The best antivirus software 2022

All Windows machines need one of the best antivirus programs to stay protected from malware and other cyber threats. While Microsoft Defender Antivirus may be enough to protect your PC from infection, it simply cannot match the extra features available with paid antivirus software. Most high-end security suites and even some mid-range security suites include VPNs, password managers, parental controls, or identity theft protection – all cheaper if you buy one for each feature alone.

Each of the Windows antivirus programs on this list has its own malware detection engine, but it’s the new features that come with different price points. An antivirus company can offer a free program, a basic paid program, a mid-range program with more features, and finally a premium product complete with all both bells and whistles. However, you can also get Mac antivirus, Android antivirus, and iOS security apps along with them.

What is the best antivirus software?

Our top pick for the best antivirus is Norton 360 with LifeLock Select because it offers great malware protection and lots of extras, including unlimited VPN and LifeLock identity protection. However, all of this comes at a cost – $99/year for the first year ($150 on renewal). At just $20/year for the first year ($40 on renewal), the entry-level Bitdefender Antivirus Plus plan is the best deal in antivirus software. It offers a ton of features, including a password manager, secure browser, Wi-Fi network scanner, file shredder, and ransomware protection, for a price a lot less than Norton. If you want to save even more, Windows Defender is the best free antivirus available today. While not as effective as Norton, it still beats some paid programs when it comes to detecting malware. It doesn’t have a lot of extras, but you do get parental controls, game modes, and protections for Microsoft’s Edge browser.

Any of these three will serve you well, but the ideal choice depends on your situation. Check out our section on choosing the best antivirus below or our standalone antivirus buying guide. Our free leaderboard instantly follows our paid leaderboard below. Editor’s note: Future, the parent company of Tom’s Guide, has decided to no longer do business with Russian companies, including Kaspersky. We remain committed to helping our readers source and find the best products and will provide a variety of alternatives in relevant categories.

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