Free software can perform just as good if not better than paid software without the added bloat of hardly used features included in most paid suites.
What's my preference? I use Windows 8 with Windows Defender, Windows Firewall, UAC & SmartScreen and I apply some actual brain cells not to go around happy clicking on unknown websites or downloads without checking with URLVoid, Virustotal & Anubis.
All in all this setup has done me great than any other paid suite has.
I don't mind to pay for a good software.I usually pay as a form of support for a particular company and to support future developments.
But also I like to find it cheap thru giveaways,discounts and good offers.I have to say I do trust free software as long as it comes from a reputable developer.
I have only used free security products since about 2004.
For those who don't think free is as good as paid, I have not had one single infection since I ditched paid software.
Of coarse using common sense when downloading files and browsing the web is the most important factors to keep you safe from infections. Security software is just there in case you make a mistake.
Windows 8 with Windows Defender + UAC + Windows Firewall + SmartScreen is enough protection for those who pay attention to their actions. If you don't pay attention to your actions then no security products will be able to keep you safe free or paid, so why waste money?
The question is little tricky for me.
Actually I am using paid security for which I haven't spent a penny.
All these software licenses comes from giveaways/forum friends/developers as I am a bit active member in tech forums.