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Best antivirus software: 2024 comparison guide

A photograph of stars protecting a small house that illustrates the best antivirus software to protect your digital life.

When you’re looking for the best antivirus software, knowing where to start can often be the hardest part. In this guide, we compare antivirus software from nine of the biggest names in online security, including the award-winning Norton 360 Deluxe.

While we’re going to give you an overview of some of the best virus protection software, it’s important to note that certain features may not be available across all operating systems. That’s because the best computer antivirus protection for Windows may not need to pack the same features to help protect you on a Mac or Chromebook, for example.

And that’s also true when comparing security software for mobile operating systems versus desktop. Some features that you need on a desktop computer are simply not necessary on mobile.

Also, some brands in our guide may have additional features not included in this comparison, or feature sets may have changed since we researched and published this article.

Finally, the prices listed below may vary and are subject to change. Before purchasing or installing an antivirus, always check the manufacturer website for up-to-date pricing information and more details about the features offered for your device and operating system.

With that said, let’s look at some of the best antivirus software on the market. Since all the products we’re looking at offer virus and malware protection, we’ll focus on the extra features they have, along with pricing, awards, and pros and cons.

Here are the antivirus software solutions we’ll cover:

Norton 360 Deluxe

Price: $119.99 / Year
Discounts: $49.99 for the first year
Devices supported: 5 devices on Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android
Key features: Smart Firewall, Password Manager, Dark Web Monitoring1, Secure VPN, Parental Controls, Virus Protection Promise2, Privacy Monitor, 50 GB of secure cloud storage3

Price and discount subject to change

Norton 360 Deluxe offers easy-to-use, powerful protection. It includes a suite of tools designed to keep your digital life safer and more private. Along with all the standard features you'd expect from phone or computer security software, it has a unique set of enhanced security features.

Norton 360 Deluxe is one of the only antivirus services with secure cloud backup offered. If you’re on Windows, you get 50 GB of storage space3 to store your most important files and folders. You’ll also benefit from unlimited use of the built-in  VPN with bank-grade encryption to help keep your browsing and online communications private.

The anti-malware technology that powers Norton 360 Deluxe is so effective that it’s supported by the Virus Protection Promise2,, which provides access to a virus removal service should your device get infected.

Norton 360 Deluxe will protect all your devices.

Norton 360 Deluxe awards and recognition

Norton 360 Deluxe has won numerous awards over the years.

  • SE Labs awarded Norton 360 the title of “Best home anti-malware.”
  • VPN Overview named Norton 360 as the “Best overall antivirus for Windows.”
  • Comparitech found that Norton 360 offered the “Best antivirus for individual PC and Mac users.”
  • Tom’s Guide listed Norton as the top antivirus program for a Windows PC.

Norton 360 Deluxe: pros and cons

Pros Cons
Comes with unlimited VPN usage at no extra cost Not the cheapest option on the list
Virus Protection Promise2 Doesn’t support ChromeOS
Offers 50 GB of cloud backup3 Cloud backup is for Windows only
24/7 customer support  
Dark web monitoring1  
60-day money-back guarantee with annual plans; 14-day guarantee with monthly plans  

With a built-in VPN, firewall, and password manager, along with a suite of other security and privacy features, Norton 360 Deluxe provides powerful protection against viruses, hacking, and other online threats.

Avast Premium Security 

Price: $99.99 / Year
Discounts: $49.99 for the first year
Devices supported: 10 devices on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or Linux
Key features: Core firewall functionality, Software Updater, Ransomware Shield, Data Shredder, Sensitive Data Shield, Remote Access Shield, Webcam Shield

Price and discount subject to change

As well as scanning and protecting your device against malware and viruses, Avast Premium Security comes with a unique set of security features — like Ransomware Shield, which helps secure your personal photos and other files from being modified, deleted, or encrypted by ransomware attacks.

This antivirus software also offers real-time protection against fake websites and phishing scams. And it helps stop remote access attacks by blocking brute force attacks, securing known OS vulnerabilities, and more. And when you need to permanently erase your hard drive or individual files, you can use the built-in Data Shredder feature.

The Avast Premium Security home screen on Windows 10.

Avast Premium Security awards and recognition

  • All About Cookies gave Avast Premium Security a five-star rating in 2023.
  • Forbes Advisor gave Avast 4.3/5 stars, saying it’s “one of the most popular and trusted antivirus options around.”

Avast Premium Security: pros and cons

Pros Cons
Available for Linux OS No VPN
Great value for 10 devices Firewall is only for PC
30-day money-back guarantee No password manager
Built-in hack alerts for your email address  
Can swap which devices use the subscription  

Avira Antivirus Pro

Price: $59.74 / Year
Devices supported: 5 Devices on Windows or Mac
Key features: Firewall, device scanner, PUA shield, email protection, website protection, VPN, a password manager

Price subject to change

Avira Antivirus Pro includes a unique device scanner feature, which scans removable devices for malicious files. It also offers real-time device protection against malware as the app continuously monitors your entire system.

On Windows devices, Avira also includes a PUA shield that identifies potentially unwanted applications hidden within legitimate software. It also blocks malicious websites and phishing URLs from loading, and it scans email attachments for infected links too.

The Avira Antivirus Pro app showing that malware protection is on.

Avira Antivirus Pro awards and recognition

  • Gets great customer reviews and star ratings across a number of sites including GetApp (4.5/5 stars). 
  • AV-Test awarded Avira “Best Protection for Consumer Users under Windows.”

Avira Antivirus Pro: pros and cons

Pros Cons
Includes a free trial Fewer features on Mac than PC
Excellent value for money Doesn’t support ChromeOS or mobile devices
Has advanced ransomware protection No password manager
60-day money-back guarantee with annual plans  
Scans removable devices too  
PUA (PUP) shield  

Bitdefender Total Security

Price: $99.99 / Year
Discounts (if available): Pay $59.99 for the first year
Devices supported: 5 devices on Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android
Key features: Firewall, VPN, parental controls, Bitdefender Photon™, anti-tracker, file shredder

Price and discount subject to change

Bitdefender Total Security is a great option when it comes to phone or computer virus protection. As well as malware prevention, it helps block third-party data tracking and comes with a file shredding tool that permanently deletes files when you want something gone for good.

You’ll benefit from a VPN that’s included in the subscription, although it’s limited to 200 MB per day on each device. And Bitdefender Photon™ is technology that lets Bitdefender Total Security adapt to your system’s configuration, helping to improve performance and speed.

Bitdefender Total Security awards and recognition

Bitdefender Total Security has won a number of awards over the years for its antivirus for phones and computers. Here are some of the awards it picked up in 2023:

Bitdefender Total Security: pros and cons

Pros Cons
Includes an anti-tracker extension No dark web monitoring
24/7 customer support No virus protection guarantee
Bitdefender Photon VPN use is limited
A vulnerability assessment checks for unsafe settings and security holes  

Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy VPN

Price: $99.99 / Year
Devices supported: 5 devices on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, or ChromeOS
Key features: Brute force protection, security advisor, a browser guard

Price subject to change

The Malwarebytes Premium + Privacy VPN bundle can protect against a variety of today’s online threats, including a brute force attack, where hackers use tools to repeatedly guess login details until they’re successful. And its unique Uninstall Protection feature blocks malware from disabling security software. Malwarebytes also includes a Browser Guard extension to help you browse more safely, quickly, and privately.

One of the biggest downsides to Malwarebytes vs Norton is there are fewer features compared to Norton, like parental controls, a firewall, and a password manager. But Malwarebytes does include a built-in VPN to help keep your safer on unprotected Wi-Fi networks.

Malwarebytes Premium awards and recognition

In 2023, Malwarebytes Premium won several awards and accolades.

  • VPN Overview named Malwarebytes Premium the best anti-malware scanner for Windows.
  • AV-Test certified the Malwarebytes Premium product after testing it for protection, performance, and usability.

Malwarebytes Premium: pros and cons

Pros Cons
Covers ChromeOS devices No malware scanner for iOS
Includes brute force protection No password manager
Reasonable cost No dark web monitoring
Customizable protection No firewall
Halts notifications from Malwarebytes when you’re gaming No parental controls
A built-in VPN  

McAfee Essential

Price: $119.99 / Year
Discounts (if available): Pay $39.99 for the first year
Devices supported: 5 devices on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or ChromeOS
Key features: A virus protection pledge, password manager, VPN, and firewall

Price and discount subject to change

McAfee Essential offers a guarantee that they can remove viruses from devices or you can get your money back. You can connect all your devices (phones and computers) to a single dashboard and manage them centrally.

McAfee Essential comes with identity monitoring, which scans for up to 60 unique types of personal information on the dark web and alerts you if your details are found. There are also online security experts available to answer your questions around the clock.

McAfee Essential awards and recognition

McAfee has won several awards over the years for having one of the top antivirus products.

  • AV-Test placed McAfee in the top 5 for Best Protection 2022 for Windows consumer users.
  • PCWorld gave McAfee Total Protection 4/5 stars in its 2022 review.

McAfee Essential: pros and cons

Pros Cons
A built-in VPN Expensive
Dark web monitoring No parental controls 
A firewall No secure cloud backup option
A password manager No firewall
24/7 support from security experts No parental controls

Webroot Premium

Price: $129.99 / Year
Discounts (if available): Pay $77.99 for the first year
Devices supported: 5 Devices on Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, or ChromeOS
Key features: Comes with dark web monitoring, a password manager, a firewall and network connection monitor, and website blocking

Price and discount subject to change

Webroot Premium is a great option if you want identity protection bundled into your antivirus. It's at the higher end of the price scale as a result, but it comes with extras like 24/7 customer support and a device cleaning feature that aims to improve your system performance.

From a safety perspective, Webroot Premium aims to block dangerous websites and delete traces of your online activity. It also includes a secure browser, password manager, and a firewall and network connection monitor.

Webroot Premium awards and recognition

  • PCMag awarded Webroot AntiVirus 4/5 stars in its 2023 review.
  • All About Cookies gave Webroot 5/5 stars in its 2023 review.

Webroot Premium: pros and cons

Pros Cons
24/7 support if something goes wrong More expensive than the other listed products
Includes identity theft protection for 1 identity No VPN included
Comes with a secure browser No virus protection guarantee
Covers ChromeOS No webcam protection 
Includes fraud, credit, and dark web monitoring   

F-Secure Total

Price: $119.99 / Year
Discounts (if available): Pay $59.99 for the first year
Devices supported: 5 devices on Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android
Key features: Banking protection, identity theft support, browsing protection, parental controls, gaming mode, VPN, Wi-Fi protection, tracking protection

Price and discount subject to change

F-Secure Total comes with features like Banking Protection, which lets you know a banking site is safe and secures your connection. It also prevents advertisers from tracking you, secures your internet connection, and blocks dangerous websites.

Parental controls help you set limits for screen time and harmful content filters. And if you game on a Windows machine, you can turn on Gaming Mode for an uninterrupted gaming experience. Identity Theft Help even monitors your personal data online.

F-Secure Total awards and recognition

  • In 2021, AV-Comparatives certified F-Secure in the highest category, Strategic Leaders, for the ability to detect, analyze, and prevent advanced persistent threats. 
  • Safety Detectives gave F-Secure 7.8/10 (“Good”) after comparing antivirus software in 2023.

F-Secure Total: pros and cons

Pros Cons
30-Day free trial available No firewall
Has a gaming mode option No virus protection guarantee
Identity theft monitoring No webcam protection
Prevents advertisers from tracking you  
Includes a VPN  

Trend Micro Maximum Security

Price: $99.95 / Year
Discounts (if available): Pay $49.95 for the first year
Devices supported: 5 devices on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, or ChromeOS
Key features: Parental controls, password manager, cloud-based AI technology, social media privacy features

Price and discount subject to change

Trend Micro Maximum Security features cloud-based AI technology that provides protection against emerging threats, including ransomware and other new online dangers.

The password manager will help you create and manage complex passwords to stay more secure online. Plus, its Pay Guard feature helps secure your transactions by ensuring the legitimacy of financial sites. 

Trend Micro Maximum Security awards and recognition

  • Tom’s Guide lists Trend Micro Maximum Security as the 5th best antivirus software you can buy.
  • In 2022, AV-Comparatives awarded Trend Micro an Advanced award for the first run of the Performance Test conducted and an Advanced+ for the second runs

Trend Micro Maximum Security: pros and cons

Pros Cons
Has built-in device optimization tools No 24/7 assistance included
Includes anti-scam protection No VPN
Detects malicious apps  
Good value for the money  
Supports ChromeOS  

Keep yourself — and your devices — safer online

Everyone has unique needs when it comes to the best ways to protect their digital lives, and now you have a detailed overview of the best antivirus software on the market.

Norton is one of the most recognizable brands in antivirus protection and online security, consistently delivering award-winning products. For comprehensive digital security and privacy, join millions of satisfied customers and get Norton 360 Deluxe today.

FAQs about the best antivirus software

How can I choose the best antivirus software?

When choosing the best antivirus software, consider what features are most important for your unique needs. Then, compare antivirus programs that include as many features as possible. It’s often useful to look at antivirus reviews online to check whether other customers had a positive experience.

What does antivirus software protect against?

At a minimum, any good antivirus is designed to block malware — including viruses, spyware, and ransomware. A good antivirus will also help protect you from malicious websites and suspicious links. That helps you avoid online scams like phishing and other social engineering ploys.

What doesn’t antivirus software protect against?

Even the best antivirus programs can’t protect against all malicious threats, prevent identity theft, or prepare for zero-day exploits.

Is free antivirus software good?

Free antivirus software is great for personal home use. When deciding what the best antivirus software is, consider free options too, as they’re useful for detecting known threats. The best antivirus protection is often a paid product from a reputable company.

Do Mac computers need antivirus software?

Yes, Macs need antivirus software for protection against hackers and malware. Even though Macs have robust built-in security, emerging threats can evolve very quickly. Antivirus software often includes protection against sophisticated social engineering tactics like phishing, which is helpful no matter what device you’re using.

Do smartphones need antivirus software?

Yes, smartphones need strong antivirus software. Most people spend hours on their phones every day and do everything from internet banking to sending work emails. It’s important to compare the top antivirus programs and install one on your phone.

Can antivirus software protect against phishing?

Top antivirus software can help block phishing attempts, either by sending suspicious emails to spam or blocking malicious websites. Another useful tool that will help prevent phishing attacks is a firewall, which monitors network traffic to help protect against malware, hackers, intrusions, and other threats.

1 Dark Web Monitoring is not available in all countries. Monitored information varies based on country of residence or choice of plan. It defaults to monitor your email address and begins immediately. Sign into your account to enter more information for monitoring.

2 Requires an automatically renewing subscription for a product containing antivirus features. For further terms and conditions please see

3 Only available on Windows systems (but not in S mode or on ARM processors

Crissy Joshua
  • Crissy Joshua
  • Cybersecurity writer
Crissy Joshua began her tech career writing how-to guides on device performance and optimization. Her focus has now widened into issues related to emerging digital threats and online privacy, with a commitment to helping people understand the forces shaping their digital lives.

Editorial note: Our articles provide educational information for you. Our offerings may not cover or protect against every type of crime, fraud, or threat we write about. Our goal is to increase awareness about Cyber Safety. Please review complete Terms during enrollment or setup. Remember that no one can prevent all identity theft or cybercrime, and that LifeLock does not monitor all transactions at all businesses. The Norton and LifeLock brands are part of Gen Digital Inc. 


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