10 best antivirus software for 2021 (Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS)
Whether it’s about your Windows PC, laptop, Mac, tablet, smartphone, or anything, all devices are continuously exposed to malware attacks.
Thus, having a stealthy antivirus program today is inevitable for every device you use.
Indeed, with time, traditional viruses and malware have evolved drastically to become unbeatable. Therefore, you cannot choose an average antivirus software that can’t fend off severe threats.
So, the question here is, what is the best antivirus software that you should install?
Since the needs of individuals vary, we can’t list one as the best for all. However, this article has gathered the ten premium antivirus tools to protect your device in 2021.
Top 3 antivirus software – The quick list
In a rush? Here are the top antivirus protection tools for your device:
- Norton 360: Thorough virus protection with additional features.
- Kaspersky Security Cloud: Nominal security plans with multi-device support for free.
- Bitdefender Total Security: Supports up to 10 devices with multi-platform compatibility.
Do you really need virus protection software?
This is the most common question people ask today. Given the preloaded or built-in virus scanners and protection tools, many users wonder whether they should go for a third-party antivirus program or not.
Also, some (pseudo) cybersecurity experts argue that you don’t need to have an antivirus until you follow safe browsing habits.
However, if you ask us the same question, then, in one line, the answer is, YOU DEFINITELY NEED AN ANTIVIRUS!
At first, the threat actors keep working on ways to create and improvise malware. Hence, we now have many different types of viruses that do not look or sound malicious at first. Some of them do not even steal your data or do financial harm to you. Rather they execute other activities such as malvertising.
These seemingly innocent programs occupy space on your device and use your resource. Still, they do not warrant staying harmless in the future. You never know when simple adware would start stealing your data.
Also, these programs give control of your device to the hackers, which is a security breach.
Lastly, no matter how careful you remain while browsing, you can’t be sure when a previously safe to visit website turns malicious. There might be some stealthy scripts running on it. Or, maybe, a brand-new virus has stepped into the market, all set to ditch the security features online.
How will you protect your device from such attacks?
Unless you have an antivirus, you cannot protect your device from adware, worms, trojans, spyware, ransomware, or any other type of malware.
Can viruses ditch the top antivirus too?
Another argument that some people present against antivirus software is the occasional skipping of malware detection.
For instance, recently, xHelper emerged as Android adware that quickly infected thousands of devices globally. Despite being robust adware, since it was new, it succeeded in bypassing most antimalware tools. It even resisted manual removal from devices.
Nonetheless, soon after its spread, Malwarebytes figured out how to get rid of this menace. The trick even worked for devices that had the malware preinstalled.
So, you see, even if an antimalware tool isn’t sufficient for the first time, it will upgrade to detect the new viruses in the future. Thus, while they (sometimes) may fail to provide quick protection, you can trust a recovery soon.
Like always, no technology ever warrants fool-proof security. Nonetheless, it is still better to use these tools than to have no security at all.
How to choose the best antivirus software?
While antivirus is a necessity for your device, choosing the best one is a big deal.
It’s because, today, the market is flooded with virus protection tools, both paid and free ones. Some of them offer great security against cyber threats. But, at the same time, some others are just fake or too weak to fend off malware attacks.
Also, you may even find some malicious apps or viruses themselves mimicking antivirus tools.
Although, you can distinguish between real and fake software by checking out their reviews.
But again, choosing from the known brands becomes difficult, especially if you’re going to choose a paid antivirus.
So, before you pay, keep the following aspects in your mind to choose a top-notch antivirus for your device(s).
Malware detection rate
Whether you’re looking for the best free antivirus software or a paid one, first check its threat detection rate.
This is the program’s efficiency in spyware removal, detecting viruses, malware, and other threats with accuracy.
However, being efficient doesn’t mean that the antivirus solution keeps flagging harmless files as malicious.
So, make sure that the antivirus neither has a high false-positive rate nor a high false negative.
Speed and efficiency
The purpose of having a top antivirus program would go in vain if you didn’t run it frequently.
Some antiviruses take a lot of time to scan your device. Whereas some others often increase the system load, rendering the device unusable until the scan goes.
Although, it isn’t unusual for any antivirus program to take a long time for a full scan. That’s the reason why many tools offer a quick scan as well that doesn’t take more than 5-10 minutes, where a full scan may take several hours.
However, the best malware protection tool won’t take too long for full scans too. Nor will it result in system freeze or crashes.
Ease of use
Not every user is a pro techie. Therefore, the perfect antivirus tool aiming at a huge customer base is always easy to use.
Nonetheless, if you’re going to buy an antivirus for the first time, make sure that you can install and use it without hassle. You can even go for the freemium brands first to try the app yourself before buying.
Ideally, a good paid antivirus software must offer support for multiple devices on a single account. It will be useless if you keep paying separately to install antivirus on your phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop separately.
So, check out the device compatibility of the software and the number of installs offered before paying.
While antivirus tools offer protection against viruses, a top-notch antivirus program also comes with additional security features. It’s because cyber threats aren’t limited to malware only. Instead, you need to protect yourself from credential stuffing, password theft, phishing, and more.
Nonetheless, don’t pay extra to anyone merely to avail of these options. However, if they come in as free or meet your budget, such providers are ideal.
Last, but the essential thing to consider is the cost.
Though the higher you pay, the best the antivirus software you can get.
But the cost doesn’t represent the effectiveness of the tool here. Rather it covers the fancy features the tool comes with.
For example, Norton 360 Lifelock Select is a relatively costlier plan. However, it supports multiple platforms, offers 5 device installations, and a lot of comprehensive security features with identity protection.
Therefore, before investing your hard-earned money, compare your chosen antivirus with others. See what all of them offer for a certain cost. Then buy the one that meets your needs without blowing your budget.
Top 10 antivirus software for your device
Now that you know how to select the right antivirus tool for your smartphone or PC, let us narrow down the range of choice for you.
Presented below are the top antivirus programs that not only enjoy a credible stance for precise threat detection. Rather they also offer premium features in addition to malware detection for thorough protection.
All of these antivirus providers offer different protection plans against different prices. So, you should select the one that best fits your budget, supports your device, and offers everything you need for ultimate online security.
1. Norton 360
While Norton antivirus has already gained immense fame for its robust security, Norton 360 is an even advanced plan.
With Norton 360, the vendor assures 360-degree online protection against all major cyber threats. The service also offers additional features such as cloud backup, smart firewall, and password manager, from fending off the usual malware attacks to ransomware protection.
The Norton 360 security plans are tailored into three different categories to cater to different users’ requirements.
Hence, precisely, you can go for the Norton 360 Standard plan that over protection for one device only. The plan supports Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. Thus, you can easily install it on whatever device you need thorough protection.
Alongside a mere virus scan, the plan also offers no-log VPN, password manager, webcam security, smart firewall, dark web monitoring, and secure 10GB cloud backup to provide ransomware protection.
These plans come with greater cloud storage capacity and additional features such as parental controls, identity protection, theft protection, credit monitoring, and more.
Norton 360 offers a risk-free 30-day trial to all first-time users.
Besides everything, Norton also takes care of the security of the gamers’ community. Hence, it offers a dedicated Norton 360 for Gamers plan that also repels DDoS, doxing, webcam takeovers, and other threats.
2. Kaspersky Security Cloud
The next on our list of brands with the best antivirus tools in 2021 is Kaspersky.
The main reason why Kaspersky anti-virus made it to the top here is that Kaspersky offers the perfect plans for personal use.
Kaspersky Security Cloud is a comprehensive security package addressing your needs from a virus scan to parental controls. Moreover, it comes with different pricing plans giving you the liberty to avail as many services as you need.
For instance, if you are not willing to pay for an antivirus right now, you can go for the Kaspersky free antivirus plan. This no-cost protection plan protects multiple devices with support for Windows, Android, and iOS.
Whereas, if you pay a little more, you can even get security for your Mac devices. Also, with Security Cloud Personal plan, you get premium features. These include password manager, secure VPN, and data leak alerts. (The VPN, however, might not work in countries employing legal restrictions on VPNs.)
It means you can secure up to five devices with this plan with a single user account.
Plus, you can also expand this inclusive protection to your family with the Security Cloud Family plan.
With a little higher cost, the plan covers up to 10 devices offering all premium features as well as parental controls.
If you’re skeptical about its suitability, feel free to go for its 30-day free trial. If you aren’t satisfied, you’ll automatically be downgraded to its free antivirus plan.
3. Bitdefender Total Security
Bitdefender is a name that you may not hear commonly, but it’s a trusted brand in the cybersecurity community.
The Bitdefender antivirus solutions often top the reviews of most independent testing labs. It’s because the vendors have created a wide range of security plans for all major platforms, including iOS.
Plus, it is also a well-suited antivirus software for Windows 10 systems, both at personal and corporate levels.
Bitdefender Total Security is one such plan with inclusive online protection. With a single account, you can secure up to 10 devices with robust antimalware protection and premium features that include,
- Privacy firewall
- Device optimizer
- Ransomware protection
- Parental control
- Basic VPN
- Theft protection
- Webcam monitoring
- Password manager
- File shredder
- and much more!
Don’t believe it? Try the product for 30-days with its risk-free trial period, and test the software yourself.
Although this antivirus’s overall app interface may not be as impressive or easy, perhaps, that’s why it hasn’t gained enough popularity yet.
However, if you’re ready to spend some time tweaking its settings, you’ll surely be rewarded.
4. McAfee Total Protection
McAfee is one of the leading cybersecurity players in the industry. Having worked in the niche for quite a long time, McAfee produces one of the most robust antivirus software for individual, family, and business use.
But here, we want to emphasize on McAfee Total Protection plan for our readers. Like all its rivals, with this security plan, McAfee doesn’t only offer robust malware protection. Rather it comes loaded with lots of fancy features that address any loopholes in your online security.
It means that you can continue to surf freely online, leaving all your worries about internet security at your antivirus.
McAfee Total Protection is available in four different subscription plans for home users. For us, the best ones are the Individual and Family subscriptions.
With the Individual subscription plan, you get support for up to 5 devices at a time. It means whether you own a Windows PC or a macOS device, an iPhone, or an Android phone, you can protect them all with a single McAfee account.
Plus, the plan also offers premium protection services, including an antispam toolbar for email clients, dedicated VPN, password manager, encrypted storage, file shredder, and even identity theft protection.
Whereas paying a little higher to avail of the Family plan will give you security for up to 10 devices. Plus, it also offers all premium services alongside parental control.
5. Avira Prime
If you talk about the best free antivirus with additional features, then Avira tops the list.
However, in every app, the premium plans always come with some useful fancy perks. The same is the case with Avira.
Avira Prime is one such paid plan that is worth investing in. It’s a dedicated solution that warrants 24/7/365 real-time security against all online threats. Plus, it also offers lots of other features which you would need. For instance:
- Password manager
- Unlimited VPN
- Device optimizer
- PC cleaner
- Encrypted browsing session
- Data security
- Data breach alerts
- Safe online shopping
- And a lot more!
Plus, you don’t have to worry about protecting other devices at home. With Avira Prime, you can secure up to 25 devices at a time with the same features. That makes it suitable for small and large families, or even for small businesses.
6. Trend Micro Maximum Security and Premium Security Suite
Cybersecurity firm Trend Micro also develops one of the best antivirus solutions. Since they remained connected to the cybersecurity world’s latest happenings, they know what exactly you need when you ask for a good antivirus.
Trend Micro antivirus security solutions are the best for individual users, notably, the Maximum Security plan. However, this plan is perfect for all those wanting to protect multiple devices, including Windows and Mac systems or smartphones.
With Maximum Security, Trend Micro offers robust protection for up to five devices. This not only relies on fending off virus attacks but also includes various premium features. These include ransomware protection, email spam protection, social media security, password manager, and device optimizer.
Plus, if you want a comprehensive plan for your family, again, Trend Micro has got you covered with parental control.
While this may not be as robust as that of Norton’s, still, it’s worthy enough to secure your kids than not having an antivirus at all.
Nonetheless, this isn’t the only best-suited antivirus plan for home users. For example, if you have a large family or want a modest security solution for your small office, you can choose Trend Micro Premium Security Suite.
This plan includes everything includes in Maximum Security protection. Plus, it supports up to 10 devices and offers dark web monitoring, VPN, system repair, and emergency technical assistance.
7. F-Secure TOTAL
F-Secure is another excellent antivirus solution that offers comprehensive virus protection on all major platforms. Precisely, their F-Secure TOTAL software package is ideal for all privacy-savvy users.
The package steps up to include premium services alongside offering malware protection. Hence, like all other best antimalware programs, F-Secure TOTAL also comes with WiFi protection, VPN, password manager, web tracking protection, breach alerts, banking security, and identity monitoring.
The only downside here is its high price. While, you can avail of many other antivirus services at a discounted price (at least, for the first year). With F-Secure TOTAL, you likely have to spare over $100 to subscribe to this plan.
Nonetheless, nothing is more important than your security. So, it’s a safe bet to invest in this antivirus protection for a stress-free online experience throughout the year. You can also assess its suitability for you first by availing of their 30-days free trial.
8. Sophos Home
Here is one more useful resource to protect your devices from virus attacks from cybersecurity experts. Sophos is a trusted name for internet security. Their Sophos Home antivirus software solution is, hence, just as expected.
The vendors have offered a comprehensive security solution with this plan to support Windows, iOS, Android, and Mac.
Plus, you can use the tool for free to protect your device with real-time threat protection and web monitoring. You can also connect up to 3 Windows and macOS devices (with unlimited iOS and Android smartphones) to your free account. Thus, you get the same level of security on all your devices.
Also, you get parental control with the free plan as well. Hence, this antivirus software solution is ideal for small families.
If you choose to go premium, gear up to avail protection across ten different Windows/macOS devices alongside all premium features you expect from a leading brand. This includes features like ransomware protection, privacy protection, secure banking, and even identity protection.
Despite being a new player, TotalAV has managed to our list of top antivirus options. Like any other high-end antivirus provider, Total AV also offers seamless compatibility for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS alike.
The service comes in three different pricing plans, all of which differ in a few fancy features and the number of devices supported. While you can protect three devices with its Antivirus Pro, the other two, TotalAV Internet Security and Total Security, support five and six devices, respectively.
Besides, the cheapest Pro plan lacks CloudVPN, ad blocker, and password vault, the latter two being absent in Internet Security as well. So, if you want to avail yourself of these additional security tools, you might need to go for Total Security.
Otherwise, the Antivirus Pro is as good as the premium versions and offers everything you need. This includes protection against ransomware, spyware, potentially unwanted apps (PUAs), and phishing, along with a web shield, system optimizer, and browser cleaner.
Confused if this really is worth trying? Why not test it yourself with its free trial version?
10. Panda Dome
The last in our list of quality antivirus software for 2021 is Panda Dome.
It’s not as popular as Norton or Kaspersky, or other brands listed above. However, the robust antivirus security it offers is certainly comparable to those brands.
Panda Dome is great for Windows users looking for free antivirus for Windows.
However, if you manage to pay a few bucks (as low as $4.99), you can even protect Android, Mac, and iOS devices alike.
The app has an impressive and easy-to-use interface and doesn’t take long for installation. Its premium plans are also packed with all the fancy security features that the other antivirus programs on our list offer.
But what we like the most about Panda Dome is their monthly payment plans, which most others lack. These plans only require you to spare a few bucks every month that doesn’t cause a blow to your budget at the subscription time.
Moreover, the free version of Panda Dome is also worthy enough for Windows users as it comes with a limited VPN and scanning for external drives features.
Other worthy mentions
The list of the top antivirus programs doesn’t end with the 10 mentioned above. Although, these 10 are the top antivirus programs we have today. However, some other brands also enjoy the popularity of their antivirus apps for some good reasons.
Below, we quickly review some of those tools. If you want to look beyond the ten best antivirus solutions, here are some more.
Although it isn’t so popular, maybe because the vendors don’t support multiple platforms, if you’re a diehard Apple consumer, then Intego is all you need to secure your Mac devices. Although, it now offers antivirus protection for Windows as well.
The Avast Free Antivirus is a great virus protection tool for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android users. Also, this plan won the 2019 Top-rated Award by AV-Comparatives.
However, the reason it failed to appear in our list of top 10 antivirus brands is their translucent cybersecurity.
We admit it’s not abnormal for an antivirus to have security lapses. However, Avast’s credibility went down further when a 2019 investigation revealed its shady data collection and selling practices. While Avast stepped up to remediate the problem, we find it better to give them some time and see how these guys perform in the coming days before actually recommending them.
Until then, we leave it to our readers whether to use Avast or not.
Antivirus software plans from ESET are also incredible as they come from avid cybersecurity experts. The ESET Internet Security, in particular, works great for fending off malware attacks alongside ensuring thorough online security. The software even supports Linux, in addition to Windows, macOS, and Android.
However, it barely missed our list of top 10 for the lack of iOS support.
Here we end our detailed guide on the most robust antivirus software to get for your device in 2021.
As you can see, the choices are many. But not every brand can work best for your device or meet your requirements.
The best antivirus options, nonetheless, are the ones that we have listed here. They have made it to our list because they cater to the requirements of most customers. These tools offer everything a premium security solution should offer, from a precise malware detection rate to multi-platform compatibility.
So, we genuinely hope that this guide will help you choose the right virus protection tool for your device operating system.
Nonetheless, you can always reach out to us if you want to discuss anything regarding these tools. Feel free to share your queries via the comments section. Our always hungry-to-help team of cybersecurity experts will revert to you as soon as possible.
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About the author
Abeerah is a passionate technology blogger and cybersecurity enthusiast. She yearns to know everything about the latest technology developments. Specifically, she’s crazy about the three C’s; computing, cybersecurity, and communication. When she is not writing, she’s reading about the tech world.