25 best antivirus for PC and laptop UK: 2015's best antivirus for protection, performance value, and best free antivirus
The best antivirus programs you can buy or download for your PC or laptop in the UK in 2015
By Matt Egan | PC Advisor | 01 June 15
Avast produces an excellent free AV offering, giving nobody an excuse to lack protection on a PC. This commercial product is not quite such good value, lacking some of the features we've come to expect of premium suites. Backup and PC tune-up are missing or require an extra purchase.
Scraping an AV-Test Certification may put some people off AhnLab V3 Internet Security 8.0, but standards in malware protection are now very high. We wonder if its scanning should be more thorough too. In its favour it's very easy to setup and use. For general-purpose home protection it's definitely better than having nothing, but there are more secure alternatives available at similar and lower cost.
ESET NOD32 Antivirus is a sound antivirus product with some useful extras, though it’s a bit surprising anti-spam isn't included in the product. The software is easy to use and doesn't disrupt the normal function of a PC it’s running on. Technically, it's a strong contender, without being in the front rank.
ESET Smart Security 8 is an efficient IS suite, though it doesn't have many of the extras which are now often standard issue. It's good at what it does and from our tests has a fairly light touch.
Webroot's utilitarian approach may appeal to those who shun ostentatious software, and it's undoubtedly useful to have a product which can protect up to five devices at a time. That those devices can be based on a number of different platforms is also a benefit. The problem with SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete 2014 is the question mark over its ability to do the business spotting malware.
It’s not possible to compare Webroot’s offering with the others in terms of AV efficacy, as we have no test results, but the company’s claim to scan fast and leave a light impression looks fair.
Avira Internet Security Suite 2015 is a good, solid IS suite with useful extras in the System Speedup app. Technically excellent, it loses a little for lack of any form of backup, but is still a good choice.
Avira Free Antivirus 2014 is easy to set up and use and it's good to see free mobile support and backup, as well as the core AV functions. It's not the best free protection available though, with both AVG and Avast! scoring higher in test lab results.
Panda Global Protection 2015 is a good option, if you need to protect a range of different devices from Windows PCs to Macs and Android machines. Not quite as generous as McAfee's ‘as-many-as-you-like' offering and a point off the perfect score in AV-Test's testing, the Panda product costs £20 less, too and is particularly easy to use.
Overall, Trend Micro Titanium Internet Security is a great choice. This security suite boasts excellent performance, a quick installation process, a user-friendly interface, and speedy scans. Its settings pane is a tad confusing, but that’s a minor issue considering the protection you’ll be getting.
Since Microworld produces IS software for Mac and Android, as well as PC, it would be good to have cross-platform support in this suite, but given the asking price for a 3-PC licence (you can buy 1, 2, 3 and 5 PC variants), it's still very good value. It's quick, AV-Test shows it to be effective and its no-nonsense interface is refreshing.
The Usability score of 5.5 reflects a low total of five false positives, during system scans and the use of legitimate applications. The 4.5 figure for a Performance score shows a noticeable resource hit while running regular computing tasks, like downloading and installing software.
With excellent protection and decent performance at a good price, we like G Data TotalProtection 2014.
AV-Test gave the Norton code 17.0/18.0, a very good result. Broken down, this gives 5.5/6.0 in both Protection and Usability and a full 6.0/6.0 in Performance, even if this wasn’t reflected in our own tests of PC slowdown.
G-Data Internet Security 2015 is relatively inexpensive for a full-featured security suite. It's not the most successful at beating out web threats, but it is sufficiently good to be worth installing. A decent purchase, if not the best.
A three-device, full protection IS suite for under £50 is good value and when that includes cover on all the major platforms, it should be flexible enough for most. Kaspersky Total Security 2015’s technical strength can’t be faulted, with only Avira Anti Virus Pro matching it in the AV-Test group.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium sits beside your traditional IS suite, filling in any gaps in its defences. It's small and efficient, quick to scan and appears to offer extra protection against sneakier security threats. It represents an inexpensive addition to the arsenal of software needed to keep your computing safe.
If you run a couple of home Windows PCs, a Mac, a tablet and a smartphone, or a similar combination, McAfee LiveSafe 2015 is an economical way of protecting them all and providing anti-theft facilities on the mobile devices. While the feature set of the IS component of the package may lack back-up and PC tune-up, the power of its AV protection can't be denied.
We like Bullguard Internet Security 2014 a lot. It's AV and protection provision is robust and well automated, but it's also one of the most comprehensive suites we look at each year. Combining IS, backup and tune-up seems to us the ideal approach and this one suite handles all these issues in a sensible and easily controllable way. It's also one of the most economically-priced solutions out there.
Although the Performance score, which shows the resource hit, is a bit low, this wasn’t reflected in our own, admittedly simpler, test. The Protection result was pretty good on recent threats, though it dropped down to around 90 percent on zero-day attacks.
With such a good performance and the lower asking price, Trend Internet Security 2015 represents very good value, even though it misses out on certain extras offered by some of its competition.
Bitdefender is consistently among the best IS suites we’ve tested and also provides the best AV protection, according to AV-Test. There are a few small chinks in its armour, though. The syncing process, by which it backs up designated files and folders is by no means clear and 2 GB of storage for a 3-PC package is downright mean. We’d want to check why the anti-theft feature places us in South Yorkshire, too.
Avast Free Antivirus 2015 is one of the best free security products you can install. It offers a surprising range of free goodies, including application and browser app analysis and, separately, an excellent Android suite, covering AV and anti-theft. A better than average AV-Test rating completes a very impressive picture.
This is one of the very best AV suites available, in terms of outright protection against malware. It's also very good at not throwing up false warnings, but there are other products offering more auxiliary modules for the money.
Offering excellent value with 10 licences to cover all your devices, Norton Security with Backup also offers a strong feature set and very good protection from viruses and other malware. Recommended.