What's the best antivirus software, and how can you tell? When we review security software at Download.com, we do hands-on testing, looking at everything from user-friendliness to virus eradication, but we also look at test results from independent institutes like AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. These labs do not produce their own antivirus software and perform rigorous, objective tests on security suites from all major manufacturers. Here are the consumer security apps that recently won the labs' seal of approval:

AV-Test logo

AV-Test awards

Best protection against malware: Trend Micro Internet Security ($39.95)

Best performance (speed): Kaspersky Internet Security ($79.95)

Best usability: Avira Antivirus Pro ($44.99)

Best Android security app: Qihoo 360 Security (free)

Best cleanup tool: Kaspersky Virus Removal Tool (free)

Best repair tool: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (free)

In addition, this week at the Mobile World Congress, AV-Test gave Norton Mobile Security (free) its Innovation Award for telling Android users whether an app is risky before they download it from Google Play.

AV-Comparatives lobo

AV-Comparatives awards

Product of the Year (and gold awards for Real-World Protection, Best Overall Speed, Proactive Malware Detection, and Malware Removal): Bitdefender

Top rated for 2014:

AVG (and gold for Malware Removal)



ESET (and gold for Lowest False Positives)



Kaspersky (and gold for File Detection and Best Overall Speed)

As always, remember that malware constantly mutates, so it's important not only to download highly rated software but also to update it regularly. Keep all your software -- not just the security apps -- up-to-date for the best protection.

Julie is managing editor of Download.com and has been cooking up tech editorial since 1996.