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 2023. ESET supports Windows, Android, and macOS operating systems. However, many of its features are only compatible with Windows and Android, making it a very basic option for Mac 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.
The additional features ESET offers are pretty good, too. They include a firewall, anti-phishing tools, a network monitor, system cleanup, advanced diagnostic tools, a password manager, and 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, let me see an in-depth list of my computer’s running processes, and more.
However, the parental controls aren’t very good. As an example, I found I was able to access violent content on YouTube with the parental controls enabled. The system clean-up and secure browser are also pretty unimpressive.
ESET lacks 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 just want a great 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, so you can try it out risk-free.
|Overall Rank||#12 out of 74 antiviruses|
|🎁 Free Plan||❌|
|💸 Starting Price||$10.86 / year|
|💰 Money-Back Guarantee||30 days|
|💻 Operating Systems||Windows, Mac, Android|
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 scored a near-perfect malware detection rate in my tests, 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
ESET offers a powerful malware scanner with various scanning options, plus real-time protection, to keep malware from Windows, Mac, and Android devices. It provides several scan options, all of which performed really well in my tests. The scan options include:
- 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.
The System Scan detected almost all of my 1,000 test malware samples, which I’d hidden on my PC and removable devices. This is really impressive, and puts ESET right up there with our top-ranked 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.
All 3 of ESET’s scans were lightweight, and I didn’t notice any system slowdown during scanning. The full system scan took about 40 minutes, which is on a par with Norton. And the Custom and Removable Device scans only took a few minutes to complete.
ESET’s system scan looks at areas that 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.
That said, 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 unintuitive 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-based 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 Advanced, 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, and its full scans are incredibly detailed. However, it lacks a quick-scan option and includes a tedious scheduling process. Nonetheless, 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.
ESET’s phishing protection consistently blocked 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. It 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.
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.
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.
Network Inspector (Windows only)
ESET’s Network Inspector is a handy tool, which identifies all devices currently connected to your home network and scans them for vulnerabilities. It 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. 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, I prefer Bitdefender’s network monitor, which 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 a simple but effective 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.
Advanced Diagnostics Tools
ESET’s advanced diagnostics tools are its biggest standout feature — they offer a variety of ways to monitor and troubleshoot your Windows PC. 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 systems. 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.
I 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.
Watch Activity 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.
I 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, and it’s available free as a standalone tool.
I also love the Network Connections feature, which 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 SysRescue Live can create a rescue disk, which will 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, and it’s also available as a free download.
Overall, ESET’s advanced diagnostics tools are among the best out there, 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.
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.
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 2023.
Given how basic it is, I don’t think many people will use System Cleaner. If you’re looking for an antivirus with good system optimization features, there are much better options out there. However, advanced users may appreciate how ESET enables them to restore Windows settings and clear their registry quickly.
Anti-Theft Protections (Windows and Android only)
ESET’s anti-theft protection offers tools for Windows and Android users, helping them to track and secure their lost or stolen devices. 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 (Windows). Forces thieves into a fake account that keeps them from accessing sensitive files.
- Auto-lock (Android). Set your device to lock automatically if the SIM is removed or after a certain number of unsuccessful unlock attempts.
- 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 also regularly took webcam photos and screenshotted my screen, placing these photos and screenshots on ESET’s online anti-theft dashboard, which was accessible from any internet-connected device.
I only have one complaint about the phantom account — I was still able to 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 laptops and mobiles. 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. It’s just a shame there are no anti-theft protections for Mac users.
ESET’s parental controls are pretty basic and don’t work too well. That said, recently ESET has added some additional features to its parental controls to bring them more in line with competitors’ offerings, including the ability to set screen time limits and geofencing and device location abilities.
ESET’s parental controls can block your child’s access to 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.
However, the content filtering doesn’t work that well. 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. The parental controls also failed to filter Google Image searches.
Overall, ESET’s parental controls aren’t very effective. The parental controls from top competitors like Norton and Bitdefender perform far better when it comes to protecting kids from harmful content online. If you’re looking for an antivirus with good parental controls, I’d recommend Norton, which has some of the best parental controls on the market.
ESET’s Password Manager is decent but fairly basic. It’s available across all main operating systems, and as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Edge and Safari, and it secures your passwords using 256-bit encryption (the industry standard). Its features include:
- Multi-device sync.
- Auto-save and auto-fill.
- Leaked password check.
- Password generator.
- Secure notes.
- Credit card and identities storage.
- Basic 2FA.
With ESET, you can add an unlimited number of logins, notes, credit cards, and identities. The process to do this is pretty straightforward, and if you want to import multiple logins from another password manager or from your browser, you can do this with a .csv file.
However, I found the identity template to be pretty basic — the fields only include standard info like address, email, and phone number. There are no more advanced templates for driver’s license, passport etc like you get with RoboForm, and no custom fields either.
I was pretty impressed with ESET’s auto-fill and auto-save capabilities — it auto-filled my details on a variety of sites with no issues, and offered to save my login details whenever I visited a new site.
However, I found ESET’s password generator to be pretty average. It has a limit of 32 characters, which isn’t very high, and it doesn’t generate passphrases (in comparison, Bitwarden generates passwords of up to 128 characters, and can generate passphrases too). It’s cool how it includes an ‘easy to type’ option, but many competitors include ‘easy to say’ and ‘easy to read’ options, which are arguably more useful. Either way, the password generator works to generate secure passwords, albeit without much room for customization.
ESET password manager does offer two-factor authentication (2FA), but there’s only 1 option (a code sent to your phone). It also offers biometric logins for mobile, which is handy.
You can do a leaked password check with ESET Password Manager. When I entered a login I knew had been breached, it correctly identified the issue. However, beyond that it didn’t give me any details on the breach or a link to change my password, which was a bit disappointing. Also, unlike Avira Password Manager, it doesn’t give you an overall password security score.
Overall, ESET Password Manager isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. If you’re looking for an antivirus with a more full-featured password manager, I recommend checking out our list of the best antiviruses with password managers in 2023.
ESET’s Windows plans come with quite a few additional features, including:
- Gamer mode.
- Device control.
- Webcam protection.
- Banking & Payment Protection secure browser.
- Secure Data.
- Spam filter.
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.
The webcam protection feature is useful — it 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 (Banking & Payment Protection) or its 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 Microsoft Outlook, which already has 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.
ESET Plans and Pricing
ESET has 3 main pricing plans that are categorized under Essential Security, Advanced Security, and Premium Security. 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 plan has the best balance of security features and value. It’s called Advanced Security for Windows (or Cyber Security for Mac). 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. Still, it’s great that you can always try ESET and cancel your subscription if you’re not satisfied.
ESET’s plans all cover a single device, with a small added fee for each additional device up to a maximum of 10 devices. This includes different operating systems, so you can buy e.g. Advanced 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.
The additional fee per device makes ESET a 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.
Note: Depending on location, ESET’s plans may include different names, features, and subscription duration.
Here’s a quick overview of ESET’s plans:
|Essential Security||Advanced Security||Premium Security||ESET Cyber Security||ESET Cyber Security Pro||ESET Mobile Security|
|Platforms||Windows, Mac, Android||Windows, Mac, Android||Windows||Mac||Mac||Android|
|Number of devices||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|Price||$30.17 / year||$42.25 / year||$54.33 / year||$30.17 / year||$42.25 / year||$10.86 / year|
|Malware scanning & removal||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅||✅|
Essential Security is ESET’s most basic antivirus package, offering:
- Anti-malware scanner.
- Anti-phishing protection.
- Ransomware detection.
- Gaming mode.
The Mac version, Cyber Security, doesn’t include ransomware protection or gamer mode — it only has the malware scanner and anti-phishing protection.
Starting at $30.17 / year, Essential Security 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.
ESET’s Advanced Security offers a good variety of features for $42.25 / year, but it’s more expensive than some other competitors that provide more (and better) features and similar malware detection capabilities (like TotalAV).
As well as the features in the Essential package, ESET Advanced Security has:
- Secure browser.
- Parental controls.
- Webcam protection.
- Advanced diagnostics tools.
- System cleaner.
- Network monitor.
- Anti-theft protection.
The comparable Mac product, Cyber Security Pro, only has a few of these: 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, Advanced Security, is more worthwhile, but 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.
ESET Premium Security 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 Premium Security 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.
Premium Security starts at $54.33 / year, and includes everything from the Advanced Security package, plus 3 extra features: a password manager, device encryption, and LiveGuard Advanced — 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 works just as well as ESET’s encryption feature.
And LiveGuard Advanced, as mentioned previously, is a great feature — but it bothers me that this is only available in the Premium Security 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, Premium Security 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.
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’s 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 protection is set 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.
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 has a lot of ESET’s key features and some mobile-only ones. It offers:
- Malware scanner.
- Anti-phishing protection.
- App lock.
- Payment protection.
- Wi-Fi security.
- Anti-theft protection.
- Call filter.
- Security audit/report.
The malware scanner detected and blocked 100% of the malware samples I installed on my phone, including ransomware and spyware.
I was also really impressed with the anti-theft tools — once I had them set up I was able to log into the online anti-theft dashboard from my computer and locate my phone in minutes. What’s more, if your phone is stolen, ESET allows you to remotely wipe your data and sound a super loud siren. You can also set your phone to lock automatically if the SIM is removed, or after a certain number of unsuccessful unlock attempts. This is a pretty comprehensive set of anti-theft protections.
ESET Mobile Security showed me important device settings and permissions and alerted me via a push notification to 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 good — however, 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 2023. Still, ESET’s mobile app is a decent low-cost option for Android protection.
ESET Customer Support
ESET offers a decent variety of customer support options, encompassing email support and live chat. But these support channels are somewhat buried on ESET’s website, making them a bit tricky to locate or use. Plus, support options vary by market — for instance, live chat isn’t available in the UK.
ESET also offers phone support for business users in the US and Canada. The phone support was helpful in my tests, but it’s disappointing that ESET doesn’t offer its phone support for home users. Many competitors, including Norton and Bitdefender, offer phone support for home users.
ESET also has a comprehensive knowledge base that includes:
- Product guides.
- Troubleshooting guides.
- YouTube videos.
I was really impressed by ESET’s knowledge base. The product guides are detailed and informative, and they’re available in a wide variety of languages including English, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Korean, Dutch, and more.
ESET’s forums have an active and engaged community. My post received an insightful reply from an expert user within hours. I also like its YouTube channel, which includes a lot of videos that explain how many of ESET’s features work.
However, I was less impressed with ESET’s email support. When I sent an email, 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.
My experience with the live chat team was good. They helped me with several questions and even walked me through uninstalling the software — something a lot of users struggle with. It’s too bad that live chat is only available from 6 am to 5 pm Pacific Time and isn’t accessible in all markets.
Overall, ESET’s customer service is pretty good. It offers live chat and email support and I found the live chat representatives well-informed. I also really like the comprehensive knowledge base, which helped me find answers to most of my questions. However, I’d like ESET to provide phone support for non-business users, offer longer live chat operating hours, and make it easier to find all the available contact points.
Is ESET Worth Trying in 2023?
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 allowed me to access violent content on YouTube. If you want a feature-packed antivirus that provides a great value, you should check out our top 10 best antivirus list.
However, ESET is a decent option if you’re mainly in the market for a powerful anti-malware scanner and want access to some excellent advanced diagnostics tools. 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 Advanced 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is ESET the best antivirus?
No, ESET is not the best antivirus on the market in 2023. I can’t really fault its malware detection, which is pretty great, but when it comes to additional security features, ESET is definitely lacking compared to top brands like Norton. What’s more, ESET doesn’t support iOS, so if you’re looking for protection for your iPhone, you should check out our top iOS antiviruses instead.
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-based 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).
Overall though, it’s smarter to go with a high-quality premium antivirus. Also, 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.
Does ESET work with Windows 11?
Yes, ESET works with Windows 11. You can also use ESET if you’re running Windows 10, Windows 8 or 8.1, or Windows 7 SP1. For Mac, ESET Cyber Security and Cyber Security Pro are compatible with Sierra (macOS 10.12) or later, and the Mobile Security app can be used on Android 5 or later.
Which ESET plan is best for me?
ESET Advanced 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 Essential Security 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, Premium Security, 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.