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Best PC Antivirus Software 2014

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 52 comments

The market is flooded with anti-virus suites that can keep your computer safe and secure, making it tough to pick the right ally. To grab your attention, many security software companies offer enhanced suites that do more than just scan your computer. We're talking about things such as built-in parental controls, privacy controls, smartphone anti-virus software and even identity-theft protection.

Top Antivirus Picks

To determine which security suite is worth your investment, we tested five of the most popular suites from the biggest names in the business, including Symantec, McAfee, Kaspersky, Bitdefender and Avast! We evaluated each program based on setup, interface, ease of use and security and privacy features.

What about protection? We used data rom AV-TEST, an independent institute in Germany that rates most major security suites based on their ability to detect zero-day malware and other recent threats. But we didn't stop there.

In order to see how much of a performance impact the latest security suites have on an average PC, we ran the PCMark7 benchmark and our own OpenOffice productivity test on an Acer Aspire E1, which features a Core i3 processor and 4GB of RAM. We ran the tests while running a quick virus scan as well as a full system scan. The scan that caused the benchmark scores to drop the most was deemed to have a greater impact on our test PC.

Which security suite offers the best combination of protection and functionality? Check out our in-depth reviews to find out.

Follow Dan Howley on Google Plus.

Add your comment Display 52 Comments.
Top Comments
  • 18 Hide
    daglesj , January 27, 2014 2:17 AM
    Wow you can spot these 'paid for' articles a mile off!.
Other Comments
  • -2 Hide
    Romeru , January 25, 2014 7:08 AM
    iSwitched to linux.
  • 4 Hide
    das_stig , January 27, 2014 12:42 AM
    No performance charts, pointless just listing a random bunch of software titles. Would have better to show real world performance hits on say an i3 + 4GB + HDD, as a lot of these come as time limited bloatware in low spec machines from OEM's.
  • 18 Hide
    daglesj , January 27, 2014 2:17 AM
    Wow you can spot these 'paid for' articles a mile off!.
  • 8 Hide
    HankChill , January 27, 2014 2:26 PM
    Anyone who advertises Norton Antivirus as a "Best PC Antivirus Software" is clearly being bribed to do so.Sellout much?
  • 7 Hide
    CrookedArticle , January 29, 2014 6:05 PM
    Way to make a great name for your self. Writing articles/reviews for money must be the wave of the future.
  • 2 Hide
    sephirothmk , February 28, 2014 3:24 PM
    Quote:
    Anyone who advertises Norton Antivirus as a "Best PC Antivirus Software" is clearly being bribed to do so.Sellout much?
    Norton is actually really nice these days. I've been using it for a year and a half. If it didn't remind me that i have to renew it's licence a few months ago, I would've forgotten that I have it in my system. No viruses, no issues, nothing
  • 3 Hide
    skit75 , February 28, 2014 3:24 PM
    Norton left such a sour taste in my mouth years ago that I have avoided it like the plague... right down there with McAffee. Their software was so burdensome on machines, users felt like the software was the virus.Maybe things have changed.... I don't know but this article certainly won't convince me or other IT Professional/Small Business Network Admins to start including them again. The users would have my head.
  • 8 Hide
    timberland , February 28, 2014 3:36 PM
    No mention of Microsoft Security essentials. Free and non-intrusive.
  • 5 Hide
    redline92 , February 28, 2014 3:50 PM
    McAfee :) ) almost choked on my popcorn WTH toms?
  • 0 Hide
    skit75 , February 28, 2014 3:52 PM
    Quote:
    No mention of Microsoft Security essentials. Free and non-intrusive.
    To be fair, it really shouldn't be compared to them either. MSE is great for identifying some of the most nasty and popular malware/trojan/virus wares but limps in the department of removal without the help of other tools.
  • 2 Hide
    itsnotmeitsyou , February 28, 2014 3:56 PM
    I am a fan of MsSE as well as it is really lightweight. And Free.If I was going to pay someone for protection, it would probably be the guy who identified and tracked the state-sponsored malware Stuxnet, namely Kaspersky. At least they are actually paying attention to whats going on.
  • -1 Hide
    Iggledude , February 28, 2014 4:00 PM
    Norton Internet Security is my choice and has been since the 2011 remake (2010 for me really.. but Norton got it way right in 2011).Since that point Norton has been one of the most well reviewed virus, malware, root kit, adware, identity protection, parental control software available. I'm not getting paid to say Norton is a fine product... It is.Years ago, just like some posters here recollect, Norton (Symantec) was a resource hog and was terrible at catching "live" threats. It got in the way and done more harm that good. It was a hot mess. Period. I agree, it was poop. It ain't now though.That all changed with the 2010/2011 remake. They got it right... real right.Again, I'm not being paid, but if ya want a great piece of software that you KNOW is looking out for you, try Norton again. I'm betting you won't be sorry.My price for 5 PCs... $68.00 American Dollars. It was cheaper for me because I was already a user.Price on Amazon: $87.00 for Five (5) PCs. That kind of security... for that many users... at that price... go get it. Ya won't be sorry.http://www.amazon.com/Norton-Internet-Security-2014-Download/dp/B00FGDE64C/ref=sr_1_5?s=software&ie=UTF8&qid=1393631605&sr=1-5&keywords=norton+internet+security+2014
  • 0 Hide
    Iggledude , February 28, 2014 4:02 PM
    I swear I had spaces in my response. I just know I did. :( 
  • -1 Hide
    lp231 , February 28, 2014 4:31 PM
    While most of us who reads Toms will probably avoid Norton and McAfee, the rest of Joe and Jane will continue to use it, since these two brands have been out for so long. If you were to instal other antivirus programs, where a person who has been using Norton their whole life, chances are, they might not trust the other product, unless they see for themselves, the other antivirus program is able to remove the virus where Norton fails, then they might make the change. If Norton does the job, they will continue to use it, no matter how hard you try to convince them, there are better and/or free alternatives.
  • -2 Hide
    infernocy , February 28, 2014 4:41 PM
    the best antivirus is guess what you and only you , i have to use antivirus for like 4 -5 years. if you are careful and take care of your operating system and keep track of what you do you dont really need one , they say you need one ....
  • -1 Hide
    omnimodis78 , February 28, 2014 4:42 PM
    Quote:
    No mention of Microsoft Security essentials. Free and non-intrusive.
    Got to say, I agree! I've never found anything that was lacking in MSE. I can't believe it that people still fall for the that scam where one has to actually pay for anti-malware software...
  • 1 Hide
    skit75 , February 28, 2014 5:06 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    No mention of Microsoft Security essentials. Free and non-intrusive.
    Got to say, I agree! I've never found anything that was lacking in MSE. I can't believe it that people still fall for the that scam where one has to actually pay for anti-malware software...
    If your PC was a baseball diamond, MSE would cover 1st base pretty well. Once the runner reaches 2nd base though, you need the inning to end or you need to field a different team.Paying for anti-malware software isn't a scam, unless you're a fool. The unsolicited ones you pay for, are a scam. MalwareBytes - Can't say enough good about them... keep up the excellent work & love Chameleon!CCleaner - Outstanding lightweight scanners & utilities
  • 1 Hide
    mx2138 , February 28, 2014 5:11 PM
    What if I told you you don't need an antivirus
  • 0 Hide
    popatim , February 28, 2014 5:14 PM
    Every pc that I have had to do virus removal on in the past 5 years has been running MsSE. Including my own testbed (about 4 yrs ago) Bitdefender and good old AVG are my go to titles.
  • 0 Hide
    24oz , February 28, 2014 5:52 PM
    I use Eset Nod32 and MalwareBytes no problems in 6 years.
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