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

Ben Martens Ben Martens 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 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.

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 the #1 antivirus with parental controls in 2022.)

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!

Norton’s other security features were 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 and Kaspersky, there’s no annoying daily data limit.

Norton 360 Deluxe offers protection for up to 5 devices for $49.99 / 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 $99.99 / year, include LifeLock identity theft protection, up to 500 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.

Download Norton 360

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.
  • VPN (200 MB daily limit).
  • Phishing protection.
  • Password manager.

Bitdefender’s parental controls are pretty good — the screen time limits were simple to set up, and I appreciated being able to track which apps my kid was using. Bitdefender also offers geo-fencing, which accurately tracked my child and notified me when she left a predefined safe zone.

I was pretty frustrated by the data limit on Bitdefender’s built-in VPN — but if you’re willing to pay for the upgrade (available at checkout, or as part of Bitdefender Premium Security), Bitdefender has one of the fastest VPNs on the market, providing lightning-fast connection to servers in over 40 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 $36.00 / 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 $69.99 / 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 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’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’s Mac Premium Bundle X9 covers up to 5 devices for $39.99 / 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 anti-malware packages on the market — there’s a ton of great internet security tools, strong parental controls, and coverage for up to 10 devices (more than what most competitors offer).

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 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.

McAfee Total Protection Premium covers up to 10 devices for $54.99 / year, and its multi-year payment option makes it a really good value.

Bottom Line:

McAfee offers powerful malware scanning, good security features, comprehensive parental controls, and coverage for up to 10 devices. It includes geo-fencing and excellent content filtering for kids, as well as Wi-Fi protections, anti-theft protection, and a VPN. McAfee Total Protection Premium comes with a big discount (especially for a multi-year subscription) and a 30-day money back guarantee.

Download McAfee Total Protection

Read the full McAfee review >

5. Kaspersky Total Security — Best Ease of Use

5. Kaspersky Total Security — Best Ease of Use

Kaspersky Total Security 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 many advanced techniques 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 some of the test ransomware files.

Kaspersky’s parental controls are pretty good, and I think the geo-fencing feature is the best of any parental control app I’ve tested. There are also YouTube controls (including YouTube app), usage limits, real-time alerts, and an online content filter.

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

  • Firewall.
  • VPN (200 MB daily limit).
  • Password manager.
  • Online shopping protections.

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 Total Security is Kaspersky’s only plan with parental controls, and it covers up to 10 devices for $39.99 / 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.

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.

Panda Dome Complete offers all of Panda’s features apart from the unlimited VPN and 24/7 customer support for $42.99 / year, which is a pretty good value, and it can cover an unlimited number of devices. 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 $19.99 / 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 $23.99 / 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 $49.99 / year Content filters, app and device usage limits, geo-fencing, browser monitoring Unlimited VPN, home Wi-Fi scanner, ID theft protections 10 30 days
5. Kaspersky $20.97 / year Content filters, geo-fencing, usage limits, YouTube controls, real-time alerts Online shopping protections, Rescue Disk, gaming mode 10 30 days
Bonus: Panda Dome $28.49 / year Content filters, Family add-on with GPS tracking, remote locking, app and device limits and blocking Anti-theft tools, Rescue Kit, USB protection Unlimited 30 days

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.

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 currently offers a huge discount on its 2-year family plan, 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 other 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.

About the Author

Ben Martens
Ben Martens
Senior Editor

About the Author

Ben Martens is a cybersecurity journalist with a background in internet ethics, malware testing, and public policy. He resides in Oregon, and when he's not advocating for the rights of internet users, he's walking with his dog and inventing stories with his daughter.