- An Antivirus is one of the most important software to have on your Windows PC.
- We comprehensively tested several free antivirus applications available in the market to come up with the best list.
- Kaspersky Security Cloud Free topped the list, closely followed by Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. Take a look.
5 Best Free Antivirus Software For Windows
Windows do come with a decent built-in antivirus solution called Windows Defender. However, it’s still no match for the best third-party antivirus tools available today.
How We Tested? We evaluated each free antivirus software for ease of use, performance, and reliability on our test system running Windows 10. We then sourced the data from popular antivirus testing labs like AV-TEST, AV-Comparatives, and SE Labs to come up with the top free antivirus list.
OS Compatibility – Windows 11, Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.
Important! Most free antivirus software will pester you to upgrade to their paid software. Some of them will try to get you to install free toolbars or browser extensions. So, just keep an eye out when you’re downloading and installing these antivirus applications and avoid the unwanted toolbars and extensions.
1. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free uses the same #1 ranked antivirus engine as the company’s premium products. It scored a staggering 100% in tests conducted at the AV-TEST labs.
- The new patented adaptive technology adjusts to your life, delivering the right protection.
- It provides full-scale protection against malware in real-time.
- Automatically blocks dangerous websites, files, and applications.
- Scans emails and Instant Messages for threatening attachments and phishing messages.
- There is a backup functionality for creating backups of your important files.
- Kaspersky regularly updates its antivirus database signatures in the background.
- The full and quick scans can be scheduled to run automatically.
- It includes a Password Manager and Secure VPN with limited features.
- The free antivirus is lighter on system resources and runs faster.
- No annoying ad pop-ups, toolbars, and user tracking, which most free Antivirus software suffers from.
- It requires you to have a Kaspersky account to start using the program.
2. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
The Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition has the same award-winning antivirus engine which powers its paid products. It runs by default in autopilot mode, meaning that everything is taken care of in the background, and you need to do nothing.
- The real-time threat detection system takes instant action on detecting anything suspicious.
- Anti-phishing and anti-fraud features automatically block suspicious websites and prevent data theft.
- It comes with on-demand & on-access scans.
- The compact user interface won’t overwhelm you with complex configuration options.
- Virus definitions are updated regularly in the background.
- Bitdefender is very light. It sits quietly in the system tray area with absolutely no impact on system performance.
- You won’t be constantly pestered to upgrade to the paid version.
- This free antivirus is good for inexperienced PC users.
- You cannot schedule the scans. Advanced users may want more control.
3. Avira Free Antivirus
Avira is an impressive antivirus software powered by a combination of artificial intelligence and cloud technologies. You can tweak and tailor this antivirus according to your needs.
- Avira has very good malware detection rates with real-time threat detection.
- The excellent cloud scanning feature provides an early-warning for users.
- Different scan modes are available.
- It identifies potentially unwanted applications hidden within legitimate software.
- Simple and intuitive design makes it easy to use.
- There are lots of configuration options for expert users to tinker with.
- Smaller footprint on system resources.
- It gets automatic updates with the latest virus information.
- You get occasional pop-up ads, not very distracting.
- Furthermore, you can also install their free VPN and surf the web anonymously.
- Avira’s browser add-on seems to have troubled a lot of users. Choose the ‘Custom Installation’ option and deselect it during installation.
4. Avast Free Antivirus
It is one of the most popular free antivirus software you can download for your Windows laptop or desktop PC. An extensive collection of many useful bonus features makes Avast Free Antivirus a compelling choice.
- Avast provides real-time protection packed with the largest threat-detection network.
- It uses multiple layers of security to protect you from the newest, never-before-seen threats.
- Regularly updates virus definitions to confront new threats.
- It has various scan modes with user-defined settings.
- It’s Wi-Fi Inspector can tell you what’s wrong with your router’s setup, including vulnerable settings.
- Never forget a password again with its built-in Password Manager.
- The overall appearance of the antivirus is clean and uncluttered.
- The Do Not Disturb Mode hides alerts during gaming and other full-screen activities.
- Rescue Disk creates a bootable USB or CD to use for offline scanning and cleaning.
- Tries to install unnecessary third-party programs, but they can be skipped during installation by choosing the “Custom Installation” option.
- Registration is periodically required but is free. Avast previously is known to collect user information.
5. Sophos Home
Sophos is a reputable name in the world of cybersecurity. They are offering their business-class security software trusted by leading banks and governments to home users.
- Set-it-and-forget-it antivirus software. Once installed, you need to do nothing more.
- It protects you against most viruses, malware, bots, and even ransomware.
- Automatically blocks malicious websites known to contain potential threats.
- Sophos comes with real-time and on-demand scanning options.
- The user interface is minimalistic and easy-to-use.
- It can be installed on multiple computers and remotely monitored.
- Parental web filtering allows you to control the content your children can view online.
- The antivirus requires you to have an active Internet connection and a Sophos account for accessing the dashboard.
- Settings can only be configured online. Advanced users don’t get the kind of control they wish for.
While having antivirus software is an important step in keeping a computer free of malware, there are other things a person can do to stay safe!
- Keep your Windows OS updated.
- Never open email attachments or links from unknown sources.
- Never give out confidential information to anyone.
- Use strong passwords.
- Don’t jump into unknown Wi-Fi Hotspots.
All the above mentioned free antivirus software are for PC and full version.
Well, let us know which is your favorite best free security software?
Author: Nik is an author with over 14 years of expertise in software and tech. Holding an Engineering degree in Information Technology and a Master's degree in Data Science from Liverpool University, he is adept at dissecting and discussing the nuances of technology with clarity and precision. Disclaimer: The content on this website is originally created by human authors and is refined using AI tools solely to ensure grammar, flow and clarity.