10 Best Antivirus Software for 2014

Threats to your personal information and computer are out there and they are real. We rely on our computers to work every day and we all value our privacy. Antivirus software gives your computer layers of protection and stops threats before they cause havoc. Today's 10 best antivirus software products protect seamlessly in the background allowing you to freely use your computer and giving you peace of mind. For simple comparison, the cost of each antivirus product listed below includes protection for 1 PC for a term of 1 year. Each vendor offers other plans which include multiple PC protection and longer protection terms (1, 2, or 3 years).

RANK

NAME

COST

MAIN FEATURES

RATING

REVIEWS

Best Choice Bitdefender Top 10 Best Antivirus $39.95
  • Defends against viruses and spyware
  • Halts ID theft attempts
  • Filters social networking links
  • Advance warning of risky websites
2 Kaspersky Top 10 Best Antivirus $39.95
  • Detects and repairs program vulnerabilities
  • Scans all websites and emails for malware
  • Rolls back most harmful malware activity
  • Hybrid Protection using the cloud
3 F-Secure Top 10 Best Antivirus $39.99
  • Instant Protection against new threats
  • Total Protection against viruses & spyware
  • Easy to install and simple to use
  • Protection against identity theft
4 Symantec Norton Top 10 Best Antivirus $49.99
  • Eliminates viruses & spyware
  • SONAR 4 behavioral protection
  • Insight 2.0 application protection
  • Network threat protection
5 AVG Top 10 Best Antivirus $39.99
  • Protective Cloud Network and Technology
  • Identity & Social Networking Protection
  • Smart Scanning and Gaming Mode
  • Scan malicious links in emails and websites
6 Avira Top 10 Best Antivirus $44.99
  • Detects latest know viruses, worms, Trojans
  • Halts unknown threats by tracking behavior
  • AHeAD Technology - inspect unfamiliar code
  • Rescue System - protect PC in emergency
7 Trend Micro Top 10 Best Antivirus $39.95
  • Block malicious websites and downloads
  • Block malicious links in emails or IMs
  • Fake Antivirus Cleaner
  • Efficient set and forget security
8 Bullguard Top 10 Best Antivirus $29.95
  • Signature & Behavior Based Detection
  • Customizable Spamfilter
  • Safe Browsing and Identity Protection
  • Multi-layered Protection and Security
9 Panda Top 10 Best Antivirus $39.99
  • Cloud-based collective intelligence protection
  • Secure Communication - IM & Networking
  • Powerful Intrusion Detection
  • Protection against known & unknown threats
10 ESET Top 10 Best Antivirus $39.99
  • Proactive Protection - real-time protection
  • Peak Performance - fast scanning
  • Simple Usability - custom settings
  • Emulation - malware isolated environment

Key Features and What To Look For

The threats to your computer and information are real. Viruses are more sophisticated and ever changing. Thankfully so is antivirus software. Viruses, spyware, Trojans, worms, and malware can not only damage your computer, but they can also steal your personal information and identity. It is essential that you have antivirus software installed on your computer and devices to protect yourself from these threats. Not all antivirus software is created equal so here are a few key features to look at when comparing the 10 best antivirus software products.

Price

While you want to be protected from all threats, you also don't want to break the bank buying this protection. Most antivirus software companies sell a comprehensive version of their software for about the same price. You can see from our reviews that the top 10 antivirus software products sell for about the same for 1 year of protection. Some companies offer deals if you sign up for multiple years of protection. This means that for the length of your license you get unlimited virus definition updates and software updates. This is very important as new viruses come out all the time. You want to make sure you have the most up-to-date version so you are protected from all the threats out there.

Features

This is what can set different antivirus software apart. A good feature set can make all the difference in your decision. The latest antivirus programs are becoming much more efficient at searching your computer for threats. You want to look for a program that runs fast and does not use a lot of system resources in the process. Some great features include rescue modes to recover your system in the event of a serious threat or infection, or environment isolation which could run your web browser in a protected environment to isolate your system from web based threats. Another nice feature you should look for is the ability to customize your scans and settings. The antivirus software you choose should allow you to set types of scans, set automatic scanning times and automatic updates, set files to exclude from the scan, and set what services to scan, such as your email and social networking sites.

Ease of Use

From installation to every day use, you want an antivirus software program that is easy to use and setup. The installation process should have some sort of wizard to guide you through the initial configuration process. It should be easy to change these settings later on, but the program should have the maximum protection level set by default when you install it. Once configured, the best antivirus software scans, updates, and eliminates threats in the background without you having to intervene or interrupting what you are doing. You can always set the program to inform you when threats are detected and have the option on how to eliminate them if you would like.

Protection Level

There are many more threats out there than just viruses. Trojans, worms, backdoors, spyware, malware, keyloggers, rootkits, and software vulnerabilities are just some of the threats that exist. Think about all your personal information stored on your computer or sent across the internet through emails, social networking sites, online banking, or online shopping. The best antivirus software programs protect you from all these threats and are able to catch them and prevent them from stealing your information before you even realize something is wrong. Most antivirus programs should be set by default to keep themselves up-to-date on the latest threats, so they should be able to detect all those threats as well. An antivirus program does not make our top 10 list if it is not effective at detecting viruses and threats.

Performance

So now you pick a antivirus software with all the features you want and a great amount of protection, the last thing you want is for that program to bring your computer to a halt while providing all that protection. Many antivirus programs have a real-time scanning feature that scans your computer in the background. While this is a great feature to detect threats as soon as they emerge, you want it to scan without you noticing it. If it slows down your computer to the point where you can't browse the web or view your email quickly, then the real-time scanning isn't worth it. The antivirus programs of today are much better at this than previous versions. Look for an antivirus program that can provide a great level of protection and do it seamlessly.

Customer Support

Antivirus software should be easy to install and use. They all come with manuals to help assist with configuration, installation, and issues that may arise. However, should you need more help or have a more specific question, it is reassuring to know that you have great customer support available from the antivirus software company. Most can be reached by phone, email, or live chat, and most have support knowledge bases and forums.