Best antivirus software: 12 top tools

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

virus specimen / world map / binary code
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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 18 products tested earned a perfect rating of 6 for each of those criteria:

  • Kaspersky Lab Endpoint Security
  • Kaspersky Lab Small Office Security
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud

The top 12 antivirus offerings shown here in alphabetical order scored at least 17.5 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 19.5 and 19.6

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 11 percentage points slower than average on a standard PC. It registered one false blockage of an action while installing and using legitimate software.

2. Bitdefender Endpoint Security 6.6

Bitdefender Endpoint Security stopped 98.5% of 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. For the latest round of tests, the product gave just one false warning.

3. F-Secure PSB Computer Protection 19

PSB Computer Protection scored a six in two of the three categories. It detected 98.9% of zero-day attacks and 100% of more common malware. The product scored significantly higher than industry average on some performance tests. The software lost a half point on usability, where it had four false detections, warnings and blockages.

4. Kaspersky Endpoint Security 11.1

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 6

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 98.9% of zero-day malware samples. It lost a half point on performance due to slower-than-average launch of standard applications (19% slowdown versus 12% average on a standard PC) and installation of frequently used applications (32% slowdown versus 24% average). The product gave one false warning while installing and using legitimate software.

7. McAfee Small Business Security 17.9

The main difference between McAfee Small Business Security and the endpoint security product is in performance. There, it had faster than average times in all categories except installing frequently used applications. It lost a half point for falsely blocking actions while using or installing legitimate software.

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 12 percentage points slower than industry average when installing frequently used applications on a standard PC. It falsely identified one legitimate application as malware during a scan.

9. Sophos Endpoint Security and Control 10.8

Although it had perfect scores in both protection tests, Sophos Endpoint Security and Control lost a half point on performance. Specifically, it was signifincantly slower than average when launching popular websites and installing frequently used programs on a standard PC. It also falsely detected two applications as malware during scan.

10. 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, detections or blockages.

11. Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud 22.17

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

12. 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 standard software on a standard PC (27% slowdown versus 12% average). It gave no false detections, warnings or blockages.

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Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.

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