We created this comprehensive head-to-head comparison based on our seasoned experts’ research and the top independent labs in the world. That way, you can make an informed decision, which is the best option for you.

We closely follow four labs that regularly release detailed reports: AV-Test Institute based in Germany, MRG-Effitas, and SE Labs in the UK and AV-Comparatives based in Austria.

AV-Test Institute discovered about 64 million new malware samples in the first half of 2020. Malicious hackers are now attacking computers and networks at a rate of one attack every 39 seconds.

One of the fastest-growing threats is ransomware, with the US, Brazil, India, Vietnam, and Turkey being the countries with the most ransomware attacks. Polls show that one out of every five Americans have dealt with a ransomware attack. The average ransom payments more than doubled in the last quarter of 2019 versus the third quarter, increasing from $41,198 to $84,116. The average downtime due to a ransomware attack also increased from 12.1 days to 16.2 days in the last quarter of 2019.

You can see yourself that dealing with cyber threats is more important than ever.

In this head-to-head battle, you’ll see the security products, features, and tools both companies offer. We take a look at how they stack up against each other regarding malware protection, system performance, user interface, cost, and more.

Here are the most important factors that we’ve compared:

  • Protection
  • Performance
  • Usability
  • Features
  • Pricing

You need to be able to protect yourself against any digital threats and give yourself the best chance of never having to pay criminals for your data.

So let’s dive in.

A quick overview of results

If you’re in a rush or just not too interested in all the statistics, we have compiled a handy summary of the results.

  • Protection

    Kaspersky offers perfect protection and detection. Malwarebytes, on the other hand, showed below industry average results.

  • Performance

    Malwarebytes takes a considerable toll on your computer's performance while installing or launching applications.

  • Usability

    Both products offer simple and straightforward to use interfaces. There were some issues with false reporting by Malwarebytes.

  • Features

    Kaspersky and Malwarebytes offer anti-malware and VPN features, but the list is a bit longer for Kaspersky.

  • Pricing

    Every single Kaspersky product is priced more reasonably than Malwarebyte. There is nothing to add to that.

A short verdict

From whatever angle you look at it, Kaspersky is better software than Malwarebytes. It offers better security, performance, usability, and features at a much reasonable price.

  1. One of our best-rated software
    Kaspersky Antivirus logo

    Kaspersky

    Kaspersky offers top of the line protection against viruses and other threats, with little to none effect on your computer's performance.

    Starting at $18,19 from Kaspersky
  2. The other choice
    Malwarebytes Antivirus logo

    Malwarebytes

    Malwarebytes offers an excellent user interface and is easy to operate. The downsides are its protection abilities and performance issues.

    Starting at $39,99 from Malwarebytes

Detailed results

If you didn’t get enough information to make a decision based on our short overview or like to dive into the details, we have a lot more to offer. Let’s see all the nerdy stats that we uncovered during our research. We put Kaspersky and Malwarebytes head-to-head in all the categories using data gathered by our experts and test results of top independent testing facilities.

So let’s dig in.

Protection

Protection is, without a doubt, the most crucial part of any antivirus software. It is basically the only reason you’re installing it in the first place. The last tests run by independent test facilities show that one of our competitors performed a bit better than the other.

We usually compare the test results of many labs, but unfortunately, Malwarebytes is only tested by AV-Test, so let’s see what the results show.

AV-Test put both software up against 402 samples of 0-day malware attacks and 20606 samples of malware in four weeks.

While Kaspersky protected against 100% threats, Malwarebytes only had a 95,9% success rate. Well below the industry average of 98%.

Kaspersky also detected widespread malware with a 100% rate. Malwarebytes only yielded a 99,8% result. Once again, performing below average.

Industry average Kaspersky Malwarebytes
Protection against 0-day malware attacks, inclusive of web and email threats

402 samples used

Detection of widespread and prevalent malware discovered in the last 4 weeks

20606 samples used

Source: av-test.org

It’s not hard to call a winner when one contender gets a perfect score, and the other is below average in every aspect.

Winner: Kaspersky

Performance

The other aspect to consider when choosing antivirus software is how much of a toll it takes on your computer’s performance. It’s only natural that every software has to use some of its computing power, but the amounts have to be reasonable.

If opening websites and installing applications start taking forever, then the protection isn’t worth the bother. Because it basically renders your computer useless.

AV-Test labs put the competitors head-to-head in a series of tests to see how they performed. Let’s see what the results were so you could avoid any issues.

Kaspersky lets you easily install frequently-used applications faster than the industry average. There were some more than average slow-down during website and app launching – still a good result.

Malwarebytes did well when launching websites and downloading apps. But as you try to install or launch said applications, it takes a considerable toll on your computer’s performance.

Industry average Kaspersky Malwarebytes
Slowing-down when launcing popular websites

50 websites visited

Slower download of frequently-used applications

20 downloaded files

Slower launch of standard software

12 test cases applied

Slower installation of frequently-used applications

19 installed applications

Slower copying of files (locally and in a network)

7388 files copied

Source: av-test.org

These kinds of numbers with Malwarebytes makes the winner obvious. There is nothing more left than to announce it.

Winner: Kaspersky

Usability

The usability of antivirus software consists of two sides. The first is its interface and how easy it is to use. The second is the software’s false reporting. Error notifications that start popping up each time you open a perfectly virus-free photo or video prevent you from doing anything on a computer.

First, let’s compare the interfaces.

Kaspersky has a clean and modern interface that is really intuitive to use. Light colors and simple icons make it one of the best in the industry.

All your main options are right there on the home screen. You can find the following options – Scan, Database Update, Safe Money, Privacy Protection, Parental Control, and Protection for all devices.

Most importantly, you can see if your computer is protected or infected right at the top. If you want to dig in, you can see the details, such as the last performed scan, etc. If there are any problems with your computer the green checkmark turns into a big red X, so you can’t miss it.

On the right bottom corner, you can see your license info. That way, you know if you need a subscription renewal.

Kaspersky User Interface Screenshot

Malwarebytes offers a modern and easy to understand application that is intuitive in its design as well. Colors are natural on the eyes, and everything can be found in a heartbeat.

The main window shows your device’s status and gives you an option to update the bundle if you need protection for more than one device.

On the left, you can see Detection History that shows the results of the last scan and items quarantined.

In the middle of the bottom portion, you can find Scanner and see when the next scan is scheduled. There is also a button for you to start a scan if you wish to do so.

On the right is the Real-Time Protection section that lets you know what features are turned on. You can turn on and off Web Protection, Malware & PUP Protection, Ransomware Protection, and Exploit Protection.

Notifications, settings, and information are in the top right corner of the main window.

Malwarebytes User Interface Screenshot

Now let’s dive into false reporting.

AV-Test labs also gather information on false reporting. The tests conducted show that Kaspersky once again got the perfect score, and no false reports showed up. Malwarebytes had some issues, though. But to be honest, for an everyday user, such a small number of incorrect notifications doesn’t impact the usability at all.

Industry average Kaspersky Malwarebytes
False warnings or blockages when visiting websites

500 samples used

False detections of legimate software as malware during a system scan

964 585 samples used

False warnings concerning certain actions carried out whilst installing and using legitimate software

87 samples used

False blockages of certain actions carried out whilst installing and using legitimate software

87 samples used

Source: av-test.org

Both software have logical and easy-to-use interfaces, so it’s hard to pick a winner there. Still, tests regarding false reporting showed that one software performed a bit better. That is the reason why we have to give this one to Kaspersky as well.

Winner: Kaspersky

Features

From the get-go, we can tell that Kaspersky offers a lot more options than Malwarebytes. Still, you have a wide variety of security features to protect your digital life.

Let’s first see what Kaspersky has to offer.

Kaspersky’s product line consists of four main products for the home user. Its entry-level software is called Kaspersky Anti-Virus. It is available as only a 2 PC option and blocks the latest viruses, ransomware, spyware, and crypto lockers. It basically covers the essential needs of a user that doesn’t use the computer that much.

The next in line is Kaspersky Internet Security, and it’s a big step forward. It adds a multi-device capability and is also the entry-level option if you use a Mac. The software has privacy features that stop webcam hijacks and hide your browsing.

It also recognizes phishing sites – websites that are made to appear like safe ones (e.g. PayPal), so hackers can get your login or other information and steal your money or data. It also has a smart VPN with 200 MB of usage per device, per day.

Kaspersky Total security is the company’s Premium product and adds yet another layer of features. It offers protection for children through “bad content” blocker, and also uses GPS tracker. You can safely manage and store your passwords and back up your precious photos, music, and files with it. On your PC, Mac, or mobile device.

The newest addition to Kaspersky’s lineup is Kaspersky Security Cloud that includes a revolutionary data leak checker. It looks for leaks in your accounts and advises what to do if problems are found. If you use an Android device, it can also check permissions used by your apps. You also get an extra 300 MB of VPN usage per device per day, totaling 500 MB.

Unfortunately, Security Cloud isn’t yet available all around the world. So check before you make a purchase.

Kaspersky also has some free tools like a Kaspersky QR Scanner to check if the codes you scan are safe. Kaspersky Battery Life is an app for your Android that can extend the battery life.

View all Kaspersky products

Now let’s take a look at what Malwarebytes has to offer.

Malwarebytes offers antivirus for Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Chromebook. There is also a free version of Malwarebytes. Still, you can only use it to clean up an already infected computer.

The paid version is called Malwarebytes Premium and offers different features based on the device you use.

The Windows version protects your identity and privacy from hackers as well as your documents and financial files from ransomware. It also includes security against malicious and fraudulent websites and offers malware protection.

If you use an Apple computer, Malwarebytes offers protection against viruses, spyware, and malware and blocks adware and unwanted programs. Mac users also get notifications if they are about to open apps from developers of unwanted software.

You can buy the software for only one device or up to 5 devices.

The new addition to the product family is Malwarebytes Privacy. It helps protect your online privacy, secures your WiFi connection, and delivers speeds way faster than older VPNs.

It helps keep your connection secure with 256-bit encryption and uses a newer and faster VPN protocol to get all the benefits of a VPN with less lag.

The Privacy software can stop advertisers and websites using your IP address to track your activity across sites by assigning you a virtual IP address.

You can also use it to make it appear like you’re connecting to the Internet from a different country so you can view new content.

Malwarebytes also offers its products a discounted bundle called Malwarebytes Premium Bundle, where you get both Premium antivirus and Privacy as one package. You can use it on up to 5 devices.

View all Malwarebytes products

Kaspersky offers a long list of products, but the bundles are the ones to go for. Malwarebytes only has two options – it’s antivirus and privacy, either separately or bundled up. With not too many extras. As it is a category for features, Kaspersky takes it again.

Winner: Kaspersky

Pricing

No matter what anyone says, price always matters. But as you’re getting ready to choose the best antivirus software that ticks all the boxes, you have to remind yourself what you are really paying for.

It isn’t just another program on your computer but rather an ease-of-mind that all of your digital life is in safe hands.

So let’s compare the price points that offer you that peacefulness. Here are the prices of both Kaspersky and Malwarebytes products.

Kaspersky has bundled all the features into four different products that offer different levels of security. Here are the first two.

  1. Kaspersky Antivirus logo

    Kaspersky Anti-Virus

    Essential antivirus for Windows – blocks viruses & cryptocurrency-mining malware.

    Starting at $18,19
  2. Kaspersky Antivirus logo

    Kaspersky Internet Security

    Adds multi-device availability, online security features, and a VPN agent.

    Starting at $35,87

For the best all-round protection, you should consider the following options.

  1. Kaspersky Antivirus logo

    Kaspersky Total security

    Add yet another layer of security with a password manager, file protection, and kids' safety options.

    Starting at $46,27
  2. Kaspersky Antivirus logo

    Kaspersky Security Cloud

    The best Kaspersky has to offer – ultimate security with antivirus, anti-ransomware, privacy tools, data leak detection, and more.

    Check for price

Malwarebytes offers a few options for its products. You can buy its antivirus and privacy products separately or as a bundle.

  1. Malwarebytes Antivirus logo

    Malwarebytes Premium

    Malwarebytes is smarter, faster, and lighter than ever before. Go beyond antivirus and stop worrying about online threats.

    Starting at $39,99
  2. Malwarebytes Antivirus logo

    Malwarebytes Privacy

    Next-generation VPN helps protect your online privacy, secures your WiFi connection, and delivers speeds way faster than older VPNs.

    Get for only $49,99
  3. Malwarebytes Antivirus logo

    Malwarebytes Premium Bundle

    All the antivirus capabilities with an added VPN to give you all-round protection both offline and online.

    Get for only $74,99

Kaspersky has an entry-level product that comes with a much lower price than Malwarebytes. Even Kaspersky’s mid- and high-level bundles are priced more reasonably. It seems like the winner is evident in this category.

Winner: Kaspersky

Final Thoughts

Seeing the test results, there is no doubt which of the contenders we should announce as the winner. With superior results, it is undoubtedly Kaspersky. Malwarebytes, unfortunately, doesn’t seem like the best option.

Keep in mind that we give our best to get you all the facts so you can make an informed decision for what is the best option for you. After all, you are the one that is going to use the software. We hope this review has been helpful to you.