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Do you have any suggestions for choosing a security product?

Whilst AV-Comparatives does not recommend any specific products, we can offer guidelines for finding a product that’s right to you. Firstly, bear in mind that protection scores, whilst obviously important, are not the only thing to be considered. Most of the tested products achieve high protection rates. They can thus be regarded as providing acceptable protection. We would suggest considering other factors as well when choosing a product. These include performance (how much the product slows your computer down), false positives, ease of use, compatibility with your operating system/other software, configuration options, support, and price.

We suggest you start by looking at our most recent test report(s)* for the device/platform that you want to protect, i.e. Windows, macOS or Android. Our reports cover test results for protection, performance and false positive, as well as a user-interface review. For a second opinion on these factors, we suggest consulting the test results of other well-known test labs. A product that gets good results across different test-types by different labs is likely to be better than one that only scores highly in tests by one or two labs.

We then suggest that you install the most promising-looking program and try it out for a few days. There will be trial versions of paid programs available, so you can test them before you need to buy anything. You can use the harmless EICAR test file to see what sort of alerts the program shows when malware is detected. If you are happy with the program after trying it out, you can keep it, and pay a subscription if required. If not, uninstall it and try another product instead. If you are a non-expert user, it’s a good idea to ask an expert to help you with installing/uninstalling/testing programs.

* For consumer products for Microsoft Windows, there is an annual Summary Report. This is published at the end of each year, and includes the results of the different individual tests and a user-interface review. For business products for Microsoft Windows, we publish twice-yearly reports. These again include all the results of individual tests, and a usability report.