- 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 Free Antivirus topped the list, closely followed by Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition. Take a look.
5 Best Free Antivirus Software
Billions of dollars stolen, millions of computers infected, thousands of facebook, twitter and gmail accounts hacked; viruses have wreaked havoc across the globe!
That is why an antivirus software is one of the first things you should install on your computer.
Windows do come with a basic built-in antivirus solution called Windows Defender, but that is just not enough! Fortunately, for you, there are a few good antivirus software that cost nothing.
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.
A Note About Free Antivirus – Most free antivirus software will pester you to upgrade to their paid software while 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 Free Antivirus
Kaspersky Free Antivirus uses the same #1 ranked antivirus engine as the company’s premium products.
Kaspersky’s antivirus engine scored a staggering 100% in both real-time malware detection and file scanning tests at the AV-TEST lab.
- It provides real-time protection against incoming malware.
- Automatically blocks dangerous files, websites & applications.
- Scans the emails and Instant Messaging for dangerous attachments and phishing messages.
- It regularly updates its antivirus database signatures in the background.
- Full and quick scans can be scheduled to run automatically.
- Is lighter on system resources and runs faster.
- It doesn’t have those annoying ad pop-ups, toolbars and user tracking which most free Antivirus software suffers from.
- Some features present in the paid version of the software like Safe Money, Privacy Protection, Parental Control, System Watcher, Firewall etc., are absent in this free version.
2. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
The Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition has the same award-winning antivirus engine which powers its paid products. It was found with a 100% success rate against malware attacks in the tests conducted at AV-TEST lab.
It runs by default in autopilot mode, meaning that everything is taken care for you in the background and you need to do nothing.
- The real-time threat detection takes instant action when it detects anything suspicious.
- The anti-phishing and anti-fraud features automatically block suspicious websites and prevent data theft.
- The compact user interface won’t overwhelm you with complex configuration options.
- Virus definitions are updated regularly in the background
- Is very light. Sits quietly in the system tray area with absolutely no impact on system performance.
- You won’t be constantly pestered to upgrade to paid version.
- Good for inexperienced PC users.
- Scans cannot be scheduled. No quick scan option.
- Advanced users may want more control.
- It doesn’t pack on extras like Safepay, Password Manager, File Shredder, Parental Advisor etc., which are present only in the paid versions.
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.
- It has very good malware detection rates with real-time threat detection.
- Excellent cloud scanning feature provides an early-warning system for users.
- Different scan modes available.
- Identifies potentially unwanted applications hidden within legitimate software.
- Simple and intuitive design makes it easy to use.
- Lots of configuration options for expert users to tinker with.
- Smaller footprint on system resources.
- Gets automatic updates with the latest virus information.
- Occasional pop-up ads, not very distracting.
- Furthermore, you can also install their free VPN and surf the web anonymously.
- Download and installation take more time.
- Scans can be slow.
- High configuration options can be a little overwhelming to new users.
- The installer promotes other Avira products.
- Avira’s browser add-on seems to have troubled a lot of users. Choose the ‘Custom Installation’ option and unselect 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.
- Real-time protection packed with the largest threat-detection network.
- Checks the installed applications for malware.
- 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 the built-in Password Manager.
- The overall appearance of the antivirus is clean and uncluttered.
- The Game 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 “Custom Installation” option.
- Sometimes show advertisements within the program.
- Frequent requests to upgrade to the paid version.
- Registration is periodically required but is free.
- Avast collects user information and can share it with third-parties.
You can opt-out of this via: Settings > General > Privacy and uncheck the ‘Participate in data sharing’ option.
5. Sophos Home
Sophos is a reputable name in the world of cybersecurity. It scores very well with the independent labs across the globe.
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.
- Provides protection against most viruses, malware, bots and even ransomware.
- Automatically block malicious websites known to contain potential threats.
- Real-time and on-demand scanning options.
- The user interface is minimalistic and easy-to-use.
- 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.
- Limited controls for advanced users.
- Advanced protection features offered in the paid version of Sophos are absent in this free version.
While having antivirus software is an important step in keeping a computer free of malware, there are still some 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.
Well, let us know which according to you is the best free security software?