Best antivirus software for Windows 11

Best antivirus software for Windows 11
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Antivirus programs are essential for Windows 11 users in this day and age. Just like its predecessors, Microsoft’s latest release of its operating system isn’t invulnerable to viruses even if you use its built-in software Windows Defender.

Different types of threats including malware, ransomware, trojan, worm, and keyloggers tend to target Windows PCs more often than other platforms. An antivirus has multiple methods and techniques that will keep your system safe from them.

It scans your systems regularly and depending on how much you pay, you get access to a wide variety of features that are designed to protect your system from all sorts of viruses and threats.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best antivirus for Windows 11 after several days of testing and researching. Let’s take a look at each antivirus in detail.

Top 5 best Windows 11 antivirus programs

Here are the top 5 antivirus software for Windows 11:

  1. TotalAV – Best overall antivirus for Windows 11
  2. Bitdefender – Powerful antivirus software for Windows 11
  3. Norton – Inexpensive antivirus solution for Windows 11 user
  4. McAfee – Best Windows 11 antivirus for families
  5. Webroot – Lightweight third-party antivirus for Windows 11

The best Windows 11 antivirus protection for 2024

Independent testing labs are a great source of information when searching for the best antivirus for Windows 11 in 2024. We tested the programs on our list ourselves to see how good they are. Here are the results:

1. TotalAV – Best third-party antivirus for Windows 11




Pros & cons
  • Free version for Windows 11
  • User-friendly and good for beginners
  • WebShield protects Windows 11 users from phishing scams
  • Free version is very limited

TotalAV is the perfect antivirus for Windows 11 users.. It has a clean UI that’s easy for beginners to understand and it’s received multiple awards by AV-Test.

Free version Yes
Price Starts from $19/year
Max devices 6 on TotalAV Antivirus Pro

It has real-time antivirus protection which will keep your Windows 11 safe from malware and other types of threats. By constantly scanning new files you download, it makes sure they don’t get a chance to infect your system.

TotalAV on Windows 11

TotalAV on Windows 11.

With the help of its WebShield, you can avoid phishing sites. Any site that it deems suspicious is marked with a red cross and sites that are safe to use show a green tick next to them.

If you’re not in the mood to spend any money, you can get TotalAV’s free version. We have to warn you, though, that it’s extremely limited. It doesn’t have real-time protection, but you can use it to perform a weekly or monthly scan. 

TotalAV Antivirus Pro is available for $19 per year.

2. Bitdefender – Windows 11 antivirus that includes multiple powerful security features




Pros & cons
  • Free version for Windows 11
  • Safe banking with dedicated features for Windows 11
  • Behavioral detection on Windows 11
  • The VPN has limited data

Bitdefender is undoubtedly the best antivirus for Windows 11 in 2024. Its performance is phenomenal and it provides a plethora of security features to keep your Windows PC clean. It also has a free version that performs daily scans and even lets you configure how they’re performed so they don’t disturb your regular use of the PC.

Free version Yes
Price Starts from $24.99/year
Max devices 3 on Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, 5 on Bitdefender Antivirus Total Security, 10 on Bitdefender Premium Security

The German independent testing lab AV-Test consistently gives Bitdefender top scores and it’s received several awards over the years for detecting and dealing with viruses and threats accurately and effectively.

Bitdefender on Windows 11

Bitdefender on Windows 11.

It comes with a VPN that will change your IP address and encrypt your online traffic, but it has a data limit of 200 MB/day. To increase that limit, you have to pay an additional fee.

Real-time protection will run scans in the background without disrupting other activities and behavioral detection will look for threats and malware in active apps. This will make sure that your Windows 11 PC doesn’t become infected with hidden background apps and processes.

You can get Bitdefender Antivirus Plus for $24.99/year with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

3. Norton – Most affordable antivirus for Windows 11 users




Pros & cons
  • 2 GB of cloud storage for Windows 11
  • Firewall protects Windows 11 from internal and external threats
  • Password manager included
  • Norton Antivirus Plus can only be used on 1 device

Norton is one of the most popular antivirus programs for Windows 11. It won the award of “Best Protection for outstanding performance” by AV-Test in 2021. The most basic version of the program can only be used on one device and comes with 2 GB of cloud storage. Using Norton, you can keep your Windows PC safe from malware, ransomware, spyware, and other types of threats.

Free version No
Price Starts from $19.99/year
Max devices 1 on Norton Antivirus Plus, 3 on Norton 360 Standard, 5 on Norton 360 Deluxe, 10 on Norton 360 LifeLock Select

Norton Antivirus Plus lacks many of the features its more expensive counterparts have, but it’s still a great option for Windows 11 users. It comes with a firewall that protects your system from external and internal threats.

Norton 360 Lifelock

Norton 360 LifeLock Select is the most expensive product of Norton’s.

The company offers a “100% Virus Protection Promise.” If you do everything as it says and your computer is still infected, a Norton expert will reach out to you and remotely get rid of the viruses for you. If they fail, you can request a refund.

Norton Antivirus Plus costs $19.99/year and it has a money-back guarantee of 60 days.

4. McAfee – Windows 11 antivirus with the best features for families




Pros & cons
  • Powerful parental controls for Windows 11
  • Password manager included in the Plus plan
  • Has won multiple awards by testing labs
  • No VPN

McAfee has won multiple awards and accolades from independent testing labs such as AV-Test. Just like Norton, it also has a “Virus Protection Pledge,” which guarantees someone from the company will remotely fix your computer if you can’t get rid of any virus using McAfee. The Plus plan includes a firewall, “web protection,” a file shredder, and some other bonus features for Windows 11.

Free version No
Price Starts from $39.99/year
Max devices 5 on McAfee Plus, unlimited devices on other plans

The first scan it performs after you download it on your system can take a bit of time. For us, it took around 2 hours, but after it was done optimizing, the subsequent scans were much faster.

McAfee on Windows 11

McAfee’s UI on Windows 11. (Source: McAfee)

With more expensive products, you’ll unlock tons of other powerful features like identity monitoring, parental controls, lost wallet protection, and security freeze.

McAfee’s parental controls are some of the best in the antivirus industry. They let you track your children’s devices and block inappropriate sites.

The Plus product costs $39.99 per year and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

5. Webroot – Windows 11 antivirus that’s easy on the hardware




Pros & cons
  • Lightweight antivirus for Windows 11
  • Takes up less RAM and space than most other antivirus programs
  • Cloud-based antivirus for Windows 11
  • 70-day money-back guarantee
  • Basic version only covers 1 device

Webroot is an incredibly lightweight cloud-based antivirus for Windows 11 that uses a slightly different method of keeping your system safe from viruses. Due to the unusual nature of its scanning method, it usually doesn’t score well in testing labs, but it performed better than we expected in our tests.

Free version No
Price Starts from $23.99/year
Max devices 1 on Webroot Basic, 3 on Webroot Plus, 5 on Webroot Complete

It has a cloud-based scanner which quarantines new or unknown files and runs them on the cloud. Everything they do is kept in a bubble outside of your system. You can use the files once Webroot has determined that they’re not dangerous.

Webroot on Windows 11

Webroot on Windows 11.

The software and its online console both are simple to use and you can easily access everything from the dashboard.

You can get Webroot Basic for $23.99 per year with a 70-day money-back guarantee.

Methodology: how we tested Windows 11 antivirus

Testing the best antivirus programs for Windows 11 can be a challenging task. Our cybersecurity enthusiasts at Tech Lapse have their own processes in place and they make sure they test these antivirus programs thoroughly.

We tested around 20 antivirus software for Windows 11 to see which one is the best. 

The most important thing for us is the performance of the antivirus. How much time does it take to run the first scan? Does it slow down your PC? These are some of the questions we try to answer when testing antivirus software.

We also refer to independent testing labs to understand how antivirus programs rank. These labs test various antivirus software regularly and give certificates to ones that perform exceptionally well during their tests.

Another thing we test are the features of the antivirus. Most basic versions of antivirus programs don’t have too many fancy features, but we still test things like anti-phishing tools, deep/quick scans, and VPNs.

User-friendliness is also an important factor in helping us create these lists. An antivirus should be accessible to everyone, because cybersecurity threats are a universal concern now.

The last thing we look at is the price of the antivirus. Basic plans usually don’t cost much, but the more advanced ones can be quite expensive.

Antivirus for Windows 11 compared

We’ve added a table below that compares the best antivirus software for Windows 11 in different categories like additional features, price, availability of a free version, and more. It’ll make it easier for you to see how they differ from each other.







Operating systems

Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android

Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android

Windows, macOS, Chromebook, iOS, and Android

Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android

Windows, macOS, Chromebook, iOS, and Android

Number of devices












Additional features

WebShield, system optimization tools, and more

Bitdefender Photon, Game Mode, Vulnerability Assessment, and more

Dark web monitoring, Over 200 GB of cloud storage, and more

Advanced parental controls, identity monitoring, and more

Cloud-based analysis of unknown programs

Free version






Money-back guarantee

30 days

30 days

60 days

30 days

70 days

Starting price






Is Windows 11 antivirus really necessary?

Yes, using an antivirus on Windows 11 is absolutely necessary and you shouldn’t just rely on its built-in antivirus Windows Defender. Windows Defender is an extremely basic software that’s not as good at protecting your system as a paid antivirus.

Microsoft Defender on Windows 11

Windows Defender on Windows 11.

Many users report that Windows Defender doesn’t do a good job of detecting malware and it’s not user-friendly. We especially recommend a third-party antivirus if you have multiple devices in your home and want more advanced tools for detecting viruses.

Features like dark web monitoring, a VPN, system optimization, and anti-phishing tools will keep your Windows 11 safe from offline and online threats.

Windows is targeted more frequently than other operating systems and there are new threats  emerging every single day. If you don’t have an antivirus, your PC is at risk of being infected by these viruses.

How much malware emerged on windows

Stats by AV-Test showing how much Windows malware has grown over the last 5 years. (Source: AV-Test)

How to choose the best antivirus for Windows 11?

There are many things you can look at to find the best antivirus for Windows 11. Here are some of those things:

  1. Independent testing labs – Testing labs are a great source of information for people who are in the market for antivirus programs. These labs regularly test antivirus software to see how good they are at detecting malware.
  2. User-friendliness – Antivirus programs with a simple UI and easy-to-understand features are ideal for beginners and less tech-savvy users.
  3. Features – When choosing the best antivirus for Windows 11, see if the one you want to use has features that cater to your needs.
  4. Number of devices – Most antivirus programs will let you use their products on 1, 3, 5, or 10 devices. If you have multiple PCs running Windows 11, you’ll need an antivirus that can be used on multiple devices.
  5. Price – Once you’ve checked everything else off the list, it’s time to look at the price. The more features an antivirus program has, the more expensive it tends to be, so choose wisely.

Can I use free antivirus for Windows 11?

No, we don’t recommend using a free antivirus on Windows 11. It already has a built-in antivirus called Windows Defender (or Microsoft Defender), but because it’s free, it doesn’t offer the same level of protection that you get from a paid program.

A free antivirus doesn’t have all the features of a paid one and it’s often not able to detect all types of viruses and threats. We tested a few antivirus programs and most failed to find malware that paid ones had no problem detecting.

Paid antivirus programs come with features like a VPN, parental controls, password managers, and identity theft protection. These features will boost your security in a way free ones never will. Most free antivirus programs won’t do anything other than running a quick scan at a fixed time which you can’t change.

Most premium antivirus programs like TotalAV and Bitdefender are excellent at detecting threats in files before they even get a chance to cause any damage.

You should only use free antivirus programs to test their UI, so you can decide if the premium versions are worth it. Most premium antivirus programs come with a money-back guarantee, so if you end up being dissatisfied, you can ask for a refund.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, Windows 11 is a powerful operating system that comes with a built-in antivirus, but installing a third-party one can help you make it more secure. After testing various options, we found TotalAV and Bitdefender to be the best antivirus software for Windows 11.

Paid antivirus programs provide robust security features like a VPN, parental controls, and protection from phishing sites. These features work together to detect and remove viruses and malware from your system.

Ultimately, the best antivirus for Windows 11 will depend on your specific needs. You can check independent testing labs to see how an antivirus you like ranks and even try it out for some time as most paid programs have a money-back guarantee. 

Some antiviruses have a free version, too, but we don’t recommend using them because they lack most of the features that their paid counterparts have. You can use them to see what the UI is like, so you can make a more informed decision when you’re ready to pay for one.

Frequently asked questions

TotalAV is the best antivirus for Windows 11 because it has many advanced security features that have a 100% rate of detecting malware. It even has a free version that you can use to run scans on your system, but we recommend buying the premium version because it has more features and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.