Best antivirus software: 14 top tools

The AV-TEST Institute recently tested the most popular Windows 10 client antivirus products on three primary criteria: protection, performance, and usability. Eight of the 19 products tested earned a perfect rating of 6 for each of those criteria:

  • Bitdefender Endpoint Security
  • F-Secure PSB Computer Protection
  • Kaspersky Lab Endpoint Security
  • Kaspersky Lab Small Business Security
  • McAfee Small Business Security
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection
  • Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud
  • Trend Micro OfficeScan

The top 14 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.

AV-TEST Institute

Full Windows 10 endpoint protection test results

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 18.8 and 19.3

Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus could have had a perfect score with just a slight improvement on protection. It stopped 99.3% of all zero-day malware attacks. Performance improved over the last round of tests with the product near industry average for all tests. Otherwise, it had a perfect score for usability with no false warnings or blockages, thought it did have one false detection of legitimate software as malware.

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 5 percentage points slower than industry average for launching popular websites on a standard PC. For the latest round of tests, the product gave just one false warning.

3. Bitdefender Endpoint Security (Ultra) 6.6

Bitdefender’s Ultra version scored similarly to its standard product. It did lose a half-point in the performance rating due to slower installation of frequently used applications, scoring 7 percentage points below industry average.

4. Check Point SandBlast Agent 80.92

With perfect ratings for protection and usability, Check Point SandBlast Agent could have had a perfect aggregate score if it were not for one performance test. It scored significantly slower than industry average on installation of frequently used applications, causing a 39% slowdown on a standard PC.

5. F-Secure PSB Computer Protection 19

PSB Computer Protection had perfect scores in all categories, improving in performance over the last round. It detected 100% of zero-day attacks and 100% of more common malware. The product scored significantly higher than industry average on some performance tests. The software did block an action while installing or using legitimate software.

6. Kaspersky Endpoint Security 11.0

With its 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 false warnings, detections or blockages.

7. 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.

8. 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 13%, well above the industry average of 8%.

9. McAfee Small Business Security 17.8

McAfee’s small business version of its endpoint security product differed mainly on the performance test for installing frequently used applications. It was slightly better than industry average.

10. Microsoft Defender Antivirus 4.18

Microsoft Defender Antivirus was as good as any other product in terms of detecting malware and usability ratings. It did lose a half point in its overall rating on performance. Specifically, it was 17 percentage points slower than industry average when installing frequently used applications on a standard PC. It did identify one legitimate application as malware.

11. Sophos Endpoint Security and Control 10.8

You can count on Sophos Endpoint Security and Control to stop attacks as well as any other product in this group. AV-TEST penalized the product a half point for performance, but test results show it was on par with the industry average in all categories.

12. 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. It blocked no actions while installing and using legitimate software and gave only one false detection of legitimate software as malware.

13. Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud 22.16 and 22.17

Symantec Endpoint Protection Cloud scored similarly to its non-cloud counterpart.

14. Trend Micro Office Scan 12.0

Trend Micro Office Scan was another top performer. It detected all malware samples in the test and scored at or above industry average on performance. The only blemish was a false blockage of an action while installing and using legitimate software.

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