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10 Best Antivirus Software in 2023 (Tested Free & Paid)

Lucca RF
Last Updated by Lucca RF on April 24, 2023

There are hundreds of antiviruses on the market, all claiming to be the best at defending your devices against malware and other digital threats. However, during my extensive testing, I’ve seen how poorly many of these antiviruses actually perform.

Modern antivirus software delivers a full security suite with multiple features alongside its malware protection. I’ve analyzed the anti-malware performance, features, performance, pricing, customer support, and plenty more for each antivirus, to find the best in 2023.

Given how fast online threats can change, I keep this list updated to ensure our top picks are ready for the task. However, Norton 360 impressed me the most this year. With perfect malware detection rates and powerful additional features, including the best VPN, I found that Norton 360 took the crown as the best antivirus of 2023.

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Quick Guide: Best Antivirus Software in 2023

  1. Norton 360 — #1 antivirus with perfect detection rates and well-rounded features. Try Norton 360 now!
  2. McAfee — A lightning-fast integrated VPN for speedy and secure connections, but its live chat support can be slow at times.
  3. TotalAV — Uses advanced existing tech providers for a high-performance advantage, but it has slow customer support.
  4. IOLO — A great balance between antivirus and actually useful device optimization, but it only supports Windows.
  5. Bitdefender — Great range of features but has limited VPN data on all but 1 plan.

How I Tested & Rated the Top Antivirus Software in 2023

This is the criteria I use to judge whether a particular antivirus is worth downloading:

  • Powerful antivirus engine — With ever-evolving digital threats, you need an antivirus with high malware detection rates that can keep up with the latest malware. This includes viruses, ransomware, rootkits, phishing attacks, and more.
  • No (or limited) false positives — Though relatively harmless, false positives can be a nuisance to solve if they impact necessary files.
  • Quality extra features — I’ve grown tired of being marketed additional features that offer nothing of value or that are worse than free versions you can find elsewhere. If an antivirus includes additional features, it must be useful and not just added bloat.
  • Performance impact — I shortlisted antivirus suites that offer a mix of security and high performance, so even older hardware can benefit. Strong security is excellent, but I made sure it didn’t come at the expense of your device’s performance.
  • Ease of use — I paid attention to how detailed explanations are, if menus are simple to navigate, and how easily accessible frequently-used options are. Whether you’re a cybersecurity expert or a complete beginner, navigating antivirus software should be intuitive and easy.
  • Device compatibility — Ideally, I look for an antivirus that supports as many devices as possible, from Windows to Mac and even mobile security.
  • Value for money — I evaluated the performance of each brand’s features, device licenses, and whether there’s a free trial or money-back guarantee. I personally feel that every antivirus on this list is worth the investment.
  • Responsive customer support — Even better if it’s available through various channels, with live chat being particularly important.

10 Best Antivirus Software (Tested April 2023)

1. Norton — #1 Malware and Virus Protection for All Devices

Quick Look: Norton Results

Security Advanced — 100% protection rate, 3 scan types, advanced firewall, ransomware protection, phishing protection, and Safe Web browser extension
Features Excellent — Cloud backup, parental controls, VPN, password manager, and SafeCam webcam blocker
Native apps All main devices — Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
Device connections Up to 10 (depends on the plan)
Customer support Live chat, phone, and community forum
Money-back guarantee 60 days
Minor cons No torrenting support on VPN
Best Price $9.99/Year

Try Norton risk-free for 60 days

Norton stands out as the best antivirus in 2023 with its powerful security and high-performing features. This includes the best scanning and real-time protection rates that I’ve tested, generous cloud storage, and an unlimited data VPN. You get all of this at an affordable price for such a well-rounded suite.

During my independent testing, Norton’s scans and real-time protection detected 100% of threats! This puts it firmly at the top of the antivirus leaderboard and makes it my #1 choice for all-round threat protection. When Norton detects a threat, it displays a notification, and then you can choose whether to delete, quarantine, or ignore the danger.

I was overall very impressed with Norton’s scanning capabilities. While testing, the quick scan took 2 minutes to analyze about 11,400 files, while the full scan took 12 minutes for 778,000. I was impressed by these times, and I didn’t even notice any slowdown on my device while the scans were running.

Screenshot of Norton's quick scan results screen.
You can schedule Norton’s Quick Scan to check your device on every system boot

I believe an antivirus should protect as passively as possible — you don’t want to spend time setting everything up manually. Fortunately, Norton’s firewall is well-configured by default, so you’re protected right away. It has an integrated whitelist of programs it deems safe and learns over time to monitor and automatically block programs if it notices suspicious behavior.

Many antivirus brands also have extra features that are either useless or not well-developed, but Norton’s features all add plenty of value. I especially like the VPN, which is available on every Norton plan. The VPN uses L2TP/IPsec encryption to hide your data from your ISP, hackers, and even government agencies. It also replaces your IP address so its servers work with streaming platforms like Netflix US and HBO Max.

Screenshot of Norton 360's VPN unblocking Netflix US.
I enjoyed the unlimited access to Netflix US and HBO that Norton Secure VPN offered

Another one of my favorite tools is encrypted Cloud Backup, which gives you up to 75GB (and for US customers with LifeLock up to 250GB) of data to store your most valuable files. Even if ransomware infects your device, your files stored in the cloud will remain safe. In addition, you get access to Parental Control features if you choose the Deluxe plan or above. It allows you to block specific websites and apps, track how much screen time your child uses, or completely lock the device.

Norton’s cheapest price plan is $9.99 but I recommend the Deluxe plan as it offers the best overall value for your money. You get 5 licenses to the overall security suite, Norton Secure VPN, 50GB of encrypted cloud storage, and parental controls. This gives you the best balance of adequate coverage across multiple devices, without the full identity theft protection and recovery that many people will find unnecessary.

You can try Norton for free for 60 days with its money-back guarantee, and see how it runs on your own devices. Getting a refund is as easy as contacting Norton’s support through their 24/7 live chat. I’ve even tested this myself to ensure the whole refund process is legitimate. It took less than 5 minutes to get the refund approved, and I had the money back in my account 5 days later.

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2. McAfee — Best Antivirus for Comprehensive Internet Security

Quick Look: McAfee Results

Security Advanced — 100% protection results, 3 scan types, ransomware blocking, cryptojacking defence, advanced firewall, phishing protection, vulnerability scanner
Features Excellent — High-speed VPN, file shredder, password manager, parental controls, QuickClean file cleanup tool, identity theft protection (US only)
Native apps All main devices — Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
Device connections Unlimited (depends on plan)
Customer support Live chat, phone, and community forum
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Minor cons Slow live chat support
Price increases after first subscription year
Best price $39.99/Year

Try McAfee risk-free for 30 days

McAfee is an excellent antivirus with powerful real-time protection against malware. McAfee’s features all perform exceptionally well and make this antivirus genuine value for money — although it still slightly lags behind Norton’s huge range of features.

During tests, McAfee’s scans detected 100% of malware threats (an impressive feat that few antiviruses achieve). You can choose between quick scan, full scan, and custom scan, depending on whether you want to scan the most vulnerable parts of your device or the entire hard drive. McAfee’s real-time protection also detected 100% of the most recent cyberattacks. It uses its Global Threat Intelligence system to analyze existing malware and viruses to predict future threats.

In addition, McAfee’s Ransom Guard tool monitors your device for potentially malicious changes to your files or folders. If anything is detected, you’ll be notified by the app to take action. I found this to be a great feature, although it lacks the cloud backup feature that makes Norton’s ransomware protection stand out.

In terms of extra features, I’m particularly impressed with McAfee’s fast VPN. I reached average speeds of 125Mbps when connected to servers in Germany, the UK, US, and Australia, which is plenty for high-speed downloading, streaming, and general browsing. With McAfee’s VPN you can even watch Netflix — it supports Netflix US, UK, and Germany depending on where you are located. Unfortunately, I couldn’t use any other streaming services like Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video, as they were detected and blocked.

Along with the VPN, you’ll have access to a password manager (it also stores credit card information and notes) and parental controls. I also found “My Home Network” to be a valuable add-on. This feature maps all of the devices on your home Wi-Fi network, providing an easy-to-understand overview of your online security with the ability to lock out potential intruders.

One of McAfee’s more unique features is its secure file shredder. If you keep any sensitive data on your computer, you should never delete it in the usual way or it can be easily recovered if someone gets access to your device or drive. McAfee’s Shredder tool overwrites your data up to 10 times to ensure your sensitive files are securely deleted. Some other antiviruses include this tool, but it isn’t as common as many other features. Overall McAfee is one of my top antiviruses for Windows due to this feature-packed suite.

Screenshot of McAfee's Shredder feature
You can ensure your most sensitive files are securely deleted with McAfee’s File Shredder

For $39.99 you get McAfee’s most affordable Basic plan — although this only offers malware and VPN protection for 1 device. The Premium plan offers the best value for money, with support for unlimited devices, 5 secure VPN licenses, identity monitoring, and parental controls. If you need more advanced identity theft protection with financial coverage, you should take a look at the Advanced plan. I was also glad to see that you can sign up for the AntiVirus Plus plan for pure antivirus protection at a cheaper price, in case you don’t need any of the extra features.

If you’re looking for a solid antivirus that’s coupled with a blazing-fast VPN, I highly recommend McAfee. You can try it for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. While I didn’t like that I had to request a phone call from support to ask for a refund, it was surprisingly fast! It only took 15 minutes in total from my initial request to getting the phone call and refund approval.

Try McAfee risk-free for 30 days

3. TotalAV — Best for Beginners With Easy-to-Use Apps

Quick Look: TotalAV Results

Security Advanced — 100% detection while scanning and 99% during real-time protection, ransomware, spyware, adware protection, and firewall
Features Excellent — VPN, password manager, Web Shield browser extension, ad blocker, and data breach notifier
Native apps All main devices — Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
Device connections Up to 10 (depends on the plan)
Customer support Live chat, email, phone, and online knowledge base
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Minor cons Slow customer support
Price increases after first subscription year
Best price $19.00/Year

Try TotalAV risk-free for 30 days

TotalAV is a top antivirus offering protection from all forms of malware, including ransomware, spyware, adware, and network-based attacks. It offers a decent range of additional security features too, like a VPN and password manager. Above all, I found TotalAV’s apps are incredibly easy to use, making it a great option if you’re new to antivirus software or prefer simple software.

In tests, TotalAV achieved 100% detection rates while scanning and 99% during real-time protection. This makes it one of the most secure antiviruses on the market and left me feeling safe while surfing the web. You can choose between 3 scan types depending on your needs — full system scan, quick scan, or custom scan. You can also use the Smart Scan to delete tracking cookies from your browser, duplicate files to free up disk space, and see which programs slow down your device at startup.

TotalAV also uses another existing cybersecurity provider, Windscribe, to run its VPN. This gives it a performance advantage over other antivirus VPNs that build their own infrastructure. I reached an average download speed of 107Mbps between the US, UK, Germany, and Australia servers. This is plenty for browsing, streaming, and even heavy downloading — which you can take full advantage of with the unlimited data servers. You can even access your home streaming libraries while traveling with TotalAV, with support for Netflix US, UK, Canada, Germany, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO Max.

Screenshot of TV show Schitt's Creek playing on Netflix US
I enjoyed the wide range of streaming platforms accessible with TotalAV’s VPN

You’ll also find several useful additional security features in TotalAV. With the password vault, you only need to remember one master password; it will auto-fill your credentials on all sites you visit. The ad blocker removes annoying and often dangerous ads for a more pleasant browsing experience. Finally, the Web Shield browser extension warns you when you’re about to visit a website flagged as a threat, keeping you safer online.

If you’re looking for TotalAV’s cheapest option, you’ll find it for $19.00 with its Antivirus Pro plan (3 devices). It’s a good deal, although it’s missing the extra devices and VPN connectivity you get with the Internet Security plan and the ad block and password manager of the Total Security plan. However, you can find good third-party ad blockers and password managers, so I’d recommend the middle-ground Internet Security option.

If you’re looking for an antivirus that offers advanced protection and useful features wrapped in a simple-to-use package, TotalAV is a great choice. I recommend you try TotalAV for free for 30 days with the money-back guarantee. I’ve done so myself by signing up for an annual subscription and testing it for a few weeks before contacting support via email. It took 2 days to get a reply but once I did, I got a refund confirmation just 3 hours later.

Try TotalAV risk-free!

4. iolo — Windows-Only Antivirus With Top-End Optimization Features

Quick Look: iolo Results

Security Advanced — 100% protection rate for Windows devices, 2 scan types,  firewall, and ransomware protection.
Features Excellent — PC cleanup, startup optimizer, speed up tools, drive scrubber, search and recover feature, and password manager.
Native apps Windows only
Device connections Unlimited
Customer support Live chat, phone, and knowledge base
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Minor cons
Only supports Windows
VPN is not included with antivirus software
Best Price $49.95/Year

Try iolo risk-free for 30 days

If you’re a Windows-only user, iolo offers a good mix of reliable malware detection alongside specialized PC optimization. If you want to keep your PC running as smoothly as possible while keeping it safe, iolo may be the perfect choice for you.

During testing with EICAR malware samples, iolo managed to detect and quarantine every malicious file on my system. For software that was primarily marketed towards Windows optimization rather than security, this left me impressed.

The main downside was the length of the Deep Scan, which took an hour and 20 minutes (compared to Norton’s 12 minutes or even McAfee’s 53 minutes). If you prefer high-speed scanning then the Quick Scan is a good option — it took under 1 minute for a scan that focuses on the most vulnerable parts of your system.

Screenshot of iolo blocking a malicious file download
I was surprised by how good iolo was at blocking malware for what was initially optimization software

Besides detecting malware, iolo focuses almost entirely on Windows optimization. This includes cleaning up junk files, unnecessary registry entries, browser data, temporary files, and more. Fortunately, it excels at finding and clearing up good amounts of space on my hard drive during tests.

Perhaps my favorite feature is the Startup Optimizer, which cut my computer’s startup time by over half. It’s also a feature not found with many other antiviruses on this list. iolo even showed me programs that Windows itself didn’t notify me were running at startup, demonstrating its ability to go beyond the usual offerings.

I’ve always disliked how much personal data Windows tracks, and, thankfully, iolo’s privacy features ensure that this stays to a minimum. It disables Microsoft’s data collection services, blocks certain programs from loading, and prevents browser fingerprinting. These Privacy Shield options are seldom found in antivirus software, even though I believe they should be part of a well-rounded cybersecurity mindset these days.

iolo’s base Malware Killer package will cost you a minimum of $49.95. However, if you choose iolo then you’ll likely want to take advantage of its other PC optimization features. I recommend the System Mechanic Ultimate Defense plan since it includes all of iolo’s optimization features while also retaining its malware-fighting and privacy-protecting features.

You can even install iolo on an unlimited number of PCs with a single plan as long as they’re on the same network. This is a surprisingly generous policy — even my top picks like Norton or McAfee place limits on installations.

I recommend you try iolo risk-free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. I’ve tested that this works myself — it’s as simple as emailing iolo’s affiliated payment processor with your order number and cancellation reason. I had a positive reply in less than 24 hours and received the money back in my bank account only 3 days later.

Try iolo risk-free!

5. Bitdefender — Powerful Antivirus Packed With Top-Notch Features

Quick Look: Bitdefender Results

Security Advanced — 100% malware detection and 99.7% real-time protection, 3 scan types, ransomware protection, advanced firewall, phishing protection, and Vulnerability Scanner
Features Excellent — Password manager, Safe Pay browser extension, parental controls, VPN, file shredder, and webcam and audio blocker
Native apps All main devices — Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, and select IoT devices
Device connections Up to 10 (depends on the plan)
Customer support Live chat, email, phone, and community forum
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Minor cons Parental controls affect entire PC (not individual accounts)
VPN has 200MB daily data cap on all plans except 1
Best price $19.99/Year — Free plan also available

Try Bitdefender risk-free for 30 days!

Bitdefender offers a well-rounded antivirus suite for beginners and advanced users alike. It has a combination of near-perfect detection rates and actually useful features to complement your device’s security in multiple ways.

Bitdefender’s antivirus engine achieved a 100% detection rate against known types of malware and 99.7% in real-time tests. Its engine is also cloud-based, so there’s a lot less work for your device to do, equalling much better performance. I was also impressed with its Ransomware Remediation tool, which analyzes which files are at risk in real-time and securely backs them up. Once it has shut down the ransomware threat it can recover your data without losing a single file in the process. You can also use the decryptor tool to attempt to rescue your data in the event that you don’t have a backup. Together, these tools vastly reduce the danger that ransomware poses.

Bitdefender desktop threat notifications.
Bitdefender prevented me from accidentally visiting any dangerous websites

Bitdefender has a range of useful features, like the File Shredder to completely erase sensitive files, the webcam and audio blocker to prevent digital eavesdropping, and the Safe Pay browser extension for secure online transactions. I particularly like Bitdefender’s password manager, which can save logins, banking information, emails, Wi-Fi passwords, and more. In my tests, Bitdefender filled my login details on all tested sites in just a second!

If you have a family, you’ll like the parental control tools, too. You can track how much time your child spends on specific websites and apps or block them altogether. Unfortunately, the parental controls apply to the entire device (not specific users), so this could be an issue if you share a computer with your kids. Norton, in contrast, connects user accounts to each child, making it easier to monitor on an individual basis.

Bitdefender is also one of the better antivirus suites that comes bundled with a VPN, which shares infrastructure with the well-known Hotspot Shield. Only the most expensive tiers offer unlimited data on the VPN — every other package only provides 200MB of data each day. This is good enough for casual web browsing and checking emails but not much else.

For $19.99 you can get access to Bitdefender’s Antivirus Plus plan, which is a decent option if you already have a firewall set up and don’t need the parental controls. However, I personally used and recommend the Total Security plan. It includes all the basic features, plus a password manager, file shredder, firewall, and anti-theft tools.

You can try Bitdefender for free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. To confirm if this works, I sent Bitdefender an email requesting a refund. It took 5 days to get a reply, but, fortunately, the representative didn’t waste my time with any follow-up questions. I had the money back in my account just 5 days later.

Try Bitdefender risk-free!

6. Panda — Solid Malware Protection With Some Unique Features

Quick Look: Panda Results

Security Great — 99.7% malware detection and 100% real-time protection rates, ransomware protection, spyware protection, and adware protection
Features Average — Rescue kit, process monitor, app control, password manager, parental controls, VPN, gaming mode, anti-theft, data security, and web protection
Native apps All main devices — Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
Device connections Unlimited (depends on plan)
Customer support Live chat, email, phone, and community forum
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Minor cons VPN has 150MB daily data cap on all plans except 1
Slow and unhelpful customer support via live chat and email
Best price $23.99/Year — Free plan also available

Try Panda risk-free for 30 days

Panda is a powerful antivirus for core malware protection, with the addition of a few unique and expected features fleshing it out. With 99.7% detection during malware scans and 100% protection in a real-time environment, Panda proved that it’s good enough to be ranked alongside the best antiviruses on the market.

To the best of my knowledge, Panda’s application control feature can’t be found in any other antiviruses. You can select which programs installed on your PC can be run, turning your PC into an increasingly secure closed system. If any apps attempt to install themselves or change your settings, Panda will notify you. This isn’t just great for seasoned security experts — even new users should find this a simple and powerful tool to secure their device with.

Screenshot of Panda's Application Control configuration menu
For added security, you can configure Panda to only allow specific programs to run

Rescue Kit is another unique feature — it allows you to create a rescue USB drive to recover a computer that’s so badly infected that it can’t be booted, as well as detect advanced viruses with its deep-scan Cloud Cleaner. I also like the anti-theft tools, which you can use to track or remotely wipe all of your devices, take photos of people trying to log in, and more. In terms of general file privacy, you can also use Panda to encrypt files and to be notified if anyone attempts to access files or folders flagged as sensitive. This is especially useful if you’re sharing a device.

I was less impressed with Panda’s VPN, which had good speeds but extremely limited data on all but 1 plan. Comparatively, Norton’s Secure VPN surprised me with its high speeds and totally unlimited data, so you never have to worry about being disconnected. Panda’s gaming mode also worked decently but wasn’t as effective as BullGuard at optimizing my PC.

At $23.99, Panda’s Dome Essential plan is it’s most affordable. It includes malware scanning and real-time protection but is missing out on ransomware protection, parental controls, and password manager. Panda’s Complete plan offers the best value, including all of the above. Unlimited data VPN connectivity is only available with Panda’s Premium plan. However, I’d recommend you combine Panda with one of the other top VPNs on the market since its own VPN didn’t impress me.

You can try Panda’s unique features with a free trial for 30 days. You can even use the 30-day money-back guarantee afterward, giving you a total of 60 days risk-free. I verified the refund policy by signing up for a month, testing its features, and then submitting a refund request through the online form. My refund was approved in under 3 hours and I had the money back in 8 days.

Try Panda risk-free!

7. Avira — Fantastic Detection Rates With Few False Positives

Quick Look: Avira Results

Security Great — 95% malware detection and 99.96% real-time protection rates, 2 scan types, ransomware protection, and phishing protection
Features Average — Optimization tools, VPN, Password Manager, Avira Safe Shopping, File Shredder, and Disk Defragmenter.
Native apps All main devices — Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS
Device connections 25
Customer support Live chat, email, phone, and knowledge base
Money-back guarantee 60 days
Minor cons Unreliable email and phone support
In-app unselling attempts
Best price $26.99/Year — Free plan also available

Try Avira free

Avira excels at malware detection, achieving 95% detection rates during scans and a near-perfect 99.96% in real-time protection. Avira is one of the few antivirus programs to fully integrate its cloud scanning with both its regular scan as well as real-time protection, which helps it always stay up-to-date with the latest threats as well as be less resource intensive on your system.

Besides Avira’s top-notch detection rates, it also surprised me and my team with its impressively low amount of false positives (just 6 — industry average is 16!). A false positive is when an antivirus program flags a harmless file as a malicious one. The outcome of this can range from minor annoyances to major issues, like when files that are crucial to the running of your system or specific programs are suddenly deleted. Fortunately, this never happened to me with Avira.

Avira’s apps are easy to use and navigate across all supported devices
Avira’s apps are easy to use and navigate across all supported devices

Although not all of Avira’s extra features are worth mentioning, it does have a few that help it stand out from the crowd. Its device optimization tools (like the junk file cleaner) are useful for speeding up your PC and making extra space on your hard drive. The Hyper Boost tool also reduced our test PC’s regular startup time from 180 seconds to just 62 seconds — significantly faster than the 25% that Avira advertises. Game Booster is also worth mentioning since it limits background apps and optimizes system performance so your games run more smoothly.

My experience with Avira’s VPN was surprisingly good, with consistently good speeds and connectivity. It couldn’t access as many streaming platforms as Norton’s Secure VPN, but Netflix and Disney+ access were solid. Perhaps most impressively, you can install Avira’s Phantom VPN on an unlimited number of devices, which is rarely seen in VPNs overall, let alone antivirus-bundled VPNs.

For $26.99 you get access to Avira’s Internet Security plan, which offers antivirus protection, a password manager, and a software updater. It’s actually cheaper than the basic Antivirus Pro plan (only antivirus protection), although keep in mind that the 2nd year renews at a higher rate. The only way to get Avira’s VPN and optimization tools is with its Prime plan (somehow cheaper than buying the VPN alone). It’s also the only plan that supports up to 25 devices instead of just 5, making it a value-driven choice for families or if you need coverage for lots of devices.

I recommend that you try Avira risk-free for 60 days with its money-back guarantee. You’ll have to contact Avira support via email to get a refund, so you should contact them at least 3 days prior to your refund period ending. Fortunately, I received a positive reply within 1 day and had the money back in my account the day after that.

Try Avira risk-free!

8. Intego — The Best macOS Antivirus

Quick Look: Intego Results

Security Advanced — 100% malware detection, VirusBarrier, 2 scan options, macOS 2-way firewall, ransomware protection, and phishing protection.
Features Average — Secure browsing, advanced parental controls, Mac clean-up, and personal backup.
Native apps Windows and Mac
Device connections 5
Customer support Live chat, email, phone, and knowledge base
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Minor cons Window’s app is bare-bones compared to Mac client
Live chat is not 24/7
Best price $19.99/Year

Try Intego risk-free for 30 days

Intego is a highly specialized antivirus that succeeds at its aim: being the best antivirus on macOS. With top protection from the latest threats on Mac (including malware aimed at Windows or Linux devices), and combined with its useful feature set, Intego is a compelling value proposition for Mac users.

Intego detected 100% of malicious files on our test Macbook, putting it far ahead of the 85% average on macOS antiviruses. This applies not only to Mac-specific malware but also to Windows and Linux, to prevent the spread of dormant malware across devices on the same network. It’s a great addition that’s perfect for households with a mix of devices.

I was pleasantly surprised that this high protection only minimally affects system performance. In my tests, Intego beat the industry average across all metrics, from performance during application launch (50% faster) to file transfers to external drives (over 90% faster).

You can also use Intego’s other features, which I’ve rarely seen as such a cohesive package elsewhere on macOS. This includes powerful parental control features that can be used to block specific websites, monitor or block chat programs, schedule screen time, and more. The Washing Machine feature is well-executed but nothing too standout — it simply frees up and organizes space on your device. Perhaps my favorite and most powerful feature is NetBarrier, a macOS 2-way firewall that can be customized to your liking. Since it’s 2-way, it means it can also monitor and block specific outbound traffic on your network, rather than only inbound traffic, acting as an additional layer of security.

Screenshot of Intego NetBarrier user interface protecting incoming and outgoing network traffic
Intego’s 2-way firewall is a powerful feature that’s rarely seen on macOS

You can sign up for Intego’s basic Internet Security X9 plan for $19.99, which comes with the core antivirus protection and the NetBarrier firewall for 1, 3, or 5 devices. If all you’re worried about is basic security, it’s a fine choice. However, I found that Intego’s Premium Bundle X9 is the best value overall since it contains both of the above, supports 5 devices as standard, plus Personal Backup, ContentBarrier parental controls, and Washing Machine.

If you want to see whether Intego is the best choice for your macOS device, you can try it risk-free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. I signed up to test the service out for myself and then reached out to Intego live chat support to request a refund within the month. The agent immediately approved my request with no questions asked, and I had the money back within 10 days.

Try Intego risk-free!

9. MacKeeper — A Mac-Only Antivirus With Some Innovative Features

Quick Look: MacKeeper Results

Security Average — 100% malware detection, 2 scan options, adware cleaner, and ransomware projection.
Features Average — VPN, ad blocker, ID theft guard, disk cleanup tool, and smart uninstaller.
Native apps Mac
Device connections 3
Customer support Live chat, email, and phone
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Minor cons Only supports Mac — does not support iOS
Can’t remove rootkits
Best price $3.99/month

Try MacKeeper risk-free for 30 days

MacKeeper is a top-notch Mac-only antivirus with powerful detection capabilities to secure your device. I was also impressed by its several useful additional features that will help you keep your device working at peak efficiency while plugging more security holes.

During our lab tests, MacKeeper picked up 100% of viruses, trojans, worms, and ransomware files released over the past 4 months — putting it right at the top of the pack. The main letdown in this aspect is that MacKeeper can’t detect rootkits, which are dangerous programs that can provide deep access to a device to a malicious outside party. It also skips phishing protection, which is a growing and crucially important attack vector. Meanwhile, our other top macOS antivirus, Intego, had no issues detecting either of these threats.

MacKeeper has a generous number of additional features, with the VPN, ID Theft Guard, and Update Tracker particularly standing out to me. The VPN is actually quite capable, with a good choice of servers and adequate (but not great) speeds. The ID Theft Guard will notify you whenever your login details are found in a data breach, allowing you to change them quickly before damage can be done. In terms of pure device security, the Update Tracker is a nice addition since it reduces the number of outdated programs that are potentially vulnerable to exploits.

Image of MacKeeper Update Tracker identifying apps that need updating
Keeping your software updated is essential to avoiding potential malware exploits

The only factor determining MacKeeper’s price is plan length and how many devices you need to protect. Since I only have 1 Mac device in my household, I went for the cheapest plan for$3.99. However, if you have more than 1 Mac in your household, the annual plan with 3 devices is well worth it, since it’s only 25% more expensive.

If you’re unsure whether to commit to a subscription or not, you can try MacKeeper with no risk for 30 days with its money-back guarantee (or 14 days with a monthly plan). To request a refund, you’ll have to use the online Refund Request Form, which isn’t particularly streamlined but does the job. Just a few hours after I’d done this myself, an agent contacted me and offered to give me a free extension. Once I turned it down, my refund was quickly approved and I had the money back 3 days later.

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10. Vipre — Affordable and Dependable Core Malware Protection

Quick Look: Vipre Results

Security Great — 100% malware detection, 99.5% real-time protection rates, ransomware protection, firewall, email protection and phishing protection.
Features Average — VPN, webcam blocker, , Secure File Eraser, and Document Vault.
Native apps Most devices — Windows, Mac, and Android
Device connections 5
Customer support Email, phone, and knowledge base
Money-back guarantee 30 days
Minor cons Extra features only available on premium plans at high price
Slow customer response
Best price $19.99/Year

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During my tests, I was extremely surprised by Vipre’s performance. It achieved 100% detection rates during malware scans and a near-perfect 99.5% in real-time rates. This puts it near the top of our malware rankings, although still not on the same level as Norton. It’s also extremely lightweight — I never noticed any slowdown on my test machine.

Core security is actually the main reason I’d recommend Vipre — I’m not sure if its additional features are worth the extra cost compared to the top antivirus programs on this list. However, if all you want is strong malware protection with a discounted first year, it’s not a bad option. The main issue is that the price jumps quite dramatically after the cheap first year — but if you’re happy signing up for just 1 year, it can still be a good choice.

Screenshot of the Vipre interface after a successful virus scan
Vipre’s strong core anti-malware detection elevates it above many other antivirus programs

Unfortunately, the available plans are a little confusing. You can get the Antivirus Plus plan for just $19.99, although it only supports Windows. Both the more expensive Advanced Security and Ultimate Security Bundles support Windows and macOS. However, the VPN is the only premium feature supported on Mac (and only on the priciest Ultimate plan). If you want protection on macOS you’re much better off with Intego or MacKeeper.

Although Vipre doesn’t make it too obvious, you can try it risk-free for 30 days with its money-back guarantee. The only 2 options to do so are by email or phone. So, after testing it out for a few weeks, I sent an email asking for a refund. I was glad to receive an email back after just 1 hour with a no-questions-asked approval. I had the money back just a few days later.

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Comparison Table: 2023’s Best Antivirus Software

99%+ Malware Detection Firewall VPN Free Plan Money-Back Guarantee
1. Norton 60 days
2. McAfee 30 days
3. TotalAV 30 days
4. IOLO 30 days
5. Bitdefender 30 days
6. Panda 30 days
7. Avira 60 days
8. Intego 30 days
9. MacKeeper 30 days
10. Vipre 30 days

Warning! Avoid These 2 Antivirus Brands

1. Avast

Avast and AVG (owned by Avast) are popular antivirus brands but no longer make the cut for me. This is because Avast was caught secretly collecting and selling private user data, including people’s Google searches and visits to adult websites. The company’s lack of ethics is extremely disappointing, especially since I was previously quite a fan of Avast and AVG’s powerful antivirus capabilities. Even though the company has since claimed to have stopped its data-selling operations, my trust is still shaken enough to keep it off this list.

2. Microsoft Defender

Microsoft Defender is free and built into every Windows device (so it doesn’t work on Mac, Android, or iOS). While Microsoft Defender does offer an additional layer of security, it falls short as a complete antivirus solution. It’s completely lacking many of the features of a modern premium antivirus, such as a VPN and fully-fledged parental controls, instead focusing purely on malware and phishing protection. In tests, it failed to detect some of the latest malware threats that the best antivirus brands easily blocked. New malware is constantly being released, so it’s an issue when Microsoft doesn’t update Defender regularly enough to flag the latest threats.

How to Choose the Best Antivirus for Your Operating System

Windows: NortonMost antivirus programs focus on Windows, meaning there’s a huge amount to choose from. Thanks to its top-of-the-line malware scanning scores, high performance, and premium features, Norton is the best AV for Windows.

Mac: Intego — Antiviruses often offer limited macOS support since their focus is mainly on Windows. Due to the way macOS sandboxes apps, antiviruses on the platform simply need to bolster any existing holes in the security setup and also have a simple user interface. For the above reasons, my top antivirus pick for macOS is Intego.

Android: Norton — Mobile threats are quite different from computer-based malware, and many mobile antiviruses aren’t up to the task. Norton is a fully-fledged antivirus for Android, with powerful malware scanning, device optimization, and other useful features to keep you secure on the go.

iOS: McAfee — iOS is built so that malware can’t affect it like other operating systems, but it can still benefit from good security software. For instance, with McAfee, you’re protected from malicious links and phishing, and can even use it for anti-theft and encrypting your private files.

FAQ: Antivirus Software in 2023

What is the Best Free Antivirus Program?

The best free antivirus program is Avira. Free antivirus software often comes with significant drawbacks, but Avira’s free plan offers a powerful antivirus solution without cutting too many corners. It has top-end malware detection rates and near-flawless real-time detection across both Windows and macOS. Although it’s missing some premium features such as the unlimited data VPN, file shredding and encryption, and more, Avira’s free offering is a powerful start.

Do I Need Antivirus Software?

Yes, antivirus software is absolutely essential in an online world full of ever-changing threats. Although common sense is essential in avoiding many online threats, you’ll almost certainly need an antivirus to help you watch for invisible threats and in moments when you may slip up.

A single misclick, file download, or falling for a phishing scam can be all it takes to ruin your day (and potentially much longer). It’s worth keeping in mind that it’s a lot easier to prevent these issues in the first place rather than trying to undo any damage done.

What is the best Antivirus of 2023?

Norton is the best antivirus of 2023. It has 100% detection rates for both file scans and real-time protection, making it one of the market leaders in pure anti-malware security. It also comes bundled with a number of other useful features, such as ransomware and phishing protection, an unlimited data VPN, encrypted cloud storage, parental controls, and much more. When you consider all its premium features for $9.99, Norton makes for a strong value proposition.

How does an Antivirus work?

Antivirus software actively scans your device both for known and unknown threats. This includes viruses, ransomware, keyloggers, and trackers, all of which can be easily downloaded by simply clicking on malicious links or downloading and running what may seem like harmless files. While malware in the past often actively damaged your device, nowadays the incentive is mostly financial.

Modern antivirus programs have a huge database of verified malware signatures, which they use to compare newly-found files against. If they’re a match, the file is quarantined for potential deletion. More advanced antivirus software also uses AI and machine learning to detect threats that aren’t yet in the database, helping keep you protected against threats that aren’t even known yet.

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Keep Your Devices Safe With The Best Antivirus of 2023

Since modern antiviruses no longer purely focus on virus protection, rather they include a whole host of other features to give them an edge. It can be a challenge to find what works best for you. Depending on your device, the number of devices that need protection, and additional features, there are a number of possible options.

However, after dozens of hours spent testing, I’ve found Norton 360 to be the best antivirus of 2023. It has 100% malware detection rates, fantastic phishing protection, a high-speed VPN, broad device compatibility, and extremely polished bonus features such as parental controls and encrypted cloud backup. Given how well Norton performs, it’s also impressive that it’s one of the more affordable packages on this list. While testing subsequent antiviruses I always found myself comparing to Norton as a standard, showing just how hard it is to go wrong with it.

Summary — Best Antivirus Software in 2023