Best antivirus for Windows 10

Want to stay secure? Here's the best business-class protection around

Nothing is more valuable in today's economy than data. The good news is that every person reading this has data that's valuable, but the bad news is that hackers are among the most cunning of all law-breakers and the methods they're devising steal that valuable data are becoming more sophisticated by the week.

That's why you need a good antivirus system running on your PC, to protect what matters most - your data. That doesn't necessarily mean a hacker wants to steal your files, though; they could simply deploy ransomware to stop you from accessing important business documents or sensitive IP.

Gone are the days where having a decent antivirus system running in the background significantly affected your PC's performance. Modern iterations of age-old favourites are much more optimised than they were previously which means they can protect you without you even noticing. The accuracy of detections is improving and false positives are also plummetting, so getting an antivirus system running right now has never been a more attractive prospect.

There really aren't many reasons not to invest in an antivirus product, all of our top picks come in at under £30 a year with some that are even free - a small price to pay for the protection of your digital belongings. Whether you're a sole trader, small business or an individual, this is the best protection you can possibly get.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2020

Kaspersky is one of the stalwarts of the antivirus game; in the ten years we've been reviewing AV software, Kaspersky has never left the conversation and it's frequently in the running for a recommendation.

This year is no different. The 2020 version of Kaspersky's Internet Security product, available on both Windows and macOS, improves on the 2019 version with better protection against network exploits such as the infamous EternalBlue used by WannaCry. It also offers improved protection against vulnerabilities in popular programmes such as Microsoft Office, now scans OneDrive storage for malware, offers two-factor authentication to My Kaspersky accounts and has protections against Remote Acces Trojans (RATs) enabled by default. 

Requirements: 

  • 1,500MB free hard drive space
  • 1GHz processor or higher
  • 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit) RAM
  • Internet connection

Price: £17.49. 

We're still working on our review of Kaspersky Internet Security 2020, but you can read our full Kaspersky Internet Security 2019 review for more information.

Bitdefender Internet Security 2020

The latest version of Bitdefender's AV software hasn't changed much from the 2019 version, but that's okay because last year's version was just as outstanding. As well as an improved user interface, which has become a lot brighter, more colourful and more intuitive, the AV suite features much-improved ransomware protection and can now store your most important files in special folders which trusted applications will be able to access as usual, while everything else gets firmly locked out. 

Bitdefender 2020 also includes a Wi-Fi Security Advisor, a one-click tool which quickly checks all available wireless networks and highlights any security vulnerabilities.

Requirements:

  • 2GB free hard drive space
  • Dual-core 2Hz processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • Internet connection

Price: £19.99. 

We're still working on our review of Bitdefender Internet Security 2020, but you can read our full Bitdefender Internet Security 2019 review for more information.

McAfee Total Security

McAfee's previous "Internet Security" platform has recently been replaced by Total Security, an AV suite that works across works for Mac, PC & mobile devices. As well as providing internet security functionality, the software offers anti-phishing protection, online backup to help avoid data deletion, a feature that helps you to detect and prevent any unauthorized access or connection from your device to internet and URL shortening. 

A McAfee Total Security subscription also provides access to the company's secure VPN, which provides bank-grade encryption to keep your personal information and online habits protected.

Requirements: 

  • 500MB free hard drive space
  • 1GHz processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • Internet connection

Price: £29.99. 

We're yet to publish our McAfee Total Security review, but you can read our full McAfee Internet Security 2019 review for more information.

Panda Free Antivirus

Panda has long been one of the favourites in the free AV market and this year's version still has a great range of security features and returns with a much-improved user interface compared to past, clunkier offerings.

How effective is it? In some ways, that's really up to you. While its 100% threat detection rate is certainly something to shout about, the 1.6% false-positive rate scores as one of the worst we've seen, only beating Windows Defender. This won't be too much of an issue for technically-aware users but knowing when to leave a file quarantined and when to mark it as safe could be difficult to determine for relative newbies.

Requirements: 

  • 200MB free hard drive space
  • 300MHz Pentium processor
  • 128MB RAM
  • Internet connection

Price: Free

Read our full Panda Free Antivirus review for more information.

Avast Free Antivirus

Avast has always been a reliable bet when pursuing a free antivirus application. Its threat detection has always been up to scratch, as it is with this year's version. It also boasts a near-unrivalled false positive rate, beaten only by the paid Bitdefender, ESET and Kaspersky software. For these reasons, Avast is well worth a look for the cash-strapped and security-conscious user.

It's perhaps not one for the easily riled, though. While it does sport some extensive features to back-up its performance and an intuitive UI, the frequent popups encouraging you to buy the upgraded version are far too pervasive. The orange lock symbols over the feature icons also account for an estimated 50% of all features and annoyingly, a scan doesn't just check for malware, but also small and often insignificant 'performance issues'.

Requirements:

  • 1.5GB free hard drive space
  • Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 64 processor
  • 256MB RAM
  • Internet connection

Price: Free

Read our full Avast Free Antivirus review for more information.

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