The choice of security suites and anti-virus programs has grown enormously over the years. The additional problem is that the web is also littered with reviews of software but no real indication of whether the reviewer has links with the software vendor or is getting referral for software sales.
As such I have tried to pull together the results of ten seemingly independent reviews and created a table of scores to decide which applications are getting the best scores consistently. Higher the score the better (so 10 points means it was the top performer, 1pt the tenth best, 0pts means it was not in the top ten).
My expectation was that Norton and Kaspersky would be the top two but as you can see from the results I was wrong and there was a clear top performer in Bitdefender.
For the record the source reviews are from PC Advisor, PC Mag, Dennis Labs, Top 10 Reviews, Toms Guide, Internet Security Reviews, Compared Reviewed, iWebguard, Maximum PC and from my own experiences at LITES PC when supporting clients. All of the reviews can be found online with the exception of my own which appears here only.
Based on my past experience and in reading articles for the past two years or so I have been recommending Norton or Kaspersky but I will now be adding Bitdefender to that list. Another surprise was how poorly McAfee faired with two reviewers not even including it in their top ten.
Of the free anti-virus solutions there was very little between the main three AVG, Avast and Avira.
Hope this is of some use.