Updated on: November 28, 2023
Short on time? Here’s the best antivirus recommended by Reddit users in 2023:
- 🥇 Norton: Offering excellent protection against viruses, ransomware, and other malware, Norton is super popular with Redditors in 2023. It features secure browsing, a VPN, parental controls, secure storage, a password manager, and much more.
With so many antivirus options out there, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. One solution is to gather insights from Reddit’s tech-savvy communities. Reddit is a platform known for its unfiltered honesty and it offers a goldmine of user opinions, shedding light on their experiences with various antivirus programs.
That said, Reddit is huge, and scouring its many threads for info is no easy task. Moreover, determining which features are essential in an antivirus program requires a degree of expertise. There’s a lot to consider and tons of information to digest when it comes to finding the right antivirus for you, even when you want to use Reddit as a guide.
I’ve invested the time to catalog the best antiviruses recommended by Redditors. I combed through numerous threads on several Subreddits to discover Reddit’s thoughts on various products. Combining this with my own knowledge of what makes an antivirus great and my personal tests, I’ve made a definitive list. Here’s my exhaustive rundown of the best antivirus software in 2023, according to Reddit users — starting with their top pick, Norton.
Quick summary of the best antiviruses recommended by Reddit users:
- 🥇 1. Norton — Best overall antivirus recommended by Reddit users.
- 🥈 2. TotalAV — User-friendly antivirus with a powerful anti-malware engine.
- 🥉 3. Bitdefender — Best lightweight antivirus according to Redditors.
- 4. McAfee — Solid security tool with great features and plans.
- 5. Kaspersky — Best free antivirus according to Reddit.
- Bonus: Windows Defender — Default Windows antivirus (underrated according to Reddit).
- Comparison of the best antiviruses recommended by Reddit users.
🥇1. Norton 360 — Best All-Round Antivirus Recommended By Reddit Users
Norton 360 stands out as the top antivirus based on Reddit’s opinion and my own analysis in 2023. It boasts a powerful anti-malware engine, a wide range of internet security tools, an easy-to-navigate user interface, and excellent customer support.
The anti-malware engine leverages machine learning, advanced heuristics, and a vast malware directory to identify a broad range of threats. I tested it out by downloading a database of 1,000+ malware samples onto my Windows PC. It consisted of viruses, trojans, spyware, exploits, worms, keyloggers, ransomware, and cryptojackers. Norton detected every single sample, barely slowing my PC down in the process. As you’ll read on Reddit, many others have confirmed Norton’s perfect malware detection rate.
Norton’s other features include:
- Real-time protection.
- Web protection.
- Secure browser.
- VPN (virtual private network).
- Password manager.
- Parental controls.
- System optimization.
- And much more…
The real-time protection is just as great as the malware scanner. To test it out, I deleted all the malware samples I downloaded in my tests, turned on the real-time protection feature, then attempted to download the samples again. This time, Norton blocked my attempt, preventing me from downloading any malware onto my PC.
I really like Norton’s password manager, too — it’s the best antivirus-bundled password manager on the market. It provides 256-bit AES encryption, a password generator, multi-device sync, auto-saving and auto-filling of passwords, and password health auditing. There’s also a great mobile login feature that allows you to log into your vault using your mobile device instead of your master password. While Norton’s password manager isn’t as good as the best standalone password managers like 1Password, it provides all the essential features. According to Reddit (and my own tests), it works very well.
All of Norton’s plans offer an excellent value, but my favorite is Norton 360 Deluxe, which costs $49.99 / year*. It comes with excellent malware protection, a smart firewall, an unlimited-data VPN, a password manager, dark web monitoring, parental controls, and system optimization. You can try it out risk-free with Norton’s generous 60-day money-back guarantee.
Norton has earned its place at the top of the antivirus market by offering perfect malware protection. It also comes with a myriad of internet security tools, extra features, and excellent customer service. It’s earned many positive reviews on Reddit, and deservedly so. Norton’s efficient anti-malware engine successfully detects a wide variety of threats while causing minimal system slowdown, and its additional features all work really well. You can try Norton out with a risk-free 60-day money-back guarantee.
🥈2. TotalAV — Intuitive Antivirus Favored by Redditors for Its Simplicity
TotalAV is often mentioned on Reddit when someone asks for an easy-to-use antivirus. It’s simple, but it still offers effective protection against all types of malware. There’s also a wide range of top-quality security features and privacy protections included with TotalAV, meaning it’s great for everyone from beginners to more advanced users.
The malware scanner worked very well during my tests. TotalAV uses a whitelisted version of Avira’s malware engine, which is also popular on Reddit. I tested TotalAV on the same set of malware samples I used to analyze Norton. The result was a 99.6% detection rate. The score is a tiny bit lower than Norton’s, but it’s still very impressive. I found that users on Reddit had similarly great results.
Beyond the scanner, TotalAV also comes with:
- Real-time malware protection.
- Anti-phishing protection.
- System clean-up tools.
- Password manager.
- VPN (unlimited data).
- Data breach monitoring.
- Identity theft protection (US only).
- And more…
I really like WebShield, TotalAV’s anti-phishing tool. It stood out in my tests by effectively blocking all the phishing sites I tried to visit, including sites that Chrome and Firefox failed to protect me from. However, it’s worth noting that some users on Reddit prefer the more advanced anti-phishing tools offered by Norton.
Safe Browsing, TotalAV’s bundled VPN, is another great tool to have — it’s the best antivirus-bundled VPN in 2023. It barely slowed down my internet speeds, meaning I could stream with ease (I tested it on several major streaming sites available in my country and didn’t encounter any problems). It also supports torrenting and provides 48 server locations in 30+ countries. It’s pretty good, but I still prefer standalone options like ExpressVPN, which is currently the best VPN on the market.
I recommend TotalAV’s Internet Security package, which offers comprehensive protection for up to 5 devices and comes with all the features outlined above. It costs $39.00 / year. All plans are backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Reddit users often praise TotalAV for its user-friendly interface and effective real-time protection. It also offers powerful anti-phishing defenses to ensure full protection against any malicious online threats. All TotalAV’s plans offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, giving you the opportunity to try it risk-free.
🥉3. Bitdefender — Lightweight Malware Scanner That Redditors Recommend
Bitdefender stands out in 2023 as a highly effective antivirus. It offers comprehensive cybersecurity protection, ensuring users stay safe across various devices and operating systems.
I saw lots of Redditors praising Bitdefender as an ideal lightweight antivirus. When they say this, what they mean is that it delivers excellent protection without slowing down your computer or greatly affecting performance. The malware engine is cloud-based and uses machine learning and a huge malware directory to detect both known and emerging threats. It performed excellently in my tests, detecting every single piece of malware I downloaded onto my PC — a similar result to Norton and slightly better than TotalAV.
Bitdefender has a wide range of additional security features, such as:
- Real-time protection.
- Secure web browser.
- VPN (200 MB/day).
- Password manager.
- Parental controls.
- And a lot more…
I’m a big fan of Bitdefender’s secure web browser, Safepay. It protects your personal information during online transactions, and it worked perfectly during my tests. As explained by Redditors, it acts like a virtual desktop, blocking screenshots and providing a virtual keyboard to prevent keystroke tracking. It’s a somewhat uncommon feature that many Redditors appreciate.
I also like Bitdefender’s VPN. It uses unbreakable 256-bit AES encryption, provides a kill switch, and has a strict no-logs policy. It also has fast speeds and supports torrenting, and like TotalAV’s VPN, it’s good for streaming. However, as you’ll see pointed out a lot on Reddit, the biggest downside is the tiny data limit on all but the most expensive plan.
Bitdefender’s most valuable plan is Premium Security, which costs $69.99 / year, covers up to 10 devices, and includes all of Bitdefender’s features, plus the unlimited-data VPN. Premium Security is available for all major operating systems, and it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Bitdefender is a top-tier internet security product with a lightweight malware engine that has won the hearts of many Reddit users. The antivirus also provides a wealth of high-quality features, such as a VPN, a password manager, and a secure web browser. Overall, Bitdefender offers a well-rounded package that can meet your cybersecurity needs.
4. McAfee — Comprehensive Security Solution Recommended by the Reddit Community
McAfee shines in 2023 as a quality antivirus that delivers impressive real-time malware detection and web protection. It’s a standout thanks to its large range of features, its reliability, and the variety of plans on offer.
Many Redditors commend McAfee for its superior malware detection — it scored a 100% detection rate in my tests, ranking it among top competitors like Norton. Reddit users highlight the fact that it effectively blocks various threats, from common viruses to advanced ransomware.
McAfee also provides an extensive array of security features, including:
- Anti-phishing protection.
- Performance optimization.
- Password manager.
- Parental controls.
- Identity theft protection.
- And more…
McAfee’s parental control app, Safe Family, is pretty good. Redditors like the fact that it’s super user friendly and has a wide range of features, including location tracking, app blocking, content filtering, and internet access limitation. It may not be as good as the best parental control apps on the market, but it’s still one of the best antivirus-bundled parental control apps. On a related note, McAfee offers great family plans that cover an unlimited number of devices.
I’m not such a fan of True Key, McAfee’s password manager, however. While it provides essentials like 256-bit AES encryption, zero-knowledge architecture, a password generator, and an auto-fill function, it lacks some basic features such as password auditing (which Norton’s password manager provides). The two-factor authentication options are quite limited as well. That said, it’s ok if you just want a very basic tool to store your passwords.
My favorite McAfee plan, Total Protection Premium, costs $49.99 / year and includes all the features mentioned above. It also provides coverage for an unlimited number of devices, and it’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee.
McAfee is a powerful internet security suite that garners praise from Reddit’s tech-savvy community. With its exceptional malware detection, wide range of features, good parental controls, and ease of use, McAfee offers a great value. Whether you need protection for a single device or an entire family’s array of gadgets, McAfee can keep you secure.
5. Kaspersky — Best Free Antivirus According to Reddit Users
Kaspersky is another great antivirus that’s won the approval of Reddit. Based on what I read, it’s Reddit’s favorite free antivirus. Even the free version has top-notch malware detection, basic data breach monitoring, and a range of customization options.
The free plan — Kaspersky Free — provides flawless malware protection by using a virus database and cloud-based machine learning. Kaspersky’s malware scanner is on par with Norton and Bitdefender, as it was also able to detect 100% of my malware samples during my tests.
In addition to malware detection and removal, Kaspersky Free also provides:
- Real-time protection.
- VPN (300 MB daily limit).
- Password manager (5 entries limit).
- Basic system cleanup tools.
- Data breach monitoring (only 1 account).
- Virtual keyboard.
- And more…
I can’t say I’m too impressed with Kaspersky’s free features, as there are lots of limitations. For instance, the free VPN offers 300 MB of data per day, which is not enough for streaming or other data-heavy tasks. And the free password manager allows you to save only 5 entries in your password vault. It’s also annoying that you need to download separate apps for the VPN and password manager. Even the premium versions of these (which don’t have any limits) don’t perform quite as well as Norton’s equivalent features.
That said, all free antiviruses have limitations, and Kaspersky’s free version isn’t bad — but I’d definitely recommend upgrading to one of Kaspersky’s premium plans if possible. I like Kaspersky Plus, which costs $52.99 / year and comes with extra features like web protection, a firewall, premium system optimization tools, and an unlimited-data VPN. It provides coverage for up to 10 devices and has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Kaspersky earns the top spot among free plans according to Reddit users. Despite some limitations like data restrictions on the VPN and entry limits on the password manager, it offers solid protection from malware. Kaspersky’s Plus plan, however, offers expanded features including an unlimited-data VPN.
Bonus. Windows Defender — Default Windows Antivirus
Windows Defender is a fairly decent antivirus that comes with all Windows PCs for no extra cost. While it offers good protection, particularly for those with decent technical knowledge who are careful online, its main appeal lies in the fact that it’s free, and many Redditors consider it one of the best free options.
Defender’s malware scanner uses machine learning, a massive malware database, and heuristic analysis to detect all sorts of malware threats. However, its engine isn’t as powerful as Norton’s. When I tested it, Windows Defender failed to detect all the malware samples I hid on my PC.
Windows Defender also provides:
- Account protection.
- App & Browser Control.
- Device Performance & Health.
- Device Security.
- Parental controls.
The firewall is effective, but not so user-friendly. For instance, accessing basic functions, including the Change Notification Settings button and the firewall’s on/off switch, is more tedious than necessary because they’re scattered across different menus. That said, many Redditors attest to the fact that Defender’s firewall provides thorough monitoring for inbound and outbound traffic.
The App & Browser Control tool provides anti-phishing and exploit protection. During my tests, it blocked a good number of the phishing sites I visited, but it missed some that TotalAV caught. The tool also worked well against exploit attacks, blocking most of the ones I ran.
Windows Defender comes installed on most Windows PCs. Subscribing to Microsoft 365 Personal gets you 1 TB of cloud storage, extra support, and a few other features. It costs $69.99 / year. There’s also a Family plan that includes a whopping 6 TB of cloud storage plus advanced parental controls for $99.99 / year. Both plans can be tested using a 30-day free trial.
Windows Defender provides decent free protection for PCs, earning it the Reddit stamp of approval. It has a firewall and real-time protection but lacks some extra features offered by premium antiviruses. If it came with the price of a normal antivirus, I doubt many would go for it. So if you can spend a bit more, looking at premium options is more worthwhile.
Comparison of the Best Antiviruses Recommended by Reddit Users in 2023
|Antivirus||Starting Price||Firewall||VPN||Free Version||Money-Back Guarantee|
|1.🥇Norton||$54.99 / year*||✅||Unlimited data||❌||60 days|
|2.🥈TotalAV||$19.00 / year||❌||Unlimited data||✅||30 days|
|3.🥉Bitdefender||$17.49 / year||✅||200 MB/day (on most plans)||✅||30 days|
|4. McAfee||$39.99 / year||✅||Unlimited data||❌||30 days|
|5. Kaspersky||$38.49 / year||✅||Unlimited (with Kaspersky Plus and Premium)||✅||30 days|
|Bonus. Windows Defender||$69.99 / year||✅||❌||✅||N/A|
How Reddit Users Choose the Best Antivirus in 2023
Reddit has a diverse community full of experts who know what makes a good antivirus. Leveraging their collective knowledge and experience, they assess various factors to determine which brands truly deliver on their promises. Based on my observations, this is how Reddit users make their choice:
- They evaluate user interface and usability. Reddit users value a streamlined user experience. A good antivirus should be easy to navigate, set up, and use. Brands like Norton and TotalAV are often praised for their intuitive interfaces. Reddit is full of posts complaining about antiviruses that don’t make things easy.
- They consider the level and scope of protection. Reddit users are tech-savvy, and they understand that a good antivirus should protect not only against traditional viruses, but also against other advanced cyber threats such as ransomware, spyware, and phishing attacks.
- They assess performance impact. An ideal antivirus provides top-notch protection without significantly impacting system performance. Reddit users often run their own performance tests to determine how many system resources an antivirus hogs up. I saw posts commending Bitdefender and Kaspersky for their lightweight nature and limited impact on system performance.
- They consider update frequency and security updates. The frequency of updates and the comprehensiveness of security definitions are key factors for Reddit users. Security definitions are the fundamental processes that antiviruses use to identify malicious files. Redditos understand that regular updates are crucial if an antivirus is going to keep up with new threats. Norton, with its frequent updates, is often mentioned favorably in this context.
- They look at customer support and community. Reddit users often share their experiences with customer support. They value an antivirus that provides efficient, responsive support (and complain about those that don’t). Similarly, they appreciate an active user community for troubleshooting help. In this regard, Bitdefender has earned high praise from Reddit users.
Why Listen to Reddit Users?
Here’s why taking into account Reddit’s wisdom can be a smart move:
- Reddit users are authentic users. Reddit users are real people with hands-on experience using antivirus software. Their unfiltered insights are based on experience, offering a level of honesty that’s hard to find in marketing materials or sales pitches. A post by a single user shouldn’t be taken as a definitive statement, but the opinion of the whole community is usually accurate.
- Inadequate products are called out. By following the right subreddits, one can easily learn about problematic antivirus providers. Reddit users are quick to criticize products that don’t live up to their promises.
- Reddit users engage in active discussions. Reddit threads are often filled with back-and-forth conversations where users challenge each other’s opinions and share differing experiences. These discussions provide a fuller picture of each antivirus software, illuminating nuances that you might not find in conventional reviews.
- They share personal experiences. In addition to technical insights, Reddit users often share personal stories and anecdotes about their interactions with antivirus customer service, refund policies, and more. This provides a human element to their reviews and can give you an idea of what to expect beyond the product itself.
- Suspicious posts can be identified. Worried about potential fake endorsements or sponsored posts? One can usually spot such attempts by checking the user’s post history. If a user’s posts are exclusively about one brand or if they lack diversified activity, caution is warranted.
- Reddit has high standards. Reddit users are notoriously difficult to impress. If an antivirus earns rave reviews from this discerning community, it’s a good sign that the product truly delivers.
- Redditors produce in-depth analyses. Many Reddit users delve deep into the technical aspects of antivirus software, providing thorough analysis that can be difficult to find elsewhere. This can include assessments of encryption standards, detection rates, and the efficiency of additional features. Usually, this is backed by impressive technical know-how.
Which Reddit Opinions Can You Trust?
Determining which Reddit recommendations can be trusted might seem daunting given the plethora of opinions on the platform. Here are a few guidelines to help you identify trustworthy antivirus recommendations on Reddit:
- Check user reputation. Reddit users with a higher karma score are often more reliable. Their high score indicates that they’ve made valuable contributions to the community over time.
- Look at the subreddit’s rules. Each subreddit has its own set of rules. Subreddits with strict rules against spam and promotional content generally have more trustworthy recommendations.
- Consider the breadth of discussion. A detailed review that includes both pros and cons is more likely to be reliable than a one-sided rave or rant. Balanced discussions indicate a more thorough assessment of the product.
- Monitor ongoing discussions. Ongoing discussions can reveal a lot about the credibility of a recommendation. If a majority of users agree with a certain post or challenge it with valid points, it can give you a clue about its reliability.
- Beware of new accounts. New accounts with few posts or low activity might not be as trustworthy. If a user’s only posts are promotional posts about a specific brand, this could be a red flag.
- Verify claims independently. Reddit can provide valuable insights, but it’s also wise to cross-verify information with other reliable sources. Independent tests and professional reviews can help corroborate Reddit users’ claims.
Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut
- Avira. Avira is an excellent antivirus with a powerful cloud-based malware scanner and several additional tools like a VPN, a password manager, and a game booster. It doesn’t have much of a following on Reddit though.
- Avast. Avast has good malware detection and web protection, as well as extras like a VPN. However, some users have complained about Avast slowing down their systems.
- Panda Dome. Panda is another good antivirus that’s effective at tackling all kinds of malware. Though it earns some praise thanks to its Rescue Kit, some Redditors have complained about it generating an annoying number of false positives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which antivirus is the best according to Reddit?
Norton is the top-rated antivirus that you see recommended on Reddit, and for good reason. Reddit users appreciate its wide array of features, including excellent malware protection, an integrated VPN for online privacy, and parental controls for safe browsing. In addition, its secure storage and password manager add extra layers of security to your data, enhancing Norton’s appeal among Reddit’s tech-savvy community.
Most antiviruses get talked about on Reddit, and you’ll see positive and negative statements about virtually every product out there. But after spending hours looking at the site and comparing it with my own tests, I think Norton is the best.
How do Reddit users compare free vs. paid antivirus products?
Reddit users generally believe both free and paid antivirus programs have their merits. Free programs like Kaspersky Free are praised for their ability to offer good malware protection and a few other basics at no cost.
However, paid programs like Norton are seen as more comprehensive, providing advanced features like ransomware protection and unlimited-data VPNs. Many Redditors argue that for intensive users, investing in a paid antivirus is beneficial for the added security and customer support that you get. Ultimately, the choice depends on individual user needs and online behavior.
Which antivirus program is 100% effective?
No antivirus program can claim 100% effectiveness due to the evolving nature of cyber threats. However, industry leaders like Norton and Bitdefender come close, providing extremely high detection rates for a wide range of malware. They invest heavily in research and constantly update their malware databases to stay ahead of new threats, offering users robust and up-to-date protection.
What antivirus software is ranked #1 for this year?
This year, Norton has clinched the top spot in antivirus software rankings. Its ability to provide comprehensive and reliable protection against various malware types, paired with a suite of valuable features and a user-friendly interface, has earned it rave reviews from users and experts alike.