Which anti-malware product is the best? Test results from companies like AV-Test and AV-Comparatives are great places to find that answer, and we outline that below. OPSWAT recently released their 2019 Windows Anti-Malware Market Share Report, which takes a look at the most popular anti-malware products, or at least the most frequently installed. OPSWAT did not include Windows Defender because it comes pre-installed in WIndows. But so do many of the “winners” in the OPSWAT Report, products such as McAfee, Norton/Symantec, Kaspersky, and Webroot of are pre-installed in new PCs and laptops. Computer companies and retailers are working on very slim margins, and get a generous spiff for including an anti-malware product in their computers. This is also why it is offered as a “free” product by ISPs such as Comcast, or “recommendation” by agents at Best Buy’s Geek Squad. Nevertheless, here are those results:
- Windows Defender 50% – OPSWAT disregarded Windows defender in their report because it comes pre-installed on all Windows computers, and they felt this should disqualify them. But many people choose to use Windows Defender, and I recommend it to most of my consumer and small business clients. I find Windows Defender to be up to the job. AV-Test positions it at number 13.
- Symantec Corporation 7% – AV-Test ranks them at 16 and 17
- ESET 6.5% – And number 5 on AV-Test. An excellent product
- McAfee 6.1% – This one is definitely on the list because it comes pre-installed on so many new computers. I hate McAfee products because I often have to REMOVE McAfee in order to overcome a network or Internet access problem for a client. This is a terrible product. AV-Test rates it at numbers 11 and 12
- Bitdefender 5.5% – Always a top contender at AV-Test, coming in at numbers 2 and 3. My recommendation when Windows Defender won’t do.
- Kaspersky 3.8% – Really? Do you want a Russian manufactured security product? The FBI and federal government has banned Kaspersky on government networks, and so should you on yours. This one is another that is offered pre-installed. 9 and 10 on AV-Test.
- AVAST 3.5% – AVAST acquired AVG years ago, and has done a great job building a well regarded product. Number 1 on AV-Test.
- Cylance 3.0% – Cylance does not make the top 20 on AV-Test.
- Webroot 2.9% – Webroot is another product I love to hate, because of the number of times I had to remove it to restore proper performance to a computer system. A favorite pre-installation of computer manufacturers. Webroot as does not make the AV-Test top 20.
- Malwarebytes 2.7% – Malwarebytes is one of my favorite products in this category. Comes in number 12 on the AV-Test rankings for home users, but not in the top 20 for business users.
- Sophos 1.8% – I hate to see Sophos ranked this low, but it is a British product and probably has better market share on the Isles. Number 15 on AV-Test.
The difference ranking anti-malware by popularity as measured by market share, as opposed to rank based on rigorous testing, really has everything to do with low profit margins in the computer manufacturing and retail businesses. A quick look at these products ranked by AV-Test, from the technically best to worst. Please understand, all of these products are fine and up to the task. I still advise against Kaspersky, McAfee, and Webroot. But to make the top 10 or even top 20 products means your product works great very nearly every time.
- AVAST – 1
- Bitdefender – 2 and 3
- ESET – 6
- Kaspersky – 9 and 10
- McAfee – 11 and 12
- Malwarebytes 12 (Home User List)
- Microsoft Windows Defender – 13
- Sophos – 15
- Symantec – 16 and 17
There are other products in the Top 20 AV-Test list, and if you are interested in these reviews please follow the links below. For my money, based on experience and personal bias, your best choices are Windows Defender (1), Malwarebytes (2), and Bitdefender (3).
Agree? Disagree? Want to offer your insight? Please comment below.
- OPSWAT Windows Anti-Malware Market Share Report, October 2019
- Microsoft – Why Windows Defender Antivirus is the most deployed in the enterprise
- AV-Test – The best Windows antivirus software for business users
- AV-Test The best Windows antivirus software for home users