Best Antivirus Software 2021

Looking for a new antivirus software for your PC? Don't settle for anything less than the best. Here are the best antivirus software for your computer.

Antivirus software has been a thing since personal computers got introduced. This software detects and gets rid of unwanted files, applications, and viruses that could harm your system

However, the general opinion these days is that there is no need for antivirus software. With just a bit of common sense and basic knowledge of the Internet to stay safe while browsing.

Related:Best VPN Services 2021

Nevertheless, a bit of extra protection and the features that come along with such software won’t hurt.

For those interested, here is a definitive list of the best antivirus software for PC.

The Pros:

  • Comes built-in with every Windows 10 installation
  • Doesn’t require any kind of setup
  • Good real-time protection

The Cons:

  • Database not as frequently updated
  • Could use a more intuitive UI
  • No additional features (VPN, password managing, etc.)

Windows Defender Antivirus (Windows Security now) is a great layer of protection for most users since it comes built-in with every Windows 10 and it’s free. It requires little to no setup or optimizing which is excellent for non-tech-savvy people. It’s set up properly from the get-go.

However, if you are looking for more advanced options, extra security, and additional features, you should opt for some other antivirus on this list.

Microsoft Windows Defender’s website

The Pros:

  • Minimal impact on system performance
  • Built-in VPN
  • Inexpensive

The Cons:

  • VPN limited to only 200MB Data

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is a great choice for anyone that is looking for reliable and frequently updated security.

At under $35, Bitdefender’s protection solution is a pretty good option considering that it has proved pretty solid against malware and phishing. The built-in VPN is nice to see, but it would have been much better if it was not limited to just 200MB. Those 200MB can be spent after a few minutes of basic browsing.

The only major downside is that this license from Bitdefender works only with Windows. If you own a macOS system, you will need Antivirus For macOS.

Bitdefender’s website

The Pros:

  • Minimal use of system resources
  • Viruses rarely go through Kaspersky

The Cons:

  • The cheapest option is only available for Windows (macOS and Android support starts from $44.99)
  • Lack of extra features, including VPN

Kaspersky has been around for decades, just like many of these other antiviruses on this list which is why it is so effective against most malware, adware, and phishing. It’s frequently updated against all types of viruses.

In other words, with Kaspersky Anti-Virus, your system will be most definitely safe.

However, considering the $39.99 subscription price tag per year, high levels of protection are expected since it more expensive when compared to the Bitdefender or the free Windows Defender.

Keep in mind, the more advanced and expensive plans offer several more features to the table. And, you can switch to a different plan any time you want.

Also, the program’s user interface does deserve praise. It’s intuitive and pretty simple to use. Very user-friendly.

Kaspersky’s website

The Pros:

  • Password Manager
  • 2GB Cloud Storage
  • Superior malware detection
  • Available for both Windows and macOS

The Cons:

  • Hard to justify the $59.99 price tag
  • Norton 360 Standard offers several dozen more features (at a higher price)
  • Lacks VPN and parental control

Coming at $59.99 it can a bit difficult to justify this as an option since Norton 360 Standard seems like a much better option that comes with VPN, parental control, dark web monitoring, and PC SafeCam.

Of course, the 360 Standard is with a higher price tag of $84.99, but you would still be getting a lot more for your money.

If the price tag is ignored, Norton Antivirus Plus is a solid option for your computer. Even though you won’t have any VPN bundled with it, you do get cloud backup, a nifty password manager, and a much better firewall than Windows’ solution.

From the several expert tests and reviews we’ve been researching and analyzing, the protection, performance, and usability seem favorable.

A good option overall, if you don’t care about the cost.

Norton’s website

The Pros:

  • Available for most operating systems
  • Minimal performance impact, suitable on systems with 2GB RAM or less
  • Renowned for taking care of the worst malware and adware

The Cons:

  • Almost all features in the free version expire after 14 days
  • Lack of information on product page/checkout
  • Lack of extra features

Malwarebytes Premium is one of the best, if not the best anti-malware software on the market. Priced at $39.96, we can put it right next to Kaspersky in terms of pricing.

Offers great protection against exploits, ransomware, and all types of malware. Unfortunately, it lacks in every other department.

No VPN, no parental control, or password management. If you want VPN bundled together with Malwarebytes, you will have to go with the much more expensive plan which is $99.96 per year.

Still, if you aren’t in the search for any of these other extra features, Malwarebytes Premium will bring suitable malware protection to your system.

Malwarebytes’ website

The Pros:

  • Less than 20MB in size
  • One of the best malware detectors
  • Efficient and very quick scans that won’t interrupt your work
  • Built-in Firewall

The Cons:

  • No password manager with base edition
  • No VPN
  • Subpar customer support for auto-renewals, refunds, etc.

Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus is a sound choice for weaker systems, especially if you consider that it’s only 20MB in size. That’s not something most of the antiviruses on this list can boast about.

What we and most users love about Webroot’s AV is that both quick and deep scans are lightning-fast and won’t slow down your work.

However, we’ve seen several user reviews on Webroot’s official website claiming that the company lacks proper customer support and that the registration process is simply too complicated or sometimes even completely broken/bugged.

This kind of attitude is not acceptable, especially these days. We hope that in the future, Webroot will improve their company-client relationship.

For the most part, this software can provide solid protection and like previously mentioned, the optimal option for systems low on storage space, RAM or CPU power.

Webroot’s website

The Pros:

  • Overwhelmingly positive user reviews
  • Free alternatives for iOS and Android

The Cons:

  • No password manager in the base edition
  • Only a seven-day VPN free trial, later requires a $3.99 monthly subscription

If you head on over to read the user reviews on G2 (a popular website for user ratings), you will be greeted mostly with very positive reviews for this product. Most people leaving reviews praise Avast’s automatic and frequent updates of the virus database.

Pricing is not too bad and if you are looking to protect multiple devices, the 10 device plan is just $10 more expensive.

It’s important to acknowledge that Avast Premium Security works on any operating system. However, Windows and macOS are on different licensing, so make sure you buy the right one.

Additionally, you can grab the iOS or Android app for free.

The only major drawback has to be the lack of VPN paired with the subscription. If you want a VPN with your AV, you’ll need to get an additional monthly subscription of $3.99.

Another thing we disliked was the fact that the product page lacked any information regarding features. It isn’t clear what you are getting when buying Avast.

Avast’s website

The Pros:

  • Great price offer for first-time users
  • A lot of extra features
  • Unlimited Data VPN
  • The best protection against malicious websites

The Cons:

  • Incredibly expensive after initial subscription
  • Users have to accept auto-renewal to get access to certain features

If you are a first-time subscriber to McAfee Total Protection, this antivirus might really be the best of the best. Only $29.99 for the first year while getting features such as unlimited data VPN, encrypted storage, ID theft protection, password manager, performance optimization, and many more.

Unfortunately, after the first subscription year, the price is $79.99 per year which is absolutely unacceptable. None of the above-mentioned alternatives are near this kind of price tag which do offer similar features.

Acquiring the more expensive advanced plans from brands such as Kaspersky or Bitdefender would be cheaper than $79.99.

Overall, McAfee’s antivirus solution works perfectly. Most professional and user reviews claim that the protection is pretty efficient, frequently updated and that the software itself has a good user interface.

Considering the minimal performance impact, McAfee could have been the perfect option for any PC if it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

McAfee’s website

The Pros:

  • Secure browser window for online banking and shopping
  • Email scam safeguard and social networking protection

The Cons:

  • Poor results in certain malware tests
  • No plan for multiple devices

The $39.95 per year price tag is pretty standard and the features that come with Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security. Unfortunately, users have reported poor results in malware lab tests. This doesn’t necessarily translate to bad virus protection, but it is something to keep in mind.

There is also no option to buy a plan to support multiple devices which is another big disadvantage. If you want protection for multiple computers in your home, you can’t get that with Trend Micro’s protection solution.

Not exactly the best protection option, but it does provide some interesting features for the price such as Pay Guard, email scam safeguard, etc.

Trend Micro’s website

The Pros:

  • Solid free antivirus protection

The Cons:

  • Mediocre real-time protection
  • Lack of useful features with the Pro edition
  • Avira Internet Security seems like a much better alternative

Not a lot to talk about Avira Antivirus Pro. Based on the product page, the Pro edition offers only basic antivirus protection to keep your PC malware-free. No additional features such as password managing, tune-up tools, VPN, etc.

With a price tag of above $40, we can’t really recommend this one over other picks. Even McAfee’s much more expensive offer might seem like the better choice considering the features you are getting.

Avira’s website

The Pros:

  • Intuitive user interface
  • Low usage of system resources
  • Simple license transfer to macOS or Linux

The Cons:

  • Infrequent virus database updates
  • No VPN or other useful features

ESET NOD32 Antivirus doesn’t come offering a lot of features such as a VPN or a password manager, but considering the great results in real-world protection tests and malware protection tests, it’s definitely a contender with a standard price of $39.99/year.

Users are overall satisfied with ESET’s protection, so NOD32 does deserve a spot on this list of the best antivirus software for PC.

A great advantage is that the license can quickly be transferred from Windows to macOS or Linux. In fact, NOD32 is one of the few basic edition antiviruses that works for Linux on this list. Most of the other brands require you to buy a unique license for Linux protection.

ESET’s website

The Pros:

  • Excellent macOS protection
  • Protection of up to 10 devices
  • Remote management

The Cons:

  • VPN on at least one device would be nice to have
  • A firewall would also come in handy
  • Lack of cheaper plans

Sophos Home Premium is the perfect choice for anyone looking to protect multiple devices in their home. Even though it’s almost $60 per year, the protection of up to 10 devices makes this a pretty solid offer.

However, if you don’t plan on installing this software on multiple devices in your home, this antivirus from Sophos quickly becomes obsolete. You would be paying $20 more than the competitors for a feature that you do not use since there is no option to go for a cheaper plan.

Nonetheless, we still have to acknowledge the extremely good scores from malware and virus lab tests. Sophos Home Premium might be the best protection available for a macOS system.

Sophos Home’s website

The Pros:

  • Great malware protection based on lab tests
  • Protection of up to 3 devices
  • Inexpensive

The Cons:

  • Lack of official information on product features
  • Antivirus hidden behind more expensive products on the official website

A price tag comparable to BitDefender’s Antivirus Plus, but lacking in features. Based on lab results, F-Secure Anti-Virus can easily detect and deal with malware, but it doesn’t have any protection against phishing.

Considering the pricing this it’s not a bad antivirus solution.

One thing we didn’t like is the fact there is no clear information regarding this antivirus. F-secure has made an entire list comparing the features of their products, but this particular piece of software is completely excluded.

Additionally, finding this software is almost impossible on the official website. You’ll have to search for it through Google to find it.

F-Secure’s website

What Is An Antivirus Software?

Antivirus software is a program designed to protect a computer from viruses. Computer viruses exist (are made) to infiltrate, infect and damage a computer, specifically the operating system.

This kind of infection can lead to loss of files, stolen personal information, stolen passwords, reduced computer responsiveness/speed, etc.

Getting infected nowadays is pretty common, “thanks” to the Internet. With so many fake websites, products, and files online, people are bound to download a virus or at least some kind of malware.

However, computer viruses are just one of the many different unwanted programs. There’s also adware, spyware, miners, Trojan horses, hijackers, keyloggers, rootkits, worms, and many, many more.

Fortunately, protection software today is equipped to deal with all sorts of malware, but at a cost.

Do I Need An Antivirus?

Operating systems today, including Windows 10, come with built-in virus protection. The built-in protection for Windows 10 is Microsoft Defender Antivirus (Windows Security). It is free, its virus database is frequently updated and it doesn’t require any additional setup/optimization.

However, Microsoft Defender Antivirus does not always provide the best protection. Some premium antiviruses offer better protection for multiple devices while also providing the user with features such as a built-in VPN, phishing protection, password managing, etc.

How To Choose The Best Antivirus For You

To choose the best antivirus for your computer, here are a few different factors you should consider:

Price

The price for a home antivirus can fluctuate from free and up to $100 (maybe more).

Usually, Microsoft Defender Antivirus provides more than enough features and protection for most users for no additional cost. But, if you want additional features such as a VPN, you should consider getting a premium antivirus.

Features

Premium antiviruses can come with a number of features. Naturally, this should be one of the things you need to consider before buying the software.

The most useful features that come bundled with antivirus software are VPN, password manager, parental control, wi-fi protection, and more.

If you require a VPN, make sure it is one with enough data. Some antiviruses, like BitDefender’s, come with a 200MB data limit.

Number Of Devices

Usually, users get only one option when subscribing to an AV. Subscribing to a time-limited antivirus license. This license is then split into a few options. License for one single device or a license that can be installed on multiple computers, phones, tablets, etc.

If you want to go down the cheapest route, always go for the license limited to one device, unless you need protection on other devices.

Client/Software

This is another very important factor you will have to consider when picking the protection software for your computer. Most antiviruses do not support every operating system.

For example, McAfee Total Protection supports macOS, Windows, Android, and iOS while Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security supports only Windows.

Best Antivirus FAQ

  1. What is the best antivirus for 2021?

    Objectively, we have to say that Microsoft Defender Antivirus might be the best antivirus since it is free while offering solid protection.

    Alternatively, Bitdefender Internet Security is probably the best premium choice because of the low cost and useful features such as VPN, privacy firewall, and parental control

  2. When is the best time to buy an antivirus?

    Any time is a good time to purchase an antivirus. If you ever feel like your computer is lacking protection, get an AV. It’s especially important to buy an antivirus if you believe you’re your computer has been infected with malware.

  3. Should I pay for an antivirus?

    To answer this question we have to mention Microsoft Defender Antivirus again. It is widely accepted because it is free. If you are careful while browsing the Internet and downloading files, this free AV is more than enough to keep your system safe.

  4. Can I have multiple antivirus programs installed?

    Some believe that installing multiple antivirus programs on one system would result in overall better protection, but that’s not the case.

    Yes, you can have multiple antivirus programs installed, but it’s not recommended. They could interfere with each other’s scans, resulting in worse protection instead of better.

Related Reads

Branko Gapo

Keeping up with the incredibly fast evolution of computer technology is impossible. Branko aims to use his knowledge on this matter to share news and information on all the latest essential technological innovations and advancements.