Kaspersky antivirus review

Kaspersky cops a bad rap for its Russian origins, but the research and our tests suggest it’s still a high-quality antivirus service.

4.3 out of 5 stars
  • pro
  • pro
    Fewer false positives
  • con
    Cheapest plan has few features
Nathan Lawrence
Nov 03, 2023
Icon Time To Read5 min read

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While Norton and McAfee may be familiar to more people, Kaspersky has been copping a pass from review sites lately because of its Russian roots. While the current global climate makes these misgivings topical, our main focus is on whether Kaspersky is an antivirus product that protects from viruses and malware, and whose performance can stand shoulder to shoulder with other industry juggernauts.

pro Competitive pricing
pro Strong security suite
pro Perfect AV-Test scores
pro Less likely to flag false positives
con Imperfect threat protection
con Bare-bolts entry-level plan
con Slow to install, slow database updates

Kaspersky price

Best cheap antivirus
4.3 out of 5 stars
Starts at

Price is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Kaspersky recently did a complete overhaul of its antivirus product suite, simplifying inclusions across three plans.

At the time of writing, prices for the bare-bones Kaspersky Standard plan start at $34.95 for one device, three devices for $36.95, five devices for $37.95, and 10 devices for $41.95.

For more protection, Kaspersky Plus starts at $39.95 annually for one device and stretches up to $46.95 for 10 devices.

Finally, the Kaspersky Premium plan starts at $41.99 for one device and jumps to $56.95 typical annual pricing for 20 devices (including iOS). This plan also comes with one year of Kaspersky Safe Kids for free.

Kaspersky features

Of the three main plans available for Kaspersky’s antivirus service, there are three common inclusions:

  • Real-time antivirus, antimalware and anti-ransomware protection
  • Safe web browsing
  • Existing virus removal
  • Anti-phishing
  • Two-way firewall
  • Performance optimisation
  • Device space cleanup
  • Do not disturb mode
  • App management
  • Payment protection
  • Stalkerware detection

Kaspersky Plus also adds the following features:

  • Hard drive health monitor
  • Unlimited VPN
  • Home Wi-Fi monitoring
  • Password manager

Kaspersky Premium has all of the inclusions listed above, but also:

  • Identity protection wallet
  • Data leak checker
  • Password safety checker
  • 24/7 remote IT support
  • Expert virus check and removal
  • Expert PC health check

Kaspersky sign-up and setup process

Once you’ve picked the best Kaspersky plan for your needs and how many devices you want to protect, things become a lot more straightforward. For Windows, the installer prompts you to install Kaspersky Password Manager as well as optional protection. 

I unchecked the password manager but left the other option selected for my Windows software tests. Kaspersky flagged McAfee Site Advisor as incompatible but automatically removed it as part of the installation. After a restart, the Kaspersky installer automatically downloaded the 200MB-ish software and eventually installed it after a comparatively slow process. There are some final prompts for ad-blocking, malicious tool deleting, and malware detection options, all of which are toggled on by default.

On the Android app, just download Kaspersky Antivirus & VPN, give it the one permission it asks for, and be sure to hit the little ‘x’ to ensure you’re using the free version. The quick scan took under 10 seconds in my test.

Kaspersky user experience

While the Android app doesn’t require an account, the Windows version asks you to enter a username and secure password. There’s an immediate offer to trial the premium version, but you can just as easily proceed with Kaspersky’s free antivirus. The software tour is painless enough that it’s worth the 20 seconds to see what Kaspersky offers.

After that, it’s a very user-friendly dashboard with the main tools. Manually force an up-to-date database refresh, scan your computer or attached devices, and toggle on different levels of privacy protection. This dashboard is where you’ll also find the Kaspersky VPN, which has a 200MB daily limit on the free version or unlimited with premium.

For those seeking more options, click on the ‘More tools’ button at the bottom of the dashboard to find additional security tools. Most of these are flagged as part of different premium plans, but the free version impressively still has a file shredder, data cleaner, and privacy cleaner. If your need for antivirus is because of an infected machine, the Security tab has an easy link to a highly recommended Kaspersky Rescue Disk for disinfecting compromised PCs. Otherwise, there’s always the free version of Malwarebytes.

Whether you’re on mobile or computer, the Kaspersky basics are easy to find and even easier to use, plus there are plenty of advanced features for those who like to enhance their antivirus experience.

Kaspersky virus and malware protection

Being able to reliably test antivirus software for its namesake role is tricky in real-world conditions unless you have a spare machine you’re willing to infect. Thankfully, authoritative sites like AV-Comparatives and AV-Test do a lot of the hard work of putting the latest available versions of antivirus software through intensive real-world tests to see how well each service performs.

Kaspersky’s results from the recent tests by AV-Comparatives
showed a robust antivirus service that rarely missed. Admittedly, the impressive 99.7% threat block rate was beaten by Avast AVG, Norton, Trend Micro and McAfee.

Kaspersky vs other antivirus services

Check out the table below for the key differences between Kaspersky and its most popular antivirus peers.

Best for
Initial annual price
Number of devices
Threat protection
Learn more
Best antivirus software overall1, 3, 5, or 1099.9%
Best cheap antivirus software1, 3, 5, 10, or 2099.6%
Best antivirus for families5 or 3099.6%
Best antivirus for enhanced security5100%
Best antivirus for first-timers1 or 1099.6%
Best runner-up597.4%
Best for infected devices1 or 599.9%
Best for device diversity2, 4, or 6100%
Best for fewest false positives1 to 10 98.4%

Prices are accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

Final word

Kaspersky is an affordable and reliable antivirus service. There’s a free version and a 30-day money-back trial to take advantage of if you’re uncertain, and while Bitdefender and Norton are better picks, Kaspersky is a fully featured contender that’s nipping at the heels of those top antivirus picks.

How we review antivirus software

Our antivirus testing starts with basic feature comparisons, including pricing and whether there’s a free version or easily accessible free trial. Letting people try before they buy scores well with us. Then we check to ensure antivirus software includes critical features like real-time protection and speedy scanning tools, ideally without a massive performance impact on compatible devices.

The ease of installation is then evaluated as well as how well an antivirus service guides the user and encourages them to explore additional security settings (where available). Antivirus software that also includes extended features—like a VPN, password manager, digital file shredder or other bolt-ons—scores points for versatility.

Ultimately, though, we always go back to how well an antivirus service performs on key metrics: namely, threat protection and performance impact. For these factors, we defer to the extensive ongoing testing data that’s readily available from antivirus authorities AV-Comparatives and AV-Test. If antivirus software scores well in those external tests, it has a great chance of scoring well with us, too.


Below are the answers to some of the most pressing Kaspersky questions.

No, while Kaspersky is based in Moscow, it’s a robust antivirus service that offers competitive protection when stacked next to its most popular peers. If you’re uncertain, check out Kaspersky’s stellar record in AV-Test reports.

It’s a close showdown between McAfee and Kaspersky, but we think that Kaspersky has the edge because of its free version, better pricing, and more comprehensive threat protection.
This is another tight race, but Norton has the wood on Kaspersky because of its incredible reliability when it comes to blocking more threats.

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.
Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence

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