Security Windows

The Best Antivirus Software for Windows 10

Dan Price Updated 10-12-2019

Are you a Windows user who’s wondering what the best antivirus is for Windows 10? It can get confusing; there are many options out there. How can you decide which Windows antivirus to use?


We’re going to use data from AV-TEST to help you make your decision.

1. Windows Defender

windows defender appsp

Windows Defender isn’t the same proposition as it was a few years ago. The suite once had a reputation for hogging system resources and offering a low standard of protection, but that’s all changed.

Microsoft’s security program now offers some of the best protection in the industry. In the most recent tests available on AV-TEST (for March and April 2019) it scored a 100 percent detection rate against zero-day malware attacks and for “widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last four weeks” in both months.

Of course, one of Windows Defender’s most significant selling points is its tight integration with the Windows operating system. It’s easy to manage the app’s virus protection, firewall protection, device security, and app security directly from the Windows Settings menu.


Overall, AV-TEST gave the app 6/6 for protection and usability, and 5.5/6 for performance, enough to earn it a “Top Product” designation. It’s quite a turnaround for an app that scored 0.5/6 as recently as 2015.

2. Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky is a well-known name in the online security world. The company offers three antivirus suites—Antivirus, Kaspersky Internet Security, and Security Cloud. All three are among the best internet security apps for Windows 10.

In truth, Kaspersky is another app that’s struggled with performance issues in the past. But, like Windows Defender, those problems are firmly behind it. AV-TEST rated the app as 6/6 across all three of its testing categories.

Indeed, the suite only flagged three false positives in the April 2019 test, despite testing in excess of 1.6 million samples.


The entry-level Antivirus app ($75) only covers desktop PCs. For $20 more, the Internet Security ($79) suite adds mobile support for a minimal extra cost. It is the best option for most users.

3. Malwarebytes Premium

Malwarebytes is another of the best antivirus apps on Windows. The company’s free version program has been popular for years.

However, if you want to enjoy 24/7 real-time protection (rather than being restricted to intermittent manual scans), you need to pay for the premium version. The entry-level plans, which only protects one device, costs $39.99 per year. For the fee, you receive protection against identity theft, ransomware, fraudulent websites, malware, and more.

All the premium features are available for a 14-day trial period on the free version of the app.


4. Bitdefender Internet Security

With a perfect 6/6 for protection, performance, and usability on AV-TEST, Bitdefender Internet Security is unquestionably among the best antivirus apps for Windows.

Like Kaspersky Internet Security, only three false positives were found from a sample size of 1.6 million and had a 100 percent record against both zero-day attacks and existing malware.

There are three different versions of the app available to Windows users: Total Security for $40 (which covers mobile devices), Internet Security for $35 (includes firewall and webcam protection), and Antivirus Plus for $30 (the entry-level paid suite). If you wish, you can purchase the Android and iOS versions of Bitdefender separately.

Other noteworthy features in Bitdefender include multi-layer ransomware protection, network threat prevention, and parental controls.


5. F-Secure SAFE

Another app and another perfect 6/6 across all three categories on AV-TEST.

Interestingly, although F-Secure SAFE scored 6/6 for performance, it still performed better than both Bitdefender Internet Security and Kaspersky Internet Security—both of which also scored 6/6.

On a standard PC with an Intel i3-6100 processor, a 256GB hard drive, and 8GB RAM, it only saw a 10 percent drop-off in performance when launching popular websites. In comparison, Kaspersky scored 28 percent and Bitdefender scored 19 percent.

All this tells us that the app probably the best option for anyone who’s running an older, low-power machine.

There’s only one version of F-Secure SAFE available, though the price varies depending on the number of devices you want to protect. The entry-level plan (for three devices) is $69.99 per year. The most expensive package (seven devices) is $109.99.

6. McAfee Internet Security

If you want antivirus protection on Windows, you could also consider checking out McAfee Internet Security.

It scores highly (6/6) on all AV-TEST criteria, finds a low number of false positives, and is not a major resource hog.

Features-wise, McAfee Internet Security offers a full suite of real-time antimalware tools, URL blocking, phishing protection, and vulnerability scans. The latter of those—vulnerability scans—is not a common feature. If it’s important to you, McAfee is a good choice.


NOD32 has some of the lowest false positive rates, is lightweight, and is consistently near the top of performance charts.

Indeed, many power users used to swear by the holy-trinity of NOD32 (which focuses on system files), Malwarebytes (which focuses on web-based issues), and CCleaner (a PC optimization tool). Unfortunately, CCleaner is no longer a trustworthy app, but it’s still passable for one-off scans.

The three plans cost $40, $50, and $60. The entry-level plan does not include support for personal firewalls and spam filters.

ESET also has a free online virus scan tool The 7 Best Free Online Virus Scan and Removal Sites Need to check for a computer virus but don't have antivirus software installed? Try these excellent online virus scanning tools. Read More .

8. Norton Security

No, that’s not a typo—we really are recommending Norton Security as our eighth and final pick.

The Norton suite has an erratic history. There was a time—around the turn of the millennium—when it had a vice-like stranglehold on the antivirus market. The growth of reliable free antimalware products, along with Norton’s ever-growing drain on system resources, saw its popularity decline rapidly over the next decade.

Fast-forward to today, and Norton Security is once again worth considering. AV-TEST gave it 6/6 across all three categories. Amazingly, it only saw an eight percent performance effect on a standard computer when loading popular sites (though its impact when installing frequently used applications was more noticeable at 28 percent).

Norton Security supports malware scans, real-time website ratings, malicious URL blocking, phishing protection, and behavior-based detection.

The four Norton Security plans cost between $40 and $100 per year, depending on the extra features you need.

What About Free Antivirus Software?

Some of the third-party free antivirus suites on the market are adequate, though their protections scores on AV-TEST are—on average—not as good as the paid options. Furthermore, the majority use considerably more resources than Windows Defender, not to mention the persistent and annoying nag screens.

If you can’t/won’t spend money on a paid antivirus solution, stick with the free Microsoft app.

To learn more about antivirus suites across all your devices, check out our articles on the best free antivirus software and the different types of antivirus scans.

And if you want to test out your antivirus software 5 Ways to Safely Test Your Antivirus Software Is your antivirus software secure and effective? Here's how to test it and see for yourself. Read More , check out how to do it safely.

Related topics: Anti-Malware, Antivirus, Computer Security, Online Security, Windows 10.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Gert
    June 16, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Why does the author say "Unfortunately, CCleaner is no longer a trustworthy app" ?

  2. Ria
    March 24, 2020 at 4:55 am

    Good to know Kaspersky is rated so high. I have been using it for years.

  3. Nerd.World
    February 11, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Sounds like Dan wrote an areticle for CNET or PCMag and copied here for a paycheck.
    What happened to the quality of the articles on MUO ???

  4. Vladimir I.dos Santos
    February 10, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    It would also include Trend Micro Maximum Security here - I have been using it for over 1 year and I think it is very good after Kaspersky.

  5. Brian
    February 10, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    Sophos is another one that was missed.

  6. UrFriend
    January 19, 2020 at 8:53 am

    What the hell?

    Where did Avast Premium go??? Why do you always miss out?

    • Bob
      February 11, 2020 at 1:51 am

      Avast sells browsing data to other companies... Enjoy your choice...

  7. JonZone
    January 18, 2020 at 5:34 am

    What's wrong with you article writers who don't review every product in the AV test.
    Emsisoft is the best protector of viruses, malware, pups, trojans, ransomware and FIXERS of the above if someone has blindly clicked something nasty.
    The free Emsisoft Emergency Kit will remove any intruder.
    Another benefit is a substantial discount when purchasing Emsisoft from Cloudeight, and I am pleased to say that your list is a load of
    conjeturas inexactas con paga !

  8. Robert D Clay
    January 4, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    AVG and AVAST sell usage information to advertisers. If the software is free, YOU are the product.

  9. Miroslav
    October 18, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Dan Price, I just don't get why you mention ESET's NOD32, which is the basic antivirus software (without firewall), instead of mentioning their Internet Security or Smart Security suites. Just check the ESET's website to see the products for home users.

    So, to be fair in comparing the products, one should then compare these, say Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020 with ESET NOD32 etc., or suites like Kaspersky Total Security, Bitdefender Total Security 2020, McAfee Total Protection, ESET Smart Security, etc...

  10. VirgoSailor
    June 30, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    What might be of interest to readers is the actual country of origin for the reviewed software. Quite frankly, I would not be interested in any software from certain countries. China comes to mind.

  11. Chitty chitty bang bang
    June 23, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.

  12. Aristide Vanwanzeele
    June 23, 2019 at 6:29 am

    What about AVG? Is it so bad that it's even not worth testing, let alone mentioning it?

  13. X-ray
    June 23, 2019 at 4:35 am

    Well, only few of them are really worth trying. Kaspersky, Eset Nod32, Norton (so-so). Others are kinda trash, especially Windows Defender that on my tests did no see about 65% of modern threats. I would stick to my avast that is pretty good by performance and also detection rate (but is a bit annoying with it's ads if you use a free version).

  14. Jerry W Evans
    June 22, 2019 at 8:31 am

    I've tried all of those and I will stick with my Comodo

  15. Shane Martin
    June 19, 2019 at 5:11 am

    Yikes. No webroot?