(Last updated on February 21st, 2020)
Windows Defender or Kaspersky, which antivirus software is a better option in 2020?
Read this comprehensive Windows Defender versus Kaspersky comparison to make an informed decision.
In today’s era of internet freedom and commerce, it’s no secret that a reliable antivirus software is a necessity. The bad guys (a.k.a. hackers) are constantly coming up with new and sophisticated ways to steal your personal information and financial data.
In 2018 alone, over 10 billion malware attacks were recorded. In the same year, over 800 million new malware samples were created and surfaced on the internet. Ransomware attacks have also doubled in recent years. These numbers are only getting bigger and bigger with time.
Even big companies aren’t safe! Accenture reports that the average cost of a malware attack on a company is $2.4 million. According to another study, a new organization will be victimized by a ransomware virus every 14 seconds this year. This rate is probably only going to increase, likely reaching 11 seconds by 2021.
So, the numbers convey a clear message; you need excellent antivirus protection. Also, you should never rely on a free or low-end antivirus solution when your digital security is at stake. Instead, getting a premium security product that gives you a great bang for your buck is a much better investment and long-term strategy.
Best Antivirus Suite for 2020
(All the best security products examined)
Editors' Choice Award Winner
Overall Score: 9.9/10
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30-day money-back guarantee
Overall, Bitdefender is our #1 antivirus software for 2020, because of its excellent, flawless performance in all the recent independent lab evaluations we considered, particularly those conducted by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives.
Right now, we think that Bitdefender Total Security 2020 (currently at 60% off) is the best antivirus package available in the market. Apart from providing excellent anti-malware protection, it offers all the advanced premium features and utilities that must be there in a high-end package -- and best of all, it offers excellent value for money. You can protect up to five devices (PCs, Macs, or smartphones) with just one subscription.
If you need protection for more than five devices, we highly recommend Bitdefender Family Pack 2020. It will cover all the internet-capable devices in your household with the Total Security suite, so your family will be protected no matter what goes wrong.
But we know finding the right paid software can be a bit difficult.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll compare Windows Defender and Kaspersky against one another to see which software is better in terms of features, malware detection, impact on system performance, and more.
In a rush? Below is a quick summary of this detailed comparison.
A Quick Rundown of Winners in Each Category
Winner: Kaspersky. Overall, Kaspersky provides you with all kinds of advanced features and utilities that enhance your online security and improve your user experience. Windows Defender does offer the essential features, but many advanced security-related features are not part of the software.
2. Malware Protection
Winner: Kaspersky. It’s a close call, but Kaspersky fared slightly better than Windows Defender in recent independent evaluations.
3. System Performance
Winner: Kaspersky. Overall, Kaspersky is better than Windows Defender in terms of the impact on system performance.
Winner: Kaspersky. Kaspersky’s user interface is more intuitive and user-friendly than Windows Defender’s.
Winner: N/A. There’s no real comparison between both software in this category.
Kaspersky offers more security-related features and extra utilities in its security products than Windows Defender. Also, independent lab tests prove that Kaspersky is ahead of Windows Defender in terms of both malware detection and the impact on system performance.
We have reviewed, ranked, and rated all the best antivirus software products out there, and we think that Bitdefender Total Security 2020 (currently at 50% off) is the best antivirus package you can buy right now. You can protect up to five devices (PCs, Macs, or smartphones) with just a single subscription of this suite.
If you need protection for more than five devices, Bitdefender Family Pack 2020 is the best option for you.
Looking for Mac-specific protection? Check out Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac for complete peace of mind.
Let’s dig into the details …
In addition to anti-malware protection, most security companies offer a slew of advanced security-enhancing features and utilities as part of their products.
First, let’s see what features are included in Windows Defender.
Windows Defender (also called Windows Security Center) comes pre-installed on PCs that have Windows as their operating system, meaning that you don’t have to download or install it yourself. On the flip side, you can’t totally uninstall it, but it automatically goes for a nap when you download a different security product.
The software comes with a comprehensive anti-malware scanner that detects all sorts of malware threats, such as viruses, worms, ransomware, spyware. The software is frequently updated with new malware definitions to ensure your computer is protected against threats that have recently emerged in the wild.
There’s also an advanced firewall that inspects all the traffic flowing in and out of your network, blocking malicious traffic and hacking attempts.
The useful Find my Device feature can assist you in tracking down your PC if it gets lost or stolen. It also lets you erase or lock the computer if your sensitive files or information are in danger of being stolen.
Windows Defender also comes with a good suite of parental control features. These features bar your kids from visiting websites or using apps that aren’t appropriate for their ages, restrict their screen time with automatic timers, and monitor their web activity.
Now, let’s see what Kaspersky offers in terms of features.
Kaspersky Free is the company’s first antivirus offering. This freemium security product does protect against different types of malware threats, but it is very barebones in terms of advanced security-related features and utilities. It’s better than nothing, but Kaspersky’s premium options are much better.
Next up is Kaspersky Anti-Virus – the company’s entry-level premium offering for PCs. Besides protecting against all kinds of digital threats, this suite offers a few other useful tools such as the Vulnerability Scanner that checks for patches and loopholes that can be exploited and the Silent Mode utility that enables you to enjoy games or movies without any distractions. Advanced, multi-layered ransomware protection is also incorporated into the suite.
Another level up is Kaspersky Internet Security, which is compatible with PCs, Macs, mobile phones. This suite offers everything that’s found in the previous suite, plus a two-way firewall, a hardened browser that secures your financial details when you engage in shopping or banking activities, and an email filter that keeps junk/spam away from your inbox.
Protection against webcam spying is also incorporated into the package, as well as a limited-use VPN that can help access content that may not be available in your region.
Next up is Kaspersky Total Security – the company’s full-fledged antivirus package. This suite offers everything that’s jammed into that the previous suites, plus several other advanced features. These features include a full-blown password manager that manages and stores all your passwords, a file shredder that erases sensitive files in a way that they can’t be recovered by anyone, and a file encryption utility that helps secure your important data so no one can access them.
An excellent suite of parental control features is also jammed into the suite. These features let you monitor the activity of your kids and prevent them from seeing age-sensitive content.
Kaspersky Security Cloud is another high-end security package offered by the company. This suite offers all the features from the Total Security, plus it has so-called “patented adaptive technology” that applies necessary settings and options based on your internet habits and computer use.
Interested in Kaspersky’s business-specific security products? Click here to get more information about these products.
Winner: Kaspersky. Kaspersky offers a better and more advanced feature-set with its security suites. Windows Defender is very barebones in comparison.
2. Malware Protection
Malware defense is the foremost priority of antivirus software. Therefore, whichever software provides better anti-malware security may be a better choice for you. To figure out which software is better in this category, let’s look at the results of independent evaluations from two different unbiased companies.
One such company is AV-test.org. They use a scoring metric of 1 to 6 (with 6 bring the highest score) in three different categories: Protection, Performance, and Usability. Their most recent two-round evaluations were held in April 2019.
Austrian lab AV-Comparatives is another independent testing company we can turn to in order to get unbiased results. In their recent real-world protection test, Kaspersky received the ADVANCED+ award, which is the highest award on offer, because of its near-perfect malware detection rate and a low number of false detections.
Windows Defender didn’t fare as well as Kaspersky in the AV-Comparatives’ evaluations, earning the second-best ADVANCED award.
Winner: Kaspersky. While it’s close, Kaspersky is the overall winner as it provides superior anti-malware security.
3. System Performance
Good antivirus programs don’t slow the performance of your computer; in fact, they put a negligible impact on system resources.
To see which software is better in terms of the impact on system performance, let’s return to independent performance test results.
In the Performance category of AV-Test evaluations, Kaspersky scored a perfect 6 out of 6 score, meaning it puts a minimal impact on computers while running in the background.
Windows Defender, however, dipped just below the perfect score, earning 5.5 out of 6.
In the AV-Comparatives’ April 2019 performance test, Kaspersky – once again – fared exceptionally well and got the highest ADVANCED+ award. Windows Defender performed poorly in the test and could only get the STANDARD award, which is the lowest award offered by the company.
Winner: Kaspersky. Independent tests indicate that Kaspersky is far better than Windows Defender in terms of the impact on system performance.
The user interface of a security product should be intuitive and easy-to-use for everyone, including people who aren’t computer experts.
Let’s compare the interface of both software to see which one offers a better user experience.
Windows Defender’s interface takes a bit to get access to, right off the bat. You have to go through several different clicks just to get to the software’s settings and options.
You also can’t run any scheduled scans with Windows Defender, meaning that every task aside from quick scanning must be undertaken from the dashboard. You can find all of the major operations on the left-hand side of the screen in organized groups, making it simple to determine where to go depending on your needs.
Overall, the interface is intuitive and simplistic, with a sleek visual aesthetic.
Now let’s check out Kaspersky’s interface.
Kaspersky utilizes a very open-frame and light interface, with most of its operations, such as Parental Controls, being contained in blocks on the main dashboard. Right at the top, there’s a big banner that tells whether your computer is safe.
At the bottom of your screen, you’ll see your subscription status, keeping you in the loop for when you need to refresh your subscription.
Overall, Kaspersky’s interface simple and user-friendly and also offers a room of personalization and customization. All of its main functions and settings are easily accessible, with a couple of clicks at most.
Winner: Kaspersky. Kaspersky offers a better and more intuitive user interface than Windows Defender.
Windows Defender is free, with no paid-for upgrades, while Kaspersky offers a free version as well as a number of different premium suites that come at different price points.
Kaspersky Free is, of course, free. Kaspersky Anti-Virus, which is the company’s entry-level premium offering, costs $29.99 for 3 licenses that can be used between PCs. Kaspersky Internet Security also gives you 3 licenses for $39.99 per year.
Kaspersky Total Security protects up to 3 PCs, Macs, or smartphones for costs $49.99 per year. Kaspersky Security Cloud comes in two versions: Personal and Family. The Personal version costs the same as the Total Security and can protect up to 5 devices, while the Family version costs $149.99 per year for up to 20 devices.
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Winner: N/A. Since Windows Defender doesn’t offer a paid version, there’s no comparison between both software in this category.
Windows Defender is better than nothing, but Kaspersky is clearly a better choice – thanks to its impressive feature-set, top-drawer anti-malware security, and superior performance.
Get Bitdefender at 60% off today
Overall Score: 9.9/10
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Editors Choice Award Winner
Got more than five internet-capable devices? We found that Bitdefender Family Pack 2020 is the best option out there in terms of value for money.
If you are still unsure, Bitdefender offers a 30-day money-back guarantee and exceptional customer support, so you there is nothing to lose.