The Best Virus Removal Software 2024

Whether you want to protect the whole household's devices or just a single computer, you’ll need a tested and reliable virus removal product that will also protect your devices from becoming infected again.
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Best for features

5.0
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On McAfee's website

McAfee
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Best for bundled services

5.0
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On Norton 360 Antivirus's website

Norton 360 Antivirus
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Best free antivirus

4.8
Editorial Rating
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On AVG's website

AVG
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In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, selecting the best virus removal software is necessary to safeguard your digital assets against viruses and malware, including ransomware, spyware, and adware. McAfee, Norton, and AVG are each unique in their strengths and features. With standards like real-time protection, malware detection, and a malware removal tool included with the other antivirus tools, we felt these three protected well against all forms of malicious software.

Whether you’re interested in a product that includes a variety of robust features, one that bundles services together, or a free product that actually works, we have three recommendations and some honorable mentions that can meet your digital needs.

In this article
The best virus removal software 2024
McAfee: Best for features
Norton: Best for bundled services
AVG: Best free antivirus
Honorable mentions
Best antivirus for virus removal FAQs
Bottom line: The best virus removal software
How we tested the best antivirus software for virus removal

The best virus removal software 2024

McAfee, Norton, and AVG are three of the best antivirus software offerings on the market. We chose them for their features, pricing, and thoughtfulness to the consumer.

Antivirus protects you from viruses, various types of malware, and Trojans, but there are so many options it may be difficult to decide. Ultimately, choosing between these internet security solutions depends on specific user preferences, system requirements, and the desired balance between features and ease of use.

  • McAfee: Best for features
  • Norton: Best for bundled services
  • AVG: Best free antivirus

Top 3 antivirus products for virus removal compared

Antivirus
McAfee

Norton

AVG
Starting price $39.99/first yr $29.99/first yr $46.68/first yr for 1 device
Free version
Firewall
Phishing protection
Ransomware protection
Parental controls
Learn more Get McAfee Get Norton Get AVG

McAfee: Best for features

Save $105 on your first year of McAfee+ Premium
5.0
Editorial Rating
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On McAfee's website
McAfee
  • All-in-one protection for your personal info and privacy
  • Excellent antivirus protection
  • Additional features like a file shredder and parental controls
  • Multiple pop-ups for text notifications can be annoying

Who it’s best for

McAfee is best for anyone who’s looking for a lot of features included with your antivirus. McAfee combines its decades of cybersecurity expertise in fighting viruses with modern solutions like a password manager, virtual private network (VPN), and protection from data brokers and identity thieves. You can even add family protection for a well-rounded security suite.

That’s not to say you have to have all of those items together. McAfee offers a variety of plans and price points so that anyone can enjoy its services depending on budget. If you want an antivirus solution that’s seen it all but also needs a reasonable price, McAfee can do that.

Screenshot of McAfee real-time scanning.

What we liked

We like the extras that McAfee includes in its antivirus software. A lot of antivirus services offer additional features, but McAfee really runs the gamut on what’s included.

We were also thrilled with the efficacy of McAfee’s product. The protection score on AV-TEST for Windows and Android protection was great. This means that AV-TEST threw everything it had at McAfee, and it came back with perfect scores for both products in the last several rounds of testing.

Overall, the longstanding reputation of a company like McAfee means we can trust it to offer a quality product. There’s a reason it’s been around a while, and we appreciate that commitment to security. McAfee embraces emerging technologies and how they can solve modern problems.

What we didn’t like

We found the Mac protection to be good but, like most security products, severely lacking in bonus features like identity protection and the VPN for macOS. It was frustrating for us, especially since the product is sold at the same price as the Windows and Android versions. If a product is sold at the same price for Macs as for Windows machines, it should offer the same features. If that’s not feasible because of how the different operating systems work, then the price should be changed.

We also found that McAfee likes to send notifications to users. The pop-ups and alerts could be considered distracting. If you’re used to browsing the internet without a lot of commotion from your computer, this could be a frustrating experience.

McAfee specs

Starting price $39.99/first yr
Free version No
Firewall Yes
Phishing protection Yes
Ransomware protection Yes
Webcam protection No
Network protection No
Parental controls Yes
Extras Password manager, VPN, identity theft protection, parental controls, personal identity cleanup, file shredder
Learn more Get McAfee

Read McAfee Review

Norton: Best for bundled services

Save up to 66% on your first year
5.0
Editorial Rating
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On Norton 360 Antivirus's website
Norton 360 Antivirus
  • Easy-to-install antivirus protection
  • Secure VPN and password manager included
  • Parental control features
  • Multi-tab navigation may be overwhelming at first

Who it’s best for

Norton is for anyone looking for a bundle for their special interest. Do you want quality identity theft protection rolled into your antivirus dashboard? Norton 360 with LifeLock has all the bells and whistles (as well as up to $3 million in insurance for identity theft). If you’re a gamer who needs performance enhancement tools as well as security features, Norton has a plan for that. If you need an intuitive antivirus solution that can also provide online safety for your family, Norton Family has you covered.

There’s a lot of thoughtfulness behind the bundles Norton offers to consumers. Sometimes antivirus software can feel like an impersonal experience, but Norton has taken users’ needs into account. Anyone looking for something tailored to their needs will likely find a Norton plan they can use.

We tried Norton's junk file cleaner, which took a few minutes to identify files we could safely remove to improve our device's performance.
Norton antivirus junk scan

What we liked

The VPN and password manager offered by Norton come with all of the bundled plans, no matter which one you choose. The installation and configuration were very easy for us to set up, and the dashboard contained all the information we needed to use the product immediately. We found Norton itself to be user-friendly. We were able to do all of this without slowing down our computer.

From the perspective of choice, we were impressed with the thoughtfulness behind the bundles offered on Norton’s site. It felt like the company actually thought about the needs of its consumers and tried to anticipate our individual pain points. Whether you’re a parent, gamer, single, mobile-app-only user, or any other combination, Norton has a bundle that fits your needs.

What we didn’t like

Norton is so expensive, and it only gets more expensive as you use it long-term. That seems counterintuitive, but renewal pricing on Norton can be more than 50% of what you paid for the first year for some plans. If you need to add additional features to the plan you purchase, like Norton Family, then the price can go up even more. We would think long-term loyalty would be rewarded with discounts and lower prices, but according to the metrics on the website, that’s not the case.

We also think that all the options Norton gives you, while good, could be confusing if you’re bundling a lot at once. There are multiple tabs where your services are located within the dashboard, and we think that could be confusing at first while you get used to the product. That’s a good problem to have, but also may mean spending more time with customer service or sorting through online guides. Who has time for that?

Norton specs

Starting price $29.99/first yr
Free version No
Firewall Yes
Phishing protection Yes
Ransomware protection Yes
Webcam protection Yes
Network protection Yes
Parental controls Yes
Extras Password manager, VPN, identity theft protection, cloud storage
Learn more Get Norton

Read Norton Review

AVG: Best free antivirus

4.8
Editorial Rating
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On AVG's website
AVG
  • Free version comes with malware, spyware, and ransomware protection
  • Includes unsafe email attachment blocking
  • Various scanning options may be confusing to some people

Who it’s best for

AVG is best for anyone looking for a free antivirus and anti-malware product that can give reliable protection. If you aren’t into a slew of extras and features, the free version of AVG is a great choice. If you’re interested in a little more, AVG has very cost-effective options.

If you want to upgrade to a paid plan, you have the option of a 30-day free trial and, after that, a 30-day money-back guarantee. Between its low pricing and generous trial and refund policies, AVG is truly trying to make sure you love its product, or it costs you nothing. This is one of the reasons we keep going back to AVG.

The main interface for AVG AntiVirus on a mac.

What we liked

For a free product, AVG offers a lot. We were impressed that it includes malware protection, including ransomware protection, as well as the option to upgrade for more features. AVG even has a feature that will analyze your email and let you know if it thinks the email is legit, spam, or contains potential malware.

AVG works quickly. We were able to run a full disk virus scan on our Windows PC in under five minutes without a significant slowdown to our normal computer usage. Since there are a variety of scanning options, you won’t always need to run a full scan, but you have the option to do so quickly. For a lightweight and free antivirus product, it works remarkably well.

What we didn’t like

Our biggest complaint about AVG is that it’s a teach-yourself kind of product. There’s a lot of customization and a lot of options, but you’ll also spend some time playing with the product to figure out all it has to offer. A big part of this is due to the somewhat outdated support pages AVG offers.

AVG offers support pages you can peruse yourself, as well as a ticket system for support. There’s a phone number for premium support, but that will cost extra. The good news is the premium support can help you troubleshoot more than just your AVG product, as long as you don’t mind a bill afterward.

AVG specs

Starting price $46.68/first yr for 1 device
Free version Yes
Firewall Yes
Phishing protection Yes
Ransomware protection Yes
Webcam protection Yes
Network protection Yes
Parental controls No
Extras VPN, optimization tools, tracker blockers
Learn more Get AVG

Read AVG Review

Honorable mentions

If McAfee, Norton, or AVG aren’t what you’ve been looking for in an antivirus product, check out one of our honorable mentions. These three antivirus solutions collectively contribute to a safer digital landscape, each bringing unique strengths to the table. Whatever you decide, make sure you use antivirus software whenever you’re online to keep your device and your personal information safe.

  • Avast: This is free antivirus software you can download for basic malware and virus protection. The free malware removal tool is great on its own, but if you decide you want more, like a VPN or identity theft protection features, you can sign up for one of Avast’s paid plans. Avast can cover up to 30 devices, but if all you need is protection for one, then you can snag that at no cost.

    Get Avast | Read Our Avast Review
  • Bitdefender: Bitdefender antivirus covers Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android with one of its many plans. Depending on the features you want in your security tool, there’s a variety of price points to fit any budget. Android and iPhone users can grab a year of protection for less than $15.

    Get Bitdefender | Read Our Bitdefender Review
  • Surfshark: You may think of Surfshark as a VPN, but Surfshark One and Surfshark One+ have powerful antivirus protection tools to keep you safe online. If you want all the bells and whistles, Surfshark One+ even includes identity theft protection services, which can safeguard your identity both on and offline. You can bundle either option with Surfshark’s award-winning VPN service for ultimate protection.

    Get Surfshark Antivirus | Read Our Surfshark Antivirus Review

Best antivirus for virus removal FAQs


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Which software helps to remove viruses?

Any antivirus software will help to remove viruses. There are a lot of different antivirus software options available, so checking a third-party testing site like AV-TEST or AV-Comparatives will give you an idea of how well each product performs.

You can also see the rate of false positives and usability scores. We’ve found AV-TEST to be a little easier to understand. If you want to double-check a product before downloading or buying it, this is definitely the way to go.


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What is the best antivirus to remove malware?

The best antivirus to remove malware is one that’s been run through independent testing labs that present all kinds of online threats. McAfee, Norton, and AVG are among our top favorite malware removal software products. If you want to see how well each product performs, check out AV-TEST, which rates and reviews a variety of antivirus products.


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What is the best free virus removal app?

We feel that AVG is the best free virus removal app, with Avast coming in a close second. Both of these products are proven effective against viruses and malware. If you’re not looking for additional features, one of these will keep you protected online for free without any additional stuff you don’t want.

Bottom line: The best virus removal software

We chose McAfee, Norton, and AVG for their features, functionality, and, in some cases, pricing structure. We feel these three antivirus products are fantastic choices to protect you and your devices.

McAfee stands out for its comprehensive security suite, providing robust features that offer protection against a wide range of threats. Norton excels in real-time defense as well as thoughtful consideration of the needs of its consumers. AVG is an efficient and lightweight antivirus that offers strong protection without draining your wallet.

3 best antivirus products for virus removal 2024

Starting price Best for Learn more

McAfee
$39.99/first yr Best for features Get McAfee

Norton
$29.99/first yr Best for bundled services Get Norton

McAfee
$46.68/first yr for 1 device Best free antivirus Get AVG

How we tested the best antivirus software for virus removal

We tested all of our antivirus products on both Apple Mac and Microsoft Windows computers to find the best malware removal tool. We looked for performance issues, customer service woes, and unavailable features to weed out different products.

Each of these products has stood up to rigorous third-party testing as well as our own methods of evaluation. We would feel comfortable using these ourselves and recommending them to friends and family. We can’t think of a better endorsement than that for security software.

Save $105 on your first year of McAfee+ Premium
5.0
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On McAfee's website
McAfee
  • All-in-one protection for your personal info and privacy
  • Excellent antivirus protection
  • Additional features like a file shredder and parental controls
  • Multiple pop-ups for text notifications can be annoying
Author Details
Mary lives in Los Angeles and has been a cybersecurity writer for over five years. With a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Clarion University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, her career in online security began in sales and content creation for a private cybersecurity firm.