Short on time? Here’s the best antivirus for 2020:
There are hundreds of antiviruses out there, and they all claim to offer the best protection at the best price. While it may feel a bit overwhelming, it’s actually pretty easy to find the right antivirus for you.
But you need to be careful — some antiviruses are actually malware in disguise, so it’s very important that you only buy from brands which have been proven trustworthy.
At a minimum, antivirus software needs to include protection against new and advanced forms of malware — viruses, spyware, rootkits, worms, trojans, and ransomware — and every antivirus on this list offers world-class protection against all kinds of malware.
Most antivirus software now comes included in full-suite internet security packages which contain a lot of different cybersecurity features like:
- Virtual Private Network (VPN) — a secure internet connection that protects your online activity.
- Password management — for storing login information and creating secure passwords.
- Parental controls — advanced tools which keep your family protected.
Each one of these features offer improvements to your device’s native security systems. Because the more secure your device is, the less likely you’ll expose your credit card numbers, your login information, and all of your sensitive data to internet hackers.
So how do you know which products offer the best protection? I compared the top antiviruses on the market and ranked them on security, functionality, speed, and price.
Here’s what I found out.
Here’s a summary of the best antivirus software for 2020:
- 1. Norton — Best antivirus for Windows + Android (also great for iOS and Mac).
- 2. McAfee — Best antivirus for iOS (also great for Windows, Android, and Mac).
- 3. Intego — Best antivirus for Mac (only for macOS systems).
- 4. BullGuard — High-powered antivirus with special gaming mode.
- 5. Bitdefender — Full package internet security suite.
- Plus 5 more antiviruses to check out.
- Comparison of the best antiviruses for 2020.
- Frequently asked questions about antivirus software.
How I Rated the Best Antivirus Software of 2020:
I’ve tested more than 70 cybersecurity software products, and I have very high standards when it comes to online safety. Here’s what I require from an antivirus product before I’ll recommend it:
- Strong malware protection. I only recommend products that have proven to protect against the most advanced malware threats — not only viruses, but also spyware, rootkits, ransomware, and anything else that could cause me or my devices harm.
- High-quality features. Most antivirus brands offer additional internet security features, but a lot of times, these extras are just flashy additions that will weigh your computer down and affect your device’s performance. The products on this list include valuable tools that are genuinely useful and effective, not just flashy extras.
- Speed and efficiency. The best antiviruses are lightweight and run smoothly — even on older or slower computers — across all of the software’s intended operating systems. I personally tested and measured how quick and efficient each antivirus on this list performed against all the other antiviruses on the market.
- Easy-to-use. Whether you’re an amateur or an expert, you still need virus protection. I’ve personally tested each antivirus software here to make sure that pretty much anyone will be able to set them up easily and use them properly.
- Good value. Antivirus software can be a big investment. I considered all relevant factors such as web and browsing protection features, how many devices are covered, and whether or not there’s a free trial or money-back guarantee. I personally feel that all of these top antiviruses provide great value.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:
You may notice that certain popular antivirus brands are not here. I’ve limited my list to the 10 best antivirus programs available, but there are some pretty good products that weren’t quite good enough to earn one of my top spots.
- Avast/AVG. Avast (who also owns AVG) has been caught up in a scandal where they stand accused of selling user data to large corporations for marketing purposes. Because of this, we no longer recommend any Avast product on this site. You can read more about the allegations and our decision over here.
- ESET. ESET is one of the biggest antivirus providers in the world, and it makes great contributions to the field of cybersecurity. Unfortunately, its current home antivirus product is not user-friendly enough for me to put on this list. However, ESET did get a spot on my top 5 free antivirus apps for Android.
- Comodo. I recommended Comodo as one of the best antivirus products for Linux, but that’s because there’s less competition on Linux. Comodo’s cross-platform antivirus product currently has too many bugs, and certain features don’t work properly.
1. Norton 360 — Best Overall Antivirus for all Operating Systems
Norton 360 offers unbeatable malware and virus protection — it’s my favorite premium antivirus of 2020, and it functions amazingly well across all devices and operating systems. It’s a well-built and well-maintained internet security suite which guarantees that your personal information will stay secure, private, and protected.
Norton uses a unique scanning engine, powerful enough to handle all of the newest and most advanced threats — scoring a 100% protection rating when I tested it during my Norton 360 review. One of my favorite things about Norton — especially the Windows software — is that it’s both extremely easy to use and still offers advanced settings for more technical users.
Norton provides excellent features across all of its 360 packages. Even on Norton 360 Standard (the cheapest plan), users get real-time malware protection, unlimited VPN access, a password manager, and 10 GB Secure Cloud storage. This is seriously good value for an entry-level, paid antivirus.
There are some big benefits to upgrading, too — more licenses, more storage space, and access to the best parental control software I’ve ever used in an antivirus. US customers also get the added bonus of identity theft protection and credit monitoring via Norton’s subsidiary company, LifeLock.
Norton 360 is simply a great product — affordable, reliable, easy to use, and powerful. It’s the best choice if you’re looking for a complete, easy-to-use antivirus with some of the best internet security protections out there, all for a great price.
If you want a user-friendly antivirus which provides powerful, all-around internet security, Norton 360 is the best there is. Norton offers 100% guaranteed protection from malware and a ton of excellent features — an unlimited VPN, a password manager, secure storage, parental controls, and much more. And all Norton plans come with a 60-day money-back guarantee, so there’s no risk in trying it out.
2. McAfee Total Protection — Best for Home Security
McAfee Total Protection has almost every internet security feature you’ll ever need — 100% malware protection, secure browsing, encrypted storage, a password manager, and a VPN.
McAfee’s excellent virus protection abilities alone make Total Protection a great product — scoring a perfect 100% detection rate when tested during our full McAfee review. But the included extra features are great security additions, as well.
One standout feature of McAfee’s security software is “My Home Network”. This provides an easy-to-read map of all devices on your home Wi-Fi network, giving you total control over your online security and allowing you to lock out intruders.
And you never know when you’re going to need this. A few months ago, my partner downloaded the notorious “Switcher Trojan” virus on her Android phone. The virus infected our Wi-Fi router, giving hackers a backdoor into our entire home network. McAfee alerted me to this unauthorized access attempt and immediately stopped the attack!
This is only one example of how McAfee Total Protection can drastically improve your internet security. All in all, McAfee is a well-known leader in cybersecurity, and Total Protection is its best antivirus package yet.
McAfee Total Protection offers an impressive range of internet security protections for all computers and mobiles. McAfee’s “My Home Network” feature is exceptionally good, offering centralized security control over every device on your network. This makes McAfee Total Protection particularly great for families looking to keep a highly secure Wi-Fi network. And all Total Protection packages offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out and see if it’s the best antivirus for you.
3. Intego — Best Overall Antivirus for Mac
Intego is a macOS-only antivirus exclusively designed to keep all Macs protected. Unlike many other antivirus brands which mostly focus on protecting Windows, all of Intego’s packages include internet security and optimization tools which enhance Apple’s built-in safety features with things like:
- Real-time malware protection.
- Mac optimization and cleaning tools.
- Advanced Mac backup options.
- Network security options.
- Parental controls.
Intego’s antivirus scanner is really fast, and during testing it scored a near-perfect detection rate against advanced macOS malware. Intego’s backup options, parental controls, and device optimization tools offer tons of customization over Apple’s own Mac tools, and they’re all packed into a convenient bundle.
While it’s not as lightweight as competing Mac-only antivirus suites like Airo AV, Intego is great at enhancing the OS X’s security experience.
Intego has a few package options. The Mac Internet Security X9 plan doesn’t include parental controls or disk optimization tools, so I don’t think it’s as good a value when compared to other Mac-based antiviruses. But all of the best features are included in Intego’s excellent Mac Premium Bundle X9 bundle.
Intego’s range of features and its excellent protection against Mac-based malware make it the best antivirus for most Mac users. It greatly enhances and improves upon Apple’s already built-in security and device optimization tools, and it comes at a great price. While it’s not really lightweight like other antiviruses, Intego’s super fast antivirus scanning speeds and customizable backup options make it an amazing Mac antivirus. And with a 30-day no-risk money-back guarantee, you’ll be able to see if it offers the best protection for you.
4. BullGuard — Best for High-Powered Protection (and Gamers)
BullGuard offers powerful malware protection across three low-cost pricing plans, along with many additional features, including intuitive parental controls, secure and convenient cloud backup, and a highly protective firewall.
BullGuard’s antivirus engine scored very well in all of SafetyDetectives’s recent tests. And there are a lot of great added features with its top plans, like phishing protection, which got perfect results when I tested it against several fake websites.
One BullGuard feature I really like is Game Booster. Game Booster frees up system resources to ensure all games run smoothly. It also prevents annoying pop-ups from interrupting during gameplay. When I’m gaming, I hate how most antivirus software slows down my computer or displays annoying pop-ups. This is extremely frustrating, and it’s so tempting to disable my antivirus protection altogether — but this would leave me exposed to malware.
With BullGuard’s Game Booster enabled, I don’t notice any slowdown in my computer’s performance. In fact, Game Booster makes all of my games run faster by isolating all other active apps to a single CPU core.
But BullGuard’s anti-malware engine is great for all users, not just gamers.
BullGuard takes powerful antivirus technology and adds in great features like a Game Booster that actually improves the performance of games. BullGuard is a popular antivirus choice for gamers — and it’s an excellent antivirus product for non-gamers, too. You can take advantage of its 30-day free trial and see how well it works before you decide if it’s right for you.
5. Bitdefender Total Security — Best for Extra Features
Bitdefender has become one of the biggest names in cybersecurity software with more than half a billion users worldwide.
Bitdefender Total Security is Bitdefender’s top-tier home antivirus product. In addition to being a powerful and highly effective antivirus solution with perfect detection rates, Bitdefender offers one of the most comprehensive security suites available.
Here are just some of the extensive range of features available with Bitdefender Total Security:
- On-demand and real-time protection against all types of malware.
- Web protection, including protection against phishing, fraud, and spam.
- Anti-theft tools.
- Tune-up tools.
- Parental controls.
- Password manager.
The list goes on — As noted in our full review, Bitdefender provides every cybersecurity tool imaginable across its Total Security plan.
Of course, quality is more important than quantity, and these are all superb features. Bitdefender Total Security gives you highly effective tune-up tools, reliable anti-theft software, and a fast and easy-to-use VPN.
Most importantly, though, Bitdefender’s antivirus engine is extremely powerful. I love that its Advanced Threat Defense is constantly monitoring my active applications for suspicious behavior, and the Multi-Layer Ransomware Protection is safeguarding my files from encryption.
The only drawback is that the software is relatively complicated, and installation and setup take a long time to finish. But if you have the time required to set it up properly, you’ll be rewarded with a seriously powerful antivirus.
Bitdefender Total Security offers a phenomenal range of security tools for a cheaper price than most competitors. And it doesn’t compromise on quality — these are seriously powerful security tools that will enhance your online life. I recommend Bitdefender if you’re confident with computers and you take your online safety extremely seriously.
6. Avira Prime — Best for System Optimization
Avira has a range of security products, but I’ve selected Avira’s top-tier antivirus package for this list, Avira Prime, which has the premium version of every Avira product, including:
- Password Manager Pro.
- Unlimited VPN.
- Premium apps for Android and iOS.
- Advanced multi-layer ransomware protection — detects ransomware and prevents it from encrypting important files.
There are some other things included, too, like an anti-phishing browser, but I don’t think it’s particularly good, and it didn’t perform well when I tested it against other similar features from Norton and McAfee. Still, the amount of top-notch extra features you get with one of the highest quality anti-malware engines is remarkable.
And while many antivirus products include tune-up tools — apps designed to help your device run smoothly and free up hard drive space — I think Avira Prime’s System Speedup feature is the best one out there. System Speedup’s optimization tools include:
- Hyperboost. Improves the computer’s startup time.
- Power Boost. Puts all available resources into a single task — great for gaming.
- OnWatch. Automatically cleans up computer according to pre-set specifications (e.g. when you hit 1 GB of temporary files).
I use a pretty old system to test all my antivirus software (I don’t want to purposely infect my best PC with malware, after all!), and System Speedup had my old computer running like new — in fact, it almost seemed faster than when I first bought it.
The Avira program itself is also super lightweight. Even with Avira’s deep scan running in the background, I could use my outdated testing computer with virtually no slowdown. This makes Avira Prime a great investment if your computer is slow or often low on hard drive space.
I’ve always had a lot of respect for Avira’s great range of cybersecurity tools. And Avira is well-known in the online security scene for producing one of the best anti-malware engines in the world. One thing I specifically like about Avira Prime is that it provides unlimited access to all of Avira’s products. And my favorite — System Speedup — is the perfect solution for optimizing old or slow computers.
7. Kaspersky Internet Security — Best for Online Shopping and Banking
Kaspersky Internet Security takes Kaspersky’s well-known, solid antivirus protection and adds some impressive bonus features that will help keep you safe online.
Shopping and banking online are risky activities — without proper protection, you’re vulnerable to financial theft. Falling victim to a banking Trojan or keylogger spyware can have devastating consequences. I know several people who have lost thousands of dollars because they weren’t careful enough when shopping online.
Many antivirus packages offer some sort of online payment protection, but I really like Kaspersky’s solution — “Safe Money”. Kaspersky can detect when you’re about to make a payment or use online banking. You can then launch a safe, sandboxed browser window that’s impenetrable to malware, and use Kaspersky’s On-Screen Keyboard to avoid keylogger detection.
And Kaspersky’s antivirus engine consistently delivers some of the best results in the industry against all types of malware. Check out my review of Kaspersky’s Internet Security product line — Kaspersky was 100% effective in anti-malware testing.
In my opinion, Internet Security is Kaspersky’s best value plan. The entry-level product, Kaspersky Anti-Virus, is a solid — but basic — antivirus application. The most expensive product, Kaspersky Total Security, includes some pretty useless features, and it isn’t worth the upgrade.
Kaspersky Internet Security is a powerful, well-designed antivirus package that earned perfect malware detection results in my testing. I really like Kaspersky’s Safe Money feature, which provides a secure environment to protect financial information — an essential safeguard if you frequently shop or bank online.
8. TotalAV — Easiest Antivirus Software to Use
TotalAV is one of the newest brands on my list, and because a lot of new antivirus companies come and go all the time, I was skeptical when I first tested it. However, after my last review, I can confidently say that TotalAV is a great antivirus product.
TotalAV is an Avira “white label”, meaning that Avira’s software powers TotalAV’s antivirus engine. So — although TotalAV is a new brand — it runs on some of the most trusted cybersecurity technology available.
TotalAV also has a really simple, easy-to-use design. It’s one of the best-looking antivirus products I’ve ever used. You can access all of TotalAV’s features from its home screen with just a couple of clicks, making it really easy to figure out. If you’re new to antivirus software, you’ll probably like the simplicity of TotalAV.
TotalAV also provides a full range of extra security features, including a password manager, VPN, and phishing protection. Most of its features are very good (except “Safe Search”, the feature to protect you against unsafe search results, which needs lots of improvement), even though getting access to every one of these features might be a little expensive.
TotalAV has a powerful antivirus engine and a great range of features. An attractive, user-friendly design helps this relatively new brand stand out from the crowd. TotalAV is certainly worth checking out — particularly if you’re new to antivirus software and want something easy to use.
9. Panda Dome — Best for Flexible Pricing
Panda offers its smart, cloud-based virus detection and easy-to-use interface across 5 different pricing plans — I love that Panda provides its powerful security solution to everyone, regardless of budget.
- Free. Includes real-time virus protection and a firewall for Windows, plus a VPN (limited to one virtual location and 150 MB per day).
- Essential. Adds Android and macOS malware protection, Wi-Fi protection, and external device scanning.
- Advanced. Adds parental controls, protection against ransomware, and safe browsing.
- Complete. Includes a Data Shield for encrypting your personal information, a password manager, and device optimization tools.
- Premium. Unlimited VPN access across 22 locations and 24/7 priority technical support.
There’s a big difference in price between the top and bottom-tier packages. But with monthly payment plans and your first month free, you can find the right product for your needs with no risks attached.
Each of these plans provides fantastic value. Even Panda Dome Free is pretty good, offering real-time virus protection — something that many free antivirus products lack. I think Panda Dome Advanced offers the best value out of Panda’s five plans, mostly due to its excellent ransomware protection and parental controls.
Across its five plans, Panda Dome offers every security feature you could need — including real-time virus protection, ransomware protection, a password manager, and a VPN. Panda offers monthly payments, which is perfect if you don’t want to pay an annual subscription up-front. And if you don’t want all of Panda’s advanced features, Panda provides an option for every budget and need.
10. Trend Micro — Best for Phishing Protection
Japanese cybersecurity company Trend Micro offers a range of antivirus plans, including:
- Internet Security. Protects up to 2 devices with malware protection, internet privacy, and parental controls.
- Maximum Security. Protects 2-25 devices, adds a password manager, online banking protection, and system tune-up tools.
- Premium Security. Protects 6-10 devices, adds premium 24/7 support, and a specialist Virus Removal Service.
All of Trend Micro’s features work extremely well (although Norton’s parental controls are far superior). However, phishing protection is where this brand really stands out.
Phishing scams are increasingly common, and they can be very difficult for antivirus software to detect. Cybercriminals can create duplicate websites (a tactic known as “domain spoofing”) designed to trick you into giving up your personal information and passwords. Web browsers such as Chrome and Firefox integrate some phishing protection. However, this basic protection is not enough.
Trend Micro’s anti-phishing feature gets exceptional results in phishing protection tests — detecting more phishing websites in my testing than any of its competitors.
Trend Micro offers a strong set of security and privacy features and some impressive customer support options on its most expensive plan. It’s particularly good at phishing protection, and it will help you avoid malicious websites seeking to steal your credit card numbers or passwords.
Bonus. Cylance Smart Antivirus — Simplest Antivirus Solution
Cylance might not be the most well-known cybersecurity brand. But among industry experts, Cylance is well-respected and is known for pushing antivirus technology forward.
Unlike many other antivirus programs, Cylance Smart Antivirus doesn’t run off a list of malware definitions. It uses artificial intelligence to continuously observe how your files and processes behave.
Cylance claims its AI-based antivirus engine is fundamentally different from its competitors. Several other companies — such as Panda and Comodo — have developed AI-based antivirus engines, usually as part of a broader set of antivirus technologies. But Cylance relies entirely on this AI technology, and it does so with a high level of effectiveness.
Cylance Smart Antivirus doesn’t come with any extra features. There are no pricing plans — except for discounts for purchasing multiple licenses. All you have to do is install Cylance and let it protect your computer.
Cylance does away with pop-ups, update reminders, and annoying prompts to upgrade. If you want a powerful, simple-to-use, and cost-effective antivirus solution, Cylance is a great choice.
No VPN, no firewall, no browser extension — just smart and simple malware protection. Cylance Smart Antivirus will help keep your computer running fast and malware-free — but I’d suggest that you also purchase some other cybersecurity products for all-around protection.
Comparison of the Best Antiviruses of 2020
|Antivirus||Firewall||Cloud-Based Scanning||Included VPN||Free Version||Money-Back Guarantee|
|McAfee||Yes||No||Unlimited data (with automatic subscription renewals)||No||30-days|
|Avira||No||Yes||Unlimited data (with Avira Prime)||Yes||30-days|
|Kaspersky||Yes||Yes||300 MB/day||Yes||30-days (USA) and 14-days (UK)|
|TotalAV||Yes||Yes||Unlimited (with TotalAV Internet Security)||Yes||30-days|
|Panda||Yes||No||Unlimited (with Panda Dome Premium)||Yes||30-days|
Best Antivirus Software for 2020 — Frequently Asked Questions
🏅 What’s the best antivirus software for Windows 10?
All the antivirus software on this list run on Windows 10 and even on certain older Windows versions like Windows 7. I recommend Norton 360 as the best antivirus software for Windows for most users. Kaspersky Internet Security also includes a really helpful “Windows Troubleshooting” feature that can help Windows to recover from a malware attack.
🖥️ What’s the best antivirus software for Mac?
But most of the antivirus products on this list run on multiple platforms, including Mac.
For example, Norton 360 is a great choice for Mac users, but certain features (such as Cloud Backup and Parental Control) are limited on Mac due to Apple’s restrictions.
📱 What’s the best antivirus app for Android?
In my view, the best antivirus app for Android is Norton Mobile Security. Norton 360 Deluxe comes with 5 licenses, and you can use as many as you want on mobile. If you’re looking for a free antivirus app for Android, Bitdefender Antivirus Free got the number 1 spot in my best 5 free Android antivirus apps.
💻 What’s the best antivirus app for a Windows laptop?
A Windows laptop works in the same way as a Windows desktop computer — every antivirus product on my list will work on a Windows laptop. But because laptops tend to be slower than desktops, you may want to consider Avira Prime, which is my top choice for slower computers. But if you have a fast, new laptop, any one of these programs will run well, so it’s just a matter of finding the one that most directly meets your needs.
🤔 How do I choose the best antivirus software for me?
Choosing the right antivirus software package can be a difficult decision — there are so many choices, and the best protection doesn’t come cheap.
Here are some steps you can take before you commit to an antivirus product:
- Decide what features you need. Basic antivirus protection is essential, but many other security features are also important. If you use public Wi-Fi networks, you should choose a product that includes a VPN. If you have kids, you need parental controls. The more comprehensive products on this list, such as Norton 360, provide these more advanced features.
- Consider which and how many devices you need to protect. You certainly have more than one device that requires antivirus protection. All the brands on this list offer discounts for multiple licenses — for example, you can use the top Norton and McAfee plans on up to 10 devices, including smartphones. However, Panda doesn’t provide an iPhone app — and Cylance doesn’t offer mobile protection at all.
- Take advantage of a free trial. There are several brands on this list that offer a no-commitment free trial. For example, your first month using Panda is totally free. And almost every other brand offers a “no questions asked” money-back guarantee — for example, TotalAV offers a 30-day refund period, and Norton’s refund period is a generous 60 days.
- Test out the software. Spend some time testing the product you’ve chosen. If you’re not happy, reach out to customer support. Or simply get a refund — these brands have seriously good reputations to maintain, and they will 100% honor any valid refund request. You could conceivably test every product on this list — at no expense whatsoever — before settling on the right one.