Best Premium PC Security Suite

It's a cruel world out there, with no shortage of malware, ransomware and phishing attacks to swoop in and steal your data, money and online persona. What is the best way to protect your devices, and your peace of mind?

The answer is to build the tallest and thickest wall around your digital life with a premium antivirus suite. Based on our extensive testing, your best option is Kaspersky Total Security. It not only offers excellent malware detection but also a sandboxed browser for banking and shopping, plus unique webcam protection.

Why Premium Antivirus?

Premium antivirus products cost upward of $100 per year, but offer a world of extra features that low-cost or free antivirus programs don't have. Their product licenses often cover multiple installations on several platforms — including OS X, Android, iOS and, sometimes, Windows Phone — although other platforms' software may be more limited than the Windows version. The most cost-effective premium packages offer all-you-can-scan plans, with unlimited device installations across multiple platforms.

How We Tested

We've done extensive evaluations on six of the latest flagship antivirus suites from Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Kaspersky Lab, McAfee and Trend Micro. We installed the latest version of each suite on a 2-year-old Dell Inspiron 7537 that had a Core i5 4200 processor, 6GB of RAM and a 700GB hard drive, of which 114GB was filled with an assortment of data and programs. The system ran 64-bit Windows 8.1.

To assess each suite's ability to protect against malware, we used the most recent set of antivirus-software evaluations conducted on Windows 8.1 by Germany's AV-TEST lab. The anti-malware engines were subjected to an onslaught of the world's worst malware in January and February of 2015. We also gauged the program's impact on system performance by comparing three sets of OpenOffice benchmark scores — one before we loaded the program, and the other two while performing a full scan and a quick scan.

In addition to looking at each app's security and privacy features, we dove deeply into their setups, interfaces and ease of use.

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92 comments
    Your comment
  • Wetles89
    bought the bitdefender one for 25ish pounds.

    Got a non working activation key in return. And i had to delete my free 1 years trail of Kaspersky which worked just fine!
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  • athurman
    Comodo Internet Security seems to work well with little system slowdown compared to most products. Offers FREE antivirus and firewall which beat the Microsoft and most paid programs. Has caught virii & blocked malware that other products would have allowed. I do supplement the anti-malware scans for peace of mind sake, but then I haven't found products with the others that weren't already identified by Comodo.
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  • Anonymous
    Here is a critical test that I think should be included in every antivirus program test: Impact on TimeMachine. I had Avira installed on my computer - and as a result, a backup of 20GB of data with TimeMachine would take more than three days. I had to uninstall Avira - and now my backup is back to normal.
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  • Mike_100
    What is "normal"?
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  • uncajo
    I think you may want to check out ESET AV.
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  • Cyberfix
    Originally Avira Free didn't bug you to upgrade as I have used it for years. Now it does.
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  • sandeeproy
    No mention of QuickHeal ? or it wasn't tested ? I heard it;s pretty good with excellent Customer Support.
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  • Rabmac
    Sandboxie was an excellent addition to your internet security but it seems to crash my PC now, have not found a good alternative yet.

    I also use Malwarebytes anti exploit (protection against zero day attacks) and Zemana anti logger to minimise effectiveness of key loggers in case they get through the defence. All of these programs are free.

    I would not pay for AV and find there is no need to pay as long as you have a good backup strategy in place just incase you get something nasty on your PC. Another couple of things that will reduce your chance of infection are:

    1. Install adblock plus on your browser.

    2. Disable javascript on your browser (you can switch it on briefly if there is something on a site you really need to see)

    3. Uninstall Java from your computer, this is known to be the biggest vulnerability that hackers use.

    4. Uninstall adobe reader and flashplayer as they also contain vulnerabilities that hackers use.

    5. Make sure your windows and all other programs are upto date with patches and that you are running the latest version.
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  • DigitalLove
    I still use Norton Internet Security and it works like a charm
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  • oscar321
    I will suggest you to go with norton security. this is the best security to use.
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  • Mohammad Kalim
    We uses AVIRA from all our software house outlets its very very good, our employee's are also satisfied ! Thumb(s) Up !!
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  • Ultracab
    Kaspersky Total Security provides best protection for your Computer. It's good, but the competition is better and cheaper.
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  • hmwind
    The only problem I found with Avira is that is made Time Machine an my iMac terribly slow.After removing Avira the backup speed was back to normal again. I hope Avira will tackle this problem soon.
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  • BOSORT
    I am using Avira Free version. It apparently is regarded as the best, free or paid. HOWEVER, it is almost impossible to set up unless you are an MIT PhD in IT. And maybe not even then. The "scan" takes almost 3 days and slows and almost stops you from working on your PC. There is apparently no choice of scan option although it hints to a "quick" scan but good luck in finding how to set it up for running on a schedule. I allow the scan to run for a day then stop it so I can have the use of my computer back. There is no support for the free version and attempting to use the "forum" or "community" help it very close to useless. I had purchased the paid version a year ago, found it even more complicated than the free version and as a result cancelled it. Now how's this for being ironic: I had Microsoft Windows Defender (free, along with Malwarebytes free) for over a year and experienced NO problems whatsoever. And it was so very easy to use. Go figure. If you go to Avira be ready to deal with the frustrations and aggravation.
    PS: The upshot is I Googled "Top Rated Antivirus Programs" and found this article expounding on Avira. What's a body to do? I think that I will keep my Malwarebytes and go back to Windows Defender as Avira is just so difficult.
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  • Johnrose
    I am using Comodo Free Antivirus for my Windows PC. It's provides complete virus protection & working perfectly. But here this product is missing. why?
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  • BOSORT
    2155242 said:
    I am using Comodo Free Antivirus for my Windows PC. It's provides complete virus protection & working perfectly. But here this product is missing. why?
    Thanks for your reply JohnRose. I have replaced Avira as what good is the best if you can't understand how to use it? AND it takes 3 days to complete a scan stopping the use of your computer during that time? Malwarebytes, Ccleaner and Microsoft Window Defender work easily and just fine. As they say: "KISS". (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
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  • Rishabh Tatiraju
    I started with Norton in 2006, back when it was a resource hog. Later in 2009 I switched to McAfee for a year, and then back to Norton. I dropped off Norton and used free AVs like Avira and Comodo Internet Security for a while, before switching to Kaspersky in 2013.

    Have been using Kaspersky ever since, and it has never let me down. Plus it is very cheap where I live, I got an Internet Security license 3 years, 3 PCs for $25.
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  • BOSORT
    1764766 said:
    I started with Norton in 2006, back when it was a resource hog. Later in 2009 I switched to McAfee for a year, and then back to Norton. I dropped off Norton and used free AVs like Avira and Comodo Internet Security for a while, before switching to Kaspersky in 2013. Have been using Kaspersky ever since, and it has never let me down. Plus it is very cheap where I live, I got an Internet Security license 3 years, 3 PCs for $25.
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  • BOSORT
    Tks for ur reply Rishabh, as I noted I have given up and dropped Avira in favor of MS Windows Defender with Malwarebytes and Ccleaner. Worked before so why not now? AND it's EZ.
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