As you will not get hacvked on a home computer the choice is academic but there is no need to pay. Outpost from click here is neat and uses little resources but as there is no such firewall as the 'best' in terms of performance you may care to have a look at a few and use one that you find comfortable with.
click here is an interesting read about the increasingly hysterical Steve Gibson and his totally paranoid/ bonkers ZA.
I note you are very certain that a home computer will not get hacked.
Recently I had to fix a mates PC which was seriously infected by Trojans, and when I looked up the trojans on the database, it said they entered the pc from a web page, they were embedded in the hmtl code, and a firewall should be used to prevent this.
AVG was running on his PC and it was up to date.
I now advise all my friends to run sygate firewall to prevent virus infection via this route - do you think this is advisable or not?
have read the articles and know Steve Gibson is not well liked/respected by many computer security experts (which I ma definitely not). I note in 1 article that the expert says raw sockets are a router security issue rather than an xp or software security issue.
My conclusion would be that raw sockets are there, and ports are open on any PC unless it has a firewall running, or is protected by a hardware firewall in a router, therfore running a firewall is a wise step to take to protect from trojans, or a remote possibilty you will get hacked.
However, I may well be wrong and am open to recieve more expert advice.
I will applaud Steve Gibson for making his shields up test available for people to test if their pc is secure against this type of attcks - it reassures me anyway.
I've had some probs with zonealarm over the years that I've used it. Irritations really rather than disasters.
I wouldn't go without though. I had a clean reformatted laptop at work connected to the www via the LAN. Within the 2 minutes it took for me to get up a and collect the installation disk for Sophos AV the machine had 2 trojans planted on it.
Unlucky - probably Paranoid now - maybe Would I go without a firewall - no, not even on a dial up.