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Visit ESET NOD32
  • Strong lab results
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent video tutorials

ESET Antivirus Review

ESET has been one of the most reliable antivirus solutions for over 30 years. It’s light on system resources and has a good track record, but competition is stiffer now than ever before. Read our expert ESET antivirus review to see how it stacks up against other options.

Mindy Born
By Mindy Born (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2024-06-03T08:08:00+00:00 Facts checked by Simona Ivanovski
Key Takeaways: What Is ESET Antivirus & Is It Good to Use?
  • ESET offers reliable antivirus protection that includes heuristic analysis and machine learning algorithms.
  • While ESET is pricey, its high testing scores may make it worth the money, and it does offer a good free trial.
  • It has a low impact on system resources.

Facts & Expert Analysis About ESET Antivirus Software:

  • Multilayered approach to threat detection: using heuristic analysis, machine learning algorithms and real-time monitoring of system behavior. In testing by AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives, ESET consistently scores over 98%.
  • Low impact on system resources: ESET Antivirus provides threat detection without causing system lag due to its cloud-based resource management, low-footprint design and smart scanning algorithms. 
  • High accuracy: In AV-Comparatives’ tests, ESET NOD32 had one of the lowest rates of false positives.1 It doesn’t have the same low false positives rate as Bitdefender and Kaspersky, but its rate is half that of McAfee, Microsoft and Norton. Our Bitdefender vs McAfee review has more information on how the champions perform.

ESET has been around for 30 years and has over 110 million systems under its protection. The service consistently scores well in independent testing. This ESET antivirus review covers its strengths and weaknesses, and compares it to some other top antivirus solutions. For a broader comparison, check out our best antivirus software article.

Year after year, ESET does well when tested by AV-TEST and AV-Comparatives. It scored six out of six with AV-TEST, but compared to previous years, its AV-Comparatives scores were slightly lower at the end of 2023 and Q1 of 2024. 2

The software includes a host-based intrusion prevention system (HIPS) that monitors system behavior to detect and prevent suspicious behavior. HIPS are particularly good at stopping zero-day attacks and reducing false positives.

That said, ESET’s additional security features are somewhat lacking compared to competitors like Norton and Bitdefender. For example, Bitdefender has a file shredder and an anti-tracker, which ESET lacks. ESET doesn’t have a free version, but you can download a full product test version for 30 days without a credit card.

  • 06/03/2024 Facts checked

     Rewritten with new information on ESET antivirus in 2024.

What Is ESET Antivirus & Who Is It For?

ESET NOD32 is an antivirus software package made by the Slovak company ESET. Founded in 1992, ESET is a global company that currently protects over 110 million systems. ESET NOD32 uses advanced heuristics, machine learning and behavior monitoring to proactively detect and clean known and unknown viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits and other malware.

ESET’s Endpoint Security is a suite of business antivirus programs that keep devices like desktops, laptops, mobile devices and servers safe for enterprises. It includes the “ESET mobile security” apps in its free trial and premium subscriptions, though with slightly different features depending on whether you’ve paid.

Mindy Born

Cloudwards Expert Opinion

Mindy is a writer for Her specialty is in VPNs and online privacy.

ESET NOD32runs a full on-demand computer scan in just a few minutes and doesn’t slow device processing. It scored a perfect six points for protection, performance and usability with AV-TEST in February 2024, but its AV-Comparatives results were lower in Q4 2023 and Q1 2024 compared to previous years. 

Its interface is a breeze to navigate, and we found its customer support reps to be extraordinarily helpful with our questions.

ESET Antivirus Pros & Cons


  • Easy to use
  • Light on resources
  • Browser protection
  • Payment protection


  • Expensive
  • Confusing knowledgebase

Features: What Can ESET Antivirus Do?

80 % – Good

ESETcybersecurity has on-demand scans, threat detection, phishing protection, malicious URL blocking, a firewall, webcam protection and a ransomware shield. It has some advanced features like “device control” — which lets users control what devices connect to their system — and a vulnerability scan.

A “Microsoft Outlook” toolbar provides anti-phishing protection by marking dangerous and potentially manipulative measures. We’ll cover all of ESET’s basic security features in this section.

On-Demand Scanning
scan in progress
You can choose what to scan and when.

The ESET software gives you several scanning choices. You can choose a regular device scan, which only takes a few minutes and won’t noticeably slow down your computer, or you can select an advanced scan.

Advanced scans can be customized to choose specific targets; you can also scan external devices or repeat a scan with your previous parameters. See our article on how to run an antivirus scan to learn about more options.

Secure Data
secure data
Users can encrypt data on their computer and removable drives.

ESET’s “secure data” feature creates encrypted directories on your computer (or removable drives) where you can safely store sensitive files. You can still access your encrypted files if you uninstall ESET, but you won’t be able to encrypt new ones. 

Browser Privacy & Security
browser privacy
There are secure browser plugins for Microsoft Edge, Firefox and Chrome.

ESET’s “browser privacy and security” extension includes a “secure search” feature to mark unsafe search engine results; a “browser cleanup” tool for deleting browser data; a “website settings review” function for controlling website permissions; and a “metadata cleanup” tool to remove sensitive metadata from images before uploading.

The browser extension’s interface allows you to customize settings, and manage website permissions and allowlists. It asks for permission before reading or modifying browser settings, clearing browsing data or accessing browser tabs.

System Cleaner
system cleaner
ESET’s “system cleaner” function shows you how to return your
system to its previous state after a malware attack.

ESET’s “system cleaner” tool is designed to be used after a malware threat is discovered. It will detect changes to browser settings, system utilities, temporary files, system files and system settings, and it lets you choose if you want to restore them to their previous settings or not.

Password Manager
password manager
ESET’s password manager feature lets you store all
your passwords in a single location.

With ESET’s password manager feature, you can securely store and manage your passwords and credit card information on multiple devices. After setting up a password store with a strong master password and recovery key, you can access your encrypted data from Windows PCs and Android, iOS and macOS devices via the password manager app or browser extensions.

Safe Banking & Browsing
Safe Banking
The “safe banking” feature keeps your personal financial data safe.

ESET’s “safe banking and browsing” tool protects your financial data during online transactions. It opens a secured browser window with a green border and a “secured by ESET” tag. This window encrypts communication between your keyboard and the browser to protect against keyloggers that might steal your bank information, credit card numbers and personal data.

By default, ESET automatically redirects banking and payment websites to this secured browser, but you can also manually add to or edit the list of protected websites. You can also enable “secure all browsers” mode to open all supported browsers in the secured environment without redirection. Supported browsers include Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome and Firefox.

ESET Features Overview

$3.33 / month(All Plans)
Password manager
File shredder
Multi-OS support
Parental control
Disk cleanup
Ransomware protection
Webcam protection
Real-time monitoring
Secure browser
Download protection
Phishing protection
Operating System
Desktop UI
Mobile application
Browser extension
Help Center
Live Chat
24/7 Support
Video Tutorial
Free Plan

User-Friendliness & Hands-On Testing

80 % – Good

ESET has an intuitive design that prioritizes ease of use over showcasing a multitude of features. The dashboard’s home screen provides basic information, but if you click into the settings, you’ll find plenty of configuration options that allow you to customize the antivirus according to your preferences. 

The menus are logically structured to strike a good balance between customization options for advanced users and an intuitive platform for beginners.

How to Install ESET Antivirus

ESET’s installation wizard will guide you through the process of installing the software.

  1. Download ESET

    Go to and click the “get started” button to download an .exe file.

    get started
  2. Run the .exe File

    Go to your downloads and click on the .exe file you’ve just downloaded. Click “run.”

    run exe
  3. Install ESET

    Follow the prompts to install ESET. It will ask you to log in — you can skip this if you are downloading the free trial, or fill in your login credentials if you’ve purchased a subscription.

    install eset
How to Set Up & Use ESET Antivirus

How you set up ESET will largely depend on your preferences and needs, but here is an overview of how it works.

  1. Run an Initial Scan

    The “scan” window is the first window you’ll see. Do an initial scan by clicking “scan your computer.” ESET will complete a deep scan of all local disks, eliminate any threats and provide you with a security report.

    before scan
  2. Select the Setup Tab

    Go to the “setup” tab to the left of your screen and open the options. You will see four different tabs with customizable options. For the purpose of this how-to, we will focus on the first one labeled “computer protection.”

  3. Configure Your Protection

    The essential stuff like real-time protection will be preselected for you, but you can choose whether you want to enable ESET LiveGuard. This function will keep your computer safer, but be warned that it will enable pop-up warnings from ESET on any site that the antivirus isn’t familiar with.

    computer protetction setup
ESET Device Compatibility: macOS & Windows Apps

ESET is available on macOS, Windows, iOS and Android, but it discontinued Linux support in 2022. Each OS counts as one device, so if you want to run ESET on more than one platform, you’ll need to get a subscription that includes multiple devices. Its mobile apps are solid enough to land ESET on this year’s best antivirus for Android list.

ESET scan mac
The Mac interface is a bit more streamlined than the Windows interface.

The Windows version of ESET includes a more elaborate device control system compared to the Mac version. It allows users to set individual permissions for various device types, like card readers or USB keys. Additionally, ESET’s scan options are more limited on macOS, lacking scan scheduling and removable media scans.

ESET Antivirus Pricing: How Much Does ESET NOD32 Cost?

70 % – Decent

The ESET app is on the expensive side. ESET NOD32 is the cheapest plan with the most basic service. The next best option is the Essential plan, followed by the Premium plan and the Ultimate plan. The Essential plan includes real-time protection, fast scans, and banking and browsing protection. It also works on smartphones and in smart homes.

ESET Smart Security Premium has everything the Essential plan has, plus data encryption and the ESET password manager. The Ultimate plan adds a VPN and identity protection, and it protects at least five devices with the option to add up to five more for an additional fee.

Pricing Plan Breakdown

ESET NOD32 costs $3.33 per month (billed annually at $39.99), and it covers one device with real-time protection and on-demand scans. The Essential plan is $3.50 per month for one device (billed annually at $49.99), or $41.99 annually).

The Premium plan starts at $5 per month for one device (billed annually at $59.99), or $4.08 per month for three devices ($48.99 annually). The Ultimate plan is $10.50 per month (billed at $125.99 annually) and includes five devices.

Committing to the Essential plan for three years brings the cost down to $39.67 per year, billed every three years at $119.98. The three-year Premium plan is $47.99 per year (billed triennially at $143.98), and the Ultimate plan has no three-year discount.

ESET Antivirus Free Plan & Money-Back Guarantee

ESET offers a free trial download for its Essential plan and its Premium plan. No payment information is required to download the trial, so there’s no risk of forgetting about it and accidentally paying. The trial covers the full functionality of the Essential and Premium products for 30 days.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus
  • PSecures Windows and Mac devices; Prices shown are for 1 device. Price depends on the number of devices protected (options up to 5 devices)
ESET For Home -Essential
  • Renewal price: $59.99; 3 devices, Everything in NOD32, Blocks unauthorized access to wi-fi or webcam, Anti-phishing encrypted financial transactions, Flags unsafe search results, Pricing can adjust depending on the number of devices (up to 10), and renewal period (1,2, or 3 years).
ESET For Home -Premium
  • Renewal price: $69.99; 3 devices, Everything in Essential, Password Manager, Encryption of sensitive data and photos, Pricing can adjust depending on the number of devices (up to 10), and renewal period (1,2, or 3 years).
ESET For Home -Ultimate
  • Renewal price: $179.99 5 devices, Everything in Premium, Metadata Cleanup Blocks website notifications, Identity Theft Protection, Unlimited VPN, Pricing can adjust depending on the number of devices (up to 10), and renewal period (1,2, or 3 years).

Security: Is ESET Antivirus Safe?

85 % – Very Good

ESET’s performance in AV-Comparatives’ March 2024 Malware Protection test shows a slightly lower detection rate compared to some top-performing antivirus products. For example, Avast, AVG and Bitdefender all achieved higher scores in both offline and online detection rates.

However, ESET demonstrated a strong protection rate, scoring 93.5% in offline scans and 96.3% in online scans, which is a good performance and a higher score than McAfee, Kaspersky or Microsoft.


ESET’s Premium and Ultimate plans both include the encryption of files, folders and USBs for secure data saving and sharing.

ESET EncryptionPlan
In transitPremium & Ultimate only
At restPremium & Ultimate only
All network communication & capabilitiesPremium & Ultimate only
Lab Tests: How Well Did ESET Antivirus Do?

ESET received a perfect score and no false positives from SE Labs’ Enterprise Endpoint Security test for January-March 2024. This was on par with other top-level antivirus software. It also got a perfect score in AV-TESTS’ January and February 2024 testing.

ESET’s performance in the AV-Comparatives Performance Test for April 2024 was remarkably strong across various system performance activities. ESET achieved “perf-level-veryfast” or “perf-level-fast” ratings in file copying, archiving/unarchiving, installing applications, downloading files and browsing websites. Only the application launching got a comparatively low ranking of “fast.”

In a variety of tests, ESET consistently maintains a strong position among the best antivirus software for malware protection and real-world threat blocking. Although there was a slight decline in scores during Q4 of 2023 and Q1 of 2024, ESET’s overall performance remains reliable.

Privacy: Is ESET Antivirus Private?

70 % – Decent

ESET is as private as any other antivirus. It retains user data for marketing, support and compliance, which is comparable to other companies. Antivirus software isn’t a privacy tool, and antivirus companies don’t typically focus on user anonymity. If you are looking for a service to keep your data private, check out our list of the best VPNs.

Below, you can read about the differences between ESET’s data policies in the U.S. versus the EU. The U.S. policy focuses more on data processing purposes and general data protection measures without as much detail on legal bases, data sharing, security and rights.

ESET EU Privacy Policy

ESET’s EU privacy policy is grounded in the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). It uses a range of legal bases for data processing, including the performance of contracts, legitimate interests, consent and legal obligations. Personal data is processed for service provision, marketing, support and compliance. Users have the right to withdraw consent.

ESET shares data with its affiliates involved in service provision or support, but no other third parties. The policy further states that although they prefer to process data within the EU, it may be transferred outside of the EU with safeguards. Data security measures are implemented, and in case of a data breach, the affected individuals and supervisory authorities will be notified.

ESET U.S. Privacy Policy

ESET’s U.S. privacy policy states that it collects some personal information from users over 13 years of age — including identifiers, internet activity, geolocation data and audio/electronic information — in order to provide services, improve user experiences and comply with legal requirements.

They share this information with vendors, service providers and affiliates. This is standard in privacy policies for most online services.

ESET Customer Support

90 % – Excellent

ESET provides a knowledgebase, email support, a user forum and live chat. The live chat was answered quickly in our tests, and the representative was knowledgeable and friendly. The knowledgebase contains a lot of information, and we found it reasonably easy to use.

Live Chat and Email Support Speed and Quality

ESET has a live chat function that is available Monday to Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. PST. Outside of those hours, the email support, knowledgebase and user guides are available. Within those hours, we found the non-bot, entirely human support to be friendly and able to swiftly answer any questions we had.

Which ESET Antivirus Is the Best?

ESET NOD32 Antivirus is a basic antivirus that only provides essential protection. ESET Internet Security and ESET Security Premium offer more comprehensive security suites, with features like banking and browsing protection. ESET Security Premium also offers a password manager and data encryption.

Features:ESET NOD32ESET Home Security EssentialESET Home Security PremiumESET Home Security Ultimate
Real-Time Protection
Fast Scans
Safe Banking & Browsing
Gamer Mode
Protected Smart Devices
Identity Theft Protection
Data Encryption
Password Manager
Yearly Pricing$39.99$41.99$48.99$125.99

ESET Antivirus vs Other Antivirus Services

ESET has managed to maintain its good reputation for over 30 years, which is something only a few competitors like Norton can say. Norton is a little heavier on system resources, but it’s also a bit cheaper, with its most affordable plan going for $2.50 per month compared to ESET’s price of $3.33. 

In addition, ESET doesn’t offer a free plan, which is where rivals like Bitdefender outpace it — see our Bitdefender review to learn more. It does offer a very good free trial of the full product. ESET has maintained a history of doing well in independent testing, consistently scoring better than other respected antivirus solutions like F-Secure or TotalAV.

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                                                Community Feedback: ESET Antivirus Reviews on Reddit & Social Media

                                                Reddit users have expressed satisfaction with ESET’s antivirus capabilities, highlighting its effectiveness and reliability over many years. While reflecting on a decade of using ESET, one Reddit user described it as an “excellent AV solution.” Other users have raised concerns about ESET’s pricing strategies, suggesting that the product is overpriced.

                                                One commenter on Cloudwards’ last ESET review noted the discontinuation of Linux support as a disappointment.

                                                The Verdict: Is ESET a Good Antivirus Service?

                                                ESET continues to be a reliable antivirus solution, although it faces more competition than ever before. So far, ESET’s multilayered approach to threat detection, low impact on system resources and high scores in independent testing have helped it maintain its place as one of the best antivirus solutions out there.

                                                ESET’s pricing is high compared to its competitors, but it lets users try it out with a free trial that doesn’t require payment details. What are your thoughts on ESET? Have you had positive experiences with it? Do you prefer another antivirus? We look forward to hearing from you, and thanks for reading!

                                                FAQ: ESET NOD32 Review

                                                • ESET antivirus has been around for over 30 years and consistently does well in testing, making it a very reliable company.

                                                • No, ESET is not a Russian company. It was founded in 1992 in Bratislava, Slovakia, where its headquarters are still based today.

                                                • ESET has stronger anti-theft features than Norton does, while Norton has some additional features like a VPN and cloud backup storage. Both antivirus solutions are reliable and do well in independent testing.

                                                • No, ESET is not a Ukrainian company — it’s a Slovak company with its headquarters in Bratislava, SK.


                                                1. False Alarm Test March 2024 – AV-Comparatives
                                                2. ESET – AV-Comparatives
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