Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

The best antivirus software for Chromebooks in 2022

Google has done a great job of making Chrome OS lightweight but still secure against common computer viruses, which is one reason it’s a popular choice at schools. However, if you have a Chromebook, it can still be vulnerable to certain malware attacks or virus-laden downloads, so security is important.

If you’re looking for the safest experience, you should add antivirus software to your Chromebook. Fortunately, we have many, many hours of experience testing both Chromebooks and antivirus apps, so we’re well-positioned to make several top recommendations when you’re looking for software.

Many of these picks are also solid choices if you need antivirus software for your Mac or just want a quick free antivirus for basic protection.


Malwarebytes on Chromebook.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Malwarebytes offers a dedicated app for Android security with a version specifically customized to work on Chromebooks — including an excellent free download that sports a refreshing lack of ads. The free version runs a privacy audit for every app on Chrome OS and gives you a report so that you can figure out which apps are tracking you, monitoring your activity, or charging you fees.

The software can also run searches for any embedded adware or malware that may have found its way onto your Chromebook without notice and helps you remove them. That includes not only malicious software but also annoyances like bloatware that can slow down Chrome’s lean operating system. If you want to upgrade to the premium version, you also get browser monitoring and ransomware detection.


Kaspersky security menu screen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Those who want one of the most comprehensive security solutions around will appreciate the many features that Kaspersky offers, including a constant background scan for potential viruses and an excellent spyware detector to alert you about apps that may be tracking your activity. While many of the tools are designed with Android phones in mind, they also work well on Chromebooks, and certain features are particularly useful — such as the ability to remotely locate, lock, or wipe your Chromebook if you accidentally left it behind somewhere.

If anything, Kaspersky may have too many features for those looking for something simpler, but users who want the broadest protection will find plenty to like, especially if they also have an Android phone that needs protection (Kaspersky offers spam call filters in addition to other security benefits). You will need to pay for this app, but prices are currently around $12 for a year’s subscription.

ESET Security

ESET Security menu screen.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

ESET’s app is an ideal choice if you’re looking for something with a light footprint that offers basic security without threatening any of your Chromebook’s precious RAM. The app offers easy-to-use tools in the free version, which includes antivirus scanning, security reports, and activity logs. There’s no fluff, just a couple of big buttons to press.

However, we also suggest taking a look at Chrome Cleanup, an ESET extension that monitors browsing and alerts users when it looks like they’ve stumbled across malware or spyware that they really don’t want. It comes with a removal option to quickly delete any unexpected downloads that may result.


Avira security menu options.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Avira has several different security solutions that all make excellent options for your Chromebook. The first is the primary app, a combination of antivirus scanning and a VPN to help with security. There’s also a suite of other tools you can use, including the ability to lock specific apps, scan your Wi-Fi network, optimize your Chromebook’s memory, and more.

Are you looking for something a little simpler? You may be interested in Avira Browser Safety, an extension that specifically looks at browsing activity, blocks malicious sites, and detects things like tracking, phishing attempts, and suspicious downloads. Or you could go with the slightly different Avira Safe Shopping, which also protects your browsing but adds in automatic deal tracking for items you want to buy.


Bitdefender Antivirus Free website screenshot showing where to download the free version of the app.

Bitdefender’s free antivirus app works great on Android, and all the same tools are equally compatible on Chromebook, allowing you to quickly scan your laptop on demand. The software’s design allows you to stick with the basics or expand into new features as you need, and it’s made for easy setup that can save time when downloading.

The free version will scan any new apps that you add to watch for viruses and other problems. Plus, it primarily runs from the cloud, so it won’t take up much extra space or other resources on your Chromebook. If you also have Android devices or other computers with Bitdefender protection, you can use Bitdefender Central as a central app to manage security on all your devices or even incorporate the BOX smart home hub to protect your at-home Wi-Fi network.

Editors' Recommendations

Tyler Lacoma
If it can be streamed, voice-activated, made better with an app, or beaten by mashing buttons, Tyler's into it. When he's not…
Usually $299, this HP Chromebook is discounted to $199
HP Chromebook 14b sits on a desk.

If the laptop deals that you find online are still too expensive for your budget, you may want to browse Chromebook deals for cheaper alternatives. Here's an offer to consider -- Best Buy's $100 discount for the HP Chromebook 14a, which makes it even more affordable at $199 from its original price of $299. We're not sure how much time remains before this bargain ends though, so if you're interested, you'll have to proceed with the purchase as soon as possible.

Why you should buy the HP Chromebook 14a
The HP Chromebook 14a is cheap because it's equipped with low-end components, namely the Intel Celeron N4120 processor, integrated Intel UHD Graphics 600, and 4GB of RAM. However, you'll still be getting decent performance because Chromebooks utilize Google's Chrome OS, which allow the devices to run smoother than you expect as the operating system is focused on web-based apps instead of installed software. The HP Chromebook 14a won't challenge the speed of the best laptops, but it will prove to be more than enough for daily functions like doing online research, typing documents, and manipulating spreadsheets.

Read more
One-day sale drops the price of this Chromebook to just $169
ifa 2019 acer announces new line of chromebooks chromebook 314 cb314 1h 1ht 07

If you aren't ready to buy a full-fledged laptop, a Chromebook is a great alternative since they're usually cheaper while still coming in the same body as a traditional laptop. The Acer Chromebook 314 is a great example, and while it won't win any awards for high-end specifications, it's a solid device and a great budget option if you want something basic. Luckily, Best Buy has a great deal, bringing it down to $169 from $269, making it more affordable.

Why you should buy the Acer Chromebook 314
At 14-inches, you might not expect the Acer 314 to have much going for it, but surprisingly, it has a touch screen with up to 10-finger multitouch, which is a nice little addition, although it would have been nice if it was convertible to use in tablet mode. Nonetheless, the overall build quality is sturdy, with little to no flex on the keyboard, and battery life should see you up to around 12 hours or so, depending on your usage, which is great. It's also worth noting that the screen not only uses an IPS panel, which gives you better color reproduction and viewing angles, but it can also hit 300 nits of peak brightness, meaning you can use it in a well-lit room without too much issue.

Read more
This portable Lenovo Chromebook just had its price slashed to $105
Lenovo Chromebook 3 11 on wooden desk.

Shoppers usually turn to Chromebook deals when the laptop deals that they see are still too expensive. Here's one of the most affordable options -- the Lenovo Chromebook 3 for just $105, as its original price of $139 was slashed by Best Buy for $34 in savings. There's no telling how much time is left on the offer though, so if you think the Chromebook would work great for you, there's no reason to hesitate on making the purchase.

Why you should buy the Lenovo Chromebook 3
Lenovo is no stranger to our list of the best Chromebooks, and the Lenovo Chromebook 3 shows the brand's expertise in making devices that are powered by Google's Chrome OS. It's powered by the Intel Celeron N4020 processor, Intel UHD Graphics 600, and 4GB of RAM, which actually don't look like much on paper. However, since Chrome OS is designed to utilize web-based apps instead of installed software, as we mentioned in our Chromebook versus laptop discussion, the Lenovo Chromebook 3 still performs smoothly. It also only has 64GB eMMC flash memory, which would be extremely limiting for traditional laptops but not in the case of Chromebooks, as they come with built-in support for cloud storage.

Read more