Best Antivirus PC Gaming

PC gamers demand the absolute best from their rigs – top-of-the-line graphics cards, speedy processors, and lightning-fast RAM. But all that power becomes vulnerable without robust antivirus protection.

Unfortunately, some antivirus programs are notorious for hogging system resources and ruining your gaming experience. This guide will arm you with the knowledge you need to choose the best antivirus for gaming.

Do not have time to stick around? Check out our summarized list of the best antivirus for PC gamers below:

  1. Surfshark One: Best antivirus for PC gaming. Combines antivirus, a VPN, secure search, and data breach alerts into a single package. Great value and lightweight design make it stand out.
  2. Norton 360 for Gamers: Boasts a dedicated gamer mode and powerful protection and excels in independent test results.
  3. Bitdefender Total Security: Offers a gaming mode that dynamically optimizes resources for smooth play. Multi-layered protection that’s well-regarded by independent labs, plus extra features like a VPN, make it great value.
  4. McAfee Total Protection Advanced: A trusted name catering specifically to gamers. Features performance-boosting tools and parental controls to manage screen time.
  5. TotalAV Total Security: User-friendly interface and frequent discounts make it a budget-conscious choice for PC gamers.
  6. AVG Ultimate: Provides a full suite of security tools, including a VPN and system optimization features.

Criteria for the best PC gaming antiviruses

Knowing what to look for in a great PC gaming antivirus can be a nightmare, but we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve meticulously tested and evaluated top contenders, explicitly focusing on these factors:

  • The ideal gaming antivirus protects without dragging down your frame rates or causing annoying delays
  • A dedicated gaming mode that silences notifications and minimizes background processes while you’re in the zone
  • Robust defense against malware, viruses, ransomware, phishing attacks, and other online threats.
  • A straightforward interface that won’t distract you from the action
  • The perfect balance between price and features

The best antivirus for PC Gaming

Ready to find out which antivirus for PC gaming is best for you? Check out the reviews below.

1. Surfshark One

Surfshark One Antivirus Jul 2024

Surfshark One is the best antivirus for PC gaming, going above and beyond traditional antivirus protection. 

Its bundle includes a robust VPN with unlimited connections, protecting your gaming sessions with features like military-grade 256-bit encryption, a kill switch, and protection against DDoS attacks. The VPN allows you to switch countries effortlessly, potentially unlocking cheaper games and bypassing regional restrictions. You get private search and data breach alerts, further bolstering your digital security. With features like split tunneling for fine-grained control and a strict no-logs policy, Surfshark takes privacy and gaming performance seriously.

On the antivirus front, Surfshark One offers real-time protection, on-demand scanning, and a lightweight cloud antivirus engine for minimal impact on your gaming performance. It supports both Windows 10 and 11. This unique combination, plus its excellent value and 30-day money-back guarantee, truly positions it as the top choice for the best antivirus for PC gamers.


  • Built-in VPN
  • Built with novices in mind
  • AV works on Windows and Android
  • Includes ID Theft Protection


  • Not available on iOS
  • Antivirus is not available as a  standalone product

BEST ANTIVIRUS FOR PC GAMING:Surfshark One has lightweight apps for desktop and mobile, a VPN with unlimited connections, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read our full review of Surfshark One.

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2. Norton 360 for Gamers

Norton 360 for Gamers

Norton delivers rock-solid protection with its dedicated Gamer Edition. It consistently earns top marks from independent testing labs, proving its effectiveness in detecting and neutralizing the latest threats. Its intelligent detection engine and dedicated gaming mode ensure minimal slowdown, freeing your system’s resources for the thrills of AAA titles.

Beyond its core antivirus capabilities, Norton 360 for Gamers includes real-time protection, anti-phishing tools, automatic updates, a VPN, and excellent 24/7 customer support. While its introductory price is attractive, the renewal cost becomes a significant consideration. Additionally, some higher-tier features in Norton’s more premium packages, like cloud backup and parental controls, aren’t fully compatible with macOS.


  • Perfect malware detection scores
  • Includes the entire feature set of Norton 360 Deluxe
  • Gamertags are monitored for traces on the dark web
  • User-friendly interface


  • No setting for game optimization notifications
  • Price per device is higher than Norton 360 Deluxe

BUILT FOR GAMING:Norton 360 for Gamers excels in independent test results, offers a dedicated gaming mode, and boasts powerful protection.

Read our full review of Norton 360 for Gamers.

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3. Bitdefender Total Security

Bitdefender Total Security

Bitdefender Total Security is a powerhouse that excels in both protection and gaming performance optimization. It consistently earns high marks from independent testing labs, and its dedicated gaming mode intelligently allocates system resources to ensure a smooth experience.

Alongside its robust antivirus engine, Bitdefender Total Security includes a VPN (with limited data), a password manager, parental controls, and protection against webcam hijacking. Multi-device compatibility and advanced features like vulnerability scanning make it an attractive all-around security solution. However, pricing can get higher when covering multiple devices.


  • Excellent malware detection scores
  • Very low system impact when running intensive scans
  • Large range of extra tools and functions
  • Regularly updates malware definitions


  • More expensive than other industry peers
  • Extra functionalities not as effective as other standalone products

PERFORMANCE AND PROTECTION:Bitdefender Total Security features a gaming mode for seamless play, robust malware protection, and extra features like a VPN for added value.

Read our full review of Bitdefender.

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4. McAfee Total Protection Advanced

McAfee Total Protection Advanced

McAfee doesn’t offer a gamer-specific plan, but their Total Protection Advanced suite provides a comprehensive security solution that’s well-suited for gaming. It features real-time protection, an award-winning antivirus engine, and additional tools to safeguard your digital life.

McAfee Total Protection Advanced includes a secure VPN with unlimited data, protecting your online privacy when gaming. Its password manager simplifies creating and storing strong passwords, and the identity protection features proactively monitor the dark web for signs of your data being compromised. Multi-device protection and support for various platforms round out this robust offering.


  • One of the few services that will happily secure every device you own
  • VPN is included
  • Trusted name in the AV industry
  • Blocked every test malware we threw at it


  • Relatively slow system scanning
  • Antivirus not available on its own

TRUSTED BRAND:McAfee Total Protection Advanced delivers comprehensive security from a recognized name in the industry, along with features gamers will appreciate.

Read our full review of McAfee.

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5. TotalAV Total Security

TotalAV Total Security

TotalAV emphasizes a user-friendly experience, making it a good option for less tech-savvy gamers. Its interface is easy to navigate, and its features are clearly explained. While it might not have the brand recognition of some competitors, it offers robust protection against malware threats.

TotalAV Total Security includes an antivirus engine, a secure VPN with unlimited data, a password manager, web protection, and identity theft monitoring. It offers frequent discounts and a 30-day money-back guarantee, making it an attractive budget-friendly option.


  • Total Adblock is included free
  • Includes phishing and scam protection
  • Tune-up tools may speed up your device
  • Real-time malware scanning


  • Auto-renewal can be expensive
  • Installation is slow

LIGHTWEIGHT AND POWERFUL:TotalAV Total Security combines potent malware protection with a user-friendly interface and attractive discounts.

Read our full review of TotalAV.

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6. AVG Ultimate

AVG Ultimate

AVG Ultimate is a comprehensive security suite. It boasts a powerful antivirus engine, a secure VPN with unlimited data, and a tune-up tool to optimize system performance. Although not explicitly marketed toward gamers, its optimization tools could benefit resource-intensive modern games.

AVG Ultimate includes webcam protection and anti-phishing tools and covers multiple devices under a single subscription. However, prices can be steep, especially compared to some rivals.


  • AntiTrack stops companies from tracking your online activities.
  • Cleans junk from your device.
  • VPN included
  • Secures up to 10 devices


  • Pricier than rivals
  • Flags more false positives than we’d like

ULTIMATE PROTECTION:AVG Ultimate provides a suite of security tools, a powerful antivirus engine, and a secure VPN with unlimited data.

Read our full review of AVG.

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Methodology: How we select the best antivirus for PC gaming

Choosing the right antivirus for PC gaming requires a specialized approach. Here’s how we meticulously evaluate contenders:

  1. Gaming Performance: A top-tier gaming antivirus must have minimal impact on system resources. We run intensive benchmarks to measure any slowdown during both active scans and background protection.
  2. Dedicated Gaming Mode: An effective gaming mode intelligently suspends non-essential background tasks and notifications, ensuring your game remains the top priority.
  3. Malware Protection: We use a combination of real-world malware samples and standardized industry tests to assess each antivirus’s ability to detect and neutralize the latest threats.
  4. Independent Testing Lab Results: We consult scores from reputable organizations such as AV-Test and AV-Comparatives to validate our findings.
  5. User Interface: An intuitive interface is crucial, especially for gamers who want to focus on their games, not complicated antivirus settings.
  6. Additional Features: We consider valuable extras like a VPN, password manager, or parental controls as potential deciding factors.
  7. Value for Money: Finding the right balance between features, protection, and price is necessary for gamers on a budget.


FAQs About PC Gaming Antivirus

Do I really need an antivirus for PC gaming?

Yes! PC gamers are often targeted by malware disguised as game cheats, performance “boosters,” or illegal game copies. Antivirus protects you from these threats.

Will antivirus software slow down my games?

Reputable antivirus providers design their gaming products with minimal performance impact. Features like dedicated gaming modes help ensure your games run smoothly alongside protection.

Can I use a free antivirus for gaming?

While free options exist, they often come with protection, features, or support limitations. Investing in a paid antivirus ensures top-tier performance and comprehensive security features.

What's the difference between regular antivirus and antivirus for gamers?

Antivirus tailored for gamers often includes a dedicated gaming mode. This intelligently suspends notifications, updates, and background scans while you play.