These antivirus recommendations are personal opinion based on my experience. I will list many common ones below in alphabetical order. This post will occasionally be updated. The last update was March 17, 2015.
One important note: Regardless of which antivirus program you use, you should never ever use automatic renewal. This will prevent accidental renewals in case you want to use a different antivirus program. Make the company earn your business; don’t be loyal to any one product.
- Avast — This is a pretty good program, especially the pay version. The free version is decent too. If you are a cheapskate then I recommend this over AVG free.
- AVG — A lot of people love the free version of AVG. For certain people, AVG is probably good enough. Detection is okay, not great. I do not recommend this product but you could do worse.
- Bitdefender — This program has excellent detection, but it has a heavy footprint. The footprint is almost as bad as Kaspersky.
- Eset — This is still my personal favorite and has been for several years. It has excellent detection and has a light footprint. Once installed, your work is done. You don’t need to do any scheduled scans because the real-time detection is as good as the one from a manual scan. It is not perfect. Some malware it cannot remove. You have to download a removal program on their website for these. It is more expensive than the others I’ve used.
- F-Secure — I do not have a very good opinion of this. Although I have not seen it in a while. The last time I saw it, it really slowed down the computer. I don’t know how well the detection is.
- Kaspersky — This antivirus program does a good job at detection. But it has a heavy footprint; it really slows down your computer. You have to be careful because sometimes a debugging mode is enabled and it will start generating several large log files, and won’t delete any of them. This can cause you to run out of disk space fast.
- McAfee — Terrible, just terrible. It would have trouble finding water standing knee-deep in the ocean. Worse, it has a heavy footprint. Not as much as Kaspersky, but close. McAfee was bought by Intel but surprisingly the product has not improved at all despite Intel’s deep pockets.
- Microsoft (Security Essentials) — This program is okay at detection but has a heavy footprint and is slow to remove viruses. I do not recommend this product.
- Norton/Symantec — A decent program, but not great. Detection is better than McAfee but worse than Eset or Kaspersky. Norton 360 is a pretty sorry product. But the other programs are decent. The main problem with Norton is that the program itself is buggy. If you make it a year without it blocking a program you use or requiring a reinstall, you are doing well.
- Panda — Not enough experience to form an opinion.
- Sophos — Not enough experience to form an opinion.
- Trend Micro — At one time Trend Micro was really good. Not anymore. Detection has become mediocre. I no longer recommend it.
- Vipre — Not enough experience to form an opinion.