Kevin R. Smith & Josh Christofferson
Updated: March 3, 2017

Being antivirus software reviewers, we get to discover some great products. That's a fact.

As you'll see in a second, in putting together this year's 10 Best List, we looked at all kinds of great software for doing lots of different things.

To make this list, a program has to have three things, no matter what category it's in:
  1. effectiveness
  2. good support
  3. good value
Here are the categories:

Antivirus Software Other Software

So, without any more song-and-dance, here are our top picks of the year.


    SCORE: 95%

    VIPRE Box
  • Original Price:
    Discount Price:
    (1 PC / 1 Year)
    Works with:

VIPRE Antivirus Software 2016

  • In business 23 years (1992)
  • Excellent realtime protection
  • Low resource usage
  • 100% free technical support
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • American phone tech support

Not long ago, while most companies were making crappy, bloated, slow antivirus software, the new kid on the block, VIPRE Antivirus, came to town.

Like an ace rookie pitcher in the big leagues, it took a couple of years for the competitors to figure VIPRE out.

Fast forward in time, and VIPRE is still our #1 pick for antivirus software.

And, even though some competitors have caught up with VIPRE's speed and light weight, they still haven't figured out how to match its overall effectiveness.

On top of that, VIPRE is one of only two companies in our top 10 antivirus software this year with free U.S.-based phone support.

They even help with virus removal for free. Something almost no antivirus company does.

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  • VIPRE Logo
    SCORE: 95%

    VIPRE Internet Security Box
  • Original Price:
    Discount Price:
    (1 PC / 1 Year)
    Works with:

VIPRE Internet Security 2016

  • Same virus protection as VIPRE Antivirus plus extra security
  • In business 23 years (1992)
  • Excellent realtime protection
  • Low resource usage
  • Only program to score 100% in our firewall tests
  • 100% Free technical support
  • 30-day money back guarantee
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • American phone tech support

Like its sibling, the basic VIPRE Antivirus, VIPRE Internet Security is an impressive product.

It starts with exactly the same antivirus protection as the basic version but adds some important security features including a software firewall and a malicious website filter.

The software firewall is a bit like a moat around your PC, keeping the hackers and bad guys out. It protects your PC and data in ways basic antivirus software just can't.

Then add to that the malicious website filter that helps prevent phishing attacks and identity theft.

These features more than anything else are what differentiate an Internet Security Suite from a basic antivirus program.

At just $10 more than the basic version, it's well worth the price of admission.

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  • ESET Logo
  • ESET Cyber Security Pro Box

  • Price: $59.95
    (1 Mac / 1 Year)
    Works with:

ESET Cyber Security Pro

  • Best-of-class protection against Mac OS X viruses
  • Automatic protection against USB-based threats
  • Also detects Windows-based viruses
  • Excellent firewall
  • Free U.S.based phone support

We get some questions so often, we get tired of hearing 'em. "What's the best antivirus software for the Mac?" "What's the best antivirus for OS X?" "What's the best protection for an Apple?"

Alright, already! Time for us to put up or shut up.

Four words: ESET Cyber Security Pro.

Unlike some Mac antivirus software that's just window dressing, this product actually works.

It's got great protection against Mac viruses and other malware and a nifty firewall that's a heckuva lot better than the stock OS X one.

In typical ESET fashion, it automatically includes protection against viruses on USB devices and free U.S.-based phone support.

Oh, and yes, it also detects Windows-based viruses/malware, too, so you won't transfer a Windows-based virus to an unsuspecting PC-using friend or colleague.

If you're a Mac user, this is your software.

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  • Bitdefender Logo
  • Bitdefender Mobile Box

  • Price: $14.95
    (1 Device / 1 Year)
    Works with:

Bitdefender Mobile
Security 2016

  • Very high malware detection rates
  • Application Privacy Scaner
  • Device locator / anti-theft
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use

Androids are second only to Windows in the number of real, in-the-wild viruses threats for them.
The main threats today are keyloggers and password stealers, but there are also viruses that can secretly enable your camera and microphone, too.

The problem is this: people still think of smart phones as phones that let you do all these other great things like send texts, read emails, browse the web, reserve a car ride, and play games.

The reality is these devices are computers that also let you make phone calls.

And, computers get viruses. Period.

The answer? Bitdefender Mobile.

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  • LastPass Logo
  • RoboForm

  • Original Price:
    Discount Price:
    (1 PC / 1 Year)
    Works with:


  • Securely stores all your passwords in one place
  • Syncs passwords between all your devices
  • Secure password generator
  • Full-feature form filler

The biggest problems with passwords are:
  1. making complex passwords
  2. remembering them
  3. adhering to the arbitrary rules different sites have
Regular readers of our newsletter know we have a how-to guide for making good, strong, memorable passwords.

Even with our guide, it's still not as good as being able to create highly secure passwords and not having to remember them at all.

The best part about using RoboForm is that the passwords can be synced between all your devices: PC, Mac, Droid, iPhone, iPad.

OK, scratch that, the best part about RoboForm is its secure password generator.

OK, scratch that, too. The best part is it's just $9.95.

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  • LastPass Logo
  • Fix-It Utilities Box

  • Original Price:
    Discount Price:
    (5 PCs / 1 Year)
    Works with:

Fix-It Utilities 15

  • Fixed Highest % of Registry Errors
  • Full-Featured Disk Defragmenter
  • Excellent Antivirus Protection
  • Best Overall Performance Improvement
  • 90-day money-back guarantee
    (industry best)

"What should I do to clean up and repair my Windows Registry?" is one of the two or three most commonly asked questions we get.

Since we're trusted by so many for our antivirus reviews, people look to us for advice with things like this, too.

The answer: Fix-It Utilities Pro.

To answer this question, we looked at all kinds of different software, including iolo, pcTools, RegCure Pro, and Norton Utilities.

In every test but one Fix-It was the hands down winner, fixing registry errors, improving our PC's performance measurably, and even getting Word, Excel, and our web browsers to start faster.

Oh, and it comes with a license for 5 PCs, too.

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  • NovaStor Logo
  • NovaBackup Box

  • Original Price:
    Discount Price:
    (3 PCs)
    Works with:

NovaBackup PC

  • Backup single files or your whole PC
  • Local, online, and file sync backups
  • Easy to install (and use)
  • Fast backup speeds
  • Completely secure
  • Free U.S.-based phone support

The most common reasons why people don't have backups are:
  1. It's too hard.
  2. It's too expensive.
  3. I don't have the time.
  4. I know I really should, but...
No matter what your excuse might be, NovaBackup makes the excuses just that: excuses.

Whether its ease of use, U.S.-based support, or speed, you're looking for, NovaBackup is a breakthrough in every way.

Aside from it being 4x faster than the nearest competitor, we also love that it lets you backup to an external hard drive, to the secure NovaStor cloud, or both.

(Most competitors do one or the other but not both.)

Just as impressive is its flexibility, allowing backups of individual files or your whole PC.

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  • Awareness Technologies Logo
  • WebWatcher Box

  • Original Price:
    Discount Price:
    (1 Device / 1 Year)
    Works with:

WebWatcher Parental
Control Software

  • Full remote access to monitored events
  • Records both websites visited and search history
  • Takes automatic screenshots or mini-movies of activity
  • Logs everything typed: chats, emails, Facebook & more
  • Records PCs, Macs, iPhones, and Androids

When companies bolt parental controls onto their antivirus products it bloats the antivirus software and gives parents a false sense of security because those bolted-on parental controls are second-rate at best.

The smarter option is dedicated, dyed-in-the-wool parental control software.

Concerned about things like "beer" or "weed"? Edgy about cyberbullies or about them being approached by a child predator?

WebWatcher can keep an eye on what they're doing on their PCs, phones, and tablets.

It provides full remote access to what they're doing and saying—and to whom—and can even be setup to take screenshots or make mini-movies anytime certain things appear onscreen.

This means (unlike with other software) you can keep an eye on them from anywhere with Internet access—even if it's just down the hall.

We also liked its fully-hidden, "tamper-proof" operation; unless you tell your kids it's running, they won't know it's there.

The downside? At $99.95, it's pricey. Then again, it also gives parents the full picture of activities online and offline.

There's just nothing else like it.


  • VIPRE Box

  • From: $6.49/mo
    (2 concurrent devices)

IP Vanish Personal VPN

  • Anonymize Your IP
  • Mask Your Physical Location
  • Browse Anonymously
  • Protect Your Identity
  • Encrypt Public WiFi Connections
  • Unblock Websites
  • Prevent Eavesdropping
  • Thwart Blackhat Hackers

VPNs are the single most important piece of security software most people aren't using.

Personal VPN software puts you in control of your physical presence online like nothing else, in fact they're the only practical way to protect it.

VPNs also protect you from snoops, hackers, and prying eyes—especially important when you're on a WiFi connection.

Among other things, VPNs also help you access content restricted to certain places.

And on top of that, they're inexpensive, reliable, and easy to use.

If you haven't seen it, here's our complete report on personal VPN software.

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  • GlassWire Logo
  • WebWatcher Box

  • From: $49
    (1 PC / Lifetime)
    Works with:

GlassWire Firewall &
Network Monitor

  • Complete inbound and outbound network monitoring and blocking
  • Camera and microphone access monitoring
  • Full WiFi network monitoring
  • One-click total network "lockdown mode"

There's firewall software, and then there's firewall software.

GlassWire is interesting.

It has all the usual do-dads you'd expect, namely the blocking of malicious activity coming into or leaving your PC. That's pretty ordinary.

It's the other stuff is what makes it neat.

For one, GlassWire monitors your PC's camera and microphone and alerts you anytime anything tries to access them.

Next, it's also keeping an eye on anyone else on the same WiFi network as you and monitoring your bandwidth use.

Why care? Seeing strange patterns in when you're using bandwidth can help detect a hidden virus or other malware.

What else? How 'bout a "Lockdown Mode." Leaving your PC for a while? Why not lock down the network access? Nothing in. Nothing out.

All in, it's an incredibly useful piece of software that's full of features you can't find anywhere else.

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