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5 Best Virus Removal Software in 2023: Get Protected Now

Kate Davidson Kate Davidson
Updated on: February 1, 2023

Short on time? Here’s the best virus removal software in 2023:

I’ve tested all of the top virus removal software on the market — and I found 5 excellent solutions that won’t just remove every kind of virus from your devices but will also prevent future infections and significantly boost your overall security.

Full-suite antivirus packages are the best tools to detect and remove viruses. They use state-of-the-art scanning technology to remove threats already on your devices and stop new ones from infecting your files, browsers, apps, and operating systems. They also include extra cybersecurity tools to provide you with complete protection — including anti-phishing tools, password managers, virtual private networks (VPNs), identity theft and data breach protections, and much more.

Norton 360 is my #1 choice for virus detection and removal. It consistently detected 100% of threats I tested it against, including sophisticated modern malware samples from a wide range of sources (dodgy websites, infected files, and even text messages). Plus, it has more features than almost any competitor, it’s easy to use across all operating systems and devices, and it offers excellent value for money.


Quick summary of the best virus removal software in 2023:

🥇1. Norton 360 — Best All-Around Virus Removal Software in 2023.

🥇1. Norton 360 — Best All-Around Virus Removal Software in 2023.

Norton 360 is by far the best virus removal software I’ve tested. Its malware and virus scanner detected and removed 100% of malicious files on all of my test devices, including a Windows PC, MacBook Pro, Android tablet, and iPhone. And it did all this without any noticeable impact on the speed or performance of each device.

Norton’s virus scanner uses a massive malware database and advanced heuristics to detect every type of malware (including viruses), plus artificial intelligence to detect zero-day threats that traditional virus scanners can’t catch. This includes its real-time protections, which stopped me from even downloading any malware onto any of my devices — it blocked every sample before the download started.

Norton 360 comes with a ton of features, including:

  • Smart Firewall.
  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • Wi-Fi network scanner.
  • VPN (virtual private network).
  • Password manager.
  • Parental controls.
  • Identity theft protections (US only).
  • And much more…

The Smart Firewall is another excellent tool to protect your devices from all kinds of online threats — it detected and blocked every intrusion I tested on my Windows PC. The preconfigured settings are enough for most people, but the firewall is also incredibly customizable, in case you’re a bit more technical and want full control over every app and program running on your devices.

Norton’s VPN is one of the best antivirus-bundled VPNs and rivals many standalone VPNs. It provides good connection speeds, can access most major streaming services, and keeps you safe with industry-best security features — including military-grade encryption, Wi-Fi security, an automatic kill switch, and more. And unlike most antiviruses — including other top providers like Bitdefender — Norton doesn’t limit the data on its VPN on any of its 360 plans.

I was also really impressed by Norton 360’s parental controls, which make it easy to keep your kids safe from viruses, dodgy websites, and other online dangers. You can install the Safe Family parental controls on an unlimited number of devices (even top dedicated parental control apps like Qustodio cap your device number) and quickly filter and monitor everything your kids do online. This reduces the likelihood of them falling prey to viruses and malware when they’re online or accessing inappropriate or distressing content. In fact, Norton is our #1 antivirus-parental control bundle in 2023.

Norton has a lot of plans to choose from, but my favorite is Norton 360 Deluxe — which offers the best combo of security and value. Priced at $49.99 / year, it covers up to 5 devices and includes basically everything you need to keep your devices virus-free. If you need to protect more devices, Norton 360 Advanced covers up to 10 and costs $54.99 / year. Norton 360 with LifeLock also adds identity theft protections and credit monitoring (but it’s only available for users in the US). Every Norton plan is covered by a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Norton 360 is my favorite virus removal software — it has the most powerful antivirus scanner on the market and comes with plenty of additional features including an unlimited-data VPN and the best parental controls around. Norton 360 Deluxe provides the best value for most users (and includes coverage for up to 5 devices). All Norton purchases come with a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.


Read the full Norton review >

🥈2. Bitdefender — Best Lightweight Virus Scanner

🥈2. Bitdefender — Best Lightweight Virus Scanner

Bitdefender’s lightweight, cloud-based virus scanner detected and removed 100% of malware samples on my devices with zero impact on their performance. Because Bitdefender offloads most of its processing power to the cloud, it can run full disk virus scans without slowing down your CPU or browser, or draining your battery.

It’s also very fast — Bitdefender performed a full scan in under an hour. It was slightly slower than Norton, but still much faster than many top competitors — most of which noticeably slowed down my devices as they scanned them.

Bitdefender also offers:

  • Advanced ransomware protection.
  • Firewall.
  • Network scanner.
  • VPN (200 MB/day on most plans).
  • Password manager.
  • Parental controls.
  • And lots more…

Bitdefender’s real-time protections add another layer of airtight security against viruses. To test them out, I tried to download roughly 1,000 files infected with various types of malware — Bitdefender scanned every file and blocked anything suspicious before I could even initiate the download. While competitors like Norton and McAfee boast similar results, Bitdefender stands out for also having the most customizable real-time protections I tested.

I really like Bitdefender’s ransomware protection, too — it scans your device for any signs of ransomware, isolates any potential threats, and automatically creates backups of your files (including documents, photos, videos, and much more). So, if you suffer a successful ransomware attack, you’ll still have access to everything and won’t have to pay your attackers. While it’s not perfect (there were a few bugs in my tests), it still stands out as one of the best ransomware protections on this list.

Unfortunately, Bitdefender’s VPN doesn’t work with streaming sites and is limited to 200 MB per day on all but the most expensive plan. That said, it’s just as fast and secure as most top competitors, and it works well for torrenting. Overall, while Bitdefender’s VPN will keep you safe online, there are better options from Norton, TotalAV, and standalone VPNs like ExpressVPN.

Bitdefender Premium Security is my favorite plan by far. It costs $59.99 / year and covers 10 devices. Aside from excellent virus detection and removal tools, it also includes anti-theft protections, device optimization, a VPN with no restrictions, and much more. The next best plan, Total Security ($35.99 / year), covers up to 5 devices and includes all the same features. However, its VPN is capped at 200 MB/day, which won’t be enough for most users. Bitdefender offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all its plans.

Bottom Line:

Bitdefender has a lightweight antivirus scanner — it takes up very few system resources, has a minimal impact on performance, and offers flawless malware detection. Bitdefender’s excellent ransomware protections automatically back up user files during a ransomware attack, and the real-time protection is effective and highly customizable. All Bitdefender purchases include a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Read the full Bitdefender review >

🥉3. McAfee — Great Value Virus Removal Software for Families

🥉3. McAfee — Great Value Virus Removal Software for Families

McAfee offers excellent virus removal software for families. You can install it on an unlimited number of devices with a single subscription, and its antivirus capabilities are amongst the best on the market. Its parental controls are also excellent, and they’ll help you keep the whole family safe from viruses, malware, and many other online threats.

McAfee’s virus scanner successfully detected and removed 100% of the malware samples I had installed on my test devices. However, while a full system scan only took about an hour, it noticeably impacted performance. I could still perform basic tasks and browse the internet, but there was some buffering any time I streamed a video, and my screen kept freezing when I played CPU-intensive video games. In contrast, Norton and Bitdefender were faster than McAfee and didn’t affect my devices’ speeds or performance.

McAfee offers a wide range of protections, including:

  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • Wi-Fi scanner.
  • VPN (unlimited data).
  • Identity theft protection (available in select countries across North America, South America, Europe, and Oceania).
  • And much more…

I really like McAfee’s Wi-Fi network scanner — it showed me a map of every device connected to my home Wi-Fi network, immediately labeling suspicious or unsafe devices that could compromise the safety of my entire network. This helped me ensure my network was secure and reduced the likelihood of a successful attack from within. While TotalAV and Avira offer similar features, McAfee’s Wi-Fi protection is superior to both.

McAfee has several plans to choose from, and they all offer an excellent value. The Plus plan ($39.99 / year) covers up to 5 devices; the Premium plan ($54.99 / year) covers unlimited devices and comes with excellent extras like parental controls (on the family plan); and the Advanced plan ($89.99 / year) adds comprehensive identity theft monitoring tools. All of McAfee’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

McAfee provides advanced virus protection for families. It performed really well in my tests, blocking and removing all of the viruses and other kinds of malware I placed on my computers and tablets — though its scans did affect my devices’ performance. McAfee also has some of the best web protection, including an excellent Wi-Fi network scanner, anti-phishing protection, and a good VPN. It’s one of the rare antiviruses to provide coverage for an unlimited number of devices. All of McAfee’s plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Read the full McAfee review >

4. TotalAV — Best Virus Removal Software for Beginners

4. TotalAV — Best Virus Removal Software for Beginners

TotalAV is the most beginner-friendly antivirus on this list. The dashboard is simple to navigate, and you’ll quickly find all the most important settings and features, including the real-time protection, scan scheduling, and so on. The default settings will be robust enough for most people, but you can also easily customize everything to fit your specific needs.

It’s also excellent at virus detection and removal. It consistently scored a 99.6% detection rate during my tests against every type of virus and malware (including well-hidden spyware).

And its antivirus scanner is also pretty fast. The full system scan took just over 1 hour — and it didn’t slow down my computer, even when I simultaneously ran other CPU-intensive programs (like games and video editing software). However, it’s worth pointing out that Norton and Bitdefender both scored a perfect 100% in my tests while also not impacting my devices’ performance.

TotalAV also comes with:

  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • VPN (unlimited data).
  • Password manager.
  • System cleanup & optimization.
  • Identity theft protection (US only).
  • And many more…

TotalAV’s system cleanup tools are excellent — they removed 10+ GB of junk, duplicate, and useless files from my old Windows computer. Not only did this noticeably improve its speed, but removing so much junk makes it easier for TotalAV to scan everything and find potential threats lurking in old files or programs.

TotalAV Total Security is my favorite plan — it offers everything listed above (and a lot more) on up to 6 devices for $49.00 / year. The Internet Security plan ($39.00 / year) is also a great option, but a little more limited. It covers up to 5 devices, but it’s missing the password manager and ad blocker. Every plan offered by TotalAV is covered by a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

TotalAV has a very intuitive interface, making it an excellent choice for new and non-technical users. It also has an excellent antivirus scanner — it caught almost all of my test viruses, and it didn’t slow down my computer (not even when I was running a full system scan and editing video at the same time!). TotalAV also comes with great anti-phishing protection, system cleanup and optimization tools, a VPN, and lots more. All TotalAV purchases have a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.


Read the full TotalAV review >

5. Intego — Best Virus Removal Software for Mac Users

5. Intego — Best Virus Removal Software for Mac Users

Intego is my favorite virus removal software for Mac — it’s custom-built for macOS and does an excellent job at improving Mac’s already impressive built-in antivirus protections.

During my tests, Intego detected and removed 100% of the malware samples on my test MacBook. It performed a quick scan in under 5 minutes — quicker than most competitors. However, the full scan took over 2 hours — longer than all of the other antiviruses on this list, and more than twice as long as Norton and Bitdefender.

Intego’s additional security features include:

  • Smart Firewall.
  • Mac optimization and cleaning tools.
  • Customizable Mac backup options.
  • Parental controls.
  • And more…

I really like Intego’s Smart Firewall — it’s got a ton of features to keep your Mac safe while connected to the web. For example, it automatically detects what kind of network you’re connected to (home, work, public hotspot, etc.) and adjusts its settings accordingly. I tested this out by taking my laptop from my apartment to the nearest cafe and watched as the settings changed to block threats associated with an unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Intego has plenty of additional tools that are easy to configure and will boost your Mac’s performance. The system optimization and cleanup tools are much better than the native Apple versions, and they greatly improved my MacBook’s performance (also helping Intego’s virus scanner and other tools run better). The Personal Backup tool is the best backup tool for Mac users — even compared to top competitors like Norton — and ensures you’ll never lose any valuable files or data from your device.

However, there are a few things I’d like to see Intego improve. Firstly, while its VPN is good, it’s only available as a separate subscription. This is a shame — the top antiviruses on this list all bundle their VPNs into a single package. Also, Intego doesn’t have any apps for iOS. If you want protection for your iPhone or iPad, you have to download a standalone iOS antivirus app, or go with a competitor that covers both macOS and iOS — like Norton, Bitdefender, or McAfee.

Intego’s Mac Premium Bundle X9 ($34.99 / year) is the best value option. It provides a total internet security package on 1, 3, or 5 devices. There’s also Mac Internet Security X9 ($19.99 / year), which covers the same number of devices, but it only comes with a malware scanner and firewall — which won’t be enough to keep you safe from every online threat. Both plans are covered by a risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Intego offers excellent real-time protection against viruses for Mac users. It offers many features that are much better than Mac’s built-in features — a powerful firewall, backup tools, system optimization tools, and parental controls. You can try out Intego risk-free with a 30-day money-back guarantee.


Read the full Intego review >

Bonus. Avira — Cloud-Based Virus Removal (With System Optimization Tools)

Bonus. Avira — Cloud-Based Virus Removal (With System Optimization Tools)

Avira has a great, easy-to-use antivirus scanner that operates in the cloud — it’s very fast (the full system scan takes around 45 minutes), has the lowest CPU usage out of all the competitors I tested, including Norton, and doesn’t cause any system slowdown (even on old computers).

Avira identified, blocked, and removed all of the viruses from my devices — I tested both Avira’s antivirus scanner and real-time protection, and Avira instantly detected all of my samples, including really tricky ones that came bundled with legitimate programs. In fact, Avira’s scanner is so effective, it’s licensed out to some of its competitors, including TotalAV.

Avira also provides:

  • Anti-phishing protection.
  • VPN (unlimited data).
  • Password manager.
  • System optimization tools.
  • And much more…

I really like Avira’s Smart Scan feature, which is a mix of virus scanner, network security tool, and system optimizer. It scans your device and checks for malware, out-of-date software and apps, device performance issues, privacy vulnerabilities, and network security threats. It’s nice to have all of these bundled into one tool, but I still prefer similar features I tested on better antiviruses, such as Norton and Bitdefender.

Avira also has very good system optimization tools that clean your computer, free up space, improve your start time, and boost overall speed. I tested these tools on my old Windows PC — Avira improved my computer’s performance, even as I ran a full system scan and other CPU-intensive programs simultaneously. However, once again, while these features impressed me, I still found better versions available with Avira’s top competitors.

Avira has one of the best free antivirus packages currently on the market. It covers 1 device and includes the virus scanner, real-time and ransomware protection, and a very limited VPN. However, it’s missing some essential features, like anti-phishing and email protection. Also, there’s no real customer support.

Avira Prime offers full-suite antivirus protection from $59.99 / year on up to 5 devices. It’s the only Avira plan that includes a VPN with unlimited data. The Internet Security plan ($45.99 / year) is a little cheaper and includes the most essential antivirus features and tools, but it only covers 1 device. Every paid plan by Avira includes a generous 60-day money-back guarantee.

Bottom Line:

Avira has an advanced, cloud-based virus scanner — it’s fast, lightweight, and instantly detected and removed all virus samples from my computers. Avira also comes with excellent system optimization tools that improve system speed and performance — these tools had my old testing computer running like new! You can try out Avira with a 60-day money-back guarantee.


Read the full Avira review >

Comparison of the Best Virus Removal Software in 2023

Antivirus Starting Price Malware Detection Rate Firewall VPN Money-Back Guarantee
1.🥇Norton $19.99 / year 100% Unlimited data 60 days
2.🥈Bitdefender $23.99 / year 100% Unlimited data (with Bitdefender Premium Security) 30 days
3.🥉McAfee $39.99 / year 100% Unlimited data (with automatic subscription renewals) 30 days
4. TotalAV $19.00 / year 99.6% Unlimited (with TotalAV Internet Security and Total Security) 30 days
5. Intego $1.67 / month 100%
(separate purchase only)
30 days
Bonus. Avira $45.99 / year 100% Unlimited data (with Avira Prime) 60 days


How to Choose the Best Virus Removal Software in 2023

  • Look for perfect virus removal. I tested every antivirus on this list against a range of the latest malware, including viruses, trojans, worms, ransomware, spyware, rootkits, and adware. I’ve only included antiviruses that achieved over 99.6% detection rates. Throughout every test, Norton scored the highest marks on every metric.
  • Check for extra security features. Removing viruses from your devices isn’t the only important step to protect yourself from online threats. The best antivirus packages include a wide range of additional features and tools to keep you safe online (and, sometimes, offline). In my tests, I gave extra points to programs with excellent features like system optimization tools, identity theft protection, parental controls, password managers, and virtual private networks (VPNs). Once again, Norton came out on top almost every time.
  • Choose a product that’s easy to use. Good virus removal software should be effective at identifying and removing threats and easy for anyone to use. I looked for antiviruses that are both intuitive and feature-rich while still being easy to understand, even for beginners — like TotalAV.
  • Opt for good value. Staying safe from viruses and other online threats doesn’t have to be expensive. I’ve only included antiviruses that I feel are a good value for money — bundling all of the most essential cybersecurity tools into a single subscription. While McAfee offers the best overall value (especially for families), Norton and Bitdefender are great options, too.
  • Find a product with decent customer support. I tested each antivirus’s support team by calling, emailing, and/or chatting online with their customer service departments. I ranked support teams for response times, the accuracy of the information provided, and availability of support in multiple languages. Norton’s customer support impressed me the most, especially with all the language options available (the most on this list).


Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut

  • Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes is a good basic antivirus that’s very easy to use. However, its malware detection rates aren’t quite as good as the brands on my list, and it doesn’t offer much in the way of extra features.
  • Comodo. Comodo offers a lot of sophisticated settings for advanced users. However, I found that it slowed down my system a lot, especially during virus scans, and it didn’t provide good protection against phishing and ransomware, which is why I left it off my list.
  • Sophos. Sophos is easy to install and use, but it didn’t catch (or remove) as many viruses in my tests as the top virus removal software choices on this list.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best virus removal software for Windows 10?

Norton 360 Deluxe is my favorite virus removal program for Windows 10 — it’s got one of the best virus scanners on the market, with 100% virus detection and removal. It also includes plenty of additional security features like a firewall, Wi-Fi scanner, VPN, anti-phishing protection, and identity theft protection.

While Windows 10 has a built-in antivirus (Windows Defender), it only offers basic protection against some viruses. It can’t protect your computer from cybersecurity threats like adware, spyware, ransomware, phishing, network-based attacks, or brute-force attacks. The best third-party antivirus programs (like Norton) have advanced scanning tools like machine learning, heuristic analysis, and behavior monitoring to detect all of these threats — and much more.

Do I need a virus removal app for my Android device?

Yes, you need a dedicated virus removal app for your Android device! Android devices have built-in security features, but you need more to protect you against malware, data breaches, phishing attacks, and other sophisticated forms of malware and online attack.

The best virus removal software on this list includes excellent security suites that extend protection to Androids. They also provide a wide range of really useful additional features to protect phone and tablet users — including VPNs, parental controls, system optimization tools, and much more.

Norton 360 has an excellent Android app that blocks all malicious apps before you download them to your device. Norton also comes with advanced cybersecurity protections, including anti-phishing, a Wi-Fi network scanner, and lots more.

Is it true that iOS devices don’t need antivirus software?

No, it’s not true! While iPhones can’t get “viruses” because of their built-in protections, iPhone users are still vulnerable to cyber threats like phishing sites, unsafe Wi-Fi networks, adware, spyware, and ransomware.

To make sure your iPhone is protected against all these threats, you should get antivirus software that improves on iPhone’s built-in protections. While all the products I recommend have good iPhone apps, my favorite antivirus for iPhones is Norton — which comes with anti-phishing protection, a Wi-Fi scanner, a VPN, dark web monitoring, and lots more.

What’s the best virus removal software for Macs?

Intego is the best dedicated virus removal software for Macs — it has perfect virus detection rates, excellent real-time protection, a highly customizable firewall, cloud backup, parental controls, and excellent Mac optimization tools.

However, if you’re looking to protect multiple devices, including PCs and Androids, I recommend Norton, which supports all operating systems, is excellent at virus detection and removal, has tons of additional features, and works really well on Macs.

What’s the best free virus removal tool?

Avira has a great free virus removal software package — it includes a virus scanner, real-time protection, ransomware protection, and a few other essential antivirus tools.

However, it’s still incredibly limited and can’t compare to the best premium antivirus packages. For example, it’s missing anti-phishing protections, and the VPN only offers 500 MB of data per month, which is nowhere near enough. Also, you don’t get any real customer support.

If you’re worried about viruses and other online threats, it’s worth investing in a premium solution. The best antivirus packages aren’t expensive, and they include everything from virus scanners to password managers and parental controls. The security and peace of mind they provide are well worth the small subscription cost.

Best Virus Removal Software in February 2023 — Final Score:

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About the Author
Kate Davidson
Kate Davidson
Chief Editor
Updated on: February 1, 2023

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.