ESET Antivirus Review 2023: Is the Protection Worth the Price?

Help readers understand the costs, features, and pros and cons of ESET Antivirus, how it works, and whether it’s a good choice for them.
Learn More
On ESET's website

We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

ESET antivirus is a good product that’s proven its effectiveness through third-party tests. Although the price per device is higher than its competitors, such as AVG, McAfee, or Norton, ESET provides equally as strong protection against malware and viruses. 

With additional features meant to keep your browsing safe, and even anti-theft protection for your computer, ESET has a lot of qualities a person with one or two devices may be looking for in an antivirus package. Let's dig into ESET's features and pricing to find out if it's the right antivirus program for you.

In this article
ESET antivirus overview
Who is ESET antivirus best for?
ESET Antivirus features
ESET antivirus test results
Our ESET antivirus experience
ESET antivirus compatibility
ESET antivirus customer support
ESET antivirus cost
ESET Antivirus FAQs
Bottom line: Is ESET Antivirus good?

ESET antivirus review at a glance

Price $39.99–$104.99/first yr
Free version No
# of devices protected 1–10
Malware scans Manual and scheduled
Firewall Yes
Phishing protection Yes
Parental controls Yes
Details Get ESET

Who is ESET antivirus best for?

  • Recommended for advanced protection for one or two devices

ESET has a lot of features such as anti-phishing protection, an exploit blocker, and advanced machine learning that provide superior protection against viruses and malware. 

These essential security features, alongside additional features such as Gamer Mode and cloud-powered scanning, offer a well-rounded security option that’s constantly evolving to keep you protected.

Unfortunately, ESET’s price is determined by how many devices you’re looking to cover. If you have one or two devices, you’ll reap many benefits of this antivirus. If you have a family to cover with multiple devices between family members, you may need to find an antivirus program that offers more devices at a single price.

ESET antivirus pros and cons

  • Lots of useful features
  • Advanced machine learning
  • Offers a 30-day free trial with no credit card required
  • Can get expensive for multiple devices
  • Lackluster customer service options

ESET antivirus features

ESET provides a long list of features for customers that only expands as you go up in price plans. Although protections such as antivirus and advanced machine learning are available to everyone, the firewall feature is only for Advanced and Premium subscriptions. That doesn’t exclude ESET from the conversation; however, as all pricing tiers have useful tools for every need.

Malware and antivirus scan

Malware is a constant threat in all its forms. ESET’s anti-malware protection provides you with manual scan options for all types of malware, such as ransomware, spyware, adware, and all types of viruses. ESET will even alert you to potentially dangerous files that might not have allowed a scan. You can see we encountered an unknown file that we cleaned. When we rescanned, the file passed ESET’s tests.

The ESET Internet Security dashboard on the computer scan screen with an unknown file detected.

Phishing protection

ESET protects you from phishing attempts through a series of safety measures. First, it compares websites you’re visiting with its own database of safe or suspicious websites. If you do happen across a malicious site, ESET recognizes it and severs the connection to the site. It does this through its proprietary phishing detection, which is always up-to-date, and by learning the behaviors of malicious sites and scripts. All this boils down to a safer way to browse online.


If you purchase an Advanced or Premium Security package from ESET, then you’ll receive its firewall feature. The firewall has several different methods for configuration including integrating Windows firewall rules into its own firewall. Because the firewall feature is filtering out content on multiple levels, it allows you to configure those specifics within its portal. If you aren’t comfortable configuring your firewall, no worries; ESET has permissions for the most common usage already set up and ready for you. All you’ll need to do is turn it on.

The ESET Internet Security dashboard on the advanced setup section for firewall settings.

Real-time protection

The real-time protection feature is set to launch and scan automatically without you needing to configure anything. ESET also scans files as you receive and open them to make sure what you’re accessing doesn’t contain anything malicious. Because these permissions are always looking at what’s passing over your machine, it’s not recommended to disable them.

Ransomware protection

Ransomware is just one form of malware, but it’s the one that gets most of the press. A ransomware attack can devastate a business (or your personal finances). ESET protects you from ransomware. It even goes a step further to provide you with free cybersecurity training to help you become a more vigilant internet user.

The ESET Internet Security dashboard with the option for free cybersecurity training.

Anti-fraud protection

ESET provides you with a secured browser to help thwart fraudulent attempts when you’re using the internet for sensitive information. It works through your default browser and can be accessed through your ESET portal on your device. ESET even includes a handy guide for adding or blocking websites within the browser configurations.

The ESET Internet Security dashboard on the advanced setup section for browser protection settings.

Bonus features

Depending on what plan you choose, ESET offers a variety of bonus features to enhance your security and performance. Although antivirus protection and performance optimization tools come standard on every pricing plan, tools such as secure web browsing and network and device monitoring come with the Advanced plan and higher.

ESET Antivirus security tools for parental controls and anti-theft.

Parental controls and anti-theft protection

An ESET Antivirus pop-up prompting a network scan.

Scan your network and devices for vulnerabilities

An ESET Antivirus pop-up to create a phantom account to help retrieve your computer if it's stolen.

Create a Phantom account to help retrieve your computer if it’s stolen

Performance optimization tools

The performance optimization tools offered by ESET include Gamer Mode, cloud-powered scanning, and a small system footprint. Gamer Mode disables pop-ups and notifications when you’re gaming so you can have an uninterrupted experience.

Cloud-powered scanning whitelists files to speed up scanning. The small system footprint feature takes the majority of the computing power off your computer so more memory is left for you.

Secure web browsing tools

In addition to ESET’s Secure Browser, you have access to a firewall, network attack protection, antispam, banking and payment protection, and botnet protection. Each of these tools employs various filters to keep potentially harmful executables from planting themselves on your device. An executable is anything that executes on your computer, such as when you download an attachment from your email or a file from the internet.

Network and device monitoring tools

Parental controls, webcam protection, network inspector, anti-theft, and brute force attack protection are all the monitoring tools included in the Advanced and Premium pricing subscriptions. Although some of these features are self-explanatory, such as webcam protection, other features like the network inspector are useful surprises. You can scan the network you’re connected to so you can find devices that shouldn’t be connected as well as see the vulnerabilities of devices you have authorized.

ESET Antivirus test results

AV-Comparatives tested ESET’s effectiveness and functionality from July to October 2022. The three sections tested were real-world protection, malware protection, and performance.

ESET was only beaten by TotalAV when tested on false positives, tying with Kaspersky for a single false positive. AV-Comparatives listed 12 false positives as the average, so ESET came in as much better than average. ESET also blocked 98.9% of all malicious attempts AV-Comparatives threw at it. Although this wasn’t the most robust protection, ESET still scored high in all its tests with the highest being in performance.

ESET Antivirus AV-Comparatives test results

Test type Score Platform Test date
Mobile security Approved Android July-October 2022
Real-world protection 1/3 Windows July-October 2022
Malware protection 2/3 Windows July-October 2022
Performance 3/3 Windows July-October 2022

Our ESET Antivirus experience

In our test, ESET was relatively easy to install and setup was very fast. We used an older laptop running Windows 10 and had no issues. You can have this security software downloaded, installed, and running in less than 30 minutes (depending on your internet speed) without needing advanced knowledge of how antivirus software works. The secure browser installs automatically and downloads an icon onto your desktop.

While we were trying out the features, ESET would set annoying yellow reminders to let us know we hadn’t finished setting up our anti-theft, firewall, and some other features we’d clicked on. There was no option to clear these reminders so we had to continue to set them up. We didn’t love that.

That aside, we had a pleasant experience using ESET. The full scan of our hard drive was fast (coming in at less than five minutes) and alerted us to files that may need cleaning. We were able to clean them, rescan them, and come up with no issues. We found all of the features to be easy to use, most with off/on toggles, and useful.

Even though we purchased the Advanced Protection instead of the Premium, we found it had all we needed in a security suite. We chose Advanced because we wanted more features than what came with the Essential Protection tier, which is a basic antivirus.

ESET Antivirus' real-time protection settings.

Real-time protection options

ESET Antiviurs security tools for online and for your physical computer.

Security tools for online and for our physical computer

ESET Antivirus compatibility

ESET compatibility is relatively simple. Windows operating system, macOS products, and Android products can all be covered under various ESET plans. Unfortunately, there are no ESET products for Linux or iOS. For a full list, check below.

Windows products

  • ESET Smart Security Premium 16.1
  • ESET Internet Security 16.1
  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus 16.1
  • ESET Smart Security Premium 16.x
  • ESET Internet Security 16.x
  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus 16.x

macOS products

  • ESET Cyber Security 7.x
  • ESET Cyber Security 6.x
  • ESET Cyber Security Pro 6.x

Android products

  • ESET Mobile Security for Android 8.x
  • ESET Mobile Security for Android 7.x
  • ESET Parental Control for Android 5.x

ESET Antivirus customer support

Unfortunately, ESET is another security solution with a self-serve approach to customer service. We tried accessing support through the website on a device that wasn’t logged in to our account as well as through our ESET dashboard. But both options only directed us to self-service customer support options.

We didn’t have the option to email or call anyone. However, when we did an internet search for “ESET customer service” a number popped up immediately. We cannot caution strongly enough against calling these numbers. They’re almost always a scammer. Even though ESET’s support is lackluster, don’t go looking for a way around it.

ESET Antivirus cost

ESET’s Essential Security product starts at $39.99 for one device. As you increase your level of protection, features, and even devices, this price continues to rise. Although this is a reasonable yearly price for one person with one device, if you need a family subscription this could become expensive quickly.

The Advanced Security option seems the most beneficial to most people. Although it doesn’t include the password manager feature that comes with the Premium Security paid plan, it does include more than the Essential Security plan. You’ll get the most out of your subscription with the Advanced option. If you need to cover more devices, we recommend checking out AVG, Bitdefender, or one of our other choices for the best antivirus software.

ESET Antivirus plans and prices

ESET Essential Security ESET Advanced Security ESET Premium Security
Price for first year $39.99/first yr $39.99/first yr $39.99/first yr
# of devices supported 1 1 1
Compatible with Windows, Mac Windows, Mac, Android Windows, Mac, Android
Manual and auto scan
Phishing protection
Real-time protection
Ransomware protection
Security report
Parental controls
Performance optimization tools
Webcam protection
Password manager
Details View Plan View Plan View Plan

Prices as of 4/7/2023.
Features shown exist on the Windows product. Not all features may be available for Mac and Android products.

ESET offers a 30-day free trial of its Essential and Advanced Security options with no credit card required.

ESET Antivirus FAQs


Is ESET Antivirus a safe antivirus?

According to test results in 2022 from AV-Comparatives and in 2021 from AV-TEST, ESET is a safe and effective antivirus solution.


Is ESET Mobile Security a good antivirus phone app?

The last test AV-TEST did for ESET Mobile Security was in November 2021, where it received nearly perfect scores. In addition, ESET has a 4.7-star rating in the Google Play Store. Between these two rating systems, we believe ESET Mobile Security is a good antivirus phone app.


Does ESET Antivirus slow down your computer?

ESET lists that it has a small system footprint to allow “more power to programs you use daily.” What this means is that less of ESET’s processing capabilities live on your computer so it doesn’t slow you down. This is part of what makes ESET one of the top-rated and best antivirus software solutions on the market.


Hows does ESET Antivirus protect you from ransomware?

ESET protects you from ransomware through real-time protection, advanced machine learning, encryption, and other various forms of protection for your device. ESET also uses global research to protect against malware threats that are new or never-been-seen.

Bottom line: Is ESET Antivirus good?

Yes, ESET is a good antivirus product with a lot of extra features that enhance your protection online. It has high ratings from independent testing as well as a user-friendly interface and easy-to-use controls. With the use of advanced machine learning, real-time protection, and global research to identify new and emerging threats, ESET gives a well-rounded shield of protection to any device.

Although the cost is a little higher than competitors like AVG, McAfee, and Norton, it’s still a trusted product. If you aren’t interested in covering a lot of devices, ESET’s pricing falls on par with its competitors. Choosing ESET is a decision you can feel confident about.

Learn More
On ESET's website

Author Details
Mary lives in Los Angeles and has been writing about tech for over 5 years. When she's not writing for work or fun, you'll find her in a theatre, at the movies, volunteering, or hiking the gorgeous SoCal landscape.