Our Top Picks

Adaware Antivirus Logo
Adaware Antivirus
  • Deployment: Windows
  • Customer service: Online, 24/7 (live rep) (Pro and Total only)
  • Database security audit

You’ll likely be familiar with many of the companies on our list. Adaware has been on the go since 1999, and its products are trusted in millions of homes and businesses across the globe.

Adaware has a range of options to help you protect your computer and network from malicious threats, but its malware removal and protection software is our real focus. There are three versions:

  • Free
  • Pro
  • Total

All versions stop malware, ransomware, spyware, and various viruses. They also all offer download protection, which scans files before you download them to ensure they’re safe. The final feature all versions share is real-time protection. The instant malware appears on your system, Adaware Antivirus reacts accordingly.

The Pro and Total versions also include a vast selection of useful extras, including email protection, a digital file shredder, and (for Adaware Total) a suite of tools to clean and maintain your computer.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free version
  • Online malware encyclopedia
  • Network protection

Cons

  • Windows only
  • No compliance management software

Summary

Adaware Antivirus Logo
Adaware Antivirus
  • Starting Price
    • Free Version Available
    • Adaware Antivirus PRO: Custom quote
    • Adaware Antivirus TOTAL: Custom quote
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Windows
  • Support Options
    24/7 (Live Rep)
    Online
  • Real-time Monitoring
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Windows
  • Customer service: Online, 24/7 (live rep) (Pro and Total only)
  • Database security audit
Avast Logo
Avast Internet Security
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, Android, iOS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Real-time monitoring

Avast also appears to offer a range of antivirus tools. It breaks down available software into security, privacy, and performance sections. However, every security option leads back to the free antivirus software. 

The program was once known as Avast Internet Security but is now part of Avast Premium Security. It’s part of an all-inclusive package tailored to protect all your devices against viruses, malware, and more.

Avast Premium Security scans websites for suspicious activity and redirects you if it finds anything amiss. It also protects you from remote access attacks (hackers) and, of course, viruses and malware.

There’s a slightly cheaper version that only covers one computer, but if you’re running a business, paying a little extra to install the malware removal software on another nine devices is recommended. Best of all, Avast Premium Security is compatible with Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Available across multiple platforms
  • Protects against spoofed websites

Cons

  • Browser protection is a separate option
  • Does not have security event log, database security audit, or compliance management software

Summary

Avast Logo
Avast Internet Security
  • Starting Price
    • Avast Premium Security: $39.99/year/PC
    • Android Phone/Tablet: $49.99/year/10 devices
    • iPhone/iPad: $49.99/year/10 devices
  • Free Trial/Demo
    60-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
  • Support Options
    Online
  • Real-time Monitoring
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, Android, iOS
  • Customer service: Online
  • Real-time monitoring
AVG Logo
AVG
  • Deployment: Android, iPad/iPhone, Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online, phone during business hours
  • Security event log

Many of the best malware removal tools offer very similar features, so if a company offers something a little different, it's automatically interesting. AVG’s free virus scanner and malware removal tool has various security options similar to its peers that keep your devices clean.

It looks for outdated software, among other things. It’s easy to assume that malware only uses modern software to enter your system, but the truth is that hackers use any means necessary. Outdated software can create "back doors" in your system that AVG helps close off. 

AVG also protects your system 24/7, even if you’re not actively running the program. This can cause concerns about whether the program will act as a resource hog. Thankfully, AVG has a minimal impact on performance. 

The AVG virus scanner and malware removal tool is suitable for most operating systems, from Mac to Windows and mobile devices.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free
  • Regularly updates itself
  • Fast

Cons

  • Clears up most forms of malware
  • No integrations or compliance management software

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Free Version Available
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
    iPhone / iPad
    Android
  • Support Options
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Real-time Monitoring
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Android, iPad/iPhone, Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS
  • Customer service: Online, phone during business hours
  • Security event log
Bitdefender Logo
Bitdefender Antivirus
  • Deployment: Windows
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), online
  • Security reports

The best malware removal software typically acts as an all-in-one solution to remove viruses and stop cyber attacks. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus, as it’s known, does all this and more.

It’s full of useful features, including:

  • Phishing protection
  • Secure VPN
  • Multi-layer ransomware protection
  • Low impact on device performance

We mentioned reports as one factor we looked at when compiling this list and Bitdefender ticks this box with its vulnerability assessment. This feature, once run, points out potential issues and how to solve them. From missing patches to outdated software, Bitdefender tells you what’s a security risk.

Bitdefender’s malware removal includes behavioral detection technology. In short, the software learns to recognize unusual and suspicious behavior on your system and automatically deals with it.

The software also blocks trackers, which seem relatively benign as they don’t actively interfere with your system. However, they’re just as dangerous as other malware since they send your private data back to a host. Bitdefender reports on this and lets you decide how to proceed.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Multi-layer ransomware protection
  • File shredder
  • Rescue environment
  • Compliance management software

Cons

  • Windows only
  • Installation requires 2.5 GB of free space
  • No reports

Summary

Bitdefender Logo
Bitdefender Antivirus
  • Starting Price
    • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus:
    • 1 device: $14.99/year
    • 3 devices: $24.99/year
    • 5 devices: $69.99 /year
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Demo and 30-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
    iPhone / iPad
    Android
  • Support Options
    24/7 (Live Rep)
    Online
  • Real-time Monitoring
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Windows
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), online
  • Security reports
Kaspersky Logo
Kaspersky Antivirus
  • Deployment: Windows
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
  • Detailed malware reports

Kaspersky offers several malware removal options suitable for home and office use. They include:

  • Kaspersky Antivirus
  • Kaspersky Internet Security
  • Kaspersky Total Security
  • Kaspersky Security Cloud Personal

All include malware removal and related features, but we’ll concentrate on the stand-alone antivirus software for now. It contains several things often overlooked by lesser malware removal programs.

One example of this is protection against the cryptolocker trojan. This is a virus that's hidden within a document or executable that, once opened, installs ransomware on your computer. It then encrypts your data and generates a "ransom note" asking for payment in cryptocurrency to decrypt everything.

It’s just one example of how insidious malware can be, which is why the best malware removal software offers a wide range of relevant tools to combat it. Aside from the aforementioned protection, it also incorporates triple-layer security and real-time monitoring.

The latter feature instantaneously detects and neutralizes any threats before they have a chance to infiltrate your system or network. It also protects against keyloggers, worms and rootkits — all common but dangerous examples of malware and viruses.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Network monitoring
  • Real-time protection
  • Free 30-day trial

Cons

  • Windows only

Summary

Kaspersky Logo
Kaspersky Antivirus
  • Starting Price
    • $29.99/year/3 PCs
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Windows
  • Support Options
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Real-time Monitoring
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Windows
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
  • Detailed malware reports
Malwarebytes Logo
Malwarebytes
  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS, Android, iPhone/iPad, Windows, Mac
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
  • Detailed malware reports

Possibly one of the most well-known names on our list, Malwarebytes is considered by many the best malware removal option around. Obviously, only you know what’s best for you, but we can objectively say it’s got a place on our list due to its excellent features. 

Malwarebytes states that it’s “cybersecurity that crushes what others don’t,” which is a bold claim but not unsubstantiated. The company has multiple versions of its software available for home/personal and business use across various operating systems.  

Whichever you choose, you’ll find real-time protection that stands above the rest by incorporating artificial intelligence and machine learning, meaning the software can even identify emerging threats before they become known.

Malwarebytes malware removal also includes an all-new proprietary Katana Engine. This feature is capable of identifying threats and giving you more detailed reports on any issues found.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Comprehensive scan options
  • 50% less CPU impact than before
  • Play Mode

Cons

  • Free trial is only two weeks long
  • No database security audit or compliance management software

Summary

Malwarebytes Logo
Malwarebytes
  • Starting Price
    • Personal:
    • Premium: $3.33/month/device
    • Pemium: $6.67/month/5 devices
    • Premium + Privacy: $8.33/month/5 devices
    • Contact for more pricing options
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Demo and 14-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
    iPhone / iPad
    Android
  • Support Options
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Real-time Monitoring
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS, Android, iPhone/iPad, Windows, Mac
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
  • Detailed malware reports
McAfee Logo
McAfee
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), online
  • Detailed report

McAfee Virus Removal Service offers something a little different, as it isn’t software you download. Rather, one of McAfee’s security experts remotely accesses your computer and cleans it for you.

Otherwise, it works in pretty much the same way as other malware removal options on our list. A McAfee representative takes control of your device to find and remove any malware. They also apply any necessary security updates to your system. 

The main advantage of having an expert conduct live malware removal is you can chat with them as they do it. So if you’re not familiar with the removal procedure or want to know how a virus found its way onto your device, they can tell you whatever you want to know.

McAfee Virus Removal Service is ideal for anyone who either isn’t confident with running malware removal themselves or doesn’t have time to do it. The security expert who examines your device will leave McAfee Software and Virus Signature Update on your system to help keep it safe.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Live chat with a security expert
  • Stress-free, hands-off approach
  • Removes all malware

Cons

  • Very expensive for what it offers
  • Cheaper alternatives from McAfee are arguably better
  • No real-time monitoring or compliance management software

Summary

  • Starting Price
    • Free Version Available
    • McAfee® Virus Removal Service: $89.95/incident
    • McAfee® Total Protection: $34.99
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
    iPhone / iPad
    Android
  • Support Options
    24/7 (Live Rep)
    Online
  • Real-time Monitoring
    no
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows, web-based, cloud, SaaS, iPhone/iPad, Android
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep), online
  • Detailed report
Microsoft Logo
Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool
  • Deployment: Windows
  • Customer service: Online
  • Reports

One caveat: Microsoft’s Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) isn’t a typical antivirus program. Instead, it’s a post-infection tool. To be clear, this doesn’t make it any less useful than other entries on our list; it’s still one of the best malware removal options out there. 

Where other applications on our list remove but also prevent malware, MSRT just removes it. It also only targets active malicious threats, which typically include:

  • Viruses
  • Trojans
  • Worms

What this means is that MSRT is a very niche malware removal tool, but a highly effective one. It has two scan functions, full and quick, which check all drives except mapped network ones. Once it identifies a threat, you’ll receive a notification and information on further steps (e.g., delete the affected files). 

The MSRT then sends relevant info back to Microsoft’s malware database for future MSRT updates.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free
  • Small file size
  • Excellent second-step malware removal

Cons

  • Windows only
  • Requires a separate antivirus program to fully remove some threats
  • No integrations, real-time monitoring, or compliance management

Summary

Microsoft Logo
Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool
  • Starting Price
    • Free Version Available
  • Free Trial/Demo
    Free Demo
  • Deployment
    Installed - Windows
  • Support Options
    Online
  • Real-time Monitoring
    no
Features
  • Deployment: Windows
  • Customer service: Online
  • Reports
Norton-Power-Eraser Logo
Norton Power Eraser
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep)
  • Minimal system impact when running

Norton has been protecting computer systems with its signature antivirus software since 2006, but its Power Eraser is a brand-new tool with similar benefits.

It primarily features:

  • Detection and removal of hidden malware
  • Targeted scareware, rogueware, and scamware removal

Norton Power Eraser is more aggressive than most typical malware removal tools, and there’s a small chance it’ll flag legitimate programs as a risk. You’ll need to pay careful attention to the tool’s reports. 

While you need to download Norton Power Eraser to use it, it doesn’t require installing. This makes it one of the least invasive malware removal tools around.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free
  • Minimal system impact
  • Targets malware other tools sometimes ignore

Cons

  • Highly aggressive algorithm creates false positives
  • No reports or compliance management software

Summary

Norton-Power-Eraser Logo
Norton Power Eraser
  • Starting Price
    • Free Version Available
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
  • Support Options
    24/7 (Live Rep)
  • Real-time Monitoring
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Mac, Windows
  • Customer service: 24/7 (live rep)
  • Minimal system impact when running
Trend-Micro Logo
Trend Micro
  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS, Android, iPhone/iPad, Mac, Windows
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
  • Smooth integration

Trend Micro, a lesser-known but no less worthwhile name in the world of cybersecurity, has various antivirus and internet security options available, but we’re going to focus on its HouseCall tool.

Trend Micro’s HouseCall offers a decent range of features, including:

  • Fileless detection
  • Smart scan
  • Broad compatibility
  • Enhanced cleanup

HouseCall can block malicious threats that hide outside files, lets you check and review scan results, and recover files, and it works across multiple devices and platforms.

Every entry on our list integrates with a computer’s system to offer full scans and detection, but compatibility issues sometimes arise. HouseCall uses a stand-alone browser-independent application to avoid any potential problems.

If HouseCall finds malware it has trouble removing, Trend Micro’s other products should help keep your device clean and safe. We’ve listed the prices below.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Completely free
  • Customizable scans
  • Available on multiple platforms

Cons

  • Not as in-depth as other paid options

Summary

Trend-Micro Logo
Trend Micro
  • Starting Price
    • Maximum Security: $39.95
    • Premium Security Suite: $69.95
    • Internet Security: $39.95
    • Antivirus+ Security: $29.95
  • Free Trial/Demo
    30-Day Free Trial
  • Deployment
    Installed - Mac
    Installed - Windows
    Web-Based, Cloud, SaaS
    iPhone / iPad
    Android
  • Support Options
    Business Hours
    Online
  • Real-time Monitoring
    yes
Features
  • Deployment: Web-based, cloud, SaaS, Android, iPhone/iPad, Mac, Windows
  • Customer service: Phone during business hours, online
  • Smooth integration

How We Chose the Best Malware Removal Tools

At some point, you’re liable to find a virus on your computer. It could have been hidden in an email, software, or an unsecured website or even been purposefully put on your system by a hacker. Worst-case scenario, you might end up with malware that encrypts your files and renders them useless unless you pay a hacker to unlock them. 

Suffice it to say that any kind of virus is bad news. Whether it’s a minor nuisance like a tracker or the “igdm” ransomware mentioned above, prevention is always better than finding a cure. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best malware removal we could find. We used the following core criteria to review 10 antivirus tools:

Malware Removal Features

It’s worth paying attention to what types of malware the software can remove. Some antivirus programs can’t handle trojans or ransomware, while others might charge to remove them. 

We also looked at related features like real-time monitoring, compliance management, if there’s a security event log, types of available scan, and more.

Integrations

If you need malware removal software for a business, there’s a good chance endpoint security will be involved. You should know if the software will integrate with your existing system framework or otherwise integrate with related tools.

Reports

Lastly, the best malware removal software offers detailed reports to help you make better judgment calls for handling infections. They should give you as much information as possible, from quarantine reports to database updates.