Is Kaspersky better than AVG

Virus scanner test 2021: The best security suites for Windows

Windows protection alone is not enough

Joerg Geiger

The CHIP test center evaluated these products. More info.

All computers with Windows 10 have virus protection included, Microsoft Defender. Some users rely on this. Is that such a good idea? The CHIP test shows: The majority of the virus and malware monitors tested by CHIP can do more, even the free ones. The most important test results and the test winner can be found in the overview. We also provide price tips and provide you with insightful information on how you can protect your PC from computer viruses.

Virus scanner test 2021: test winner and price tip

In addition to updates and backups, virus protection is one of the basics of Windows security. This is why the Windows Defender virus scanner is part of the standard Windows equipment. Microsoft has put a lot of development work into this tool and in the test it is now doing better than before. But how well does Windows Defender compare to other protection programs? For the virus scanner test, we have selected products from major manufacturers that are particularly important for the German market. The spectrum is broad, in addition to Windows Defender, Avast, AVG and Panda are three other free virus scanners that are popular with many private users. In addition, there are the 13 most important paid security packages. The licenses cost between 18 (BullGuard) and 45 euros (ESET) per year. In the extensive tests like this one, CHIP works with the specialists from AV-Comparatives. The first test started in February 2020, the last ended in October 2020.
First of all, you can see the top candidates from our test here as an introduction: The three programs on the winner's podium of the virus scanner best list and Avast Free Antivirus as the best-placed free program:

The best virus scanners in the test

Test winnerPrice tip / 2nd placePrice tip / 3rd placeBest protection / 4th place

Product name

Product name

Kaspersky Internet Security

Avast Free Antivirus

AVG Free Antivirus

F-Secure SAFE

price

price

approx. 26 euros

free

free

approx. 23 euros

Overall rating

Overall rating

very good (1.2)

very good (1.5)

very good (1.5)

good (1.6)

Protection rating

Protection rating

very good (1.4)

very good (1.3)

very good (1.3)

very good (1.0)

performance

performance

very good (1.0)

very good (1.4)

very good (1.4)

very good (1.1)

False positives

False positives

very good (1.1)

good (2.3)

good (2.3)

sufficient (3.7)

To the license

To the license

to offer For download For download to offer

Test winner: Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky Internet Security

  • Kaspersky Internet Security

    Kaspersky Internet Security delivers the best performance in the test and also shows strong results in the other disciplines. Overall, the most coherent overall virus scanner package.

advantages
Best performance in the test
Hardly any false positives
Hardly slows down Windows system
disadvantage
Does not protect PCs 100%
With Kaspersky Internet Security, a Russian virus scanner won the test this time. However, Kaspersky could not withstand all virus attacks in the important real-world test under real conditions unscathed. Except for three, none of the other 1,509 attacks went through - that was still enough for a very good rating. In addition, Kaspersky got the top rating in the "Performance" category. There is no need to worry about an excessive system load with Kaspersky, especially weaker PCs are hardly slowed down compared to other programs. There is therefore a smooth "1.0" for the performance. The braking effect of the scanner activities is hardly noticeable on a moderately powerful computer.
Kaspersky Internet Security is also impressive in other respects, because the virus scanner from Russia also received top marks for false alarms. In the real world test there were only two false positives, in the file scan test with at least 10,102 test cases we recorded at least three false positives - in our opinion, justifiable.

Strong protection and free of charge - Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free Antivirus

  • Avast Free Antivirus

    Avast Free Antivirus still delivers a "very good" overall performance in the virus scanner test. He should only turn off the many false alarms.

advantages
Strong protection
Enables good performance on high-end PCs
Good results in the file scan test
disadvantage
Too many false positives
Slows down low-end PCs more
Avast Free Antivirus is the second best virus scanner in the test, which can also be downloaded completely free of charge. Up to three devices are then also very well protected: In the virus scanner test, the runner-up achieved an overall rating of "very good" and a 1.3 rating in the important protection rating - and thus even surpasses the paid test winner Kaspersky Internet Security. Translated, this means that he can only be tricked once more often in the real world test, but excelled in the file scan test.
In terms of system load, it unfortunately pulls significantly more than our test winner, especially with regard to older or less powerful devices. On newer and more powerful computers, however, it shouldn't noticeably slow down the working speed. The candidate, on the other hand, falls a little out of place with false positives, i.e. false positives. The Avast virus scanner hits a little too often here. In the real-world test, this means 18 false reports of threats that do not even exist; that can really unsettle users.
Only the basic functions were tested in the test, so the results can also be transferred to the paid equipment variants.

Third on the podium - AVG Free Antivirus

AVG Free Antivirus

  • 3rd place: AVG Free Antivirus

    AVG Free Antivirus still cuts a very good figure in the test. It's the third best virus scanner and still free.

advantages
Strong protection
Enables good performance on high-end PCs
Good results in the file scan test
disadvantage
Too many false positives
Slows down low-end PCs more
AVG Free Antivirus has been featured in our tests for years. This year AVG made it onto the podium and with an overall rating of "very good" it was just below our second place. So you can get the virus scanner without hesitation or, if you are already using it, update it to the latest version. In terms of false positives and the performance rating, AVG behaves suspiciously similar to the virus scanner from Avast and thus also confidently achieved the grade "very good".
But for the most part (50%) this is due to the protection rating. Here, the test winners Kaspersky and AVG are not really better this year. Ultimately, the protection rating is also "very good", which in the real-world test means that four infections were overlooked in total. In the file scan test, AVG Free Antivirus presented a 100% protection rate.

The most secure virus scanner tested - F-Secure SAFE

F-Secure SAFE

  • Particularly secure: F-Secure SAFE

    The F-Secure SAFE was more secure than all other virus scanners in the test, even if it unsettles users with many false positives.

advantages
Best virus protection in the test
Hardly loads newer computers
disadvantage
Brakes older computers harder
Far too many false positives
The F-Secure SAFE is our security tip, because this virus scanner was absolutely sealed against all threats in the real-world test. It not only leaves Windows Defender far behind, but also the popular virus scanners from Avast and AVG as well as our test winner from Kaspersky. In our test with 17 candidates, F-Secure came in fourth with a grade of 1.6, which is unfortunately due to the poor results in the frequent and unsettling false positives. In terms of performance, F-Secure delivers an excellent picture, no other virus protection has so little influence on the performance of a newer overall system. On the other hand, we recommend our test winner to users of older devices.
On the subject of false positives: In the real-world test, he reports wrongly 53 times and in the file scan test there are still 9 false positives. In the latter, only a single attack escaped him. This is a top performance in terms of protection, but annoying to unsettling for users. If you really want to be safe and can ignore the alarm bells, we recommend the F-Secure SAFE.

All virus scanners can be tricked

The heart of the virus scanner test at AV-Comparatives is the so-called real-world test, which is run in four sections of two months each. It is responsible for 80 percent of the protection rating and is incredibly time-consuming because the testers first search for contaminated websites with a Windows system with all updates, but without a virus scanner.
If the PC is infected in any way, the testers have found an exploit for their arsenal. 1,512 test cases that infect Windows came together and every virus scanner had to face these threats. With F-Secure SAFE and Trend Micro Internet Security, there were only two virus scanners in the entire test field that were able to slow down all malware, a strong performance. Even the test winner from Kaspersky had to pass three times, the free solutions Avast and AVG four times. Windows Defender wasn't bad either, failing to fend off just six attacks.
For comparison: Bottom line Total Defense Essential Antivirus, a free virus guard, had to surrender 24 times. In the last test, the problem often emerged that the virus scanners asked the user what to do if they had doubts about whether it was a malware or not. Then we go tough because we actually expect the guards themselves to know the best and not to shirk a decision.
Whenever there are user queries, we allow the maximum possible in the test and then check whether there is an infection. With this we cover the case that when asked in real life, users simply make the wrong decision. However, this is not a big problem in this test, only with Norton 360 Deluxe there were four infections in this way. All other test candidates kept a clean slate despite being asked.

Under fire: the virus scanners had to go through that

All virus scanners at the same time
In the real-world test, it does not matter which protection technology the virus scanner uses to ward off the attacks. Classically, this can be a signature as well as a heuristic or a reputation query in the cloud. In the test, it is only important to us that in the end there is no infection on the tested system. However, only external attacks are tested. For maximum equality of opportunity, each virus scanner in the test runs on its own Windows 10 system with all updates.
A manual update is started on all test PCs before each test run. The virus scanners run in the standard configuration and of course also have Internet access. A script triggers the tests in parallel on all machines, and special monitoring software logs the changes to the system in order to unequivocally determine an infection.
Mass test with malware
In addition to the real-world test, which relies solely on the Internet infection vector, a so-called malware protection test is also carried out. This is a classic mass test with 10,102 malware samples stored on a hard drive. In practice, malware could also be introduced into your system via a USB stick or an external hard drive, for example. In this case, the virus scanner cannot prevent malware from getting onto your system, but should still detect it during a scan.
Compared to the real-world test, the malware protection test only makes up 20 percent of the protection rating, so it is much less important. A distinction is made between three cases: The first case is an offline scan in which the virus scanner is not allowed to use an Internet connection. This simulates the situation that no Internet connection is currently available or that the virus scanner provider's servers are not available. Both can happen in practice. In the second case, the virus scanners can then also use their online functions. Up to this point, the malware was only passively on the system; in the third case, the testers then execute it. At this point at the latest, the virus scanners tested must recognize the malware and slow it down.
In contrast to the real-world test, there are some serious differences: Trend Micro Internet Security still recognized all malware in the real-world test, but did the worst in the mass test. The software does not recognize a full 175 malware samples. Offline detection is particularly bad; not even 40 percent of malware is detected here. With online support, the detection rate increases to almost 85 percent, and when it is executed, it is a little over 98 percent. All in all, it's underground when you see that there are virus scanners that can detect all types of malware.
The free virus scanners Avast, AVG, Windows Defender as well as G Data and McAfee do not afford any faux pas. Test winner Kaspersky can only be tricked by malware; F-Secure and Bitdefender are also at this level. However, if you look at the RealWorld and Malware Protection tests together, no virus scanner manages to keep a completely clean slate. Overall, F-Secure provides the strongest protection and only missed one malware in the entire test, the average being 21 overlooked viruses. The good news for users: The free solutions Avast, AVG, Panda and Windows Defender leave many payment products behind.
Far too frequent false positives
An optimal virus scanner detects and stops every pest, but otherwise stays in the background and does not bother users with queries. Because false alarms often cause uncertainty. Unfortunately, those in the virus scanner test are part of everyday life. In this discipline, too, which we rate 25 percent, no virus scanner is perfect; false reports creep in with everyone.
In the real-world test, the so-called false positives occur in two areas, with incorrectly blocked websites and files. With the installed virus scanners, around 1,000 clean web addresses are therefore visited. Blocking one of these sites counts as a false positive. In addition, 100 popular programs that have no harmful function are tested. If a virus scanner hits you, this also counts as a false alarm. ESET and Kaspersky performed best in this test with only one or two false positives. Trend Micro goes over the top here and is wrong 95 times. At one point, Chrome is even blocked from running.
Windows Defender is in the midfield with 14 false positives - a good step forward compared to the last test. Back then, Defender was still the negative example with far too many false positives. Only clean files are tested in the malware protection test. On the one hand, a malware scan is triggered over hundreds of files, on the other hand, the testers simply run some programs. Again, ESET (2) and Kaspersky (3) have the fewest false positives. Panda is most often wrong with 114 false positives. Windows Defender causes 21 false positives.

Download: Kaspersky Internet Security

All virus scanners slow down Windows