2020’s Best Antivirus Protection for Your PC: Bitdefender vs. Webroot vs. Norton vs. Avast

Best overall
Package price:  
Best cloud-based
Package price:  
Best advanced protection
Package price:  
*Standard retail prices as of 5/3/2019. Promotional pricing for first year. Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer.
Security System Products
Last Updated: December 12, 2019

As of December 12, 2019, Avast Antivirus has been removed as our best free option for antivirus software.

In the second half of 2019, Avast experienced a VPN breach, an issue where certain editions of their products were preventing upgrades to Windows 10, and a series of reports exposing shady data collection practices.

As such, we can no longer in good faith recommend Avast Antivirus software. You can find a more detailed explanation of these events in the Avast review below.


Virus protection is important as ever, and the best way to protect your computer from viruses is to be proactive. Otherwise, you may be exposing yourself to a variety of cyber threats like ransomware, spyware, and other viruses.

Antivirus programs protect your computer from malicious software by detecting potential scams and viruses and getting rid of them before they can do any harm. And while there are a ton on the market, we’ve picked our top four choices to help you choose the right antivirus tools for your Windows PC—and sometimes Mac—computer.

Our picks for best antivirus solutions

Compare best antivirus software

*Standard retail prices as of 5/3/2019. Prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by retailer. **Promotional pricing for first year.

1. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus review: Best overall antivirus protection

Starting at 

    Pros and cons of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

    • Pro BulletAffordable pricing
    • Pro BulletCoverage for three devices per year
    • Pro Bullet24/7 customer support
    • Pro BulletVPN access with all subscriptions
    • Con BulletReported conflicts with some programs
    • Con BulletNo webcam protection

    Why we recommend Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

    Bitdefender Antivirus Plus offers a great value. Its real-time protection works against all online threats from zero-day attacks—new cyberattacks that are exploited before a fix is available—to ransomware.

    The Bitdefender antivirus suite also includes access to a VPN, a virtual private network, which protects your online presence by encrypting internet traffic whether you’re at home or on the go.

    What is ransomware?
    Ransomware is a type of malware or virus that uses encryption to prevent you from accessing valuable digital files—and demands a ransom to release them.

    Features and flaws

    Bitdefender offers some thoughtful features to help protect your computer and any sensitive documents. Its multilayered Ransomware Remediation feature comes with a data-protection layer that keeps your documents safe against any ransomware attack.

    Bitdefender also has a behavioral detection feature, which closely monitors your active apps. When it detects anything suspicious, it immediately takes action to prevent new infections.

    Another bonus? Bitdefender also offers Antivirus for Mac at $59.99 a year. And if you’re looking for an even more robust version of Bitdefender, the Total Security package protects up to five devices a year and adds webcam protection, a firewall, parental controls, and file encryption starting at $44.99 a year.

    ASecureLife’s recommendation: Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is a dependable antivirus product that does a little bit of everything. It’s affordable, and it offers advanced features like VPN access and 24/7 customer support. That makes it our top pick for best antivirus solutions.

    >>Protect yourself. Buy Bitdefender AntiVirus Plus.

    >>Read our full Bitdefender review.

    2. Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus review: Best cloud-based antivirus protection

    Webroot SecureAnywhere
    Starting at 

      Pros and cons of Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus

      • Pro BulletQuick, easy installation
      • Pro BulletSmall footprint
      • Pro BulletCoverage for Windows PC and Mac
      • Pro Bullet70-day money-back guarantee
      • Pro BulletFirewall included with subscription
      • Con BulletNo password protection
      • Con BulletCoverage for only one device per year with base subscription

      Why we recommend Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus

      Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus is a great pick if you’re looking for a simple and reliable antivirus solution. Because it’s cloud based, it doesn’t take up a lot of room on your computer. It’s also super fast: Webroot takes only about 20 seconds to check your computer for malware and viruses.

      Features and flaws

      Even though the SecureAnywhere Antivirus suite is Webroot’s most basic package, it’s got a lot of advanced features. It covers both PCs and Macs, and it also offers a firewall and network connection monitor to keep tabs on ingoing and outgoing network traffic, making sure nothing harmful makes its way to your device.

      And while Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus doesn’t specifically protect your webcam, it does detect, block, and remove malware that can take over your computer’s camera.

      The base subscription covers only one device, but for $37.49 per year you can cover up to three devices. To secure your smartphones, protect your passwords, and cover up to three devices, you’ll have to upgrade to the Webroot Internet Security Plus package for $44.99 a year.

      ASecureLife’s recommendation: Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus is a great fit if you’re looking for a straightforward, reliable antivirus solution. Even though it covers only one computer a year, it has some impressive features that make it stand out from the competition.

      >>Safety first. Purchase Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus.

      >>Read our full Webroot Review.

      3. Norton Antivirus Plus review: Best advanced antivirus protection

      Starting at 

        Pros and cons of Norton Antivirus Plus

        • Pro BulletReliable, trustworthy name
        • Pro BulletFirewall included with subscription
        • Pro BulletCloud backup feature that keeps your most important files safe
        • Pro BulletCoverage for PC and Mac
        • Con BulletPricier plans than the competition
        • Con BulletCoverage for only one device per year

        Why we recommend Norton Antivirus Plus

        Norton is a recognizable brand when it comes to antivirus protection. And Norton Antivirus Plus is as reliable as ever. It offers standard features like password protection and more advanced features like 2GB of cloud backup to store and protect important files from theft or ransomware.

        Features and flaws

        Like Bitdefender, Norton Antivirus Plus uses a multilayered approach to malware protection. Norton does this a bit differently though—it uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to make sure your PC or Mac is using the latest defenses against viruses.

        Norton also keeps your passwords and financial information—like online banking information and other credentials—secure.

        Still, Norton is the most expensive pick on our list. And to access more advanced features like VPN or parental controls, you’ll need to upgrade to Norton 360 Standard, which starts at $49.99 per year and covers only one PC, Mac, smartphone, or tablet.

        ASecureLife’s recommendation: Norton Antivirus Plus offers the basics, plus some useful extras like cloud backup. It’s expensive, but Norton is a trustworthy name in antivirus protection. If you want a familiar brand with great ratings, Norton is a solid bet.

        >>Keep the malware at bay. Buy Norton Antivirus Plus.

        >>Read our full Norton Antivirus Review.

        Other brands we considered

        Avast Free Antivirus

        Avast Free
        Starting at 

          Pros and cons of Avast Free Antivirus

          • Con BulletNo firewall included
          • Con BulletControversial data collection policy

          Why we no longer recommend Avast Free Antivirus

          We used to recommend Avast Antivirus as the best free antivirus software on the market. We liked how it offered a well-designed, user-friendly look and feel with advanced features at no cost.

          But then in late 2019, Avast appeared in the news for a series of concerning developments that affected how we ranked their product.

          Here's a timeline of events, including the current status of each issue, that led to our stripping Avast of their best free option ranking:

          October 2019: VPN security breach

          Avast announced that a malicious actor accessed its network through a VPN over a five-month period. According to Avast’s statement about the breach, no users were affected. Avast has not provided any updates since their original announcement more than a month ago, but we're still watching closely.

          STATUS: Unresolved.

          November 2019: Avast and Windows 10 incompatibility

          Microsoft announced that users running outdated versions of Avast Antivirus would be blocked from upgrading to Windows 10 due to compatibility issues. Whether this is just a short-term bug or a long-term challenge is yet to be seen, but as of December 12, 2019, 4:23 p.m. (MST) the issue remains on Microsoft's list of known issues.

          We consider preventing OS upgrades to be a major drawback for any antivirus software.

          Read more about this issue and Microsoft’s recommended work-arounds for it in their statement here.

          STATUS: Unresolved.

          December 2019: Avast's shady data collection exposed

          Wladimir Palant, the creator of the AdBlock Plus extension, first raised the alarm in October 2019 about how much data the Avast and AVG browser extensions were collecting.

          After Palant reported this, Mozilla and Opera removed the Avast and AVG extensions from their add-on stores. As of this writing, Google continues to offer the Avast extension for Chrome.

          Avast has not publicly responded to this controversy, but they may not be able to remain silent for long—now the US Senate has taken note.

          STATUS: Unresolved.

          Any one of these incidents would be concerning, but all three in a row simply proved too much for us to continue recommending Avast Antivirus.

          AVG Internet Security

          AVG Internet Security

            Pros and cons of AVG Internet Security

            • Pro BulletCoverage for all PCs in your household
            • Pro BulletOptional protection for PC, Mac, or Android
            • Con BulletExpensive pricing
            • Con BulletVPN sold separately
            • Con BulletControversial data collection policy
            Issues with AVG
            Take Note

            AVG is affiliated with Avast, so we can't recommend AVG because they were affected by many of the same issues as Avast described above.

            AVG Internet Security has some impressive original features: it uses AI detection to proactively identify malware that hasn’t been catalogued, and it protects your Android devices. AVG also offers free antivirus downloads for Mac and Android separately.

            But at $79.99 a year, it’s significantly more expensive than the competition. Plus, if you want a VPN, you’ll have to shell out another $79.99 per year after a 30-day trial. Check out our review of the best VPNs for more affordable options.

            >>Read our full AVG review.

            Kaspersky Anti-Virus

            Kaspersky Anti-Virus

              Pros and cons of Kaspersky Anti-Virus

              • Pro BulletOptions to protect PC, Mac, or Android
              • Pro BulletInexpensive plans
              • Con BulletLimited coverage at lower tier

              Kaspersky Anti-Virus offers a reliable product with solid basics. We like that its Internet Security package is on the inexpensive side, starting at $29.99 per year. At that price, you can cover your PC, Mac, or Android. And if you’re looking for something to cover just your Android, Kaspersky offers decent antivirus coverage on the go starting at $11.99 per year.

              Still, its lowest-tier packages—for both desktop and Android—offer a lot of the same features as free suites like Avast.

              >>Read our full Kaspersky review.

              Avira Free Antivirus
              Avira Antivirus
                Pros and cons of Avira Free Antivirus
                • Pro BulletOptions to protect PC, Mac, Android, or iOS
                • Pro BulletHighly customizable program
                • Con BulletLots of pop-ups
                • Con BulletBrowser protection for Chrome and Firefox only
                Avira Free Antivirus has tons of add-ons; includes a firewall; and can protect your PC, Mac, Android, or iOS. But its malware protection and phishing performance are just so-so, and its many features are available only on a trial basis. For permanent access, you’ll have to purchase the Avira Internet Security Suite, starting at $57.99 per year.

                Our recommendation

                A lot of antivirus software packages offer the same kinds of features, so it’s important to look at their overall value. How many devices do they cover? What’s the annual price? What features set them apart?

                That’s why Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is our top pick. Not only does it offer great value but it also has comprehensive coverage with real-time data protection and a ransomware protection feature that safeguards your personal documents with multiple layers of protection. It’s affordable, reliable, and packed with a ton of thoughtful features. We recommend Bitdefender Antivirus Plus to anyone looking to up their security on their PC.

                >>Keep it secret, keep it safe. Protect your computer from cyber threats. Buy Bitdefender Antivirus Plus.