10 Best Free Antivirus Software in 2019Updated: May 29, 2019
Viruses and malware are a real threat to your online security. You must use antivirus software on your computer in order to keep your data safe. Here are the best free antivirus programs.
Back in the days, it was a well-known fact that you needed to install an antivirus software in order to keep your computer and data safe. But with the security improvements Widows operating system saw over the years, users started to give up using a security program thinking the OS itself is enough.
In reality, even though in some cases the security in operating systems does a great job in protection users' data, an antivirus software can still help improve your security to a higher level.
And because not everyone wants or can afford to pay for a subscription, we rounded up the best free antivirus software out there so you make sure your computer is protected.
When it comes to the online world, not few are the threats you can come across. From viruses, malware, ransomware attacks, to social engineering, cybercriminals use various techniques and malicious software to steal people's private data, information, and money.
The malicious pieces of software hackers use to harm users can be found in multiple places online, including malicious links, emails, pop-ups. And they are often so well disguised that you might not realize the file contains malware until you install it on your computer and get your device infected.
An antivirus software is able to detect different types of malware before you get the chance to open and install the malicious file. This can prevent you from becoming the victim of a harmful situation.
And, despite the fact that Windows 10 now comes with its own antivirus, Windows Defender, it's still worth having a third-party software to add an extra layer of security.
As with most pieces of software out there, the free versions have less to offer than the paid ones.
A free antivirus doesn't come with all the functionalities. It usually comes with minimum protection, lacks advanced features, and only protects you against common malware and viruses.
Paid antivirus software, on the other hand, can detect more types of malware, spyware, and viruses, are free of ads, usually include firewall and even other useful tools such as password managers and VPNs.
Still, if you're not a heavy internet user and you use the internet mostly for browsing and games, a free antivirus is the way to go. Not to mention, if you're not eager to pay for a subscription, is better to use a free antivirus software to get a basic layer of online security rather than running your computer without any kind of protection.
So let's see which are the best free antivirus programs out there.
It's not news that Windows has included antivirus protection in their operating system over time, but its latest Windows Defender Security Center really upped their game. Windows Defender comes built-in Windows 10 operating systems and, even if it doesn't beat other free antivirus software such as Bitdefender and Kaspersky, it is still a decent software that can compete in the game of free antivirus and can be used as a primary antivirus solution if you're not eager to pay for a subscription.
Windows Defender also comes with a couple of extra features such as parental controls and browser protection. It can detect phishing websites better than other free antivirus programs, and it also detects and removes many low-risk programs (such as adware) even though it doesn't promise to.
Overall, Windows Defender did a great job to updating the software and created an antivirus that does a great job for protecting your computer.
Kaspersky is one of the most popular and high rated antivirus software out there. Even though the paid version offers advanced features such as parental controls, password managing, securing your files, the free version still does a great job at protecting against common viruses, malware, and malicious websites.
Its interface is user-friendly, comprehensible, and the system performance is light. It performs great against phishing attacks and does a great job at malware-blocking and malicious URL blocking.
Avast Free Antivirus is another popular free antivirus that's known for its great performance. What's great about this software is that the free version also comes with extra features such as a password manager, network scanner, and browser security. It is highly customizable and also offers limited access to its VPN service.
One of the downsides of Avast is that it is heavy on the system performance and the scans take longer to perform. Also, they collect and sell browsing and search history to third parties, although you can limit the amount of data they collect. This behavior is not very suiting if you're concerned with online privacy. So, if you don't need the extra features that come with the Avast software, you might find other free antivirus software that's best for you.
Bitdefender's malware protection is comparable with Kaspersky's. The performance is lighter on the system but there's also the downside that Bitdefender has fewer options. There are no customization options, you can't schedule a scan and it also lacks the quick scan feature.
Still, Bitdefender free does a better job at detecting and protecting against malware than most antivirus software, especially the free ones. It uses behavioral detection to monitor your active apps and takes instant action if it detects anything suspicious.
AVG AntiVirus Free deserves a spot between the best free antivirus programs because it offers high protection against malware and viruses without having to spend a penny. It detects and blocks unsafe links, downloads, and email attachments, scans your computer for performance problems, and does automatic security updates.
This free antivirus is a great choice if you want a light program that doesn't interfere with your computer's performance.
It doesn't hold lots of extra features and it can raise some privacy concerns as it collects data about your online activity if you allow it.
The Panda Free Antivirus comes wrapped in a good looking and easy to use interface. It offers real-time protection against different kinds of malware and spyware. What's best about this program is that the free software also comes with firewall and access to their VPN service.
The downside of the Panda Free Antivirus is that it requires you to share information about your computer usage and it won't let you opt out of the data collection.
The Avira Free Antivirus was, until some years ago, the best free antivirus ago until other programs such as Kaspersky and Bitdefender come to light. Nowadays, Avira is a bit left behind when it comes to malware protection and its impact on the system performance is remarkably heavier than others' software.
What still keep Avira in the game is that it offers a notable amount of extra features such as access to their VPN service, browser extension, safe shopping, a password manager, and a couple more. What's worth mentioning is that some of these features are actually just some teases to make you turn to the paid subscription as they only come as trials.
The ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus detects and removes viruses, spyware, Trojans, and other types of malware. What sets them apart is that the free version also comes with a firewall that further protects your data from being compromised by hackers. They also offer identity protection services to guard you against identity theft.
the downside is that it lacks protection against malicious and fraudulent websites and you might find that some of the extra features do not work.
Sophos Home Free is an antivirus software that protects you against known computer viruses, malware, ransomware, unwanted apps, and more. It also offers additional features such as parental controls to manage the content your children see online, it blocks suspicious and dangerous websites, and you can access it remotely to manage up to 3 computers.
With the free version, you also get a 30-day trial to the advanced features such as predictive artificial intelligence threat detection, ransomware security, advanced web security, banking protection, and much more.
The Adaware Antivirus 12 free version provides basic protection for your computer. It stops viruses, spyware, ransomware, and other types of malware, scans all the downloads before they get a chance to harm your PC, and blocks malicious processes and infected files in real-time.
Although this free antivirus performs satisfying against malware attacks, it lacks the protection against malicious or fraudulent URLs which is a notable drawback considering there are other free antivirus alternatives that do this and also provide much more features.
As you've seen, there are a couple of free antivirus programs out there you can choose from.
As a conclusion, the Kaspersky and Bitdefender free antivirus software are the best at protecting against malware without interfering with the system's performance.
But each of the programs we listed above has its strengths and downsides, so it all comes down to your needs and the features you look for when you're considering installing a free antivirus software.
Whichever will be your choice, we're happy to hear you are concerned about your online security and we hope you're interested to learn more about how to keep yourself safe in the online world.