The ultimate data-driven antivirus comparison

antivirus-comparisonUtilizing independent antivirus laboratory test results and site review scores, we charted and compared best AV tools based on multiple factors, including overall security, system functionality, false positives, cost, and more to get the best antivirus.

There are now dozens of antivirus tools on the market. Big-name options like Norton, McAfee, and Bitdefender typically receive the headlines and the most focus. But are the top-branded tools in the industry truly the best?

Regrettably, parsing through the many different lab tests, customer reviews, and other information can be time-consuming. Even more so, comparing every available service contrary to the other ones isn’t an easy task.

Thankfully, we have taken on a huge piece of the hard work for you! Using currently available data from current independent testing labs, pricing data, and consumer review site scores, we have developed simple tools that can help you quickly and easily compare over accessible 50 antivirus tools.

Our tools provide an entirely unbiased approach to finding the ideal antivirus software for the purchase price. This way, you know that you are not getting sold a product which could be ineffective in finding and removing malware from your system.

Consumer-friendly table of antivirus software

If you’re searching for a quick and easy reference guide, use this table to look up the applications you might be interested in buying, or to compare different applications based on specific, important criteria, such as cost.

Do I need antivirus software?

If you have a personal or work computer or another device that connects to the internet, you need antivirus.

Bad actors online are regularly using and improving their approaches to infect computers. Including through phishing emails and sites, infected downloads (such as through popular social networking sites like Facebook), and even from USB devices, such as flash drives.

Based on G-Data, a new malware variant is detected online every 4.2 seconds. There were almost 8 million known computer viruses in 2017, also.

The more time you own a computer and the more sites you access and mails you get, the greater your likelihood of getting a virus disease. With countless viruses floating around the internet, it finally becomes a matter of not if you will find a computer virus, but when you will get one.

Computer infections can’t just cripple your job and be expensive to remove, but they can also steal valuable information. And several viruses are designed to conceal on your computer, gently recording your keystrokes, passwords, and much more. Alternately, ransomware, which is designed to lock you out of your computer and needs payment to be eliminated, is one of the fastest-growing kinds of malware.

Every operating system are vulnerable to virus infections

All computer users should consider installing a complimentary, third party antivirus tool. At the moment, most operating systems have a free tool pre-installed, but you should also consider buying or downloading another application. Our data indicate that the programs included in most operating systems aren’t nearly as effective.

The only best solution to quitting a malware infection would be to use an antivirus application. These tools always scan your computer or mobile device and your internet browser, searching for known viruses and anything that looks and behaves like a virus. When a suspected virus is detected, the application will automatically quarantine it, preventing it from penetrating your device. Then you’ll get a message that provides you the option to either delete the file if it is a virus or launch it if it was a false positive.

If you are installing an antivirus tool on a system that is already infected, you may also use the application to scan the device and remove any preexisting malware or other ailments.

Windows antivirus

Though Mac users must also consider getting an antivirus tool, Windows users, in particular, have the greatest need. More than 99% of malware that is was specially designed to infect Windows computers.

This doesn’t mean that Windows computers are inherently more vulnerable than Mac computers. However, the incidence of viruses affecting Windows computers means that as a Windows user, you’re simply more likely to run into a virus at some point when browsing the net or using your own email.

Mac antivirus

Among the greatest threats for Mac users is complacency. Although most viruses that exist were designed for Windows computers, Mac computers continue to be susceptible to getting virus infections.

Especially, there are far fewer antivirus programs that exist for Mac computers, largely due to the much lower number of Mac computers and fewer number of viruses affecting Mac computers. Because of this, our study only focuses on Windows computers. Nevertheless, you can get a listing of the top 10 free av software for Mac here.

Linux antivirus

There is a continuing debate in the Linux community about whether antivirus is essential for this operating system. The argument is basically the same as with Mac users. Since there are fewer Linux users, in addition, there are far fewer viruses attacking Linux operating systems.

However, we have discovered that Linux computers can and do get viruses. You can discover more here in our analysis on Linux viruses.

Android and iOS antivirus

Viruses on mobile devices are much less common, but they do exist. One of the mobile device worlds, the situation is comparable to Windows vs. Mac. In case you have an Android device, you’re incredibly vulnerable to virus infection, especially from malicious program downloads.

According to cellular cybersecurity company Lookout, phishing is one of the largest threats facing mobile users. Significantly, many mobile users aren’t ready to stop phishing attempts, which increasingly come in the form of spam text messages.

Lots of the antivirus tools we cover in our data offer mobile tools. But, there are also many tools available specifically for Android and iOS devices.


How to Select An Antivirus Program

Utilizing independent antivirus laboratory tests, we have gathered data on over 30 AV tools presently available to consumers and businesses. We then created a tool that compares every tool based on its ordinary laboratory test results across the three Main categories tested:

  • Protection: Just how efficiently each tool identifies and stops malware
  • False Positives: How often each tool erroneously labels protected programs as malware
  • Performance: The overall impact each tool has on system tools (like memory and CPU use)

There were 5 testing labs’ data used in our investigation:

  1. AV-Test
  2. AV-Comparatives
  3. SE Labs
  4. Virus Bulletin
  5. MRG Effitas

Each laboratory maintains different evaluation standards and methods. By way of instance, AV-Test makes a score out of 6 for every class. Meanwhile, AV-Comparatives assigns a score out of 100 for Protection, but utilizes the raw number of False Positives rather than creating a score.

Additionally, not each laboratory tested all the identical AV tools, and a few, such as MRG Effitas, didn’t test for all three classes (MRG Effitas only offers Protection results).

To account for these differences, we chose averages and made alterations to equalize their evaluations. We also created our graphs to differentiate how many laboratory tests each AV software appeared in.

Furthermore, we added additional filters to help customers identify which tools could be the best value. For that, we included a minimum purchase price, the amount of devices allowed for the purchase, and a mean score based on other customer review websites, where available.

A Note on Avast and AVG

While Avast performed exceptionally well in our review, this service now includes a warning. A Motherboard and PCMag analysis published in January 2020 discovered that Avast wasn’t only secretly recording and gathering consumer web browsing data, but was then selling that information for gain. According to the report, Avast was listing “Each search. Every click. Every buys. On each site”. The business was then selling that information to significant companies, including Google and Microsoft.

The information was sent to and processed by Avast-owned firm Jumpstart, which promoted and sold the information. Since the report printed, Avast murdered its Jumpstart subsidiary firm, but the damage had already been done.

Notice that Avast also owns AVG, which makes this well-rated antivirus program suspect also.

Outside of those concerns, both Avast and AVG are well-performing antivirus tools. However, consumers who have additional concerns might want to prevent these tools in favor of additional equivalently-rated programs.

Results overview

There are a couple of interesting takeaways in the data that may attract customers.

First, it must be said that virtually every AV tool in the marketplace that was analyzed by the 5 testing labs performed similarly regarding Protection. That means that virtually any instrument you buy is probably going to identify, quarantine, and malware from your system using a high level of success. Of the tools analyzed from the labs, only 4 received sub-par scores:

  1. ViriT eXplorer PRO: 40.83/100
  2. Webroot Antivirus: 72.75/100
  3. Rising Security Cloud Client: 77.86/100
  4. Quick Heal Total Security: 79.40

Others received aggregated scores of 90/100 or better. This means customers’ best option is to consider more carefully the different areas of value: Performance, False Positives, Price, and the amount of devices allowed per purchase.


Only two testing labs (AV-Test, AV-Comparatives) quantified the AV tools they analyzed for system impact. Of those tested, the best 3 tools were:

  • eScan Internet Security Suite
  • Ahnlab V3 Internet Security
  • Panda Free Antivirus

Ahnlab isn’t readily available to customers, however, and while Panda Free Antivirus scored well in functionality, its false positives score was extremely subpar. This makes eScan Internet Security Suite the finest in this category.

False Positives

Four testing labs utilized False Positives as a step for testing. Not every instrument showed up in each laboratory test, however, and we had to make some alterations particularly for AV-Comparatives, which didn’t create a normal score for this category but rather offered only gave a raw number (e.g., the complete amount of false positives each tool sent back).

25 tools in this class scored a perfect 100, meaning that they didn’t send back any false positives. However, when you think about the Operation and Protection scores, the best tools in this class are:

  • eScan Internet Security
  • Vipre Advanced Security

EScan comes out on top in this class also, although Vipre performed markedly better in the Protection category, whereas eScan scored a perfect 100 Performance and False Positives.

Cost (free)

Fairly obviously, most customers would rather have a free tool versus a paid one. And indeed, a number of the free tools available on the market are high-quality alternatives worth considering.

The best free antivirus tools on the market, based on score averages across all three classes, include:

  • Tencent PC Manager
  • Avira Free Security Suite

Consumers might also want to think about using Microsoft Windows Defender, which comes packed with any fresh installation of Windows, or Panda Antivirus Free. Those two tools score well in the Security and Performance categories, but badly in False Positives.

Cost (paid)

So far as low-cost possibilities, however, there are a couple of stand-out AV tools which may provide great quality and value, while there are a few notable exceptions which are much too expensive for what they provide.

One of the tools that are paid, the best include:

  • NANO Antivirus: $12.03 for 500 days (may not be available to US or UK customers)
  • Arcabit Antivirus: $23.64/year
  • Avira Antivirus Guru: $35.99/year
  • G-Data Internet Security: $39.95/year
  • Comodo Internet Security: $39.99/year
  • eScan Internet Security: $49.95/year

Beyond these, most services cost $50/year or longer, and really, the services with the best test results are also finally one of the priciest. EScan is the sole exception, which makes it among the best-paid choices based on its favorable test results.

A few tools are not really worth the purchase price, however, since they’re both expensive and poor acting. These include:

  • Quick Heal Total Security: $74/year
  • PC Pitstop: $50/year

Other available resources might still be worth the cost when consumers take into account other features. Individual investigation of these features could be prudent prior to make a final decision based on cost.

Minimum apparatus per purchase

Most AV businesses charge more money a month to get more device installations. However, each provides a specific number of device installations for the base cost. Typically, you can install the software on multiple devices for one of their price tags. If You Have to pay multiple devices while saving money, two AV tools are standout choices:

  • McAfee Internet Security: 10 devices, $89.99/year
  • Total Defense Premium: 5 devices, $79.99/year

Those seeking to cover many devices might be better served with one of these choices, all of which have great evaluation results as well.