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Contributing writer

Best antivirus software: 13 top tools

Apr 03, 20205 mins
Endpoint ProtectionMalwareSecurity

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

Antivirus digital syringe and virus/biohazard symbol in binary matrix
Credit: Writerfantast / Getty Images

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

  • F-Secure PSB Computer Protection
  • Kaspersky Endpoint Security
  • Seqrite Endpoint Security
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection
  • Trend Micro Apex One

The top 14 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 13 percentage points slower than average on a standard PC. It registered no false detections, warnings or blockages.

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 half-point due to a 12% slowdown in time to launch popular websites. For the latest round of tests, the product gave no false warnings, detections or blockages.

3. Bitdefender Endpoint Security (Ultra) 6.6

Bitdefender Endpoint Security (Ultra) had similar ratings to the regular Bitdefender products. It did register one false blockage of a legitimate action.

4. Check Point Endpoint Security 81.10

With perfect protection and usability scores (no false warnings, detections or blockages), Check Point Endpoint Security just missed a perfect overall score due to one performance test. It had a 44% slowdown when launching popular websites on a standard PC, compared to a 19% industry average. 

5. Eset Endpoint Security 7.2

If not for its below-average detection rate of zero-day malware (98.9%) and performance hit on installing frequently used apps (31% slowdown), Eset Endpoint Security would have had a perfect score. It scored better than or near the industry average in other performance tests, and gave only one false detections of legitimate software as malware.

6. F-Secure PSB Computer Protection 19

PSB Computer Protection had one of the best results in the performance tests,  where it produced slow-downs below or at industry average across the board. Its only blemish was one false detection of legitimate software as malware, which did not cost it on the usability score.

7. G-Data AntiVirus Business 14.2

G-Data AntiVirus Business was nearly perfect on its protection scores, having detected 99.5% of zero-day malware attacks. It also had no hiccups on the usability tests. The produce did lose a point due to higher-than-average slowdowns on a couple of performance tests. It was nine percentage points slower when installing frequently used appls on a standard PC and nine points slower when copying files.

8. Kaspersky Endpoint Security 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.

9. McAfee Endpoint Security 10.6

McAfee Endpoint Security detected all malware samples discovered in the previous four weeks and 97.8% 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.

10. Microsoft Defender Antivirus 4.18

Microsoft Defender Antivirus was as good as most other product in terms of detecting malware, losing a half-point on the detection rate for malware attacks (96.7%),. It performed well, at or below industry average on a standard PC for all tests. It gave no false warnings, detections or blockages.

11. Seqrite Endpoint Security 18.00

With perfect scores for the protection tests and mostly above-average performance scores, Seqrite Endpoint Security fared well. AV-TEST gave it a full six points on usability despite six false detections of legitimate software as malware. 

12. Sophos CIXA 2.5

Sophos CIXA lost a half-point on its protection score with a 97.8% detection rate on malware. It also slowed the launch of frequently used applications at a higher-than-average rate. The product gave no false warnings, detections or blockages.

13. 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.

14. Trend Micro Apex One 14.0

Trend Micro Apex One had near-perfect protection scores, and it was another top performer. It gave no false detections, warnings, or blockages.