Updated on: September 22, 2023
Short on time? Here’s the best antivirus for families in 2023:
Norton 360 Deluxe: Comprehensive internet security suite with advanced malware detection and a ton of useful features for up to 5 users. Comes with a VPN, parental controls, secure storage, a password manager, and a lot more.
I tested all of the top antiviruses on the market, looking for a product that would work for my whole family — one that provides excellent protection against malware, is easy to use, comes with useful internet security protections, and works seamlessly across all devices.
A lot of the products I tested were really bad — some programs have inconsistent malware detection, some of them have bad internet security protections, and some are way too complicated for non-technical users. I was also surprised to find that many big-name antiviruses are missing essential family-friendly features like parental controls, remote access, and system cleanup tools!
However, I did find several great antiviruses for families — these products provide all of the internet security features that a family needs to stay safe online, such as flawless malware protection and removal, anti-phishing protection, parental controls, and data breach monitoring. They also come with useful extras, like virtual private networks (VPNs) and password managers.
My top choice for families is
Quick summary of the best antiviruses for families in 2023:
Norton 360 Deluxe— #1 antivirus for families in 2023.
Bitdefender Total Security— Best antivirus for families on a budget.
Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 (for Mac users)— Best Mac-only antivirus for families.
McAfee Total Protection Premium— Best value for large families.
Kaspersky Premium— Best family antivirus for ease of use.
Panda Dome Complete— Best for unlimited device coverage.
- Comparison of the Best Antiviruses for Families in 2023.
Norton 360 Deluxe — Best Overall Family Antivirus in 2023
Norton 360 also provides a ton of family-friendly features, such as:
- Parental controls.
- VPN (with unlimited data).
- Password manager.
- Phishing protection.
- Identity theft protection (US only).
I really love Norton’s parental controls — there’s app usage limits, content filters, location tracking, and YouTube monitoring. These are all the protections my family needs, and every one of these features worked really well during testing (making Norton our #1 antivirus with parental controls in 2023.)
I particularly like Norton’s usage limits. I was able to easily schedule device usage and even limit the time allowed for certain apps, so I could be sure my kid was using her device for homework instead of playing games in the middle of the night!
There’s even a School Time feature that lets you reduce distractions while your child is engaged in remote learning. You can choose to only allow access to certain sites during this time, or to block certain sites, so your kid can stay really focused on their learning.
The location tracking is also a good feature. When I tested it, I was able to locate my test phone with an impressive degree of accuracy. I also appreciate how you can set up a ‘safe zone’ for your child and receive an alert if they leave that zone.
Norton also provides guidance on how to discuss online safety with your kids. I found this really helpful — it can be hard to know where to start when having these conversations, so I appreciated the clear and age-appropriate guidelines. Norton also offers some simple internet ‘house rules’ for kids to read and follow, so you can put clear boundaries in place right from the start.
Norton’s other security features are also really helpful — my parents appreciated the built-in password manager that made it easy for them to track all of their logins. I set up Norton’s VPN on all of my family’s devices, and while most VPNs slow down your internet connection, Norton’s VPN was so quick that nobody in my family even noticed it was running (Norton is one of the best antiviruses with a VPN in 2023).
Norton has exceptional malware protection, advanced internet security tools, and comprehensive parental controls — if you’re trying to keep your family safe and also looking to regulate your kids’ device usage, Norton is the best there is. And Norton’s secure VPN and password manager are both good additions for users who want to enhance their online security. All Norton’s plans come with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Bitdefender Total Security — Best for Families on a Budget
Bitdefender also offers helpful extras to keep families safe online, such as:
- Parental controls.
- Safepay secure browser.
- Anti-theft (Windows and Android).
- VPN (200 MB daily limit).
- Phishing protection.
- Password manager.
Bitdefender’s parental controls are pretty good — the screen time limits are simple to set up, and I like how easy it is to track which apps your kids are using. Bitdefender also offers geo-fencing, which accurately tracked my child’s device and notified me when she left a predefined safe zone.
I really appreciate Bitdefender’s Safepay secure browser. It’s a simple way to keep hackers from accessing your financial details online, and it has a comprehensive set of tools, including screenshot blocking and a virtual keyboard so your keystrokes can’t be logged. While it does slow down your internet connection somewhat, that’s a price worth paying to know your online purchases are really secure.
Bitdefender’s anti-theft tools for Windows and Android are really good. I tested the tools on my Android, and I was able to accurately locate my device and lock it remotely. I also tested the remotely activated alarm feature, which is impressively loud! It’d be great if these features were available for Mac and iOS too, but they’re a very useful security addition for Windows and Android users.
Bitdefender’s Android app is also excellent — I especially like the App Anomaly Detection feature, which consistently monitors the activity of all apps on your Android device and alerts you to any suspicious activity. Considering that many malicious apps may be disguised as games or puzzles, this is a great protection to have on your own and your kids’ devices.
However, I was pretty frustrated by the data limit on Bitdefender’s built-in VPN — 200 MB a day is barely enough for light browsing. That said, if you’re willing to pay for the upgrade (
Bitdefender has a range of plans, but
Bitdefender has excellent real-time malware protection, tons of extra features, and decent parental controls — especially for Android and iOS devices. The new App Anomaly Detection, along with phishing protections, VPN, and geo-fencing are all excellent tools for keeping families safe online. With coverage for up to 5 devices at a lower price than Norton, Bitdefender is great for families needing a high-quality antivirus for a low cost — and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best Mac Antivirus for Families
Intego’s ContentBarrier parental controls are better than macOS’s built-in parental controls. While macOS only offers the option to block “adult websites”, Intego offers specifications for dozens of different criteria, like inappropriate language, religious content, pornography, and certain web stores. Intego also offers more options than macOS for limiting app usage, scheduling device usage, and monitoring emails for unsafe and predatory communication.
I was really impressed with some of the advanced features the parental controls offer, such as keystroke tracking, screenshot recording, and instantly alerting you if your child is communicating inappropriately online via chat or email. Chat filtering can prevent inappropriate messages from being sent or received at all by monitoring for specific phrases. Plus, Intego can send you regular reports which go into an impressive amount of detail about exactly how your child is using their Mac.
Intego’s parental controls are really comprehensive — even Norton and Bitdefender don’t track your child’s keystrokes (but you can protect your kids on their mobile devices with Norton and Bitdefender, whereas Intego is Mac only).
I’m a big fan of Intego’s advanced system cleanup and device backup tools. During my tests, I removed tons of duplicate files, junk programs, and cached web files from my dad’s Mac. I also synced up his backup with my MacBook, so his files automatically backed up to my drive.
Intego offers excellent protections against Mac-based malware in addition to really good parental controls. The parental controls, device backup tools, and system optimizer are more comprehensive than macOS’s built-in features, and they’re really easy to use, too! Intego comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
McAfee Total Protection Premium — Best Value for Large Families
McAfee Total Protection Premium is one of the most full-featured antivirus packages around — there are a ton of great internet security tools, strong parental controls, and coverage for an unlimited number of devices (something almost no other antivirus offers).
McAfee detected every malware file during my testing, and its real-time scanner barely slowed my system down — even while I was streaming HD video on Netflix! The full scan did take a bit longer than Norton’s, though.
McAfee’s Safe Family parental controls are excellent — they provide content filtering, app and device usage limitation, geo-fencing, and browser monitoring. The geo-fencing feature is really well-made — I made a “safe zone” around my daughter’s school, and I received notifications when she arrived at and left the school.
I also really like how the parental controls prevented me from making in-app purchases on my daughter’s phone without permission from a parent, and they also blocked my attempt to uninstall the parental controls on my child’s device. However, I was disappointed that McAfee doesn’t monitor your child’s YouTube use like Norton does.
I also like McAfee’s VPN, which has a really intuitive beginner-friendly dashboard and comes with unlimited data (unlike Bitdefender’s VPN). It’s pretty fast and reasonably good for streaming (I was able to access Netflix and Amazon Prime in my tests).
McAfee Total Protection Premium is a really good value — at just $64.99 / year, it’s one of the most affordable internet security packages for families.
McAfee offers powerful malware scanning, good security features, comprehensive parental controls, and coverage for an unlimited number of devices. It includes geo-fencing and excellent content filtering for kids, as well as Wi-Fi protections and a VPN. McAfee Total Protection Premium is pretty affordable and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Kaspersky Premium — Best Family Antivirus for Ease of Use
Kaspersky Premium is a pretty good family antivirus — it’s got excellent anti-malware protection, strong parental controls, and a lot of additional security features inside an intuitive, easy-to-use interface.
Kaspersky’s real-time malware scanner uses machine learning to detect new and unknown malware threats. I tested Kaspersky’s Quick Scan, and it managed to detect and remove most of the malware on my test computer, but I needed to run a Full Scan to remove the rest of the malware samples. I also ran a ransomware simulator on my PC, and Kaspersky was able to block every simulated attack before any files were locked.
Kaspersky’s parental controls are pretty good, too. The geofencing feature works really well, allowing you to create geofences up to 62.1 miles or 99.9 kilometers in radius. You can also monitor YouTube searches, create screen time limits, set up real-time alerts, and block inappropriate apps and websites (although this last feature is quite limited for iOS devices). Unfortunately, it’s pretty easy to bypass Kaspersky’s web filtering by using a private browser window, so you might prefer Norton if you want to supervise your children’s internet use.
Kaspersky provides all the features I expect from a premium antivirus suite, including:
- VPN (unlimited data).
- Password manager.
- Online shopping protections.
- Rescue Disk.
I think Kaspersky’s shopping protections are some of the best out there — they automatically offer a secure sandboxed browser window and on-screen keyboard so keylogging and screenlogging malware can’t access sensitive financial information.
Kaspersky’s VPN works well too, and I like how it offers unlimited data on all but the cheapest Kaspersky plan. There’s also a free version of the VPN, but it’s capped at 300 MB per day.
Kaspersky’s Rescue Disk is a pretty useful tool, which can clean a computer that’s been infected with malware. So if the worst happens and a family member accidentally downloads malware that stops their computer from starting, you can download Rescue Disk onto a USB or CD/DVD to remove the malware from the infected computer. It’s an unusual feature, but Panda offers a similar tool.
Kaspersky Premium covers up to 20 devices for $81.99 / year, and it’s Kaspersky’s only plan with full parental controls. However, the parental controls are only included in the plan for 1 year, after which you have to pay for them separately.
Kaspersky has some pretty good parental controls — with excellent geo-fencing and YouTube controls. And Kaspersky’s safe shopping features are really good, too. You can get any of Kaspersky’s plans as 1- or 2-year subscriptions, and they all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Panda Dome Complete — Best for Unlimited Device Coverage
Panda Dome Complete is a decent family antivirus, with good malware detection and basic parental controls. In my tests, Panda’s scanner blocked 100% of the spyware and ransomware samples I’d downloaded and over 95% of my other malware samples. While this isn’t as good as Norton or Bitdefender, it’s still impressive.
Panda offers some useful extras, including:
- VPN (150 MB/day limit).
- Parental controls.
- Password manager.
- Anti-theft tools.
Panda’s premium plans offer parental controls for Windows, which let you apply basic content filters to your child’s device and monitor their activity. This is pretty limited — for more extensive protection, the Family add-on is a decent choice. It covers up to 10 devices and offers real-time GPS tracking, remote locking, and the ability to block or limit time on specific apps or devices.
I really like that there’s a panic button feature for your child to use in an emergency situation. If your child touches the button, you’re sent an immediate alert that includes the location of the device. This is a nice tool to give parents extra peace of mind when their child is out and about.
I like Panda Dome Family, but there’s room for improvement in other areas. I found Panda’s VPN really slow, and it’s annoying that you’re limited to 150 MB per day on all but the most expensive plan. If you want an antivirus-bundled VPN, there are better options. What’s more, Panda’s web protection detected less than 50% of phishing sites in my tests, which is very poor compared to competitors like Norton.
That said, Panda does offer a few other useful features. Its PC cleanup tools can help your family’s computers stay junk-free and improve their startup processes. And the file encryption and shredding is easy to use and can increase the security of your family’s documents. This is great, though it’s a shame both of these features only work with Windows devices. For Mac users I’d recommend Intego instead, which has excellent Mac-specific clean-up tools.
Panda Dome Complete offers most of Panda’s features (apart from the unlimited-data VPN, update manager, and 24/7 customer support) for $30.10 / year, which is a pretty good value. What’s more, it can cover an unlimited number of devices for an additional fee. You can try it with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Panda is a secure antivirus with strong malware protection and useful additional features for families, including parental controls and anti-theft tools. The VPN and web protection are disappointing, but the Family add-on gives comprehensive protection for your kids’ devices. Panda offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Comparison of the Best Antiviruses for Families in 2023
|Antivirus||Starting Price||Parental Controls||Standout Features||No. of Devices||Money-Back Guarantee|
||$54.99 / year||Usage limits, content filters, location tracking, YouTube monitoring||Unlimited VPN, dark web monitoring, cloud backup, ID theft protection (US only)||5||60 days|
||$14.99 / year||Screen time limits, app tracking, geo-fencing||Cloud-based scanner, Safepay browser, anti-theft protections||Up to 10||30 days|
||$1.67 / month||Content filters, app and device usage limits, email monitoring||Advanced system cleanup tools, system optimizer||5||30 days|
||$39.99 / year||Content filters, app and device usage limits, geo-fencing, browser monitoring||Unlimited VPN, home Wi-Fi scanner, ID theft protections||Unlimited||30 days|
||$41.99 / year||Content filters, geo-fencing, usage limits, YouTube controls, real-time alerts, social media monitoring (VK)||Online shopping protections, Rescue Disk, gaming mode||20||30 days|
||$19.20 / year||Content filters, Family add-on with GPS tracking, remote locking, app and device limits and blocking, panic button||Anti-theft tools, Rescue Kit, USB protection||Unlimited||30 days|
How to Choose the Best Antiviruses for Families in 2023
- Look for strong protection. A good antivirus should offer full protection against a variety of malware samples, including viruses, spyware, ransomware, rootkits, and trojans. You should also look out for things like real-time malware protection, secure browsing, and smart firewalls. The products that made it to my list all proved capable of protecting against even the most advanced malware, and Norton and Bitdefender scored a perfect 100% for malware and anti-phishing protection.
- Choose a product that’s easy to use. An antivirus needs to be simple and intuitive, so that everyone, including less tech-savvy users, can easily access all of its important features. I used all of these products with both my kid and my parents to figure out which of them would provide the right balance of security and accessibility. All of my top picks are really easy to use with intuitive interfaces, and Kaspersky is particularly beginner-friendly.
- Pick an antivirus with family-friendly features. The ideal choice should include parental controls for online safety, remote access capabilities for tech enthusiasts in the family to manage other devices from afar, and secure VPNs to ensure private internet activities. Norton is my top pick because it comes with all of these features and more.
- Pick an antivirus with excellent customer support. A top-tier antivirus should come with multiple customer support avenues such as email, phone, and round-the-clock live chat, and the support staff should provide helpful and correct information. I personally verified the data provided by the support teams, and awarded bonus points for extensive knowledge bases, FAQs, and vibrant community forums. McAfee, with its 24/7 phone and live chat support, was notably swift.
- Select a product that offers good value for money. I recommend picking an antivirus that is feature-rich and provides multi-device coverage at a fair price. Every antivirus included in my list offers competitive pricing. What’s more, Panda and McAfee also let you secure an unlimited number of devices.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- TotalAV. TotalAV is a good internet security suite — offering advanced malware scanning, a fast VPN, and good identity theft protection. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have parental controls, so it isn’t a great family antivirus.
- Avira. Avira’s advanced antivirus engine, intuitive interface, and additional features make it one of the better internet security suites on the market. It also provides a good free antivirus for both Windows and Mac — but unfortunately the lack of parental controls kept it off of my list.
- Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes is a minimalist antivirus with good malware detection rates, but it only offers a virus scanner, web protection, and a VPN.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I really need an antivirus for my family?
Yes — an antivirus is essential for protecting a device from malware, and families also have their own unique online security needs. The best family antiviruses offer protections like parental controls, home Wi-Fi network scans, and even system optimization tools to help keep all of your family’s devices high-functioning, healthy, and secure.
Norton 360 Deluxe is my favorite family antivirus — it’s got perfect malware detection rates, excellent parental controls, advanced internet security protections like anti-phishing and anti-ransomware, and coverage for up to 5 devices.
Are there any free antiviruses for families?
There are some free antiviruses available on the market today — Avira Free Security is my favorite — but none of them offer all of the protections that the best antiviruses for families offer.
Avira’s free antivirus is a decent option for users looking for a bare-bones antivirus, but I wouldn’t recommend it for most families. If you’re looking for a good value family antivirus, McAfee Total Protection covers an unlimited number of devices for a low annual price, and Bitdefender Total Security is my favorite antivirus for families on a budget.
Doesn’t my PC or Mac have good enough built-in antivirus protection?
Both Windows PCs and Macs have built-in antiviruses, but all of the products on this list are way better.
Windows’s built-in antivirus doesn’t have an up-to-date malware database, so it frequently fails to detect newer malware threats. And it doesn’t have the internet security features that make third-party software so useful — like in-depth parental controls, advanced phishing protection, online privacy tools, device optimization, or identity theft protections.
Antiviruses like Norton 360 Deluxe have things like advanced malware detection, a fast VPN, and comprehensive parental controls for all PCs, Androids, Macs, and iOS devices.
Are antivirus parental controls as good as other parental control apps?
The parental controls found in the antiviruses on this list are some of the best on the market.
Some products, like Bitdefender, even monitor text messages and emails for sexual or aggressive language. And Norton 360’s parental controls come with guidelines that help parents talk with their kids about the importance of internet security.
There are some good standalone parental control applications on the market, but it’s best to have these kinds of internet protections bundled with an antivirus package to ensure that your family stays safe, secure, and fully protected online.
Which antivirus has the best parental controls?
In my opinion, Norton offers the best parental controls on the market in 2023. They include all the tools you need to keep your kids safe online, like app usage limits, content filters, location tracking, and YouTube monitoring. I also love that Norton provides guidance on how to discuss online safety with your kids and simple internet ‘house rules’ for them to follow. What’s more, Norton has a School Time feature that lets you reduce distractions while your child is engaged in remote learning.
Which family antivirus is the easiest to use?
All of the antiviruses on my list are easy to use, but I found Kaspersky’s interface particularly intuitive. If you have children or older family members who are less tech-savvy, Kaspersky is a good choice that anyone will find easy to figure out.
How do I protect my child from inappropriate online content?
Start by having an honest and age-appropriate conversation with your child about the online world. Norton has some really useful guidance on how to talk to your children about staying safe online — this is great because it recognises that, while parental controls are great, they can’t do it all. Your child needs hands-on guidance to navigate the digital world.
That said, the parental controls offered by the products on my list are extremely useful in helping you keep track of what your child is saying, searching for, and watching online, and blocking inappropriate content. Intego’s protections even monitor your child’s keystrokes!
Will my child be able to deactivate parental controls?
If you have an older child who is tech-savvy, then the answer could be ‘yes’. The parental controls on my list offer strong protection — for example, McAfee blocked my attempt to uninstall the parental controls on my child’s device. But kids are remarkably adept at finding ways around rules, and it’s important to stay engaged with your child about online safety rather than assuming the parental controls have it completely covered.