Best Antivirus for Windows 10 in 2021 – Free & Premium Antivirus

Windows 10 is the most used operating system worldwide. However, this makes it the most targeted system in terms of hacks and malware threats. Therefore, all Windows users should install antivirus software to protect their PC, whether they use Windows 10 or an older version.

From blocking Trojans to protecting users from phishing scams, there are many ways in which antivirus protection can keep your Windows PC safe. Below we’ve compiled the best antivirus software solutions of 2021 for Windows 10, which consists of companies like McAfee, Norton, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Avast, Avira, AVG, and Trend Micro. Keep reading to learn more about the malware protection choices on offer.

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Do I Still Need Antivirus Software with Windows 10?

Whether you use purchased third-party antivirus software or built-in Microsoft Defender (formerly known as Windows Defender), you most definitely need active antivirus protection on your Windows PC. Here’s why:

Which Antivirus Software is Best for Windows 10?

Below are the best Windows 10 antivirus programs of 2021. All of the antivirus products below have been tried and tested by our team of experts and assessed against a long list of criteria, including malware and virus protection, extra features, ease of use, price, and customer service.

Continue reading to find out why the following antivirus programs made our list!

1. McAfee Antivirus

Top of the list of the best Windows 10 antivirus programs is McAfee Antivirus. McAfee Total Protection provides users with a ton of useful features to keep their Windows PC safe.

McAfee is a popular antivirus solution due to the high level of protection and features it has on offer. With the McAfee antivirus program installed on your Windows desktop, you can rest assured that your system will enjoy basic protection and undergo regular scans to check for any malware that could be hiding on your system.

As well as regularly scheduled scans, you can enable a scan at any time if you want peace of mind and ensure your system is free from viruses. With one tap of a button, you can choose between a Quick Scan or a Full Scan for a deeper look at your PC’s health.

There are specific web-focused features that help you enjoy exceptional internet security while online. Web protection can be switched on to block your access to risky websites and ensure that you don’t click on potentially dangerous links. You can also remove trackers via the McAfee client to keep your internet footprint private.

There are other excellent additional features available with this antivirus software and can be found in the Identity Theft Protection section of the Windows client. A password manager helps you store your login credentials, such as your online banking pin, in a safe place. There is also a file lock that keeps confidential files securely hidden away from snooping third parties. There is even a file shredder, which permanently erases files in your recycle bin.

The excellent add-ons don’t stop there, especially when it comes to protecting your personal information. McAfee’s antivirus program goes above and beyond to ensure your online accounts haven’t been involved in security breaches with its email address monitoring. This alerts you if your email address is involved in a leak.

Finally, there is a VPN included, which enables users to enjoy a secure web browser experience by hiding their private details. This feature is especially useful if you connect to a public wi-fi network.

Users can choose to purchase a plan that solely protects their Windows PC or opt for a family plan that protects 10 devices. You can test out this excellent malware protection with a 30-day free trial.

2. Norton Antivirus

Another titan in the antivirus software market is Norton antivirus. Norton offers many comprehensive antivirus packages, all of which provide very good malware protection to your Windows 10 system.

Norton 360 is Norton’s advanced antivirus protection, which comes brimming full of useful features. As well as basic virus protection which scans your system for viruses and offers real-time protection to block malicious software, there are many additional tools to keep your Windows PC safe.

There is also ransomware protection as well as spyware protection to ensure your system isn’t attacked, causing you to be exploited. Webcam protection stops cybercriminals from accessing your Windows webcam or taking photos from your webcam roll and then asking you for ransom not to release them.

Another excellent feature that is only for Windows and Mac PCs is the Smart Firewall. This tool watches all traffic sent to and received on your device, blocking online threats that could be malicious and infect your system. This is an essential feature for Windows users and something we’re glad to see Norton offers.

A password manager comes with all Norton 360 subscriptions, meaning you can store your passwords and account logins in an extremely safe place. As well as this, there is PC cloud backup, which ensures that your important files are saved should you accidentally break your Windows system or suffer a malfunction. The amount of data storage available increases depending on the plan you choose.

With Norton, users can take advantage of the Dark Web Monitoring feature. What this does is monitor the dark web for your personal information to ensure that cyber criminals are not selling your sensitive data on the dark web.

As well as the above, there is a VPN service included for a secure browser experience. As well as this, Norton has recently added parental controls to help ensure children stay safe while using their Windows computers to study or surf the web.

All plans come with a 60-day refund policy, which is extremely generous. As well as this, Norton has a virus protection promise, which states that if your system gets infected with a virus, you’ll be entitled to a full refund.

3. Bitdefender Antivirus

Bitdefender antivirus provides users with a wide choice of antivirus solutions. It has various antivirus programs on offer, including Bitdefender Total Security and even the Bitdefender antivirus free edition.

The features you get with Bitdefender are dependent on the plan you choose. Bitdefender Total Security is our favorite option since it offers antivirus apps for your Windows 10 system as well as Mac, iOS, and Android devices.

With Bitdefender, users can enjoy real-time protection to ensure that they have constant internet security. Your system will be protected from Trojans, worms, and other forms of malware that can seriously affect your device.

Thanks to its advanced cyber technology, Bitdefender can protect you from attacks on your network or brute force attacks. It also monitors active apps on your Windows PC with malware detection to immediately resolve any issues if it notices any suspicious activity.

When you’re surfing the web, you can enjoy active web protection, which stops you from visiting malicious websites that may contain viruses. There is also phishing protection to stop you from clicking on suspicious links or accessing websites that may try to scam you.

Bitdefender’s antivirus software includes some great privacy features to protect your data and identity. The wi-fi security advisor will alert you of any unsecured public wi-fi networks or routers, so you don’t connect to a network that cybercriminals are also using.

Other privacy tools included in this antivirus software are microphone and webcam protection to stop third parties from using these tools. There is also a password manager and a file shredder, which permanently removes documents and photos from your Windows PC.

As well as the above, you can take advantage of Bitdefender’s VPN service, which is included in its Total Security plan. Although this feature has recently been updated, it only offers users 200MB worth of data per day which is not a lot.

If you have children, you can enable parental controls. Not only do the parental controls allow you to monitor your users’ activity, but you can limit screen time and block access to unsafe websites.

Bitdefender’s free version features many of the features above but also lacks several others, such as the VPN. However, it is still a great free antivirus program.

4. Kaspersky Antivirus

Kaspersky Anti-Virus is the best Windows 10 antivirus software package that the provider offers. It is specially designed for Windows and offers real-time malware protection while promising optimal system performance.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus is a good choice if you only want an antivirus solution for your Windows PC. This product offers some of the best malware protection on the market and offers constant protection from internet threats, blocking malware, ransomware, and spyware that could infect your device. You can also run regular scans to check that nothing has worked its way into your system without your knowledge.

As well as this, there are anti-phishing features to prevent you from getting caught up in monetary scams. These features will block you from suspicious websites and links both online and sent in your email, which appear to be phishing links.

Kaspersky is also a great antivirus program is system performance is important to you. It helps your Windows 10 machine run fast by removing clutter from your drive and ensuring you have a smooth PC experience.

To enjoy more features on your Windows, you can subscribe to one of Kaspersky’s other plans: Internet or Total Security. These two subscription programs allow users to use the security software on various desktop and mobile devices, including Mac, iOS, and Android devices.

Some of the extra features include a VPN service that comes with a data allowance of 300MB per day, which is low but better than nothing. There is also an ad-blocker to prevent you from accidentally clicking on malicious ads that appear on your browser.

As well as the above, by choosing one of the multi-device antivirus programs, you can block trackers to hide your internet footprint. You can also employ webcam protection to stop cybercriminals from watching you without your knowledge.

Finally, there are a couple of great features which fall under the category of parental controls. You can block access to websites that feature adult content, limit screen time, and block access to the Windows PC if screen limits are met.

All programs come with a 30-day refund policy, giving you a chance to opt out of the service if it doesn’t meet your requirements.

5. Avast Antivirus

Avast is another leading name in cybersecurity solutions. The company is famous for its free antivirus protection program, but it also offers a decent premium plan.

Avast offers a premium solution that is packed full of useful tools. Alongside regular virus detection and blocks, ransomware protection ensures your files aren’t infected with this type of malware. This guarantees you won’t fall victim to attacks on your Windows system that result in you paying a lot of money to regain access to your computer.

As well as providing protection against ransomware, Avast also offers spyware protection. What this does is prevents spyware from infiltrating files on your computer, which in turn protects your data and privacy.

One aspect of Avast’s malware protection that we are really impressed by is its Remote Access Shield tool. This effectively blocks remote attacks on your system by hackers to ensure that no hackers can remotely try to compromise your Windows PC.

Many users now have saved login credentials on their desktop browsers; although, this is useful, it can be dangerous since cybercriminals can easily steal your passwords and access a lot of personal data. Fortunately, Avast has a password protection feature to stop this from happening when you use the autofill option.

The great advantages of Avast don’t stop there. You can stop hackers from watching you through your webcam and potentially taking incriminating photos. You can also permanently eliminate files on your computer to ensure that they are never recovered.

One of the best things about Avast’s software is that it prevents botnet attacks which could cause your computer to harm other systems. This doesn’t just help you but stops the spread of dangerous malware that could damage other users’ devices.

There is a 30-day free trial on all of Avast’s paid antivirus programs. Alternatively, you can use its free antivirus solution, although there are many limitations with this service.

6. Avira Antivirus

Avira antivirus is one of the best Windows 10 antivirus products because it offers both paid and free antivirus programs.

With Avira, you can take advantage of various antivirus programs. The provider’s Internet Security subscription plan is a great option for Windows systems. It offers strong ransomware protection to thwart hackers’ attempts to take hold of your data with malicious ransomware.

As well as anti-ransomware features, Avira detects other forms of malware to protect your computer from these. Not only does Avira prevent viruses from getting installed on your system, but it also runs regular scans to check that all of your apps are up to date. Avira also checks your network frequently for any vulnerabilities.

Avira is constantly updating its software, so you can expect the client to automatically update every so often with the latest security features. Not only this, but Avira can also update other installed software on your system when it is time to, so you don’t have to do anything except tap a button in the Avira antivirus client.

With Avira, you can expect an extremely secure browser experience. Avira is constantly running in the background as you browse the internet to block trackers, ads, and dangerous phishing websites.

Other great additional features include a built-in password manager that allows you to store your login credentials in a secure vault. Not only this, but the password manager will send you an alert if any of your stored accounts are breached, meaning you can take immediate action.

The free version is a good Windows antivirus option, especially if you want to save money; however, it doesn’t offer all of the features listed above, which is disappointing.

One impressive aspect of Avira that we really like is the fact that it doesn’t share or sell any of its customers’ data. If your privacy is important to you, then Avira is a great choice since it doesn’t misuse any user data.

If you want to try out Avira without signing up for a long-term plan, you can do so with the 30-day free trial. Alternatively, you can install the free antivirus program and upgrade if you like the service.

7. AVG Antivirus

With AVG antivirus, you can keep your entire Windows system safe and customize your experience with the software to suit your schedule and computer usage.

AVG antivirus has it all; from real-time web protection that protects your device from viruses, ransomware, and spyware and scans that check your system for signs of malicious activity or suspicious software.

If you don’t have a lot of time and want to run a quick scan, you can do so with AVG. The advanced software will run a turbo scan, skipping over files it has previously determined as safe to ensure that your system isn’t slowed down for too long during scanning. As well as this, there is the option to solely scan for apps that you may have downloaded without knowing.

Something fairly unique that AVG antivirus offers are its several modes that can improve your experience on your Windows system. The Do Not Disturb mode allows you to block pop-up notifications from apps installed on your device so that you can focus on a single task on your computer.

There is also a Silent Mode that stops updates, scans, and notifications from the AVG client so that you can browse the web or work without any distractions. Combined with the Do Not Disturb mode, you can enjoy a pleasant computer experience if you need to focus for a specified period of time.

Unlike many other software products, AVG automatically updates its client so that your software is always running on the latest technology. This guarantees that you receive the highest standard of protection with the latest security updates.

AVG provides many great privacy features; password protection is activated in all of your browsers to prevent third parties from stealing or changing your saved passwords in browsers. As well as this, there is webcam protection to stop cybercriminals from watching you while you use your Windows PC and a data shredder to permanently delete confidential files.

Another excellent feature that is useful nowadays is the Fake Website Shield. This stops users from accessing fake copies of real websites, which are set up to steal sensitive information such as credit card details. Instead, AVG will redirect you to the real website to ensure you don’t fall foul to phishing scams.

Finally, there is mobile protection included in the paid plan, which is good news for Windows users who also want to protect their Android or iOS system. There is also a free plan, which is great news if you don’t want to spend money on a subscription plan.

8. Trend Micro Antivirus

Trend Micro offers various subscription plans, including its Trend Micro Antivirus Security for Windows and the Trend Micro Maximum Security, which allows you to protect multiple devices at once.

Another one of the best antivirus software providers is Trend Micro. The company offers various plans to provide users with internet security and keep their Windows computers safe.

Firstly, there are various anti-malware tools on hand to keep users safe. As well as scanning documents you download and blocking malicious software, there is ransomware protection to ensure that this type of malware does not corrupt your system, potentially costing you thousands of dollars.

There is advanced AI learning, which is a great feature; this enables Trend Micro to learn about advancements in malware and be able to better protect your system from any new viruses that may appear.

An email filtering tool protects you from email scams by ensuring that you don’t click on any suspicious links. As well as this, there is online banking protection with Trend Micro Pay Guard, which safeguards your data when you make online transactions.

There are parental controls to keep your children safe when they use the Windows computer. You can block their access to certain websites and reduce their amount of screen time.

Overall, this company provides a great antivirus service, although its list of features is not as extensive as some of the other providers on the list.

What Is The Best Free Antivirus Software for Windows?

Many of the best antivirus software providers on our list also offer free antivirus protection. Although you’ll get the best antivirus protection with a paid plan, the free programs below include some great features. Here’s a brief overview of each free Windows 10 antivirus.

Avast Free Antivirus

Avast’s free antivirus is light and won’t slow down your Windows computer. It can detect and block viruses, analyze suspicious files, and alert you of any potentially dangerous wi-fi networks. As well as this, Avast can detect any sudden behavioral changes in apps which indicate the applications have been corrupted.

Avira Free Antivirus

Avira’s free software can protect you from phishing links, ransomware, adware, and many other forms of malware. It also blocks you from accessing dangerous websites, preventing them from loading and potentially causing damage to your system. Like Avast, Avira’s free Windows client is also light and runs fast.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Bitdefender provides constant protection from viruses, silently running the background at all times to stop your device from getting infected. It monitors your apps and your internet activity to block malware.

AVG Antivirus Free

The free AVG antivirus for Windows comes with a simple-to-use client that allows you to run quick scans to check for malware on your system. The free Windows antivirus also provides real-time protection to ensure that your device is never accidentally infected with malware.

Is Windows Defender Enough to Protect My PC?

Windows 10 features many great updates, such as Windows Defender (later renamed as Microsoft Defender). This antivirus program is automatically installed in Windows 10 systems and offers good protection; however, it lacks some of the advanced features that other antivirus products offer.

Firstly, while Windows Defender employs phishing protection, this only works in Microsoft Edge browsers. Therefore, if you use another browser and come across a phishing link, you might not be protected.

While there is a firewall and network protection and the ability to scan your Windows system and remove threats, Windows doesn’t offer additional services like a VPN, password manager, or any special modes to improve your experience with Windows.

If you don’t want to use a third-party antivirus product, you can activate Microsoft Defender. However, installing one of the antivirus software products from the list above won’t remove Microsoft Defender, but the service won’t be activated.

What Should I Look for in Antivirus Protection?

Here’s what you should be looking for in the best antivirus software for Windows:

Should I Use Malware Protection on All My Devices?

If your main device is a Windows computer, you may only think using the best antivirus software on your desktop PC is necessary. However, all devices you use to surf the web or use internet applications need to have antivirus software installed.

Most of the best Windows 10 antivirus programs offer subscription plans that support multiple devices. This means you can install the antivirus on your Windows computer and also use it on Android, iOS, and Mac systems.

So, if you have a smartphone that you use just as much or more than your Windows PC, you most definitely should install antivirus on it. This will protect you from all of the online threats that are out there and which could affect your devices or your personal data.

Author Madeleine Hodson

I’m Madeleine and I'm a writer that specializes in cybersecurity, tech products, and all things related to the internet. I have a keen interest in VPNs and believe that everyone deserves internet freedom and security. I wri...
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VPNSurfers » Antivirus – Malware Protection on Your Devices » Best Antivirus for Windows 10 in 2021 – Free & Premium Antivirus
Last updated: September 17, 2021