Antivirus and Security Software Ratings: Who’s the Best?

As the owner and operator of a computer repair company, I have tried them all.  Over the years, things have changed with Antivirus software, but some have consistently rated very well year after year.

Believe it or not, some of the best Antivirus products out there are free.  Why?  It’s because these are lesser-known companies, usually European, who are trying to break into the US market.  They know that technicians will recommend them because of their superior performance, but customers may not want to change their software because they just purchased or renewed a subscription to their current software.  However if the change is free, they will usually go with the technician’s recommendation.

Eventually they hope the customer will buy the full version of the program, which has more features, better protection, plus no more prompts to upgrade to the full version.  Still, the free versions do a very good job and most of our customers have stayed with the free versions for several years.  If you are an average user, are not very adventurous in the types of websites you go to, and don’t have kids, the free versions are good enough.

Of course, no Antivirus or Security program can give you 100% protection.  The virus and spyware writers change their code so fast, that the Antivirus companies can’t keep up.  Sure, they may update their software several times a day but still, some infections do make it through.  The best you can hope for is that your software will block 97–98 percent of the infections.  This usually translates to years of virus-free computing for most people.  So essentially, the best programs will protect you, but just know that there will always be a slight chance that an infection may get through.

Just so you know, all of today’s Antivirus programs also provide Anti-Spyware and Anti-Malware protection as well, so you covered from these other threats tool.  Actually these days, most of the infections we see are Spyware (or Malware)

So what software products to we recommend?  Our favorite free programs are:

1)      AVG Antivirus

2)      Avast Antivirus

3)      Avira Antivir

Among the paid programs, we recommend getting the full security products, which add firewalls, anti-spam and parental controls to the basic antivirus protection.  If you’re going to pay, you might as well get full protection.  Our favorites are:

1)      Norton (Symantec) Internet Security 2010

2)      ESET NOD32 Smart Security 4.0

3)      Avast Professional

4)      Avira Premium Security Suite 2010

5)      Kaspersky Internet Security 2010

6)      PC Tools Internet Security 2010

Finally, we recommend getting a standalone Anti-Spyware/Anti-Malware program as well, since these types of threats are the most prevalent today.  Standalone Anti-Spyware programs generally do a better job because they are totally focused on these types of infections.

Unlike the free Antivirus products, the free Anti-Spyware programs do not run full-time in the background or automatically update.  You need to manually run them, update them and scan once a week.  Again, for the average user, this is fine.  If not, get the full versions.

The nice thing about these is that you can run them alongside your Antivirus program.  On that note, you should know that you cannot have more than one Antivirus program on your machine.  They will conflict with each other and your protection will be compromised.

Our recommendations are:

1)      MalwareByte’s Anti-Malware

2)      Ad-Aware Anti-Malware

3)      PC Tools Threat Fire

You can find all these programs at the popular website  For more information, please visit our website.

Good luck and happy, clean computing.

About Steve Frantzis

Steve Frantzis is the Owner of Saguaro PC Tech, LLC, a computer repair shop in Tucson. If you have any questions or need help with your laptop, desktop, Mac, or mobile device, please call Us at (520) 250-5948.