Best Antivirus for Windows 10 – Internet Security & Virus Protection

Windows 10 users are a very attractive target for cyber criminals mainly because Windows is by far the most popular operating system for computers. However, the antivirus state on Windows has dramatically improved over the past few years, but the increased number of users means it’s still not out of the woods yet – this is why it’s important to get the best antivirus for Windows 10.

From fileless attacks to blended malware and ransomware, there are many cyber threats out there – some of which you might know the names of, but others you’ve never even heard of – and this poses many risks to Windows 10 users, regardless of how careful one might be online.

Which is the best antivirus for Windows 10 you can get today and is Windows Defender enough to keep your PC safe? Find out with our guide to the top Windows 10 antivirus software.

1
4.9 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

The Only Chromebook Dedicated App

2
4.7 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

PC Cloud Backup

3
4.6 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Virus Protection Promise

4
4.6 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Keep Your Sensitive Data

5
4.3 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Effective malware detection

5 Best Windows 10 Antivirus Software

Some surveys show that about 50% to 70% of Americans have been victims of cybercriminals. The most target data pieces include Credit card numbers, bank account information, birth dates, and social security numbers. That information might be shared in the darknet and might negatively impact your financial life. In essence, the personal data of people with high credit scores can sell between $60 and $80 on the dark web.

Cyber attacks on businesses can prove to be very costly; for every record that’s compromised, companies will pay about $150, and mitigating cyberattacks, including repairs and downtime, costs a company over $1 million.

Installation of the right antivirus for Windows 10 in your business or at home is the first step you should take to ensure you never become a victim in the future. The most modern antivirus software for Windows 10 has extended beyond the detection of viruses to providing malware protection.

With numerous antivirus software programs available out there, it might be hard to choose which is the best option for you. We investigated all five options, which the cybersecurity experts recommend as the best Windows 10 antivirus. Factors taken into consideration include ransomware protection, malware, and antivirus protection. Below are our top picks for the best antivirus for PC:


Short of Time? See Our Top 5 for October, 2021

1. Malwarebytes – Stops ransomware attacks
2. Norton – Excellent malware protection
3. Bitdefender – Offers “Don’t Track” for optimized privacy
4. IObit – Optimize the PC performance
5. McAfee – Several Bonus Features


Best Antivirus Software for Windows 10 Features

Since businesses and consumers first began connecting their PCs to the web years ago, the best antivirus software for Windows 10 is one of the most important aspects of the technology sector. It has become very ubiquitous that most people presume that all antivirus programs provide the same protection level and features, and they ignore the software they are using.

The exact type of antivirus software for Windows that you might have a significant impact on your capacity to successfully keep off malware and perfectly protect all your devices from all possible cyber threats. Following are some of the most important features you should look out for when searching for the best antivirus software for Windows 10 PC.

Real-Time Scanning

Although all antivirus software for Windows is specially designed to help detect malware, they don’t detect malware the same way. Some ineffective products force users to run some manual scans to determine whether the systems are affected, while the best types of antivirus software are constantly checking and scanning to determine the presence of malicious files on your computer. If this feature isn’t here, it becomes straightforward for a hacker to infiltrate your PC and start causing damage.

Automatic Updates

Recent updates are very important for different products but more important when it comes to antimalware. Since new types of viruses are being developed regularly, the antivirus program should be frequently updated to track and maintain newer threats that didn’t exist when the software was first installed. If users have to install the updates manually, then they might miss out on the new protections and expose the system to infections. For this reason, you should always ensure the software can automatically install updates.

Fights Against Different Malware Types

Between viruses, spyware, bots, and Trojans, numerous malware types could harm your PC and the antivirus software’s are at times built to only target a specific type of malware. However, it’s recommended that you choose a program that can comprehensively detect different types of malware attacks.

A VPN Client

If you’re concerned about privacy or want to remain anonymous, you’ll find a VPN to be very useful.

A Password Manager

This is an essential feature that helps you to automatically enter your login credentials without manually filling in the details.


🥇1. Malwarebytes

4.9 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Malwarebytes is our top pick for malware scanning. It’s the best antimalware software among other companies out there.

Malwarebytes Ins and Outs

What We Like

Real-time protection
Work with antivirus program
Removes malware
What We Dislike

Good free version

Malwarebytes at a Glance

Founded back in 2008, Malwarebytes is based in Santa Clara, California, and specializes in protecting mobile devices and home computers. Keep in mind that Malwarebytes is not antivirus software, but it largely complements other antivirus programs by removing viruses and malware, making it to your office or home network.

This means Malwarebytes doesn’t prevent or detect ransomware; instead, Malwarebytes excels in capturing and quarantine malware, which might cause damage to your system. Users can quickly run a quick scan or full scan of the available free version whenever necessary, and this will then create different reports in your system.

The premium Malwarebytes version provides 24/7 monitoring and protection against vulnerabilities from exploits until the software gets patched, protects against infected sites, and blocks ransomware. The paid version can also be used as an antivirus program. Its free version can be used alongside an antivirus program. Although the software is available for different operating systems, premium versions will only work for Windows.

Malwarebytes Top Features

Performs deployments quickly
Flexible push-install option
Unifies multiple Malwarebytes
Prevention tools
Cleans infected devices
Centralized management
Stops ransomware attacks
Shields vulnerable systems

→ Try Malwarebytes Free! ← 


🥈2. Norton 360

4.7 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Norton 360 keeps enhancing its great history as the best antivirus software for Windows 10 with the program’s maintenance features, which makes it a top option for Windows Computers.

Norton 360 Advantages and Disadvantages

What We Like

LifeLock identity theft protection
Password manager
Excellent malware protection
PC protection, including backup and firewall
What We Dislike

One of the costly offerings
Slows the PC during full scans
Ransomware detection needs some improvement

Norton 360 at a Glance

Norton introduced their first antivirus program in 1991 under a Symantec umbrella. The parent company acquired LifeLock in the year 2017, and two years later, after the company’s enterprise division was sold, and the name changed to Norton LifeLock. Today, the organization is headquartered in Tempe, Arizona.

Norton 360 has grown to become the best antivirus for Windows PC because of how well the company has continued building on its history of protecting computers. The ability of Norton 360 LifeLock to safeguard user identity theft gives it an edge over other antivirus software. With several versions of this antivirus program, you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Norton 360 standard offers 10GB cloud backup, a VPN, and dark web monitoring.

The amount of cloud storage and the number of connected devices increase based on the selected package level. The mid-level Norton 360 with LifeLock Select costs about $99.99 every year with licenses of up to 5 devices and 100GB cloud storage. Also, it offers webcam protection, VPNs for multiple devices, remote/school time learning controls, and parental controls.

Norton 360 Top Features

Real-time threat protection
Secure cloud backup
Secure VPN
SafeCam
Password manager
Dark web monitoring
Parental controls
100% virus protection

Norton 360 Pricing

With Norton 360 standard that’s available for $25.99, you get complete malware protection for one mac, PC, iOS, or Android device, including 10GB secure cloud backup. With Norton 360 Deluxe available for $29.99, you get exclusive malware protection for a maximum of 5 Macs, PCs, iOS, or Android devices, including Secure VPN and Cloud Backup for up to 5 devices.

→ Try Norton 360 Free! ← 


🥉3. Bitdefender

4.6 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

Our pick for the best antivirus for Windows 10 because its premium version offers overall protection.

Bitdefender Pros and Cons

What We Like

Frequent updates plus subscription
Password manager
Offers “Don’t Track” for optimized privacy
Ransomware detection
What We Dislike

VPN available on a different subscription

Bitdefender at a Glance

Founded back in 2011, Bitdefender is based in Bucharest, southern Romania. Bitdefender has more than 1600 employees with branches around the world. Protecting millions of government, business, and consumer environments, Bitdefender is leading antivirus software for eliminating threats, enabling cyber resiliency, and protecting data and privacy.

With deeper investments in development and research, Bitdefender laboratory discovers 400+ new threats every 60 seconds and validates 30 billion cyber threats daily. This company has greatly pioneered impressive innovations in artificial intelligence, behavioral analytics, IoT Security, and antimalware software. Furthermore, its technology is approved by over 150 of the world’s renowned technology brands.

Bitdefender internet security is the company’s basic level and the cheapest option available, costing only $34.99, making it a perfect choice for home users with no technical skills and anyone who wants additional defense against cyber threats. Since viruses are not the only possible cybersecurity threats, Bitdefender offers a wide range of security features, including password management, web-based transactions, monitoring online purchases, and ransomware prevention.

You can also try out the available free version, which offers anti-phishing protection, web attack prevention, advanced threat defense, and real-time detection. The premium version also includes vulnerability assessments, multilayer ransomware protection, and Safepay for financial transactions.

Bitdefender Top Features

  • Protection – Bitdefender unrivaled multilayer protection ensures all your devices remain safe from all existing and new cyber threats.
  • Performance – battery mode, speed up all our devices, global protective network, autopilot.
  • Privacy – file shredder, password manager, social network protection, Wi-Fi security advisor, anti-theft, privacy firewall, parental control, safe online banking, webcam protection, microphone monitor, anti-tracker, and unlimited VPN traffic.

→ Try BitDefender ← 


IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate

4.6 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

IObit Advanced SystemCare at a Glance

Established back in 2004, IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate offers users highly innovative security software and system utilities for superior security and PC performance. With over 500 million downloads and 100 awards worldwide, IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate is a reputable market leader in PC security software and PC optimization.

Initially developed by two enthusiastic and creative programmers, the IObit team now includes a group of very skilled young talents who have committed themselves to offer high-quality services and protection for users.

The company is constantly expanding and improving its technology to address the increasing needs of customers across the globe. Whether you are protecting your PC system from Advanced SystemCare ultimate and virus attack, fighting malware with IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate, using Smart Defrag to defrag your hard drive, or using the Game Booster for improved gaming experience.

With IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate, you can protect all your private data, clean your PC, and speed up your computer.
IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate Features IObit offers a wide variety of valuable and interesting features divided into five primary tabs in the interface: action center, turbo boost, toolbox, care, and antivirus.

  • Antivirus – With IObit, the antivirus features are automatically turned on, including browser anti-tracking, firewall, surfing protection, and real-time protection.
  • Care – This care tab comprises 12 features, which optimize the PC performance. After you’ve just installed IObit Advanced SystemCare Ultimate, you get features such as system optimization, privacy sweep, disk optimization, Internet boost, registry fix, and spyware removal.
  • Toolbox – The most popular tools offered by IObit include Startup Manager, Smart Defrag, Game Booster, Driver Booster, and IObit Uninstaller.
  • Turbo Boost – This antivirus program is committed to speeding up and optimizes your PC’s performance.

→ Try IObit Advanced SystemCare


McAfee

4.3 / 5
TOTAL SCORE

MacAfee antivirus is one of the best antivirus software for Windows. Its subscription protects every device for an affordable cost.

McAfee Merits and Demerits

What We Like

Provides several bonus features
Good firewall
Good malware detection
Offers real-time protection for different devices, including iOS and android
What We Dislike

Few features for apple products
No parental controls

McAfee at a Glance

Founded back in 1987, McAfee is based in Santa Clara, California. It’s one of the few antivirus programs that recognize the increased number of devices used in a home and that this might include four or even more different operating systems. Although the features and protections are better for android and Windows, this protection is sufficient for all devices, so families do not have to buy multiple antivirus subscriptions.

McAfee protects more than 600 million devices extending beyond the usual to protect web browsing, privacy, and personal information. Moreover, you can also get the McAfee Gamer Security for a year if you purchase the multi-device package and enroll in the auto-renew.
McAfee’s superb protection abilities make McAfee Total Protection a perfect product, scoring a 100% detection rate against malware samples.

The “My Home Network” is the most standout feature for McAfee security software. This offers an easier-to-read roadmap on all devices in your home Wi-Fi network, providing you with full control over online security and permitting you to avoid cybercriminals. With MacAfee, you get a chance to complete your security with highly improved privacy and identity protection. You can always keep a tab on your identity with dark monitoring as well as 24/7 remediation specialists.

MacAfee Top Features

  • Antivirus protection – Gives you all the important antivirus features you require.
  • Personal VPN – Encrypt all your online activities and defend yourself against hackers.
  • We protect – Search and browse online with enough peace of mind
  • Antivirus for gamers – Gaming improved and reimagined security.
  • ID theft protection – Keep your personal and identity close
  • Parental controls – Help make the digital space safer for children
  • Mobile security – Help protect all your mobile devices, including iOS and Android devices.

→ Try McAfee


Does Windows 10 Need Antivirus?

If a malicious file infiltrates your PC and you cannot get rid of it, the Windows defender takes care of these files. Also, you can run the Windows Defender tool from the USB drive even though you aren’t connected to the web. This will easily find and eliminate malware programs.

Windows Defender is a baseline tool and is a great tool, so there isn’t any reason to ignore it. Also, you can utilize Windows defender along with other antivirus programs. Technically, Windows 10 Defender is a well-integrated antimalware and antivirus program that works similarly to other antivirus programs. Plus, you won’t have to deal with the annoying popups and bundled toolbars.

Windows 10 antivirus usually provides the same protection level against viruses and malware as other antivirus software for Windows 10. If you’re using Windows 10 PC with updated software, you can then depend on the Windows defender to remove viruses. The good thing about the Windows defender is that it won’t overconsume your CPU resources and keeps a close eye on the tasks and processes in the background.

But in the world we are living in today filled with fast-changing cyber attacks, you should consider adding another protection layer. While the Internet has become an integral part of our lives, it also brings several threats. Therefore, it’s important to ensure you protect your PC from malware threats.

So, does Windows 10 need antivirus? Yes, Although Windows 10 usually comes with an inbuilt antimalware and antivirus tool, Windows Defender. This might not protect malicious links and web browsing activities. Therefore, it’s essential to consider installing a software for virus protection for Windows 10 that provides extra Internet protection and web protection.


Windows 10 Free Antivirus vs. Paid Software

Antivirus software can be classified into two broad camps – a Windows 10 free antivirus and paid software that you must pay for. Technically, the difference between these 2 is that one of them involves a budget while the other doesn’t. This section will take a closer look at the best choice between the two based on different key factors.

Budget

Budget is an obvious consideration. If you have a very tight budget for your computer and the software it’s running on, the free option will be a great option. However, we stress that you remain careful about the free software you download and install.

Features

With most free antivirus protections, you’ll only get basic feature sets. The apps may only carry the main antivirus engine and possibly a few other defense pillars – but the sellers reserve all the fantastic features for their premium versions for obvious reasons.

With the premium versions, you get extra add-ons such as additional web protection and anti-ransomware protection layers. The good news is that you will be more secure with such features.

Finally, the right answer for Windows 10 Free vs. Paid antivirus Software depends on your needs and preferences. Overall, the paid antivirus has an edge because of the additional features, better customer support, and lack of annoying advertisements.


Is Windows Defender Enough?

The advantages of the Windows defender include decent protection, full customer support by Microsoft, regular free updates, and low system impacts. However, to determine if the Windows defender is enough, we’re going to compare it with other best virus protection for Windows 10 solutions available out there.

AV-Test is a renowned independent tester that has been in business for over 15 years. They rank every product based on three factors, with six and zero respectively.

The three factors include usability, protection, and performance. In February 2021, tests showed a great improvement over 2018’s results. The Windows defender got 5.5 points in usability and performance and 6 points in protection. With regards to real-time tests against malware attacks, it got a 99.6% score.

The AV-Comparatives has a different approach and helps understand the performance of an antivirus better. With no compromise rate, 106 positives, and 99.1% blocking rate, Windows Defender is very decent.

Back in March 2015, it only blocked 80.5% of the malware attacks, whereas the protection rating was 3.5 out of 6. At that point in time, the average result was about 97.2% in the antivirus industry, which means the Defender was still behind the best security software for Windows 10.


Can An Antivirus Slow Down Your PC?

Many people believe that antivirus programs can cause a PC to slow down by about 50%. This might have been partially true a few years ago, but it isn’t the case anymore. Nonetheless, a security suite can also affect your device’s overall speed.

Several reasons can slow down your PC, and the top antivirus for Windows 10 program gets a bad reputation. You should consider analyzing the situation further before you start to blame the best Windows 10 antivirus. Some reasons why your computer might be running slowly include:

  • Check the hard drive issues
  • Is your operating system updated
  • Check for possible malware
  • Check background programs

Antivirus for Windows FAQs

What is antivirus software?

Antivirus software is designed to remove, block, and detect malicious software on a network or computer. It's an extra layer of protection and is normally used as the first defense line to protect your computer from malicious files.

Do you need an antivirus program?

Cybercriminals do not just make good money selling users' personal information. They can also use the data to fraudulently buy things. They can even steal money from your bank account, compromise your credit score and damage your company’s financial life.

How much does an antivirus program cost?

Although there are many free options out there, you get more security features and better protection with the paid subscription. The paid versions come with extra features such as parental controls, password management, and VPN.

What’s the best antivirus software for Windows 10?

We strongly recommend using Norton 360 as the best antivirus program for many Windows 10 users. It offers the best protection, according to our tests, with extra features such as a password manager, a VPN, a firewall, Wi-Fi protection, phishing protection, and Wi-Fi protection.

How do you choose the best Windows 10 antivirus software?

You should consider several factors when choosing the best antivirus software, including features, budget, number of devices, customer support, and more.
Author: Mark Bruno
Mark Bruno is not your typical computer geek. He has a degree in law and criminology, and always had a need for justice. Seeing how everything is getting digitalized, he decided to master cyber-security and virus protection with led him to join the LossOfPrivacy team.