Overall Score 93%

ESET Antivirus Software

The Case for ESET

  • In business 23 years (1992)
  • Good antivirus protection
  • Free technical support
  • Excellent antiphishing
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Made in the Slovak Republic
  • American phone tech support
Editor's Choice
(1-PC / 1-Year)
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by Josh Christofferson, Co-Editor
Virus & Spyware Protection: 95%

Despite missing some adware, ESET NOD32 Antivirus did well in our virus and malware protection tests.

For our first round of test, we first install ESET onto freshly installed and updated versions of Windows on all our test PCs.

Next, we intentionally infect those test PCs with different types of malware: adware, viruses, rootkits, trojans, viruses, rogueware, etc.

We then activate ESET and run a full-system scan on each PC and measure the antivirus software's success rate.

ESET cleaned or deleted the majority of malware in each category on our computers, impressively defeating each of the most malicious viruses we used.

What it missed, somewhat strangely, were some of the least malicious—but most annoying—adware we tested.

  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus
    ESET Box
  • SCORE: 93%
Also missed in some of our test runs were some remaining desktop items that were still active. While the malware wasn't running that it was still present on the desktop wasn't ideal.

Interestingly, ESET also removed some stubborn Japanese adware that most competing antivirus software missed.

In the next phase of our malware tests, the real-time protection tests, ESET did much extremely well.

We first installed a fresh, updated copy of ESET NOD32 Antivirus onto freshly loaded versions of Windows, then attempted to download and install our various malware samples.

ESET blocked the majority of threats, including the most malicious ones we tested, leaving some adware as the sore spot that got through again.

Most impressively was its performance in the third part of our tests, antiphishing, where ESET nailed a perfect 100% score.

Few antivirus software companies can claim a perfect score at blocking all of our phishing samples. ESET is one of them.

Phishing scams can be far more devastating than most people think. They can pretend to be your bank, credit card company, or even a stock brokerage, and then take complete control of those accounts... and of course all your money in the process.

Excellent antiphishing such as ESET has is essential, and it's baked into their entry-level product.

One other noteworthy thing about ESET, it's one of only two products we tested that automatically scans USB devices for infections. Why more manufacturers don't do this is a huge mystery.

Resource Usage: 91%

Resource usage for ESET was very good. When running idle, ESET NOD32 Antivirus ran silently in the background.

When running a full-system scan, ESET used about 10% of system resources which is well within the acceptable range.

Boot up time was slightly slower than the competition, but only by a few seconds.

This shouldn't have much impact for the average user.

User Interface: 92%

Click images to enlarge

ESET's user interface is new and improved this year. We thought last year's version was good; this year is a little better.

There's a standard left-hand navigation making it very easy to get around. Everything is clearly labeled, so finding any settings you need is easy.

Text in some places is smaller than we typically like to see, but in spite of it, it doesn't affect usability.

With the latest release, ESET does one of the best jobs of catering to both novices and advanced users, a tough task to pull off.

For example, the basic screen has the at-a-glance info you need, but getting to its most advanced controls, as power users will want to, typically takes just a couple of clicks from the home screen.

Overall, it's one of the best looking, most effective interfaces we tested this year.

Technical Support: 95%

ESET is one of just two companies in our line-up that includes 100% free, U.S.-based technical support.

[Norton started offering free support this year, too, but it's done offshore.]

While other antivirus companies claim to have "free" support, they don't tell you the whole story: they typically outsource / offshore their support to places like India, the Philippines, or Eastern Europe, and hit you with hidden charges for so-called "advanced" or "premium" support.


Bottom line: if your PC gets infected while running ESET, they'll help you get rid of it for free. No hidden charges or service fees.1

And, it's all done from San Diego, California. Nothing outsourced.

In our tests of their support system, we were always speaking to a competent, skilled tech who got our issues resolved on the first try.

They stand by their product and are willing to offer free support to prove it. A smart idea every company should adopt.

(1 If your PC is infected before you install ESET, there's a $50 removal fee if you need their help. Anytime after that, professional removal help is always free.)

Conclusion - Overall Score: 93%

  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus
    ESET Box
  • SCORE: 93%
  • Very good virus removal
  • Excellent real-time antivirus protection
  • 100% Free U.S.-based technical support
  • Outstanding antiphishing
  • Good user interface
ESET performed well above average in each of our malware/virus tests despite missing some adware. While other antivirus software failed to block some obvious threats, ESET was able to protect our testing PCs against the really dangerous stuff.

We're also happy to see ESET has continued its commitment to free U.S.-based tech support.

And with a new and improved design, ESET NOD32 Antivirus rounds out to be an excellent antivirus product.

Software Version 2016
Supported Operating System (OS) Windows 10, 8.1, 8, 7, Vista, XP
Minimum RAM Required 1 GB
Minimum Space Required 320 MB
Required Processor Speed 1 GHz
Money-back Guarantee 30 Days
Software Manufacturer ESET
Click images to enlarge
Home Screen
Computer Scan
USB device scanning Scans any device inserted into your USB drive. A vital screening process for a highly vulnerable part of your computer.
Social media scanner Helps protect you against dangerous threats in your social media posts and feeds.
Antiphishing Antiphishing should be standard for all antivirus software, unfortunately it's not. ESET, however delivers excellent phishing protection.

Antivirus Software Comparison

Rank Winner 2nd Place 3rd Place 4th Place 5th Place 6th Place 7th Place 8th Place 9th Place 10th Place
Score 95%93%90%85%82%78%77%76%74%73%
Antivirus Software

All Software Available for Instant Download
SAVE 30%

(no discount)
Norton Box
SAVE 43%
Bitdefender Box
SAVE 58%
Panda Box
SAVE 25%
SAVE 20%
Avast Box

(no discount)
Kaspersky Box

(no discount)
McAfee Box
SAVE 58%
Avira Box

(no discount)
Works with
Win 10
Works with
Win 8x
Works with
Win 7
Works with
Win Vista
Works with
Win XP
Malware Protection
Low Resource Usage
Social Network Protection
USB Scanning
Email Scanning
Easy to Use
Tech Support Based In
Costa Rica
Support Fee for Virus Removal $0 $0/$50* $19.99 $99.99 $59.94 $119.00 $119.00 $99.99 $89.95 $0
*Fees for virus removal may apply in some cases.

Explanation of Features

  • Malware Protection: Viruses, spyware, and trojans are all considered "malware" these days. Which software offers maximum protection against all forms of malware?
  • Low Resource Usage: Protecting a PC is important. Doing it while using as little CPU and memory is just as important.
  • Social Network Protection: There are just as many threats on Facebook and Twitter as well as other social sites. Good social network scanning is important.
  • USB Scanning: USB and other portable drives are one of the most dangerous and neglected points of entry for viruses and other malware. Good USB scanning is vital.
  • Email Scanning: Email has a long history of being an easy entry point for malware. Being able to detect and block threats to your PC is important.
  • Easy to Use: Is the software easy to use? Do the settings make sense? Is the software well organized? How well does the software compare?
  • Tech Support: No one wants to call tech support. Ever. If you do need to contact support, are they helpful, responsive, and accountable?