in virus detection, catching almost all malware in our tests.

ESET’s features include a firewall, anti-phishing tools, a network monitor, system cleanup, advanced diagnostic tools, a password manager, and parental controls. Its advanced diagnostics stand out, providing a comprehensive overview and the ability to generate security reports.

However, ESET’s parental controls, system cleanup, and secure browser disappoint. Also, the lack of a VPN is notable, given that many top antivirus software include one. Competitors like Norton provide superior features, including robust parental controls and a VPN, at a comparable cost.

Sadly, ESET does not participate in the independent tests by AV-Test, which is not a good sign. Without these tests, we have no benchmark to compare it against. Therefore, we prefer Norton 360 Deluxe.

If you want the best protection, we recommend Norton.

Ranking  #17 of 28
Password Manager
Unlimited VPN
Operating systems Windows, macOS, iOS, Android

Click the links to read the reviews of the best antivirus of 2024:

🥇 Norton 360 Deluxe – The #1 in 2024
🥈 Bitdefender Total Security
🥉 TotalAV Antivirus

Or read our complete comparison of the best antivirus for Windows 11.

ESET Antivirus 2024: Full Review

We put ESET to the test and found that its anti-malware capabilities are top-notch. It caught almost all the malware we threw at it. The interface is also easy to use, which is a plus. However, it falls short when compared to rivals like Norton or Bitdefender, especially in areas like parental controls and system clean-up tools.

If your main goal is malware protection, ESET is a solid choice. It offers a free 30-day trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you plenty of time to decide if it’s right for you. But if you’re looking for a full suite of features, you might want to consider other options.


We tested ESET’s anti-malware features and found them highly effective. It has three main scan options: System Scan, Custom Scan, and Removable Device Scan. All these scans performed extremely well, catching almost all of the 1,200 malware samples we used. That puts ESET in league with top performers like Norton and Bitdefender.

The scans were fast and didn’t slow down our computers. However, ESET could improve by adding a quick scan option, something most of its competitors offer. Setting up scheduled scans was also a bit complicated, which is another area for improvement.

One standout feature is ESET’s deep system scanning, which checks areas most antivirus software skip. This is excellent for users wanting robust, all-around protection. ESET also impressed us with its Host-based Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS), effectively blocking ransomware and rootkits in our tests.

The downside? Its cloud-based scanner, LiveGuard Advanced, only comes with the most expensive plan, while some competitors offer this feature standard.

In summary, ESET excels in malware detection and offers detailed full-system scans. However, it falls short in user-friendliness and extra features compared to top competitors.


We tested ESET’s anti-phishing capabilities and found them to be quite strong. It successfully blocked all the dangerous websites we tried to access, even outperforming Chrome’s built-in protections in some cases. However, it was a little too eager, flagging some safe sites as dangerous.

Whitelisting these false positives was a bit of a hassle. Unlike most competitors that allow you to whitelist sites easily from your browser, with ESET you have to dig into the desktop app settings to manually add a rule.

In a nutshell, ESET is effective at blocking phishing sites, but its overzealous nature and clunky whitelist process could be improved.


We ran ESET’s firewall through its paces and found it quite effective in blocking unauthorized network activities. It offers four modes: Automatic, Interactive, Policy-based, and Learning. Most users will find Automatic mode sufficient for their needs, as it manages most inbound and outbound traffic without hassle.

Learning mode is an interesting feature that adapts to your preferences over time, though it’s not recommended for those without a good grasp of network mechanics. On the downside, Interactive mode proved to be quite annoying. We were bombarded with pop-ups asking to allow or deny connections, which disrupted our workflow. Other competitors like Bitdefender handle this more gracefully with less intrusive notifications.

In summary, ESET’s firewall is robust but best experienced in Automatic mode. The other modes have their uses but come with some annoyances or complexities that average users may not appreciate.

Password manager

We tried out ESET’s Password Manager and found it to be functional but basic. It’s available on all major operating systems and as a browser extension. It uses 256-bit encryption, which is industry-standard, and offers features like multi-device sync, auto-fill, and leaked password checks.

Adding logins and other details is straightforward, and the auto-fill feature worked reliably in our tests. But the password generator is limited to 32 characters, and there are no advanced templates for storing things like passports or driver’s licenses, unlike some competitors such as RoboForm.

The two-factor authentication (2FA) is basic, offering only a code sent to your phone. Though it does offer biometric logins on mobile, which is convenient. The leaked password check identified a breached login in our test, but it didn’t provide any additional details or steps to resolve it.

In short, ESET’s Password Manager does the job but lacks the bells and whistles found in more specialized solutions. If a robust password manager is crucial for you, you might want to look elsewhere.

Parental controls

We tested ESET’s parental controls and found them lacking in effectiveness. While they’ve recently added features like screen time limits and geofencing, the core content filtering didn’t impress us.

The controls are supposed to block access to certain types of websites based on the child’s age. While you can adjust these categories and add exceptions, the feature missed the mark in our tests. We set it up for a hypothetical 9-year-old and could still access inappropriate content on platforms like YouTube and Google Images.

Compared to leading competitors like Norton and Bitdefender, ESET falls short in this area. If solid parental controls are a priority for you, we’d recommend looking at other options like Norton, which excels in this aspect.

Network inspector

We tested ESET’s Network Inspector and found it to be a useful tool for scanning your home network. It identifies all connected devices and checks for vulnerabilities like open ports and weak router passwords. The scan was quick, taking only 17 minutes, and the sonar-like display made it easy to understand the network status. It also alerted us when a new device connected to the network, which is great for spotting unauthorized usage.

However, compared to Bitdefender’s network monitor, ESET falls a bit short. Bitdefender offers additional features like specialized profiles for public Wi-Fi and a VPN for extra security, which ESET lacks. So, while ESET’s Network Inspector is good for basic home network monitoring, it’s not as comprehensive as some competitors.

Advanced diagnostics

We thoroughly explored ESET’s advanced diagnostic tools and were quite impressed. These features provide a deep dive into your system’s health, making them a great asset for advanced users.

One feature we particularly liked was Running Processes. It checks ongoing activities on your PC against ESET’s cloud database and gives them a safety score. However, we noticed it sometimes incorrectly flagged harmless apps as risky, which could confuse less tech-savvy users.

We found Log Files to be a helpful tool, offering a detailed list of all actions ESET has taken on your device, from malware detections to website filtering. This can be particularly useful for troubleshooting.

SysInspector stood out for its comprehensive reporting, providing details on every file, driver, and network connection on your system. It’s also available as a standalone tool, making it versatile.

The Network Connections feature shows all apps using your network, helpful for identifying bandwidth hogs.

Finally, ESET SysRescue Live lets you create a rescue disk to scan for malware, even if your Windows system is compromised. It’s a solid additional safety net.

In summary, ESET’s diagnostic tools are robust and offer a level of insight that most competitors don’t. They’re a compelling reason for advanced users to consider ESET.

System cleanup

We checked out ESET’s System Cleaner and found it to be pretty bare-bones compared to competitors. It can reset Windows settings and restore system points, but doesn’t offer the range of optimization features you’d find in Norton 360 or Avira.

While these basic functionalities are already in Windows, ESET’s System Cleaner just brings them into one convenient place. This might be useful for those who need quick access to restore points or settings reset, but if you’re looking for robust system optimization, ESET falls short.

In summary, ESET’s System Cleaner isn’t your go-to for comprehensive system tune-up. If that’s a priority for you, there are better options available.


We explored ESET’s Anti-Theft protections and found them to be a strong point, especially for Windows and Android users. Unique features like the Phantom account for Windows and auto-lock for Android make it stand out. We successfully used the anti-theft dashboard to mark our device as missing, triggering ESET to lock it down and keep our files safe.

The dashboard also provided real-time webcam photos and screen captures, aiding in the retrieval of a lost device. However, the Phantom account has a loophole; it still allows internet access, posing a risk for additional malware attacks on the device.

Overall, if device security is a concern, ESET offers solid anti-theft features. Just note that Mac users are out of luck as these features are not available for them.

Mobile app

We tested ESET’s mobile app for Android and found it to be strong in several areas. The malware scanner was reliable, detecting all the test malware we installed. The anti-theft features stood out, letting us quickly locate a missing phone and even wipe data remotely.

We appreciated the security audit feature that alerted us to questionable app behavior and settings. The app also offers a call filter, simplifying the task of blocking unwanted numbers.

However, the absence of a VPN and lack of support for iOS devices put ESET a step behind competitors like TotalAV and Norton. If you’re an Android user looking for basic protection without extra bells and whistles, ESET is a decent, budget-friendly choice.

Customer support

Our experience with ESET’s customer support was a mixed bag. Live chat was helpful and solved our queries efficiently, but it’s only available from 6 am to 5 pm Pacific Time and not in all regions like the UK. Email support was less impressive; our question received a generic, pasted answer that didn’t fully address our concerns, although the response time was decent.

We were impressed by the extensive knowledge base, offering guides, forums, and even YouTube tutorials in multiple languages. The forums are active, and we got a knowledgeable response to our post quickly.

However, ESET falls short in phone support for home users, a feature offered by competitors like Norton and Bitdefender. Finding the support options on their website can also be a bit of a hunt.

In summary, ESET’s support is adequate but has room for improvement. A more user-friendly website, extended chat hours, and phone support for all users could elevate their customer service game.

Plans and pricing

ESET offers three main pricing plans: Essential Security, Advanced Security, and Premium Security, with varying levels of protection and features. You can add more devices to a plan for an extra fee, up to 10 devices. However, not all features are available on all operating systems.

We found the mid-tier Advanced Security offers the best balance in terms of features and price, at $36.51/year. It includes a firewall, antispam, secure browser, and anti-theft among others. However, competitors like TotalAV offer more features like a VPN for a similar price.

If you’re a Mac user, your options are limited; the Mac-specific plans offer fewer features compared to their Windows counterparts. Mac users are better off looking at specialized options like Intego.

ESET’s top-tier Premium Security, priced at $48.68/year, isn’t worth the extra cost. It adds a password manager, device encryption, and LiveGuard Advanced for zero-day threats, but these features don’t quite measure up to what’s available from other premium suites like Norton 360 or Bitdefender.

So, if you need a straightforward antivirus for one or two devices, ESET’s lower-tier plans may suffice. For more advanced needs or multiple devices, you might find better value elsewhere.

Click the links to read the reviews of the best antivirus of 2024:

🥇 Norton 360 Standard – The #1 in 2024
🥈 Bitdefender Internet Security
🥉 TotalAV Antivirus

Or read our complete comparison of the best antivirus for Mac.

Test score comparison

Next to our own anti-malware tests, we analyze those by AV-Test. We’ve compared the results of the 10 most recent tests for Windows 10. The tests were performed by AV-Test, the German anti-malware test lab. They use three factors:

  • 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 not listed in the table haven’t participated in the analysis by AV-Test. This is usually not a good sign. Because most reputable brands, except Panda, ESET, and Sophos, partake in the test.

Source: AV-Test.

Final Score

Click the links to read the reviews of the best antivirus of 2024:

🥇 Norton Antivirus Plus – The #1 in 2024
🥈 Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
🥉 TotalAV Antivirus

Or read our complete comparison of the best antivirus for Android.

Price comparison

We’ve compared the prices of the top antivirus products for Windows. To make it a fair comparison, we looked at what it would cost us, to protect a  single Windows PC with the most essential features:

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

A few notes:

  • Some brands are missing features, lowering their value for money.
  • Prices are second-year prices in the USA, without first-year discounts.
  • Prices are rounded up for readability (e.g., $99.99 becomes $100).

Brands have different prices outside the USA. See those on their website.

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

Click the links to read the reviews of the best antivirus of 2024:

🥇 Norton 360 Advanced – The #1 in 2024
🥈 Bitdefender Premium Security
🥉 TotalAV Antivirus

Or read our complete comparison of the best antivirus for iOS.

User reviews

We’ve compared the user reviews of all antivirus brands. We’ve used the scores and review count of TrustPilot, a leading user review platform. However, take these results with a grain of salt, as some brands actively attempt to increase their ratings.

Personally, we are wary of exceptionally high scores. Especially those by brands such as TotalAV, known for aggressive marketing and sales tactics.

We consider scores between 4.0 and 4.5 good and realistic. Higher scores are dubious, and lower scores indicate that the brand might have a poor product or customer service. McAfee’s scores, for instance, are worrying.

Source: TrustPilot.

Review score
Review count

Click the links to read the reviews of the best antivirus of 2024:

🥇 Norton 360 for Gamers – The #1 in 2024
🥈 Bitdefender Total Security
🥉 TotalAV Antivirus

Or read our complete comparison of the best VPN of 2024.

How we test antivirus software

Below we describe how we run our tests. For even more details, visit our blog posts on how we test antivirus software.

Anti-malware protection test

We analyze antivirus software’s capability to detect and eliminate known and unknown malware, using heuristic analysis for behavior monitoring.

We conduct in-house tests and analyze those from labs like AV-Test, SE Labs, and AV-Comparatives to determine the best malware protection.

Malware includes adware, keyloggers, ransomware, rootkits, spyware, trojans, viruses, worms, and more. Other cyber threats, usually not classified as malware, are (zero-day) exploits, hacks, identity theft, phishing attacks, scams, and social engineering.

False positives test

False positives occur when antivirus software misidentifies legitimate software, files, or websites as malicious. We rely on AV-Test’s large-scale analysis of false positives in its usability test to guide our evaluations.

System performance test

We measure the CPU load during antivirus software system scans and consider AV-Test’s performance results on the slowdown caused by antivirus software when opening websites and handling software.

Firewall test

We evaluate two-way firewalls that filter incoming and outgoing data and allow users to set rules to regulate data streams. We use the ShieldsUP! test to determine if the antivirus software blocks all ports.

Password manager test

We assess password managers’ ability to create, store, and autofill secure passwords, as well as additional features like two-factor authentication and biometric login.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) test

We evaluate built-in VPNs on their security, privacy, speed, compatibility with streaming services, unlimited data access, and support for peer-to-peer networks and torrent clients.

Parental control test

We examine parental control features, such as screen time rules, website/app blocking, and real-world location tracking. We test these features on a device and attempt to circumvent them, checking if the activity is accurately reported in the parental control admin.

Anti-phishing protection test

We evaluate antivirus browser extensions that block phishing sites by installing them and attempting to visit dangerous URLs.

Ransomware protection test

We assess security suites’ ability to prevent data encryption through exploit prevention and behavioral detection during ransomware attacks.

Bonus features test

We test any additional cybersecurity tools such as:

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

Ownership and reputation test

We analyze the trustworthiness of antivirus companies, especially concerning customer data. We read press releases, news articles, and privacy policies to determine their reputation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the most frequently asked questions.

Is ESET a good antivirus program?

ESET is ranked #17 of 28 antivirus programs. The ranking is based on its protection, performance, price, and features. Find the best protection in our comparison of the best antivirus of 2024.

How do we test antivirus software?

We analyze the protection from malware, the performance impact on a PC, and the number of false positives. On top of that, we test various security features such as the firewall, password manager, VPN, and more.

Author: Tibor Moes

Author: Tibor Moes

Founder & Chief Editor at SoftwareLab

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

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

You can find him on LinkedIn or contact him here.

ESET Antivirus Review 2024

ESET Antivirus

In-depth review

Save on the best antivirus of 2024:

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🥈 Bitdefender Antivirus
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