Sophos Home Review

Sophos Home looks like a good deal at first, but rigorous testing sheds some doubts about its efficacy as a antivirus solution. Check our full Sophos Home review to see how it did when we took it through its paces.

By Jacob RoachDeputy Editor
— Last Updated: 19 Jan'20
Table of ContentsRating
Very Good
User Friendliness
User Reviews & Comments

Starts from $ 417 per month
Free plan available

Sophos Home is an affordable antivirus that prioritizes value over protection. Our hands-on testing produced poor results and, while labs disagree, Sophos hasn’t participated in a study in over two years.

In this Sophos Home review, we’ll scrape what lab results are available together and put them against our own testing. We’ll talk features, pricing, user-friendliness, protection and support before giving our verdict.

Overall, Sophos Home is best suited for families as you get a high device count at a low price point. Support for multiple operating systems, along with a robust number of parental settings are features that point toward that. For a higher level of protection, though, make sure you check out our list of the best antivirus software.

Alternatives for Sophos Home

Strengths & Weaknesses


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Lots of parental control
  • High device count
  • Browser control panel


  • Poor protection scores
  • Dodgy support
  • Lack of settings


86% - Very Good

Sophos Home is feature-rich, but most of those features are only provided to Premium users. We’ll talk more in the next section about why we think an upgrade to Premium is worth it, but, for now, you need to know that it offers the best experience.

Free comes with a few benefits, though. You get basic antivirus and web monitoring, along with parental filtering and remote management. The filtering is surprisingly dense and, while not all subscribers will have a use for it, it’s a nice inclusion on the free plan.

We like that you can have up to three devices on a free plan, as well. Even a basic antivirus package for three devices from Kaspersky (read our Kaspersky Antivirus review) will run you a few bones per month.

Despite those inclusions, the exciting features are on Premium. You get privacy protection, meaning Sophos will watch your webcam, keyboard and screen to make sure there’s no software monitoring it. When we first installed the software, we had to declare all USB devices as safe before they would function.

Granted, Sophos is protecting privacy from a malware standpoint. For overall privacy protection, make sure you’re using a virtual private network such as ExpressVPN (read our ExpressVPN review).

You also get banking protection where Sophos will block and disconnect suspicious applications from your network while the transaction is taking place. The protection is provided in your normal browser, though, so there’s no secure browser variant here.

Our favorite, and the most forward-thinking feature, is ransomware protection. Ransomware takes your files hostage, encrypting them and asking you to pay a ransom before getting the key to unlock them. Sophos blocks those programs from accessing key folders, such as your documents, so nothing can be encrypted.

We would’ve liked some sort of password manager included with Premium. These total antivirus bundles usually include one and, while they don’t get to the level of our best password managers, they’re nice to have. Still, you can pick up a cheap one such as Dashlane (read our Dashlane review).

Sophos Features Overview

Starts from$ 417per month


Password manager
File shredder
Multi-OS support
Parental control
Disk cleanup


Ransomware protection
Webcam protection
Real-time monitoring
Secure browser
Download protection
Phishing protection

Operating System



Desktop UI
Mobile application
Browser extension


Help Center
Live Chat
24/7 Support
Video Tutorial


Free Plan


81% - Good

  • Parental control, Web protection from known sites, Remote management, Three devices
  • Real-time protection, Ransomware protection, Banking protection, Support, 10 devices
1-year plan $ 4.17/ month
$50.00 billed every year

Picking a plan for Sophos Home is simple. Either you pay for it or you don’t. The free offering has almost as many features as Avast Free (read our Avast Pro review). Premium looks more expensive than other antiviruses at first, but lines up more with McAfee Total Protection (read our McAfee Total Protection review) than Norton Basic (read our Norton Antivirus review).

Sophos Home Free is your basic antivirus. It protects against known malware, in real time, on your desktop. It also uses the blacklist of malicious URLs to keep you protected while browsing. The distinction is that Free checks against known malware. It’s not looking for files or URLs that are suspicious, but those that it has already encountered.

You can protect up to three devices with a free plan and manage all of them through a browser interface. We haven’t seen multi-device management from any free antivirus and we like Sophos’s inclusion of it.

The last notable feature for free users is parental control. It’s web-based, meaning you can’t set limits for when the machine shuts off, but it is still a feature that most antiviruses hide behind a paywall.

As generous as the free offering is, we recommend a Premium upgrade. For $50 per year, you get 10 devices, managed from the same web interface, along with advanced real-time protection for your desktop and browser.

Unlike Free, Premium will look for suspicious files and URLs and warn you before accessing them. Naturally, the level of protection increases as new malware floods the internet every day.

You also get ransomware protection, a banking mode, privacy protection and support. Between the number of devices and features, Sophos Home Premium is a steal at $50.

Most comparable antivirus packages come in at closer to $100.

User Friendliness

69% - Decent

Sophos has a simple, lightweight desktop application. There are two buttons in the main window, one for running a scan and another for managing your security. Outside of that, interactions with Sophos take place in your browser.

There are no scan settings in the application or browser interface. Sophos can only perform a full system scan, at least, from what we read. When we ran a scan, it only went through our C drive on Windows.

It performed well, though. Each of the five scans we ran completed in a few minutes with CPU utilization raising to no more than 5 percent most of the time, but the last part of a scan, when Sophos checks for malware remnants, saw a 35 percent increase in CPU utilization.

The problem is that you can’t customize your scan from the interface. While we appreciate the approach to simplicity, the UI provides no clear option for targeted scans. Even with a full sweep of the system, targeted scans are needed when downloading suspicious files (read our best VPN for torrenting if you take part in that action frequently).

Sophos isn’t clear about this feature, but you can target scans in Windows, just not from the interface. You’ll have to navigate to the folder or drive you want to scan, right click and select “scan with Sophos Home.” It’s beyond us why you can only set up a scan like that in Windows File Explorer and not in the Home UI.

You’ll find all other settings in the browser UI. You can manage your exceptions, whether it be for scanning purposes or browser protection, configure privacy settings and set your web filters if you have horny teenagers roaming around.

You can also add new devices to your plan and manage them from the interface. Sophos will show you a full history of what it has been doing on your machines, as well as notifications for detected malware.

We like the cloud-based approach Sophos takes to antivirus software. It cleans up an additional window on your desktop and allows you to control your protection from any of your devices. Navigating through the browser UI is simple, as well, with five tabs and toggle switches for your settings.

From a user-friendliness standpoint, the system is sound. There is a severe lack of settings and information about how the system runs, though. Sophos gives no indication that different scan options are available, hiding its power for the sake of user-friendliness.

Consequently, it weakens its user-friendliness as a competent PC user must stumble around for features that are clearly shown in other antiviruses.


51% - Poor

Sophos hasn’t participated in the three labs we frequent in a few years. MRG Effitas and AV-Comparatives show no results for Sophos Home throughout 2017 and 2018. There are results for the business-focused Sophos Endpoint Protection, but we’re going to rely more on our hands-on testing since lab results are so scarce.

The most recent test from AV-Comparatives was in November 2016, testing the Mac variant. It was 100 percent effective against 50 Mac samples and 98 percent effective against 250 Windows samples. In this same test, AVG (read our AVG review) received similar results.

AV-Test has more recent results, testing the Mac variant once again in December 2017. It was 100 percent effective against Mac exploits compared to the 92.4 percent industry average. At that time, it scored a perfect 18 points.

The Anti-Malware Testing Standard Organization’s feature setting check for desktop antiviruses showed a different side of Sophos Home. It only blocked two of the six tests, failing drive-by download, compressed malware, a phishing page and download of a potentially unwanted application.

All downloads were completed, then Sophos removed the files, except in the case of compressed malware. Only the extracted file was removed for it, not the compressed package.

Note that the file was simply removed. There was a notification, but no question asking whether you wanted to quarantine the file. In the event of a false positive, Sophos will delete your data without asking if you want it to first.

We wanted to dive deeper on phishing protection, so we tested 10 suspected phishing URLs submitted to PhishTank the day of writing. Sophos Home only blocked two of the 10 websites, many loading without issue. Tests were ran across Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, with the built-in protection on each being more reassuring than Sophos.

Testing Wicar’s samples gives us more hope, though. Sophos blocked all 13 of the malicious URLs, ranging from the standard Eicar test file to a JavaScript-based cryptocurrency miner.

Sophos offers good protection against desktop malware, as seen through our testing and lab results. Phishing protection puts up poor performance, though, with Sophos struggling to block even a couple of websites. Blocking suspicious downloads was bad, as well, even though Sophos removed the files once the download completed.


77% - Good

Premium users are the only ones with access to support. There’s a basic knowledgebase that all users can look at, but direct contact is reserved for paying customers. At least, Sophos claims that’s the case. Free users can still submit a request through the knowledgebase and, when we sent an email, Sophos got back to us in only a couple of hours.

Rather, Premium users have live email and chat support available. The channels run Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Sophos isn’t clear about it, but it appears these support channels are English only.

The knowledgebase functions mainly as an FAQ for installing, configuring and using Sophos Home. Some advanced articles, such as manual malware removal, find their way into the pile, as well.

Articles cover a lot of ground. They’re clearly written with plenty of screenshots and, on more technical pieces, Sophos covers all niche situations.

We want a cleaner layout for the knowledgebase, though. The current version isn’t dated or offensive looking, but we found it difficult to browse the list of topics without first committing to one of only three categories. Like other aspects of Sophos Home, the knowledgebase looks good, but isn’t as useful as options seen from other antiviruses.

Overall, though, support is good. Response times are quick, articles are well-written and Sophos gives you a clean, but awkward, interface to get through it all. The only thing missing from this area is a 24/7 form of contact that few other antiviruses provide.

The Verdict

Sophos is an okay antivirus that has a lot of features at a low price. We can’t overlook the poor performance in our hands-on testing, though, and, with no recent lab results to compare it to, that’s the best we have to go on.

It’s best suited for families. The low price and high device count are enough to point toward that, along with an integrated web interface and comprehensive parental control. It makes more sense logistically than it does for security.

Let us know your thoughts on Sophos Home in the comments below and, as always, thanks for reading.

Sophos Home Review

Cheap, but we have our doubts regarding protection.

Sophos Home looks like a good deal at first, but rigorous testing sheds some doubts about its efficacy as a antivirus solution. Check our full Sophos Home review to see how it did when we took it through its paces.
Starts from$ 417per month
Visit Sophos Home

12 thoughts on “Sophos Home”

  1. I have persevered with Sophos Home (& Premium) for too long. Absolute rubbish that bogs down my i3 Win 10 laptop. Every time I log in, my computer becomes useless for 10 – 15 minutes with disk utilisation saturated at 100%. Even does this if sign out of one account into another. I understand the need for realtime on-demand scanning, but not for 20+ times a day re-scanning my whole drive using high priority and all cores. The hopeless interface has no reasonable user controls to configure its behavior to not hog the computer. FURTHER, when my company’s contract with Sophos AV is up, I will be getting us to go with McAfee instead !!
    VERDICT: Free, good protection, absolute rubbish!

  2. Thanks for the review! I, too, recently noticed that Sophos Premium recently detected a file in my Filezilla folder that it said was malware, and seemed to simply delete it without offering an opportunity to un-quarantine it though I suspect this is a false alarm. Sophos purchased Surfrite’s Hitman Pro a couple of years ago and has integrated that technology with their own, and on my PC at least, I have not noticed the performance issues that Gary did. I’m also not crazy about the lack of a local interface and only being able to manage through the web Interface. If I’m in a location where I don’t have access to the web, and Sophos quarantines a file wrongly, I have no ability to do anything about it until I get an Internet connection. I would prefer the ability to have both, as the web interface does have its advantages. Sophos is relatively new to the home market, and I suspect they are still adjusting. My previous company used their commercial A-V product for over 4000 PCs and overall it was a good tool.

  3. Sophos Home User Rating

    One of the things I prefer about this product is it doesn’t scan compressed files. This is useful for people who regularly deal with know damaged payload archives. The delete on extraction method keeps the bulk of a package intact.
    The general complaints payed out in this review focus on what it doesn’t do. But there’s not enough emphasis on what it does. And it does what it does at the top of it’s class. The various payload comparisons it has been included with all show 99-99.9% detection. That’s not bad at all.
    On a signature dump (virus signature database) I did myself it missed only 2 out of over 50,000.
    It may not cover non-av malware but as an antivirus it’s one of the best.
    It’s the best catcher I’ve seen for MacOS.

  4. Sophos Home User Rating

    You should allow all reviews posted to be viewed here, you are not doing that how can an open discussion happen when you only allow some reviews??????

    1. - Chief Editor

      We only remove comments containing profanity, have non-relevant links, or are completely unreadable.

      1. Sophos Home User Rating

        Thanks for your reply but you should also allow Youtube test review results from certain channels, which posted here but did not appear. OPEN discussion matters, otherwise everyone is in their own little world and nothing is ever learned. Thanks.

        1. - Chief Editor

          Sam, the fact that I am letting you rail on about how we’re not open I think proves that we let comments through and are, in fact, pretty open. As for our test results, we explain how we came to our conclusion in the relevant section. I advise you read it in full rather than focus strictly on the rating.

      2. Sophos Home User Rating

        I was reading reviews and test from most websites and found your 51% protection so different from say a score of 9.8 out 10 and a 100% Malware detection score…..something is not adding up, please OPEN up how your testing so the end user can know what is true and what is not.

        From PCMag – In my own hands-on malware protection tests, Sophos also earned top scores. It earned 9.8 of 10 possible points in my basic detection test, a feat matched only by Windows Defender.

        To test how well each antivirus defends against the very newest prevalent malware attacks, I use a list of malware-hosting URLs discovered in the last few days by researchers at MRG-Effitas. Out of 100 such URLs, Sophos blocked access to 89 percent by preventing all access to the URL. Other components, including download reputation analysis, wiped out the other 11 percent, for a perfect score—100 percent protection.

  5. Sophos Home User Rating

    Please add links to your TEST and maybe add a video of you doing the TEST in real time so their can be no doubt as to your results. I read and re-read your review and can’t seem to match what your saying with other reviews which are saying things differently, case example review from PCMag as an example! Thanks.

    1. - Chief Editor

      Different publications use different standards. It all comes down to trust, a point you hammer on quite resolutely, and we feel we explain how we came to our rating quite thoroughly. If you feel that we don’t address your particular concerns quite the way you’d like, then there’s very little I can do.

  6. Sophos Home User Rating

    Just did a trial of Sophos Home Premium, not sure how good the protection level is, maybe it’s good, maybe it’s not so good…….visited some websites that may be harmful, it blocked some while letting the same site with a different domain extension through, not sure what to make of that. This company should submit their product for testing by independent labs, so we have an idea of protection and blocking level of threats, otherwise very hard to tell if it’s good or bad or super bad…..just my thoughts. This review by Cloudwards is pretty good!

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sophos Home Review

Cheap, but we have our doubts regarding protection.

Sophos Home looks like a good deal at first, but rigorous testing sheds some doubts about its efficacy as a antivirus solution. Check our full Sophos Home review to see how it did when we took it through its paces.
Starts from$ 417per month
Visit Sophos Home