ESET Antivirus Review 2024: 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.
4.5
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On ESET's website

ESET
15% off on 2-year protection
  • Lots of useful features
  • Offers a 30-day free trial with no credit card required
  • Lackluster customer service options
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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 McAfee and 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.

4.5
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On ESET's website
ESET
15% off on 2-year protection
  • Lots of useful features
  • Offers a 30-day free trial with no credit card required
  • Lackluster customer service options

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

ESET antivirus review at a glance

Price $49.99–$179.99/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

Pros
  • Lots of useful features
  • Uses advanced machine learning to combat emerging cyberthreats
  • Offers a 30-day free trial with no credit card required
Cons
  • Can get expensive for multiple devices
  • Lackluster customer service options

ESET antivirus cost

ESET’s Essential Security product starts at $49.99/first yr 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 identity theft protection or the virtual private network (VPN) 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 TotalAV, 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 $49.99/first yr $69.99/first yr $179.99/first yr
# of devices supported 1 3 5
Manual and auto scan
Phishing protection
Firewall
Real-time protection
Ransomware protection
Parental controls
Performance optimization tools
Webcam protection
Anti-theft
Password manager
VPN
Identity protection features
Details View Plan View Plan View Plan

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 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, most privacy and identity protection features are 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 other 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.

Firewall

You’ll receive the firewall feature with all ESET plans. It 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 with the Ransomware Shield. This feature blocks any malware that tries to lock you out of your personal data. 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 when you go to Advanced setup then Browser protection

ESET even includes a handy guide for adding or blocking websites within the browser configurations.

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 for privacy and identity protection come with the Advanced plan and higher.

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 safe browsing tools, you'll have access to 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, like 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 included with all plans. 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 security tools for parental controls and anti-theft.

Parental controls and anti-theft protection


ESET antivirus test results

One way to test an antivirus program yourself is through EICAR testing. The European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research (EICAR) developed test files that mimic malware, potentially unwanted apps, and phishing links to test programs without downloading real viruses. 

ESET EICAR test results

Test ESET score
Malware detection Pass
Potentially unwanted apps (PUAs) detection Pass
Phishing detection Pass

Test results as of 03/26/2024.

ESET passed all the EICAR tests with flying colors. Depending on the test type, ESET blocked the file or it blocked the webpage. 

ESET webpage warning the user about a potential phishing attempt.

ESET third-party test results

AV-Comparatives tested ESET’s effectiveness and functionality from July to October 2023. 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 Avast, AVG, and Avira for a single false positive. ESET also blocked 99.96% of all malicious attempts AV-Comparatives threw at it, received a perfect score across performance tests, and had the top score for real-world protection.

ESET antivirus AV-Comparatives test results

Test type Score Platform Test date
Mobile security Approved Android July-October 2023
Real-world protection 1/3 Windows July-October 2023
Malware protection 3/3 Windows October 2023
Performance 3/3 Windows October 2023

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 did eventually find live chat support, but it's only available Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PT. The live chat support is listed as being able to help with basic support like product installation and activation, lost license key or activation email, and error messages from your ESET product. You can also pay $20.00 per hour to chat with an ESET Home Adviser, which can help with advanced issues and troubleshooting other software.

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 alternatives

ESET offers lots of features but could be expensive depending on your budget and device coverage needs. Here are some of the best antivirus programs to consider if you're not sold on ESET:

  • Norton: Norton is user-friendly option with helpful walkthroughs for antivirus beginners. It also offers various security suites that include features like a password manager, VPN, and identity theft protection. 

    Get Norton 360 | Read Our Norton 360 Review

  • TotalAV: TotalAV is another performer with high third-party test scores. It also offers a free plan so you can try it out risk-free as long as you need.

    Get TotalAV | Read Our TotalAV Review

  • Avast: Avast is a freemium antivirus service that test well even without the premium plan. You can use the free plan on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, which is more operating systems than most competitors.

    Get Avast | Read Our Avast Review

ESET antivirus FAQs


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.

4.5
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On ESET's website
ESET
15% off on 2-year protection
  • Lots of useful features
  • Offers a 30-day free trial with no credit card required
  • Lackluster customer service options
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.