Anti Virus, You’ve come to the right place if you want to finally narrow down the best antivirus for your computer and mobile devices. We’ve tested and reviewed the latest antivirus packages – both free and premium – from the biggest names in cybersecurity, so you can be confident that our recommendations can be trusted.
BEST ANTIVIRUS For 2019
Creators of malware and viruses are always coming up with new ways to gain access to your PC and other internet-enabled devices (with your mobile phone and tablet included). Luckily online software security companies are constantly updating their security software packages. We’re already starting to see their 2019 packages come to market, with user experience tweaks
Total Protection blocked all the malware samples we used to test antivirus software, which included malicious websites, rootkits, Trojans, viruses and phishing schemes. It gives you in-browser reports about the threats it blocks, which we found more convenient than trying to find this information from the dashboard. These reports include the type of threat blocked and the risk of continuing to the site or downloading the infected content. It also lists the IP addresses connected with the threat, which allows tech-savvy users to avoid websites connected to those addresses.
When viruses tried to download to our computers, McAfee interrupted and tagged them. Even when we tried to resume the download, McAfee again stopped the download and displayed its warning messages. When we persisted, McAfee quickly caught the threats as the downloads completed and move them to the quarantine folder.
Overall this antimalware program wasn’t difficult to set up. It required the same steps and processes as most antivirus software. Links and tabs are clearly labeled, and the most important features, like real-time scanning and automatic updates, are active once the program is installed. We did find it hard to locate the quarantine folder but finally found it after clicking on the Settings icon. Also, while McAfee automatically updates itself, you do have to restart your computer for updates to go into effect.
We had slowdown issues while McAfee scanned our computer for threats. Several times while trying to use the cursor to attach files to email, open programs or navigate software, there was a significant lag, and we often made errant clicks because the computer hadn’t caught up with the cursor. While playing games online there was a noticeable lag that created a lot of distraction and in some games directly affected the outcome because we couldn’t keep control of the cursor. For this reason, we feel it’s better to let McAfee scan your computer when you don’t need to use it. However, if you do
Rock-solid and reliable protection
Operating system: Windows only | Maximum devices covered: 1 | Standout features: Ransomware protection and remediation, privacy tools, VPN, Safepay
In a world packed with free security software, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019’s annual fee may look expensive, but there’s plenty of bang for your buck. Plus, it has reintroduced its mega 60% discount on its top packages – including Antivirus Plus – too. See below for pricing.
Take a look at any rankings of big independent antivirus and Bitdefender’s premium security products always rise to the top.
It tends to be reliable and accurate in its virus detecting, featuring web filtering to blocks access to malicious sites, a secure browser that keeps your online banking ans shopping transactions safe, and there’s a password manager which auto-completes credit card details in web forms. It also scores high for its excellent anti-phishing module, which alerts you to malicious links in your search engine results and blocks access to dangerous sites.
New for the 2019 version of Antivirus Plus are multi-layer ransomware protection that heuristically learns the behaviour of such threats to keep you safe as well as the ability to scan all your linked devices via the Bitdefender Central mobile app.
There are one or two issues – it grabs more resources than average, and might conflict with some programs – but Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2019 is still a likable package which offers excellent detection rates, great performance, and more than enough bonus features to justify the price.
Bitdefender Internet Security 2019 builds on AVP 2019 and triples the number of devices covered plus offers anti-spam, firewall, parental advisor and file encryption features.
For a little bit more you can purchase the Total Security 2019 edition. It adds all of the above and covers up to five PCs, Macs, Android, and iOS devices.
- Sale now on: save 60% Antivirus Plus 2019 (1 device, 1 year for only $23.99)
Great value protection that won’t slow you down
Operating system: Windows only | Maximum devices covered: 1 | Standout features: Advanced privacy security, financial security, global civilian intelligence network
Norton AntiVirus Basic is a top quality malware hunter which can automatically protect your PC all on its own – that’s a given. But one of the main reasons we’ve boosted it to number two in our best antivirus rankings is because it’s also one of the very best value paid-for security software options on the market.
Norton offers plenty of tweaks, options and settings for those who need them, as well as features like a handy URL blocker that keeps you away from malicious websites. If that misses something, an excellent file reputation service heuristically recognises suspect downloads immediately. And if malware still finds a way through, intelligent behaviour monitoring uses its up to date virus definitions to quarantine threats at the first sign of trouble.
If you’re a more hands-on type, you can easily run scans on demand. Maybe set up and save custom scans to check just the areas you need. Even schedule them to run at a particular time, but only if your system is idle, and it’s not running on battery power.
There can be problems with some of the browser extensions. The bundled Norton Identity Safe is a capable password manager when it’s running properly, but we’ve found the Chrome version sometimes stops working for no apparent reason. We’ve seen plenty of reviewers reporting similar problems, so there does seem to be a real issue here.
Still, you don’t have to use Identity Safe at all, and Norton AntiVirus Basic’s main functions deliver on all fronts: it’s easy to use, has the configuration options experts need, comes highly rated by the testing labs, and is carefully designed to have the least possible impact on your system performance.
The most lightweight programme around
Operating system: Windows and Mac | Maximum devices covered: 1 | Stand out features: Always-on security, identity protection, real-time anti-phishing, firewall monitor
Just about every antivirus tool claims to be ‘lightweight’, but Webroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus is the only one to really deliver on this front. Installation takes seconds, the program files barely grab 2MB of your hard drive, RAM footprint is tiny, and there are no bulky signature updates to tie up your bandwidth.
There’s no compromise on features, though. Along with the core protection, there’s smart behaviour monitoring, accurate real-time antiphishing, a firewall and network connection monitor, enhanced anti-ransomware, and other interesting extras.
It’s not easy to compare Webroot’s accuracy with the competition, as the big testing labs rarely evaluate the company’s products. But when they are reviewed, they generally score well, and our own tests show solid and reliable protection.
There’s a lot to like about SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, and Webroot’s 70-day 100% money-back guarantee suggests it’s confident in the product, too. If you’re tired of overly complicated and bloated engines, Webroot must be on your shortlist.
Expert-level antivirus for the more experienced user
Operating system: Windows only | Maximum devices covered: 5 | Stand out features: Ransomware Shield, UEFI Scanner, Exploit Blocker, cloud-powered scanning
If you judge antivirus software on the length of its feature list, ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition might be a disappointment. There’s no firewall, password manager, file shredder, vulnerability scanner or any of the bundled extras you’ll often find elsewhere.
This doesn’t mean the package is short on power, it’s just more focused on the fundamentals. ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition comes with real-time malware protection, some of the best heuristic detection around, an anti-ransomware layer, exploit protection, URL filtering to block malicious websites, and modules to prevent attacks using PowerShell and malicious scripts.
A Device Control module limits the risk of infection from other devices by controlling access to USB sticks, external hard drives, optical storage media, even devices connecting by Bluetooth and FireWire. It’s an unusual extra but could make a difference if others are regularly plugging devices into your PC.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus 2018 Edition isn’t aimed at beginners. The interface is clumsy sometimes, some features are very advanced, and even the Help isn’t always exactly helpful.
Experienced users will appreciate ESET’s power and configurability, though. Above-average protection does a good job of keeping you safe, and a lightweight design ensures the package won’t slow you down.
One of the new features in the 2018 Edition is the UEFI Scanner which protects you from threats that attack your PC before Windows has even started.
ESET Internet Security builds on NOD 32 and triples the number of devices covered plus offers firewall, botnet protection, webcam protection, antispam and more.
Alternatively, you can purchase the ESET Smart Security Premium edition for not much more. It adds all of the above as well as password management and secure data.
- Best deal ESET Smart Security Premium (1 year, 1 device for $59.99)
- ESET Internet Security (1 year, 1 device for $39.99)
- ESET NOD32 (1 year, 1 device for $39.99)
- Best deal ESET Smart Security Premium (1 year, 1 device for £49.99)
- ESET Internet Security (1 year, 1 device for £28)
- ESET NOD32 (1 year, 1 device for £29.99)
The easiest to use antivirus option
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS | Maximum devices covered: 3 | Standout features: Browsing and banking protection, Family Rules, ransomware protection
F-Secure Antivirus SAFE is a great collection of antivirus tools, and while it’s a bit more expensive than some of the other programmes on this best of list, the amount of features you get makes the cost worthwhile.
With F-Secure Antivirus SAFE, you get the brilliant antivirus software from F-Secure, along with banking protection for safe online shopping, family safety tools and a device finder that lets you track your lost Android or iOS device, and if needs be remotely lock or delete it as well.
The package typically receives maximum marks for protection from AV-Test, and generally scores highly with AV-Comparatives, too. They also say it can generate significantly more false positives than most of the competition, but how that affects you will vary depending on how you use your computer.
The interface is a major plus. It’s extremely easy to use, lightweight, and for the most part you can just leave the app alone to look after your PC. The program has minimal effect on your system performance, and if you do need to intervene then you can generally solve any issues in a couple of clicks.
In 2018, F-Secure Anti-Virus SAFE remains an appealing package: fast, lightweight, and able to run alongside many other security tools without conflict.
Trustworthy security for beginners and experts alike
Operating system: Windows only | Maximum devices covered: 5 | Stand out features: Automatic scans, drive-by cryptomining infection prevention, simplified security management
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2018 is a stripped-back security package which focuses on the core security essentials: web filtering blocks dangerous URLs, an accurate engine detects and removes threats, smart monitoring technologies track and reverse malicious actions, and that’s about it.
Fortunately, what you do get works well. Very, very well. We’ve consistently found Kaspersky to be amongst the best at blocking malware, and removing it from an infected system, plus it’s regularly top-rated at sites like AV-Comparatives.
The program is easy to use, too. A well-designed interface has just the right number of buttons and options – not too basic, but not complicated or intimidating, either – and there are plenty of on-screen instructions to explain how everything works. Even a beginner will be at home right away.
If you just need accurate, reliable and consistent malware protection, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2018 will serve you well.
A strong contender
Operating system: Windows only | Maximum devices covered: 1 | Stand out features: Ransomware protection, advanced AI learning, email scam safeguarding, Pay Guard
Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security is a capable package that’s simple to use with above average antispam and an effective ‘Folder Shield’ module to block ransomware.
How good is it? The top testing labs all rate it highly for protection, although there’s some disagreement on the details. In particular, AV-Comparatives says it gives a high number of false positives, which could be a real nuisance. But AV-Test reports high levels of accuracy and no issues with false positives at all.
If there’s a problem here, it’s likely to be performance impact. PassMark’s March 2017 Performance report assessed 15 security products on various performance-related benchmarks, and Trend Micro came bottom of the list.
Our experiences with the product are a little more favourable: protection levels appear similar to Bitdefender, false positives are only marginally higher, and it doesn’t slow down our system noticeably more than anything else.
We’d recommending running the trial for its full 30 days before you buy, then, to see if you notice any problems. But if you’re unaffected, its high levels of detection and excellent bonus features make Trend Micro a good choice.
A user-friendly and very well-featured solution
Panda AntiVirus Pro 1 Year
Real-time malware detection, speedy cloud-based scanning, URL filtering to block malicious websites: Panda Antivirus Pro has all the goodies you’d expect from the best antivirus software.
That’s just the start. A simple two-way firewall helps to keep your system secure. An application control system can define exactly what runs on your PC, stopping even some brand new and undiscovered malware. A virtual keyboard helps you enter confidential data without it being intercepted by keyloggers. There’s even a tool to build a bootable USB rescue disc, ready to remove even the most stubborn threats.
Some of these bonus features are relatively basic. The Panda firewall does its job and can make you more secure, for instance, but it doesn’t compete with the standalone firewall competition. Experienced network users will probably want more.
The simplicity does at least keep everything very easy to use. Options are organized in a straightforward Windows 10-like interface, with all the main modules just a click or two away. Even the firewall doesn’t need to know anything more than your current network location: Home, Work or Public Place.
There’s not a lot of Panda test results from the independent labs around right now, but the figures we’ve seen show the company delivers above-average protection, and overall Panda Antivirus Pro does a good job of keeping malware at bay.