Best Antivirus for Windows

Best Antivirus for Windows in 2021

Microsoft’s Windows operating system remains one of the most widely used and popular in the world. In order to help our users we tested 20 different antivirus software and picked the 6 best providers and analyzed it.

Written by Adam Stevenson- Technical Content Editor, Updated on November 18, 2021

Don't have the time to read it all? Here is our choice of Best Antivirus for Windows!

Norton: Strong malware protection, great protection for pc gamers, parental control, comes with a VPN, cloud backup & storage and safecam for Windows.

When your Windows device isn't protected against viruses and other online threats, you do run the risk of losing against cybercriminals and attacks. This is why we compiled a few recommendations of the best antivirus for Windows. You can make the right decision!

Top 6 Antivirus Software for Windows - Quick Look (2021)

  • Norton Antivirus - Cloud backup for Windows devices only. This will improve devices protection and speed in the long run.
  • Bitdefender Antivirus - The cloud-based engine provides fast scanning without slowing your Windows device. 
  • McAfee Antivirus - Offers an extensive security suite that will keep your Windows device safe from malware and other online threats.
  • Avast Antivirus-  Provides the best free antivirus for Windows 10 and protects you against all types of malware. For complete online privacy, you can use their VPN for Windows 10.
  • Intego Antivirus - New to Windows devices, but provides excellent virus protection with its virus barrier for Windows malware.
  • Windows Defender -  is a built-in feature designed to protect your Windows device from malware threats.

How Did We Select the Best Antivirus for Windows? 

During our evaluation, we used a Core i5, 6th Gen HP Pavilion Notebook, with 16 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD.
There are different things we took into account when we tested these antivirus solutions for Windows:

System compatibility – all the antiviruses we reviewed are fully compatible with Windows.
Real-time malware detection – most of the software options had a malware detection rate of nearly 100%. 
Speed – there were some differences in terms of speed, but all the solutions we included in this list provided fast antivirus scans without slowing Windows down. 
Ease of use – all the antiviruses were relatively easy to install and use. 
Additional features – all the tested options include bonus features, we focused on their VPNs, which worked quite well for many regions. 

Choose The Best Antivirus Protection for Your Windows in 2021

Still not sure which one to go for? Read below our full anaylsis in order have a better understanding of each and every provider with more information. 

6 Best Antivirus Software For PC in 2021 - (Full Analysis)

#1 Best of All- Norton  -  Best Overall Antivirus with Strong Malware Protection

Norton Antivirus

Norton provider packages arguably the most extensive list of cybersecurity tools. This is an amazing service, but it’s among the most expensive suites in 2021 and also doesn’t have a free version.

Top Features:

  • Firewall
  • Cloud backup & Storage
  • VPN
  • Password Manager
  • SafeCam for Windows
  • Identity Theft Recovery
  • Complete Protection from Spyware & Malware
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Easy-to-use
  • Does not include a file shredder, file encryption, or secure browser

Norton Specifications

Pricing Plan

Norton Antivirus Plus: $19.99 - 1 year / 1 pc or Mac

Norton 360 Standard: $24.99- 1 or 2 year option / 1 pc, mac, smartphone or tablet

Norton 360 Deluxe: $24.99 / 1 or 2 year option / 5 devices ( mac, smart phone or tablet)

Norton 360 Premium: $59.99 / 1 or 2 year option / 10 devices ( mac, smart phone or tablet)

Norton 360 for Gamers ( NEW) 1 year / $19.99

User TypeHome

Norton consistently ranks among the top-performing antivirus programs on the market. There’s no doubt that it’s a powerful and popular antivirus solution that will work for anyone.

Need to know more? Check out our Norton Review and find out how we tested, reviewed and rated this software provider.

Bottom Line

Norton is one of the highest-ranked antivirus solutions for Windows. Although it’s pricier than other options, it provides robust protection against malware thanks to its robust suite of tools (e.g. firewall, SafeCam, password manager, etc.). Norton also offers a VPN.

Try Norton Now!

2. Bitdefender -  Complete Real-Time Data Protection

Bitdefender Antivirus

Bitdefender uses a big malware database that uses machine learning to detect malware on your computer more effectively. Bitdefender’s engine is cloud-based, so your device will not be slowed down during scans.

Top Features:

  • Protects you while surfing the web
  • File shredder
  • Ransomware Protection
  • Anti-webcam hijack
  • Parental controls 
  • Two-way firewall
  • Best malware protection
  • Frequent updates
  • If you have an old device, Bitdefender might slow your system down while running in the background

Bitdefender Specifications

Supported Devices

Bitdefender Total Security - 1 year/ 5 devices - Compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS devices.
Bitdefender Premium Security  - 1 year/ 10 devices - Compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS devices.
Bitdefender Small Office Security  - 1 year/ 10 devices - Compatible with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS devices.

Pricing Plan

Antivirus Plus: $29.99 ( up to 3 devices)

Total Security: $39.98 

Internet Security: $34 (up to 3 devices)

Small Office Security: $74.99 

Premium Security: $64.99

User TypeHome or Office

Bitdefender provides all of the antivirus protection features that most users need. You will not go wrong with this cheap antivirus solution!

Need more info? Visit out our Bitdefender Review and find out how we researched and rated this software.

Bottom Line

Bitdefender is one of the best antivirus options for windows thanks to its robust machine learning capabilities that detect any type of malware. Cloud-based, this antivirus solution won’t slow down your device. Some of Bitdefender’s highlights include a two-way firewall, a file shredder, anti-webcam hijack. This antivirus is constantly updated.


3. McAfee - Easy-to-use Antivirus

McAfee Antivirus

McAfee is a good and well-known antivirus program. It is mostly known for being a mid-range, but effective protection solution. This antivirus software is packed with many features and extra add-ons.

Top Features:

  • VPN 
  • Password Manager
  • File Encryption
  • File Shredder
  • Identity Protection
  • Malware Protection
  • Permanently deletes sensitive digital files
  • Performance could be better

McAfee Specifications

Supported Devices

Single device package - 1 device/1 year - Compatible with any Windows, macOS, Android, iOS device
Individuals package - 5 devices/1 year - Compatible with any Windows, macOS, Android, iOS device
Ultimate package - Unlimited Devices/1 year - Compatible with any Windows, macOS, Android, iOS device
Family package - 10 devices/ 1 year - Compatible with any Windows, macOS, Android, iOS device

Pricing Plan

Single Device: $34.99 ( 1 device )

Individual/Couples: $39.99 (5 devices)

Family Coverage: $44.99 ( 10 devices)

Ultimate: $69.99 ( Unlimited devices)

Subscription Options1 or 2 years
User TypeHome

McAfee provides an excellent list of features. The unlimited VPN in particular makes it good value for money. The software will offer the necessary protection you need for your Windows device.

Read our full McAfee Review and find out more about how this leading software provider could protect your devices.

Bottom Line

McAfee is an affordable and reliable antivirus solution for Windows and not only. This antivirus is very easy to set up and use. Some of its highlights include identity protection, robust malware protection, a fast and reliable VPN, file encryption, a file shredder, a password manager. 


4. Avast - Outstanding Suite of Security Tools for Windows

Avast Antivirus

Avast offers a network security scanner, a password manager, and browser protection. The collection of security features offered by Avast is outstanding. Your Windows device will be safe from online threats!

Top Features:

  • On-Demand Malware Scan
  • On-Access Malware Scan
  • Website Rating
  • Malicious URL Blocking
  • Phishing Protection
  • Behavior-Based Detection
  • Vulnerability Scan
  • Offers Network security
  • Password manager
  • Includes browser protection against dangerous URLs
  • It is free
  • You only get full protection against dangerous URLs when you use Chrome or Firefox
  • Password managers have limited features
  • Some bonus features require separate purchases

Avast Specifications

Supported DevicesiOS, Android,PC and iPhone/iPad
Pricing PlanFREE - $59.88
Subscription Options1-month, 1-year, 2-years, 3-years
User TypeHome or Office

Avast is one of the most popular antivirus programs. It has millions of users and a global presence. You will not go wrong with this software solution.

Visit our full Avast Review for more info about products, features, lab test results and pricing of this antivirus provider.

Bottom Line

Avast is one of the most reputable antiviruses for Windows. This solution provides a robust set of tools that guarantee antimalware protection. Among its strong points, we can mention malicious URL blocking, vulnerability scans, website rating, phishing protection, behavior-based detection, among others.


5. Intego - Best for System Optimization 

Intego for PC

Intego is a well-known antivirus originally developed only for macOS devices. They only recently branched out to Windows devices.

Top Features:

  • VirusBarrier X9 virus protection, including against Windows malware
  • NetBarrier X9 network protection
  • ContentBarrier X9 parental controls
  • Mac Washing Machine X9 system optimizer
  • Personal Backup for automatic file backup
  • While mainly aimed at macOS, some protection for Windows are available
  • Full range of macOS protection and system optimization features
  • Provides extensive explanations of technologies
  • Product configurations can be confusing
  • No VPN or identity theft monitoring included
  • Plans cover no more than five devices
  • Windows protection is a secondary focus

Intego Specifications

User TypeHome or Small business

Personal - 29.99$ - 1 PC

Family - 39.99$ - 3 PC

Extended - 79.99$ - 5 PC

Subscription Options1-year subscription options for Windows

For more information about features, products and pricing for Intego, visit our full Intego Review.

Bottom Line

This antivirus software was initially developed for macOS devices and is now compatible with Windows too. Intego stands out through its robust system optimization features enabled by the powerful Mac Washing Machine X9 system optimizer. Intego offers personal backup, reliable network protection, and plenty more.

Intego For PC

6. Windows Defender - Bulit-in Real Time Protection

Windows Defender

Windows Defender is Sufficient for real-time protection and virus scans.

Top Features:

  • Real-time threat detection
  • Firewall & network protection
  • Protection against phishing sites
  • System performance reports
  • Hardware security
  • Parental controls
  • Free, and built-in
  • Easy-to-use
  • Does not include a file shredder, file encryption, or secure browser

Windows Defender Specifications

Supported DevicesFree download/ 1 device - Windows PC or Desktop Computer
Pricing PlanFree
Subscription OptionsNo Subscriptions
User TypeHome

Windows Defender is the built-in antivirus software on a Windows device. Windows Defender is available for free and pre-installed on all Windows 10 systems.

For more information about features, products and pricing of Windows Defender, visit our full Windows Defender Review.

Bottom Line

Windows Defender is one of the best antiviruses for windows thanks to the efficient scans that can detect any type of malware in real-time. This antivirus also boasts a powerful firewall, network protection and hardware security features, parental controls, and offers system performance reports. 

Windows Defender

How To Choose The Right Antivirus For Your Windows Device?

Despite what you might think, being the most popular PC operating system in the world - Windows  - isn’t easy. Its users make an appealing target to all sorts of illegal, immoral, and/or simply nosey practices, including malware, spying, ransomware, financial frauds, identity theft, and more.

And to make it worse, it's not easy to choose the right antivirus software for your Windows device. You have to make sure that you do enough research before making your choice. These are the most important factors to consider:

  • Scanning And Detection Methods - You have to make sure that the antivirus software offers real-time scanners and on-demand discovery.
  • Payment Terms - The majority of antivirus software companies offer a yearly subscription for their services. Keep a lookout for how different antivirus software prices are.
  • Effect On The Speed Of Your Device - The best antivirus software will not affect the speed of the device. If the antivirus affects the speed of your device, it could be a problem.
  • Privacy Policy - We live in a time when personal information is under a great threat. You need to make sure the company selling the software has not been caught in a privacy scandal.
  • Ease of Virus Removal - It should easily remove malware, so you need to look into what method the software uses to remove a piece of malware from your devices
  • Tech Support - Good antivirus solutions will offer amazing tech support. Make sure that the software you choose has a good rating when it comes to customer service and tech support. You can also get in touch with the company’s helpline with a query, whether via phone or email, to judge their response time and efficiency of support provided.

How Does Antivirus Software Help Protect Your Windows Device?

One of the aspects that define viruses and malware is that they’re often disguised as totally harmless files. They may look like simple installation files for a useful tool or even friendly URLs while you’re browsing the web.

This is how most malware, spyware, ransomware, and general viruses infect your PC.

Once you’ve downloaded or clicked on them, the files will quietly install malicious programs across your device and start wreaking havoc, often long before you even realize it. By the time you do, it’s too late.

Antivirus software stands between your device and the harmful files, websites, and content online by acting as a fine sieve.

Instead of letting any file enter your device, it will scan files and folders you download, explore every bit of data on your hard drive, and actively delete and quarantine any malicious programs it finds.

Additionally, it includes a range of scanners, firewalls, and other privacy protections that stop attacks before they ever reach your device. More impressively, most antivirus software today does all this in real-time.

By creating preventive defenses in addition to having fast reactions when something slips through, the software lets you maintain your online freedom and browse safer.

Windows Security

What Extra Measures Can You Take To Secure Your Windows Device?

Antiviruses today can handle a significant amount of your computer’s defenses, but they’re not silver bullets that will protect against every and any threat. Part of keeping your devices safe is following the best security practices you can take to significantly reduce your exposure to possible attacks.

Here are some ways you can improve your security and bolster your PC defenses:

Use Secure Passwords

One of the biggest ways hackers and others gain access to your device isn’t through some sophisticated hacking method, but rather by finding out your password.

There are various mechanisms hackers use—from social engineering attacks that simply ask you for it to brute force attacks that break your password—but they all result in giving unfettered access to your device.

One way you can avoid this is by strengthening the type of passwords you use. Instead of keeping it to basic words or familiar dates, you should attempt to include random numbers and letters, and even words that aren’t related to anything. Mixing in different cases and even symbols also help.

Keep Your Windows Software Up to Date

Many attacks are successful because they prey on a combination of user negligence and unfixed vulnerabilities. Most software includes some unexpected errors and security gaps, but it is constantly updated and patched to prevent attacks and breaches.

However, if you’re not careful, or don’t update your Windows software frequently enough, you leave those vulnerabilities exposed, and therefore also your device.

Windows offers excellent updates, and you should always keep on top to make sure you’re using the most current versions, which keeps you secure from the newest attacks.

Use a VPN When Browsing

Although VPNs have become synonymous with accessing streaming services and break geo-restrictions, they’re incredibly useful when it comes to protecting your privacy and your data online.

When you browse the web, you leave a trail everywhere you go, and you expose your device and private data when navigating unsafe areas of the web. This opens you up to attacks and data theft and exposes your Windows devices to further infiltration and infection.

A VPN helps you eliminate the trail by anonymizing your browsing and masking your IP address, but it also gives you tools to protect your data while it’s being broadcast, preventing hackers from ever looking at it.

Use Encrypted Messaging Apps

Today, security is about more than viruses and malware. It includes keeping your data, and even your private communications, safe from prying eyes and malicious actors.

There are multiple messaging applications that don’t encrypt your data, leaving it exposed while it’s being transmitted between users and opening it up to attacks.

These apps may seem fun or easy, but they’re surprisingly harmful to your devices. Instead, look for messaging tools that both encrypt your data on your servers and while it’s being transmitted.

This will help you avoid prying eyes and peeping toms who could glean important information about you and use it to attack your devices and identity.

Antivirus for Windows

Bottom line 

Remember, Your Windows PC needs protection against malware and other threats, and free antivirus software may not be enough. It all depends on your personal behavior when it comes to devices. It is important to do your research before making a choice on which features and antivirus solution you need. That is why we compiled these recommendations for you. We want you to make the right choice and be safe!


1. Which antivirus is the best for Windows?

Norton is known to work the best with a Windows device, but there are a lot of other options with more features. See our list of recommendations.

2. Do I still need antivirus software with Windows 10?

Yes, you do. Windows does come with a free built-in antivirus solution, but for some users, this might not be enough. You can then install a new antivirus solution that fits your needs. Remember, no device is safe without an antivirus solution.

3. Do I need a paid antivirus for my Windows device?

Some extensions are free, but most well-rated antivirus extensions will have a subscription option with better features.

4. What are the most common virus types that affect Windows?

The most common virus types infecting Windows devices is the following: viruses, worms, trojan horses, spyware.

5. Will Windows allow me to install a free antivirus?

Yes, you can install other free antivirus solutions. Just make sure your current antivirus program is uninstalled.