Best overall

Folder Lock

See at Amazon

Folder Lock (about $40) is like the Swiss Army knife of encryption apps. It can encrypt files and folders, it has encrypted cloud storage, and it can even be used to create encrypted save locations that you can dump files and folders into before locking them down tight.

Toss in a wide selection of bonus features, and you have the best encryption software out there when it comes to dealing with files, folders, and removable storage.

Bottom line: For the best encryption software out there, go with Folder Lock.

One more thing: Unlike many other encryption options, Folder Lock is a one-time purchase rather than a subscription.

Why Folder Lock is the best encryption software available now

A wide range of features and an affordable, one-time price go well together.

Not only does Folder Lock provide file and folder encryption, encrypted cloud storage, and encrypted storage locations, it also features a file shredder that will give even the best recovery software a hard time.

There's also a wallet feature where you can securely store credit card numbers and other private documents, and there's protection for email and USB drives. PCMag awarded Folder Lock an Editors' Choice award and TopTenReviews chose it as their top pick for encryption software, stating in their review:

Folder Lock is encryption software that you can truly trust to protect your files and data. This program uses the Advanced Encryption Standard 256-bit key, which is the algorithm that many governments trust with their classified information across departments.

Folder Lock leaves you with the master password to unlock your files, but there is a secondary method that can be used if you forget the password. Don't like the idea of that? That feature can be removed.

If you're looking for the best encryption software out there, seriously consider going with Folder Lock. A one-time purchase costs about $40.

Best subscription

AxCrypt

See at AxCrypt

Those of you who would prefer to go with an encryption program available through a subscription will want to check out AxCrypt. It uses 256-bit encryption to lock everything down, and while you keep the master password, there is an option for sharing encrypted files with others you trust. PCMag awarded AxCrypt Premium an Editors' Choice award, stating in their review:

AxCrypt Premium makes encryption simple enough for any user, and even offers public key cryptography for secure sharing of encrypted files.

While AxCrypt is intended for use on individual files, you can set up secured folders that will individually encrypt single files as they're added. Toss in a password manager, and you have a pretty sweet package for about $3.50 per month.

Bottom line: The best encryption service available by subscription is AxCrypt.

One more thing: A free version of AxCrypt is available, but it is missing many of the best features.

Best free

VeraCrypt

See at VeraCrypt

As far as free encryption services go, VeraCrypt remains one of the best around. An audit back in 2016 revealed a lot of security flaws, but they were quick in patching them all up and security seems to be stronger than ever.

While VeraCrypt cannot be used to encrypt single files, it does a bang-up job of protecting partitions or entire drives. The load on the system is low and encryption happens fast. If you need a quick encrypt and don't feel like purchasing a subscription or package, give it a try.

Bottom line: As far as free encryption options go, VeraCrypt is one of the best.

One more thing: If you're looking for something that can also compress your files, check out 7-Zip.

Conclusion

For the best overall encryption software out there, check out Folder Lock. Need something available on a subscription basis? AxCrypt gets the job done. For a free option, VeraCrypt is a powerful tool.

Best overall

Folder Lock

See at Amazon

Folder Lock (about $40) is like the Swiss Army knife of encryption apps. It can encrypt files and folders, it has encrypted cloud storage, and it can even be used to create encrypted save locations that you can dump files and folders into before locking them down tight.

Toss in a wide selection of bonus features, and you have the best encryption software out there when it comes to dealing with files, folders, and removable storage.

Bottom line: For the best encryption software out there, go with Folder Lock.

One more thing: Unlike many other encryption options, Folder Lock is a one-time purchase rather than a subscription.