Is there such a thing as the best antivirus software or “it depends”?

By June 8, 2017blog

When looking to find the best antivirus software, everything certainly depends on your personal needs!

Computers are an important part of our lives nowadays. Whether it is your mobile, tablet, laptop or home PC you are using an electronic device to read this content. Most people do not think about computers as entities that require being in a healthy state in order to perform optimally.

Instead, we see them as devices that sometimes slow down, and other times speed up until something affects its system. And because we have heard of “computer viruses”, we simply click on the first antivirus software we find on the Google search page, investing very little effort in making a proper research. It is time to change that line of thinking!

Windows is a magnificent operating system that does lots of wonders for your productivity and overall experience. You have to remember that on any given day your PC is under siege by spyware, ransomware, viruses, adware, trojans and a whole plethora of other malware.

All this vicious data-stealing malware is always evolving and looking for a way to circumvent your security. You could opt to unplug your computer from the internet in order to keep it safe… however… if you download something from the internet from another computer and then install it on your internet-isolated computer, your computer is still at risk.

Moreover, it is important to note that there is no such thing as a perfect anti-virus. Also, your needs for security vary between home and business. It is up to you, dear reader, to define what your optimal budget is and then see which antivirus is the best antivirus for Windows, in your particular case (not just what advertisements tell you to think).

Be self-aware when looking to find the best antivirus for Windows

Before you go spend your day searching the internet for information about the best antivirus for Windows, you should first keep reading. Up next is a list of different antiviruses at different price points. All the information that will be displayed here was published by AV-Test and AV-Comparatives on their public websites.

The first one, AV-Test, is a German institute that has been in operation for the past 15 years, and whose goal is to provide unbiased data regarding IT security.

The later, AV-Comparatives, is an Austrian institute that performs one of the most complex and thorough tests available to resemble real-life protection capabilities of any given anti-malware. The way they conduct tests is by assigning a star rating system to each product, depending on their performance.

1 star is Good, 2 stars is Standard, and 3 stars is Advanced+. Therefore, every time you read that an antivirus brand got a ranking of Advanced+ it means that it got the highest possible ranking that it can be given.

Additionally, whatever vendors appear on this list are here because they got a vote from these institutes, and you should double check this statement, depending on the time when you read this report.

Tests are performed by independent security institutes periodically so results may vary over time. Your security is important, and articles like this one should never be used to promote a specific firm.

With all those details out of the way, here is the list in no particular order:

Avira

best antivirus software avira

Avira is the winner of 2016 product AV-Comparative product of the year.

It received Advanced+ recognition on all of the 7 test made by AV-Comparative. It also obtained a joint gold award for file detection and performance. It gained the silver award for malware removal.

The pro version (priced at $19.95 at Amazon), offers advanced antivirus technology that is not found in the free version. Furthermore, the menu panel is very user-friendly.

The downside is that it can destroy infected systems beyond any possibility of repair.

The program also has some issues with phishing attempts. All and all, the pro version and the free version are not that widely separated, so you can use either one.

Avast

best antivirus software avast

This anti-malware software obtained 3 Advanced+ recognitions.

It also obtained a joint silver award in the performance test. Digging a little deeper, the Wi-Fi inspector is quite an amazing feature. Furthermore, if you want to upgrade to the pro-version (39.99 at Avast web page), you will get several options that will make it worth your time.

The downside is that the pro version does not guarantee that all options will be opened. You will have to pay for some extra features. Nevertheless, the free and pro versions are quite handy and worth of your consideration.

Bitdefender

best antivirus software bitdefender

This product won 2016 Outstanding Product of the Year by AV-Comparatives.

It has several joint scores overall. It won the gold award for Real World Protection and a joint silver award for File Detection, False Positives, and Performance.

It also earned the bronze award for malware removal. The ransomware protection is also outstanding.

The downside is that their scanning takes far longer than any of the other programs and the price. Starting at $39.99 a year for 1 device, you have to be ready to spend a pretty penny for this anti-malware software.

Emisoft

best antivirus software emsisoft

Winner of 2016 Top Rated Product of the year, Emsisoft earned 4 Advanced+ recognitions.

It also has a joint silver award for file detection and a joint bronze award for performance. It has a very friendly and clean modern interface.

Its malware blocking and malicious URL blocking ability are remarkable. And lastly, it has a behavior-based detection system that improves over time at spotting ransomware.

Unfortunately, its anti-phishing abilities are average, and it will take a while before the behavior program understands the difference between normal programs and malware.

At $39.95 this software is useful if you have the disposable income to invest in it.

ESET NOD32

best antivirus software eset

This anti-malware company received 4 Advanced+ awards in 2016, and it still ranks as a top rated product to date.

It won a joint gold award for false positives and performance. The global safety scores and firewall capabilities rival the capabilities of more well-known companies.

Furthermore, the interface is clean and easily accessible. On the negative side, it did average on malware control, which is quite relevant to keep a PC safe. Overall, ESET NOD32 is an upgrade from its previous version, at $39.99 it makes for a high cost for a company that is still trying to find its balance.

McAfee

best antivirus software mcafee

This is one of the most well-known antivirus and anti-malware companies in the world.

It received only 2 Advanced+ awards. It also won a joint bronze award for false positives. It offers unlimited protection for all devices and platforms.

It also has a very friendly user interface and several bonus features. The downside is that the company is living more out of its name than its performance. It has superb anti-phishing scores. As a result, it has proper protection for malicious URL blocking and malware blocking. Therefore, it is not a bad antivirus.

There are higher rated companies by AV-Comparative and AV-Test. However, the option to protect a big range of devices is quite alluring and interesting.

Bullguard

best antivirus software bullguard

BullGuard performed slightly better than its better-known competitor McAfee.

It received 3 Advanced+ awards and took a joint silver award in false positives and file detection. It gave good scores on malicious URL blocking test. The malware alerts are informative and persistent, with an easy access menu.

The anti-phishing leaves a lot to be desired, and the spam filter is only for supported email clients. Bullguard malware blocking is not bad, but not great either.

At the end of the day, the price point is much lower than McAfee ($23.96 compared to almost $60 for McAfee). Therefore it might be a good choice if you are limited on your funds, but want a security software solution that still offers a good protection.

Kaspersky Lab

best antivirus software kaspersky

This company also won Outstanding Product of the Year by AV-Comparatives.

It received Advanced+ in the entire test performed. It won a joint award in file detection and malware removal. It obtained joint silver aware in real-world protection. And, lastly, a joint bronze award in false positives and performance test.

Kaspersky Lab has a great software updater, and the virtual keyboard allows for secure data entry. However, performance comes at a price! It starts at $60 per year, per device.

It also had some issues with its malicious URL blocking test. But overall, it is a secure option if your only concern is your home PC.

F-Secure

best antivirus software f-secure

This company is less known than the other companies that appear on this list.

It obtained 3 Advanced+ in the test conducted. It also gained a joint silver award for file detection.

Furthermore, it has a very quick scan and its behavior-based malware detector is quite advanced. F-Secure possesses a very clean and simple interface. Unfortunately, there is not enough anti-phishing or malicious URL blocking to aware them higher rewards in these areas of protection interest.

The rest of the tests performed by the two security institutes on this software were good, but not great. Overall, F-Secure has the potential to become a powerhouse against malware.

Is jv16 PowerTools PC System Utilities compatible with all these 9 antivirus software?

Short answer: yes!

Long answer: We have worked hard to ensure compatibility between jv16 PowerTools and these 9 anti-malware companies. All antivirus products should be considered when thinking about which firm to use to protect your computer.

They were rated the best antivirus for home-user Windows at the time of writing this research summary. Keep in mind that most of these companies offer protection for businesses as well. However, it is still important to review each company before deciding to place your money in any of them.

Your PC is one of your most valuable non-monetary assets. Therefore, always take your time to review what each company offers before buying anti-malware software.