Antivirus for Home Use

Every computer requires robust and reliable antivirus software for their computer and other devices. With the increase of cyber threats and attacks, one faces the risk of losing their sensitive data and personal information to cybercriminals.

We have compiled a list of the best home antivirus software plus features and tips to consider when you are finally ready to invest in your chosen program.

1. BullGuard Antivirus: Editor’s Pick

BullGuard Antivirus: Editor’s Pick

Overview

Established over 18 years ago, BullGuard offers full-featured, robust, and reliable anti-malware products with the most basic protection. BullGuard antivirus is suitable for home use because it is easy to use and has a low impact on your system.

Additionally, this antivirus software is a good option for regular home users looking for above-average protection on all major platforms. And most importantly, Bullguard antivirus is very sensitive to things, so rest assured your child won’t access sites with harmful content.

Core Features

  1. Compatible on multiple platforms.
  2. Safer browsing.
  3. Multi-layered protection.
  4. Integrates artificial intelligence.
  5. Vulnerability scanner.
  6. Anti-ransomware.
  7. Game booster.

Pros

  • Has above-average antivirus protection.
  • Has extra features that come in handy.
  • Minimal impact on the system’s performance.
  • Sleek design and an easy to use interface.
  • Speedy and lightweight.

Cons

  • The anti-malware could be improved.
  • Limited extra features.
  • Users with Android and Mac require a premium version.

Bullguard Pricing

  • BullGuard Antivirus – $19.49/year
  • BullGuard Internet Security – $29.99/year
  • BullGuard Premium Protection – $40.00/year

Awards


Top Product AV-Test Certified Windows 2020.
Top Product AV-Test Certified Windows 2020
AV-Comparatives Malware Protection 2018.
AV-Comparatives Malware Protection 2018
AV-Comparatives Advanced+ Performance Test 2018.
AV-Comparatives Advanced+ Performance Test 2018

Money-Back Guarantee

Trial Period

30 days. 15 days.

2. McAfee Total Protection

McAfee Total Protection

Overview

McFee provides premium antivirus software with safer browsing and ID theft protection. This is why over 500 million customers trust the antivirus software. McAfee home usage has increased, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Take a look at the screenshot below to see their report regarding McAfee usage:
McAfee home usage usage

Core Features

  1. Secure VPN to browse safely at home.
  2. Encrypted storage – allows you to safely and securely store your files.
  3. Safe web browsing – blocks malicious sites.
  4. Two-way firewall – protection against bots and spyware.
  5. Password manager – You can safely manage your online passwords in one location.
  6. Performance Optimization – blocks autoplay videos and minimizes bandwidth usage.
  7. Parental controls – key features that allow you to monitor your children’s online activities, block specific websites, and applications.
    Identity theft protection.

Pros

  • Protects all internet devices connected to the VPN.
  • Customer service is prompt and reliable.
  • Constantly updating necessary security patches that protect your network and systems from current and potential threats.
  • File encryption.

Cons

  • Limited parental control – only key features available.
  • For non-experienced or new users, the interface can be challenging to navigate.
  • Simple security questions have the potential of weakening the encryption.

McAfee Total Protection Pricing 

1-Year Subscription

  • Single device – $19.99
  • Individual/couple – $24.99
  • Family – $29.99

2-Year Subscription

  • Single device – $39.99
  • Individual / couples – $49.99
  • Family – $59.99

Awards


AV-Comparatives Advanced Malware Protection 2020.
AV-Comparatives Advanced Malware Protection 2020
AV-Test Certified Windows Top Product.
McAfee AV-Test Certified Windows Top Product
PCMAG Editor’s Choice 30 TIME WINNER.
PCMAG Editor's Choice 30 TIME WINNER

Money-Back Guarantee

Trial Period

30 days. N/A

3. ESET NOD32 Antivirus

ESET NOD32 Antivirus

Overview

ESET NOD32 Antivirus has been ranked as one of the top home antivirus products by the selected testing lab because it is fast, efficient, and reliable. This product is the entry-level product version of ESET, but remains one of the best antiviruses for home use. It has become known for its impeccable ability to target and disable malware without affecting your computer’s performance or slowing it down while working from home.

Core Features

  1. Using the Microsoft Outlook application, it blocks out suspicious emails from computers.
  2. Identifies every connected devices and flag suspicious activity.
  3. Blocks malware and malicious sites from accessing your sensitive details without your permission.
  4. A firewall protects network ports from potential hackers and sends an alert confirming the suspicious activity.
  5. Has a secure browser. You can safely and securely enter your banking and financial details without worrying about hackers stealing your information.

Pros

  • Minimal power usage.
  • Sleek design.
  • Simple to use interface.
  • Anti-phishing and malware design.

Cons

  • Has no VPN.
  • Price is above average for multiple devices.

ESET NOD32 Pricing

  • 1 year – $39.99
  • 2 years – $59.99
  • 3 years – $79.98

Awards


AV-Comparatives Advanced+ Malware Protection 2020.
ESET AV-Comparatives Advanced+ Malware Protection 2020
AV-Comparatives Advanced+ Performance 2020.
AV-Comparatives Advanced+ Performance 2020
MRG Effitas Certified Online Banking Q1 2018.
ESET MRG Effitas Certified Online Banking Q1 2018
AV-Comparatives Best Overall Speed 2019 GOLD.
ESET AV-Comparatives Best Overall Speed 2019 GOLD

Money-Back Guarantee

Trial Period

N/A 30 days.

4. Panda Antivirus

Panda Antivirus

Overview

Panda Security is a well-known and industry-leading security service provider. It offers products with excellent features that guard your home devices, secure your data, and help with performance optimization. Besides, Panda Antivirus is available for most operating systems.

Even more, this home antivirus employs cutting-edge technologies such as AI and cloud computing to provide you and your family an outstanding protection. This antivirus is, therefore, an excellent option if you are looking to protect multiple devices in your home.

Core Features

  1. Web guard when surfing the internet.
  2. Firewall for protection against threats and hacker attacks.
  3. A built-in VPN.
  4. Dome Advanced to protect your computer from ransomware, malware, and viruses.

Pros

  • Intuitive and secure password manager.
  • Simple and thorough scanning.
  • Free VPN.
  • Longer trial period.
  • Protection from external attacks and anti-spyware programs.

Cons

  • Limited VPN at 150MB a day.
  • Provides inferior protection when compared to more expensive products.

Panda Antivirus Pricing

  • Essential – $3.41
  • Advanced – $4.50
  • Complete – $6.75
  • Premium – $11.59

Awards not available.

Money-Back Guarantee

Trial Period

N/A 30 days.

5. Malwarebytes Premium

Malwarebytes Premium

Overview

Malwarebytes Premium was developed by a US-based internet-security service provider called Malwarebytes Inc in 2006. This antivirus software was designed to target new threats that most of the most robust antivirus software may miss. That said, the Malwarebytes Premium antivirus is suitable for home use, especially during pandemics, such as the Covid-19.

Core Features

  1. Documents, financial data, and files are protected from ransomware.
  2. Protects your computer from threatening and fraudulent websites.
  3. Prevents malware from affecting your computer’s optimal performance.
  4. Offers real-time protection.
  5. Malicious and Malwarebytes notifications are suspended while you game.

Pros

  • It doesn’t interfere with other antivirus software.
  • Has minimal system impact.
  • Effectively eliminates exploits and ransomware.

Cons

  • No parental controls.
  • Expensive premium package.
  • The free edition does not offer real time protection.

Malwarebytes Premium Pricing

  • Premium (1 device) – $2.84/pm (billed annually).
  • Premium (5 devices) – $5.79 / pm (billed annually).
  • Premium + Privacy (5 devices) – $8.33 / pm (billed annually).

Awards not available.

Money-Back Guarantee

Trial Period

60 days. N/A

6. Norton Antivirus Plus

Norton Antivirus Plus

Overview

Norton Security introduced a comprehensive security suite for those looking forward to setting up a work from home business, or in general, for home use. The Norton antivirus plus fights against malware, ransomware, and all other types of cyber threats. It is a fast, efficient, and reliable antivirus program. This antivirus program is best suited for:

  • An individual looking for solid and reliable antivirus software.
  • Parents looking to ensure the safety and privacy of their families.
  • Work at home entrepreneurs looking to invest in industry-leading virus protection.

Core Features

  1. Protects against malware and spyware by using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  2. An effective anti-ransomware that defends against ransomware attacks.
  3. Proactive online threat protection against potential threats.
  4. An advanced firewall that prevents the network from being exploited by hackers.
  5. 2GB of cloud storage for the safekeeping of critical data.
  6. Virus protection (receive a refund should the Norton team fail to handle a virus).

Pros

  • Top-notch parental control features.
  • The Premium package offers protection of up to 10 devices.
  • Cheaper and robust packages for Android and iOS.
  • Has minimal impact on the system’s optimal performance.

Cons

  • Sometimes scans can be slow.

Norton Antivirus Plus Pricing

  • Norton Antivirus Plus – $19.99 / year.
  • Norton 360 Standard – $29.99 / year.
  • Norton 360 Deluxe – $39.99 / year.
  • Norton 360 with LifeLock Select – $95.88 / year.

Awards not available.

Money-Back Guarantee

Trial Period

N/A N/A

7. ZoneAlarm Antivirus

ZoneAlarm Antivirus

Overview

ZoneAlarm Antivirus is a full-fledged software that will keep you and your family safe from all existing threats. The interface may not be sleek and appealing like some of its competitors, but this home antivirus software makes up for that with a spectacular list of features. That aside, this antivirus is best suited for:

  • Virtual students consistently connected to public Wi-Fi networks.
  • Work at home savvies looking for a versatile antivirus program.
  • Safer online transactions.

Core Features

  1. Real-time cloud security with an extensive database.
  2. Extract threats by implementing a zero-day protection feature from Check Point. Downloaded files will be tested for any malicious files, embedded objects, and other potentially threatening content.
  3. Protection against all types of ransomware. Detects and blocks the threats and restores corrupted files.
  4. Offers secure and reliable mobile security.
  5. Has advanced and highly efficient protection against zero-day attacks. It can detect threats that are well hidden on email attachments and web downloads.
  6. Prevents cybercriminals from accessing your passwords and login details.

Pros

  • Outstanding zero-day protection.
  • State-of-the-art 2-way firewall.
  • Has a Kaspersky’s antivirus engine.
  • Offers the user a reasonable free version.

Cons

  • Outdated user interface.
  • No parental control and password manager.
  • Advanced zero-day protection is available with a more expensive package.

ZeroAlarm Antivirus Pricing

Pro Antivirus + Firewall

  • 1 PC $25.95 / year
  • 3 PCs – $32.95 / year
  • 5 PCs – $35.95/ year
  • 10 PCs – $64.95/ year
  • 50 PCs – $259.95 / year

*Trials are available for all five packages.

Awards


PCMAG Editor’s Choice 13 TIME WINNER
AV-Test Certified Windows
AV-Test Certified Windows
vb 100 VIRUS
vb 100 VIRUS
Best +++ AVLab Certification
Best +++ AVLab Certification

Money-Back Guarantee

Trial Period

30 days 30 days

8. Thor Premium Home

Thor Premium Home

Overview

Heimdal Thor Premium Home is one of the few home security software that offers the best kinds of protection. This antivirus software works against ransomware, viruses, advanced threats, leakage. Even more, Thor Premium Home offers digital security in a lot of unique ways.

For example, this antivirus is well-designed to give you additional security to antivirus on operating systems such as Windows. That said, this antivirus software would be ideal for home use, especially those with a work from home business.

Core Features

  1. Protection from advanced malware threats.
  2. Protection from ransomware, banking trojans, viruses, etc.
  3. Ensures that all applications are patched and up to date.
  4. Prevents the theft and unwarranted distribution of personal information.

Pros

  • Has an artificial intelligence integration.
  • A web scanning feature that protects your computer against harmful and malicious websites.
  • Advanced antimalware, antivirus, anti-phishing and antispyware.
  • Blocks hackers from accessing and stealing your information.

Cons

  • Expensive.

THOR Premium Pricing

$74.96 billed annually.

Awards

heimdal awards

Money-Back Guarantee

Trial Period

30 days 30 days

9. Kaspersky Antivirus

Kaspersky Antivirus

Overview

Kaspersky antivirus is best for personal computers, work at home users, and those in the market for fast, reliable, easy to use, and well-respected antivirus software. Kaspersky is your go-to home antivirus if you are looking for basic protection.

Core Features

  1. Outstanding performance with minimal impact on the system.
  2. Has a vulnerability scan.
  3. Real-time protection.
  4. Blocks malicious URL.
  5. Detects behavior.
  6. Protection against ransomware, viruses, and other malware.

Pros

  • Capable of blocking all kinds of viruses.
  • A completely free Kaspersky TDSSKILLER that will scan and remove rootkits and boot kits.
  • Easy to switch from the basic plan to the more advanced plans.
  • Offers customization options.
  • Premium plans include high-level features such as parental control, online banking protection, webcam protection, and more.

Cons

  • Only available for on Windows operating systems. Mac users will have to settle for advanced and premium packages.
  • Incompatible with many other anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

Kaspersky Antivirus Pricing

  • Essential suite (Kaspersky anti-virus) – $29.99 / year.
  • Advanced Suite (Kaspersky internet security) – $39.99 / year.
  • Premium Suite (Kaspersky total security – $44.99 / year.

Awards


PCMAG Top-rated security product
PCMAG Top-rated security product

Gartner Peer Insights
Gartner Peer Insights

Money-Back Guarantee

Trial Period

N/A 30 days

10. Avast Omni Antivirus

Avast Omni Antivirus

Overview

Avast offers protection to over 400 million devices. Their products are versatile and flexible and are suitable for home use. It is not surprising that they have managed a steady growth of their client base. Avast Omni antivirus offers protection that does not break the bank with its stunning features. This software is best for:

  • Work at home entrepreneurs.
  • People looking for budget-friendly antivirus software.
  • Family members in the market for entry-level protection (security and privacy).

Core Features

  1. Has advanced and easy to use parental control features.
  2. Advanced firewall.
  3. Secure VPN.
  4. AntiTrack.
  5. Secure browser.
  6. Battery saver.
  7. Automatically updates driver with one click.
  8. Offers advanced security applications for your computer, mobile device, and tablets.

Pros

  • Value for money.
  • Easy to use and intuitive.
  • The rate of detection and removal is outstanding.

Cons

  • The scans can be slower on older devices.

Avast Omni Antivirus Pricing

  • Avast Omni – $49.99.
  • Includes one month free.

Awards


AV-Comparatives Approved Mac Security 2019
AV-Comparatives Approved Mac Security 2020

OPSWAT
OPSWAT awards

SE Labs Home Anti-Malware Protection (2020 Q3)
SE Labs Home Anti-Malware Protection

Money-Back Guarantee

Trial Period

30 days 60 days

Best Antivirus Buying Guide

Types of Antivirus Software

As an internet user, it is crucial to invest in antivirus software that’ll fight against all attacking viruses. Not only do antiviruses detect malicious software, but they also eliminate them. Antiviruses are classified into different types based on how they detect the virus, how they respond after detecting the virus, and the operating systems. Below are the different classifications of antiviruses:

1. Free Anti-Malware

An anti-malware is software that protects your computer and other devices from all sorts of malware such as viruses, Trojans, spyware, worms, spyware, etc.

Cybercriminals make use of this malware to attack and destroy businesses and compromise customer’s identities.

An anti-malware program is an excellent tool for safeguarding your computer and sensitive information of your business’ and clients’ from cyberhackers.

2. Antivirus

Antivirus software is necessary due to the constantly-emerging cyberattacks. Operating without an antivirus installed poses your computer to danger of getting attacked by malicious programs.

Antivirus software safeguards your computer against viruses and cybercriminals. It searches for threats in your device’s data (files, web pages, applications, and software), monitors your program’s behavior, and flags them for suspicious behavior.

Antiviruses perform these essential tasks:

  • Remove malicious software;
  • Schedule automatic scans;
  • Notifies you of the safety of your computer and other connected devices.

3. Spam Filters

If you don’t have anti-spam software or spam filters installed, one wrong click could instantly endanger your device and entire network.

As much as our inboxes contain genuine email communication from trusted service providers and senders, they are unfortunately also infiltrated by impersonators. In the worst-case scenario, scams, and cyberhackers.

Spam filters block spam from entering into a system. With a spam filter, you can maintain a list of people whose email you wish to receive, and these emails won’t ever be mistaken for spam.

4. File Shredders

Most of us only worry about spyware and viruses but hardly think about hard drive data destruction.

File shredder software is for individuals who wish to permanently dispose of personal and personal files in the computer memory, leaving no trace.

In file shredding, the software will rewrite the data and files computer, rendering it impossible to retrieve the file.

5. Anti-phishing Toolbars

An anti-phishing toolbar safeguards from phishing sites and provides you with detailed reports about the site you are browsing on the internet. These toolbars are mostly available as plugins or browser add-ons. Additionally, they filter out deceptive emails from the inbox, display risk ratings on suspected phishing and fraudulent websites, and report and block risky websites.

Antivirus Software Features to Look For

1. IM Protection

Instant messaging is, no doubt, a preferred method of communication, especially by work at home professionals. However, instant messaging comes with more significant security risks since it can trap users into giving out sensitive and personal information, such as ID numbers, passwords, etc. Antivirus software needs to feature IM protection that can scan and destroy malicious attacks.

2. Firewall

A large majority of antivirus software has a firewall feature. A firewall is a network security device that scans and analyses incoming and outgoing traffic and mitigate attacks. They act as a barrier between trusted and secured internal networks and untrusted external networks. No hacker can fish for any sensitive information from your system in the presence of a firewall.

3. Privacy Filter

Sophisticated spyware can silently operate in the background and steal sensitive data such as social security numbers, banking details, passwords, credit card numbers, and other personal information. Antivirus with a privacy filter will prevent cyberhackers from accessing your sensitive data, ensuring that you securely shop and safely carry out your online banking.

4. File Backup

Work at home savvies who rely on computers to run their operation need an antivirus with file backup and data recovery to prevent the loss of their files, such as financial records. An accident or malicious cause may prevent you from accessing your files.

5. Child Filter

A child filter is a monitoring tool that comes in handy for parents who can’t see what their children are doing on the internet. A child filter blocks content that is offensive and inappropriate for your family/children.

6. Antispam

This feature comes in handy for when viruses sneak into your computer utilizing spam email and advertisement. An antivirus will block these unsolicited emails and ads.

7. Browser Toolbar

Accessing malicious websites can weaken your computer and expose it to spyware, hackers, ransomware, and other cyber threats. You run a risk of losing your data and files. An antivirus will limit and restrict access to unauthorized websites.

Antivirus Software Buying Tips

When purchasing antivirus software, most people have no clue what exactly to look out for. Below are a few tips to guide your purchase:

1. Make Sure it is Compatible With Your Device
When purchasing antivirus software, you need to consider the compatibility of the software with your computer. There are many versions of antivirus programs. Therefore, customers need to pay attention to the exact operating system. Failing to do that, you face the risk of wasting money on software that cannot work properly and protect your computer.

2. Jump on the Free Trial First
Consider investing in an antivirus program that offers a free trial, allowing you to know how the software works and covers your needs. Note that some free trials do not come with full features. Shop around for the one that will give you unrestricted access to what is available.

3. Read and Understand the Privacy Policy
Users need to be vigilant about whom they give their data to. Unfortunately, some manufactures of antivirus and computer security programs are sharers of sensitive and personal data. Read and understand companies’ privacy policies that you’re thinking of buying from, and do not hesitate to contact your provider to inquire about how your data is shared.

4. Check for Malware and Spyware Scans
In addition to protecting you against viruses, antivirus software tools lookout for spyware and malware scans that can compromise your system. A scanner for malware and spyware will guard you against hidden threats.

Antivirus FAQ

1. Which antivirus slows down the computer the least?

According to a report, antiviruses can slow down your computer by up to 50 percent. Among many tested home antivirus software, Kasperksy hardly slows down your system. However, Kaspersky’s products, Bitdefender and Qihoo 360 can cause low loading on Windows.

2. Is it worth paying for antivirus software?

A paid antivirus software comes with a guarantee, outstanding customer service, and increased security options and features. These features come with benefits like file backup, secure browser, anti-spam filter, anti-phishing protection, etc. These paid-for layers of protection can come in handy for less tech-savvy users.

3. Do you need antivirus for Windows 10?

Windows 10 comes with a built-in Windows Defender that serves as antivirus featuring a parental control system, helps with your computer health and general performance issues. However, it is not obsolete. Windows 10 offers below-average protection against malware. It fails to prevent Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUP) or adware, leading to data loss, invasion of privacy, and empty bank accounts. Most of the antivirus software at least gives you the option for malware protection.

4. Do you need virus protection?

Yes, you need antivirus protection (even in 2021). You might be careful and safe when browsing the internet, visiting and downloading from reputable websites. But consider this: you are never careful when you are browsing the internet completely unprotected. Antivirus programs aren’t necessarily to stop viruses, and there are all kinds of bad individuals out the who may want to steal and cause havoc by getting inside your computer. Having a paid or free antivirus software installed is ALWAYS better than nothing.

5. Can I use Windows Defender as my only antivirus?

Windows Defender is a built-in antivirus on Windows 10. It is much better than not using any antivirus at all. However, it may still leave you vulnerable to spyware and other types of malware that could be provided by additional antivirus software.

6. Are paid antivirus better than free?

Free and paid antivirus essentially provide the same general protection against viruses and malware attacks.

The difference is that paid antivirus software comes with additional features that may not come with free packages.

However, you can still grab a free antivirus from a reputable antivirus and security service provider that will provide you with average protection for your devices.

Final Verdict: Which is the Best Antivirus Software in 2021?

BullGuard is, without a doubt, the most powerful home antivirus software. It offers both home network and child protection – typically what every other person looking for a home antivirus would want. Additionally, BullGuard offers capable and robust parental protection that features content filtering and location tracking.

McAfee Total Protection touches all the bases for security. McAfee provides the best malware protection with minimal system performance. In addition to that, it has extensive privacy features, making it one of the best home antivirus software. The program is quick to install and easy to set up and an attractive dashboard and user interface. Overall, McAfee Total Protection is an outstanding home antivirus software with excellent value for money. Home users that need protection on multiple devices won’t regret purchasing it.