10 Best Antivirus Software for Laptops (Windows + Mac) in 2024

Updated on: May 23, 2024
Fact Checked by Katarina Glamoslija
Kate Davidson Kate Davidson
Updated on: May 23, 2024

Short on time? Here’s the best antivirus for laptops:

  • 🥇 Norton : Excellent real-time malware scanning along with tons of internet security features, including a firewall, web protection, a virtual private network (VPN), a password manager, parental controls, dark web monitoring, cloud backup, and much more.

There are hundreds of antiviruses on the market, and I wanted to find the ones that provide the best protection for laptops in 2024. So I tested a ton of different products on my Windows 11 laptop and my MacBook Air.

I analyzed each antivirus’s security, features, and whether or not they provide a good value. Unfortunately, I discovered that many antiviruses charge a lot of money for very basic or downright inadequate protection.

But I’m pleased to say that I did find a few good laptop antiviruses. Norton 360 came out on top, but all of the antiviruses on this list offer essential features, with most on this list including real-time malware protection, advanced scanning engines, firewalls, and anti-phishing protection. Most of these products also offer useful extras like Wi-Fi security, VPNs, and performance optimization tools.

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Quick summary of the best antiviruses for laptops in 2024:

🥇1. Norton 360 — Best Antivirus for Laptops in 2024

Approved by our experts
Norton
Approved by our experts
Most readers pick Norton
Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
AI-based scanner & VPN
Number of devices
Up to 10
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
60 Days
norton.com

Norton 360 is my favorite laptop antivirus in 2024 — it performed exceptionally well in my tests, blocking 100% of the malware samples on both my PC and my MacBook. Norton’s antivirus engine is excellent. It uses advanced heuristics, known malware databases, and machine learning to detect all kinds of new and emerging threats.

Norton’s antivirus scanner runs extremely smoothly. During testing, I could do a lot of CPU-intensive tasks while running the full disk virus scan. This was really great — other antiviruses can somewhat slow down your computer while the full scan is running.

🥇1. Norton 360 — Best Antivirus for Laptops in 2024

Norton 360 also includes:

  • Firewall.
  • VPN (with unlimited data).
  • Parental controls.
  • Webcam protection.
  • Private browser.
  • Dark web monitoring.
  • Identity theft protection (select countries only).
  • And more…

The Smart Firewall did a great job of detecting every network intrusion I threw at it — including ones that the built-in firewalls on my Windows laptop and MacBook failed to block. There are heaps of customization options for advanced users too, but it’s fine to just let the firewall run on its default settings.🥇1. Norton 360 — Best Antivirus for Laptops in 2024

Norton’s Private Browser adds some extra online safety compared to mainstream browsers like Chrome. What sets it apart is the integration of all its security extensions directly within the browser, eliminating the need for users to add these features separately. While Chrome provides a good level of security, Norton’s Private Browser brings the convenience of having these security features built-in, making it a straightforward choice for those who prefer an all-in-one solution.

Norton’s webcam protection, SafeCam, protects your webcam from unauthorized access. It works by monitoring applications and processes that attempt to use your webcam. It’s a great security feature to have on a laptop, as it can protect you from third parties capturing images and videos on your device without you allowing it or even knowing about it.

Norton’s VPN is also good. It has servers in 29 countries, a no-logs policy, good speeds, and an easy-to-use interface. During my tests, Norton’s VPN worked with Netflix and Amazon Prime without major slowdown, but I wasn’t able to watch Disney+. Overall, Norton’s VPN is a good choice for web browsing, streaming, and gaming, but it doesn’t allow torrenting on all servers. I really like how the VPN comes with unlimited data on all plans.

I’m a huge fan of Norton’s dark web monitoring — it scans the dark web for all kinds of personal information, including stolen bank details, phone numbers, insurance documentation, gamer tags, home addresses, and more. Once it finds any stolen information linked to you, Norton alerts you and advises you on the next steps. It’s great to know that there are real human agents actively searching for your data on the dark web, rather than simply using the Have I Been Pwned database like many competitors do.

Norton 360 Deluxe ($49.99 / year*) is the best-value plan, with extra features like parental controls, 50 GB of cloud storage, and coverage for 5 devices. Norton Antivirus Plus ($29.99 / year*) is a good entry-level plan for single users, and Norton 360 with LifeLock (starts at $99.99 / year*) is great for US-based users who want to get identity theft protection (including up to $1 million insurance coverage). All Norton purchases are backed by a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom Line:

Norton 360 is an excellent antivirus — it blocked all malware in my tests without slowing down either my Windows or Mac laptops. It also has a ton of internet security features for complete protection, including a VPN, a firewall, webcam protection, dark web monitoring, and a lot more. Norton Antivirus Plus is a good deal, but Norton 360 Deluxe is the best value for most users, adding parental controls and protection for up to 5 devices. You can try out all of Norton’s plans with the company’s 60-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Norton review >

🥈2. Bitdefender — Best for Advanced Malware Protection With a VPN & Anti-Theft Features

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Cloud-based scanner
Number of devices
Up to 10
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
bitdefender.com

Bitdefender Total Security has an advanced anti-malware engine that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify threats. In my tests, it scored a perfect 100% for malware detection, blocking trojans, rootkits, spyware, and more. Because the scanner is cloud-based, it didn’t slow down my system, and I could use my laptops as normal while the full scans were running.

Bitdefender’s extra features are pretty great, too. They include:

  • Safepay (online transaction protection).
  • VPN (200 MB/day limit).
  • Anti-theft features (Windows & Android only).
  • System tune-up.
  • Time Machine backup protection (for Mac users).
  • Password manager.
  • Parental controls.
  • And more…

I really like Safepay, the secure encrypted browser window Bitdefender offers. It provides a secure way to access your finances online. Safepay stops hackers from accessing your personal data by blocking screenshots and giving you a virtual keyboard to prevent keylogging. It also automatically turns on Bitdefender’s VPN to further protect your privacy. I do most of my shopping on my laptop, so having Safepay is a great layer of additional protection.🥈2. Bitdefender — Best for Advanced Malware Protection With a VPN & Anti-Theft Features

Bitdefender’s VPN is one of the fastest antivirus VPNs I’ve tested. However, I don’t like how it’s limited to only 200 MB per day with most plans — this is barely enough for browsing. That said, I like that the VPN has good streaming support. You can purchase the premium VPN with unlimited data separately at checkout, and it’s pretty cheap, or you can get it as part of Bitdefender’s excellent Premium Security plan ($79.99 / year) that also includes a full-featured password manager with unlimited password storage and coverage for up to 10 devices.🥈2. Bitdefender — Best for Advanced Malware Protection With a VPN & Anti-Theft Features

Bitdefender’s anti-theft feature is also very good. I was impressed with how accurately it managed to pinpoint my Windows HP laptop’s location, and how I could remotely lock and wipe my laptop’s hard drive from Bitdefender’s online dashboard to avoid having my data stolen. It’s a shame that the anti-theft tools only work for Windows and Android, meaning I couldn’t use them on my MacBook. However, Mac’s in-built anti-theft features are fairly good, so that’s not a huge issue.

Bitdefender Internet Security ($42.49 / year) includes most of Bitdefender’s features and covers up to 3 Windows devices, but if you need protection for your Mac laptop, you’ll need to go for the Total Security plan ($49.99 / year), which adds coverage for up to 5 Windows, Android, Mac, or iOS devices. All plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom Line:

Bitdefender offers great protection against malware and ransomware. It has more features than most competitors, including excellent web protection, online transaction protection, anti-theft features, and much more. It’s a shame the VPN is limited to 200 MB per day, but you can purchase the premium VPN separately or as part of Bitdefender Premium Security. All Bitdefender plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Bitdefender review here >

🥉3. TotalAV Internet Security — Best for Easy-to-Use Device Optimization Tools

Malware detection rate
99.60%
Key Features
Beginner-friendly apps
Number of devices
Up to 8
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
totalav.com

TotalAV is really good at virus detection — its scanner operates in the cloud, meaning even its full disk scans take up very little CPU (which makes it a great choice for laptop users). While TotalAV is excellent at virus protection, it’s missing some of the advanced web-based malware technology that Norton offers.🥉3. TotalAV Internet Security — Best for Easy-to-Use Device Optimization Tools

I was really impressed with TotalAV’s easy-to-use device optimization tools. I was able to quickly and easily delete over 4 GB of junk and duplicate files, remove useless and unwanted apps, clear browser cookies, and a lot more — significantly improving the overall speed of both my Windows and Mac laptops.

TotalAV also comes with:

  • Anti-phishing.
  • Ad blocker.
  • VPN (with unlimited data).
  • Password manager.
  • Data breach monitoring.

🥉3. TotalAV Internet Security — Best for Easy-to-Use Device Optimization Tools

TotalAV’s VPN performed exceptionally well in my tests. It obscured my IP, encrypted my data, and I could easily watch all popular streaming services, including Netflix and Amazon Prime. TotalAV’s VPN is also very fast, very easy to use, and it allows torrenting — which is why it’s ranked as the best antivirus with a VPN in 2024.

I’m also a fan of TotalAV’s anti-phishing protection (Web Shield). The Web Shield was able to block several malicious sites that Chrome and Firefox failed to alert me to. It’s also available as a free download, which is pretty cool. However, I think Norton’s anti-phishing protection is even better, as it managed to block every single phishing link in my tests.

The data breach monitoring tool is also pretty good. It monitors your email address and alerts you if it’s found in any data breaches. While it’s easy to use, this feature is a bit basic compared to Norton’s dark web monitoring tool, which scans the dark web for stolen credit card info, online banking details, passport details, and more.

TotalAV’s password manager, Total Password, is also pretty decent. It can generate and store complex passwords, and its auto-fill is pretty good. Plus, it offers 2FA, password auditing, and a cool feature called Secure Me that lets you remotely log out from your account across all devices.

TotalAV Internet Security ($39.00 / year) provides coverage for 6 devices, whereas TotalAV Total Security ($49.00 / year) covers 8 devices and includes the password vault and an ad blocker. All TotalAV‘s annual plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

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Bottom Line:

TotalAV has a really good virus scanner and easy-to-use optimization tools. It caught virtually all of my malware samples during testing, and it cleared out a lot of space from both of my laptops. TotalAV’s higher-tier plans also include a password manager and a VPN. The VPN is exceptionally good — secure, fast, easy to use, and compatible with popular streaming services. All TotalAV’s annual plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full TotalAV review >

4. McAfee Total Protection — Best for Web Protection

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Great web protection
Number of devices
Unlimited
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
mcafee.com

McAfee Total Protection has one of the fastest and most comprehensive antivirus scanners around — it detected all of my malware samples during a single full system scan. Its real-time anti-malware engine is also very effective, blocking all of the malware files and malicious scripts that I tried to launch, including spyware, ransomware, rootkits, and trojans. However, the scan slowed my system down slightly, but I could still browse the internet and watch videos without any issues.

I think McAfee has the best web protection around. Its anti-phishing protection caught more malicious websites than Chrome and Safari’s built-in phishing protection tools did. I also like the Secure Search feature, which uses color coding to inform you if a URL is safe or dangerous before you click on it (suspicious URLs are marked with a red exclamation mark, and safe URLs are marked with a green tick).

4. McAfee Total Protection — Best for Web Protection

McAfee Total Protection offers additional features like:

  • VPN.
  • Password manager.
  • Dark web monitoring.
  • Social Privacy Manager.

McAfee’s VPN is surprisingly fast, barely slowing down my internet connection while encrypting my web traffic and hiding my IP address. It’s great that the VPN includes unlimited data with all plans (so long as you enroll in auto-renew), unlike Bitdefender where you have to pay extra for the VPN with no limitations.

4. McAfee Total Protection — Best for Web Protection

McAfee also offers a password management solution. It includes important features like auto-filling, 256-bit AES encryption, a password generator, and unlimited password storage across your devices. I tested this password manager and found it both reliable and easy to use. However, it lacks some important functions, namely, password sharing, vault auditing, and data breach monitoring. Still, it’s a decent solution to securely storing your passwords.

I also really like McAfee’s Social Privacy Manager. It’s super easy to use; you just need to link it to your social media account, pick one of the 4 types of social media user profiles (Unplugged, Explorer, Connector, and Socializer), and based on that, McAfee will recommend the privacy settings for you, enabling you to adjust over 100 settings in just a few minutes.

McAfee’s Plus plan ($39.99 / year) provides an excellent value, with coverage for up to 5 devices for a low price. And if you need to cover more devices, McAfee Premium (starting at $49.99 / year) adds extras like parental controls (on the family plan) and protection for unlimited devices. McAfee backs all annual plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

McAfee is a powerful antivirus for both Windows and Mac laptops — it has a fast and thorough malware scanner that caught all of my test malware files. I especially like its anti-phishing tools, which block fake websites better than both Chrome and Safari’s native anti-phishing protections. And I’m a fan of McAfee’s VPN, which is fast, secure, and performed extremely well during testing. All of McAfee’s annual packages come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full McAfee review >

5. Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best for MacBook Users

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Mac system cleaner
Number of devices
Up to 5
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
intego.com

Intego is my favorite antivirus for MacBooks in 2024. During my tests, Intego detected and removed all of the malware samples from my device, including Mac-specific spyware and ransomware.

Intego also comes with data backup options that are a lot better than Apple’s built-in backup features. It can sync data backup between multiple devices, back up custom folders, and also make a bootable backup that includes your device’s latest Mac OS X version. This means you can easily reboot your files and operating system onto any Mac device.

Intego also includes:

  • Firewall.
  • Wi-Fi network security.
  • System cleanup.
  • Parental controls.

5. Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best for MacBook Users

Intego’s firewall blocked all network-based attacks in my testing, while also giving me the option to stop third-party apps (including spyware) from potentially sending my sensitive data across the internet. It also analyzed my Wi-Fi network for all possible security issues. I like that I could customize both the firewall’s controls and how they changed automatically depending on my location (home, work office, or public) — something I haven’t seen any other Mac-based antiviruses provide.

I was also very impressed with Intego’s system cleanup and organization tools. I was able to run scans for junk files and duplicate files and even quickly organize files into smart folders — perfect for me, as my MacBook is usually very unorganized with hundreds of screenshot files on my desktop screen. I also really like how Intego gives detailed explanations of its cleanup scan results, so there’s very little chance of you accidentally deleting something you need.5. Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9 — Best for MacBook Users

Intego has great parental controls as well, which let users create lists of allowed websites and block access to entire categories, like gambling or adult sites. The parental controls also include chat monitoring, which sends you an alert if your kids engage in risky chats. Some competitors like Avira don’t offer any parental controls at all, so Intego is a better choice for keeping your kids safe online.

While Intego is best known for its Mac products, it also provides a pretty good Windows version of its software, with an anti-malware engine that caught virtually all of my malware test samples. That said, it does lack some important features for laptops, such as a firewall, dark web monitoring, parental controls, a password manager, and more.

Mac Internet Security X9 ($19.99 / year) is Intego’s basic package that comes with the malware scanner and the firewall and covers up to 5 Macs. The Mac Premium Bundle X9 ($34.99 / year) adds on parental controls, backup tools, and advanced Mac optimization features. Both of Intego’s plans include a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Intego is the best way to improve on a Mac’s built-in security features. Apart from perfect detection against Mac-based malware, Intego’s data backup offers multi-device syncing, its smart firewall has different settings for public and private Wi-Fi networks, and its parental controls are more specific and secure than Apple’s native protections. You can try out Intego on your MacBook risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Intego review >

6. Avira Prime — Best for Privacy Optimization

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Device optimization tools
Number of devices
Up to 5
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
60 Days
avira.com

Avira is a beginner-friendly antivirus with an excellent cloud-based malware scanner (the same one that TotalAV uses). During my tests, Avira’s malware engine scored a perfect 100% for detection and removal of all of my test malware.

Avira also has a wide range of privacy optimization tools that stop companies from tracking and harvesting private data. It removes browser cache, browser history, and chat logs, and permanently deletes files — all in just one click!

Avira also comes with:

  • VPN (with unlimited data).
  • Password manager.
  • Web protections.
  • Firewall.
  • System cleanup & speedup tools.

6. Avira Prime — Best for Privacy Optimization

The system cleanup and speedup tools are particularly good. I was able to remove hundreds of junk files from my system and also significantly improve my laptop’s startup time from around 45 seconds to 25 seconds. I really like how Avira’s startup optimizer showed me which programs were slowing down the boot time on my Windows 11 laptop, giving me the option to stop these programs from booting on startup or remove them completely.

Avira’s VPN offers unlimited simultaneous connections — this is very rare, even among standalone VPNs! It’s also one of the best antivirus-bundled VPNs on the market, it’s very secure, and it allows torrenting, but unlike Norton’s VPN, it doesn’t work with Netflix.

I also like Avira’s Browser Safety extension for Chrome and Firefox — it prevents phishing attacks and blocks tracking links. Then there’s Safe Shopping, another browser extension specifically designed for online shopping. It addition to anti-phishing and anti-tracking capabilities, it also gives you price comparisons — a nice improvement over most “safe web” plugins that don’t do much to enhance the online shopping experience.6. Avira Prime — Best for Privacy Optimization

Avira’s password manager is also excellent, with advanced features including password vault auditing, data breach monitoring, and two-factor authentication. I love how easy the password manager is to use, too. That said, it is missing a couple of features that the best standalone password managers offer, like password sharing and dark web monitoring. Nonetheless, it’s one of the best antivirus-bundled password managers out there in 2024.

Avira Prime ($59.99 / year) is the best deal, offering all of Avira’s features for up to 5 devices. There’s also Avira’s basic antivirus package — Avira Antivirus Pro ($26.99 / year) — which comes with the malware scanner and web protections, and Avira Internet Security ($34.99 / year), which also includes the password manager. All of Avira’s paid plans are covered by a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Avira is a fast, secure, and easy-to-use antivirus with really good privacy protections. Its cloud-based malware scanner performed very well during my tests, and I really liked how quick and easy it was to optimize my laptop’s privacy settings. Avira also has a very user-friendly interface, and it comes with a good range of additional tools, including a decent VPN, helpful anti-phishing tools, an excellent password manager, and a browser extension that helps you find the best online shopping deals. You can try out all of Avira’s premium plans risk-free with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Avira review >

7. Kaspersky Premium — Effective Antivirus With Great Parental Controls

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Great parental controls
Number of devices
Up to 20
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
kaspersky.com

Kaspersky Premium is a user-friendly antivirus with excellent malware detection rates. It detected 100% of viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other malware in my testing. The scanner is pretty lightweight, too — I was able to continue using my laptops as normal while it ran in the background.

Kaspersky also offers multiple layers of web protection. The Safe Browsing feature offers anti-phishing protection and blocks ads and trackers. It also includes Safe Money, a secure browser for banking and online shopping; an on-screen keyboard, which protects against keyloggers; and webcam protection.7. Kaspersky Premium — Effective Antivirus With Great Parental Controls

Kaspersky Premium comes with plenty more valuable features, including:

  • Firewall (Windows only).
  • System cleanup tools.
  • Parental controls.
  • Password manager.
  • VPN (unlimited data).

Kaspersky’s cleanup tools are decent. The PC Speed-Up tool identified 6 registry issues and 43 MB of unused system data on my Windows 11 laptop. I also like the Privacy Cleaner, which quickly clears your browser history, cookies, and other online activity. However, I wish you could use all of Kaspersky’s cleanup tools in one go (Avira lets you do it all in just one click).

The VPN includes unlimited data, works with many streaming services including Netflix, supports P2P traffic, and offers servers in 70+ countries. It’s pretty good overall, but it’s not as fast as TotalAV’s VPN.

I really like Kaspersky’s parental controls (Safe Kids), which are intuitive and come with a heap of useful features to keep your kids safe online. The content filtering and usage limitation worked well in my testing, and the location tracking and geofencing were able to pinpoint my test device’s location accurately.7. Kaspersky Premium — Effective Antivirus With Great Parental Controls

Not all of Kaspersky’s extras are great, though. I wish its password manager included more advanced features such as dark web monitoring (like Norton’s does).

Kaspersky offers competitively priced plans starting at $34.99 / year. The entry-level Standard plan offers basic protection for your laptop, but Kaspersky Premium ($67.49 / year) is the best and most comprehensive plan, including every feature in this review. Kaspersky backs all of its plans with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Kaspersky is a user-friendly antivirus with excellent malware detection rates, anti-phishing protection, and multiple layers of web protection. It offers plenty of valuable extras including webcam protection, a secure browser for banking and shopping, excellent parental controls, a good VPN, and a decent password manager. All of Kaspersky’s paid plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Read the full Kaspersky review >

8. Panda Dome Complete — Efficient Scanning + Rescue Kit

Malware detection rate
95%
Key Features
PC Rescue Kit & game mode
Number of devices
Unlimited
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
pandasecurity.com

Panda Dome Complete has a reasonably good malware scanner, a user-friendly interface, and an abundance of extra features for laptops. Using artificial intelligence, Panda protects your devices from a wide range of malware — it managed to find the majority of the malware samples on my laptop. However, it overlooked some adware and spyware files, which Norton caught effortlessly.8. Panda Dome Complete — Efficient Scanning + Rescue Kit

Panda’s Rescue Kit is really good — allowing you to salvage your Windows laptop through a USB stick in the event of a virus or malware infection compromising it. This feature is invaluable, enabling you to boot up your laptop for scanning and cleaning even when a normal start-up is a no-go.

I found Panda’s password manager very easy to use — with essential features like a password generator, two-factor authentication (2FA), auto-fill and auto-save, password strength auditing, and more. However, it doesn’t really measure up to stand-alone password managers like 1Password or Dashlane. Furthermore, the parental controls are very basic. If you’re looking for strong parental controls, I recommend Norton instead.8. Panda Dome Complete — Efficient Scanning + Rescue Kit

Panda’s web protection also didn’t hit the mark for me. It detected less than 50% of phishing sites, missing some obvious ones. This performance pales in comparison to top-tier brands like Norton and Bitdefender, with their perfect detection scores.

Panda Dome has a free plan with basic antivirus protection and a very limited VPN. A much better option is the Panda Dome Complete plan at $42.99 / year — which offers all the extras but still only comes with the limited-data VPN (150 MB/day). To me, this is the best value offer, since Panda’s VPN really isn’t all that great anyway. Panda Dome Premium offers the VPN with unlimited data at $66.99 / year.

Bottom Line:

Panda Dome Complete is a good option for malware protection on laptops and has more features than many competitors on the market. It found most of the malware on my laptop, has an easy-to-use interface, and offers unique extras like the Rescue Kit. However, Panda’s web protection is unfortunately not very good, and its parental controls are very basic. But it offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you feel like giving it a try anyway.

Read the full Panda review here >

9. Trend Micro — Excellent Privacy Scanner for Social Media Accounts

Malware detection rate
100%
Key Features
Social media scanner
Number of devices
Up to 10
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
30 Days
trendmicro.com

Trend Micro is another good option for an anti-malware engine for your laptop. The antivirus scanner performed well in testing, detecting most of the viruses, ransomware, trojans, and spyware on my laptop, although it didn’t quite measure up to Norton and Bitdefender.9. Trend Micro — Excellent Privacy Scanner for Social Media Accounts

Trend Micro is better at detecting phishing websites than Chrome, Safari, or Firefox — plus, its web browser extension also detects scam links, unsafe content, malicious code, and even misinformation, and it blocks ads.

Trend Micro offers good additional features, too, such as a privacy scanner for securing your social media accounts, along with basic parental controls that simplify setting time restrictions for your child’s online activity and/or limiting time spent on specific devices.9. Trend Micro — Excellent Privacy Scanner for Social Media Accounts

With Trend Micro Antivirus + Security, you can protect a single Windows device for $19.95 / year. It includes malware protection, advanced ransomware defense, and a secure browser for managing online finances. Trend Micro Internet Security at $39.95 / year elevates the protection to up to 3 devices (Windows only), introducing device optimization tools, protection for social networks, and parental controls. If you’re on a Mac laptop, you’ll need Trend Micro Maximum Security at $49.95 / year, which extends protection to up to 5 devices across all the main operating systems.

Bottom Line:

Trend Micro provides a solid malware and internet security solution for laptop users. It shines in web protection — its browser extension is good at warding off malicious websites, scam links, and questionable content. A 30-day money-back guarantee accompanies all Trend Micro plans, offering a risk-free opportunity to experience its offering.

Read the full Trend Micro review here >

10. Malwarebytes Standard — Good Basic Protection

Malware detection rate
95%
Key Features
Secure browser extension
Number of devices
Up to 20
OS compatibility
Money-back guarantee
60 Days
malwarebytes.com

Malwarebytes is a user-friendly but basic internet security suite. Its antivirus engine, powered by artificial intelligence, works to block malware in real-time — during my testing, it managed to detect around 95% of my malware samples, which is a pretty good performance. However, its full disk scan took nearly 4 times as long as Norton’s, which was a little annoying.

10. Malwarebytes Standard — Good Basic Protection

With a 98% detection rate, Malwarebytes did a great job at identifying phishing websites, though it disappointed in ad-blocking. While Malwarebytes says that Browser Guard, its ad- and malware-blocking extension, enhances web browsing speed, my browsing speed on my laptop seemed unchanged.

A notable downside of Malwarebytes Standard is the absence of extra features. It lacks system clean-up tools, parental controls, a firewall, or a password manager — features that are standard in premium competitors like Norton. Nevertheless, its simplicity, paired with an attractive price tag, makes it a viable option.

10. Malwarebytes Standard — Good Basic Protection

Malwarebytes Standard can cover from 1 to 20 devices, with prices starting at $59.99 / year. It includes all of Malwarebytes’s features except the VPN. Malwarebytes Plus includes the VPN, which has over 500 servers in 40+ countries, for $79.99 / year. The VPN offers respectable speeds and a staunch zero-logs policy, but it doesn’t reliably work with popular streaming platforms like Netflix, making the upgrade less tempting. Still, there’s a generous 60-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk-free. Malwarebytes also offers an identity theft protection service as part of its highest-tier Ultimate plan. It’s a bit pricey, but it offers comprehensive monitoring and generous insurance against identity theft.

Bottom Line:

Malwarebytes serves as an efficient anti-malware tool but leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to additional features. That said, Malwarebytes Standard provides a reliable antivirus engine and decent web protection, whereas Malwarebytes Plus adds a modest VPN to the package. You also get a generous 60-day money-back guarantee with both plans.

Read the full Malwarebytes review here >

Quick Comparison Table

Antivirus Starting Price Firewall Malware Detection Rate Password Manager
Parental Controls
VPN Free Version Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇 Norton $54.99 / year* 100% Unlimited data 60 days
2.🥈 Bitdefender $17.49 / year 100% 200 MB/day 30 days
3.🥉 TotalAV $19.00 / year 99% Unlimited data 30 days
4. McAfee $39.99 / year 100% Unlimited data 30 days
5. Intego $19.99 / year 100%
(Included in Windows, separate purchase on Mac)
30 days
6. Avira $26.99 / year 100% Unlimited data 60 days
7. Kaspersky
$34.99 / year 100% Unlimited data 30 days
8. Panda Dome
$23.99 / year 95% Unlimited data (with Panda Dome Premium) 30 days
9. Trend Micro $19.95 / year
(Firewall booster)
97% 30 days
10. Malwarebytes $59.99 / year 95% Unlimited data (with Malwarebytes Plus) 60 days

Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria

To come up with this list of the best antivirus programs for laptops, I used our testing methodology, which takes into account a variety of selection criteria. Additionally:

  • I looked for advanced security features. An ideal antivirus should provide extensive protection against a variety of threats, including viruses, trojans, spyware, and ransomware. I’ve thoroughly tested every antivirus on this list, making certain they offer excellent security against a broad spectrum of malware.Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria
  • I hand-picked antiviruses that don’t hinder system performance. You should choose an antivirus that runs seamlessly on any laptop and doesn’t impact its functionality. All the antivirus options on my list are quick and lightweight — top brands such as Norton and Bitdefender didn’t cause any deceleration on any of my test laptops, and I could operate them normally during the comprehensive malware scans.
  • I checked for extra features. As well as great anti-malware protections, a good antivirus should offer some extra features to improve your overall cybersecurity. I tested all the products on this list to confirm that the extra features they offer are genuinely useful. For example, Norton offers excellent dark web monitoring, and TotalAV has a really good VPN.
  • I only included antiviruses that are easy to use. An antivirus should be easy to download, install, set up, and use on your laptop. In my tests, I ranked products based on these factors, and on how simple it was to access, understand, and use each feature. I gave extra points for in-app instructions and good customer support services, like a detailed knowledge base, live chat support, and 24/7 availability. All the brands that made it onto my list are easy to use with good support options.Testing Methodology: Comparison & Ranking Criteria
  • I chose plans that offer good value for money. All of the options on my list offer plenty of features, coverage for multiple devices, and come with free trials or guarantees — all at a fair price.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • HeimdalHeimdal has a very good malware scanner, and it comes with some advanced cybersecurity tools, but it’s much more complex to understand than most other antiviruses, so it’s not the best choice for most users.
  • Webroot Webroot’s cloud-based malware scanner is good because it doesn’t take up space or slow down your system. However, Webroot doesn’t have many good internet security features, and it’s too expensive for an antivirus that only provides basic protection.
  • ESETESET has excellent malware detection rates, but it lacks many of the valuable extra features offered by the antiviruses on this list and most of its features are useless to MacBook users.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are my laptop’s built-in protections good enough?

In most cases, no. Both Windows and Mac have some built-in security tools that provide a little protection against certain viruses. But they’re not able to protect your laptop against advanced threats like phishing, adware, spyware, and ransomware.

The best laptop antiviruses have advanced anti-malware engines that can detect even the most sophisticated cybersecurity threats, and they also include tons of extra tools that improve a laptop’s overall security, such as:

  • Network firewalls.
  • Wi-Fi security scanners.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • VPNs (virtual private networks).
  • Webcam protections.

For example, Norton 360 has an advanced antivirus scanner, a VPN, parental controls, anti-phishing, dark web monitoring, and a lot of other internet security protections to ensure laptop users stay fully protected.

Can I use a free antivirus for my laptop?

Free antiviruses are okay for basic protection. If you only use your laptop to watch YouTube videos or check emails, a free antivirus is probably good enough. But if you’re using your laptop for online shopping or banking, or if you’re storing a lot of sensitive or personal files like credit card information, account logins, photos, or Word docs, you really can’t rely on a free antivirus to keep all of that stuff secure.

Premium antiviruses like Norton 360 and Bitdefender Total Security are way better than any free antivirus, and they provide complete online protection (for a really low price).

Do laptops really need antivirus software?

All laptops need antiviruses, especially ones that run on Windows (although MacBooks need protection, too). Since each operating system only offers basic antivirus protection, most laptops don’t come with:

  • Real-time malware protection.
  • Advanced malware scanning.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • Ransomware protection.
  • Dark web monitoring.
  • A VPN (virtual private network).
  • A password manager.
  • Many other important protections…

On the other hand, a good laptop antivirus will protect your laptop from all types of malware, keeping your identity and data secure while also preventing any damage to your device.

Top-rated antiviruses like Norton, Bitdefender, and Avira all have excellent malware scanners and additional protections such as VPNs, anti-phishing tools, dark web monitoring, and more.

Which antivirus is best for laptops?

My personal favorite is Norton 360. It has a powerful malware scanner that detected 100% of the test malware on my laptops, and it uses very little CPU, meaning you can use your laptop pretty much as normal during scans. Norton also has excellent Wi-Fi scanning capabilities and a VPN with unlimited data, both of which are particularly useful if you ever connect to public Wi-Fi on your laptop. Norton’s plans are affordable, and Norton 360 Deluxe offers all Norton’s features for up to 5 devices.

While Norton is definitely my number 1, you can’t go wrong with any of the other antiviruses on my list either — they’ll all keep your laptop protected in 2024.

What’s the best antivirus for MacBook?

Intego is the best antivirus for MacBook due to its exceptional malware detection rates — it successfully identified and blocked 100% of Mac-based malware in my tests. Additionally, it extends its protective cover to any connected external drives or iOS devices. Plus, it identifies PC-based malware, ensuring no accidental transmission of infected files to Windows users. Its malware scanning is fast and efficient thanks to its file-caching technology, which significantly accelerates subsequent scans by skipping previously scanned and cleared files.

Intego also has a smart firewall, parental controls, Mac cleanup tools, and backup utilities. Its comprehensive suite not only elevates the standard security provisions of macOS but also enhances the overall user experience, making it a solid and reliable choice for MacBook users.

Will an antivirus slow down my laptop?

It depends on which antivirus you choose to install. The antiviruses on this list won’t slow down your laptop — even if your device is pretty old.

Also, antiviruses like Norton 360 and Avira have device optimization tools that actually improve overall system performance, so your laptop will ultimately perform much better.

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About the Author
Kate Davidson
Kate Davidson
Chief Editor
Updated on: May 23, 2024

About the Author

Kate Davidson is a Chief Editor at SafetyDetectives. She has many years of experience as a journalist and communications professional, and has worked for media organizations, government agencies, and NGOs in multiple countries. Kate has always had a deep interest in cybersecurity, which has — together with her passion for crafting quality content — allowed her to bring complex topics about antiviruses, password managers, and overall online security closer to our readers. In her spare time, Kate enjoys spending time with her family, cooking Italian food, and doing yoga by the sea.