When looking for a cheap but feature-rich antivirus, Emsisoft Anti-Malware is worth checking out. With great value plans and features like file protections and Android support, this antivirus might be the one for you, so long as you don’t need the best protection out there. Find out more details by reading this Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home review.
There are many options for free antivirus software, which you can read about in our best free antivirus guide. However, Emsisoft Anti-Malware fits neatly between a free antivirus and most paid options.
With more features than most free software, but at a lower price than most paid antivirus options, Emsisoft has made a solution for anyone who wants a middle ground between cost and effectiveness. However, there are also reasons why Emsisoft Anti-Malware doesn’t make it onto our best antivirus software guide.
In this Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home review, we will go into what makes this antivirus a great value option, but also why it isn’t always the best antivirus out there.
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Remote management
- Windows & Android support
- Behavior blocker
- Browser protection
- File guard
- Ransomware protection
- Good support
- No macOS or Linux support
- No webcam protection
- No microphone protection
- Old lab results
- Limited devices
Alternatives for Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home
Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home has its major features in four sections: “protection,” “scan & clean,” “logs” and “settings.” You can also access its quarantine area from the sidebar.
The “protection” screen has three main security tools: behavior blocker, file guard and web protection. First is the behavior blocker, which can monitor or block different processes. You can also choose whether or not you wish to be notified when the behavior blocker removes threats.
Anti-ransomware is built into the behavior blocker. This means you’ll be protected from ransomware when it’s enabled, but you can’t set different settings for each. Additionally, if you turn off the behavior blocker, a warning appears in the logs.
Protection from ransomware is common in modern antivirus products, so it’s good to see it here. Without tools like anti-ransomware, you may be more vulnerable to new threats. If you want to learn more, check out our breakdown of what ransomware is.
The “file guard” tool is the real-time protection in Emsisoft Anti-Malware. The “file guard” tab is where you can set how it treats threats. When left in the default settings, this antivirus struggles with malware detection, but selecting the more thorough protection options fix this.
Browser security options are available in the “web protection” tab. Unwanted hosts can be blocked with this tool, and you can set notification settings for when it finds malicious sites. Websites can also be whitelisted, which means they’d be allowed, even if the antivirus thinks it’s malware. However, it can get confusing with both malicious and whitelisted sites in the same list.
The “scan & clean” screen gives the standard options for various types of scans, as well as the option to schedule scans for regular protection. This is also where you will find the option to shut down the computer after a scan is complete or to quarantine all of the detected threats.
The “emergency kit maker” tool is also in this section. This allows a lightweight version of the antivirus to be temporarily moved onto and protect other computers. A portable antivirus isn’t a common feature, so this is a big win for Emsisoft.
This emergency kit has two primary uses. The first is that it can protect any new computer, even if your package allows only one computer to be protected. Although it requires keeping the removable disk drive plugged into the computer, this does give basic protection to machines that may contain malware.
Another use of the emergency kit is as a backup, should your main antivirus become infected and unable to protect the computer. A premade portable antivirus can assist in cleaning up the malware before you try other recovery techniques.
Next is the “logs” screen, which contains the actions of the antivirus. You can search through the logs by filtering or sorting either by action or by component. This makes it simple to see what has been going on at a glance, while not omitting any data.
At the end is the “settings” screen. As you would expect, this is where you can find most of the settings. Many of them are standard, like setting up an administrator password. However, Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home does give some unique settings, such as being able to choose which notifications appear, how long they last and where on the screen they show up.
Some features of this antivirus are nice to have and are not universal. Having a dark mode option and an automatically enabled “self-protection” function — when the antivirus actively protects itself from malware — are great features to have available.
However, the lack of bigger font sizes, even when resizing the window, and no ability to simultaneously delete all quarantined files makes using Emsisoft Anti-Malware slightly worse than a more feature-rich option, such as AVG. Read more in our AVG AntiVirus review.
Emsisoft also hasn’t made a version for Mac users, which limits the use of protecting multiple computers through one device. If you need an antivirus for your Mac, check out our best antivirus for Mac guide.
Emsisoft Anti-Malware also has business and enterprise products for companies that want to protect their Windows computers. These business plans have dedicated support personnel and priority with the live chat service. There is also greater integration with the online management product that Emsisoft provides.
Emsisoft Cloud Console does work with the Home version, but it doesn’t contain anything important that the desktop UI lacks. Unless you need to scan remotely or control multiple computers from one device, there isn’t much need to use it. However, one feature in the Cloud Console that is unavailable in the desktop UI is the access to the live chat.
Most features in Anti-Malware Home are as expected and appear to work fully. Although some extra goodies would be nice, it has a good selection for most users and some unique features to make it stand out.
Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home Features
Emsisoft has a standard tiered system for product pricing, including both a free version and a couple of paid options. However, unlike some tiered systems, Emsisoft gives you most of the features in the basic Home package and allows you to pay extra for more computers or a single Android phone.
- : Basic antivirus, emergency kit creator, live chat support
- : One Windows device, real-time protection, anti-ransomware, anti-phishing
- : One Windows device, one Android mobile device
There are some extra goodies in the Business and Enterprise packages. Still, these probably won’t be worth the additional cost to an average person. The extra benefits include faster support lines and more management options on the Cloud Console. However, the standard package options are just as good for protecting a couple of computers.
At $29.99 per year, the Emsisoft Home plan provides protection for a single PC. This pricing is on the cheaper end of antivirus software, although the price rises sharply for more devices. For a similarly priced antivirus with more affordable options for more computers, read our Trend Micro Antivirus+ review.
For a single user looking to protect one Windows computer and one Android phone, the Home & Mobile package is a great choice. For $39.99 per year, you get all of the protections of the regular Home plan and gain an antivirus for your phone.
Emsisoft doesn’t offer any options for protecting multiple phones. If you are looking for an antivirus for more than one phone, it’s worth checking out our best antivirus for Android guide.
There is also a 30-day free trial of Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home, so you can get an idea of whether this is the right antivirus for you. After the trial is over, the free version is limited, providing only the ability to scan and remove malware.
Due to the limitations of the free version of this antivirus, Emsisoft Anti-Malware loses many of the features and protections that make it a decent product. This reduces its usefulness and often means a different antivirus software is the better choice.
With plenty of features and decent protection for one computer and one Android phone at a low price, the Anti-Malware Home & Mobile plan may be what you need. However, if you want to protect more devices, there may be better antivirus programs available.
Installing Emsisoft Anti-Malware is simple. Emsisoft’s website has a button for each of its three main products. The first one takes you to the page for its Home antivirus, with the installer for the 30-day trial. When it comes to antivirus products, this is about as simple as a download gets.
The installation process is straightforward, but it does take significantly longer than other antivirus software. If you need a lightweight and fast antivirus, check out our Malwarebytes Antivirus review.
Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home also has integration with Emsisoft’s online management product, the Emsisoft Cloud Console, allowing you to view some of the settings and permissions for each computer on your account. You can also run scans remotely from this page, which makes protecting multiple computers easier.
Emsisoft could make some small quality-of-life changes to the installer, such as adding a desktop shortcut or asking if you want to scan on install.
There are three types of scans available from Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home, and each one has a simple button for malware removal upon completion of the scan.
The first option is a “quick scan,” which just looks at the files that are running. This is quick, taking only a few minutes, but it is limited to only finding malware that is running.
The quick scan is great for finding malware that is currently slowing down a computer. However, it won’t find every piece of malware on the machine. Without using a more in-depth scan on occasion, it could allow malware to hide for a long time.
A middle-ground scan option is the “malware scan.” It takes a bit longer than the quick scan because it scans additional files where malware typically hides.
This will often be the scan type you want to use, as it searches every file that is likely to hide malware. This is closer to the “smart scans” found in products such as IObit’s Malware Fighter.
However, if you don’t want to miss any malware, there is also a custom scan. This allows you to scan a specific file or folder, or the whole disk drive. It provides many options for what files to scan and where the antivirus should look. However, the default options are good for a whole disk scan; for us, it took one hour and 25 minutes to scan 355,574 objects.
Although a dedicated full scan option would be nice, all of the functionality is there, and the software is simple and easy to use. The scans used all of the CPU resources available but gave other programs priority, so the computer didn’t noticeably slow down.
To rate the level of protection from antivirus software, we use lab results from trusted companies, including AV-Test, AV-Comparatives and MRG Effitas, alongside some hands-on testing.
The AV-Test scores for Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home are slightly above average, especially the 5.5 out of 6 for protection. However, these test results are from November and December 2016, so they aren’t necessarily representative of the current capabilities of this antivirus.
However, Emsisoft Anti-Malware did worse during its performance and usability tests. It earned a 4.5 out of 6 for performance, due to it slowing down other software, and a 5 out of 6 for usability, due to some false positives, when legitimate downloads were considered malware.
AV-Comparatives supported these results with tests between July and November 2018. These tests found Emsisoft to have a 99.5-percent protection rate even when offline, with few false positives occurring. This earned it three stars in malware protection.
The real-world test scores had a lower score, but it still got a star for its 98.5-percent protection rate. Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home also had only a single false positive in this test, lower than most other antiviruses tested.
Finally, we checked MRG Effitas, but its most recent report that included Emsisoft was from 2014. Here, Emsisoft Anti-Malware was only beaten by Kaspersky, which has its own benefits and issues. However, these results are from 2014, so we can’t be sure that Emsisoft has kept up with other antiviruses.
Because the lab tests weren’t up to date, we turned to hands-on testing with standard tools from both the WICAR and AMTSO websites. These allow us to test antivirus programs without exposing computers to real malware. We used Google Chrome for all of these tests.
Emsisoft Anti-Malware blocked every test from WICAR, which is standard for a good antivirus. These tests include a variety of EICAR (European Institute for Computer Antivirus Research) files and checks if there is protection from known exploits.
The AMTSO tests were less successful. Although the EICAR test files were all stopped, even when testing a compressed file, the “cloud-based lookup” and phishing tests both failed, despite Emsisoft’s website boasting its phishing protection. Read our guide to find out more about what phishing is.
Although phishing protection is less common than ransomware protection in an antivirus, it is still good protection to have when it works. For an antivirus that has proven phishing protection, read our Webroot SecureAnywhere review.
Overall, Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home has good protection, especially against accidental downloads. However, without any recent lab tests, we can’t give a higher score to this antivirus.
Emsisoft’s website has a support page with a reasonable knowledgebase. It has plenty of user guides and an FAQ section. The guides were simple but still contained all of the necessary information.
Above the knowledgebase is a search bar that can help you find specific information. This search function is quite effective at finding relevant help, although spelling mistakes stop it from working.
If the knowledgebase doesn’t have what you are looking for, live chat is available. We got through to a member of Emsisoft’s support team within a minute, and they quickly answered our questions. When given a problem they couldn’t solve, they directed us to the support email for more help.
Emsisoft has a selection of email addresses for different issues. For example, sales inquiries go to a dedicated address. The website suggests that you first seek assistance from live support, which will give the most appropriate email, if it is needed.
The Emsisoft forums are another good place to get help. Although the responses won’t be as fast as the live chat, there are enough support staff and other members online to help with any problem within a few hours.
With thousands of posts to look over, many problems have a solution available. These forums are a good way to find help when waiting for the email support to get back to you.
It would be nice for business users to have their own phone line or a separate section in the knowledgebase and forums so that getting the right information was simpler.
However, support for Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home is definitely enough to help with any issues. If you’re looking for an antivirus with a great support section, read our F-Secure Antivirus review for another solid choice.
Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home is a great antivirus for protecting a single computer. It may provide less protection than some other antivirus products we have tested, such as Bitdefender, as you can read in our Bitdefender Antivirus review. However, Emsisoft makes up for that by providing a product with just as many features at a lower price.
With a 30-day trial of the full version readily available, Emsisoft makes it very easy to test it for yourself. Some of the extra features it has may not be of use to you, but if they are, this antivirus is far from the worse choice, especially if you’re on a budget.
However, the lack of new lab tests makes us hesitant to recommend this product for everyone, so it is worth looking at our other antivirus articles to see if anything there is more suited to your needs.
What do you think of Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading.
Emsisoft Anti-Malware Home FAQ
- Emsisoft Anti-Malware provides enough protection to keep your computer safe, and it doesn’t act maliciously. If you are looking for more protections, read our most secure antivirus guide. Emsisoft is still a good option for many people. However, we can’t guarantee any software is 100-percent safe, and you should always check for safety before you download any software.
- Emsisoft does offer a free version of its antivirus, which has the ability to scan a computer and remove any malware. However, many security features, such as real-time protection, are limited.