In this day and age, getting the best antivirus package for your PC or laptop, that suits your specific requirements, is somewhat a necessity. Cyber-criminals and hackers are more rampant than ever and are finding newer methods and techniques to break into your security system and access your confidential information (and often price-sensitive in case of organizations). Cybercrime is only scaling up with time.
It is a common occurrence these days to hear about the advent of new types of malware and viruses that are getting sophisticated with each passing day. This sophistication is exposing internet-based devices and rendering them more and more vulnerable. These need to be and do get addressed by software companies updating and revising their security software patches or programs to counter the phishing scams, ransomware, and all other types of malware and viruses.
In the case of malware, this malicious software discreetly sneaks into your system without you knowing it. and then seeks to transmit your private and confidential information to criminals of all sorts, across the globe. You must have heard of fraudsters hacking bank accounts and wire transferring funds elsewhere or blackmailing or taking hostage against personal or confidential information, against a demand for money.
Because of the above, it is extremely risky to expose your devices without appropriate anti-virus. The importance of antivirus software should never be underestimated, whether you want to pay for it or not. With free antivirus software, always remember, that they are meant to provide you with a certain level of protection and cannot, in most cases, provide you with comprehensive protection. They will generally lack the efficiency and various features that you would expect from a paid and strong software that is a result of more in-depth research, analysis, and software architecture, as compared to free software.
For comprehensive protection of your devices such as laptops, PCs, and handheld devices, it is strongly suggested that you plan to invest in a software that is robust and customized to your needs and requirements. This applies to individuals using it for personal purposes or for companies looking to protect their work PCs and internal systems.
For those working in organizations, it is the latter that manages the antivirus software and related protection through their technological departments. However, you will remain exposed if you are accessing your work emails or files remotely from home on your device that lacks protection.
The above doesn’t necessarily imply that you spend a lot of money on purchasing the best software available in the market. This requires an understanding of your requirements and the level of protection you are after and then matching it with the best antivirus software that provides appropriate protection that is within your budget (or maybe available for free if you are lucky).
List of the Top 10 Antivirus Software
All of us are familiar with some common antivirus brand names such as Norton, McAfee, and AVG. The question is, are these the best ones out there for your specific usage and requirement? These are the biggest names in cybersecurity and undoubtedly have a lot of functionalities as compared to free software in the market or even paid ones that are not as popular.
Top Antivirus Software Comparison Table of 2020
|Norton 360||$79.99 USD||6/6||6/6||6/6|
|Avira Prime||$74.89 USD||6/6||6/6||6/6|
|Bitdefender Total Security||$44.99 USD||6/6||6/5.5||6/5.5|
|McAfee Total Protection||$39.99 USD||6/5.5||6/6||6/5.5|
|Trend Micro Maximum Security||$39.95 USD||6/6||6/5.5||6/6|
|Panda Dome||$23.14 USD||6/6||6/5||6/5.5|
|Avast Pro||$19.95 USD||6/6||6/5.5||6/5.5|
|Kaspersky Total Security||$49.99 USD||6/6||6/6||6/6|
|G-Data Antivirus||$20.97 USD||6/6||6/5.5||6/6|
AV Ratings Source: https://www.av-test.org/
Below you will find the best 10 antivirus software that we have shortlisted from what is available in the market. The idea here is to educate you on the various products available and their corresponding features and functionalities. This, in turn, will assist you in making informed decisions about the best product for you, as you weigh the pros and cons. Let us have a closer look at some of the best products that have undergone intensive tests and efforts and designed and created by the best in business.
1. Norton 360
Norton 360 is a household name when it comes to anti-virus software. Its advanced device security system protects against viruses, phishing, and various online threats. The VPN provides online privacy to its users. The password manager ensures that your system remains well-protected from all sorts of threats. All of this is now available to you in one single product. This software provides real-time protection for all your devices and gadgets against ransomware, viruses, spyware, malware, etc. It efficiently monitors and blocks unwanted and suspicious traffic that may impact your personal and professional confidential information, whenever you go online.
Whether you are banking, shopping online, or just browsing the web, Norton 360 is your peace of mind that you do so in a secure environment.
It is available in 3 packages namely: Norton 360 Standard (for 1 PC, Mac, smartphone or tab), Norton 360 Deluxe (for up to 5 PC, Mac, smartphone or tab) and Norton 360 Premium (for up to 10 PC, Mac, smartphone or tab) and at annual subscriptions of approximately $28.74, $35.93 and $39.52 respectively.
Similarly, the cloud backup offered by these three packages differs and is available with 10GB, 50GB, or 75GB cloud space. They all provide SafeCam features to protect your webcams from spying into your homes or offices. Except for the standard package, all other packages include a parental control feature.
2. Avira Prime
Avira anti-virus provides you with protection, on a real-time basis, against malware and online threats. It provides for a safe browsing experience by blocking that website that may be infected with viruses. They also block browser trackers and intrusive online ads. It provides for automatic software updates that allow for patches to be downloaded periodically and without any prompts, so you get the best and updated protection, at all times. For those using it to protect their smartphones, it efficiently blocks phishing websites and unwanted callers. It also has an interesting ‘price comparison tool’ that can find you cost-effective deals and coupons when shopping online, in a safe manner.
It is available for a price of $113 per annum and can be accessed on 5 devices at the same time. It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. This gives you the peace of mind that if this isn’t the right product for you, then you can always switch to something else and get your money back too.
3. Bitdefender Total Security
Bitdefender has impressive multi-layered protection that helps to keep your devices safe from all forms of new and existing threats online. Some of its standard features include comprehensive real-time data protection, anti-fraud, anti-spam, anti-phishing, rescue mode, firewall, advanced threat defense, and network threat prevention.
Its advanced security features work efficiently and instantly to detect and treat malware without slowing your system down when you work in parallel.
It is available in three different types of product range namely: Total Security ($32.31), Internet Security ($28.71), and Anti-virus Plus ($21.54).
The Anti-Virus Plus product doesn’t provide parental control. The Anti-Virus Plus and Internet Security products can only be accessed on Windows, whereas Total Security can run across all platforms and also has a device optimizer.
4. McAfee Total Protection
McAfee takes great pride in providing you (and your entire family) the requisite protection against all the new viruses, malware, spyware, and ransomware attacks. It concurrently ensures that your privacy and identity are protected at all times.
It is renowned for its comprehensive internet security, multi-faceted privacy protection, and portable secure Wi-Fi connections.
If you opt for auto-renewal of this product, you also get access to the secure VPN feature that allows for bank-grade encryption to keep your confidential information and online work safe and protected.
It is available across all platforms such as Android, Mac, and Windows. This software has a trial version that lasts 30 days, without any credit card requirement.
It is available for a price of $39.99 per annum and can be accessed on 10 devices at the same time, making it an ideal choice for family homes.
5. Trend Micro Maximum Security
Trend Micro Maximum Security software provides well-rounded protection for all types of devices such as PC, Mac, and mobile devices. It efficiently blocks dangerous websites that can steal your confidential information. It protects against ransomware, phishing emails, and other online hazards. It provides time and content limits as part of parental control that allows your kids to browse the web safely. The performance-optimizing feature ensures that the system runs smoothly and seamlessly. It has a password manager that allows you to create and manage difficult passwords and let us you sign-in securely to your favorite websites.
It also includes the Advanced AI Learning feature, secured your privacy on social media platforms. If you are on other plans of this product such as Internet Security or Anti-virus + Security, then you can easily upgrade to the Maximum Security package as well, if your needs and requirements change over time.
It is available for a price of $39.95 per annum and can be accessed on 5 devices at the same time, making it an ideal choice for those with multiple family members or friends.
TotalAV is an award-winning anti-virus software that is available for free as well as a premium and paid product.
Premium users can access more extensive features of this software that includes an anti-malware database that affords advanced real-time protection to its users. These paid subscribers can also access some new security add-ons that provide greater enhancements to the overall software. This is equivalent to getting comprehensive coverage and security to ensure you are fully protected from a range of harmful threats & viruses, on a real-time basis.
It can schedule the virus scans to suit your schedule and doesn’t need to be conducted manually. It also blocks the latest phishing URLs with the help of its Safe Site feature. Its VPN provides a safe browsing experience on an anonymous basis that is compatible with all types of devices, including smartphones.
Its remote firewall access helps to prevent undesired access to your private data. It also provides performance-enhancing or optimization features that ensure that your system runs on an optimum basis and there are no time lags whilst you work on your system.
It is available in three options namely Anti-virus Pro (3 devices), Internet Security (5 devices), and Total Security (6 devices). They can be purchased at a reasonable price of $70, $80 and $90 respectively.
7. Panda Dome
Depending on the package you chose, Panda Dome provides you with protection against viruses, advanced threats, and cyberattacks. They also provide Wi-Fi protection against hackers. It also provides complete protection against your data and passwords. It scans external devices effectively to detect any threat to your system. It also has smart parental control features that allow you to monitor and control the content that your children can access on the system when online. Another interesting feature is PC optimizer and tune-up that ensures that your system is healthy and runs efficiently. The VPN feature allows browsing anonymously and safely.
It comes with a 1-month money-back guarantee to ensure that this product meets your desired specifications and purpose. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Android systems.
They also provide 24/7 technical support to its customers for any queries and questions that they may have concerning the running or features of the anti-virus.
This software is available in three variations and approximate prices: Essential ($38.24 per annum), Advanced ($51.18 per annum), and Complete ($70.58 per annum). As the names suggest, they provide you with the basic, advanced, and comprehensive security features and each comes with a different price tag, given the addition of bells and whistles.
8. Avast Pro
Avast Pro has an advanced protection feature that is effective against malware, spyware, ransomware, phishing, and also against those hazard-prone fake websites, all in real-time.
You can adjust the sensitivity of your anti-spam to your desired choice such as relaxed, strict, or no mercy.
When Avast Pro Antivirus is bought through an Avast application, your subscription gets activated on the same Windows PC device or system that was used to make the purchase.
One of the issues with Avast Antivirus is that it doesn’t directly scan your emails when you are using web-based email accounts such as Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail. Having said that, its features such as Web Shield and File Shield will proactively protect your systems from malware that can be carried through emails into your system.
It offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on most of its anti-virus products so that you can decide it for yourself whether this is the best product for you or not.
BullGuard provides you with a multi-award winning and triple-layered anti-malware protection system in addition to the Advanced Machine Learning tool. These, together, combine to provide robust protection against a range of viruses.
The Advanced Machine Learning feature works by analyzing malware properties and identifies their codes, without any updates for virus detections.
The triple-layered protection is effective against all kinds of malware, for example, phishing scams or Trojans that target to steal banking information. It promptly detects and counters even the most advanced virus threats and ransomware, ensuring you with seamless protection. The triple-layer protection works by acknowledging trusted sites and applications. It repetitively scans for codes that are linked with malware and once detected, it locks it down, quarantines it, and neutralizes its threat to your system.
This software prevents downloading or working applications that may contain malware. It also checks the genuineness of applications and drivers by assessing and confirming their digital signatures. You will never miss a security update with this anti-virus and any unsafe connections to the wireless networks will be detected and alerted to.
The interface is simple and easy to use, allowing you to spot the features at a glance.
It also efficiently blocks pop-ups and annoying ads to provide you with a fast, seamless, and fun-filled gaming experience as well.
10. Kaspersky Total Security
This is a multi-device security product for the entire family and includes antivirus, anti-ransomware, webcam security, password manager, VPN, and 87 additional technologies. This is pretty comprehensive coverage and all of it in a single license.
It is simple to use and has a user-friendly dashboard that allows you to navigate from one feature to the other easily.
The security feature is now 15% ‘lighter’ on your PC so that it continues to scan for threats in the background, whilst you work. Whether you are working from home or anywhere else outside, this software gives you the protection that adapts to your moving lifestyle.
It can counter viruses, crypto lockers & other related threats. It has bank-grade encryption that protects payments. It secures your passwords and images of documents saved. The VPN feature encrypts the data that your system sends and receives online. It detects webcam spies from operating your device cameras and spying in your home. The advanced parental controls ensure that your kids can surf the web safely and securely.
It is available for a reasonable price of $48 per annum and can be accessed on 5 devices at the same time.
And here is another bonus review for you guys:
+ 11. G-Data Antivirus
G DATA has the honor of developing the first anti-virus software in 1987 and hence are the pioneers of innovation in cybersecurity.
Their anti-virus software has undergone multiple independent tests. These tests have proven that G-Data anti-virus has one of the best virus detection rates for efficiently keeping Trojans, malware, and various unknown viruses at bay. They have products for Windows as well as Mac. They have specialized products for personal use or businesses.
The product comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. So if you don’t think this is the right security tool for your system and requirements, then you can always switch to another product and get your money back. This shows the level of trust G-Data has on its product and makes it worthy of a trial.
They have an exemplary customer support service that is available 24/7/365. Their support team and security labs work collaboratively at the same location to offer the best and most efficient service to its product users.
This software is available at a very reasonable price of $29.95 per annum, however, you cannot use this on multiple devices. It only works on one system.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose?
Cybercriminals or their malicious tools do not differentiate between the operating systems you choose to operate on. Whether you access your computer or device through Android, Mac, or Windows, they are all susceptible and exposed to virus attacks and hence need the required protection, depending on your computing behaviors.
The last thing you need is for your antivirus to slow your system down and making it difficult to work on it (or browse the internet). If a software detects a specific threat or a virus, it is very important to see how efficiently it deals with it without spoiling the user’s time. That is one of the key factors that differentiate a poorly designed antivirus software from a good one.
You do not want your software to be counterintuitive by hanging the system and crashing the operating system when you are dealing with personal or professional work.
Every antivirus software has its strengths and weaknesses and they are not created with mirroring features and functionalities. There are multiple factors to be considered before you decide to purchase it. Some of those factors are captured in our top 10 software list as discussed above.
Below are the three most common features (highlighting pitfalls and recommendations) that you need to bear in mind when choosing antivirus software.
A trial version of anti-virus software may or may not be the same as the premium/paid version. It will only give you full functionality once you register and pay for the product. In some cases, the software will provide you with limited basic features so you can explore its performance but you can only unlock the added features (such as anti-malware or spam filter) once you register and pay. It is always advisable to visit the vendor’s website or speak to their sales representative to understand exactly what does a free trial version covers and what added options are available once you purchase it. This will help you make a calculated decision on whether to try a particular software or move on to another vendor.
A trial version will stop working after a fixed period (1-3 months for example) and you will get a prompt to purchase the product. This is an excellent feature as it gives you sufficient time to decide whether a product is right for you and how efficient and effective it is whilst you work on your system.
It is important to read online reviews and watch relevant videos on the performance and usage of different free anti-virus software. This will help you in making an informed decision and a wise one, if you were to purchase the trial version software after it period ends. You also need to do a comprehensive evaluation and research on all types of vendors that provide free trial software, so you have all the choices to shortlist from.
As we know, cyber threats are in a state of flux, and no single software can give life-long guaranteed protection from all types of malware, spyware, or adware. Having said that, some of the programs are better at providing holistic protection than others.
Detecting threats and remedying them can also vary across different operating systems. What works best on Mac may not be so for a PC.
To be aware of the above issues and to appropriately address them, you must keep abreast of the updated news and testing analyses on this subject, particularly from renowned sources and reliable links. This will ensure that you have an updated and robust program for your operating system that has undergone all the required testing to fight different types of evolving threats.
A good and robust program usually undergoes different tests by multiple independent labs and then gets extensive verification as well. Some of the renowned names that carry out these performance tests and furnish reviews on tools for different platforms include AV-TEST, NSS Labs, and AV-Comparatives. Always keep an eye out for ratings that highlight a software’s false positives that effectively marks clean or harmless files as posing a threat. This is exactly what an anti-virus software shouldn’t do – getting rid of the files that are most important to you.
Features You Need
Easy to Use
One way to open yourself up to attacks and vulnerabilities is to purchase antivirus software and turn it off because it’s too complicated to use. Worse yet, people often let the programs run but fail to keep them updated with the latest software releases.
Most people aren’t cybersecurity professionals, let alone well-versed in the inner workings of antivirus programs and settings. You don’t necessarily need a program to set up firewalls or run side programs that take up half of the average computer’s computing resources. It depends on the type of computing you do and if you keep sensitive data on your machine, like patient records or corporate finance documents. The basic features you’ll want to be automated for you include software that updates, patches, and re-configures on the fly without your intervention. Another bonus is a program with a nice user interface so you can quickly determine if a threat’s been detected and remediated.
Customer support is an important component of increasing a program’s usability, too. People often choose free software and, when they run into issues later on, don’t have access to assistance that helps them solve their problems. Even if you aren’t well-versed in using antivirus programs, having access to competent customer support teams can help you get the most from the software. You’ll have more peace of mind and confidence that your system is well-protected, too.
Anti-virus software generally runs in your system’s background 24/7, as you go about your routine work. The software must do so efficiently and effectively, at all times. This efficient and effective performance usually entails several tasks, some of which include:
- Copying files
- Installation and uninstallation of apps
- Creating archives and unarchiving
- Launching applications
- Uploading or downloading files
- Browsing the internet
Always ensure that you choose a product that suits your style and type of work. One of the key benefits of choosing a comprehensive product is that you can always tailor it to your needs or adapt to your requirements if they happen to change in the future. What isn’t relevant to you today, maybe a highly critical requirement down the line, so you do not have to purchase or install a new product again!
Bells & Whistles from High-Performing Software
Certain software evolve their product with the growing cyber threats and aim to provide the added security features that may be critical or generally beneficial to your day to day operations. For example:
- Multilayered malware protection that rates URL that you visit by color-coding them.
- Secure browsing for transactions that are of financial nature
- Firewalls and spam filtering
- Back up of cloud data with encryption
- Securely deleting sensitive files, browsing history, credit, and password monitoring
Fit for Purpose
A good antivirus is ‘fit for purpose’ if it is robust and has a watertight security mechanism and functionalities. Such software is meant to be user-friendly and come at a reasonable price, making it affordable for the masses.
Precautions are a must, whether in real life or virtual life. It is only in your best interests and a prudent step to purchase or choose (if free) a product that best suits your requirements. Having said that, you need to appreciate that there is no foolproof mechanism or tool that will safeguard your files and information from cyber threats at all costs and against all viruses.
Information is free-flowing and captured in all shapes and forms on different types of systems, for example, your doctor’s clinic, your local bank, your office, or even at the database maintained by your department store. This information is as secure as the precautionary steps taken by these entities. Some of them may choose to treat it lightly and rely on a free product to save them money and at the same time ‘tick the box’ of being secured. Whilst others may choose to invest heavily or moderately in it and purchase a comprehensive or tailor-made anti-virus product that will give them (and their customers and other stakeholders) the peace of mind that their data is safe.
Paid antivirus software products will have more functionalities and benefits than the free software solution. The paid versions will capture the updated threats and provide appropriate protection as well as exemplary customer support or after-sales support. This paid software is also more sophisticated to deal with viruses, spyware, and malware and provide a strong protection system that safeguards your identity online and encrypt and secure the online transactions you conduct.
It is only commonsensical to pay a reasonable price for anti-virus software and relying on the experts’ knowledge and experience who develop and design the best product to provide you with the optimum protection and security when working online. Eventually, it is your personal decision that needs to be taken in the light of protection you require, based on your usage and requirements. Stay safe and secure, and do use an anti-virus software solution, paid or unpaid.