Product Use case Rating
Kaspersky Internet Security Best Midrange Antivirus Product 4.5
Bitdefender Internet Security 4
Norton Security Deluxe 4
Trend Micro Internet Security 3.5
F-Secure Internet Security 3.5
McAfee Internet Security 3.5
ESET Internet Security 3
Panda Internet Security 3

Best Midrange PC Antivirus Software

Midrange antivirus software for Windows combines the basic protections of inexpensive products with additional features that usually include parental controls and a two-way firewall. Some brands also toss in a password manager or a file shredder, but you may want to move up to the higher-priced, premium antivirus products for secure online storage or a system optimizer.

Among the products we recently reviewed, our Editor's Choice in this category is Kaspersky Internet Security, which combines excellent malware protection with a light-to-moderate system load and a plethora of helpful extra features.

Right behind that is Bitdefender Internet Security, which offers even more tools but has malware protection that's just a hair shy of Kaspersky's.

Four other products — F-Secure Internet Security, McAfee Internet Security, Norton Security Deluxe and Trend Micro Internet Security — had malware protection comparable to Kaspersky's and Bitdefender's, but suffered from heavy system loads when scans were running, and sometimes even when they weren't.

How We Tested

Programs from all eight brands  were evaluated on an Asus X555LA laptop running fully patched 64-bit Windows 10 on an Intel Core i3 processor. The laptop had 6GB of RAM and 36GB of files on a 500GB hard drive. Each antivirus product was uninstalled before the next was loaded.

We evaluated each product's ease of installation and ease of use, enumerated its protective features (and how useful each feature might be), and took note of its navigation scheme and interface.  

To gauge how well a product detected malware, we used recent evaluations on Windows 10 and Windows 7 from German lab AV-TEST, Austrian lab AV-Comparatives in Austria, England's SE Labs and our own labs in Utah. Each regularly tests antivirus software against both previously seen, known malware and brand-new zero-day malware.

To assess a product's impact on system performance, we used our custom OpenOffice benchmark test, which matches 20,000 names and addresses on a spreadsheet. We ran the test both before and after a product was installed, and then during the product's full scan and quick scan. (The test was run several times in each scenario.) We also measured how long it took each product to complete a full scan and a quick scan.

[Editor's Note: Best Buy has removed Kaspersky Lab products from its shelves, citing concerns regarding Kaspersky's alleged (but as yet undocumented) ties to the Russian government. However, until we see evidence that Kaspersky software is a threat to consumers, we will continue to recommend it. Here is further clarification of our position.]

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  • martinsmith123
    I will prefer Kaspersky antivirus licensed software
  • punkncat
    So wait, wasn't Kapersky implicated in a security vulnerability that the AV software was providing metrics on user data and phoning home with it?
  • dleippe
    Is that a question or a statement
  • stones710
    I don't see anything about a virtual keyboard in Bitdefender; how do I find it and how does it work?
  • punkncat
    Anonymous said:
    Is that a question or a statement

    This symbol "?" at the end of a statement makes it a question in the typical world of grammar. Normally the language structure and wording is fairly indicative as well, however I can see where you would be confused with the statement.
    It was a question based on a recollection of an article I read recently indicating as much. Couldn't find the link, of course.
  • Rocky Bennett
    Anonymous said:
    So wait, wasn't Kapersky implicated in a security vulnerability that the AV software was providing metrics on user data and phoning home with it?

    Yes they were. It made the national news for a few days then blew over.
  • chris240b
    Do the authors of these articles take into consideration anything except how well they perform as antivirus software? Kaspersky has been implicated in data breeches at the NSA and other government and corporations around the world. They apparently work with the Russian government for nefarious reasons.
  • Rocky Bennett
    ^^^ This has never been proven. Can you link an article that proves your statements.
  • emkei
    Kaspersky Total Security is my choice because of its' real-time defense against the latest malware and threats. Also, because it offers nearly everything I could want in a security suite.
  • stephaniefernandez0000
    I have never used anything except Avast Antivirus and I'm personally satisfied with this product. So easy to use and everything is available on your finger tips. Instead of that, it also gives about a month of free trail and I'm not satisfied with this article because of not mentioning Avast in this article.
  • ElectrO_90
    Comodo Security and ZHPCleaner - Free and the best :)
  • Rocky Bennett
    Windows Defender, free and the best!!!!
  • Peter Martin
    windows defender. I'm like Scotty, see, the more crap you put into it, the more complex the plumbing becomes and they you have problems. Don't mess with the best and add junkware