Best Antivirus for Android

We downloaded 10 Android antivirus apps to see which one has the best features for the price.
Best overall
Bitdefender
Bitdefender
  • pro
    Free version available
  • pro
    Monthly and annual plans
  • pro
    14-day trial
Best for multiple devices
Norton
Norton
  • con
    No free version
  • pro
    Annual plan
  • pro
    14-day trial
Best for budgets
AVG
AVG
  • pro
    Free version available
  • pro
    Annual plan
  • con
    No trial
Best security audit
Kaspersky
Kaspersky
  • pro
    Free version available
  • pro
    Annual plan
  • pro
    7-day trial
Best user experience
Eset
ESET
  • pro
    Free version available
  • pro
    Monthly and annual plans
  • pro
    30-day trial
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Antivirus software is like a hazmat suit for your phone: it protects against malware and allows you to download new apps confidently. Many antivirus apps can also help protect your privacy, find your phone if it gets lost, and keep your device safe from hacking and theft.

We chose Bitdefender because it does all of these tasks for a reasonable price. It also boasts excellent scores in independent testing from AV-TEST. Read on to learn why we recommend this antivirus app for most people.


Best Android antivirus apps


Compare antivirus for Android

Product
Best for
Annual price Icon Tooltip  Dark
Renewal price Icon Tooltip  Dark
Free version available Icon Tooltip  Dark
App lock and anti-theft
Call blocking
Learn more
Best overall$14.99/yr.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon No  LightNo
Best for multiple devices$29.99/yr.
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Icon No  LightNo
Best for budgets$19.99/yr.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best security audit$27.99/yr.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Best user experience$14.99/yr.
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightYes

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Best Android antivirus software reviews

1. Bitdefender Mobile Security: Best overall

Best overall
Bitdefender
Bitdefender
Starts at
$14.99
/yr

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

If you're looking for a strong antivirus program but don't need call-blocking features, Bitdefender is a great choice. A paid Bitdefender Mobile Security subscription unlocks the best features, but you can use the Bitdefender Antivirus app for free if you want simple malware scanning. The free app even performs automatic scans on new apps—something you'll pay for with other brands.

pro
Pros
pro Top independent testing scores
pro Automatic virus scans on new apps
pro Minimal system impact
con
Cons
con Requires internet connection
con No call blocker

Its reliance on cloud-based services means there's little to no impact on your device during scans, but you'll need a reliable, ongoing Wi-Fi connection for the antivirus to keep working in the background. When we looked at the latest independent test results from AT-TEST, Bitdefender earned a perfect score. It didn't miss a single virus sample or flag any safe files as false positives.

Because Bitdefender Antivirus Free is so simple, there's nothing to configure, so setup is a breeze. Suppose you decide later on that you want additional features, like anti-theft, app locking, Android Wear security, and real-time scanning as you browse. In that case, you can upgrade to Bitdefender Mobile Security.

Most antivirus software sell annual subscriptions, and Bitdefender is no different at $14.99 a year—the same as ESET. But we like that Bitdefender also includes a mobile-friendly option for $1.49 a month. In the long term, you'll technically spend more with a monthly plan, but you don't need to track when an annual plan renews.

Whether you pay yearly or monthly, Bitdefender offers a 14-day trial that you can access without entering a credit card number. Although our other top picks offer trial options, Bitdefender's the only one where you can preview every feature without sharing your payment info.

Learn more in our full Bitdefender antivirus review.

2. Norton360 Antivirus and Security: Best for multiple devices

Best for multiple devices
Norton
Norton
Starts at
$14.99
/yr

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Norton Mobile Security doesn't have all the bells and whistles of other antivirus apps, but it may feel familiar—Norton Antivirus is also a solid choice for PCs. But if you think Norton just reconfigured a PC antivirus program to work as an Android app, think again—Norton can spot Android-specific threats and stop them in their tracks.

pro
Pros
pro Android-specific malware protection
pro Antivirus protection across devices
pro Ongoing security notifications
con
Cons
con No free version
con No app lock or anti-theft

The app is easy to use and has clear menu selections and commands. Its Android malware detection is top-notch when it comes to anticipating threats. And unlike some antivirus programs that run silently in the background, if Norton detects an issue, it will alert you and ask how to proceed.

Our favorite Norton features are safe browsing, Wi-Fi scanning, and a security audit that tells which apps have specific access permissions. These are great for protecting sensitive data and spotting potential scams.

Unfortunately, Norton Security doesn't offer an app lock to restrict access to apps with private info like banking apps and messaging apps. There's also no anti-theft tool to help you find a lost phone or wipe the data after someone steals it.

While Norton offers a seven-day trial, it's the only brand on our list without a free version. This means you need to enter your payment info to see what the app looks like. Norton's price doubles after the first year from $14.99 to $29.99, so we don't recommend subscribing via Google Play. Instead, a Norton360 plan is a better value since its cross-platform support means you can protect other phones and computers.

Learn more in our full Norton antivirus review.

Bell
Free anti-theft app

Google Find My Device is an excellent alternative to the anti-theft tools in antivirus apps, though it can't use the camera to catch a thief or spot landmarks like Bitdefender and AVG.

3. AVG AntiVirus and Security: Best for budgets

Best for budgets
AVG
AVG
Starts at
$11.99
/yr

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

AVG offers the best suite of tools in a free antivirus app with the most features available without paying a dime. For example, you won't pay extra for anti-theft, safe browsing, and Wi-Fi scanning, which typically require a subscription with our other picks.

pro
Pros
pro Best free antivirus app
pro Anti-theft and safe browsing without paying
pro Affordable paid plans
con
Cons
con Ads on free version get annoying
con VPN requires top-tier plan

The free version of the app includes many ads, which are a small annoyance when testing features. But most folks won’t notice ads since you’re not spending all our free time on antivirus apps. The main drawback of the free app is that it won't run automatic scans or scam protection, so you'll need a Pro plan to use those. There's also no VPN unless you upgrade to the Ultimate plan.

As a paid app, AVG is less impressive. At $12, your first year is $3 cheaper than Bitdefender, but AVG's renewal price of $19.99 saves less money. It's still inexpensive enough that you might go for the ad-free experience and automatic scanning anyway.

As for the Ultimate plan, it starts at $24 a year but jumps to $40 upon renewal. That's a lot to spend for an extra VPN but still more affordable than the 10-device plan on AVG's website.

Learn more in our full AVG antivirus review.

Bell
AVG and Avast

AVG and Avast share the same parent company, and their respective apps are identical at first glance. Since we couldn't find any real differences, we chose not to highlight Avast Mobile Security on this page. If you want to learn more about this brand, we recommend checking out our full Avast antivirus review.

4. Kaspersky Security and VPN: Best security audit

Best security audit
Kaspersky
Kaspersky
Starts at
$27.99
/yr

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Kaspersky is another service with a solid reputation for malware protection on its Android security app—it received perfect scores from AV-TEST for protection and usability and has excellent user reviews. It has all the standard features of a good antivirus program, including anti-theft features, call blocking, and anti-phishing protection.

pro
Pros
pro Excellent performance and user reviews
pro Tracks security settings
pro Password manager included
con
Cons
con Pricier than most rivals

We love the security auditing options in Kaspersky. It can show you weak settings on your phone and social media. Plus, it helps you track devices on your home network. You can also tell the app to activate the VPN when you're on an unsecured public Wi-Fi network.

Kaspersky mobile antivirus is one of the more expensive options on our list—it costs about $28 a year. Still, it's worth the money, especially if you bundle your mobile devices and computers under a single plan.

5. ESET Mobile Security Antivirus: Best user experience

Best user experience
Eset
ESET
Starts at
$6.99
/yr

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

ESET offers fast virus scanning and a user-friendly interface. We like the color-coded push notifications that show priority at a glance: red for threat detection, yellow for a task to be completed, and green for all clear.

pro
Pros
pro User-friendly notifications and menus
pro Detailed activity log
pro Schedule scans to run while phone charges
con
Cons
con No VPN option

While the free version has fewer security features, its detailed activity log and security report help you keep up with the latest scan results. You need a paid plan for anti-theft, app lock, and call blocking. Our biggest beef with ESET is that there's no VPN like our other top picks.

We also like the ability to schedule scans when your device is charging. ESET's latest AV-TEST result comes from 2021, so its performance in real-world tests isn't as recent as with rivals. Still, it's one of the highest-rated antivirus apps on Google Play. You'll pay about $7 for your first year with ESET, though the renewal price is approximately $15 a year.

Learn more in our full ESET antivirus review.

More Android antivirus apps

Avira Security Antivirus and VPN

Avira has one of the most affordable paid plans in an Android antivirus app—$7.49 a year. Beyond the basic scanning and anti-theft features, it comes with a call blocker and VPN. This sweetens the deal and makes it the best of our honorable mentions. While Avira antivirus failed to make our top five because it had slightly weaker user scores than AVG, it remains an excellent option for most folks.

Lookout Security and Antivirus

Lookout is one of the most popular free antivirus apps on Google Play and an excellent option for a quick virus scan. But there's a drought of independent testing data—its most recent result from AV-TEST dates back to 2016. Without a way to compare it to the competition, it's hard to recommend Lookout. Still, you might consider Lookout's top-tier plan for another reason: it includes affordable identity theft protection for about $100 a year.

Malwarebytes Mobile Security

We like Malwarebytes for its simplified approach, but its paid plan—about $12 a year—boasts fewer features than the similarly-priced AVG. This is a strength for folks who won't use features like app lock and anti-theft, but it keeps Malwarebytes from claiming our budget spot.

Learn more in our full Malwarebytes antivirus review.

McAfee Security: Antivirus VPN

Like Norton, McAfee Mobile Security has all the scanning, browsing, and Wi-Fi vulnerability-checking features of other top antivirus apps. But it offers even fewer features than Malwarebytes for more than twice the price—about $30 a year. It's a nice bonus for folks buying the cross-platform McAfee Total Protection plan, but it falls flat as a standalone service for Android.

Trend Micro Mobile Security and Antivirus

Trend Micro checks almost all the boxes for an excellent Android antivirus app: virus scanning, app lock, anti-theft, safe browsing, and solid AV-TEST scores. But we can't see ourselves paying $30 a year unless there's an integrated VPN in the app like Bitdefender, Norton, AVG, and Kaspersky offer.

Final word

Bitdefender claims our top spot because it offers an excellent suite of anti-malware features on a monthly or annual plan. Unlike most competitors, it doesn't raise the price upon renewal, which is especially helpful for keeping your annual payments predictable.

It's also our top pick for antivirus software on any platform, so head over to our review of the best antivirus software to learn how it handles the competition in a larger arena.

FAQ

Using antivirus on Android is a good idea, especially when browsing the web. Although Android phones use Google Play Protect to watch for malicious apps, it won't look for anything else on your phone.

We think Bitdefender is the best Android antivirus for most people.

Most antivirus apps are free to download, but the version you download won't be the one you keep unless you want to pay for it after the free trial is up.

Free trials last between 7 and 30 days. Once the trial period ends, use in-app purchases to continue with the full-featured app. Otherwise, you'll automatically revert to the stripped-down free version.

Yes. Android antivirus apps work on any Android device, but some internet security features may not work on tablets without SMS text messaging capabilities.

If a computer virus is like a messy toddler, real-time protection is like following along behind the toddler, picking up and putting things away as they scatter, and stopping them before they make too big of a mess.

Virus scanning, on the other hand, is like leaving the toddler alone in a room for a few minutes and then returning to clean up the aftermath. Real-time protection keeps you from downloading malicious apps and stumbling upon unsafe websites, but it can take more effort from your device and may interfere with your phone's normal functions.

If you don't want that side effect, you can opt for scheduled scans, but these won't give you the same level of continuous antivirus security.

Once you've exhausted all normal methods of searching—calling your phone, searching where you last used it, etc.—it's time to employ your anti-theft features:

  • Log in to your mobile security web portal and use your phone's GPS to locate the device.
  • If you believe someone stole your phone, you should immediately activate the app's remote wiping and snapshot features to protect your data and get a photo of the thief.
  • Use the web portal to send a text message with instructions for returning the phone.

Use caution when installing apps on your phone. Most apps in the app store are trustworthy, but some slip through the gate onto people's phones. Always check an app's permissions before installing it, and regularly audit your app permissions to ensure your privacy. Many apps will ask for permissions they don't need, and there's no reason to make your phone unnecessarily vulnerable.

As a bonus, eliminating some permissions may cause apps to use less battery life.

Check out our identity theft protection services and password manager guides to learn more about products that can help protect your sensitive data.

How we reviewed the best antivirus for Android

To determine the best antivirus service for Android devices, we downloaded each antivirus app on a Google Pixel 5. Although all these apps are available for other platforms, we looked at features and pricing unique to the Google Play store. In-app purchase pricing usually covers a single Android phone, so buying multi-device plans that cover other platforms like iOS, PC, and macOS is often cheaper.

We examined each app to study features that you can use for free and those that require a subscription. To balance out our brief time with each app, we read user reviews to learn more about how well each performs in real-world situations. We also checked test results from the independent testing lab AV-TEST.

Check out our methodology to learn more about how we evaluate and review products.

Related articles


Disclaimers

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided "as is" and is subject to change or removal at any time.

†Google, Google Play, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.

John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over nine years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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