Best Antivirus for windows 10

Cybercriminals love a big target, and Windows 10 is as big as they come. If you’re among the 81% of users booting up Windows 10 daily, listen up: you’re in the crosshairs. But don’t fret. The right antivirus can be your digital bodyguard, fending off malware, ransomware, and those pesky phishing scams designed to make Windows users’ lives miserable.

14 best windows 10 antivirus apps

Among the dozens of antivirus tools crowding Windows 10 users’ attention, the following achieved the best scores based on our multi-point grading scale.

Based on our criteria, these are the best antivirus for Windows 10:

  1. Surfshark One: The best all-in-one Security and privacy for Windows 10. Surfshark One is ideal for users who want a streamlined, effective solution with added privacy benefits at a competitive price. Its combination of antivirus, VPN, data breach monitoring, and search tools offers comprehensive protection.
  2. Norton Antivirus Plus: Among the most trusted names for Windows security, includes a VPN and perfect malware detection scores.
  3. TotalAV: Consistently ranked high by multiple AV independent testing lab.
  4. McAfee Total protection Plus: Well-known brand with multiple package options for Windows 10.
  5. VIPRE Advanced Security: User-friendly interface with must-have features.
  6. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus: Great option for most Windows 10 security needs.
  7. Kaspersky Internet Security: Heavy-hitting antivirus with a unique approach.
  8. Panda Antivirus: Offers a top-rated, high-scoring real-time virus scanner.
  9. ESET: Cost-friendly AV for budget-minded security.
  10. Avira: High-powered free-forever antivirus tool for Windows users.
  11. AVG: Best for multi-user households. Offers packages with up to 10 devices per account without huge increases to the annual price.
  12. Trend Micro Antivirus: Competitively priced for single-computer protection.
  13. G Data Internet Security: Feature-rich, low-cost option.
  14. Comodo Internet Security: Rock-bottom prices for cloud-based security needs.
  15. Emsisoft Anti-Malware: Fast-scanning tool with an emphasis on web browsing.

You’ll find that many antivirus or antimalware tools for Windows 10 look and operate similarly. Most even offer a similar suite of features within the same price range. To that end, the differences are often subtle or exist across factors that many consumers may not regularly consider.

THE BEST ANTIVIRUS FOR WINDOWS 10

Norton Antivirus Plus is our top recommended antivirus for Windows 10. It performs well against malware and is user-friendly for all levels of experience.

New customers can benefit from a generous discount for subscribing through Comparitech and you can protect up to 5 devices at one time.

How we rate Windows 10 antivirus apps

Microsoft has come a long way with its home-grown antivirus solution, Windows Defender. However, as effective as Windows Defender is at removing malware, it lacks the kind of additional features and protection tools users now needed for more holistic security.

Thankfully, Microsoft makes it easy to integrate other antivirus tools into your Windows 10 system by prioritizing those tools over Windows Defender. Your Windows 10 desktop or laptop will immediately sideline Windows Defender in favor of your chosen or preferred third-party antivirus app.

There are dozens of potential Windows Defender alternatives you can use.

To determine which is the best antivirus for Windows 10, we examined over 45 antivirus tools against the following criteria:

  • High average independent AV testing lab scores (80% or above)
  • Offers multiple package options to cover 1 or more computers
  • Includes additional security features to protect user privacy when browsing the web, including ransomware protection
  • Provides transparent pricing and subscription options, including the option to turn auto-renewal on or off at checkout

A large portion of our scoring comes directly from our in-depth research into Windows antivirus tools, which you can view on our antivirus comparison page.

Best antivirus for Windows 10 – reviewed

Based on extensive research that includes in-house app testing, independent lab data, and pricing policy reviews, these are the best 14 antivirus tools for Windows 10 users.

1. Surfshark One

Surfshark One offers a new approach to online security. Combining a powerful antivirus with a VPN, real-time threat detection, and web protection, it goes beyond the traditional antivirus model. Its focus on user privacy and flexible pricing make it a strong contender for the top Windows 10 protection choice.

  • Average independent testing lab score: Unavailable at the time of writing.
  • Package options score: 100
  • Features score: 95
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 95

Surfshark One’s standout feature is its single-package approach, offering antivirus, VPN, data breach monitoring, and web search enhancements without complicated tiers. Its transparent subscription model with monthly options provides flexibility and avoids long-term pricing lock-in.

Pros:

  • Lightweight apps
  • Built-in VPN
  • Provides 24/7 customer service
  • Includes ID Theft Protection

Cons:

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

BEST ANTIVIRUS FOR WINDOWS 10: Surfshark One offers an all-inclusive security suite with antivirus, VPN, breach monitoring, and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Surfshark One review.

2. Norton Antivirus Plus

Norton Apr 2024

Norton AntiVirus Plus is one of the few antivirus tools that’s a household name. Symantec has been producing Windows antivirus tools since 2006 and has released various utilities for Windows operating systems for decades. Like McAfee, it’s also commonly pre-installed on many new Windows computers.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 93
  • Package options score: 90
  • Features score: 100
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 90

Symantec offers a smorgasbord of features in its Norton AntiVirus range of tools, including real-time scanning, ransomware protection, and with the 360 Deluxe or above packages, parental controls, and multi-device protection. The company also allows for flexible monthly payment options versus the yearly subscription plans that lock users into long-term (and higher) prices. Flexible payment options with Norton make cancellation significantly easier and empower users to get in and out with far less hassle. Norton also mentions its auto-renewal policy at check-out. You can turn off auto-renewal through your account settings.

Pros:

  • Well-known and respected brand
  • High level of anti-virus protection
  • Multiple package options available
  • Transparent second-year pricing

Cons:

  • Limited multi-device coverage for lower-cost packages
  • Higher priced packages than many competitors

ALL-ROUND PROTECTION:Most flexible payment options to avoid lock-in. Heavy emphasis on user customization with plenty of features.

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Read the full Norton Antivirus review.


3. TotalAV Antivirus

TotalAV Antivirus Pro

TotalAV Antivirus has come a long way in the past several years. We’ve seen the company make major shifts in its business practices, adopting a more consumer-friendly approach to almost every aspect of its service.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 94
  • Package options score: 90
  • Features score: 100
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 80

We’ve kept an eye on TotalAV for several years and have seen this service absolutely explode (positively) in several ways. One of those is in the number of available features that it offers. Just a few years ago, TotalAV featured just a single package with standard real-time malware scanning and removal options. Now, however, there are over a dozen extra features that come at no additional charge, including ransomware protection, cloud scanning, and system optimization tools.

Pros:

  • Bargain-bin pricing for the first year
  • Highly rated by independent testing labs
  • Advanced phishing and ransomware protection
  • Desirable system maintenance and optimization features

Cons:

  • Erects headache-inducing cancelation roadblocks
  • The free trial is extremely feature-limited

Best budget Antivirus:Get protection at a low cost. Works well on all systems and is hard to beat for the money.

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Check out the TotalAV review.


4. McAfee Total Protection

McAfee Total Protection Basic

A long-time leader in the business, McAfee’s Total Protection security app offers a wide selection of tools designed to protect Windows users against both common and uncommon threats.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 94
  • Package options score: 100
  • Features score: 100
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 75

McAfee has been a household name in Windows antivirus protection for two decades, while the company has been in the software security market since the late 1980s. Before Windows developed its own antivirus tool, new Windows computers often came preloaded with McAfee’s software. Although that’s less common now, it’s still a leading option thanks to its high-tech approach to malware detection and removal, as well as its focus on multi-device households.

Pros:

  • A seasoned provider with a long history of high-grade Windows protection
  • Internationally-recognized antivirus detection and removal
  • A wide range of file protection tools
  • Offers multi-device packages great for families

Cons:

  • Among the most expensive offers after first-year discounts end

Industry-leading security experts:Scored high in our lab tests. We’d prefer more pricing options and transparency.

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Read our review of McAfee.


5. VIPRE Advanced Security

VIPRE Antivirus Plus

Offering a reasonable selection of extremely effective antivirus and security tools, VIPRE Advanced Security ties with Kaspersky Internet Security primarily due to lower consumer review scores. When it comes to every other factor, however (and particularly independent lab tests and pricing and subscription transparency), VIPRE is among the best options available.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 98
  • Package options score: 100
  • Features score: 100
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 100

Although the VIPRE brand has only been on the market since 2013, the company behind it began crafting security software for Windows in the early 1990s. VIPRE is highly decorated on the antivirus market, receiving numerous accolades from independent labs that have tested and verified the effectiveness of its AV tools. Its array of features (and their effectiveness) easily satisfies our rating criteria.

Pros:

  • Excellent real-time AV protection
  • Provides a solid line-up of features, including anti-spyware tools
  • Updates and patches apps to help shore up security risks
  • Fully transparent pricing and renewal policies
  • Very competitive pricing

Cons:

  • Limited product information available on its website

Excellent protection:Has everything you need and uses advanced techniques to keep you covered.

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See the full VIPRE Antivirus review.


6. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

Among the best options for Windows 10 users to explore, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus scores extremely well when measured against our multi-point criteria for Windows 10 antivirus tools.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 97
  • Package options score: 95
  • Features score: 100
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 95

Bitdefender Antivirus is particularly well-rated by independent antivirus testing labs. Its critical real-time antivirus tool offers a nearly flawless level of protection, detecting all forms of malware that come its way. The tool also has very little impact on your system, allowing it to run scans in the background without you noticing any loss in performance while you engage in most activities.

Pros:

  • Rich selection of antivirus tools
  • “As good as it gets” independent lab test results
  • Unique features such as multi-layered ransomware protection
  • Incredibly inexpensive for users covering 1 or 3 devices

Cons:

  • No discounts for covering 5 or more devices

Bitdefender is a solid choice:Feature rich package that is easy to use and scores top marks in each category. No false positives during tests. Multi-device buying options are available.

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Check out our in-depth Bitdefender review.


7. Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky Antivirus

Also known for its deep analyses of the virus and malware landscape, Kaspersky Internet Security earned its high spot on our list thanks to its trustworthy approach to software security and internet protection.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 97
  • Package options score: 90
  • Features score: 100
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 95

This app is one one of the most recognizable on the market and a favored option on our list. The first Kaspersky antivirus software hit the market in 1989, even before the company was officially founded. Since then, Kaspersky has operated as a major Windows antivirus software creator. The company also provides regular insights into the malware landscape, releasing reports several times each year that explore trends in malware and consumer security.

Pros:

  • Consumer-friendly pricing and transparency
  • Industry-leading approach to AV development
  • Must-have additional features, such as webcam and mic protection
  • Free and regular software updates

Cons:

  • Essential Suite is light on features for the price

GREAT VALUE:Scores well in each category, a trusted household name that doesn’t skimp on features.

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8. Panda Antivirus [Panda Dome]

Panda Dome Essential

Panda Antivirus makes our list for several reasons, but especially thanks to its focus on AI and data analytics in the malware detection and removal process.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 91.6
  • Package options score: 100
  • Features score: 80
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 80

This provider offers effective antivirus tools with a heavy emphasis on cutting edge tech to get the job done. There’s also a wide selection of additional PC protection and management features available under its “Panda Dome” software that may make it a good selection for consumers needing holistic antivirus and software security.

Pros:

  • Multiple discounted packages available with an expanding features list
  • Uses a machine-learning approach to zero-day malware detection
  • Offers protection for Wi-Fi connections and USB ports
  • Fast full-system scan times

Cons:

  • Essentials package is extremely limited in features for the price

Unlimited devices:Unique features. High protection score and unlimited devices option for buyers.

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9. ESET Antivirus

ESET NOD32 Antivirus

ESET Antivirus may not be as well-known as some of the household brands like Norton and McAfee, but it’s also not a lightweight. While we don’t have exact numbers for last year just yet, ESET commanded over 11% of the AV tool market share in 2020, which was actually more than McAfee Antivirus. Giving this one a look-through might be a good idea, especially if its price and features match your needs.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 97
  • Package options score: 90
  • Features score: 95
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 90

It might sound trite, but ESET’s 100 million+ users can’t be wrong, especially given the large amount of competition on the market for Windows antivirus protection. Still, the service stands on its own merit outside of a large userbase thanks to excellent independent testing lab results and a wide range of Windows 10 protection features that add to its desirability as a protection tool.

Pros:

  • No-frills approach to antivirus removal
  • Its large market share without heavy marketing is a positive sign
  • Provides protection against phishing, ransomware, spyware, and more

Cons:

  • Charges much more for multi-device protection

Reliable protection:High-grade solution with a wide range of features to cover most needs.

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10. Avira Antivirus

Avira Antivirus Pro

Avira Antivirus wins us over for several reasons, some of which go beyond just its usefulness as a Windows 10 antivirus tool. This is one of the few options on the list offering month-to-month subscriptions, a model that’s confoundingly rare in the antivirus market. It also offers a robust, free AV tool that’s a step up over Windows Defender.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 96
  • Package options score: 100
  • Features score: 90
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 80

Avira’s Windows 10 antivirus tool is not incredibly well-known among Windows users. Nevertheless, its service boasts award-winning protection and a “Top Product” stamp of approval from the AV-Test independent testing lab. That complements its high average consumer rating scores and, at a minimum, provides some extra incentive to explore the several package options and features that Avira provides beyond just basic malware scanning and removal.

Pros:

  • Easily manages zero-day threats
  • Added security for online banking and shopping
  • Solid ratings from independent testing labs
  • Month-to-month subscription model available

Cons:

  • Its yearlong subscription options are often pricier than many competitors
  • Limited features in cheapest package

Flexible billing:A top performer with a low level of commitment. Switch easily between packages as your needs change.

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Read our full Avira Antivirus review.


11. AVG Internet Security

AVG Internet Security

AVG Antivirus makes our list for a few key reasons. Although its scores are fairly mediocre, it’s also one of the most trusted and well-known names in Windows security thanks to its free offering. What many users may not realize is that AVG offers a feature-expanded paid tool, as well.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 94.6
  • Package options score: 80
  • Features score: 90
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 80

AVG’s free antivirus helped but it on the map, but its paid tool is a bit of a contradiction. On the one hand, it scores high in independent testing lab results, meaning it works as intended. Conversely, consumers tend to dislike the company behind it, which leads to lower consumer review ratings. Overall, though, even if you dislike the brand, the company’s tool is highly effective at threat mitigation.

Pros:

  • Fast, efficient malware scanning and removal
  • Loaded with additional features for PC security maintenance
  • Long history of producing effective Windows 10 AV products

Cons:

  • Prices its software well above average
  • The company regularly receives negative customer service reviews

Experienced provider:A leading company that pioneered many of the industry’s threat protection technology. Wide range of features across multiple packages.

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12. Trend Micro Antivirus

Trend Micro Antivirus Plus Security

Trend Micro’s packages are competitively priced, especially when compared to AVG. Further to its credit, the company’s basic protection, while still slim on features, has more to offer than most of the other basic package offers available through its peers.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 91
  • Package options score: 90
  • Features score: 100
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 90

Trend Micro is one of the largest computer security companies in the world. Because it primarily offers business-related products, it has a surprisingly small offering for consumers. However, its three consumer-focused packages were designed to manage common risks associated with owning a Windows 10 computer. Even Basic subscription users will enjoy a bit more from the feature list than what’s available through other AV software, including protection against phishing emails and the Trend Micro Pay Guard that adds an extra layer of digital security for online banking and shopping.

Pros:

  • Reasonable first-year pricing
  • Provides a unique social media privacy tool
  • Offers parental protection tools for childrens’ computers

Cons:

  • Excessive check-out page upselling

Large suite of tools:Significant focus on business endpoint protection. Also offers three consumer focused packages.

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Read our review of Trend Micro Antivirus.


13. G Data Total Security

G Data Antivirus for Windows

G Data Total Security uses two virus scanning engines, one of which is Bitdefender’s highly-rated scanning tool. The use of a Bitdefender engine likely helps ensure this service ranks easily makes the list and scores well with independent testing labs. That said, it still stands on its own legs in the other categories.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 94
  • Package options score: 90
  • Features score: 100
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 90

Founded in 1985, G Data has offered Windows security solutions for every major iteration of Microsoft Windows. This Germany-based company provides several different packages for Windows users, including its “Total Security” option for multi-device coverage and AV tools for Mac computers and Android devices. Its Windows 10 antivirus is straightforward and buffered by Bitdefender’s virus scanning engine, a sure bet for effective malware detection and removal.

Pros:

  • Blocks unauthorized device access
  • Includes a secure password manager
  • Uses two real-time antivirus engines for added protection

Cons:

  • Few differentiating features or pricing schemes

Two virus scanning engines:Multi-device and multi-year coverage available.

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14. Comodo Internet Security

Comodo Internet Security specializes in all forms of web security, so it makes sense that it has a Windows 10 antivirus app as well.  This service doesn’t give any ground to its larger competitors in this space, though its more affordable pricing is certainly a power move.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 94
  • Package options score: 85
  • Features score: 80
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 90

Comodo has an extensive reach in the internet and software security market. Its products cover multiple business and consumer needs. Notably, Comodo’s stance on antivirus is that free tools are just as effective as paid ones at removing malware and viruses. All the same, the company still offers a paid tool with a suite of sought-after features that extend beyond just virus removal, while also offering its tool at a lower price than most of its competitors.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t use pricing gimmicks
  • Straightforward real-time virus identification and removal
  • Offers additional cloud-based antivirus, virus sandboxing, anti-spam, and email protection

Cons:

  • Not ideal for households with multiple computers
  • Very few bonus features

Read our review of Comodo Antivirus.


15. Emsisoft Anti-Malware

Emsisoft has a small share of the market, yet remains regarded in the industry as a highly trustworthy option for Windows security protection. This is highlighted by its positive reception among users and consumer reviews and its excellent array of features.

  • Average independent testing lab score: 93
  • Package options score: 80
  • Features score: 100
  • Pricing and subscription transparency score: 80

The first version of Emsisoft was launched in 2003. Since then, the company has updated and upgraded its service to meet consumer demand. Emsisoft commands around one percent of the AV software market, which is not insignificant considering how many tools are currently available. Similar to G Data, Emsisoft formed a partnership with Bitdefender that now sees Bitdefender’s antivirus engine powering the Emsisoft Anti-Malware tool.

Pros:

  • Dual-engine approach powered by Bitdefender’s software
  • Offers ransomware protection
  • Scans down to the command line
  • Detects and removes banking trojans and backdoor malware

Cons:

  • Pricey for multiple computer households

Read our full review of Emsisoft.

Methodology: how we select the best antivirus for windows 10

Choosing the top antivirus for Windows 10 is no easy feat. We’ve put these programs through a gauntlet of tests, and here’s what we focused on:

  1. Device Support: We’re all about inclusivity. Our picks cater to various Windows versions, not just Windows 10. And hey, macOS users, we’ve got you covered, too.
  2. Threat Detection: We threw dormant and active malware at these antiviruses to see who’s got game. The goal? Finding software that not only detects but also cleans up.
  3. Value for Money: We love a good deal. We’ve highlighted providers that offer first-year discounts and no-strings-attached money-back guarantees.
  4. Performance: No one likes a resource hog. We used diagnostic tools to ensure our choices won’t slow you down.
  5. User Experience: The interface should be a breeze whether you’re a newbie or a tech whiz. We looked for antiviruses that are easy for beginners but still offer the bells and whistles for the pros.

For the nitty-gritty on our testing, check out our in-depth antivirus methodology.

FAQs

Can antivirus software slow down my computer?

While running antivirus software can consume system resources and potentially slow down your computer, most modern antivirus programs are designed to minimize their impact on system performance. When choosing antivirus software, consider its system requirements and performance impact to ensure it doesn’t significantly slow down your computer.

Do I need additional protection if I use Windows Defender on Windows 10?

Windows Defender, the built-in antivirus for Windows 10, provides a basic level of protection against malware and viruses. However, for more comprehensive protection, it’s advisable to use a dedicated antivirus software, especially if you frequently browse the internet or download files from various sources.

Should you pay for antivirus software?

With a lot of free options available, it’s a very valid question and it comes down to your specific needs and usage. For basic protection, Windows Defender offers sufficient protection for some users. However, investing in a paid antivirus solution might be worthwhile if you require more comprehensive coverage, have multiple devices to protect, or have specific security needs.

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