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Best antivirus software: 13 top tools

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The AV-TEST Institute recently tested the most popular Windows 10 client antivirus products on three primary criteria: protection, performance, and usability. Four of the 15 products tested earned a perfect rating of 6 for each of those criteria:

The top 13 antivirus offerings shown here in alphabetical order scored at least 17 points out of a possible 18. You can drill down on the full results at The AV-TEST Institute’s website

How to use these antivirus test results

Keep in mind that these tests were done in a lab environment. Different enterprise systems with different threat models will see different results for each of the products listed below. In other words, don’t expect that a 100% detection rate in the lab means that a product will detect all antivirus threats on your network. One reason is that it can take days for a newly submitted malware sample to make it into any given antivirus product’s database.

What the AV-TEST results show is which Windows antivirus products are consistently the best at the fundamentals of malware detection and have minimal impact on system performance. That makes a good starting point as you evaluate which products work best for your environment.

Best Windows 10 antivirus tools

1. Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus 19.7

Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus had a perfect scores for stopping zero-day malware attacks and malware discovered in the last four weeks. Performance was above average in all tests except for launching popular websites, where it was nine percentage points slower than average on a standard PC. It registered one false detection of legitimate software as malware and one false blocked action while installing and using legitimate software.

2. Bitdefender Endpoint Security 6.6

Bitdefender Endpoint Security stopped 100% of all zero-day malware web and email attacks tested, and all malware discovered in the last four weeks. Performance degradation was mostly minimal in and in some cases better than industry average. However, it lost a point due to a 35% slowdown in time to launch popular websites. For the latest round of tests, the product gave two false warnings or detections and blocked one action.

3. Eset Endpoint Security 7.1

If not for its below-average detection rate of zero-day malware (97.4%), Eset Endpoint Security would have had a perfect score. It scored better than or near the industry average in performance in all tests, and gave no false detections, warnings or blockages.

4. Kaspersky Endpoint Security 11.1 and 11.2

With its perfect scores across the board, Kaspersky Endpoint Security continues its run in the top tier of anti-malware products. It stopped 100% of all zero-day and known attacks tested. On the performance side, the product had minimal impact on the launching or installation of websites or applications. It flagged no false warnings, detections or blockages.

5. Kaspersky Small Office Security 7

Kaspersky Small Office Security scored similarly to the company’s endpoint protection product. It had a higher impact on website launches.

6. McAfee Endpoint Security 10.6

McAfee Endpoint Security detected all malware samples discovered in the previous four weeks and 98.7% of zero-day malware samples, the latter resuting in the loss of a half point. Performance was near industry average in every category and better in some. The product gave no false warnings, detections or blockages.

7. McAfee Small Business Security 18.1 and 18.2

McAfee Small Business Security scored similarly to McAfee’s Endpoint Security product.

8. Microsoft Defender Antivirus 4.18

Microsoft Defender Antivirus was as good as any other product in terms of detecting malware and usability ratings. It performed well, but was 21 percentage points slower than industry average when installing frequently used applications on a standard PC. It falsely identified two legitimate applications as malware during a scan.

9. Segrite Endpoint Security 18.00

With perfect scores for the protection tests and mostly above-average performance scores, Segrite Endpoint Security fared well. It missed a perfect overall score due to three false malware detections and two false blockages of actions. It also lost a half-point for slowing the copying of files more than average.

10. Sophos Endpoint Security and Control 10.8

Sophos Endpoint Security and Control had perfect protection scores, but lagged in a couple of performance tests. It slowed the launch of popular websites by 26% on a standard PC (versus an average of 18%) and frequently used applications by 40% (versus an average of 29%). The product also lost half a point by issuing two false blockages of legitimate actions.

11. Symantec Endpoint Protection 14.2

In addition to a perfect protection score, Symantec Endpoint Protection is one of the better-performing anti-malware tools tested. It scored above industry average in every category except launching standard applications. It gave no false warnings and one false detection of legitimate software as malware.

12. Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud 22.19

Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud scored similarly to its non-cloud counterpart, although it was faster at launching standard applications. 

13. Trend Micro Apex One 14.0

Trend Micro Apex One had perfect protection scores, but lost a half point on performance. was another top performer. It was significantly slower than average at launching popular websites on a standard PC (24% slowdown versus 18% average). It gave no false detections or warnings, but did issue two false blockages of actions.

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