PC’s remain very vulnerable to online threats these days, so having antivirus protection is almost a must-have. Since ever-growing quantities of malware continue to be created, virus protection is not enough. In this post, we review popular antivirus software on the market today for the PC.

These products should be able to detect and rid your system of malware or viruses. Each of them offer free trial downloads, but are made for commercial sale.

Four independent labs have provided testing details for several of these products including:

  • SE Labs
  • MRG-Effitas
  • AV-Test Institute
  • AV-Comparatives

Products We are Comparing

ProductBitdefender Antivirus PlusESET NOD32 AntivirusZillya! Total SecurityWebroot Internet Security PlusNorton Antivirus PlusUnHackMeNetgate Internet SecurityExterminate It!Max Secure Antivirus Plus
Custom ScansXXXXXXXX
Firewall IncludedXXXXX
Detects VirusesXXXXXXXXX
VPN IncludedXX
Easy InstallationXXXXXXXX
Data BackupXXXX
24-7 Online SupportXXXX
Password ManagerXXXXX
Detects SpywareXXXXXXXXX
Detects ScarewareXXXXXXXXX
Detects RansomwareXXXXXXXXX
Detects PhishingXXXXXX
Parental Controls X
  • Bitdefender Antivirus Plus
  • ESET NOD32 Antivirus
  • Zillya! Total Security
  • Webroot Internet Security Plus
  • Norton Antivirus Plus
  • UnhackMe
  • Netgate Internet Security
  • Exterminate It!
  • Max Secure Antivirus Plus

Criteria

  • Speed
  • Ease of Use
  • Scan Effectiveness
  • Support
  • Options

What to Look For in Antivirus Software

The best antivirus software is the one that works best for your PC. This means it is easy to use, has low system resource usage, and is available when you need it.

Has Effective Protection

A good antivirus program will be effective in detecting and removing threats. It will offer real-time protection and gives warnings of unknown threats that could damage your system. A capable antivirus program will flag threats without over marking files or programs as false positives.

Threats it should protect against:

  • Malware
  • Viruses
  • Ransomware
  • Trojans
  • Spyware
  • Adware
  • Rootkits

Ransomware is a type of malware that goes directly after making money from threatening users. Having software that protects from this scourge is very important today.

Uses Few System Resources

An antivirus that uses a large amount of system resources to scan or operate will only slow down your productivity. This can make your system as useless as it would be if it were infected by a resource sapping malware infection. If there are noticeable signs that your system has slowed since installing an antivirus, perhaps look for another product.

Pricing and Discounts

Paying extra money for a good antivirus suite could be well worth it. However, many products offer sales prices during certain periods. Many companies offer discounts on their websites as well as limited device coverage. Choosing 1 device coverage over say 3 or 5 could easily save you money. Certain online marketplaces, such as Amazon, can give decent-sized discounts on quality antivirus products.

Privacy Protection

Antivirus Companies make efforts to maintain user privacy while still communicating with their computers to improve detection capabilities. This includes making user data anonymous to keep privacy maximized. There are privacy policies available for users to read on antivirus maker websites that should detail how they treat user data.

Multi-platform Protection

Antivirus software that can cover more than one OS type is very useful for users with multiple devices. Not everyone has only Android or Windows-based devices. Many major antivirus products cover different operating systems, so it is recommended to look for these.

These platforms include:

  • Windows
  • Android
  • MacOS
  • iOS

For entry-level antivirus programs, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is one of the best. It provides a wide array of useful features to anyone who needs to protect their computer on a budget. Its threat protection is comprehensive and effective. It can stop dangerous malware before it even starts to download. It runs scans quickly and has been tested by reputable security organizations from many countries.

It can also safeguard your internet browsing which can protect your privacy. Also, it comes with a VPN and safe banking tools.

It can stop phishing schemes that are difficult to spot. Bitdefender runs on a light system load and most users will not notice a slowdown in their computer’s performance.

Pluses

  • VPN
  • Safe banking tools
  • Very good malware protection
  • Small resource usage
  • Fast scans

Minuses

  • Extra installation steps
  • Scans take awhile
  • Malware detection is not always perfect
  • No firewall included

An important note is that Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020 does not include a firewall. Firewalls provide a level of security most users should have. Antivirus programs would be best designed to have one included.

Also, antivirus scans can take a long time to finish depending on which one you choose. You can see our test results in our complete Bitdefender Antivirus Plus Review here.

Installation of Bitdefender is fairly straightforward, but does take several extra steps. Some options are not available on the main dashboard, but can only be accessed online. Having them in one place would be much more convenient.

ESET NOD32 Antivirus provides robust malware and antivirus protection. It includes a self-configuring firewall that helps to protect from online threats. There are several packages available for different operating systems, such as Android and Mac. Easy installation and fast scanning make this an effective antivirus program that users of all experience levels can benefit from.

Pluses

  • Clean and straightforward user interface
  • Highly rated reviews in independent tests
  • State-of-the-art malware detection
  • No drain on computer speed
  • Easy installation
  • Malware and Anti-Phishing Protection
  • Easy for most users to learn how to use

Minuses

  • Average malware protection
  • Few useful extra features
  • Provides basic Windows protection
  • No 24-Hour Tech Support
  • ESET Upgrades can get expensive quickly
  • No VPN
  • No Automatic Backup
  • No Automatic Database Update

To learn more, read our complete ESET NOD32 Antivirus Review here.

Zillya! Total Security provides many useful tools in a clear presentable user-interface. It comes with all the recommended antivirus options and capabilities. Being lesser known than others on this list could make a user wary of it. However, our tests show that it is a convenient and accessible antivirus program that does a thorough job of scanning a system.

Pluses

  • Includes a firewall
  • Simple GUI
  • Complete threat protection
  • Parental Control
  • File Shredder

Minuses

  • Accessing options is somewhat confusing
  • Slower scans
  • Limited independent testing

Read our complete Zillya! Total Security Review for more information.

Webroot Internet Security Plus does a fairly good job of scanning and detecting threats without causing system slowdown. It may be missing some more advanced features that premium security suites provide. However, its pricing and convenience makes this a popular option for many users.

Pluses

  • Webcam Monitoring
  • Friendly GUI
  • Strong protection from malware
  • Light system demands

Minuses

  • No Parental Controls
  • Not tested often enough
  • Limited support options

Read more in our full Webroot Internet Security Plus Review here.

One of the more well-known products on our list, Norton Antivirus Plus provides good protection as a basic security suite. It comes with several useful bonus features and does not slow down a system noticeably while it scans.

Pluses

  • Firewall
  • Online backup storage
  • Strong protection
  • Low resource demands
  • PC, Mac and iOS coverage
  • Well tested

Minuses

  • No pricing for multiple licenses
  • Expensive
  • No VPN
  • No Safe Banking Tools

It is important to note here that Norton is still rolling out features for this product, such as online banking tools.

Learn more in our complete Norton Antivirus Plus Review here.

UnHackMe is an effective tool for detecting malware and rootkits that sneak past other antivirus programs. This is a great additional or stand-alone system protection tool to maximize a user’s computer defenses.

Pluses

  • Detects hard to catch malware
  • Automatic Updates
  • Friendly GUI
  • Good customer support

Minuses

  • Mediocre site blocking

Read more in our full UnHackMe Review here.

Netgate Internet Security is a well designed and complete antivirus software that is strong in allowing the user to monitor system activity and run controlled settings.

Pluses

  • Good detection
  • Includes a Firewall Component
  • Extensive options
  • Helpful System Statistics

Minuses

  • Lack of independent testing

Learn more here in our complete Netgate Internet Security Review.

A lesser known product on our list, Exterminate It! has all the tools necessary to provide basic antivirus and anti-malware protection. It’s user-friendly layout and options make this an easy to use and convenient program for most users.

Pluses

  • Full System Scans
  • Submit State Functionality
  • Free Custom Updates

Minuses

  • No Firewall included

Learn more in our full Exterminate It! Review here.

Max Secure Antivirus Plus is a basic antivirus package that provides all the necessary tools to keep your system secure.

Pluses

  • Effective antivirus scans
  • Extensive Tools
  • Password Manager
  • Whitelisting

Minuses

  • Possibly incomplete malware protection

Check out our complete Max Secure Antivirus Plus Review here to learn more.

To Recap…

New viruses and malware are created every day and released online, threatening computer users everywhere. So, having antivirus software is almost a requirement to keep your PC protected. Choose from one of these or another antivirus software and keep your system safe today.

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