Types of Antivirus Software: What Works Best

August 15, 2019 • Devin Partida


Staying safe online is a hefty challenge. Thousands of new viruses are developed each day, unleashed upon the unknowing digital world. There are a lot of options out there, and it can be hard to know what to choose based on the different types of antivirus software.

If you’re interested in learning about the different types of antivirus software and what works best, check out the 10 recommendations below.

1. Norton Antivirus

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Android and iOS

Norton Antivirus Plus is a yearly subscription with features like real-time threat protection, smart firewalls, secure cloud back-up and a safe password manager. The brand has worldwide recognition as a reliable Antivirus software and is suitable for beginners to intermediate level. On the other hand, users say scans significantly impact computer performance.

2. Avast Antivirus

Operating System: Windows, Mac and Android

This virus protection software is comprehensive, easy to use and completely free. Backed by machine-learning, Avast can scan for performance issues, detect malware, securely store passwords. It can also switch into Do Not Disturb Mode, which blocks annoying pop-ups when gaming or watching movies. While there are paid-for components, the free version of this software offers everything needed to stay safe — plus, it doesn’t slow your computer down.

3. Adaware Antivirus

Operating System: Windows

Consider Adaware Antivirus your first line of defense against cyber threats like malware and hackers. This free software blocks and eliminates viruses, ransomware, spyware and more. All files are scanned before downloading to prevent damage. Dangerous websites and annoying ads are automatically blocked. However, advanced users may find the free features too limited for their needs.

4. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus

Operating System: Windows, Mac and Android

Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020 is an all-inclusive security package that protects against cyber threats like worms, Trojans, viruses, rootkits, spyware and much more. Features include behavioral analysis, phishing protection, automatic scanning and secure file storage. While ideal for the average person, advanced users may want more control from their antivirus software, such as the ability to schedule scans.

5. Trend Micro Antivirus

Operating System: Windows and Mac

Trend Micro Antivirus gives you peace of mind when surfing the web. It blocks malicious websites attempting to steal personal data and guards your email against spam. With an interface that’s intuitive and easy to use, you can stay safe against e-threats like viruses, spyware and ransomware. However, some users have mentioned issues with over-detection, where the software flags secure, trustworthy websites as unsafe.

6. VoodooShield

Operating System: Windows

According to VoodooShield, traditional antivirus software can’t keep up with the multitude of viruses and malware created each day. Their software, however, is comprised of three components — a whitelisting a lock, a machine-learning decision engine and multi-engine blacklist scan. When switched into ON Mode, all running software is analyzed in real-time, blocking threats as soon as they appear.

7. Panda Dome Essential

Operating System: Windows, Mac and Android

Panda Dome’s antivirus software works on a number of devices, including smartphones. Since everything operates in the cloud, scans are quick and won’t slow down device performance. Threats like malware and spyware are detected and removed in real-time. You can also use the software — plus a USB drive — to create a free data recovery kit. Be aware that the free version of this software, as opposed to the premium, contains ads.

8. Webroot SecureAnywhere

Operating System: Windows and Mac

This subscription antivirus software is fully cloud-based, able to complete scans quickly without bogging down performance. Webroot securely stores usernames, passwords and other personal data, keeping it safe from keyloggers and spyware. Websites, emails and downloaded files are scanned in real-time to prevent phishing attempts. Many claim the software’s interface is not user-friendly, though an experienced user may have no issue.

9. Kaspersky

Operating System: Windows, Mac, Android and iOS

Kaspersky is a well-known and trusted software that is simple to set up and use, ideal for beginner to intermediate levels. It blocks viruses, ransomware, cryptolockers and spyware without hindering device speed. Plus, the software encrypts transactions and blocks websites from tracking browsing history. While this software is well-rounded, advanced users may find the features lacking.

10. Sophos Home

Operating system: Windows, Mac

With Sophos Home, you can protect up to 10 computers in your home from phishing attempts, viruses, bots, Trojans, potentially unwanted apps (PUAs) and much more. Files, photos and passwords are encrypted to prevent ransom attempts. With deep-learning AI, Sophos Home can detect new types of malware before it has the chance to execute. Advanced users may find the software offers limited control, including the inability to schedule scans.

Different Types of Antivirus Software

If you want to keep your computer — and all of your personal information — safe, antivirus software is a must. There are thousands of options on the market, some free and others paid. Check out the different types of antivirus software above to determine what works best for you.