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 around since personal computers were introduced. This type of software detects and removes unwanted files, applications, and viruses that can harm your system.

However, the current consensus is that there is no need for antivirus software. With some common sense and basic knowledge of the Internet, it is possible to stay safe while browsing.

Related:Best VPN Services 2021

Even so, some extra protection certainly wouldn’t hurt, and the additional features included with such software make it an attractive option.

For anyone interested, here is a definitive list of the best antivirus software for your 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 management, etc.)

Windows Defender Antivirus (now Windows Security) is a great layer of protection for most users as it comes built-in with every Windows 10 PC, and it’s free. It requires little or no setup or optimizing which is ideal for non-tech-savvy people.

However, if you are looking for more advanced options, extra security, and additional features, you should opt for an alternative antivirus choice from this list.

Microsoft Defender Antivirus Website
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 who is looking for reliable security that is updated frequently.

At under $35, Bitdefender’s protection is a fairly good option as it has been found to be pretty solid against malware and phishing. The built-in VPN is a nice extra, but it is hindered somewhat by being limited to just 200MB. Those 200MB can be spent in a few minutes of browsing or streaming.

It’s important to know that the license from Bitdefender works only with Windows. If you own a macOS system, you will need Antivirus For macOS.

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus Website
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, like some of the other antivirus software on this list. Its longevity in the market and continued improvement is why it is so effective against malware, adware, and phishing. In addition, it’s frequently updated against all types of viruses.

In other words, with Kaspersky Anti-Virus, your system will be very secure.

Considering the $39.99 subscription price tag per year, high levels of protection are to be expected. It is more expensive than Bitdefender or the free Windows Defender.

You may not be keen on buying a more expensive option but remember: the more advanced and expensive plans bring several more features to the table. You can also switch to a different plan any time you want.

Furthermore, the program’s user interface deserves praise. It’s intuitive and pretty simple to use. Very user-friendly!

Kaspersky Anti Virus Website
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 many more features (at a higher price)
  • Lacks VPN and parental control

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

Of course, 360 Standard has a higher price tag of $84.99, but you also get a lot more for your money.

Cost aside, Norton Antivirus Plus is a solid option for your computer. Although it doesn’t have a VPN bundled with it, it does have some great features, including cloud backup, a helpful password manager, and a much better firewall than Windows’ solution.

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

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

Norton AntiVirus Plus Website
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, it is right next to Kaspersky in terms of pricing.

It 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 at $99.96 per year.

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

Malwarebytes Premium Website
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 great choice for those with weaker systems. As it is only 20MB, its compact size trumps most of the antivirus on this list!

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

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

This lack of support is unacceptable, especially today. We hope that in the future, Webroot will improve their company-client relationship.

For the most part, this software provides solid protection. As previously mentioned, it’s the optimal option for systems low on storage space, RAM, or CPU power.

Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus Website
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 read the user reviews on G2 (a popular website for user ratings), you will mostly find very positive reviews for this product. In particular, most reviewers have praised Avast’s automatic and frequent updates of the virus database.

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

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

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

The only real drawback is the lack of VPN paired with the subscription. If you want a VPN with your antivirus, you’ll need an additional monthly subscription of $3.99. That’s still a pretty cheap option!

Another thing we disliked was the fact that the product page lacked any information regarding features. As a result, it isn’t clear what exactly you are getting when purchasing Avast.

Avast Premium Security Website
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:

  • Very 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 be the best of the best. It is only $29.99 for the first year to enjoy features such as unlimited data VPN, encrypted storage, ID theft protection, password manager, performance optimization, and much more.

Unfortunately, after the first subscription year, the price increases to $79.99 per year, which is unacceptable. None of the other alternatives come close to this kind of price tag, yet they still offer similar features.

Acquiring the most advanced plans from brands such as Kaspersky or Bitdefender is considerably 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 was not so expensive.

McAfee Total Protection Website
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, as are 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 a major disadvantage. If you want protection for multiple computers in your home, you can’t get that without buying multiple licenses.

It is not the best protection option, but it provides some interesting features for the price, such as Pay Guard, email scam safeguard, etc.

Trend Micro Antivirus Security Website
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

There’s not a lot to say about Avira Antivirus Pro. Based on the product page, the Pro edition offers only basic antivirus protection to keep your PC malware-free. There are no additional features such as password management, tune-up tools, VPN, etc.

With a price tag above $40, we can’t really recommend this over other picks. Even McAfee’s much more expensive offer could be considered a better choice, considering the features you would be getting.

Avira Antivirus Pro Website
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 offer a lot of features such as a VPN or a password manager. Still, considering the great results in real-world protection tests and malware protection tests, it’s definitely a strong contender with a standard price of $39.99/year.

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

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

ESET NOD32 Antivirus Website
ESET

The Pros:

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

The Cons:

  • VPN on at least one device would be a nice bonus
  • A firewall would be useful
  • Lack of cheaper plans

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

However, if you don’t plan on installing this software on multiple devices, this antivirus from Sophos quickly becomes obsolete. In addition, you would be paying $20 more than its competitors for a feature that you don’t use. There is no option to choose a cheaper plan.

Even so, we 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 Premium Website
Sophos Home’s website

The Pros:

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

The Cons:

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

Available for a price 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 offer any protection against phishing.

Considering the pricing, this is not a bad antivirus solution.

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

Additionally, finding this software is almost impossible on the official website. Instead, you need to search for it via Google.

F Secure Anti Virus Website
F-Secure’s website

What Is Antivirus Software?

Antivirus

Antivirus software is a vital program designed to protect a computer from viruses. Computer viruses are created to infiltrate, infect and damage a computer, specifically the operating system.

This type of infection can lead to loss of files, stolen personal information, stolen passwords, reduced computer responsiveness/speed, and more.

Getting infected has become pretty common, due to the growth of the Internet. With so many fake websites, products, and files online, people are at increased risk of downloading a virus or some other kind of malware.

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

Fortunately, modern protection software 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 users with features such as a built-in VPN, phishing protection, password management, 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

Price

The price for a home antivirus can fluctuate from being free up to $100 (perhaps even more).

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

Features

Features

Premium antiviruses can boast several additional features. Naturally, this should be one of the things you consider before buying the software.

The most useful features 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 VPNs, such as BitDefender’s, come with a 200MB data limit.

Number Of Devices

Number of Devices

Users usually get only one option when subscribing to antivirus. For example, subscribing to a time-limited antivirus license. This license is then split into a few options, either for one device or a license that can be installed on multiple computers, phones, tablets, etc.

If you want to use the cheapest option, always opt for the license limited to one device, unless you need protection on other devices.

Client/Software

Client

This is another essential factor you need to consider when picking the protection software for your computer. Unfortunately, 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. Likewise, it’s vital to buy antivirus if you believe your computer has been infected with malware.

  3. Should I pay for an antivirus?

    Here, 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?

    It might seem that installing multiple antivirus programs on one system would result in better protection, but that is 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.

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Branko Gapo
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.