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Best Overall: Kaspersky Total Security at Amazon
"Security combines traditional scanning with advanced behavioral monitoring."
Best Budget: Microsoft Defender at Microsoft
"Defender is part of Windows 10 and already installed and running."
Best for Home & Business: Trend Micro Worry-Free at Amazon
"Combining the best aspects of home and business malware protection."
Best for Ease of Use: AVG Free at AVG
"One of the best interfaces in the free antivirus space."
Best for Multiple Devices: Bitdefender Premium Security at Amazon
"Excellent defenses against malware, hacking and who knows what’s next."
Best for Customization: Avira Prime at Avira
"Lets you customize your protection by adding on a variety of security-minded options."
Best Per Device Costs: Zemana Premium at Zemana
"Uses a neural scanner and machine learning to find and eradicate the latest threats."
Best for Trials: Avast Free at Avast
"It comes with things others charge for, like a Wi-Fi vulnerability scanner and a password manager."
Best Cross-Platform Protection: TotalAV Ultimate at Total AV
"A single program that can be your family’s malware shield against attack."
Kaspersky Total Security
With some of the best malware protection available, Kaspersky Total Security combines traditional scanning with advanced behavioral monitoring and cloud analysis to make computing as safe as possible today. It can not only catch and neutralize the worst the Web has to offer but can quickly scan through your entire system looking for threats to neutralize.
In addition to everything from a password manager and parental controls to ransomware backups and a slew of utilities, Total Security can protect PCs, Macs, iPhones, iPads, and Androids from attack. Kaspersky recently added two-factor authentication to its online accounts for multi-layered security.
It comes up short in a couple of areas, though, like doing without an unlimited Virtual Private Network (VPN) for ultra-secure communications. Plus, for those anxious about dealing with a late-night viral attack, Kaspersky’s lack of 24/7 phone support is concerning.
With its advanced malware protection, quick scanning, and across-the-board coverage, Kaspersky Total Security provides the best security that you can get today, period.
Microsoft’s Defender can protect your PC from all kinds of threats without even thinking about it because Defender is part of Windows 10 and already installed and running. By combining the best aspects of local and online defenses, Defender is all most users will need to keep their computer safe and secure.
It may lack some of the bells and whistles that full security suites provide, such as access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or a system optimizer, but Defender can protect your cyber home with a firewall and browser-based password manager. It does its work quietly in the background, often without the user ever noticing it.
The protection is outstanding and improving, thanks to machine learning technology that gets better at identifying bad elements as it gains more real-world experience. Unlike some of its peers, Microsoft offers 24/7 support for its product.
By combining the best aspects of home and business malware protection, Trend Micro’s Worry-Free Business Security more than lives up to its name. A hybrid of consumer protection and business-oriented endpoint security, the defense that Worry-Free Business Security provides protects without getting in the way.
With control of just about every aspect of its protection, Worry-Free Business Security combines a local agent with a powerful online dashboard. The program can defend against anything from ransomware and file-less attacks to scripting exploits and even traditional worms, trojans, and phishing attempts.
Worry-Free Business Security adds something consumer malware protection can’t match: The ability to follow up an attack with a sophisticated investigation that delivers a detailed analysis. It can track the attack vector, what files were changed and how to stop a recurrence of the attack. The company provides 24/7 support to help make the most of Worry-Free Business Security.
With one of the best interfaces in the free antivirus space, AVG Free is not only a lot of protection for nothing but is one of the easiest malware programs to learn and use. Its screens are simple and attractive, show whether the PC has been compromised, and provide instant access to the most used items, including its viral scanner, online protection and the program’s array of add-ons.
While AVG Free has the power to stop viruses, spyware, ransomware and other threats in their tracks, it can also protect against phishing attempts hiding in e-mail attachments and deal with performance issues. Plus, just about every aspect of AVG Free’s protection is customizable to reflect your style of computing.
AVG maintains its protection in a hostile world by frequently updating its program and database to counter the most pressing threats. There are a lot of DIY items on AVG’s support site, but you’re on your own because AVG Free lacks 24/7 support.
Today, there's a good chance you have a few computers, tablets, and phones at home that need protecting? And Bitdefender’s Premium Security can guard them all with excellent defenses against malware, hacking and who knows what’s next.
The program not only does the basics of protection well but includes the best array of security-minded features, including a password manager, parental controls, file encryption and shredding as well as a defense against having a webcam or microphone hijacked. It is the rare security suite that includes unlimited use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) so that your data can fly under the radar of hackers.
By including priority support with Premium Security, you won’t waste time waiting on hold for help. Don’t let Bitdefender’s "steep" price tag for 10 Premium Security systems fool you, it is often heavily discounted and ends up costing less per computer to protect than the flagship security suite of its competitors.
Courtesy of Avira
While Avira’s Free Security Suite offers basic protection and not much more, you can add a wide variety of options by adding its options one at a time or by upgrading to the Prime package. In addition to a software updater, protection for threats hiding in e-mail attachments, a firewall, and warnings of sites that are known to distribute malware, it has a backup program available.
Avira Prime also lets you customize your protection by adding on a variety of security-minded options, such as a VPN, network defenses and privacy protection. In addition to defending all major platforms, Prime can stop ransomware, rootkits, and phishing attempts.
Avira’s Home Guard helps secure your networked devices and Privacy Pal can protect your online identity, the real bonus is unlimited access to the company’s Phantom Virtual Private Network for secure communications.
Avira provides 24/7 support for all its paid packages but getting Prime adds VIP support that can reduce the wait for help.
Zemana’s AntiMalware Premium costs $25 per PC, which means it's half the price of other malware programs. While providing the basics, AntiMalware Premium is built around a real-time behavioral monitor that uses a neural scanner and machine learning to find and eradicate the latest threats. It also can make your Web journeys safer with the program’s Browser Cleanup.
Its malware scanner is one of the fastest around, but AntiMalware does without mainstays of other security packages. It doesn't have the ability to run a full system scan, a firewall and a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Plus, there’s no way to protect mobile devices like your family’s phones and tablets.
The program comes with 24/7 support. Oddly, Zemana doesn’t provide phone help and its staff was not as diligent as they could have been about responding to questions.
With a slew of add-on utilities, features, and options, Avast Free is as close to a full security suite as it gets. It comes with things others charge for, such as a Wi-Fi vulnerability scanner and a password manager, but be careful many are trials or have limits.
Avast Free effectively protects from all sorts of attacks with a multi-layer security stance, but the Free versions do without a firewall and protection against webcam spying. In other words, to get the most out of it you might need to upgrade to one of the company’s paid products.
If this level of security gets to be too much, Avast has a Do Not Disturb mode to limit interruptions during intense gaming sessions or family movie night. As is the case with other free malware programs, Avast lacks personal support, leaving you no choice but to do it yourself with the company’s self-serve support options.
TotalAV Ultimate’s ability to cover the gamut of popular operating systems today means that it is a one-stop program for defending all the desktops, notebooks, tablets and phones at home.
By providing Ultimate apps for PCs, Macs, Androids and iPhones and iPads, it is a single program that can be your family’s malware shield against attack. It can block the installation of unwanted apps and includes a firewall and a real-time scanner that looks for behavioral changes in the system’s files. The package also comes with Safe Site browser extensions for Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge that can block dangerous sites that have a reputation for distributing malware.
In addition to a performance optimizer, Ultimate includes access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) and ID protection, but they cost extra. If this protection starts to feel smothering, Ultimate’s Silent mode can reduce the program’s interruptions and intrusions.
The Ultimate package includes 24/7 support but at the moment the company limits sales to licenses that cover five or fewer computers.
Our writers spent 12 hours researching the most popular antivirus software on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered over 20 different antivirus software overall, screened options from 14 different brands and manufacturers, read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 9 of the antivirus softwares themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.