When choosing a paid antivirus software, you should consider a few factors: price, reliability, interface, protection, and performance. Both Kaspersky and Eset have been in the industry for a while, so choosing one or the other shouldn’t put you at any risk.
However, if you’re spending money on antivirus software, it’s best to consider the pros and cons and choose accordingly to your needs. We’re going to compare both antivirus programs so it’s easier for you to make a selection. We’ll explain thoroughly the most important features of both Eset and Kaspersky so it’s easier to decide which one is better for you in the long run.
Pricing and Packages
Both security programs can offer different functionality based on price and personal needs. Some companies can ever offer an attractive discount when purchasing their product for the first time. In this section, we’ll consider every premium product from both companies and compare their prices.
ESET offers four different products you can purchase. Your decision should depend on your budget and the features you are looking for. Here are all the packages.
- ESET NOD32 Antivirus. It offers the most basic protection against spyware, malware, and trojans.
- ESET Internet Security. More advanced protection with additional features like shopping protection and parental controls.
- ESET Multi–DeviceSecurity. As the name suggests, it extends security to different platforms including Windows, Mac, and Android.
- ESET Smart Security Premium. The most complete package. It has all the features ever invented by ESET including Secure Data and Password Management. However, you’re losing multi-device support.
- ESET Cyber Security and Cyber Security Pro. Same as above but for macOS systems.
|Pricing||ESET NOD32 Antivirus||ESET Internet Security||ESET Smart Security Premium||ESET Mobile Security for Android||ESET Cyber Security||ESET Cyber Security Pro|
Kaspersky keeps everything simple as it features a total of three premium packages. Thus, it’s easier to make a selection, no matter what you’re looking for.
- Kaspersky AntiVirus. Similar to Eset, it offers the core protection of your system against the most common threats.
- Kaspersky Internet Security. Apart from basic features, it offers more web security tools like anti-spam, identity protection
- Kaspersky Total Security. The ultimate version of Kaspersky antivirus offers many options like digital asset protection and Safe Kids.
|Pricing||Kaspersky Security Cloud||Kaspersky Antivirus||Kaspersky Internet Security||Kaspersky Total Security||Kaspersky Security Cloud Personal|
Prices from official distribution are fairly high, regardless if you’re opting for a 1-year license or more. Fortunately, some third-party sellers buy software keys in bulk, thus getting a discount. How does it affect us, customers? It means we can buy our desired software for way cheaper than the retail price.
For example, RoyalCDKeys is offering Eset NOD32 Antivirus 1 Year 1 Dev Software License CD Keyfor $16.27, which is less than half of the retail price. It’s a fully legitimate working software that can be activated using official methods.
Both programs are easy to use and intuitive. Regardless if you’re an expert or it’s your first time using antivirus software, you won’t have any problems using it. Besides, antiviruses are almost self-sufficient as they don’t require your attention to function properly.
Kaspersky’s home-screen welcomes you with a light gray and green color scheme. A large green check lets you know everything works as it should, and your device is protected. The rest of the menu has the most essential tools you’ll ever need. This makes it easy to navigate to the proper section. Here are all the options:
- Manage Your Devices
- Backup and Restore
- Password Manager
- Data Encryption
- Safe Money
- Parental Control
ESET incorporates a more modern design with their iconic robot graphic. Like in Kaspersky, you’ve also welcomed with a green bar on the dashboard, telling you your current protection status. The bar will turn yellow if the program needs your attention or red if it detects a threat.
It’s even more minimalistic than Kaspersky, showing you only the most essential options like Computer Scan and Database Update. More advanced features are hidden under “Setup.” You can also participate in ESET’s customer experience program and send feedback via the app.
Key Features of Both Programs
|Antivirus and Antispyware|
|Password Management Tool|
|PC Cloud Backup|
|Banking and Payment Protection|
|Network Attack Protection|
|Secura Data Encryption|
|Identity Theft Protection|
Both programs have plenty to offer in terms of functionality. It’s hard to pick one over the other in this regard. We’ll dive deeper into different advanced modules of both programs, so you’ll know what you’ll pay for.
Apart from ESET, Kaspersky has a free software called Kaspersky Free. It provides basic security features and isn’t worth bothering with due to its lack of updates and being inefficient against the latest malware threats.
Kaspersky Antivirus is the cheapest and first-paid product from the company. It’s a Windows-only software providing you with the following features:
- Firewall. Solid protection against malware threats, better than Windows built-in.
- Multilayer Ransomware Protection. Ransomware is a type of malware that threatens to publish the victim’s personal data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. This system will block such ransomware attacks.
- Gamer Mode. It pauses pop-up notifications and frees resources during fullscreen activities, like playing a game or watching a movie.
- Vulnerability Scanner. Scans your network for security gaps and fixes them beforehand.
Kaspersky Internet Security is the second-tier software with additional features:
- Hardened Internet Browser. Provide safety of personal data during online shopping or banking transactions.
- Secure VPN. Surf the internet anonymously from a virtual location and access geographically restricted content.
- Wi-FiNetwork Securer. Similar to Vulnerability Scanner but it scans your Wi-Fi network instead.
- Multiplatform Coverage. Compatibility with Windows, Mac, and Android devices.
Kaspersky Total Security is the third and final product. It offers everything described above in addition to a few extra features:
- Safe Kids. Monitor, manage and control your children’s online activities and usage.
- Password Manager. Manage and secure your passwords and make them inaccessible to unauthorized users.
- File Shredder. Permanently deletes sensitive or personal data that you don’t want to be discovered by anyone.
- Cloud Backup. 2GB of Dropbox storage for your important files.
Kaspersky Security Cloud is the same as Total Security but it uses a cloud-based technology. The suite is available in two versions: Personal and Family. Here are additional features:
- Adaptive Technology. Adjusts your software settings according to your online usage behavior.
- Central Management. Manage all your connected devices from a central, remote location.
ESET doesn’t offer free software like Kaspersky, but you can test their software during a 30-day trial. Their most basic product is ESET NOD32 Antivirus. Here are its most notable features:
- Advanced Firewall. Antivirus and anti-spyware shield as well as protection against phishing attacks.
- Gamer Mode. Pauses notifications during fullscreen activities like gaming or watching movies.
- Exploit Blocker. Prevents cheating during games.
- Cloud Scanner. Scans the Cloud and other related functions.
- Small System Footprint. Provides more power to frequently used programs by optimizing system resources.
- Malicious Script Detector. Stops browser assaults from malicious websites.
- Ransomware Shield. Protection against frauds and threats to reveal sensitive financial information.
- License Manager. Manage your licenses between various devices.
ESET Internet Security is the middle-ground solution for protecting your PC. It includes everything described above with some additional features:
- Personal Firewall. Prevents anyone from accessing your computer and makes you untraceable over public Wi-Fi.
- Hardened Browser. Protection during online payments or banking transactions.
- Anti-Spam Shield. Filters your inbox deleting spam and any unwanted emails.
- Botnet Protection. Protects from network attacks launched by endpoint machines.
- Parental Control. Monitor your kids’ browsing and limit their access to unwanted websites.
- Webcam Controls. Hackers can’t spy on you through your device camera.
- Home Monitoring System. Protect your home network and devices from malicious network traffic.
- Anti-Theft. It helps trace missing or stolen devices – exclusive to Windows.
ESET Smart Security Premium is the ultimate package including every described feature and adding something on top:
- Secure Data. Saves your important data preventing it from landing in the wrong hands while browsing the internet or while using any removable media.
- Password Management. Manage and secure all your passwords and make them inaccessible to unauthorized users.
ESET Cybersecurity and CyberSecurity Pro are two Mac-specific antivirus programs. They offer similar functionality to their Windows counterparts:
- Anti-malware protection against all sorts of malware infections including malware detection.
- Anti-Phishing. Protects you from fraudulent websites trying to cadge sensitive data such as passwords and financial details.
- Presentation Mode. The equivalent of Gamer Mode.
- Pro version includes Personal Firewall and Parental Control.
Real-world Protection Test
The complete protection against emerging threats is the foundation of a good antivirus product. Even a good user interface won’t help much if the program is useless. The most common threat attacking your PC is malware.
Malware is usually a part of the software you’re downloading intentionally designed to cause disruption to a computer, server, client, or computer network. It may be part of known software, or it may be unknown (called zero-day malware).
Luckily, modern antivirus programs are using advanced scanning technology, which helps the software learn from the behaviors detected in the past and then catch any emerging threats. To evaluate the performance of ESET and Kaspersky, we will look at the most recent tests conducted by two independent labs: the AV-Test Institute and AV-Comparatives.
Both are independent organizations that evaluate and rates antivirus and security suite software. They specialize in simulating real-world scenarios during regular antivirus usage. In the latest AV-Tests, both programs have received a perfect score of 6 out of 6 in the protection category.
I’ve also looked at an independent test done by AV-Comparatives to see if they share similar results with AV-Tests. The most recent tests were conducted in March 2021. Kaspersky received 2 stars out of 3 in terms of overall protection. It achieved a protection rate of 99.5%, blocking 10 007 malware samples out of 10 013.
ESET, on the other hand, achieved a protection rate of 99.9%. It was given 2 out of 3 stars for this performance. Both products didn’t give any false positives during testing, meaning they didn’t wrongly block any clean files.
It’s hard to pick a winner in this category as both ESET and Kaspersky are in the same league when it comes to malware protection, and the minimal differences between the two are negligible.
You can have the best antivirus in the world, but if it uses 100% of all available resources, it’s like not using your PC at all. Luckily, the days when almost every antivirus program used a hefty amount of memory and benchmarked your CPU are long gone. Nowadays, you don’t have to choose between performance and safety.
Here are some data captured while running a full scan and quick scan of all files. It includes resource utilization and time needed to complete given tasks.
|Full Scan Time (minutes)||68||227|
|Full Scan #Items Scanned||930 000||2 100 000|
|Full Scan CPU Utilization||68%||100%|
|Full Scan Memory Utilization||70%||76%|
|Full Scan Disk Utilization (seconds)||510||316|
|Quick Scan Time (seconds)||N/A||273|
|Quick Scan CPU Utilization||N/A||71|
|Quick Scan Memory Utilization||N/A||73|
|Quick Scan Disk Utilization||N/A||31%|
The most notable differences when running a computer scan can be seen in “Full Scan Time” and “Full Scan CPU utilization.” Kaspersky took a tad longer than Eset to scan everything; however, it scanned the entire system thoroughly, almost doubling the number of inspected items. Unfortunately, the CPU utilization was pretty high. Despite being so thorough, Kaspersky used nearly 100% of the CPU during the scan, which means you can’t do any resource-heavy tasks during the scan.
On the other hand, ESET used only 68% at best, which means there’s plenty of room for multitasking during a full scan. Unfortunately, there’s no Quick Scan option available like in Kaspersky.
When it comes to performance, ESET wins due to the reduced usage of CPU and memory when compared to Kaspersky. However, it loses some points for not including a quick scan feature, while Kaspersky checks many more files than ESET’s full scan. Overall, ESET was significantly faster during this test and had less impact on the system’s performance, and is a clear winner in this regard.
Is Windows Defender a Good Alternative?
While Microsoft Defender has improved quite a bit over the years, the best antivirus programs on the market still leave it far behind. If you store a lot of sensitive data on your computer (such as private photos, work-related documents, or financial data), I would not recommend relying 100% on Microsoft Defender as your only line of defense.
The program has several noticeable flaws, including a lack of regular updates and additional security features. It means weaker protection against newly created viruses, trojans, rootkits, and other malware. To ensure constant protection, it’s worth investing in an antivirus program with daily updates.
Can Windows Defender Be Used In Conjunction With ESET or Kaspersky?
Yes, Microsoft Defender is compatible with both ESET and Kaspersky. I even recommend using Windows Defender in conjunction with one of them, as Microsoft’s solution only provides basic protection and cannot handle more complex types of malware (such as ransomware). An effective antivirus program combined with Microsoft Defender is the best protection for your PC.
Microsoft Defender has improved significantly with the latest update considering it’s a free antivirus program. Unfortunately, it’s not effective enough to provide real-time protection for Windows. For this reason, as someone who takes security seriously, I recommend using a better antivirus program alongside Microsoft Defender.
Besides, Microsoft Defender is provided for free and pre-installed with Windows 10 and 11. And similarly to ESET and Kaspersky, you can purchase Windows 11 Home OEM Key for only a fraction of the retail price at RoyalCDKeys.
Can Kaspersky be Trusted?
While no allegations have been publicly proved, many governments have warned against using Kaspersky products or even banned their use, especially on critical infrastructure systems. For the record, Kaspersky is also accused of working with the Russian government and leaking personal information about its users. Whether or not you should trust Kaspersky depends on how justifiable you think the government warnings are.
Kaspersky is known for developing high-quality products with strong threat-detection capabilities. Unfortunately, because of Kaspersky’s origins and the ongoing political uncertainty in Europe, questions surrounding Kaspersky may persist for some time.
The potential security risks associated with using Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Total Security haven’t been proved yet. According to Kaspersky, the accusations are merely speculations without technical or objective support, and the company is open to addressing any concerns. In summary, Kaspersky is still a recommendable software company nevertheless, but you should ask yourself whether you want to support the Russian market or not.
Now that we’ve compared the most important aspects of ESET and Kaspersky antiviruses, it’s easier to decide which is best. In terms of value for money, Kaspersky wins due to lower official prices and a free version of their software, which is absent in ESET. When it comes to interfaces, they’re both simple, intuitive, and easy to use. In real-world protection tests, they share similar results. In summary, it all comes down to your preference and origin of both programs since ESET was founded in Slovakia and Kaspersky in Russia. Considering the current political situation, I would advise going with ESET – just in case.