Antivirus software ensures that your computer is optimally protected against viruses and all kinds of malware. There are many different programs, all claiming to offer the best antivirus solution. How do you know which software you should choose?
We have researched the best antivirus software of 2021 and tested various high-quality virus scanners. We looked at the options and features each one of them offers. Once our in-depth research was completed, we determined which antivirus is, in our opinion, the best choice available today.
The Best Virus Scanners of 2021
In the table below we have provided a list of the best virus scanners of 2021. The table briefly compares their functions and features. Do you want to know what to make of this information? Then scroll further and decide which antivirus is the best one for you.
|Website||Visit Kaspersky||Visit Avira||Visit Bitdefender||Visit AVG||Visit Avast|
|Price per year (cheapest version without discount)||$39,99||$44,99||$59,99||$69,99||$69,99|
|Operating systems*||Windows, Mac, Android, iOS||Windows, Mac, (Android, iOS)||Windows, (Mac, Android, iOS)||Windows, (Mac, Android, iOS)||Windows, (Mac, Android, iOS)|
|Number of devices*||1-5||1-5||1-5||1-10||1-10|
|AV-Comparatives test score (percentage of blocked malware)||99.7%||99.3%||99.6%||99.7%||99.7%|
|Real-time virus and malware protection||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Virus scan function||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Safe online banking||✔*||✖||✔*||✔*||✔*|
* Depending on the chosen subscription
Below we will further describe each of the best antivirus options of 2021. Do you want to get started right away and close the best deal? Just click on the button below each section to go directly to the website of the virus scanner of your choice.
1. Kaspersky: top protection for everyone
- Effective and high-quality protection against viruses and malware
- Clear software that is easily used by anyone
- Different packages to choose from
- Fast scans with thorough results
Kaspersky is an established name in the antivirus world, and that’s not without good reason. During our tests, we quickly noticed that Kaspersky produces high quality products. Kaspersky offers three different versions: Kaspersky Anti-Virus, Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security. Each subsequent version listed has more functions than the previous.
We can wholeheartedly recommend Kaspersky Internet Security. This version provides real-time virus and malware protection, allows you to run various scans, comes with a firewall, and also protects your online payments (if using a secure browser). Moreover, it offers high-quality phishing protection.
Kaspersky’s solutions work on Windows, Mac and on your phone, so you can protect all your devices at once. Kaspersky’s software is very user-friendly. You’ll be able to get started right away and you will hardly notice the virus scanner running in the background. In addition, Kaspersky’s software offers excellent protection. It may not have the fastest scanner, but it does effectively stop malware without bothering you while you’re browsing. AV-Comparatives’ tests of this virus scanner came back with a score of 99.7%, which means that almost all viruses and malware are being stopped.
Do you want even more extra features? Then Kaspersky Total Security is the right choice for you. This version adds features such as parental control, password management and file backups. But, even without all these extras, we think Kaspersky is still the best antivirus program of 2021. A well‑deserved number one spot.
Is there something Kaspersky could improve? Certainly. Just because this provider is strong in many of its features it doesn’t mean that it is the best in everything. Kaspersky’s customer service, for example, is ok, but could be better. In addition, Kaspersky is a Russian company, which was reason enough for the US government to no longer allow Kaspersky’s software within their organizations. Is this an issue for mainstream users? We doubt it.
Want to know more? Click here to read our full Kaspersky review. Do you want to try Kaspersky for free for 30 days? That’s possible.
2. Avira Antivirus: an effective virus killer that doesn’t slow you down
- Numerous additional anti-malware and online protection options
- Low system load
- Very decent free version available
- Uses cloud technology for the best protection against malware
Avira comes in in second place in our best virus scanners review. Although this provider is not yet as big as some of its competitors, such as Bitdefender and Avast, it still has a lot to offer. Avira includes malware protection against viruses, ransomware and other malware. It also includes tracker blocking, an adblocker, web protection, a device scanner, and an intelligent system that identifies both new and old threats using cloud technology.
Just like Kaspersky, Avira has different subscriptions. With Avira Antivirus Pro you’ll get all the basic functions. Avira Internet Security adds a password manager and a software updater. If you choose Avira Prime you get even more features, including a program that cleans your computer and a way to anonymize your browser history. On top of that, Avira also offers a very decent free solution, Avira Free Antivirus. With this version you get many of the basic features of Avira Pro, but you’ll also have to deal with those annoying advertisements. The free version also does not include access to Avira’s customer service.
Avira’s malware protection is very solid. According to AV-Comparatives, Avira scores above average when it comes to blocking all kinds of viruses and other threats. Moreover, Avira is very good at recognizing malicious software without giving constant “false positives”. This means that running this software will barely affect your normal internet activity. Another advantage of Avira is that the company is based in Germany, where privacy laws are very strong. Avira adheres to GDPR and the German Telemedia Act. With Avira, you can therefore rest assured that your data is safe.
Avira works on various devices and can be downloaded on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices. In addition, Avira has a 30-day moneyback guarantee, so you can try this antivirus before you are tied to an annual subscription.
Curious? Read our full review of Avira here or click on the button below to go directly to Avira’s website.
3. Bitdefender: many options and optimal protection
- Clear and user-friendly software
- Many options in terms of security and privacy
- Good price to quality ratio
Bitdefender is a giant among virus scanners and is used by hundreds of millions of people. That is not surprising, because Bitdefender has pretty much all the functions you may want or expect from an antivirus program. It goes without saying that Bitdefender’ basic Antivirus Plus 2021 package protects you against all sorts of malware, including spyware, adware and even ransomware. Bitdefender’s more comprehensive packages, Bitdefender Internet Security and Bitdefender Total Security, also have their own firewall and options for parental control. On top of all that, Bitdefender Total Security offers a device optimizer and even has its own premium VPN service.
Bitdefender Total Security works on Windows, Mac, Android as well as on iOS devices. Unfortunately, the other packages, Internet Security and Antivirus Plus, only work on Windows. So, this is a possible drawback for Apple and smartphone users who prefer a basic antivirus package and are reluctant to pay extra for options they may not need or want. However, if you are looking for a free antivirus program for Windows, Bitdefender has you covered. Bitdefender’s free version may be more limited, but it still does the job.
Although last year’s Bitdefender’s AV-Comparatives’ test results scored slightly lower in terms of virus detection than in previous years, Bitdefender still provides good protection against most common viruses. The solution helps to keep your personal information safe and is fast. Moreover, this provider values your privacy, their solution is easy to use and you can get basic protection at a low price. Our overall conclusion? An excellent virus scanner with an excellent price to quality ratio.
Do you want to know more about Bitdefender? Read our full review of this virus scanner. If you want to take out a subscription immediately, you can do so via the button below.
4. AVG: decent quality in free and paid options
- Lots of extra options, including a spam filter and PC cleaning
- User-friendly software
- Basic firewall and malware protection included in the free version
- Not the best choice in terms of privacy
AVG Antivirus is a well-known name among free antivirus programs. AVG merged with Avast Software following Avast’s acquisition of AVG in 2017. The same company also owns Avast Antivirus, our number 5 on this list. AVG has several products, including a dedicated app for mobile devices. Their free package comes with reasonable basic protection against malware, a virus scan function and a firewall.
For more advanced options, you need AVG Internet Security. This version includes a more advanced firewall, better protection against ransomware, webcam protection, as well as phishing and spam filters. The AVG Ultimate package comes with even more extra features, such as your own VPN and PC cleaning.
AV-Comparatives’ research shows that AVG scores above average in identifying and blocking malware. Therefore, it’s a very good option in terms of security. In addition, the fact that the software is easy to install and use, makes AVG very user-friendly. AVG requires very little working memory, and it does its job quietly and quickly in the background. You won’t even notice it’s there.
That being said, there are a few reasons why this provider didn’t finish in 1st place. AVG uses pop‑ups that can be very annoying. Moreover, their customer service is difficult to reach. The biggest downside, however, is AVG’s history of privacy scandals. In the past, AVG has been caught reselling user data to other parties. Since then, it has added a clearer opt-out option to its software and more privacy controls.
Want to know more about AVG Antivirus? You can find our extensive review here. You can take out a subscription or download the free version by clicking on the button below.
5. Avast: a popular virus scanner with a privacy problem
- There are many extra features in the paid packages
- Good performance in security and anti-malware
- Very basic but still decent free option
- Past privacy scandals
AVAST Software is one of the largest cybersecurity companies in the world. It owns not only Avast, but also AVG. Hundreds of millions of people are already using Avast Antivirus. This is partly because Avast offers a decent free option that includes real-time virus and malware protection as well as a virus scanning function. The paid version, Avast Premium Security, also has numerous extra features. It offers, for example, an advanced firewall, protection against phishing and ransomware, password protection, automatic updates, protection for your Android device if it’s stolen, etc.
There is also an Avast Ultimate bundle, which gives you even more extra options including a driver updater and anti-tracking software. But even the basic version of this virus scanner is already well equipped to intercept many forms of malware. Avast, like all other virus scanners in our top 5, scores above average in extensive virus scanner tests, like AV-Comparatives’ tests.
Unfortunately, not all is rosy when it comes to Avast. Like AVG, Avast has sold user data to third parties in the past. In addition, their privacy statement states that they store quite a lot of user data, which is not very privacy-friendly, even when there are controls in place. In addition, Avast is also a pretty “heavy” virus scanner: although the speed is fine, the software does burden your system, so you may experience that other processes on your device may slowdown.
For more information about this virus scanner, read our extensive review. Interested? Have a look at the Avast website.
Bonus: the best free antivirus: Bitdefender Antivirus Free
Are you looking for the best free antivirus of 2021? Then we would like to refer you to Bitdefender Antivirus Free. Many people think it is ok not to use a virus scanner or to just rely entirely on Windows Defender. However, while Windows Defender does a reasonably good job in protecting you, there are better options out there – and some of them are free.
We can confidently recommend Bitdefender Antivirus Free. The advantage of Bitdefender’s free package is that it works on Windows, Mac and Android. Like the paid version of Bitdefender, the free version is very fast and powerful. It barely slows down your system and ensures real-time protection for your device against malware, viruses and even phishing.
For additional options, such as enhanced ransomware protection, Bitdefender’s VPN, anti-tracker software and secure online banking, you will still need to purchase the premium version. Nonetheless, in our opinion, Bitdefender Antivirus Free is the best free anti-malware option.
Testing the Best Antivirus: How Do We Select the Top 5?
We test various antivirus programs by looking at several factors. Only after thoroughly using and researching all virus scanners in our test, do we select the top 5. We pay special attention to protection, speed and system load, ease of use, privacy, customer service and the various extra features that a virus scanner offers.
Detailed antivirus research
The vast majority of these tests are conducted by our cybersecurity analysts. They install the software and use it for extended periods to determine if it is user-friendly. They evaluate the website, the installation process and the software itself. They’ll also contact customer service to see how helpful they are.
Our conclusions regarding the level of security the virus scanners in our test offer, are based on the tests of AV-Comparatives, a reliable platform that regularly conducts extensive research into the effectiveness of various virus scanners.
Up-to-date and constantly evolving
We are constantly testing new products that are meant to keep you safe while surfing the internet. These can be virus scanners, VPNs or other software. Thus, our top 5 of the best virus scanners is constantly being updated based on our latest tests and results, and the most recent tests from AV‑Comparatives. In this way you can be sure that you’ll be able to base your decision on the latest advice and install the best protection for your device.
How Do You Choose the Best Virus Scanner?
Anyone who regularly uses a PC, laptop, smartphone or other device with access to the Internet needs antivirus protection. This is simply because the internet is riddled with viruses and other malware. Cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for ways and means to steal your data or your money. A good virus scanner offers you the best possible protection.
You are probably wondering what to look for in an antivirus program. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when you are considering purchasing an antivirus program.
What functions does the virus scanner provide?
In addition to basic protection, many virus scanners have additional features such as parental controls, anti-phishing, and protection for your emails and online banking. All these extras count. The best virus scanner for you is the program that has all the functions you need. Of course, this depends on your online activities and the type of device you use.
Does this antivirus program really protect me?
Any virus scanner that only blocks 50% of all viruses is actually worthless. So, to protect your devices, you need antivirus software that is able to stop both the known and the newer viruses, as well as malware files.
How much does the antivirus program cost?
Of course, the price tag also plays a role. Ideally, you want the best possible protection for the lowest possible price. Therefore, it is worth weighing up the price with the features and deciding how much money you want to spend on a virus scanner.
On which devices does the virus scanner work?
Not all virus scanners work on all devices. It is wise to install an antivirus program on both your smartphone and your PC. Depending on your operating system (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS or something else), your options may be limited. So always check whether the antivirus program of your choice works on your device.
Does the virus scanner protect my privacy?
Is the software user-friendly?
User-friendliness is a must for many users. A good antivirus program runs in the background and you should hardly notice it is there while you’re surfing and browsing. The dashboard should be clear and the program should be easy to install. Extra features may come in handy. Also important is good customer service that helps you quickly and effectively if you have any issues. And what about a moneyback guarantee? A 30-day moneyback guarantee, for example, gives you the chance to try out the software for a month before you are tied to a subscription.
What about speed and system load?
Virus scanners scan your system for malware. That is why it is important that an antivirus program performs this task quickly, without slowing down your system. This is the only way it can continuously run in the background while you surf the internet undisturbed. However, not every antivirus program is fast and efficient. Therefore, the effect of an antivirus program on your system is a particularly important factor when determining which virus scanner is the best for you.
Conclusion: Best Antivirus of 2021
Virus scanners help protect your computer or smartphone against malware and viruses. Unfortunately, not all antivirus programs are as good as each other. If you are looking for the best virus scanner of 2021, we have five options for you. Each of them excels in protecting your device against viruses and malware. Here are the five best antivirus programs of 2021:
Do you want to install the best free virus scanner on your device? Then we recommend Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition.
Do you have a question about our top 5 or about antivirus programs in general? Below we discuss some of the most frequently asked questions. Just click on the question to see the answer.
The best antivirus software of 2021 is Kaspersky. This virus scanner is very fast, has little influence on your system and stops a lot of malware and computer viruses. Because Kaspersky offers high-quality protection, includes many features and is also very user-friendly, we think this is the best antivirus program available at this time. You can see our top 5 best antivirus programs here.
If you are looking for a free antivirus program, we recommend Bitdefender Antivirus Free. This software program provides top security for your Windows 10 computer, Mac or Android phone. It is fast and also works well in combination with gaming, for example.
At the moment, Kaspersky is the best virus scanner for Windows 10. After extensive testing, this antivirus software emerged as the undisputed number 1. Kaspersky is fast, thorough, and comes with lots of extra options that will help keep your Windows 10 computer secure. Read our detailed review about Kaspersky here.