For all PC-owners, and for gamers especially, it’s important to keep yourself safe and protected when using the internet and a good antivirus should be an important part of your repertoire. You don’t want to have your save files corrupted, or your MMO game logins leaked so that any digital criminal can steal all your well-earned resources – not to mention card details and any other private information that’s stored on your PC.
So what’s the best antivirus for PC? Well, many gamers are content with Microsoft Defender. Built-in with all modern Windows platforms, Microsoft Defender provides a solid antivirus, along with malware defence, biometric logins (e.g. fingerprints), and more. By all means, it’s not a bad place to start, but what about those who aren’t fond of Windows Defender? Or those who are looking for something a little more comprehensive?
We’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ve gone over eight of the best antivirus providers, weighing up the costs and benefits of each one in order to help you better defend your own PC.
The best antivirus providers for PC are:
The best antivirus for parental control.
McAfee is a business that, I’m sure, needs no introduction. For the few who don’t know, it’s provided internet security solutions around the world since the 1980s, so you know it knows its stuff. It offers a selection of different packages. These are your options:
- AntiVirus Plus plan: this basic package gives you simple antivirus protection for up to ten devices per year. This will cost you $29.99 for the first year and $59.99 for every year after.
- Plus plan: this one costs $39.99 for the first year and then $109.99 for each year after. It encompasses the following features:
- Identity monitoring: your email and bank accounts will be extensively monitored 24/7 in order to identify any risks/unusual behaviour and keep you safe online.
- Protection Score: easily see how safe you are online with a Protection Score, and get advice given about improvements you can make.
- VPN access: gain five licences allowing you to use a VPN for further internet security.
- Protection for up to five devices.
- Premium plan: turning things up a notch, you can get the Premium plan at $49.99 for the first year and $129.99 for each year thereafter. It includes the following features:
- Parental Controls: giving you more power to keep your children safe on the internet.
- Protection for up to ten devices.
- All other features of the Plus plan are also included in this one.
- Advanced plan: McAfee’s biggest plan is $74.99 for the first year, and $179.99 for each year after. It includes the following:
- Identity monitoring, Protection Score, Parental Controls, and VPN access as detailed in the Plus and Premium plans above.
- $1 million identity theft coverage: in the unusual event that you’re the victim of identity theft despite having the Ultimate plan in place, you’ll be covered for up to one million dollars in damages.
- Protection for an unlimited number of devices for one year.
- With $85 off for the first year, McAfee pushes this one as the best value pack.
Please note, if you are shopping in the UK, the Plus Plan is called the Basic Plan, the Advanced Plan is called the Plus Plan, and the Advanced Plan is called the Premium Plan.
The best antivirus for malware.
Big players in the internet security arena for almost two decades, Malwarebytes provides antivirus protection and other services to both individuals and businesses alike. Not only is it good for protecting your devices from being infected from viruses at the first instant, but it’s also useful for removing viruses from infected devices. It offers the following protection plans:
- Premium plan: this is $39.99 a year for 1 device or $79.99 a month for five devices. It gives you access to all of the following features:
- Advanced antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-spyware software.
- Protection from phishing scams and malicious websites on Windows devices.
- Protection from ransomware and zero-day exploits on Windows devices.
- On top of that, it claims to remove threats on “40% of devices that already have another antivirus installed.”
- Malware Browser Guard: which removes ads, blocks ad trackers, blocks malicious webpages, and protects against online scams.
- Premium + Privacy plan: in addition to all of the benefits mentioned in the Premium plan, you also gain access to a VPN, which boasts the following benefits:
- No-log protection, meaning none of your activity is recorded while you use it, thus protecting your privacy even moreso.
- Over 400 servers in over 30 countries to choose from.
- Protection when using public wi-fi hotspots.
- A friendly user-interface that allows you to switch the VPN on and off as you please.
The best antivirus for gaming.
Good old Norton. Another mainstay in the internet security world, providing antivirus software since the early 1990s. If you plan on going for this stalwart, you may be pleased to learn that it offers a service specifically for gamers, which will probably be particularly appealing to readers. At $44.99 for the first year (and $99.99 for each year after) Norton 360 for Gamers offers all of the following:
- Protection for up to three PCs, Macs, smartphones, or tablets.
- Optimisation for your devices, helping them to run games more smoothly.
- Notifications if any of your account information becomes available on the dark web.
- 50GB cloud backup for games.
- Using full-screen detection, you won’t be disturbed if you’re playing a game, unless it’s something absolutely critical.
- VPN access for added security.
- Real-time threat protection keeps you safe from new and existing threats.
- A password management system gives your accounts an extra layer of protection from online threats.
- 24/7 customer support.
Additionally, Norton has what it calls the 100% Virus Protection Promise, where in the event that any of your devices contract a virus that bests its software, you will get your money back.
The best free antivirus.
If you’d like to save a pretty penny and explore free solutions, then Avast is worth a look. While the basic antivirus and firewall protection is completely free to use, you can then build your own internet safety package on top of that by paying for additional internet features, many of them geared towards enhancing your computer experience beyond simple security features. Additional premium features include:
- VPN services.
- Computer cleanup.
- Battery life extension.
- Driver updates.
It’s a good choice for anybody who might not be interested in all of the features that the comprehensive packages of other providers include. Here, you pay only for the features that are most important to you.
The best affordable antivirus.
Another option for those who are looking for a free or affordable antivirus solution. Funnily enough, it’s actually owned by Avast, but it provides quite a different service. At $59.88 for the first year (and $119.99 afterwards), you can access AVG Ultimate, which brings together all of the following:
- AVG antivirus: protects you when gaming, shopping, and browsing on the internet.
- AVG Secure VPN: gives you that extra slice of privacy and makes it safer for you to access the internet through public wi-fi spots.
- AVG TuneUp: cleans up any junk files on your computer and helps it run at maximum capacity.
It’s a great all-rounder, helping to maintain safety, privacy and performance for you while you surf across the oceans of the net.
The best antivirus for personal use.
Based in Finland, F-Secure is another well-established antivirus provider and has solutions in place for both business and personal use. Similar to Avast, F-Secure takes steps to ensure that you’re not paying for anything you don’t want to use. When you visit its website, you’re given a series of questions to answer to determine the right package for you. The questions ask you to choose which aspects of cyber security are in important for you, encompassing:
- Protecting your identity online.
- Protecting your personal devices.
- Extra protection for those who travel and access the internet around the world.
- Extra protection for online banking/using your credit card on your phone.
- Extra protection for children in your household.
- Protection for Android TV.
- Password protection software.
Once you’ve done this, you can choose the right package for you. Of course, if you want all the internet security features that the brand provides, then F-Secure Total is one to look at, with $67.49 for the first year and then $89.99 for each year afterwards.
The most comprehensive antivirus.
Another antivirus provider that specialises in solutions for personal-use and businesses alike. With over two decades of experience under its belt and 500 million systems using its software, it is another fine choice and one that offers a number of different internet security packages, with two focused on antivirus software:
- Antivirus Plus: if you’re after a standard antivirus package that’ll keep your computer safe, along with a bit of added phishing protection for good measure, this is one to look at. This can be used with up to three devices. It’s just $29.99 for the first year and $59.99 for each year afterwards.
- Antivirus for Mac: a special package for Mac users. In addition to antivirus protection, it also includes adware blocking and removal services.
If you want to step things up a bit and access more of its services, consider the following:
- Total Security: this is the most popular package and it includes a Privacy Firewall, extra protection for microphones and webcams and removes unnecessary files to speed up your device. For use on up to five devices, you’ll get the first year for $39.97 and $89.99 for each year after.
- Premium Security: this one ups the ante a little by including a VPN in the package, and allowing you up to ten devices, rather than five. The extra features bring the price up to $74.98 for the first year, and $149.99 for each consecutive year.
These are just a few highlights from its selection and if you visit the website, you’ll find a long list of security packages, with many of them tailored for use on specific types of device.
The best antivirus with a VPN.
Surfshark is best known in the internet security world as VPN providers, and sure enough, we list it in our best VPN for gaming guide. However, it also provides an antivirus solution, and when it comes to keeping yourself protected online, VPNs and antiviruses go together like cheese and onions. If you opt for the Surfshark One package, you gain access to all the following benefits:
- Surfshark VPN: with over 3,200 servers in 65 countries around the world, this VPN supports unlimited simultaneous connections and gains you access to regional exclusive internet content, while keeping your data safe and private.
- Surfshark Antivirus: regularly scan your device as often as you like) to keep it free from unwanted files and malware.
- Surfshark Search: this search tool will give you only organic results, not littered with adverts, and keeps your search history completely discreet as it does not keep logs.
- Surfshark Alert: keeping its metaphorical eye on the internet, if you ever happen to have any personal information leaked onto the internet, this will notify you immediately and allow you to take appropriate steps.
So those are our choices for the best PC antivirus. We hope that this helps you to narrow down your options and choose the option that’s right for you. If you want more cyber security content, take a look at our best VPN deals guide.