Best Antiviruses

Which Antivirus Is Better Than Windows Defender? [Top 9 List]

The options below provide a more robust suite for malware protection than Windows Defender


Windows Defender is a conveniently built-in feature in Windows 8, 10, and 11, taking care of viruses and malware in the background without interrupting your work.

Although it is an innovative approach to counter virus attacks, many users wonder if taking care of viruses and keeping a computer safe completely is sufficient. In this article, we will answer these questions and help you discover which antivirus is better than Windows Defender.

In a Hurry? Here is a summary of the review

  • Norton 360 – Parental control, password manager, VPN features, and efficient malware detection.
  • Bitdefender – Easy-to-use interface, parental control, Safepay feature, and solid web protection.
  • TotalAV – Clean user interface, effective VPN features, 30-day money-back guarantee, and high threat detection rate.
  • McAfee Total Protection – Identity theft protection, VPN features, Wi-Fi security scanner, and personal data cleanup.
  • Avira – Password manager, driver update, effective anti-malware scanning, and great system optimization.
  • Panda – Password manager, driver update, effective anti-malware scanning, and great system optimization.
  • Malwarebytes – Simple user interface, effective virus scan, accessible scanner tab, and VPN features.
  • ESET – Highly advanced anti-malware engine, anti-theft feature, HIPS feature, and 30-day money-back guarantee.
  • BullGuard – Identity theft protection, parental control, game booster feature, and network scanner.

Do I need antivirus if I have Windows Defender?

Windows Defender does an excellent job of identifying malware files, stopping network-based attacks and exploits, and flagging phishing websites. It even has essential PC health and performance reports and parental controls with usage restrictions, content filtering, and location tracking.

Although it has all these impressive features, it still lacks many vital elements like identity theft protection, VPN, Anti-theft protection, Dark web monitoring, webcam/microphone protection, password manager, system optimization tools, etc.

Without these critical tools to combat cyber threats today, using only Windows Defender will not guarantee total security.

So to answer the question if you need an antivirus if you have Windows Defender, yes, you need reliable antivirus software to fill this gap and provide you with the complete features required for maximum security.

Which antivirus is better than Windows Defender? List

1. Norton 360 – Exceptional malware detection rate
Which antivirus is better than Windows Defender

In every way, Norton 360 is superior to Windows Defender. It offers better features, internet security protections, malware detection rates, and platform coverage.

One of the best anti-phishing defenses available is provided by Norton. In our tests, they significantly outperformed Defender in detecting suspicious websites and harmful links in emails and text messages.

Microsoft recently added third-party browsers like Chrome and Firefox to Defender’s web protections, but they still fall far short of Norton’s.

Norton 360 offers a wide range of features that Windows Defender does not, such as an excellent VPN that offers encrypted access to servers in more than 30 different countries and sophisticated dark web monitoring.

Additionally, Norton has an outstanding password manager with all the necessary features, including auto-saving, auto-filling, and biometric login.

Norton also offers some of the best parental controls available, which are far superior. For instance, web filtering is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge browser extensions; Windows’ web filters are only compatible with Edge.

With web filtering, you can keep tabs on the websites your child visits and even block them. Norton also offers 45+ website categories you can monitor and block, including those for alcohol, crime, and pornography.

Another feature of Norton that we appreciate is that it keeps track of every YouTube video your child views and gives you details about each one, including the title and a link to the video.

For $44.99 a year, Norton 360 Deluxe is the best value option. It includes excellent parental controls, covers 5 devices, and offers location tracking and the ability to block and schedule usage of particular apps.

Some important features of Norton 360 include:

  • Parental control
  • Password manager
  • VPN features
  • Efficient malware detection

2. Bitdefender – Simple user interface

The cloud-based scanning engine in Bitdefender is much more effective than Microsoft Defender’s and is quick and light. During a full system scan, its malware scanner detected every piece of test malware we had, and it barely slowed down the operation of our computer.

Additionally, Bitdefender is less intrusive than Defender. Many users are reluctant to upgrade to a third-party antivirus because they believe it will be more complicated than Windows Defender’s built-in security features.

However, Bitdefender eliminates this concern. Its Autopilot feature builds a set of default defenses that operate without interruption in the background by automatically analyzing your files, network, and online activity.

Bitdefender offers some of the most robust web protection of all the antivirus products available. It stopped us from going to phishing websites and websites with downloadable malware.

Another cool feature is Bitdefender’s secure browser, Safepay, which has powerful tools to safeguard your online financial information when you conduct banking transactions or make purchases online (Windows Defender lacks this feature).

Safepay blocks keystroke logging, prevents you from taking screenshots, stops hackers from remotely accessing your computer, and fills in billing fields with credit card data automatically.

In addition, Bitdefender offers superior microphone and webcam security, which Windows does not. Any unauthorized app that tries to use your webcam or microphone will be warned, and you can choose to block it or not after that.

Additionally, you can create a list of secure websites, including Zoom, WhatsApp, and Skype, that are permitted access to both tools.

Since it offers faster connection speeds than many standalone VPNs, Bitdefender is regarded as one of the best antivirus software packages with a VPN.

The parental controls are also perfect; they offer geo-fencing, which notifies you when your kids’ devices leave a secure area, app usage limits, and online content filtering. These impressive features make this antivirus superior to Windows Defender.

Some important features of Bitdefender include:

  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Parental control
  • Safepay feature
  • Solid web protection

3. TotalAV – Amazing VPN features
Which antivirus is better than Windows Defender

Compared to Windows Defender, TotalAV has higher detection rates and is much simpler. Its malware engine is quick, lightweight, and always up to date to find the most recent malware threats.

The dashboard is more user-friendly and better designed than Windows Defender, making TotalAV a perfect option for non-technical users.

The best system cleanup tools have many helpful features, such as a junk cleaner, application uninstaller, startup manager, and browser cleanup.

One of the top VPNs provided by antivirus software is Safe Browsing VPN from TotalAV. It offers unlimited data (so you can browse, stream, and torrent as much as you like), all the industry-required VPN security features (such as bank-grade encryption and a kill switch), and blazing-fast speeds.

It also supports torrenting on all servers and works with all popular streaming services, including Netflix.

Our preferred TotalAV plan is Total Security ($49.00/year), which includes all of TotalAV’s features.

However, users looking for a more cost-effective option can choose from TotalAV Antivirus Pro ($19.00/year) and Internet Security ($39.00/year), which provide a good range of features at a reasonable price cost. A 30-day money-back guarantee is included with each TotalAV plan.

Some important features of TotalAV include:

  • Clean user interface
  • Effective VPN features
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • High threat detection rate

4. McAfee Total Protection – Wi-Fi scanner

A superior internet security suite to Windows Defender, McAfee Total Protection offers much better network and web security. Its web protection is superior to Microsoft Edge’s built-in browser security, blocking every verified phishing site.

There are many options available with McAfee’s Smart Firewall that Defender does not have.

You can turn on Stealth Mode to hide your PC on public networks, activate Smart Access to let McAfee’s firewall analyze incoming and outgoing threats or use Lockdown in an emergency to stop all inbound and outbound traffic to your computer.

Another great feature is the Wi-Fi scanner which actively scans your network to inform you of the gadgets currently connected to your Wi-Fi network.

The Wi-Fi scanner even sends notifications if new users attempt to connect to your network. Additionally, although it is slower than Bitdefender’s VPN, McAfee’s VPN is safe, simple to use, and suitable for streaming.

McAfee also offers a personal data cleanup service that assists you in removing your personal information from data brokerages profiting from the sale of your information.

There is also identity theft protection, which keeps track of your details, such as email addresses, credit card numbers, and social security numbers. It monitors the dark web in real-time and notifies you if any of your personally identifying information is leaked.

For $99.99 a year, McAfee Advanced provides access to identity theft protection for up to $1 million. It also includes the security freeze feature, which prevents unauthorized people from opening accounts in your name, such as credit card, bank, and utility accounts.

All these advanced features make this antivirus better than Windows Defender.

Some important features of McAfee include:

  • Identity theft protection
  • VPN features
  • Wi-Fi security scanner
  • Personal data cleanup

5. Avira – Safe shopping browser extension
Which antivirus is better than Windows Defender

One of the best free Windows antivirus programs on the market, Avira Free Security for Windows offers powerful anti-malware scanning along with a ton of high-quality extra features.

During my tests, its cloud-based malware scanner performed incredibly well, successfully identifying every malware sample file on our device, far superior to Windows Defender.

We like the Safe Shopping browser extension because it provides greater security and convenience than Windows Defender’s SmartScreen by blocking web trackers, bothersome advertisements, and phishing websites. The extension also locates the best shopping discounts.

Avira has excellent system optimization tools that can significantly boost an old or slow computer’s performance, but the free version only offers simple cleanup tools.

Driver updater is a feature of the premium plans that Defender does not have. Two overdue software updates were discovered by this tool on our PC.

One of the best free password managers you’ll find included with an antivirus program is the feature-rich one from Avira. Avira’s password manager includes a password generator, auto-saves and auto-fills your passwords; you can use it on unlimited devices.

It also has 256-bit AES encryption, unlimited password storage, and two-factor authentication. It is also very user-friendly and intuitive.

Some important features of Avira include:

  • Password manager
  • Driver update
  • Effective anti-malware scanning
  • Great system optimization

6. Panda – Effective file encryption
Which antivirus is better than Windows Defender

Panda Dome is a reliable anti-malware program with high rates of malware detection, respectable supplemental features, and a selection of plans and payment methods. During testing, it caught most of the malware files on our test PC with about the same accuracy as Windows Defender.

In addition, Panda has many additional features that Windows’ antivirus program lacks, such as a powerful VPN that uses Hotspot Shield’s technology to offer quick and secure access to servers in more than 20 countries.

I love Panda’s Rescue Kit, a bootable copy of Panda that you can download to a USB thumb drive. If a computer gets seriously infected with malware, the Rescue Kit can restart it and launch Panda from a thumb drive, enabling you to clean the system with Panda’s cloud-based malware technology.

The anti-theft tools provided by Panda also caught my attention. If there are three failed login attempts, Panda enables you to remotely lock your devices, erase your data, find your lost device, and take a photo of the thief. Panda also supports Android smartwatches as well.

File encryption and file shredding are two features that Panda provides, which Defender does not. Some of our most private documents, such as bank records, were encrypted so no one could access them, not even a hacker who might use my computer.

Some important features of Panda include:

  • Rescue kit feature
  • PC cleanup tool
  • File encryption
  • Anti-theft tools

7. Malwarebytes – Advanced security protection

Malwarebytes provides cutting-edge defense against various malware threats, including ransomware and zero-day attacks. Its scanning engine is on par with that of leading rivals like Norton.

The dashboard for Malwarebytes is simpler to use than the dashboard for Defender. The only additional feature Malwarebytes has is an automatic anti-phishing filter, which performs significantly better than Microsoft’s built-in security.

Scheduled system scans are another area where Malwarebytes outperforms Defender in anti-malware protection. Malwarebytes has an accessible Scanner tab where you can quickly begin a quick scan, set up a custom scan, or schedule one.

On the other hand, Defender makes you use the Task Scheduler app to trudge through frustrating steps to schedule a scan. Users with little experience might find this process challenging and confusing.

Users looking for an extra layer of online privacy will be pleased with Malwarebytes’ VPN, which is pretty good. Access to servers all over the world is encrypted through the VPN. These impressive features make this antivirus better than Windows Defender.

Some important features of Malwarebytes include:

  • Simple user interface
  • Effective virus scan
  • Accessible scanner tab
  • VPN features

8. ESET – Anti-theft feature

A highly sophisticated anti-malware engine built into ESET thoroughly scans Windows systems better than Windows Defender.

The anti-theft feature of ESET also performs well. After installing it on our Windows HP laptop, We could remotely lock my device, track it using the ESET online dashboard, display messages on the screen, and use the webcam built into my laptop to take pictures of the thieves. Windows Defender lacks these features.

ESET includes HIPS (Host Intrusion Prevention System), which is specially made to detect difficult-to-remove malware like ransomware and rootkits, in addition to advanced malware detection.

The price is reasonable for the Premium Security plan from ESET. It costs $50.10 annually to cover one device, but you can add additional devices to your plan for relatively little money. The 30-day money-back guarantee for ESET is included.

Some important features of ESET include:

  • Highly advanced anti-malware engine
  • Anti-theft feature
  • HIPS feature
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

9. BullGuard – Parental controls

Although Windows Defender and BullGuard malware engine had issues with some newer ransomware files, the BullGuard malware engine was much more effective at detecting viruses and spyware than Windows Defender.

BullGuard has a feature called Game Booster that improves system performance while gaming, and this is a great feature that gamers worldwide would love.

BullGuard offers three different pricing options (the Game Booster is included in the least expensive plan). But our favorite is the Premium Protection plan, which provides network scanning and identity theft protection for up to 10 devices.

Some important features of BullGuard include:

  • Identity theft protection
  • Parental control
  • Game booster feature
  • Network scanner

In conclusion, If you have been wondering which antivirus is better than Windows Defender, the anti-virus programs listed in this article are among the best software available.

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David Ogbor
David is a tech guru with extensive knowledge in technical articles. He is passionate about writing and presents technical articles in an easy-to-understand format for easy comprehension. He aims to present easy solutions for day-to-day problems encountered while using PC. In his spare time, he likes traveling, playing sports, and singing.