Let’s face it, it is of the utmost importance that you have good anti-virus protection on your computer or tablet. The web is fraught with all sorts of threats, from viruses to malware, and it’s dangerous to go out there unprotected. While Windows 10 has a built in anti-virus, it’s probably not a good idea to rely on that alone. Windows Defender has a history of poor performance when put to the test. It is certainly better than nothing, but to ensure that you are completely protected we recommend using an additional product.
Before we dive in, let me point out that you’re much more likely to be attacked by malware than an actual virus. This is because there is more money to be made from ransomware and Trojans that steal data than from spreading a virus that disables your computer. The ten anti-virus programs listed below are all full-scale tools that protect you from attacks and allow you to scan for malware either on demand, or at a scheduled time. Here are some of the top rated anti-virus programs available, in no particular order.
- McAfee AntiVirus Plus (2016) – You can’t go wrong with McAfee Anti-Virus Plus. Not only does it score highly in independent lab tests, it also comes with many bonus features. It is fantastic at blocking malicious URL’s and has outstanding antiphishing protection. But the thing that puts it at the top is the fact that one subscription allows you to install protection on every Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS device that you own. One thing to keep in mind though, it does offer little support for Mac, and even less for iOS.
- Webroot SecureAnywhere Anti-Virus (2016) – Webroot SecureAnywhere Anti-Virus is the smallest and fastest anti-virus available, and it consistently comes in at the top on malware blocking tests, although fewer independent lab tests have been performed on it than competing software. Webroot has the ability to recover files encrypted by ransomware. Best of all, it uses a very small amount of disc space, and includes a firewall.
- Bitdefender Anti-Virus Plus 2017 – Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2017 has so many bonus features that it could arguably be considered a security suite. Combine that with top-scoring anti-virus protection, and you have a winner on your hands.
- Avast Pro Anti-Virus 2016 – The paid version of Avast Pro Anti-Virus provides the same excellent protection that’s found in their free edition, with added features like a hardened browser, sandboxing, and DNS protection. These advanced features put it at the top of most anti-virus lists, but if you’re on a budget don’t fret – the free edition works great for the average user.
- Symantec Norton Anti-Virus Basic – Symantec’s stand-alone antivirus protection is back after a few year break. It consistently earned top scores in independent lab tests.
- Emsisoft Anti-Malware 11.0 – This anti-malware software gets very good scores on independent lab tests for blocking malware and malicious URL’s.
- ESET NOD32 Antivirus 9 – ESET NOD32 Antivirus 9 is an improved version from the company’s previous one, and it scores very well in most independent lab tests. It stands out because of its antiphishing and malicious URL blocking capabilities.
- F-Secure Anti-Virus 2016 – F-Secure Antivirus 2016 works specifically with malware protection. It can be installed on both Mac OS and Windows devices, and it does a good job of protecting you from malware attacks.
- Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security (2017) – Trend Micro Antivirus+ Security came in with high scores on many independent lab tests, though not all. The latest version boasts ransomware protection, which is critical, because this malicious software is becoming more of a problem as time goes on. Ransomware typically encrypts your essential documents, then demands you pay to get the decryption key. The Folder Shield feature on this software prevents these attacks, protecting your Documents folder.
- Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2017 – Kaspersky Antivirus consistently earns the highest ratings in independent lab tests. It also includes plenty of bonus features, and it works quickly.
Which of these is the best for me?
With so many options it’s difficult to know which one is best for you. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus and Kaspersky Antivirus are usually the top rated programs in independent lab tests, so they are a good place to start. Only one subscription for McAfee Antivirus Plus lets you protect all of your devices, so if you have a lot of devices you’d like to protect, you’ll get more bang for your buck with McAfee. Keep in mind there are many other antivirus software programs out there, many of them just as good as the ones listed here. In the name of helping you narrow it down though, we’ve only included 10. Keep an eye out for more comprehensive reviews of these and other products, we’ll be adding them on the blog very soon.