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ESET Antivirus Review 2022: Is It Any Good?

8.0
GOOD
Ranked 13th from 69 antivirus companies
Vanessa Flaxman
Vanessa Flaxman
Published on: April 2, 2022

ESET Review: Quick Expert Summary

ESET is a secure antivirus suite with excellent virus detection rates, but it’s not as good as the best internet security suites in 2022.

ESET supports Windows, Android, macOS, and Linux operating systems. However, many of its features are only compatible with Windows and Android, making it a very basic option for Mac and Linux users — and it doesn’t offer an iOS app at all.

ESET’s virus scanner performed better than most that I’ve tested. It caught almost all of the malware samples I downloaded onto all of my test devices — including several I hid in locations that other antivirus scanners often miss.

ESET also comes with a good range of additional features. However, while some of these features worked well, others were disappointing. ESET’s additional features include:

  • Firewall.
  • Anti-phishing.
  • Network monitor.
  • System cleanup.
  • Advanced diagnostics tools.
  • Password manager.
  • Parental controls.

I particularly like the advanced diagnostics tools, which are good for tech-savvy users. They provided me with an overview of my entire system, allowed me to generate security reports, enabled me to see an in-depth list of my computer’s running processes, and more.

However, the parental controls, system clean-up, and secure browser aren’t very good. As an example, the parental controls don’t allow you to schedule screen time, which is a fairly basic feature of most parental controls. ESET is also lacking a VPN, which is something most top antiviruses include. Other competitors, such as Norton, have far better extra features — including more useful parental controls and a VPN — all for a similar price to ESET.

Overall, ESET is a decent choice if you’re primarily looking for an excellent malware scanner, but if you want a full-featured security suite, there are better options on the market. However, one big positive is that ESET offers both a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee on all of its plans.

🏅 Overall Rank#13 out of 69 antiviruses
🔥 FirewallYes
🌐 VPNNo
🎁 Free PlanNo
💸 Starting Price$39.99 / year
💰 Money-Back Guarantee30 Days
📀 Operating SystemWindows, Linux, Mac, Android

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ESET Full Review

ESET Full Review

ESET has a powerful anti-malware scanner, excellent diagnostics tools, and a decent range of additional features — all in an intuitive user interface.

However, ESET isn’t as good as many competitor antivirus suites available for a similar price. ESET’s parental controls, system clean-up tools, and secure browser are all inferior to top competitors such as Norton or Bitdefender.

That said, ESET achieved a near-perfect malware-detection score during my testing, so if your priority is protecting your device against malware, it’s a decent option. ESET has several plans to choose from, it provides a free 30-day trial, and it offers a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

ESET Security Features

Malware Scanner

ESET Security Features

ESET offers a powerful malware scanner with a variety of different scanning options, plus real-time protection, to keep malware from Windows, Mac, Android, and Linux devices.

I tested all of ESET’s scan options on my PC, and they all performed really well.

These are ESET’s scans:

  • System Scan. Scans every single file on your computer, including running processes, program files, system files, and cached files.
  • Custom Scan. Scans individual files or folders.
  • Removable Device Scan. Scans flash drives, external hard drives, phones, or other removable devices.

I tested each scan option by hiding nearly 1,000 malware samples in my PC and removable devices. The System Scan detected almost all of the malware samples — which is impressive and nearly as good as antiviruses like Norton and Bitdefender.

The Custom Scan also found nearly every malware sample in the folders I specified, and the Removable Device Scan discovered all malware threats hidden on my USB drive.

While all 3 of ESET’s scans were lightweight, and I didn’t notice any system slowdown during scanning, the full system scan took almost 6 hours, which is a lot slower than the likes of Norton and Avira. In comparison, Norton only took 40 minutes to complete a full system scan. That said, the Custom and Removable Device scans only took a few minutes to complete.

ESET’s system scan takes a long time because it also scans areas most competitor antiviruses skip, including your operating memory, UEFI, system registry, and WMI Repository (Windows only) — basically, the most back-end areas of your device and its firmware. Windows and macOS already include pretty good protections for these areas, but users looking for the most comprehensive threat detection will appreciate ESET’s deep system scanning.

I was disappointed that ESET doesn’t have a quick scan option. Most antiviruses offer a quick scan — McAfee even has a quick scan that can check critical locations in under 2 minutes.

It’s also not easy to schedule scans in ESET. You have to navigate through multiple windows, and it’s a pretty confusing and unituitive process. Most premium antiviruses allow you to schedule scans in just a few clicks, and this is definitely an area that ESET could improve on.

ESET also contains a Host Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS) that constantly scans your computer for ransomware and rootkits. The HIPS was really effective in my testing. I ran a ransomware simulator, and it failed to encrypt any files before ESET blocked it. I then tried installing multiple rootkit samples, which ESET also quickly discovered and blocked.

Finally, ESET has a premium feature called LiveGuard, which is a cloud-based scanner designed to pick up previously unknown or ”zero-day” threats. Essentially, suspicious samples that are not yet known within ESET’s database are sandboxed while they’re sent to the cloud for analysis. This is a great feature, except for the fact that it’s only available in the most expensive “premium” plan. Other brands, such as Avira, offer cloud-based scanning as standard, so it’s a shame ESET charges extra for this.

Overall, ESET is excellent at protecting your device against malware, but the scanner is slow, lacks a quick-scan option, and includes a tedious scheduling process. Despite slow scan times, ESET provides one of the most thorough scans available from any antivirus, has near-perfect malware detection, and its real-time prevention system can block ransomware and rootkits before they cause any damage.

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Anti-Phishing

ESET Security Features

ESET’s phishing protection consistently prevented me from visiting dangerous websites, but it also flagged some safe sites and made it really hard to whitelist any false positives.

I tested the protection using PhishTank, an online database that lists hundreds of new phishing sites daily. ESET stopped me from accessing every verified phishing site — including some sites that Chrome’s phishing protections failed to detect.

However, ESET’s anti-phishing protections were a little too vigilant. ESET blocked a few websites not listed on PhishTank that I trusted, and it also made it difficult to whitelist them. You have to navigate into ESET’s settings in the desktop app and manually add a rule stopping ESET from blocking the page. Most competitors let you do this with one-click from your browser.

ESET Security Features

Overall, ESET’s anti-phishing features are good, but a little over vigilant. They’re excellent at blocking access to dangerous websites, but adding exceptions for false positives gets annoying.

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Firewall

ESET Security Features

ESET’s firewall performed really well in my tests. It successfully protected my computer by blocking and alerting me to unauthorized network activity.

The firewall includes various filtering options, but to be honest, most aren’t very useful. You can choose between:

  • Automatic mode. Requires no user interaction and blocks most inbound traffic while allowing most outbound traffic.
  • Interactive mode. Allows you to choose whether to block or allow unrecognized connections.
  • Policy-based mode. Blocks all connections unless the user has created a rule allowing them.
  • Learning mode. Automatically creates and saves rules based on user activity.

Most users will just want to stick to the Automatic mode. However, ESET’s Learning mode is a great option for users that want to train the firewall on their particular network preferences: it uses machine learning to create firewall rules based on your choices, which is pretty cool (although it can be problematic for users that don’t have a strong understanding of network mechanics).

I found the Interactive mode annoying. I was constantly getting pop-ups asking whether I should allow a connection. These pop-ups were displayed above everything else on my computer and appeared at least 10 times in 10 minutes. In comparison, when Bitdefender’s firewall detects an unrecognized connection, an unobtrusive notification appears at the bottom corner of your screen, which you can safely ignore if you’re busy.

Overall, ESET’s firewall performed well in my tests and is capable of protecting your computer from network attacks — but you’re best just sticking to Automatic mode.

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Network Inspector (Windows only)

ESET Security Features

ESET’s Network Inspector identifies all devices currently connected to your home network and scans them for vulnerabilities. This handy tool can help you identify open ports and weak router passwords.

The Network Inspector only took 15 minutes to scan my entire network. It showed all connected devices in a cool sonar-like view and listed ports on my router running services. It also said whether any of those services were vulnerable.

ESET Security Features

Finally, the network scanner showed a notification every time a new device connected to my network — this is a useful tool to identify if others are trying to use your Wi-Fi without your permission.

However, while I like ESET’s Network Inspector, I prefer Bitdefender’s. Bitdefender’s network monitor allows specialized profiles that can help protect users on public Wi-Fi connections. Also, while on a public network, Bitdefender’s network monitor can prompt you to connect to its VPN for added security. ESET lacks a VPN entirely, which is a big disappointment. You can read more about the best antiviruses with a VPN here.

Overall, ESET’s Network Inspector is an effective but simple tool to monitor your home network and keep it free from vulnerabilities. However, it lacks features such as a VPN and automated profiles, which would put it more in line with the competition.

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Advanced Diagnostics Tools

ESET Security Features

ESET’s advanced diagnostics tools offer a variety of ways to monitor and troubleshoot your Windows PC, and they are one of its biggest stand-out features. The macOS version also includes a few diagnostics tools (only the more basic ones).

ESET’s advanced diagnostics tools include:

  • Running processes.
  • Security report.
  • Log files.
  • Watch activity.
  • Network connections. 
  • ESET SysInspector.
  • ESET SysRescue Live.

The Running Processes feature is my favorite, but it’s not perfect. It cross-references running programs on your PC with applications listed on ESET’s cloud database, fetching the following information about them:

  • A reputation score (how dangerous the process is).
  • The number of ESET users with the same process running on their computer.
  • The date the running process was first listed on ESET’s cloud network.

Advanced users will find these insights helpful for identifying risks on their system. However, Running Processes also gave some safe (but lesser-known) apps on my system unsafe ratings — this inconsistency means that Running Processes can’t be fully relied upon, especially by less tech-savvy users who aren’t able to identify processes on their own.

ESET Security FeaturesI don’t like the Security Report feature — it simply lists the number of applications, web pages, and objects ESET has scanned on your PC, and the number of infections found and removed. Honestly, it’s pretty useless and seems to exist just so ESET can show you that it’s a good product.

Log Files, on the other hand, is a useful and searchable database where you can see every activity ESET has performed on your device. Rather than just a number, it includes a list of all malware detections on your PC alongside their threat names, filtered websites, and more. It also allows you to export .XML files of specific logs, which can be helpful for trying to get tech support online.

The Watch Activity feature shows the amount of read and written data on your device in real-time, in addition to the amount of received and sent network data. There’s not much to see here — but it can be helpful if you’re trying to identify slow-downs on your PC.

ESET Security FeaturesI really like ESET’s SysInspector tool, which details every single file, driver, scheduled task, network connection, and registry entry in your system. When I tested it, it only took a few minutes to make and save a full report. It’s a really useful feature that you can use to troubleshoot computer issues.

I also love the Network Connections feature that shows all programs on your device with an active network connection. If your internet is running slowly, you can discover which application uses the most bandwidth and deactivate it.

Finally, ESET SysRescueLive can create a rescue disk that would scan for malware without booting Windows. While Windows already has a decent boot-rescue feature, I’m impressed that ESET offers this additional recovery option for heavily compromised devices.

Overall, ESET’s advanced diagnostics tools are some of the best on the market and something not many antivirus competitors offer. They make ESET a great option for any advanced users looking to get a closer look at their computer’s inner workings.

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System Cleaner (Windows only)

ESET’s System Cleaner is a very basic tool — it doesn’t provide most of the helpful optimization features that competing antiviruses’ system-tuneup programs include. 

System Cleaner can reset Windows settings to default, return you to a previously created system restore point, or reset your wallpaper, but that’s it.

ESET Security Features

All of ESET’s system cleanup features are already available in Windows — the System Cleaner just collates them into one easy-to-find location. Many other competitor antiviruses, such as Norton 360, Avira, and TotalAV include a wide range of tools to help clean up your devices and improve performance, such as scanning for junk files, clearing out your temporary folders, identifying duplicates, and removing unused apps.

If you’re in the market for a fully-featured system clean-up tool, you should check out the best PC cleanup and system optimization tools in 2022.

Given how basic it is, I imagine most users won’t ever use the System Cleaner tool. If you’re looking for an antivirus with good system optimization features, you’re better off trying something like Avira, Norton, or TotalAV. However, advanced users may appreciate how ESET enables them to restore Windows settings and clear their registry quickly.

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Anti-Theft Protections (Windows only)

ESET Security Features

ESET’s anti-theft protection offers various tools to help users track and secure their lost or stolen devices. This feature is only available on ESET’s Windows plans. Here’s what you can do with ESET’s anti-theft tools:

  • Messages. Send a message to a lost device.
  • Remote screen capture/camera access. See what’s happening on a lost or stolen laptop/phone from any device with an internet connection.
  • Phantom account. Forces thieves into a fake account that keeps them from accessing sensitive files.
  • Browsing history and IP address. See what thieves are searching for and track your device’s location.

I really like that ESET offers anti-theft features for computers (which most competitors don’t do). I logged into the anti-theft dashboard from my mobile phone and marked my computer as missing. ESET then reset my computer and forced it into a phantom account, which made it impossible to access the files on my computer. It also allowed the computer to receive and display messages sent from my phone.

ESET Security FeaturesESET also regularly took photos from my webcam and screenshotted my computer screen, placing these photos and screenshots on ESET’s online anti-theft dashboard, which was accessible from any internet-connected device.

My only complaint about the phantom account is that I could still access the internet and download files. This means there’s nothing stopping thieves from downloading and installing files like rootkits, which can be used to hack into your files.

Overall, the anti-theft protections are very useful for both laptops and mobile devices. They let you completely lock down a stolen device and send messages to it while tracking its location and taking pictures of the user, all of which will be extremely useful if you ever have your device stolen.

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Parental Controls

ESET Security Features

ESET’s parental controls are very basic, don’t work too well, and lack important features that most competitors provide.

ESET’s parental controls are little more than a content filter. You can use them to automatically restrict your child from accessing certain websites — including adult, alcohol, tobacco, and even sex education websites — based on your child’s birthdate. In the options, you can adjust the categories and manually create exceptions.

I turned on the parental controls and entered a fake birthdate so that the screening would filter content for a 9-year-old. However, I was still able to look up terms like “violence” and “sex” on YouTube, so they didn’t work. The parental controls also failed to filter Google Image searches.

ESET Security Features

Parental controls from top competitors like Norton and Bitdefender include app limitations, scheduled device usage times, geo-fencing, and many other useful features. ESET doesn’t provide any of these parental control functions, and the content filter feels like a poorly tacked-on extra.

If you’re looking for an antivirus with good parental controls, I’d recommend Norton, which has one of the best (if not the best) parental controls on the market.

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Additional Features

ESET’s Windows plans come with quite a few additional features, including:

  • Password manager.
  • Gamer mode. 
  • Device control.
  • Webcam protection.
  • Secure browser.
  • Spam filter.

ESET’s password manager secures passwords using 256-bit encryption (the industry standard), offers multi-device synchronization, and has good auto-fill and auto-save capabilities, but nothing more. If you’re looking for a premium password manager with more advanced tools like password auditing, data breach alerts, dark web monitoring, and more, you’re better off trying something like Dashlane or 1Password.

ESET’s Gamer Mode is pretty basic, but still useful — it automatically suspends scans and notifications when using full-screen programs, so you can play games or watch movies with zero interruptions. However, there are better antiviruses for gaming, like Norton.

Secure Data is the device control feature that allows you to prevent certain users from accessing data on USB devices, CD/DVD drives, SD card readers, and more. Unfortunately, it’s pretty frustrating to set up (it took me about 10 minutes to figure out how to lock my test account from accessing an external hard drive). However, once it’s set up, it works well.

ESET Security Features

The Webcam Protection feature asks you for permission every time an app or website tries to access your webcam. Norton and McAfee have similar tools — although they also provide microphone protection, which ESET doesn’t.

I wasn’t very impressed with ESET’s secure browser or spam filters, either. The secure browser encrypts your keystrokes but doesn’t protect you from screen loggers. Meanwhile, the spam filter felt unnecessary. It also only works on Windows Live Mail and Microsoft Outlook, which both already have good spam filters.

Overall, ESET’s additional features are okay at best. They’re good features to have, but they’re far more basic versions than those available in most other top antivirus packages.

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ESET Plans and Pricing

ESET has 3 main pricing plans that are categorized under Essential, Advanced, and Ultimate

Essentially, the Windows packages are ESET’s main offering. And while the packages all state that they are compatible with the different operating systems, they aren’t really – you’re directed to download the “nearest” corresponding software for each OS, with its different features and levels of protection. However — you can at least buy 1 plan for multiple devices and simply use the “best available” software for each different OS.

ESET’s mid-range “Advanced” plan, Internet Security for Windows (or Cyber Security Pro for Mac), provides the best balance of security features and value. However, it’s more expensive than TotalAV’s mid-range Internet Security plan, which includes a VPN, excellent tune-up tools, and coverage for up to 5 devices.

ESET’s plans all cover a single device, with a small added fee for each additional device — this includes different operating systems, so you can buy e.g. Internet Security for 3 devices, and if using any of those licenses on a Mac or Android, you’ll simply have access to the corresponding software package for each OS.

Honestly, this small fee per device makes ESET a pretty bad option for large groups or families looking to share an internet security plan, but the price flexibility will be appreciated by anybody who is looking for coverage on just 1 or 2 devices.

ESET Essential: NOD32 Antivirus for Windows and Linux (Cyber Security for Mac)

NOD32 Antivirus is ESET’s most basic antivirus package, offering:

  • Anti-malware scanner.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • Ransomware detection.
  • Gaming mode.

The Mac version, Cyber Security, includes just the anti-malware scanner and anti-phishing protection — the ransomware detection and gamer mode aren’t compatible with macOS.

Starting at $39.99 / year, NOD32 Antivirus is good for individual users looking for a very simple, low-cost antivirus, but other competitors like Avira provide much more in their basic packages.

However, given the quality of ESET’s malware scanner, if you aren’t interested in extra features and are just looking for a lightweight antivirus scanner that provides the most basic protection, NOD32 Antivirus isn’t a bad choice.

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ESET Advanced: Internet Security for Windows (Cyber Security Pro for Mac)

Starting at $49.99 / year, ESET’s Internet Security offers a good variety of features, but it’s more expensive than some other competitors that provide more (and better) features and similar malware detection capabilities (like TotalAV).

In addition to all the features in the Essential package, ESET Internet Security includes: 

  • Firewall.
  • Antispam.
  • Safe browser.
  • Parental controls.
  • Webcam protection.
  • Advanced diagnostics tools.
  • System cleaner.
  • Network monitor.
  • Anti-theft protection.

The comparable Mac product, Cyber Security Pro, contains just the firewall, parental controls, web and email scanning, and a limited selection of the diagnostics tools. Given this limited range of features, the Mac version really isn’t great. If you’re mainly looking for protection for your Mac, you’re far better off going for a Mac-focused product like Intego.

ESET’s main/Windows version, Internet Security, is a far more worthwhile option, except that a number of the features aren’t that good — the parental controls and secure browser really aren’t even worth setting up. However, the anti-malware engine, web protection, network security tools, anti-theft features, and advanced diagnostics tools make this a decent antivirus program, especially for more advanced users.

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ESET Ultimate: Smart Security Premium for Windows

ESET Smart Security Premium is only available for Windows. Although ESET’s website states that this package is also compatible with Mac and Android, it isn’t really. The extra features in this plan are only compatible with Windows devices, and if you buy Smart Security Premium for a Mac or Android, you’ll be directed to download the closest relevant plans for those OSs: Cyber Security Pro for Mac and Mobile Security for Android.

Starting at $59.99 / year, Smart Security Premium includes everything from the Internet Security package, plus 3 extra features: a password manager, device encryption, and LiveGuard — the cloud-based scanner designed to discover zero-day threats.

The password manager works well but lacks features. It doesn’t have password sharing, emergency access, or any of the other more advanced and useful features that the best standalone password managers offer.

The device encryption, like the password manager, isn’t particularly good when compared to other products on the market. Plus most modern computers come bundled with data encryption anyway, which work just as well as ESET’s encryption feature.

And LiveGuard, as mentioned previously, is a great feature — but it bothers me that this is only available in the Smart Security Premium plan. As a user you also wouldn’t even notice this feature, as it simply runs in the background. Other antiviruses like Avira Prime include a similar feature at no extra cost.

Overall, Smart Security Premium isn’t a great deal. The extra features just aren’t good enough to justify the higher cost. Users looking for a premium antivirus suite should check out Norton 360 or Bitdefender.

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ESET Ease of Use and Setup

ESET Ease of Use and Setup

ESET is very simple to navigate, but some of its features are difficult to use or understand. Its user interface is laid out simply, with features listed in a menu on the left — simply select a feature and it is displayed in the middle of the dashboard.

However, not all features are clearly explained or intuitive to use, and a lot of things take far longer to set up than they need to.

For example, ESET’s real-time malware protection is set up to run automatically, but there are various options for customization — and honestly, the customization process is crazy.To do something as simple as schedule scans, I had to go through 15 rather confusing steps. It’s a lot for a simple scheduling task, especially when competitors like Avira allow you to schedule scans in just a few clicks.

Overall, ESET is a reliable antivirus, but some of its features are annoying to set up, and a lot of less tech-savvy users will have a hard time understanding its more advanced features. 

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ESET Mobile App

ESET Mobile App

ESET’s mobile app is really good, but it’s only available for Android. It comes under yet another plan name, Mobile Security — which can be bought completely independently, or as an “extra device” add-on to your main plan.

Mobile Security includes a lot of ESET’s key features, including:

  • Malware scanner.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • App lock.
  • Payment protection.
  • Wi-Fi security.
  • Anti-theft protection.
  • Call filter.
  • Security audit/report.

Most of these features work the same way as they do on the PC version of ESET — and just as effectively. The malware scanner for Android detected and blocked 100% of the malware samples I installed on my phone, including ransomware and spyware.

I was also able to log into the online anti-theft dashboard from my computer and locate my phone in minutes. However, while you can send messages to your phone, you can’t make your phone sound an alarm or remotely wipe your data like you can with Bitdefender’s mobile app.

ESET Mobile Security showed me important device settings and permissions and alerted me via a push notification of any issues with them, as well as analyzing apps for sketchy behavior.

I also really like how ESET’s call filter lets you block unknown numbers, and even manually block specific numbers. While many mobile phones can do this by default, ESET makes finding these settings easy.

Overall, ESET’s mobile app is pretty good, but it lacks several features that make competitor apps like TotalAV and Norton a better choice (such as a VPN). ESET also completely lacks iOS support (outside of the password manager) — click here to see our top iOS antiviruses in 2022.

Still, ESET’s mobile app is a decent low-cost option for Android protection.

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ESET Customer Support

ESET Customer Support

ESET has a good range of customer support options, including phone support, email support, and live chat. However, these support channels are hidden away on ESET’s website so they’re not particularly easy to find or use. Plus, not all support options are offered in all markets — for example, live chat isn’t available in the UK.

In addition to in-person support, ESET also has a comprehensive knowledge base that includes:

  • Product guides.
  • Troubleshooting guides.
  • Forums.

All ESET support is offered in English, French, and Spanish, which is a pretty good variety of languages. However, it’s not as good as Norton, which offers support in dozens of languages, including English, Dutch, German, Turkish, Arabic, and Mandarin.

When I tested the email support, my inquiry was met with a reply that ESET had clearly copied and pasted (and it didn’t really answer my question). I sent it after business hours and received my reply early the following day. This is a pretty good response time, but I would have liked my email to get a more personal and more helpful response.

I had a good experience with the live chat team. I was able to ask several questions and learn a lot about the software. They helped me uninstall the software too — something many users get confused with. It’s a shame the live chat is only available during US business hours though, and not for all markets.

ESET Customer SupportOverall, ESET’s customer service is pretty good. It offers live chat and email support in 3 languages, and I found their representatives well-informed. However, I’d like ESET to provide phone support for technical issues, longer live chat operating hours, and make it easier to find all the available contact points.

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Is ESET Worth Trying in 2022?

ESET is a pretty good antivirus program, but it’s not as good as many of its competitors. Antivirus suites like Norton, TotalAV, and Bitdefender provide equally good malware protection, plus a wider and more useful range of additional features — including better parental controls, a secure VPN, and decent clean-up tools — all for a similar price.

Honestly, most of ESET’s extra features are lacking. Its system cleanup tools are little more than a wallpaper changer, and its parental controls are nothing more than a basic content filter. If you want a feature-packed antivirus that provides a great value, you should check out our top 10 best antivirus list.

However, if you’re mainly in the market for a powerful anti-malware scanner and want access to ESET’s advanced diagnostics tools, then ESET is a decent option. The antivirus engine is one of the best on the market — scoring a near-perfect protection rating against all types of malware in my tests — and the diagnostics tools are more advanced than anything offered by most of ESET’s competitors, allowing you to thoroughly troubleshoot your PC for problems.

ESET offers a range of plans, but the best deal is ESET’s Internet Security, the middle-tier plan. It provides a decent variety of security features for a reasonably good value. There’s also a 30-day free trial, followed by a 30-day money-back guarantee, so it’s definitely worth a try if you want to test it out and see if it works for you.

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ESET Antivirus — Frequently Asked Questions

Is ESET safe?

Yes. ESET is one of the safest anti-malware engines on the market today, offering various powerful antivirus tools to keep users from getting hacked.

The virus scanner uses advanced heuristics and machine learning to detect encrypted malware and zero-day threats.
ESET also includes a “Host-Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS)”, which blocks files based on suspicious behavior.

Is ESET free?

No. ESET doesn’t offer a free version — although there honestly aren’t very many free antivirus programs that I would recommend. When it comes to protecting essential devices like phones and computers, investing a little cash to get the best protection possible makes sense (but if you’re dead-set on finding a free antivirus, Avira Free Internet Security is my favorite).

There are a few good free antiviruses for various operating systems, but it’s always smarter to go with a high-quality premium antivirus — and there are plenty of great options, whether for Windows, Android, Mac, or iOS.

That said, ESET offers a free 30-day trial and a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its plans, so you can try it out for free.

Which ESET plan is best for me?

ESET Internet Security is the best value plan for Windows users. It includes a good variety of features for a decent price, including network protection and anti-theft controls.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus is the cheapest plan — it only includes the anti-malware engine, which makes it a good choice for anybody that wants a secure antivirus scanner and nothing more, at a good price.

ESET’s top-tier plan, Smart Security Premium, doesn’t really offer enough extras to warrant an upgrade. I like the device encryption feature, but the password manager doesn’t come close to standalone password managers like Dashlane, so you’re better off getting a separate password manager, or going for an antivirus suite with better add-ons, like Norton.

If you’re a Mac user, honestly there are better options elsewhere. I’d recommend Intego, which is designed specifically for Macs.

ESET Products & Pricing

ESET NOD32 Antivirus
$39.99 / year
ESET Internet Security
$49.99 / year
Free Trial
ESET Smart Security Premium
$59.99 / year
Bottom Line

ESET has one of the best anti-malware scanners I’ve used, but its additional features aren’t great. In addition to performing perfectly in terms of malware detection, ESET’s main advantage is that it has a lot of advanced diagnostics tools — which are excellent, but most home users won’t get much use out of them. The rest of ESET’s extra features are okay at best and don’t stand up against other top antivirus suites on the market, like Norton. Ultimately, ESET is a good choice for anybody looking for a streamlined but highly reliable antivirus engine (and for more technical users wanting advanced diagnostics tools), but if you’re after a full-featured internet security suite, there are better options available.

About the Author

Vanessa Flaxman
Vanessa Flaxman
Freelance writer, editor, and tech enthusiast

About the Author

Vanessa is a freelance writer, editor, and tech enthusiast with a particular interest in online safety. In her free time, she loves to make the most of the world around her, traveling, hiking, and being in or near the sea.

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ESET User Reviews

140 27
Based on 167 reviews in 26 languages 8.6
Language
You can trust the Community! Companies can't ask us to delete or change user reviews.
Chaz
Chaz
Ukraine
10.0
Vrlo dobro
Mac User
Zaista je odličan antivirus. Razni testovi pokazuju da ima dobru detekciju i da radi diskretno u pozadini. Mogu samo da preporučim.
Chaz
Chaz
Ukraine
10.0
非常好
Mac User
这真的是一款非常不错的计算机防病毒软件。通过了病毒测试检测,检测率高并且在后台运行非常稳定。我仅推荐这款。
Chaz
Chaz
Ukraine
10.0
Docela dobře
Mac User
Je to opravdu dobrý antivirový program. Podle různých testů má dobrou detekci a pracuje velmi diskrétně na pozadí. Mohu jen doporučit.
Chaz
Chaz
Ukraine
10.0
かなり良い
Mac User
これは本当に非常に優れたアンチウィルス プログラムです。様々なテストによると、良い検出でバックグラウンドで気が付かないように作動します。お勧めします。
Rob
Rob
United States
10.0
The program always ...
Windows User
The program always, but unobtrusively, keeps an eye on my computer and my data. When my attention is needed, I get a gentle nudge and information what I need to do. I like it, trust it, and will recommend it to others, including my family.
Evelynne
Evelynne
Australia
10.0
Eset is a good antivirus
Windows User
Quick response, good understanding of the issue, fast resolution and very friendly
Chaz
Chaz
Germany
10.0
Quite good
Windows User
It really is a very good antivirus program. It has, according to various tests, good detection and works very discreetly in the background. I can only recommend.
Protects you from zero-day
Windows User
Eset currently has the best detection of all antivirus programs I've tested on zero-day malware. It does not slow down the PC! The user interface is clearly arranged and kept simple. If safety is important, you should definitely try it out.

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