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Best antivirus software: 11 top tools

These top-ranking Windows 10 client antivirus products were tested on three primary criteria: protection, performance, and usability.

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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. Only five of the 16 products tested earned a perfect rating of 6 for each of those criteria: Kaspersky Lab Endpoint Security 11, Kaspersky Small Office Security 6, Symantec Endpoint Protection 14.2 and Endpoint Protection Cloud 22.15, and Trend Micro Office Scan 12. The top 11 antivirus offerings shown here in alphabetical order scored at least 17 points out of a possible 18.

The downloadable infographic below summarizes the results, along with earlier test data for Windows 7 and Windows 8. You can drill down on the full results at The AV-TEST Institute's website

This infographic summarizes tests of Windows client antivirus software conducted by the AV-TEST Institute. The AV-TEST Institute

Best Windows 11 antivirus tools

1. Avast Antivirus Business 18.6 and 18.8

Avast Antivirus Business 18.6 and 18.8 could have had a perfect score with just a slight improvement on performance. It stopped 100 perscent of all zero-day malware attacks, but the biggest issue was with slow-downs when launching popular websites. It was 5 percentage points slower on a standard PC than industry average. Otherwise, it had a perfect score for usability with no false warnings, detections or blockages.

2. Bitdefender Endpoint Security 6.6

Bitdefender Endpoint Security stopped all zero-day malware web and email attacks tested, and all malware discovered in the last four weeks. Performance degradation when using applications and websites was mostly minimal in and in some cases better than industry average. However, it was 17 percentage points slower than industry average for launching popular websites. For the latest round of tests, the product gave just one false warning.

3. Bitdefender Endpoint Security Elite 6.6

The results for Bitdefender Endpoint Security Elite are nearly identical to those of the standard Bitdefender product. The main difference was in some insignificant variations in a few performances tests.

4. F-Secure PSB Computer Protection 18.14 and 18.17

PSB Computer Protection would have had perfect scores in all categories, except it slowed copying files locally or on a network more than industry average. A few percentage points improvement would have earned it a full 6 rating. The software did flag one legitimate program as malware during a system scan.

5. Kaspersky Endpoint Security 11.0

With its nearly perfect scores across the board, Kaspersky Endpoint Security continues its run in the top tier of anti-malware products. It stopped 100 percent 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 legitimate software samples as malware out of a sample of more than 1.5 million.

6. Kaspersky Small Office Security 6

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

7. McAfee Endpoint Security 10.6

For protection and usability, McAfee Endpoint Security ranks with the best of its competitors. However, it falls a little short on performance, particularly during launch or installation of software. The McAfee product slowed launching standard applications by 28 percent, well above the industry average of 11 percent. It was worse during installation of frequently used applications—56 percent slower. The industry average there is 33 percent.

8. Microsoft Windows Defender Antivirus 4.18

Performance and blocking one of 43 legitimate software samples are all that hold back Microsoft Windows Defender Antivirus from elite status. In most performance categories, the product is faster than or nearly the same as industry average times. However, it slows installation of frequently used applications by 51 percent on a standard PC, 18 percentage points higher than industry average. It detected all zero-day attacks and malware discovered in the last four weeks.

9. 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 below industry average in every category. It blocked no actions while installing and using legitimate software and gave no false warnings.

10. Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud 22.15

Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud scored similarly to its non-cloud counterpart. It created a little more of a slowdown when installing frequently used applications, matching the industry average of 33 percent.

11. Trend Micro Office Scan 12.0

Regaining its top rating across all three main categories, Trend Micro Office Scan maintained its perfect usability statistics. On protection, it caught 99.2 percent of zero-day malware attacks, which was not enough to drop its rating there. It is still among the best performers of the group. It was below or near industry average for all performance categories except for copying files, where it was three percentage points higher than industry average.

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