Pros / Bitdefender Antivirus finds and destroys malware with near-perfect precision.
Cons / Parental controls are only available with a more expensive version of the software.
Verdict / Bitdefender is the best antivirus software because of its performance, security-enhancing features, usability and 24/7 technical support.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2018 is the best antivirus software for computers running Windows 10. It earned a perfect score in malware detection and removal, includes ransomware protection, has more features and tools in its basic package than other antivirus products, and offers 24/7 customer support. For these reasons, Bitdefender is our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner for virus protection.
- Detection & Removal Score
- Loss of Computer Resource Score
- False Positives Score
- Number of Licenses
Bitdefender performed well in tests run by third-party antivirus software testing laboratories, including AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, and it also produced great results in our own independent testing. The program consistently received near-perfect scores for detecting and removing viruses and other malware on computers running Windows 10 as well as earlier versions of the operating system, and it works well on Mac computers, too.
In addition to testing how well Bitdefender detects and removes internet threats, we looked at how much lag it creates on the computer as it runs. Though there was a slight delay when we loaded websites or opened files attached to emails, it wasn’t enough to interrupt our game play or the videos we watched online. We compared our results to other, independent tests and noticed this was a common finding.
There are a few more steps in Bitdefender’s download and installation processes than those of other antivirus software. These extra steps don’t make installation any more challenging but may be frustrating for users who want to quickly scan and protect their system. Once it is installed, it is easy to navigate the program’s clean interface.
Scanning & Detection
While known malware goes in a threat database for easy detection, zero-day malware is harder to detect because it is unknown to the antivirus industry. To detect this type of threat, Bitdefender examines files that are suspiciously similar to those known to be malicious to see if they behave in potentially harmful ways. Because it can do this, Bitdefender is a great tool to protect against the new threats that often pop up and target sensitive files.
The USB immunizer blocks potential malware on flash drives you plug into your computer, and the desktop dashboard lets you drag and drop files for quick scan checks. The software warns you of dangerous results in your online searches and blocks you from accessing infected links. In addition, it tracks and blocks your access to websites with reputations for scamming and credit card phishing.
Bitdefender also protects you on social network sites by monitoring your privacy settings and scanning links posted by your Facebook friends. A file shredder and personal data filter are also included to keep information, such as Social Security numbers, safe.
Another important feature Bitdefender Antivirus Plus includes is vulnerable software detection. Some of the nastiest malware can penetrate your system through out-of-date programs, such as Adobe Flash; web browser, such as Google Chrome; or operating system, such as Windows. The vulnerable software detection feature scans your programs and notifies you if one is out of date. It can then help you connect to a legitimate site to download the latest version or program patches.
If you play games online, you can take advantage of Bitdefender’s gamer mode. This feature suspends scans and pop-ups while you play so you aren’t interrupted by notifications and your computer doesn’t lag. One drawback is that you need to enable this mode yourself – it doesn’t automatically start.
Even though Bitdefender Antivirus Plus performs well, no program can stop every potential threat. In case a virus does get through, Bitdefender has a rescue mode, which automatically reboots your computer into a mode that exposes the problem. You can then remove it with a tool on Bitdefender’s support site.
Privacy & Protection
This is the best antivirus software we tested because it includes features most virus protection programs require you to purchase separately. Bitdefender includes tools to keep you safe while you bank online such as a secure browser that keeps people from swiping your usernames and passwords as you enter them.
It also includes a password manager, which stores all your passwords in a secure file. You then use the manager’s master password to access important online accounts such as your email and credit card accounts. This way, if a hacker grabs a password, it will be the master manager password and not the individual account password, so your important information remains secure. Bitdefender does have parental controls and mobile security tools, buy they need to be purchased separately or as part of the full internet security suite.
Bitdefender has product help resources on its support site that cover useful topics and provide clear explanations. The support site also has free malware and rootkit removal tools, including a free scanner to help you identify threats that may already be on your unprotected computer. Once you know if a threat is on your system, you can select it on Bitdefender’s removal tools list to isolate and remove it. The company also responds to customer support inquiries by live chat, phone and email 24/7.
Bitdefender Antivirus Plus’ impressive performance, useful features, solid support and superb user experience make it an excellent antivirus program. It causes minimal slowdown as it scans your computer and includes a gamer mode so you can suspend these scans while you play games and watch videos online.