Best antivirus for Android 2022: Protect your phone or tablet

Android securityImage: JR Raphael/Google/OpenClipart-Vectors

Choosing the best antivirus for your Android phone should be pretty straightforward. Phones are often secondary devices to laptops and PCs. So your best bet is to figure out what’s best for those primary machines, make sure the antivirus for PC supports Android devices, and you’re good to go. However, if your primary concern is your Android phone or tablet security, or you just want to choose a good antivirus that has great apps for both Windows and Android, here’s our take on the best antivirus apps for Android. All of these apps support solid security, and have enough features to keep your phone secure beyond just malware scans.

In our recommendations we link to the Android app itself in the Google Play store, but if you’re shopping for a holistic solution that will protect all your devices as well as your Android phone (something we recommend!), we also link to the review of the full desktop AV suite. You can find even more information on desktop protection in our roundup of the best AV software. And for more Android-focused protection, check out our roundup of the best VPNs for Android.

Best antivirus for Android

1. Avast One for Android – Best overall


Excellent protection Well priced


App is a little overly complex Price When Reviewed:FreeBest Prices Today:Free at Google Play

We really liked Avast One on the desktop, and it makes a lot of sense to put it on Android too. First of all, Avast offers top-notch protection and performance inside a well-priced package. Avast One costs $50 for the first year to cover five devices, and $100 per year after that. Avast One offers apps for Android, iOS, Mac, and Windows with varying protection levels on each depending on what it’s allowed to do.

On Android, Avast One offers antivirus scanning, it scans apps to ensure they’re safe, and there’s a Web Shield feature to keep your browsing habits on mobile safer. It also has a VPN with unlimited bandwidth built into the app, and Avast One scans your online accounts to see if any of your password or usernames have leaked. Plus, like any modern app, there’s an optional dark mode for those who want it.

Avast One for Windows review

2. Avira Prime Mobile for Android – Excellent protection and features


Part of an excellent multi-device package Tons of features


Smart Scan dashboard is a little bare Price When Reviewed:FreeBest Prices Today:Free at Google Play

Acquired by NortonLifeLock in early 2021, Avira Prime is a very solid antivirus. In our Windows review we gave Avira four out of five stars, and AV-Test gives Avira top marks for protection on Android, as does AV-Comparatives. Like Avast, Avira does a “smart scan” that goes beyond just a check for malware. Avira’s version also checks for potentially dangerous apps, email breaches, and it scans for unprotected Wi-Fi connections.

There are also some features for optimizing storage and memory, and other performance checks, plus Avira has a VPN, web protection, and it can lock sensitive apps behind an extra pin. Avira Prime costs $48 for the first year covering five devices and the price rises to $80 per year after that.

Avira Prime for Windows review

3. Norton 360 Deluxe – A classic


Good number of features Solid protection


SMS scam blocking already native feature Price When Reviewed:FreeBest Prices Today:Free at Google Play

Norton 360 is one of our top picks on Windows, and it’s also an excellent choice on Android, with top-notch protection. Norton’s Android app is pretty straightforward with features such as app scanning, web shield for browsing, built-in VPN, and it scans your SMS messages for scams—though Google already does a pretty good job of this.

If you’re already subscribed to Norton for your PC, it’ll do a good job on your Android phone too. Norton 260 Deluxe is $50 for the first year and $105 thereafter, covering up to five devices.

Norton 360 for Windows review

4. Trend Micro Maximum Security – Good protection for rookies


Good protection scores Has all the essentials


Not as feature filled as some other options Price When Reviewed:FreeBest Prices Today:Free at Google Play

Trend Micro Maximum Security really goes for it with a ton of features on mobile. It does the standard stuff we’ve already seen, such as scanning apps, keeping your browsing safe, checking for unsecured Wi-Fi connections, and there are a number of device optimization features to keep your device running well.

Trend Micro’s app design is pretty straightforward, making it easy to navigate and manage the security of your device in one spot. Maximum Security costs $50 for the first year covering five devices and $90 after that.

Trend Micro Maximum Security for Windows review

5. Bitdefender Mobile Security – Honorable mention


Good protection Solid key features


Not as many extras as other options Price When Reviewed:FreeBest Prices Today:Free at Google Play

Bitdefender is another admirable performer on Android as far as protection goes. It also has all the key elements you need for mobile security, including app scanning, malware scanning, and web browsing protection, as well as the ability to block access to sensitive apps, and data breach monitoring.

Bitdefender’s Windows protection is also very good. Bitdefender Total Security covers up to five devices for $40 per year and $90 after that.

Bitdefender Total Security for Windows review

How we test AV on Android

Determining the best antivirus for Android is a little different than what we do on Windows. The most sensible thing to do for mobile is to just use the security app to get an idea of how it works, whether it unreasonably drains the battery, suddenly slows down performance, or makes common tasks harder to carry out. We also considered the antivirus protection ratings from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, as well as compare each suite’s performance on Android to its performance on Windows.

How to choose an antivirus app for Android

Choosing an antivirus app for Android is similar to choosing other mission-critical apps. You do not want to take a risk by downloading an application you’ve never heard of. It’s always best to stick with security apps you know about or which have been well reviewed. Also, when it comes to security there are some good free options out there, but to get the most out of your security app you need to pay for the full experience. If all you need is some basic on-demand malware scanning then a free app will likely do, but the paid services is where the best features can be found.

That’s it for our run-down of the best antivirus apps for Android. With these options you should be able to find something that suits your needs and your budget.

Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn’t like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he’s not covering the news he’s working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.

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