Best Antivirus for windows 10

Hackers and cybercriminals tend to focus their efforts on the largest groups of users. It’s an efficient way of doing business, but it also means those using the most popular operating system on the market become the most vulnerable to attack. For desktop and laptop computer users, that title goes to Windows 10.

If you’re one of the 62 percent of Windows users logging in daily to Windows 10, you may want to find an antivirus program specifically designed for it. Installing antivirus for Windows 10 reduces the potential threat to your device from malware, ransomware, and phishing attempts that specifically target Windows users.

14 best windows 10 antivirus apps

Among the dozens of antivirus tools crowding for 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. Symantec Norton AntiVirus Plus: Best all-around AV tool. Among the most trusted names for Windows security
  2. TotalAV: Best first-year pricing for the level of protection. Consistently ranked high by multiple AV independent testing lab
  3. McAfee Internet Security: Well-known brand with multiple package options
  4. VIPRE Advanced Security: User-friendly interface with must-have features
  5. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus: Great option for most Windows 10 security needs
  6. Kaspersky Internet Security: Heavy-hitting antivirus with a unique approach
  7. Panda Antivirus: Offers a top-rated, high-scoring real-time virus scanner
  8. ESET: Cost-friendly AV for budget-minded security
  9. Avira: High-powered free-forever antivirus tool for Windows users
  10. AVG: Best for multi-user households. Offers packages with up to 10 devices per account without huge increases to the annual price.
  11. Trend Micro Antivirus: Competitively priced for single-computer protection
  12. G Data Internet Security: Feature-rich low-cost option
  13. Comodo Internet Security: Rock-bottom prices for cloud-based security needs
  14. Emsisoft Anti-Malware: Fast-scanning tool with an emphasis on web browsing

You’ll find 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.

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. Norton AntiVirus

Norton Antivirus Nov 2021

Norton AntiVirus is one of the few antivirus tools that’s a household name. Symantec has been producing Windows antivirus tools since 2006, and has supported Windows operating systems from Windows 95 and upward. 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

Best antivirus for Windows:Most flexible payment options to avoid lock-in. Heavy emphasis on user customization with plenty of features.

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2. TotalAV Antivirus

TotalAV

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 add-on features that come at no additional charge, including ransomware protection, cloud scanning, 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-enducing cancelation roadblocks
  • Free trial 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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3. McAfee Total Protection

McAfee

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, it’s still a leading option thanks to its high-tech approach to malware detection and removal and 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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4. VIPRE Advanced Security

VIPRE

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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5. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

Bitdefender

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 available.

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6. Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky

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 among the rusted 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 bare-bones on the 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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7. Panda Antivirus [Panda Dome]

Panda Antivirus

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.

Panda Antivirus meets our criteria with the following scores:

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

Panda Antivirus 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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8. ESET Antivirus

ESET

ESET Antivirus may not be as pre-packaged as some of the household brands like Norton and McAfee, but it’s also not a lightweight. ESET commands over 11% of the AV tool market share, which is consequently 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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9. Avira Antivirus

Avira Antivirus

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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10. AVG Internet Security

AVG

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 option. 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 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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11. Trend Micro Antivirus

Trend Micro Antivirus

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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12. G Data Total Security

G Data Internet Security

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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13. Comodo Internet Security

commodo logo

As a company that specializes in all forms of web security, it makes sense that Comodo has a Windows 10 antivirus app readily available, as well. Comodo Internet Security doesn’t give any ground to its larger competitors in this space, though its ore favorable 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

14. Emsisoft Anti-Malware

logo_emsisoft

Although it has a small share of the market, Emsisoft is 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 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. And 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 removed banking trojans and backdoor malware

Cons:

  • Pricey for multiple computer households

See also: Best VPN for Windows 10