(Last updated on February 11th, 2020)
Kaspersky or ESET, which antivirus software is a better pick in 2020?
Our experts have put together this comprehensive Kaspersky versus ESET comparison to help you make a wise decision.
In this ultimate guide, you’ll see what’s included in different antivirus suites ESET and Kaspersky offer, as well as how both software stack up against one another in terms of malware protection, impact on system performance, user interface, cost, and more.
Getting the right internet security can be the difference between having a great time surfing the web and ruining your computer in days or weeks. Internet security is critical these days, considering the number of malware threats emerging every day.
The Equifax data breach, for example, affected almost 150 million people in 2017. That’s not all. The number of malware variants has been skyrocketed by 88 percent since the same year. Attacks and the number of viruses that carry them out are only growing larger.
But don’t worry. You can still surf the web and enjoy all that it has to offer. However, it’s important to do so with excellent internet security, rather than free stuff that doesn’t perform as advertised.
Editor’s Note: We have spent over 150 hours examining all the top antivirus software out there, so you can get the best security product for yourself and those you love.
At the moment, we think that Bitdefender is the best antivirus software available in the market. It offers exceptional anti-malware security with minimal impact on system performance, as evidenced by the recent independent lab tests conducted by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. Also, Bitdefender owns the largest security infrastructure on the globe and protects over 500 million devices worldwide.
Currently, Bitdefender is offering an exclusive 60% discount (not available anywhere else) to our readers for a limited time.
Best Antivirus Software for 2020
- Unbeatable anti-malware protection
- Zero system slowdowns
- Exceptional value for money
- Recommended by PC Mag, CNET & TechRadar
- 30-day risk-free money-back guarantee
We can help you find the right internet security for your computer. In this detailed guide, we’ll look at two highly regarded companies, Kaspersky and Norton, and show you how they fare in different categories.
Breakdown of the Comparison
Here’s what we’ll cover in this ESET vs Kaspersky comparison:
- Anti-Malware Protection
- Impact on System Speed
- User Interface
- Customer Ratings
If you’re in a hurry, check out our summary given below.
Comparison at a Glance
Features… Bitdefender’s features are more varied and useful to most people, and you can get them for less money than ESET’s in comparison.
Anti-Malware Protection… Both companies can protect your computer equally well, as shown by two different malware protection tests.
Impact on System Performance… Once again, both antivirus companies received equal scores in independent performance evaluations.
User Interface… Another tie, as both Kaspersky and ESET present a clean and streamlined interface.
Pricing… Kaspersky’s suites are more affordable than Norton’s.
Popularity… ESET holds a higher market share than its rival.
Customer Ratings… ESET has some high scores in this regard, showing that it offers decent customer service.
Paying for premium coverage through Norton is worth it thanks to its great features, better performance and smooth, user-friendly interface.
2020’s Top Antivirus Picks
#1 (Best Overall)
- Robust Feature-set
- Excellent Anti-malware security
- Zero System Slowdowns
- Exceptional Value for Money
- Intuitive User Interface
#2 (Very Good)
- Impressive Feature-set
- Good malware protection
- Value for Money
#3 (Very Good)
- Good malware protection
- Minimal system impact
Let’s dig into what exactly each software company can provide you in its packages.
Kaspersky also has a free software called Kaspersky Free. It provides a basic level of security against some malware types but is largely inefficient against the latest malicious threats.
The first paid product from the company is called Kaspersky Antivirus. This is a Windows-only software that includes the following advanced features:
- Firewall – provides cutting-edge protection against all kinds of digital and malware threats.
- Multilayer Ransomware Protection – secures your family and yourself against cybercrimes involving ransomware attacks.
- Gamer Mode – ensures uninterrupted gaming or movie time for you by pausing pop-up notifications.
- Vulnerability Scanner – monitors your network for security gaps and fixes them before a virus can enter your PC.
- Kaspersky Internet Security – makes up the second tier of protection. This package includes everything from the Antivirus suite plus some more features, such as:
- Hardened Internet Browser – provides safety for personal and financial information during online shopping or banking transactions.
- Secure VPN – lets you surf the internet anonymously from a virtual location as well as access geographically restricted content.
- Wi-Fi Network Securer – monitors your home network for security vulnerabilities and prevents hackers from tapping into your security system.
- Multiplatform Coverage – offers coverage for Windows, Mac, and Android devices.
Kaspersky Total Security is the flagship product from this company and provides the most premium tier of coverage. This suite offers a few extra features along with everything from previous products:
- Safe Kids – this is the parental control module that lets you, monitor, manage, and control your children’s online activities and usage.
- Password Manager – secures all your passwords on your device and makes them inaccessible to unauthorized users.
- File Shredder – permanently deletes the sensitive files or personal data that you don’t want to be discovered by anyone.
- Cloud Backup – includes 2GB of Dropbox storage for your important files.
Kaspersky Security Cloud – is another high-end product from Kaspersky. The only difference between this suite and the Total Security package is the cloud-based technology it uses that entails:
- Adaptive Technology – modifies and adjusts your software settings according to a change in your online usage behavior.
- Central Management – allows you to manage all your connected devices from a central, remote location.
This suite is available in two versions: Personal and Family.
You can also review Kaspersky’s business-related security products right here.
Winner: Kaspersky. Both products offer a host of cool features. Still, Kaspersky has a little edge over ESET with features like Parental Controls (Safe Kids), the Adaptive Technology, and the Gamer Mode.
ESET doesn’t offer free software.
ESET’s most basic security suite is called ESET NOD32 Antivirus. This suite includes:
- Advanced Firewall – offers top-grade antivirus and antispyware functionality as well as protection against any phishing threats.
- Gamer Mode – reduces unnecessary pop-ups during a gaming session or movie time.
- Exploit Blocker – prevents cheating during games and alerts you to any mischief.
- Cloud Scanner – monitors and scans the Cloud and other related functions.
- Small System Footprint – optimizes system resources and provides more power to frequently-used programs.
- Malicious Script Detector – guards against browser assaults from malicious websites.
- Ransomware Shield – protects against threats to financial information and money related frauds.
- License Manager – catalogs and connects various devices with shared licenses.
Next up is ESET Internet Security, the company’s middle-range security suite. It comes with everything included in NOD32 Antivirus with some additional features:
- Personal Firewall – prevents hackers from getting access to your computer and makes you untraceable over public WIFI.
- Hardened Browser – offers protection for your banking and payment processes.
- Anti-Spam Shield – keeps your inbox organized and free of junk or unwanted emails.
- Botnet Protection – saves your computer from network attacks launched by endpoint machines.
- Parental Controls Suite – helps monitor your kids’ browsing habits and limit their access to unwanted websites.
- Webcam Controls – prevent hackers from spying on you with your device camera.
- Home Monitoring System – protects your home network and devices from malicious network traffic.
- Anti-Theft feature – exclusive to Windows operating systems, this feature helps to trace missing or stolen devices for you.
Next up is the highest tier of coverage offered by the company called ESET Smart Security Premium. Everything from the Internet Security package is included in this package, plus more:
- There’s a Secure Data feature that saves your important data from landing in the wrong hands while you’re using the internet or any removable media, such as USB keys.
- Similarly, a password management tool encrypts your sensitive data and safely stores all your passwords on your device, allowing a safe web experience for you.
ESET has two Mac-specific antivirus products: ESET Cybersecurity and ESET Cybersecurity Pro. Both products offer:
- Complete anti-malware protection against all sorts of digital and other related threats.
- The software receives automatic updates to provide you complete protection against emerging threats.
- Anti-Phishing features secure your sensitive data such as usernames, passwords, and financial information, from fraudulent websites.
- There’s a Removable Media control that prevents unknows CDs, USBs, and other similar media from copying information from your computer.
- A Presentation Mode blocks any notifications or pop-up messages during full-screen operations.
- ESET Cybersecurity Pro also includes a couple of extra advanced perks such as a Personal Firewall and Parental Controls.
All ESET products offer single device licenses. ESET offers free support in your local language for all suites.
Interested in ESET’s business solutions? Follow this link for more information.
2. Anti-Malware Protection
Malware protection component (also called detection engine) is the heart of a security suite.
Malware can be categorized into two types: known malware and unknown malware (also called zero-day malware). The former type of malware can be detected using the traditional signature-based scanner, which usually works by matching suspect files against a database of known malware signatures. It’s the latter type of malware that poses a higher risk, it can’t be detected using signature-based scanning as it exploits a previously unknown vulnerability.
Most modern security programs employ heuristics scanning (checking for behavioral attributes of a file) to detect zero-day malware.
To see how good ESET and Kaspersky are in terms of malware detection, I will look at the most recent independent examinations conducted by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives – two well-known and most respected security laboratories in the antivirus landscape.
AV-Test’s most recent two-round evaluations were conducted in September and October 2018. The tests evaluated different participating products against both widespread and zero-day malware samples.
Kaspersky was one of the few products that received the perfect 6/6 rating from the AV-Test experts in the “Protection” category. It whipped all malware samples it was tested against during both months and only gave a single false positive case.
***False positive is counted when a security software wrongly detects a legitimate file/URL as malware-infected.
ESET, on the other hand, didn’t participate in the recent AV-Test examinations.
Austrian lab AV-Comparatives also conducts a range of exhausted tests to determine how effective a security product is against malware infections. The two main tests that give useful insights into the malware detection capability of a product are the Real-World Protection Test and Malware Protection Test.
The recent Real-World Protection Test report released by the lab includes combined results of five consecutive tests which were conducted in regular intervals, between July and November 2018.
Kaspersky was among one of the few products that were awarded the highest “ADVANCED+” award in the “real-world” study. It notched up impressive protection rate of 99.4% with no false positives.
ESET, on the other hand, didn’t perform as well as Kaspersky. Its average protection rate during the five-month period was slightly lower, at 98.9%, which means it had to settle for the second-best “ADVANCED” title in the test. It also gave a few false positives.
The Malware Protection Test is held after every few months by AV-Comparatives. The recent version of the test – which was held in September 2018 — evaluated 18 top security products against 11,890 malware test cases.
ESET’s performance was quite exceptional in this test; it received the highest “ADVANCED+” title because of its near-perfect 99.94% protection rate with very few false detections.
Kaspersky, on the other hand, could only get the second-best “ADVANCED” title, primarily because of its relatively lower 99.87% protection rate. It also returned 5 false positives during the test.
Overall, it’s a tie in this category as both ESET and Kaspersky are in the same league when it comes to malware protection.
3. Impact on System Performance
Most modern antivirus products are extraordinarily light and do not put a significant burden on system performance (or system speed).
Let’s look at how Kaspersky and ESET fared in the recent independent performance tests.
In the “Performance” category of the AV-Test examination, the impact (or influence) of each participating product is measured in terms of system slowdown experienced while performing a set of standard computer operations, like launching popular websites, downloading & installing applications, copying files, and more.
Kaspersky got full marks from the AV-Test experts in the “Performance” category.
ESET, as mentioned earlier, didn’t take part in the recent AV-Test examinations.
The experts at AV-Comparatives also conduct an exhaustive test to measure the impact of various antivirus software on system performance. The most recent evaluation involved 17 software and was held in October 2018.
ESET was awarded the highest “ADVANCED+” award in the test, because of its exceptionally lower impact score of 1.7.
On the other hand, Kaspersky got the second-best “ADVANCED” award in the test, due to its slightly heavier impact score of 11.9.
Overall, it can be said that neither Kaspersky nor ESET will slow down your system.
4. User Interface
It’s important for security programs to provide a good user interface.
First, let’s delve into the Kaspersky interface.
Kaspersky’s interface is neat and elegant, in colors of white and dark green.
The default view has a lot of information and links, but everything is so well-organized that it doesn’t look crowded at all. The green banner at the top is where you’ll find your current protection status.
Below the banner are six main modules, namely Scan, Database Update, SafeMoney, Privacy Protection, Parental Control, and Protection for all devices. Each module contains a set of related features and other options.
The name of the suite you have installed on your computer is shown in the title bar. The bottom bar links to Settings, Help, and more.
Now, let’s go over the ESET interface.
ESET’s interface is simple, bright and airy.
Along the left, you’ll find six categories, namely Home, Computer Scan, Update, Tools, Setup, and Help & Support.
Home is the default window, it shows your current protection status and has links to different advanced modules, like the Secure Data utility. If everything is safe and secure, you’ll a reassuring “You’re Protected” message with a green checkmark next to a creepy robot (okay, it’s not so creepy). The message quickly changes to “Attention Required” or “Security Alert” depending on the seriousness of the issue that needs to be addressed.
The other categories are pretty much self-explanatory.
The name of the product you’re subscribed to is displayed at the top. The bottom bar shows the number of days remaining in your subscription plan.
Overall, Kaspersky’s interface is more intuitive and robust that ESET’s.
The Winner: Both. Both companies offer a modern and intuitive interface, and it is quite easy to access all major options.
Pricing is another crucial aspect to consider, and it may be the deciding factor for some folks. The truth is that good antivirus also provides exceptional value for money; otherwise, you might be paying too much for something not worth your money.
Let’s see how Kaspersky and ESET compare in this regard.
Kaspersky Anti-Virus costs $23.99 for the first year for 3 PC licenses. Internet Security costs $31.99 for the first year for 3 licenses for PCs, Macs or mobile devices. Total Security costs $39.99 and $59.99 for the first year for 5 and 10 devices, respectively.
|Kaspersky Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|Kaspersky Anti-Virus||$59.99/year||Check here|
|Kaspersky Internet Security||$79.99/year||Check here|
|Kaspersky Total Security||$99.99/year||Check here|
|Kaspersky Security Cloud (Personal)||$89.99/year||Check here|
|Kaspersky Security Cloud (Family)||$149.99/year||Check here|
|Kaspersky Small Office Security||$149.99/year||Check here|
|Kaspersky End Point Security Cloud||$300.00/year||Check here|
For the costs of ESET’s business-oriented products and additions, you can look through here.
|ESET Products||Regular Price||Discounted Price|
|ESET NOD32 Antivirus||$39.99/year||Check here|
|ESET Internet Security||$49.99/year||Check here|
|ESET Smart Security Premium||$59.99/year||Check here|
|ESET Multi-device Security||$69.99/year||Check here|
|ESET Cyber Security for Mac||$49.99/year||Check here|
|ESET Business Products||Varies||Check here|
The Winner: Kaspersky. Kaspersky’s products are clearly more affordable than Norton’s, and it’s quite economical to cover more devices with Kaspersky.
Popularity rating is an indispensable indicator of how well received a product is among users. So, let’s turn to two leading survey organizations for their malware market share reports and see which product shines more brightly.
OPSWAT is the first organization, and its Windows Anti-Malware Market Share Report of September 2019 stands Kaspersky at a market share of 8.4%. Amazingly, ESET takes the lead here and commands the highest 13.1% market share.
7. Customer Ratings
How well a company’s customers hold them in regard can show us a lot about their day-to-day operations and customer service. We can check review-collecting resources to see the average opinion of both Kaspersky and ESET users.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is one of these review-collecting websites. BBB translates customer feedback into a single letter grade ranging from A to F. From this organization, Kaspersky Managed Average C Score while ESET scored a phenomenal A+ score.
That shows that ESET’s customers may prefer their service to Kaspersky.
Let’s now move to Consumeraffairs.org, another review-collecting site that uses a five-star rating system. On this site, Bitdefender scored four stars out of five, while ESET scored a four-star rating as well, showing similar results from both companies’ customers.
The Winner: ESET. Based on review-collecting sites, it appears that ESET’s customers are generally more satisfied with their experience or otherwise have less reason to complain. Kaspersky suffers from these ratings but didn’t impress, either.
This is one of the closest comparisons we have done so far, as both antivirus companies are on a par with each other in most categories, including critical ones like malware protection and impact on system performance.
However, we have to declare Kaspersky the overall winner. Although ESET offers very advanced features, it’s Kaspersky that comes with great pricing plans and offers excellent value for money.