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5 Best Antivirus Software for Families in 2022 (Full Guide)

Kate Davidson Kate Davidson 5 Best Antivirus Software for Families in 2022 (Full Guide)

Short on time? Here’s the best antivirus for families in 2022:

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 antiviruses that 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. These products also come with useful extras, like virtual private networks (VPNs) and password managers.

The antiviruses on my list provide excellent protection along with intuitive user interfaces that will keep everyone safe online — from kids to adults.

Download Norton 360

Quick summary of the best antiviruses for families in 2022:

🥇1. Norton 360 Deluxe — Best Overall Family Antivirus in 2022

🥇1. Norton 360 Deluxe — Best Overall Family Antivirus in 2022

Norton 360 Deluxe is my favorite antivirus for families on the market today. I tested Norton’s real-time malware detection on my Windows 10 PC, MacBook Pro, and Android tablet — across all devices, Norton detected every single piece of malware in my testing.

Norton 360 also provides a full suite of internet security tools that can help keep families safe online, 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 2022.) I also found it really helpful that Norton provides guidance on how to discuss online safety with your kids, along with some simple internet ‘house rules’ for them to read and follow.

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’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 2022). Plus, unlike with Bitdefender, there’s no annoying daily data limit.

Norton 360 Deluxe offers protection for up to 5 devices for $29.99 / year, and all of Norton’s advanced protections are offered for PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android devices. For families in the US, Norton’s advanced 360 plans, which start at $69.99 / year, include LifeLock identity theft protection, up to 250 GB of cloud storage, and even stolen wallet protection!

Bottom Line:

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.

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Read the full Norton review >

🥈2. Bitdefender Total Security — Best for Families on a Budget

🥈2. Bitdefender Total Security — Best for Families on a Budget

Bitdefender Total Security is a secure antivirus suite with a lightweight malware scanner and tons of additional features — including an excellent mobile security app for both Android and iOS.

Bitdefender caught all of the malware in my testing, putting it on a par with Norton and outperforming Panda Dome. And because the scanner is cloud-based, I was really happy to see that Bitdefender’s scans barely affected the performance on my devices, even during full disk scans!

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 like to know my family is staying safe when shopping online, so 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 Inwas 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.

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 Premium Security), Bitdefender has one of the fastest VPNs on the market, providing lightning-fast connection to servers in over 45 countries.

Bitdefender has a range of plans, but Total Security is the best deal for families — it offers coverage for up to 5 devices across all operating systems for $28.50 / year, which is a lower price than other major competitors. Families looking to cover more devices should check out Premium Security, which adds coverage for up to 10 devices, a fully-featured password manager, and a VPN with no limitations for $59.99 / year.

Bottom Line:

Bitdefender has excellent real-time malware protection, tons of extra features, and decent parental controls — especially for Android and iOS devices. The 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.

Download Bitdefender Total Security

Read the full Bitdefender review >

🥉3. Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best Mac Antivirus for Families

🥉3. Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best Mac Antivirus for Families

Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 is an intuitive and secure Mac-based antivirus that has some good family protections. Intego’s primary security features are the VirusBarrier, a real-time anti-malware engine designed specifically for Macs, and NetBarrier, which protects users from phishing sites, malicious web scripts, and unsecured Wi-Fi networks.

Intego’s ContentBarrier parental controls offer a significant improvement over 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. This is a really comprehensive set of controls — 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 Mac Washing Machine, 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’s Mac Premium Bundle X9 covers up to 5 devices for $29.99 / year, and it comes with a pretty big discount if you opt for 2 years of protection.

Bottom Line:

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.

Download Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9

Read the full Intego review >

4. McAfee Total Protection Premium — Best Value for Large Families

4. McAfee Total Protection Premium — Best Value for Large Families

McAfee Total Protection Premium provides one of the most full-featured antivirus packages on the market — 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.

Families trying to protect their privacy online will appreciate McAfee’s additional security features, like:

  • Parental controls.
  • VPN (with unlimited data).
  • Home Wi-Fi scanner.

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. It’s pretty fast and reasonably good for streaming (I was able to access Netflix and Amazon Prime in my tests). However, unlike Bitdefender’s VPN, it doesn’t allow torrenting.

McAfee Total Protection Premium is a really good value — at just $49.99 / year, it’s one of the most affordable internet security packages for families.

Bottom Line:

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.

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Read the full McAfee review >

5. Kaspersky Premium — Best Family Antivirus for Ease of Use

5. 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 usage limits on Android (the feature didn’t work on iOS during my tests), set up real-time alerts, and block inappropriate websites.

Kaspersky provides all the features I expect from a premium antivirus suite, including:

  • Firewall.
  • 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. I don’t like how Kaspersky’s VPN is limited to 300 MB a day, though. Norton offers an unlimited VPN with all its plans.

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 to their PC, the Rescue Disk can come to your aid. To use it, you download Rescue Disk onto a USB or CD/DVD, to be used on the affected computer if needed. It’s an unusual feature, but Panda offers a similar tool.

Kaspersky Premium is Kaspersky’s only plan with full parental controls, but they’re only available for free for 1 year, and it covers up to 20 devices for $14.99 / year.

Bottom Line:

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.

Download Kaspersky Total Security

Read the full Kaspersky review >

Bonus: Panda Dome Complete — Best for Unlimited Device Coverage

Bonus: 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. There’s even 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 all of Panda’s features apart from the unlimited VPN, update manager, and 24/7 customer support for $34.40 / 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.

Bottom Line:

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.

Download Panda Dome Complete

Read the full Panda Dome review >

Comparison of the Best Antiviruses for Families in 2022

Antivirus Starting Price Parental Controls Standout Features No. of Devices Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇Norton $9.99 / year Usage limits, content filters, location tracking, YouTube monitoring Unlimited VPN, dark web monitoring, cloud backup, ID theft protection (US only) 5 60 days
2.🥈Bitdefender $17.99 / year Screentime limits, app tracking, geo-fencing Cloud-based scanner, SafePay browser, anti-theft protections Up to 10 30 days
3.🥉Intego $19.99 / year Content filters, app and device usage limits, email monitoring Advanced system cleanup tools, system optimizer 5 30 days
4. McAfee $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
5. Kaspersky $10.99 / 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
Bonus: Panda Dome $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

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How to Choose the Best Antiviruses for Families in 2022

  • 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.
  • Ease of 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.
  • Family-friendly features. When choosing an antivirus for your family, you should make sure that it offers plenty of useful family features, like parental controls to keep kids safe online, remote access to let tech-savvy users protect their family’s devices, and secure virtual private networks (VPNs) to keep everyone’s internet activity private. Norton offers all of these features, and more.
  • Excellent customer support. A good antivirus should offer multiple customer support options like email, phone, and 24/7 live chat, and the support agents should provide helpful and accurate information. I double-checked the data the support teams offered, and gave extra points for comprehensive knowledge bases, FAQs, and active community forums. McAfee’s 24/7 phone and live chat support was particularly responsive.
  • Value. There are heaps of antivirus options out there, so make sure to choose one that offers plenty of features and multiple device coverage for a decent price. All the antiviruses on my list are priced competitively when compared to other products on the market, and Panda Dome even offers coverage for unlimited devices.

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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.
  • Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes is a minimalist antivirus with good malware detection rates, but it only offers a virus scanner, web protection, and a VPN.
  • 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 my favorite free antivirus for both Windows and Mac — but unfortunately the lack of parental controls kept it off of my list.

Do I really need an antivirus for my family?

While an antivirus is essential for protecting a device from malware, families 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?

While there are some free antiviruses available on the market today — Avira Free Security being my favorite — 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 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.

While there are some good standalone parental control applications on the market, 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 2022. 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.

However, you can’t go wrong with any of the products on my list — they all offer plenty of useful features to keep your kids safe online.

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 can I protect my child from inappropriate online content?

A great starting point is to have 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.

Rank
Overall Score
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9.6
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9.6
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9.4
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9.4
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8.6
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About the Author

About the Author

Kate Davidson is a writer and editor with an interest in cybersecurity and online safety. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking Italian food, and doing yoga by the sea.