When it comes to antivirus comparisons, you have a large playing field that did not exist a few years ago. Today, there are plenty of antivirus products that offer varying degrees of protection. In addition, you also get to choice between free-based and fee-based antivirus products. So really, the ball is literally in your court and how you choose to play is entirely up to you. While some view fee-based software as a total rip-off and would go for a free product any day and any time, there are also plenty of good reasons why some decide to take out their credit cards and make a subscription to a paid antivirus software. They both have good reasons for this and I will tell you why in a little while.
When doing antivirus comparisons, take into account that there are about 4 basic levels of products on the market today: paid, free, suites and premium suites. Free software provides minimum level of protection and will usually detect most virus signatures in circulation today. So for a less hostile environment, like one that is not connected to the internet, then free antivirus software probably makes sense. Free products are not really free, so expect that there will be some advertisements that will keep popping up asking you to upgrade. This is the catch for “free” stuff.
Away from the freebies and into the world of paid merchandise. What is so good about paying for anything? When it comes antivirus products, sometimes paying is a good thing. Paid products will usually be feature-packed with such tools as parental controls, firewalls and identity theft protection. Thus when doing antivirus comparisons between free and paid software, take note of these additional features. Remember too that free products rarely get technical support and its entirely up to you to figure out how to use the software. Paid software comes with technical support that can either be phone support or email support. Whichever the case, there will always be some tech savvy person on the other end of the line to resolve your problems. For free users, if they are fortunate, they might just have a knowledge base or forum where they can look for help, otherwise there is usually nothing beyond that.
While doing antivirus comparisons, you will ultimately discover that paid antivirus products do a slightly better job at detecting malware than their freebie counterparts. Research has shown that this difference is as much as 10%. On the other hand, free antivirus products have slightly improved speeds. Given how close the 2 classes of products are, antivirus comparisons is something you need to take seriously and at the end of the day, make a decision based on your needs and what you want out of the chosen product.