With both paid and free versions available and to ensure that your PC is healthy there is no reason you should not have a good antivirus program on your system. They will keep your operating system running smoothly at top speed and help keep your personal information safe by protecting your computer from viruses, spyware, and other malware. Security software companies also usually offer internet security software which in addition to antivirus protection also offers firewall, antispam, and antiphishing capabilities.
When purchasing antivirus software there are a few things you should keep in mind. First make sure it will work with your current operating system. Also most versions come with 1 year of coverage and then you must pay a renewal fee to keep it up to date, but with some you can buy a lifetime license which costs more initially, but can save you money in the long run. You also can often either download the software directly (some even have a 30 day trial period) or purchase the box with discs and install it.
For this review we looked at antivirus software and rated them primarily on protection – how well they protect your machine, performance – how much they slowed system performance and used system resources, and usability – how easy they are to use. To aid us, we used data gathered from www.av-test.org and www.av-comparatives.org along with other user reviews.
Below we review the top 5 best antivirus software programs and the top 5 rated best free antivirus software programs.
We picked Kasperky Anti-Virus as the best paid antivirus software. It scores high marks in all areas including protection against malware like viruses, phishing, ransomware and more, while selling for a reasonable $39.99 for one year of protection. It is also very lightweight and won’t bog your system down.
Kasperky Anti-Virus doesn’t offer many features, but it has a clear interface that makes it easy to manage all while offering multiple layers of protection to keep you safe.
Selling for $39.99 for a one year license, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus ranks very closely with Kaspersky in terms of keeping you protected from malware. However, it will use a bit more system resources to do so.
Some other features of Bitdefender Antivirus Plus include network threat prevention, ransomware protection, anti-phishing and anti-fraud mechanisms, game and movie modes, password manager, Bitdefender VPN (200 MB/Day), and file shredder.
At just $19.99 Norton AntiVirus Plus is tied for the cheapest paid Antivirus on this list. This software automatically renews each year, and buyers beware that the price could change, but you can cancel at anytime.
As far as protection, Norton AntiVirus Plus is as good if not better then any other antivirus offerings for viruses and malware. On the downside it uses significantly more system resources than any other option on our list which could cause older computers to be bogged down.
Other features include a smart firewall, password manager, and 2 GB of secure cloud backup for your important files.
Avira Antivirus Pro is another good choice for protection of your PC or Mac. It is relatively expensive at $45, but its scores very high marks from all the lab testing companies in protection and preventing malware attacks. It is comparable to Bitdefender in using system resources, which means it is relatively lightweight, but still uses more resources than Kaspersky or McAfee.
Besides antivirus protection, Avira Antivirus Pro inludes anti-phishing and anti-ransomware capabilities.
At $19.99 McAfee Antivirus Plus is tied for the lowest price for one year of service on up to 10 devices. This version is actually very lightweight and quite good at detecting threats, although just a tick below the other top rated paid antivirus.
McAfee Antivirus Plus does not offer many extra features, but does provide safe web browsing with clear warnings of risky websites, links and files.
Best Free Antivirus Software
The free version of Kaspersky Security Cloud is our choice for the best free antivirus. It is a no-nonsense product, with very few extra features, but the best part is that it does all that without slowing down your system performance.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free ranks right on par with Kaspersky’s in terms of malware protection, but uses more system resources.
Avast Free Antivirus was rated as the top free antivirus by the leading consumer magazine. We also really like it since it includes some extra features like a password manager, a hardened browser, a network scanner, and an easy-to-use interface. In testing it was just a step below the other top free antivirus programs in terms of detecting threats.
Avira Free Antivirus works best where it matters most which is in protecting you from all threats. It received high grades from all the top testing labs on par with Kaspersky or BitDefender paid versions. However, it will slow your system performance the most of any free version on this list. Also many of its extra features you must pay for.
AVG Antivirus Free is very similar to Avast in terms of virus detection and performance impact, however AVG’s version has fewer useful extra features. One useful feature it does have is a file shredder.
You Might Also Be Interested In