The Android mobile operating system is known for being open-source and is a great device for those who want complete control over their device. However, changing settings can be risky, as you may come across downloads that house malware or other attacks. That’s why you need a quality antivirus for Android to prevent this.
To help you find one, we looked into over 40 antivirus programs, including Bitdefender and ZoneAlarm to showcase the best 10 on the market.
What follows is a breakdown of what we look into while testing everything out.
- McAfee – Best For Its Longevity
- BullGuard – Best For Its Chat Monitoring Feature
- Panda – Best for Its Basic Plan
- Norton – Best For Its Database Of Malware
- Webroot – Best For Its Money Back Guarantee
- MalwareBytes – Best For Its Zero-Day Defenses
- AVG – Best for its Turbo Scan
- TotalAV – Best for Its Remote Control Firewall
- Avira – Best for Privacy Protection
- Reve – Best for Its Remote Security Controls
The Best Antivirus for Android Features to Look Out For
When looking through the different antivirus software for Android, take a minute to consider what you’re getting into. Again, Android’s operating system is very open. This means it’s much easier for you to come across malware than in a closed ecosystem like Apple’s. You need something that will really protect your device.
Here’s everything you need to know about Android antivirus software.
While looking for the best antivirus for Android, you want to understand how it protects against ransomware, malware, and attacks while browsing the web.
In fact, these are only a few reasons why you need to set up some antivirus. Fortunately, we’ve put together a solid list of the best ones out there.
When examining the different antivirus for Android, we take all of this into account, and more.
Key security features we always examine:
- Immediate virus scans that protect your device in real-time
- Detecting suspicious behavior as it occurs
- Whitelisting websites for easy access
- Sandboxing to test downloads in a safe environment
- Protection from spyware
- Defense against phishing
- Built-in VPN (Virtual Private Network)
- Device cleanup and speed up for a faster Android<
- Ransomware prevention
- Firewall for quick browsing protection
- Wi-Fi inspection
- Protection from keyloggers
What’s great about the different forms of antivirus is that some of them come with additional features that make them even better than competitors. Of course, threat defense is the most important thing to consider, but having these extra parts is nothing to scoff at either.
Knowing this, we’ve looked into over 40 antivirus software for Android to find you the best one. In our search, we look specifically for:
- Security features: sure, an antivirus can say it will protect you, but how exactly does it do so? There are different types of protection, from malware protection to ransomware defense and more. Some antivirus software provides this while others don’t.
- Reliability and accuracy: How well does an antivirus software catch potential attacks? Does it commit a ton of false-positives, or does the program catch things that will actually harm your Android?
1st Place – McAfee – Best For Its Longevity
- Has an extensive database of malware
- Focuses both on web protection and device protection
- Social Media Guard is a neat security feature
- Some plans are really expensive
- Have to go to a high tier to get the most out of your plan
- Multi-device isn’t on the lower plans
McAfee is somewhat of a household name. Anyone who’s dabbled even the slightest in antivirus knows of the software. This is largely because the brand is one of the longest-running pieces of antivirus defense software in existence, and has the defenses to show for it.
Because of its longevity, McAfee has a fully fleshed out database packed with the many threats your device might run into. The software is constantly checking your device against its solutions to keep it safe. Also, this security scanner keeps an eye on the programs installed on your machine to make sure nothing is activating by itself or being moved around without your consent.
On top of its device protection, McAfee has fantastic web defenses as well. Via its Home Network Security function, you have access to a dashboard of useful features like firewall control, Wi-Fi network protection, and a Social Media Guard. This last feature is useful for browsing around social media, as it checks any links or spam accounts that you come into contact with.
That said, McAfee isn’t the cheapest software in the world. It offers a good amount of features, but that fee isn’t always worth it for some users. It depends on what you want out of the software. Also, note that McAfee’s cheapest plan doesn’t have multi-device support. But, this is ideal for those only looking to protect their Android device.Visit McAfee
2nd Place – BullGuard – Best For Its Chat Monitoring Feature
- Fantastic feature offerings
- Chat monitoring feature is great for kids
- Home network scanner prevents would-be attackers
- Not great at protecting against ransomware
- Customer support isn’t ideal
What we like about BullGuard is its standout feature set. More specifically, its parental control offerings, import settings, and age-based security templates. Also interesting is its chat platform monitoring, which is on by default. This offering automatically checks and scans popular chat platforms like Facebook – ideal if you have kids using the internet.
This antivirus software for Android also brings with a home network scanner, which informs you of every device that connects to your network. It ensures that nobody can break into your connection without you knowing.
Also, there is a dashboard that brings together all of these different features into one easy to use space. Paired with this is a notification space that keeps you updated on all of your device changes. You can choose to have these constantly notify you or keep them silent to check on later.
That said, while these features are great, BullGuard is weak on its ransomware protection. It’s ideal for malware, web defenses, and more. So keep this in mind when picking your ideal antivirus software. Also, note that BullGuard’s customer support is a bit on the slow side in terms of responses.Visit BullGuard
3rd Place – Panda – Best for Its Basic Plan
- Free virtual private network offering
- USB scanning feature keeps you safe from potential threats
- Great for malware defense
- Too many false positives can get annoying
- Higher tier plans don’t offer a ton of extra features
- Not much you can do with the limited VPN, despite it being free
Panda brings with something many of these offerings do not: a free virtual private network (VPN) offering. It’s a really neat thing to provide, even if the feature is limited to only 150mb a day. This is ideal for users who need to privately search a couple of things a day.
The antivirus is also known for its malware protection. Like many of the others on this list, Panda defends against most every piece of malware. However, it sometimes gets a little too defensive, blocking software that isn’t malicious in any way. This is called a false positive, which Panda falls victim to quite often.
However, Panda also takes a look at all of your USB devices the second they are plugged in. It’s checking for any dangerous software on these and does so automatically without bugging you.
The antivirus software also contains a powerful firewall that blocks most attacks you’ll come across. This is an always-on feature that you can tweak to your preference. However, aside from its free VPN, there aren’t many additions brought in by the software’s higher tier plans. But, you’re getting a good amount of value from its basic plan.Visit Panda
4th Place – Norton – Best For Its Database Of Malware
- Virus Removal Assurance is a great warranty
- SONAR scanner keeps an eye on all of your software all the time
- Zero-day attack protection is a software selling feature
- Doesn’t provide multi-device support on lower plans
- Constantly pinging you to set up new features which can get annoying
- Very limited basic plan somewhat forces you to upgrade
Norton has a database chockfull of different antivirus software similar to McAfee and other long-standing antivirus offerings. There’s also fantastic support systems that come from years of fielding different customer issues.
On top of all this, there is a Proactive Exploit Protection (PEP) system that protects against zero-day attacks AKA brand new viruses that haven’t been documented by other software. This is a fantastic, software selling feature that protects you from potential surprise attacks.
SONAR, another useful offering, scans your different software all the time and checks for malware, similar to McAfee’s security scanner. Moreover, SONAR provides notifications if you’ve had this feature off for a while, ensuring your Android machine is as safe as possible.
Norton’s Virus Removal Assurance is useful as well, providing you the ultimate warranty on the software. Essentially, if something infects your device while Norton is protecting it, you can get a free refund on your purchase.
Even with all this time on the market, Norton hasn’t fleshed out everything, however. To start, its basic plan is fairly limited in terms of its features. Also, if you’re only using its core features, the platform constantly pings you to let you know of its other ones which can be quite annoying. Also, it only provides multi-device support on its higher plans, meaning you have to spend more money to get it.Visit Norton
5th Place – Webroot – Best For Its Money Back Guarantee
- Easy set up even for those without much antivirus knowledge
- Quick scanning for fast defenses
- Money back guarantee before testing
- Protective over its cloud-based protection
- Ironically isn’t very good at malware defenses
- Doesn’t have many features
Webroot is great for those who don’t know much about antivirus software thanks to its simplistic offerings. Of course, those who want a fleshed out, solid antivirus experience will want to look elsewhere, but it’s a great space to start learning.
For example, Webroot’s security dashboard is an easily accessible way to examine all of the different offerings. From here, you can establish its identity protection features, manage its cloud storage features, and more. Also, it’s an antivirus known for its malware protection, which is a bit ironic as it misses attacks here and there. It’s not the worst choice in the world, but Webroot could be much better.
However, one might struggle to understand exactly what’s going on here, as Webroot utilizes a cloud-based system that’s unlike most others. They take pride in that and refuse to share many technical details. That said, if you end up trying the antivirus and don’t like it, there’s a 70-day money-back guarantee which makes things much less risky.Visit Webroot
6th Place – MalwareBytes – Best For Its Zero-Day Defenses
- Quick, deep scans
- Zero-day virus protection
- Customize the defense systems as you wish
- Will miss malware at times
- Isn’t the best at benchmarking
MalwareBytes has a focus on real-time protection, which is fantastic for fighting off malware. Essentially, this feature protects against something called zero-day attacks, which are brand new viruses that haven’t been picked up by databases just yet. This is something that all users can customize as much as they’d like. It can be used to protect specific applications or only a few – entirely up to you!
For example, you may not want it to protect against your video player or game playing software. So, you’d turn it off for those and keep it on for your browsing applications. Also, MalwareBytes recommends certain software for you to protect as well. This is fantastic for users that are new to antivirus software.
All of its scans are incredibly quick, too. And, you can even take a look at its different operations via the built-in dashboard. Then, when the scanning is done, the platform brings out a diagnostics report that shows you how it went.
That said, this scan does miss some malware at times, even strains that aren’t very tough to fight against, and the antivirus isn’t the best at benchmarking either. However, the malware it does catch is sure to be destroyed, and the zero-day defense systems are a point in MalwareBytes’ favor as well.Visit Malwarebytes
7th Place – AVG – Best for its Turbo Scan
- Three products come together to increase speed, performance, and privacy
- Always monitoring programs
- Turbo Scan saves you a ton of time
- Confusing user interface
- Basic plan limits support options
AVG is an interesting offering, because the service brings three different products that enhance your Android’s security, performance, and privacy. Lab tests have found that AVG stopped every single attack the team threw at it, and handled brand new strains (zero-day strains) as well.
Notably, the AVG antivirus scanner is always running on your machine and pays attention to when you’re moving files around and installing programs. That way, if something happens that you didn’t do, the software can notify you. Also, once a complete scan has been done, AVG will implement “Turbo Scan,” which ignores previously checked files that don’t have any changes. This way, scans will be much quicker.
The platform also provides a quality firewall that’s great for fighting ransomware. This protection is similar to the traditional device protection in that it will scan all of your files and encrypt your most important ones into a secure folder that nobody can steal. AVG’s web protection software is very good as well, protecting your browsing sessions on top of your emails.
As mentioned, all of these systems run without slowing down your Android due to years of optimization. However, the user interface can be a bit confusing at times, and users on the basic plan receive worse levels of support. Keep these minor issues in mind while purchasing.Visit AVG Technologies
8th Place – TotalAV – Best for Its Remote Control Firewall
- Stands out despite it being relatively new
- Though a little lacking, the Web Shield feature isn’t bad
- Remote firewall for on the go defense
- Customer service takes a while to respond
- Payment practices are poorly laid out, often confuse users
- While it has great device protection, TotalAV isn’t the best at web protection
TotalAV is an interesting case since the antivirus software has only been around for a short while. Yet, it can compete with many of the other longstanding antivirus software for Android on the market. This is mostly because it can defend against an array of different malware no matter how tough it is to fight.
To start, TotalAV is a user-friendly antivirus thanks to its remote-controlled firewall. Thanks to this, you’re able to control your defenses from wherever you’d like as long as you have a device with an internet connection.
While its antivirus defenses are standout, TotalAV is lacking a bit in terms of its web protection. It does have a feature called “Web Shield,” but it pales in comparison to other antivirus software that focuses on such protection.
Fortunately, the antivirus does have multi-device support, meaning you can protect your other machines on top of your Android one. This is a nice touch that some other antivirus are missing. That said, TotalAV isn’t the best in terms of customer support. It’s known to be difficult to pay for, and real-time support responses are not as immediate as one would like. That said, there is a stand out FAQ page for users that require one.Visit Total AV
9th Place – Avira – Best for Privacy Protection
- Tried and test protection against ransomware
- Permissions Manager keeps your data private
- Mic and camera protection prevent undetected hacks
- Some important features require a separate app install
- Ads are intrusive on free version
Using Android means you need to be aware of certain privacy considerations attached. Avira’s Android app makes privacy a priority.
Android developers have a lot of freedom to collect your personal information and access your device functions. Of course, legitimate apps will ask your permission to access your files. If you’ve installed a lot of apps on your Android device, there are a lot of people who have access to your data (potentially).
One of Avira’s best features is its Permissions Manager, which ranks your apps according to their privacy implications. This is a convenient way to keep control over your device. Avira also provides specific protection for your camera and microphone.
Of course, privacy goes hand-in-hand with security. Avira’s German-engineered antivirus technology has you covered there, too.
Avira boasts that it prevents millions of ransomware attacks each month. That’s a bold claim, but it is feasible. Avira has been on the frontline of the battle against ransomware since the threat first emerged.
Given that Android devices are vulnerable to ransomware attacks, Avira represents a good choice for the security-conscious.Visit Avira
10th Place – Reve – Best for Its Remote Security Controls
- Cheap yearly plan and has customizable scans
- Remote control security options are great in case of theft
- Easy to manage false positives
- Suffers from quite a few false positives
- Scans take a while to complete
- Emergency contacts are hard to establish
Reve is a cheap antivirus software for Android that protects against attacks from internal downloads and external plugins. The platform provides three forms of protection: a phone scanner, a running app scanner, and a custom scan. The first option scans through your entire phone, the second one checks any apps that are open, and the third allows you to customize what is being checked.
However, while these scans tend to catch many pieces of malware, they tend to have some false positives as well. False positives are when an antivirus claims something to be dangerous when it really isn’t. Fortunately, this is easy to manage. When looking into Reve’s database, you can simply hit “remove” to put them back to normal.
Interestingly, the Reve database also connects to an online control panel that you can control from any device. This way, if somebody steals your phone, you can lock and even wipe your Android device from any computer with an internet connection.
However, one should note that these device scans take a little while to complete. While you can watch the progress as it occurs, it’s a little frustrating to have to wait so long. Also, it can be hard to establish emergency contacts. Those you choose should receive a key, but some users report never getting one.Visit Reve Antivirus
Other Things To Look Out For When Choosing an Antivirus for Android
While you may not always need it, a good support team is an essential part of a quality antivirus for Android. Whenever you’re suffering from an issue, having one around is the best way to get it fixed fast and smoothly.
Also, you want the company to provide a comprehensive database of common problems for when you come across them. These FAQ’s are sometimes overlooked, which can be a sign of a bad antivirus software overall.
Support features we place emphasis on:
- Phone, email, and live chat support
- Available 24/7
- Online FAQ and knowledge base
There are all sorts of different plans and features to consider while running the different antivirus for Android. Some are more expensive than others, but the cheaper ones usually lack some features that the pricier ones contain.
It’s up to you to decide what you want out of an antivirus and if the price is worth it. Take the time to examine different plans before picking one.
What we look for when gauging price:
- Different plans and their prices
- How many licenses come with
- Package value
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