3 Free Antivirus Software Programs

Posted By admin On 13/01/22

To update this guide, we spent over five months testing the best antivirus software - together with top free antivirus options - with live malware samples including viruses, ransomware, rootkits, Trojans, spyware and phishing schemes. Our experts found that Bitdefender Antivirus Plus is the best antivirus software program overall. There are many free and useful antivirus products that will suit users of all levels, and what follows is a roundup, in no order of preference, to help you make a choice. AVG Antivirus Free. AVG is one of the best known antivirus programs and has both free and premium options. It gives you a little of everything for basic security and some. Best Free Antivirus Software 2019. We've evaluated the best free antivirus programs based on their malware protection, system impact, ease of use and useful extra features.

Editor's Choice

Kaspersky Free Antivirus

Kaspersky Free Antivirus delivers excellent protection with a moderate performance impact, but it has few extra features.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition continues to be the best set-it-and-forget option among free antivirus products.

Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free Antivirus offers lots of extra features, but its malware protection is mediocre and it may collect your browsing history.

Windows users need a strong antivirus program to ward off malware attacks, to keep their computers running efficiently and to safeguard their online identities and personal information. The best paid antivirus suites have many features to protect children, manage mobile devices and monitor a computer's firewall, software updates and other features. But some users don't want, or can't afford, to pay for those extra features and may need to go with a free antivirus program.

If that describes you, you've come to the right place. We've evaluated the best free antivirus programs based on their malware protection, system impact, ease of use and useful extra features. If you're undecided, check out our free vs paid antivirus comparison first.

So which free PC antivirus product would be best for you? Of the seven free antivirus programs we've recently reviewed, Kaspersky Free Antivirus barely edged out Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition for the top spot. Both offer excellent protection against malware without slowing down your system, but Kaspersky lets you schedule scans and has a quick-scan option.

Bitdefender, however, is still the best 'set it and forget it' free antivirus option. After installation, it takes care of itself and doesn’t need user intervention. If you need to put antivirus software on your grandparents' PC but don't have time to maintain it, this might be the perfect solution.

Both Kaspersky's and Bitdefender's products offer only the basics. If you want features such as a password manager or a hardened web browser, normally found in midpriced paid antivirus suites, then Avast Free Antivirus might be for you. But its malware protection isn't as good as the top two and its performance impact is heavier.

MORE: Best Mac Antivirus Software

Latest Security Alerts and Threats

— Many smart TVs and streaming-video devices track your viewing habits and other personal information, three different studies found. ADVICE: Go into your smart TV's or streaming device's settings to see how much you can reduce the tracking.

— More than 24 million users of the online Lumin PDF-editing service had their names and email addresses compromised in a data breach. Most passwords were actually Google access tokens, which can be reset, but 118,746 users had strongly hashed passwords exposed. ADVICE:Change your password if you registered one with Lumin PDF, disconnect your Google account if you logged in with Google, and get ready for more spam.

— Police in Massachusetts are warning of a phishing scam targeting users of the Venmo mobile-payment service. ADVICE: If you get a text message warning you that your Venmo account is about to be charged, do not click the included link. Use the Venmo app or a desktop browser to check your Venmo activity.

Lean and mean

Kaspersky Free Antivirus

Reasons to Buy

Moderate performance hit

Reasons to Avoid

Kaspersky Lab doesn't advertise that it has a free antivirus product, and doesn't make it easy to find the download page. Too bad, because this is one of the best free antivirus products we've ever tested, with a no-nonsense but comprehensible interface, a light-to-moderate system-performance impact and Kaspersky's unbeatable malware protection. The only reason we're not giving Kaspersky Free Antivirus a 4.5/5 rating is because it offers no extra features.

No muss, no fuss

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition


Reasons to Buy

Super-easy to use

Reasons to Avoid

No quick scans or scan scheduling

Like Kaspersky, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition offers nothing but the basics, and its malware protection is just as good, if a bit more prone to false-positive malware detections. Its scans are lighter on the system than Kaspersky's, but it offers fewer options — you can't even schedule a scan. It's best for users who want a set-it-and-forget-it security solution for themselves, or for a loved one.

Nearly a free suite

Avast Free Antivirus

Reasons to Buy

Highly customizable

Reasons to Avoid

Heavy performance hit

The malware protection in Avast Free Antivirus is a peg down from the top, but it's got the best assortment of extra goodies for a free antivirus program, including a password manager, a hardened browser and a network scanner. The program is also very customizable and offers limited access to Avast's VPN service. However, it caused a pretty heavy system load in our testing.

Finally good enough

Microsoft Windows Defender

Reasons to Buy

Built into Windows

10 Best Free Antivirus Programs

Reasons to Avoid

Microsoft's built-in antivirus software has finally reached the big leagues. Windows Defender won't beat Bitdefender or Kaspersky in malware protection, but it holds its own against other free antivirus products while delivering a small system-performance impact and a surprising number of extra features, including parental controls and protection for all browsers. For the first time, we can recommend using Windows Defender as your primary antivirus solution.

Not enough oomph

AVG AntiVirus Free

Reasons to Buy

File shredder

Reasons to Avoid

Few extra features

AVG shares Avast's decent if unspectacular malware-detection engine while having a much lighter system-performance impact. But AVG AntiVirus Free has far fewer useful extra features than Avast Free Antivirus. The good news is that AVG's wide range of customization options and its file shredder are still available; the bad news is that there's no compelling reason to pick AVG over Windows Defender.

Not what it once was

Avira Free Antivirus

Reasons to Buy

Lots of add-ons

Reasons to Avoid

Most extra features are trialware

Avira Free Antivirus was the best free antivirus option just a few years ago, before Bitdefender and Kaspersky jumped into the ring and Avast, AVG and Windows Defender raised their game. Now Avira's malware protection is in the middle of the pack. Its numerous extra features are mostly just teases for paid services, and its system-performance impact is remarkably heavy. We do like that it's still got a wide range of customization options.

Has its ups and downs

Panda Free Antivirus

Reasons to Buy

Moderate performance impact

Reasons to Avoid

No opting out of data collection

Panda doesn't take part in every lab test whose results we use, so its malware protection is a bit of an enigma. We liked Panda Free Antivirus' high degree of customization options and its appealing interface. We didn't like the constant ads for other Panda products, the attempts to hijack your web browser, and the fact that unlike every other antivirus company, Panda won't let you opt out of automatic system-data collection.

Honorable Mention

Essential side piece

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free

Reasons to Buy

Removes adware, other unwanted software

Best 100% Free Antivirus

Reasons to Avoid

Manual definition updates

Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free is not antivirus software. It's more of a malware-removal tool. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free can't protect a PC from infection, but it does an excellent job of cleaning out malware that's already on your system. Plus, it doesn't interfere with any antivirus software that's already installed. We recommend Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free as a complement to any antivirus program.

Cnet Reviews Of Antivirus Programs

How We Tested

To evaluate installation, ease of use, interface and performance impact, we installed each AV program on the same Asus X555LA laptop, which ran Windows 10 and featured an Intel Core i3-4005U processor, 6GB of RAM and 36GB of data on a 500GB hard drive.

We conducted our own tests on how much each antivirus product affected our laptop's performance, using our custom OpenOffice benchmark. We timed how long it took to run a quick scan and a full scan while the laptop crunched numbers in the background.

MORE: Best Android Antivirus Apps

Top 3 Free Antivirus

We also assessed how easy each program was to use, the number of useful extra features it offered (including free add-on software) and how insistently each program nagged us to upgrade to paid software.

3 Free Antivirus Software Programs Free

Our malware-detection data comes from four evaluation labs: AV-TEST in Germany, AV-Comparatives in Austria, SE Labs in England and our own lab in Utah. Each lab regularly tests major antivirus products for their abilities to detect zero-day malware and other threats.