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The Best Antivirus Software: A Summary

Looking for the best virus scanner? We have listed the five best options for you!

  1. Norton: The all-round best antivirus solution
  2. Bitdefender: Optimal protection and countless features
  3. Intego: The best antivirus for Mac
  4. Surfshark One: The best all-in-one online security solution
  5. Malwarebytes: The fastest virus scanner

Not every antivirus scanner works well for everyone. The perfect software for you is determined by many factors, including your operating system, your online activities, and your specific wishes. Read the article below to find out which of these five options suits you best!

Antivirus software keeps your computer optimally protected against viruses and all kinds of malware. As the internet continues to develop, so does cybercrime. In response, countless antivirus programs claim they offer the perfect layer of protection to old and new threats alike. But how do you know which software you should choose?

We tested a wide range of high-quality virus scanners to determine the best antivirus software available today. Our cybersecurity analysts have put each program to the test by comparing various features, as well as assessing software performance in day-to-day use. Below, you can find our top 5 antivirus software, as well as some tips for finding the right software for you.

The Best Virus Scanners

The table below shows a comparative overview of the best antivirus protection of this year, summarizing the main functions and features of each program. Do you want more information on one or more of these providers? Scroll down for a detailed review that will help you decide which antivirus is best for you.

Feature Norton Bitdefender Intego Surfshark Malwarebytes
Website Visit Norton Visit Bitdefender Visit Intego Visit Surfshark Visit Malwarebytes
Price per year (cheapest version without discount) $19.99 (first year) $29.99 (first year) $39.99 (first year) $47.76 $44.99
Operating systems* Windows, Mac, Android, iOS Windows, Mac, (Android, iOS) Mac, (Windows, iOS) Android (Windows, Mac) Windows, Mac, Android, iOS
Number of devices* 1-5 3-15 1-5 5 1-5
Free version?
AV-Comparatives test score (percentage of blocked malware) 100% 99.6% 100% no data available 100%
Real-time virus and malware protection *
Virus scan function
Firewall *
Safe online banking * *
Phishing protection *
Ransomware protection *
Parental controls * *
Password management *
Backups <
Adblocker *
Software updater * * *
Anti-tracking * *
Computer clean-up * * *
Webcam protection *

* Depending on the chosen subscription

Do you want to get started right away and close the best deal? Click the link to visit the website of your chosen provider above. If you’d like to know a bit more about each of these options, keep reading!

1. Norton 360: the best antivirus in the game

Norton Logo Banner

  • Top-notch security features: 100% detection rate
  • Easy to install and easy to use
  • Identity theft monitoring, privacy protection, password manager, and more
  • Expert customer support staff

Norton Antivirus is a well-known name in the cybersecurity world. The provider offers various packages against different rates. Software is available on all major operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS. While all of these programs offer excellent security, we recommend Norton 360 Deluxe as our number one pick. For $49.99 you can enjoy Norton 360 Deluxe for a full year.

What we like about Norton 360

In March and April 2022, Norton won the Advanced+ Malware Protection and Advanced+ Performance awards from AV-Comparatives. Norton 360 offers a wide range of top-notch security features, including real-time threat protection, secure browser extensions, and identity theft monitoring. In January and February, it was the only virus scanner to achieve 100% virus detection in tests from SeaLabs and AV-TEST.

The Norton 360 Smart Firewall monitors your network traffic and has many features in place to block intrusive attacks. For optimal security, Norton 360 uses heuristics and machine learning techniques to bust even zero-day threats. What’s worth pointing out, is Norton’s vulnerability assessment feature. This function scans and identifies any potential weaknesses in your device and operating system that criminals could take advantage of, including weak passwords. Additionally, Norton 360 offers its own password manager and SafeCam feature.

The installation process is very straightforward. For your mobile devices, all you have to do is go to the Play Store/App Store and download the Norton Antivirus app. Make sure you check whether your operating system supports all features. If you run into issues, there’s a direct link to customer support on the dashboard. A 24/7 live chat is available to help you out. You can also contact staff by phone or via social media.

Does Norton 360 have any shortcomings?

Norton 360 offers three different options for virus scanning: quick scan, full scan, and file scan. When it comes to the speed of these scans, there is some room for improvement. A full scan takes well over 40 minutes, taking up about 15-20% of the CPU (Central Processing Unit).

However, these numbers are pretty average when compared to others. On top of that, the amount of special features that Norton 360 offers makes up for this: a subscription does not only give you access to the Norton Secure VPN, but also 50GB of cloud storage, parental controls, and dark web monitoring.

Verdict on Norton 360

Norton clearly puts its money where its mouth is and offers excellent levels of protection. Its many options, excellent usability, and high performance convinced us to put Norton at the very top of our list of best antivirus software.

Want to know more? Check out our full Norton 360 review. If you’re already sold, click the button below to visit Norton right away.

Visit Norton 360

2. Bitdefender: many options and optimal protection

Bitdefender Logo Banner

  • Clear and user-friendly software
  • Transparent privacy policy
  • Many options in terms of security and privacy
  • Good price-to-quality ratio

Bitdefender is a giant among antivirus protection programs and is used by hundreds of millions of people. It has pretty much all the functions you may want or expect from an antivirus scanner. It goes without saying that Bitdefender Antivirus protects you against all sorts of malicious software, including spyware, adware, and even ransomware.

What we like about Bitdefender

Bitdefender has two comprehensive packages: Bitdefender Internet Security and Bitdefender Total Security. They also have a Family Pack, which allows you to cover more devices. For most users, we recommend Bitdefender Total Security. For $39.97, you’re protected for a full year. This package offers a strong firewall and options for parental controls. On top of all that, Bitdefender Total Security offers a device optimizer and even has its own premium VPN service.

When it comes to AV-Comparatives’ test results,  Bitdefender hit a 97.8% detection rate and a 99.99% protection rate. It uses real-time threat protection with the Bitdefender Shield and offers excellent protection against common viruses. Moreover, scans are fast: a quick scan took just over 3 minutes with 2% of the CPU taken up, and a full scan took 25 minutes at about 50% of the CPU, which is admittedly on the high side.

From a privacy point of view, this provider also has you covered. They offer a password manager, anti-tracker, and VPN. The software is easy to use and there are many support options at your exposal.

Does Bitdefender have any shortcomings?

Bitdefender Total Security works on every major operating system, including Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. Unfortunately, the cheaper package (Internet Security) only works on Windows. This is a possible drawback for Apple and smartphone users who prefer a basic antivirus package and are reluctant to pay extra for options they may not need or want.

Verdict on Bitdefender

Bitdefender is an excellent virus scanner with an excellent price-to-quality ratio. They even offer a 30-day free trial so you can test it before you fully commit.

Do you want to know more about Bitdefender? Read our full review of this virus scanner. If you want to take out a subscription immediately, you can do so via the button below.

Visit Bitdefender

3. Intego: great protection for macOS

Intego Logo Banner

  • Trusted antivirus scanner that’s been around for a while
  • Built-in firewall and various security features
  • VPN has to be purchased separately
  • Great customer service

Intego is an excellent antivirus provider, especially for macOS. Though it also has a version compatible with Windows, it was designed specifically with Apple’s operating system in mind.

What we like about Intego

Security is guaranteed with this provider that’s been around since 1997. In 2021, Intego Antivirus was awarded a perfect score by AV-TEST for “Protection,” “Performance,” and “Usability.” Intego’s special VirusBarrier will run virus scans on any devices, including USB drives and external hard drives.

Intego offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. Additionally, it has a built-in firewall that keeps your network traffic secure. This can be helpful if you use public Wi-Fi a lot. Finally, the software offers parental controls and a cleanup tool that organizes and optimizes your files.

When it comes to privacy, you can be sure that your data is safe with Intego: there have been no privacy scandals, despite the fact that the provider has been around for more than 20 years.

The installation process for this antivirus scanner is straightforward and the software runs smoothly. If you run into any issues, there’s a live chat available on the Intego website. We received a very fast response to our questions. It’s also good to point out that support is available in English, French, and Japanese.

Does Intego have any shortcomings?

Intego Antivirus offers several different plans against different rates. We personally recommend the Mac Premium Bundle X9. The only drawback of this is that, at $69.99 a year, it’s more expensive than Norton 360 and Bitdefender Total Security, but it offers a wide range of features and performs well.

Moreover, Intego’s VPN is not built-in, contrary to VPNs offered by many other antivirus programs. Instead, you have to purchase Intego Privacy Protection separately. The VPN does use the same server network as Private Internet Access, which is one of the best VPNs on the market.

A final downside in terms of usability is that each application has to be accessed separately from a single folder in the Mac Applications menu.

Verdict on Intego

It can be challenging for macOS users to find a good virus scanner, but we believe Intego is the solution here. It offers high levels of protection, relative usability, and various options to keep you safe while you surf the web.

You can find more details on Intego in our review. If you’re already sold, check out the website of the antivirus scanner by clicking on the button below.

Visit Intego

4. Surfshark One: VPN and virus scanner combined

Surfshark Banner

  • Surfshark One gives access to Surfshark’s VPN
  • Excellent privacy policy
  • Not as many features as other scanners, but offers anti-tracking
  • Detects personal information found online

Surfshark is best known for its VPN. However, Surfshark One Antivirus is a great cybersecurity tool that’s very new to the market but already shows a lot of promise. That’s why it has already been included in our list of best antivirus software.

What we like about Surfshark One

Surfshark’s antivirus offers three different scans. The quick scan runs a surface-level scan that checks your file system. The full scan goes deeper into your device and detects malware and viruses that are otherwise difficult to find. Finally, the custom scan allows you to scan specific folders that you’ve selected. This saves you time, while still sorting out threats.

Surfshark One is easy to install and has expert customer support staff. The antivirus will protect up to five different devices, making it a great program for family antivirus protection. In particular, the software for Android devices works very well.

When it comes to privacy, Surfshark has a great reputation. The main company has a strict no-log policy  Additionally, no data breaches have been reported. Surfshark receives extra points for running RAM-only servers. These only store your data temporarily.

The best part about Surfshark One is that it isn’t just an antivirus solution, but a complete cybersecurity package. It also gives you access to Surfshark’s VPN, which is one of the best in the world. A VPN gives you a significant amount of extra protection online.

Other features include Surfshark Search, which prevents tracking and allows you to browse the web more anonymously, and Surfshark Alert, which sends you a notification any time your personal details are detected online. This extends to passwords, emails, credit card details, and personal ID numbers.

Does Surfshark One Antivirus have any shortcomings?

Surfshark One Antivirus is a very new contender on the antivirus market. As a result, they’re very much still developing their service. That’s why, currently, Surfshark Antivirus doesn’t offer as many features as some other antivirus programs, such as a built-in firewall, parental controls, or an anti-spam filter.

Additionally, it is not the fastest antivirus scanner, either. Scans can take an unnaturally long time, although we’ve already found that they improved massively on this front since Surfshark One started.

Finally, when you compare Surfshark One’s package with the others on this list, it appears relatively expensive. The caveat here is that you get a lot of features for it: not just an antivirus, but also a top-notch VPN, Search, and Alert.

Verdict on Surfshark One

Surfshark Antivirus already proves an effective solution for privacy-minded users, but we expect that it will rapidly improve even more over the coming months.

If you want to know more about Surfshark Antivirus, check out our full review. You can also visit the website directly by clicking on the button below.

Visit Surfshark One

5. Malwarebytes: a fast and smooth virus scanner

Malwarebytes Logo Banner

  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Instantly neutralizes infected files
  • Free browser extensions for web protection
  • Fast scans

Initially, Malwarebytes only offered malware scans. However, Malwarebytes Premium has grown into a complete antivirus program that deserves a spot in our top 5 of the best antivirus software.

If you only want to secure one device, the Malwarebytes subscription costs you $44.99 a year. You can also choose to get an account for five devices at a rate of $79.99. If you want a VPN with your antivirus solution, the price comes down to $99.99 a year.

What we like about Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes’s AV-Test score is very high at 100% protection against zero-day malware attacks and 99.9% for detecting malware. Infected files are instantly placed in quarantine, neutralizing them until you’ve decided whether you want to delete them or not. Malwarebytes also offers a protection feature that shields vulnerable apps on your device from threats.

In terms of speed, Malwarebytes performs well. A full scan only takes over three minutes, which is very fast in comparison to other antivirus programs. Additionally, you can choose different options for how much processing power the Malwarebytes software uses up during a scan.

Malwarebytes is also very user-friendly: all software runs smoothly and is easy to install. If you decide to get the subscription with the Malwarebytes VPN, you’ll get to enjoy extra privacy protection.  This antivirus solution comes with a free browser extension for Chrome, Edge, and Firefox that also functions as an ad-blocker.

Does Malwarebytes have any shortcomings?

The biggest drawback of Malwarebytes is that it doesn’t have a firewall. This means that, while this antivirus solution is quite good at spotting harmful malware on your device, it won’t be as efficient at shielding you from potential threats online. On top of that, Malwarebytes is missing most of the features that competitors do offer, like parental controls.

In terms of privacy, an important thing to note about Malwarebytes  (specifically when you want to use the VPN) is that it’s located in the United States, which is part of the 5 eyes coalition.

Finally, Malwarebytes does not have a live chat, whereas competitors like Surfshark do. You can submit a support ticket on the website for personalized assistance.

Verdict on Malwarebytes

All in all, Malwarebytes is a fast and user-friendly antivirus scanner. You can read more details in our review, or visit the provider right away by clicking on the button below. There is a 60-day money-back guarantee, so make sure to use that to see if the service is something for you!

Visit Malwarebytes

Bonus: the Best Free Virus Scanner: Avast Free Antivirus

Are you looking for the best free antivirus software? Our top choice is Avast Free Antivirus. Many people think a virus scanner is excessive or choose to rely entirely on Windows Defender. However, while Windows Defender does a reasonably good job at protecting you, there are much better options out there — and some of them are free, like Avast.

The advantage of Avast’s free package is that it works on Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It offers real-time protection, ransomware protection, and Wi-Fi network verification, making sure to keep your system safe in the most basic ways.

For additional options, such as phishing protection, access to the SecureLine VPN, anti-tracker software, and live customer support, you will still need to purchase the premium version.

The reason why Avast’s premium version doesn’t show up in our top 5, is that the provider was involved in a serious privacy controversy a few years ago. Avast was caught selling user data. Since then, they’ve upped their privacy policy and practices, but even so, this discovery left a clear smudge on their reputation. On top of that, their AV-Tests results aren’t as consistently good as those of our top 5.

Nonetheless, in our opinion, Avast Free Antivirus currently is the best free anti-malware option available.

Visit Avast

Testing the Best Antivirus Software: How Do We Select Our Top 5?

We test each antivirus provider by looking at several factors. Only after thorough research and use, do we select our top 5. We pay special attention to protection, speed and system load, ease of use, privacy, customer service, and any extra features that a virus scanner offers.

Detailed antivirus research

List With Magnifying Glass and Shield SmallExpertise is the backbone of our testing process. The vast majority of these tests are executed by our cybersecurity analysts. They install the software and use it for an extended period of time in order to determine whether it’s user-friendly. This includes an evaluation of the website, the installation process, and the software itself. Additionally, they contact customer service to assess how helpful the support staff is.

As part of standard testing, we run our own speed tests for all included scans and, among other things, look at changes in CPU usage during various scans. In addition, we try out the various functions each scanner provides to get an idea of the options that are available to users. We also sift through the privacy policy of each provider and dig into their past to check whether any privacy scandals have occurred.

Our conclusions regarding the level of security the virus scanners offer are based on official tests from recognized and reliable platforms that regularly conduct extensive research into the effectiveness of various virus scanners. One example of such a platform is AV-Comparatives.

Up-to-date and constantly evolving

At VPNOverview, we are constantly testing new products that are meant to keep you safe while surfing the internet. These can be virus scanners, VPNs, or other software. Thus, our list of the best virus scanners is constantly updated based on our latest tests and results, as well as the most recent tests from AV‑Comparatives. This way, you can base your decision on the latest advice and install the best antivirus protection for your device.

How to Choose the Best Antivirus Software

Antivirus shield icon next to a question markAnyone who regularly uses a PC, laptop, smartphone, or any other device with access to the Internet needs antivirus protection.

The more time we spent online, the more we are exposed to viruses and other malware. Cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for ways to steal and monetize your data or rob you of your funds, including your cryptocurrency assets. A good virus scanner goes beyond the basics and offers the best possible malware protection against a wide range of threats.

This begs the question: what should you look for in antivirus software? Here are the most important considerations to keep in mind when you’re purchasing antivirus software.

Does this antivirus program really protect me?

While this question may seem obvious, it’s the most important one. A virus scanner that only blocks 50% of all viruses is essentially worthless. So, in order to protect your PC or mobile devices, you need antivirus software that is able to stop both the known and the newer viruses, as well as malware files.

Consider what type of protection is most important to you. Are you concerned about your personal data ending up in the wrong hands? Then you need a program that protects you against spyware. Do you want to be able to make safe financial transactions online? In that case, you could be looking for antivirus software with a built-in browser for banking. This brings us to the next consideration.

What functions does the virus scanner have?

In addition to basic protection, many virus scanners have additional features such as parental controls, phishing protection, or extra security for email and online finances. Some antivirus providers also come with cleaning utilities, like System Mechanic. All these extras make a difference. The best antivirus software is the program that has all the functions you need. Of course, this depends on how you like to spend your time online, as well as what type of device you use.

When you’re buying antivirus software, make sure you know what bases are covered and whether the program you purchase meets your personal preferences.

Does the virus scanner protect my privacy?

Besides providing security, your antivirus software must also be privacy-sensitive. You entrust a company with part of your internet traffic, despite the fact that they could potentially use this information for their own benefit. This is why you want to familiarize yourself with the provider’s privacy policy and check whether they handle your personal data with care.

Aside from that, any additional features that help you protect your privacy might come in handy. Some of the antivirus programs on this list even have a built-in VPN, which strengthens your online privacy.

How much does the antivirus program cost?

Of course, the price tag also plays a role. Ideally, you want the best possible protection for the lowest possible price. Therefore, it’s worth weighing the price against the features and deciding how much money you want to spend on a virus scanner.

Which devices are compatible with the virus scanner?

Not all virus scanners work on all devices. It is wise to install an antivirus program on both your smartphone and your PC. Depending on your operating system (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS), your options may be limited. Therefore, make sure to check whether the antivirus program of your choice works on your device.

Is the software user-friendly?

User-friendliness is a must for a good software program. A proper antivirus program runs in the background: you should hardly notice it’s there. The dashboard should be clear and the program should be easy to install. Extra features can enhance your experience.

What’s also important, is good customer service. You want support staff that can assist you quickly and effectively if you run into any issues. And what about a refund policy? A 30-day money-back guarantee, for example, gives you the chance to try out the software for a month before you are tied to a subscription.

What about speed and system load?

Finally, an important factor is speed. Virus scanners scan your system for malware. You want this to be a smooth and fast process that doesn’t slow down your system. However, not every antivirus program is fast and efficient. Therefore, the effect of an antivirus program on your system is a particularly important factor when determining which virus scanner is best for you.

Conclusion: Best Antivirus

Virus scanners help protect your computer or smartphone against malware and viruses. Unfortunately, not all antivirus programs are equally effective.  If you’re looking for the best antivirus programs, we have five options for you. Each of these excels in protecting your device against viruses and malware.

Antivirus Score Website
Norton 8.6 Visit Norton
Bitdefender 8.2 Visit Bitdefender
Intego 8.1 Visit Intego
Surfshark One 7.8 Visit Surfshark
Malwarebytes 7.4 Visit Malwarebytes

Do you want to install the best free virus scanner on your device? Then we recommend Avast Free Antivirus. Looking for the best gaming antivirus? Here’s our comprehensive guide to help you pick one.

The Best Antivirus Software: Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about our top 5 or about antivirus programs in general? Below we discuss some of the most frequently asked questions. Just click on the question to see the answer.

What’s the best antivirus program?

The best antivirus software of this moment is Norton Antivirus. This virus scanner offers optimal protection and provides you with an unparalleled range of special security features. Additionally, the software is easy to install and easy to use. You can see our top 5 best antivirus programs here.

What's the best free antivirus?

If you are looking for a free antivirus program, we recommend Avast Free Antivirus. This software program provides good online security for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. It is fast and works well while you’re running other applications or playing games.

What’s the best virus scanner for Mac?

At the moment, Intego is the best virus scanner for Mac. Their software was developed specifically with Apple products in mind. It offers a built-in firewall and several browser extensions. Additionally, customer support is very helpful and available in different languages. Check out our full Intego review for more information.

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