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Having a high-quality anti-virus is an essential part of your online life. Although there are numerous free anti-virus suites What Is The Best Free Antivirus Software? [MakeUseOf Poll] What Is The Best Free Antivirus Software? [MakeUseOf Poll] Because no matter how careful you are when using the Internet, it's always advisable to have antivirus software installed on your computer. Yes, even Macs. Read More available, if you’re a power user it might be more sensible to splash out for a paid version. They typically have better support, more features, and better detection rates.

There are several paid security suites to choose from, so how do you decide which is best? Luckily, many of them offer free trials.

Here we take a look at seven of the best online security suites that you can try for free…

ESET

We love ESET’s range of desktop security software. It typically ranks very highly on independent tests Compare Your Anti-Virus' Performance with These 5 Top Sites Compare Your Anti-Virus' Performance with These 5 Top Sites Which anti-virus software should use? Which is the "best"? Here we take a look at five of the best online resources for checking anti-virus performance, to help you make an informed decision. Read More and has a great reputation amongst IT professionals.

They have three suites available to home users – “NOD32 Antivirus”, “Smart Security”, and “ESET Multi-Device Security Pack”. Only the first two have free trials available.

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The cheaper of the two is NOD32 Antivirus. It will provide you with protection against viruses, spyware, exploits, and phishing attacks, and also includes a gamer mode and an advanced memory scanner. The Smart Security adds a firewall, anti-spam, parental controls, banking protection, and botnet protection.

The scanner is faster than a lot of its competitors, and AV-TEST gave it 6/6 for usability and 5.5/6 for performance. On the downside, the user interface is not as slick as some of its rivals.

Both offer a 30-day free trial. Once the trials expire NOD32 will cost you $39.99 per year, while Smart Security will set you back $59.99 per year.

Panda

Panda’s range of services Panda Cloud - The Antivirus Like No Other You Have Seen Panda Cloud - The Antivirus Like No Other You Have Seen Read More are considerably different from the other suites on this list – they are all full-featured cloud-based anti-virus suites. It means they have a much lower resource usage than traditional desktop suites, and can often complete scans a lot faster.

They offer three suites to their customers – all of which have free 30-day trials available.

The most basic service is “AntiVirus Pro”. It aims to let you “shop and browse online safely” and “protects you anytime, anywhere”. It costs $43.99 per year once the trial expires.

Panda’s second service is called “Internet Security”. It costs $54.99 per year and adds device management and family filters. The most expensive package is “Global Protection”. It will set you back $76.99 per year but will also include data protection to help shield your money and identity from cyber-criminals.

It’s worth noting that in March 2015, an update to Panda’s servers led to it wrongly identifying system files as viruses. It led to boot failures, DLL errors, and an inability for users to get online – quite a problem for a cloud-based service.

AVG

AVG is well-known for being part of the holy triumvirate of free security suites, along with Avast and Avira.

avg-pro

What is less well known is how good their paid version is. The free version only includes a full-featured anti-virus, link protection, and mobile protection, whereas the paid version adds an online shield to protect you from harmful downloads, a “data safe” to encrypt passwords, an anti-spam filter for your email, and an enhanced firewall.

The free trial lasts 30 days, and thereafter the service will cost you $59.99 per year.

Norton Security

Surely we’re not talking about the resource-hogging granddad of security suites? Well, yes and no.

We are talking about that Norton, but it’s no longer afflicted by the same problems that caused it to have one of the worst reputations in the industry five years ago.

They have three packages for home users – “Norton Security Standard” ($44.99 per year), “Norton Security Deluxe” ($49.99 per year), and “Norton Security Premium” ($69.99 per year). Only the Deluxe and Premium versions have free trials.

The Deluxe package offers anti-virus, identity protection, and protection for multiple devices. Premium adds parental controls, automatic backup of files and photos, and most impressively – 25 GB of cloud storage Free Cloud Storage Upgrades: Grab 100GB of OneDrive & 2GB of Google Drive Free Cloud Storage Upgrades: Grab 100GB of OneDrive & 2GB of Google Drive Cloud storage is getting cheaper by the day, but nothing beats downright free. Some of the top services have come up with a few schemes that will raise your online gigabytes without spending a dime. Read More .

The drawback to this storage is that it’s only compatible with PCs. If you have a Mac, iOS, or Android device (which Norton covers from a security perspective), you won’t be able to use it to share data between them.

Norton is joint-third in all-round performance on AV-TEST, scoring 6/6 for protection, 5/6 for performance, and 5.5/6 for usability.

Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky’s products are consistently ranked number one on AV-TEST; in the most recent August 2015 tests it scored 6/6 for performance and usability, and 5.5/6 for protection. You can be sure it’s money well spent.

They have three security suites for home users, all of which offer a 30-day free trial. “Essential PC Protection” costs $59.99 and only includes threat protection and a performance optimizer, “Internet Security” costs the same amount but also includes identity protection and parental controls, while “Total Security” costs $69.99 but adds digital asset protection, multi-device protection, and password management and encryption.

Trend Micro

Trend Micro is similar to Panda – a lot of their scanning and protection is done online via the cloud.

They have five packages, all of which offer free trials. The cheapest of the five is “Antivirus + Security 10” and costs $34.95 per year. It only includes anti-virus protection, ransomware protection, and phishing protection.

At the other end of the scale is “Premium Security 10”. It costs $69.95 per year but will cover you for five devices, includes online storage scans, mobile tools, privacy tools, and a host of system optimization kits.

For the price, this is one of the most full-featured and cost effective options on the market.

F-Secure

If you’re conscious about the recent government spying scandals that have hit the headlines around the world, F-Secure could be the best product for you. In 2011 they were one of the first anti-virus suites that ruled out the possibility of leaving “back doors” for agencies Is Your Antivirus Tracking You? You'd Be Surprised At What It Sends Is Your Antivirus Tracking You? You'd Be Surprised At What It Sends Read More to use.

In a statement at the time, they said the following:

“F-Secure Corporation would like to make known that we will not leave such backdoors to our F-Secure Anti-Virus products, regardless of the source of such tools. We have to draw a line with every sample we get regarding whether to detect it or not. This decision-making is influenced only by technical factors, and nothing else, but within the applicable laws and regulations, in our case meaning EU laws.

We will also be adding detection of any program we see that might be used for terrorist activity or to benefit organized crime. We would like to state this for the record, as we have received queries regarding whether we would have the guts to detect something obviously made by a known violent mafia or terrorist organization. Yes we would.”

They offer two products for desktop users, and like the other suites on this lists, they both offer 30-day trials.

“F-Secure Anti-Virus” costs $29.99 per year, while “F-Secure Internet Security” costs $49.99.

In addition to the usual features, the latter also includes parental controls Check Out The New Windows 10 Parental Control Options Check Out The New Windows 10 Parental Control Options Windows 10 parental control reports offer details of your child's online behaviour and activity. Some parents are horrified, whilst others welcome it. Let's look at how to use these settings to secure your computer. Read More , customer support, banking protection, and browsing protection.

Which Do You Use?

Do you use a paid anti-virus suite? If so, which one? Would you recommend it to your fellow readers?

Perhaps you’ve had a bad experience with one? Or you cancelled your subscription for another reason?

Whatever your situation, we’d love to hear from you. You can leave us your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below.

  1. miffeniqax-8329
    October 27, 2015 at 10:27 am

    The best security suite, completely free is "360 Total Security", bitdefender and Avira engines are included.

  2. Keras Daniyan
    October 27, 2015 at 6:42 am

    I've been using Kaspersky for over 2 years now. There's nothing much to mention. It's definitely not a user friendly. There will be ample of threat Notifications now & then. Scanning devices is usually takes a long while. Auto update is there just for the sake. We always need to do it by ourselves. I would not recommend it to someone who totally depends on pcs or laptop whole day. I've been hearing great reviews on Eset. I'm gonna try it on my laptop real soon.

  3. Pradip Shah
    October 27, 2015 at 1:22 am

    I have been using Eset AV on 4 of my devices for the past 6 years and have never had a problem of any kind. In fact it is so lightweight that it runs well even on my over 6 year old 1 GB Asus netbook without slowing it down. Signature updates are small, fast and frequent. I know of some of the ones mentioned above that need memory upgrades and need 500 mb on their own.

  4. Eric Jay Palomar
    October 26, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    ESET FTW!

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