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Best antivirus software for Windows 11 in 2024

Best antivirus for Windows 11

Antivirus software is underestimated because users typically believe the Windows firewall is enough to protect their devices. However, the firewall can only deal with so much as an in-built basic functionality feature. Since most of our life occurs online and cyber threats are gaining momentum, protecting your PC with the best antivirus for Windows 11 hits the nail on the head.

The successful implementation of Windows 11 made this operating system especially attractive to hackers. They’re also getting more clever and employ more sophisticated threats, including malware, ransomware, and phishing. A robust third-party Windows 11 antivirus can secure comprehensive protection for your PC against the dynamic dangers.

However, picking the right Windows 11 antivirus can be a hassle since many of them don’t work as they advertise themselves. For example, their malware protection rate is abysmal or failing to detect online and offline threats. That’s why a number of users give up even if they consider getting antivirus software. Fortunately, we tested and determined the best antivirus for Windows 11. We ranked them based on their malware protection, other security features, RAM consumption, performance, and pricing, among other criteria.

We singled out 6 options, but the very best antivirus for Windows 11 have made their way into the top 3. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the Top 3 antivirus software for your PC, and discuss whether an antivirus is necessary. The controversy surrounding some of the big names in the antivirus market, what to look for in a reliable antivirus, and more awaits you ahead. Here are the best antivirus programs for Windows 11 we have tested and selected:

Best antivirus for Windows 11: shortlist

  1. All-time best antivirus for Windows 11
  2. Windows 11 antivirus with robust malware removal
  3. Reliable & intuitive antivirus for Windows 11
  4. Capable & functional Windows 11 antivirus
  5. Beginner-friendly antivirus with solid security
  6. Windows 11 antivirus for data protection

How to choose the best antivirus for Windows 11?

First of all, you must decide what you need. Do you have children and look for a mid-range solution with parental controls? A full-scale protection with a password manager, a VPN, an ad-blocker, and other features?

Best Windows 11 antivirus

Once you have that figured out, you must decide how many devices the antivirus license covers, device compatibility apart from Windows 11, cloud backup storage size, and other nuances. In general terms, this is what you need to focus on in search of the best antivirus for Windows 11:

  • Dependable threat protection. The most essential aspect of any antivirus is real-time malware protection, both online and offline. There is a wide variety of cyber threats, so software must utilize dynamic and reliable protection and constant vigilance. It’s best if the antivirus includes AI, sandboxing, signature-based, heuristic-based, and other kinds of detection.
  • Additional features. You typically want extra features for different purposes besides the basic security package. Others might need a hefty cloud storage, while others prioritize password managers. Meanwhile, parents might want parental controls, though a reliable VPN is more beneficial for fans of movies and TV shows, torrenting, etc.
  • Frequent updates. Regular updates are a key factor that keeps an antivirus strong against evolving threat vectors. Hackers are developing their methods and discovering new ways to harm your PC and harvest data. Therefore, antivirus software must also advance to keep the upper hand in the security game – these upgrades reach your antivirus through frequent updating.
  • Lightweight on Windows. Nobody wants an antivirus to hog the PC’s RAM while working in the background. For this reason, ensure that your choice is lightweight on Windows 11.
  • Independent organization lab scores. Some labs perform independent antivirus tests periodically to see which providers remain at the top. Some of the exemplary websites are AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. They provide results that indicate online and offline malware protection, performance, usability, and a couple more factors. So, check them out and see what the tests reveal.
  • Money-and-price ratio. Last but not least, no antivirus should cost an arm and a leg. Besides, they must deliver value that meets the pricing. Kudos to a provider if they offer flexible plans.

Check out the best PC antivirus

Best antivirus for Windows 11: overview

  1. Norton – ultimate Windows 11 antivirus with 100% malware protection
  2. TotalAV – well-rounded antivirus for Windows 11 with solid malware removal
  3. Bitdefender – all-encompassing Windows 11 antivirus solution

We’ve researched a handful of antivirus that claim superiority in one way or another. During our testing, we relied on lab results and our first-hand experience to determine which providers own up to their promises. Ultimately, our Top 3 recommendations scored the highest results in real-time threat protection, offer feature-rich suites, intuitive Windows app, have regular updates, and adequate pricing options.

1. Norton – leading antivirus for Windows 11 with unparalleled threat protection

24/7 live chat
Minimal price
Minimal price:
  • All-encompassing protection
  • Greatest number of extra features
  • Minimal resource usage
  • No free version

Norton is the best antivirus for Windows 11 as this provider maintains the #1 place among its competitors regarding malware detection and real-time protection. Besides, Norton offers 4 different malware scanning types: quick scan, smart scan, custom scan & full-system scan. You also get a special scan – Norton Insight – that evaluates the trustworthiness of files and apps stored on your PC based on a database of known safe files.

The software effectively combated ransomware, malware, malvertising, spyware, potentially unwanted applications, and more during our Norton AV evaluation. Meanwhile, your security is further cemented with the smart firewall, which monitors the network traffic, both incoming and outgoing. As for extra features, any of Norton 360 plans get you quite a list: a VPN, password manager, ad blocker, system optimization, PC cloud backup, parental control, SafeCam, and it’s not even all.

A password manager helps you create strong passwords and store them in an all-in-one impenetrable vault. You can rely on parental controls to guarantee a safe online environment for your children on PC. Norton has the richest feature suite of well-developed tools, which singles out this antivirus. Although the app interface can be a little clunky and slightly confusing as you need different apps for features, it’s lightweight and doesn’t impede usability.

The best antivirus for Windows 11 can be yours today, with a starting price of $19.99. Let’s face it: as prices go, it’s a steal of a deal. Though Norton doesn’t have a free version for budget-tight folks, you can take advantage of the 30-day free trial or 60-day money-back guarantee.

2. TotalAV – reliable Windows 11 & 10 antivirus with easy setup

24/7 live chat
Minimal price
Minimal price:
  • Beginner-friendly setup & interface
  • Solid real-time protection
  • WebShield for a safe online environment
  • No firewall

TotalAV is an excellent antivirus for Windows 11 because that it’s equipped with some useful extra features (depending on your plan), and all functionality in-and-outs are beautifully laid out on a user-friendly dashboard. Besides, the Windows app includes many customization options. As for malware protection, you get manual and scheduled scans. According to AV-Comparatives and our TotalAV analysis, the AV can catch and eliminate up to 98% of threats online and offline.

Though TotalAV lacks a firewall, we were pleased its malware scans provided near-perfect protection rates. It did fail to capture a couple of inserted malware files, but otherwise, the antivirus protected Windows like a champion. Caught threats included a great variety, from phishing attempts to trojans. In addition, you get extra features based on your TotalAV plan. The basic one includes WebShield and System Cleanup. Meanwhile, others offer a VPN, Secure Password Vault, and an ad blocker, among others.

TotalAV has every right to be proud of its Safe Browsing VPN. The service provides basic security, retains enough speed to support HD streaming, and unblocks most leading streaming sites. After all, it’s one of the top antivirus-bundled VPNs. Meanwhile, Password Vault helps optimize the security of your accounts by generating strong ones and storing them in an impenetrable vault. As for online safety, WebShield actively sorts out safe and unsafe content and websites.

$19.00/year is the starting price for the comprehensive security of your PC, which grants you the basic TotalAV Antivirus Pro plan. Though this antivirus for Windows 11 has a free plan with only a primary level of protection, it’s a good option if you’re pinching for pennies. On the other hand, TotalAV’s 30-day money-back guarantee allows you to test the full power of the software commitment-free.

3. Bitdefender – intuitive & all-around antivirus for Windows 11

email, knowledge base
Minimal price
Minimal price:
  • Tremendous malware protection rate
  • Basic free version
  • Lightweight on Windows & other devices
  • Full VPN access costs extra

Bitdefender is among the top-tier Windows 11 & 10 antivirus, boasting well-rounded functionality and protection against online and device-based threats. Based on our Bitdefender assessment and AV-Test analysis, this antivirus has a success rate of 98% against malware, ransomware, and other threat vectors. Also, its versatile features fall under three categories: Protection, Security, and Utilities. Thus, users get flexibility for their security.

Independent lab tests and rigorous testing reveal that Bitdefender does a splendid job protecting against different types of cyber threats in real time. Like Norton, it offers several malware scan types: Quick, System, Vulnerability, and System. Besides, it uses very little RAM, even during most intensive scans. Naturally, depending on your plan, you can access additional security measures, a Password manager, Anti-Theft, Ransomware Remediation, a VPN, and more.

Interestingly, Bitdefender stands out with its extra features. For example, the Anti-Theft tool is only available on Windows and Android; its primary function is to locate your lost device, lock it, or wipe all data if needed. Of course, you get a highly valued Password manager, Antispam, Identity Theft Protection, and other measures that add to the all-encompassing protection. However, it’s a little unfortunate that you need to pay extra to unlock the full functionality of the in-built VPN.

The cheapest plan you can get is Bitdefender’s Antivirus Plus, which costs the standard $19.99/year. However, you can check out this antivirus’s many plans. On the other hand, curious cats can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee for any plan. And ultimately, you can opt for a free version if you’re happy with the basic security with no additional features.

4. Surfshark AV – excellent Windows 11 antivirus with sleek design & protection

24/7 live chat
Minimal price
Minimal price:
  • Well-rounded malware prevention
  • Smooth functionality on Windows 10 & 11
  • Market-leading VPN
  • No firewall

Surfshark antivirus is among the best multi-device solutions if you seek balance between robust shield from cyber threats and a clean Windows app. Though this brand is typically associated with the one of the top VPNs in the market, its quest for a safer cyber tomorrow has branched out into a package known as Surfshark One. When it comes to the antivirus, our experts were pleased with the solid 99% rate of dealing with malware online and offline.

Our opinion on Surfshark AV’s protective capabilities align with independent labs, specifically AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. For instance, it provides top-notch real-time protection against malicious programs. You can manually and easily run quick, full, and scheduled scans. But that’s just the fundamentals. This Windows 11 antivirus shines through in the suite of features, each contributing heavily to extended user capabilities.

Security features like Webcam protection actively safeguard your sensitive data as some websites connect to your camera even if it’s disabled. It even includes a Private Search Engine to protect your online browsing from data tracking. Meanwhile, Surfshark Alert, one of our favorites, scans the web to ensure your data, including email addresses, credit cards, and ID checks, remains uncompromised.

This rock-solid antivirus for Windows 11 can join your arsenal for the price of $37.57/year. Though it’s pricier than other options, the bustling package includes the famous VPN, Alternative ID, Alert, and an ad blocker. Besides, you’re free to test the app during the 7-day free trial & 30-day money-back guarantee to see what the hype is all about.

Best antivirus for Windows 11 compared

Starting price$19.99/year$29.00/year$29.99/year$37.57/year
Free version❌No (but has a 30-day free trial)✅Yes✅Yes❌No (but has a 7-day free trial)
Money-back guarantee60 days30 days30 days30 days
Windows support✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes✅Yes
Malware protection rate100%98%98%99%
Number of devices10up to 6up to 55
Extra featuresReal-time threat protection, Smart Firewall, Dark Web monitoring, Password manager, PC cloud backup, SafeCam, Secure VPN, Parental control, AntiTrack, Norton Safe Web, System optimizationSecure Password Vault, Disk cleaner,
Ad blocker, Safe Browsing VPN,
System tune up
Dark Web monitoring, WebShield extension
Advanced Threat Defense, Ransomware remediation, AntiSpam, Profiles, Anti-tracker, File shredder, Anti-webcam hijack, Password manager, Parental control, VPNCleanWeb, VPN,
Data breach monitoring,
Private search engine, Webcam protection, Real-time protection, Personal detail generator, Malware scans

How we selected and tested Windows 11 antivirus tools

We’ve conducted comprehensive testing for several weeks to ensure that our selected best antivirus for Windows 11 is truly worth their salt. The testing included CPU performance during scans, real-time protection reliability, firewall effectiveness, VPN functionality, and more.

The main focus was on malware protection to determine the success rate for each antivirus software. Thus, we used a number of files for each individual type of scanning – the number varied between 7,000 and 310,000 files. Additionally, we included 10 malware-infected files to stimulate a threat and see whether an antivirus detects it.

Overall, here are the main criteria we gave the most consideration during our assessment:

  • Windows app. Since we’re focusing on Windows 11, an antivirus must offer an easy installation setup, a streamlined desktop app, and, above all, consume as few resources as possible. Therefore, we picked those that are a pleasure to use for even beginners who don’t want to trouble themselves and are lightweight options.
  • Independent lab tests. Though we performed loads of testing ourselves, relying on lab results is important. Independent sites conduct regular tests detailing malware protection, ease of use, and other essential points. Our top favorites are AV-Test and AV-Comparatives since they present monthly reports.
  • Real-time malware protection rate. After all, the job of an antivirus is to safeguard your PC against online and offline device-based dangers. Be it viruses, spyware, ransomware, malvertising, or phishing attempts – all must be detected and prevented in real time. Hence, our top recommendations boast a proven success rate of 98% to 100%.
  • Regular updates. We ensured that our picks are updated regularly, thus making them ready against advancing cyber threats.
  • A number of false positives. False positives are antivirus software reading wrong analytic information and stating that a file or a website is a threat, which is false. It can be annoying when false positives happen too often, so we made sure that our top picks sprang none to a maximum of 5 false positives throughout the testing period.
  • Additional security features. The time when antivirus was meant to do only antivirus things is long past. For software to be regarded as at least one of the best antivirus for Windows 11, it must present many features. At this point, having a password manager, a VPN, ransomware or phishing prevention, cloud storage, or parental control is a must.
  • Pricing. Naturally, while the benefits of a reliable Windows antivirus are far-stretching and many, the software shouldn’t be attainable only for several due to its cost. For this reason, we considered antivirus pricing and plan flexibility, offering no less than 3 tiers.

Norton emerges as the best antivirus for Windows 11 & 10. The well-rounded service offers the most dedicated protection, which you can rely entirely on. The desktop app is relatively easy to navigate, while malware scans won’t leave your CPU wheezing. On top of that, any of the Norton 360 tiers contain nifty extras like Password manager, Secure VPN, Dark Web monitoring, and Webcam protection.

Shield your PC with all-encompassing solution

Norton is the #1 antivirus for Windows 11 & 10 because it detects and eliminates 100% of malware. No exploit-based, web-based, or any kind of cyber attack slips through the detection of the provider’s legendary firewall. All in all, Norton is a mid-range solution with feature-rich package and all-or-nothing attitude that earned the trust of thousands of users. Join them today!

9.7 /10
Detects & removes all malware
Abundant with extra features
Dynamic firewall

Why don’t we recommend Avast?

It’s not that Avast is some dull antivirus. In fact, it’s one of the best antivirus for Windows 11, with near-excellent malware detection and removal rates. However, the company behind Avast faced controversy in late 2019. Then, numerous reports emerged claiming that Avast harvests and sells user data. It’s Avast’s browser plug-ins and antivirus software that served as a means of data collection and then sold it via Jumpshot as a subsidiary.

Avast CEO Ondrej Vlcek responded to the allegations by acknowledging the concerns surrounding trust in the company’s actions. The response was swiftly followed by Avast’s complete termination of Jumpshot’s data collection in January 2020. Thus, all operations were shut down. Though now Avast is trying to regain users’ trust by employing privacy-friendly policies, it will definitely take time and continuous effort.

Why don’t we recommend Kaspersky?

Though no one could doubt Kaspersky’s high-tech functionality as an antivirus, it’s been getting a rather negative spotlight in the media for the past few years. For instance, Kaspersky Lab has recently received a federal ban. That means that US government agencies are prohibited from using Kaspersky Antivirus products. Yikes indeed, but how did that happen?

First of all, Kaspersky Lab is located in Moscow. So, in 2017, the US government imposed restrictions on using Kaspersky security cloud software on federal government computers. Unsurprisingly, the ban was applied due to concerns about potential ties between Kaspersky and the Russian government. Though the antivirus software works good, and thousands of users rely on it daily, we hesitated to recommend Kaspersky.

Do you need antivirus with Windows 11?

Yes, you do need antivirus for Windows 11 to remain safe online and shield yourself from device-based attacks and snoopers. Yes, every Windows PC has an in-built firewall, and though it does its best to safeguard you, even when paired with the most secure browsers, it’s not enough. A stand-alone antivirus software offers an all-around protection. On top of that, a good antivirus won’t trouble you due to its simplistic desktop app and greatly enhances your online experience thanks to extras like a VPN or password manager.

The main reasons for investing in a Windows antivirus include these:

  • Actively shields you from malware. Windows 11 came out not so long ago, and though Microsoft works hard at balancing the system, hackers are still eager to take advantage of ‘loopholes’. Windows 11 has become their point of interest. For this reason, this OS is more susceptible to malware and other kinds of online or device-based threats.
  • Prevents scammers from reaching you. Modern antivirus software ardently combats scamming attempts by implementing anti-phishing, ransomware, and spyware protection. Additionally, it employs wide-scale filtering to detect suspicious websites, emails, and other possible threat vectors.
  • Helps create a safe online environment. Due to previously mentioned features and measures, an antivirus helps create a safer browsing experience. However, securing a safe online space could be an acute worry if you have little ones. Luckily, most of them offer parental control as part of their higher-tier plans, so you can apply online filters for youngsters.

Protect your PC with Norton

How to install antivirus on my Windows 11?

Installing an antivirus is typically easy business, that shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete. Here is a how-to-guide on how to install antivirus on my Windows 11:

  1. Head to a selected provider’s official site. Our #1 recommendation is Norton, with a user-friendly & lightweight PC application
    Norton main page
  2. Subscribe to one of the available plans
  3. Download the client from the provider’s official website
    Installing Norton on Windows PC
  4. Follow the installation guide
  5. Restart your computer
  6. Now you’re free to tinker with the antivirus and run your first scan!

Bolster your PC security with Norton

Can I use free antivirus for Windows 11?

Yes, you may use a free antivirus for Windows 11. However, remember that a free antivirus can only protect you so much. As the budget variation of the provider’s paid plans, the software typically comes with limited and only basic protective measures. While they can suffice for dealing with minor or average-scale malware, that’s all you get.

On the flip side, you could opt for a premium antivirus. That is, if you want to experience what it’s like surfing the web with no worry weighing your mind. Any of the paid plans unlock the full potential of any best antivirus for Windows 11, including near-perfect malware protection & removal, dynamic firewall, and other protective measures. Not to mention that you get a myriad of robust extras, like a solid VPN or Dark Web monitoring.

Besides, you can take advantage of their free trials and money-back guarantees to enjoy all-encompassing security, albeit for a limited time. For example, Norton offers the longest money-back period of even 60 days, so you’re good for two months.

Create a safe online space today

Final thoughts

Windows 11 continues Microsoft’s saga of bettering digital life. Though the newest iteration in the Windows series was met with both skepticism and excitement, it’s here to stay. However, because Windows 11 is relatively fresh, it attracts the attention of nefarious third parties and, in turn, cyber threats. Fortunately, opting for a robust PC antivirus can shield you from all kinds of malware, ransomware, spyware, and so on. Plus, it enhances your online life tenfold.

Norton is the best antivirus for Windows 11, hands down. Though the competition is fierce, Norton’s triumph is cemented by a 100% malware protection rate, unparalleled firewall, and overall security. Plus, you get top-tier extras that significantly broaden your options and horizons in the digital landscape. So, you can browse freely without worrying about the safety of your data or Windows PC ever again.

What do you think is the best antivirus for Windows 11? Let us know by leaving a comment!

You may also like to read:
Best VPN for Windows 11
Norton antivirus review
TotalAV antivirus review
Bitdefender antivirus review


What is the best antivirus for Windows 11?

The best antivirus for Windows 11 is Norton, closely followed by TotalAV and Bitdefender. Norton is a lightweight Windows antivirus solution with a streamlined app. Its malware detection success rate is 100%, confirmed by our own testing and independent labs like AV-Test.

Will antivirus slow down my computer?

A solid antivirus with streamlined apps won’t slow down your computer enough for you to notice. Sure, more demanding malware scans, like those that inspect the whole system, may increase RAM consumption. Your best shot is picking an antivirus with lightweight apps, like Norton, Bitdefender or TotalAV.

What is the best free antivirus for Windows 11?

Bitdefender is the best free antivirus for Windows 11. The security of its free version has been audited independently and overall offers more protective features. Surprisingly, it includes a firewall, which usually comes with paid tiers and not even all antivirus have it.

Do I really need an antivirus for Windows 11?

Yes, you need an antivirus for Windows 11 to avert malware, phishing attempts, and prevent data collection. Though the in-built Windows firewall is already doing solid work, it’s not enough. Therefore, adding a well-rounded antivirus software like Norton to the mix dramatically increases your security.

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