8 Best Free Antivirus Software and Applications of the Year – Computer users with Windows OS need a strong antivirus program to ward off malware attacks, to keep computers running efficiently and to safeguard their online identities and personal information. Meanwhile, the paid antivirus or the Pro version has many features to protect children online, manage security on mobile devices, and monitor computer firewalls, software updates, and other features. But some users don’t want or can’t even pay the annual subscription fee for these additional features.
If you are one of those users who are unwilling or unable to purchase a license for premium antivirus software, then you have come to the right place. I have selected some of the most widely used free antivirus programs based on their malware protection, system impact, ease of use, strong security and additional useful features.
Some of the ways that I can do to test Antivirus below are to install each antivirus and see how ease of installation, ease of use, interface and the impact of antivirus performance on computer devices. Apart from that, I also assessed how easy each program was to use, the number of useful extra features it offered (including free addon software) and how each program was constantly pressured by offering to upgrade to paid software.
Not only that, the assessment is not only taken from personal testing but also from various tested sources and how they provide ratings and reviews of antivirus software in this.
Kaspersky Free Antivirus
Kaspersky Lab antivirus software does not advertise that it has a free antivirus product, and it doesn’t make it easy for users to find download pages. Even though this is one of the best free antivirus products I’ve tested and I’ve been using for years. Kaspersky has a no-nonsense but understandable interface, it’s also very light and doesn’t have a less noticeable system-performance impact, it provides Kaspersky malware protection that is second to none. But in this free version Kaspersky provides very few additional features, but for basic security and performance impact on the device, this antivirus is the best.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
Like Kaspersky, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition offers nothing but basic security protection, and its malware protection is just as good, if a little more vulnerable to false-positive malware detection. Its scan or scan is lighter on the system than Kaspersky, but offers fewer options – you can’t even schedule scans. This is best for users who want a “set and forget” security solution for themselves, or for cloud computer users.
Avast Free Antivirus
The malware protection in Avast Free Antivirus may be a bit inferior to the two antiviruses above, but it has a variety of extra features for free antivirus programs, including a password manager, tightened browser protection and a network scanner. The program is also highly customizable and offers limited access to the Avast VPN service. However, it causes a slightly heavier system load but offers a much more complete system of protection.
Microsoft Windows Defender
Microsoft’s built-in antivirus software or software has finally made it to the big antivirus list. While Windows Defender won’t beat Bitdefender or Kaspersky in malware protection, it defends itself against other free antivirus products while providing a small system-performance impact and a surprising number of additional features, including parental and child controls and protection for all browsers. And this can be a recommendation for those of you who want to use Windows Defender as your main antivirus solution.
AVG Free Antivirus
AVG shares a decent and unspectacular malware detection engine where Avast has a much lighter system-performance impact. But AVG AntiVirus Free has much less additional features than Avast Free Antivirus. The good news is that various AVG customization options and their file shredder are still available; the bad news is that there is no compelling reason to choose AVG over Windows Defender.
Avira Free Antivirus
Avira Free Antivirus was the best free antivirus software option only a few years ago, before Bitdefender and Kaspersky became the rulers of the best antivirus lists and also Avast started rocking the two antiviruses, AVG and Windows Defender upped their game. Now Avira malware protection is in the middle of the package. Many of the additional features are mostly only tempting for paid services, and the system-performance impact is heavy. But what Avira stands out for is having a variety of customization options.
Panda Free Antivirus
Panda doesn’t take part in any of the lab tests I use, so its malware protection is still a conundrum. I love Panda Free Antivirus’s high level of customization options and its attractive interface. But I don’t like constant advertisements for other Panda products, attempts to hijack your web browser, and the fact that unlike every other antivirus company, Panda won’t let you opt out of automated system data collection.
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free
Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free is not a free antivirus software or software. It can’t protect your PC from infection, but it’s excellent for cleaning out malware that’s already on your system. Plus, Honorable mention doesn’t interfere with other antivirus software that has been installed. I recommend Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free as a complement to other antivirus programs if you need this antivirus just to clean malware if you find other antivirus unsatisfactory.
So, which free antivirus software is best for you? Of all the free antivirus software above, Kaspersky Free Antivirus almost got rid of Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition for the top position. Both offer excellent protection against malware without slowing down your system, but Kaspersky lets you schedule scans and has a quick scan option.
However, Bitdefender is still the best “set and forget” option. Where after the antivirus is installed, Bitdefender will take care of itself and don’t need user intervention or in the sense that you don’t need to make any settings. If you need to install antivirus software on a computer of a layman against a computer or even a grandparent but don’t have time to monitor it, this might be the perfect solution because the antivirus will work by itself.
Both Kaspersky and Bitdefender products only offer basic solid security. If you want features like a password manager or a hardened web browser, usually found in expensive paid antivirus software, then you can choose Avast Free Antivirus, which provides even more protection with its free version. But its malware protection isn’t quite as good as the top two and the performance impact is a bit heavier.