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7 Best Free Antivirus Software Reviews in 2021 | Reliable Protection at No Cost

7 Top Picks

4 Reviewers

30 Hours of Research

30 Options Considered

Your digital life online needs the right security protection. We're here to help. At VSS Monitoring, we are dedicated to providing the best reviews and feedback for the web's newest and most trusted software and tools.

There are many options to keep your computer and internet secure -- everything from password managers to keep track of login credentials to VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) that protect your internet traffic. In addition, some users find downloading a secure end-to-end encrypted messaging app as a necessary safeguard in the modern digital age to stop unwanted watchers from spying on your communications.

Our recommendation: McAfee

Before we dive into the following product review, there is an antivirus that comes unmatched in the market. This antivirus is McAfee! McAfee has been the leading force for over 20 years as it has dealt with many customers ranging from home users to government agencies. It’s security packages offered are adept at optimizing devices for maximum security. Check out their programs here!

When deciding to find the best free antivirus tools for your computer, be sure to find trusted internet security providers that offer both malware protection and antivirus software tailored to your needs and your operating system. Before you proceed, check out the top AV for Windows 10, or a quality AV for Mac. In the same way, you can choose between an antivirus for gamingor an antivirus for businesses.

3 Top Free Antivirus Software

Avast antivirus software

1. [Best Free Antivirus Software Overall]

 Avast Free Antivirus

5/5

Avast Free Antivirus is a family of cross-platform internet security applications developed by Avast for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. In addition to giving you a network security scanner, password manager, malware detection, and web browser protection, Avast's antivirus security software suite provides an outstanding collection of security features to meet your standards.

  • Easy to download the software and install
  • Easy to renew with the affordable subscription
  • Customer support on a 24/7 basis
AVG logo

2. [Best For The Money] AVG Antivirus Free

4.9/5

AVG Antivirus Free offers one of the best free antivirus software security suites with full features and functionality at no extra cost. At its core technology of AVG Antivirus Free is its active real-time performance issue scans that allow for strong and secure virus protection, malware protection and phishing protection.


  • It has Email Shield Technology
  • Real-Time Scanner
  • Neat Interface
avira security

3. [Best For The Neat Inteface] Avira Antivirus

4.8/5

The Avira Antivirus suite is another award winning antivirus product that ensures protection of your computer system from an unwanted virus or other malware. As a free antivirus software option, Avira Antivirus provides above and beyond features such as anti malware notification, password manager, and customizable network security options.


  • Extremely intuitive interface

  • Quick and easy access to all primary functions
  • Lightweight

Which Is the Best Free Antivirus?

When it comes to keeping your personal data safe and guarding your privacy, third-party antivirus software that is bundled with all the bells and whistles for functionality, features, and safety can be an excellent choice. To help you decide which antivirus products are best for you, we have organized a list of some of the best free antivirus options available on the market today.

Finding free antivirus providers are often time shard to find in today's landscape of web security providers. Many of the antivirus software providers offer a free account to initially join and use their software, but often times require you to pay for their services for full features and functionality of the product through monthly subscription billing.

Luckily, at VSS Monitoring, we research and dig deep to find the real free antivirus software available to download and protect your computer right away. It is often hard to find the tailored, right solution for your computer security and web protection needs that also fits your budget and not leave a major dent in your wallet.

7 Best Free Antivirus Reviews

[Best Free Antivirus Overall]

5/5

Avast Free Antivirus is a family of cross-platform internet security applications developed by Avast for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. In addition to giving you a network security scanner, password manager, malware detection, and web browser protection, Avast's antivirus security software suite provides an outstanding collection of security features to meet your standards.

Avast antivirus software

Avast Free Antivirus makes sure malware cannot launch on your machine by scanning the entire system on demand or on a fixed schedule that the user can set.

Make sure to check on your own computer's network security options to allow for real time scanning of malware.

One of the best free features available for antivirus protection software is available as a unique feature of Avast Free Antivirus.

The "Passive Mode" feature is a built-in tool that kicks in automatically while using the Avast Free Antivirus software suite even if you install a different antivirus protection software suite.

This allows you to avoid any conflicts with multiple antivirus or anti malware software programs while using Avast. Often times many free antivirus programs do not have any additional features for malware protection or virus protection other than what is on the standard free edition. Avast goes above and beyond to provide excellent free options and features to that boost the security level of your computer system.

Avast's Software Updater is another useful feature in its antivirus software suite. Because software is constantly evolving and new software is written by creative hackers that are constantly looking for security holes, it is crucial to keep both your antivirus software and other software installed in the computer system up-to-date with the latest patches and updates.

The Software Updater scans your computer and immediately reports any out-of-date software it finds that needs to be upgraded. With a one-click option, you can use the Software Updater to click a link to find out what changed in each product or install all the updates at once.

Another option you might want to consider is the Do Not Disturb mode feature. When set active, the Do Not Disturb mode on the Avast Antivirus will postpone any scheduled scans and suspend all notifications except the most critical ones. Avast also allows you to add any new programs that are run full-screen and offers the option for you to add into the list

If you love the Free version of Avast Antivirus, it might be a good choice to upgrade to the Premium version. Avast Premium security comes with all the features included in Avast Free Antivirus, and additionally includes:

  • Real Site
  • Sandbox
  • Firewall
  • Remote Access Shield
  • Sensitive Data Shield
  • Webcam Shield, Password Protection
  • Data Shredder

The Avast internet security software suite is a comprehensive antivirus solution that offers unique and pragmatic features in both the Free and Paid versions. If you are looking for a reliable choice for antivirus software with customizable options a and trustworthy reputation, Avast delivers in performance, price, and versatility.

Avast Free Antivirus Pros

  • Easy to download the software and install
  • Easy to renew with the affordable subscription
  • Highest Advanced+ rating
  • Customer support on a 24/7 basis

Avast Free Antivirus Cons

  • The cost goes high as the number of users increases

[Best for the Money]

4.9/5

AVG Antivirus Free offers one of the best free antivirus software security suites with full features and functionality at no extra cost. At its core technology of AVG Antivirus Free is its active real-time performance issue scans that allow for strong and secure virus protection, malware protection and phishing protection.

AVG logo

AVG offers one of the best free options for anti malware with immediate notifications to ensure that your network security protection is up-to-date and on par with the latest security patches.

A special feature of AVG Antivirus Free is its corresponding free web browser extension called "AVG SafePrice".

The browser extension tracks your online shopping and purchases done on ecommerce websites. When a better deal or a coupon offer or other promotion is found when browsing that particular website, they immediately notify you of that option to help save you money.

AVG Antivirus Free emphasizes the importance of keeping business and customer data -- it is one of the most important assets of a company. Keeping critical data and files out of the hands of hackers by storing such data and files in a safe and private place is crucial for continuing business operations running smoothly and without disruption. A major data breach can be the end of a company's reputation and future business prospects.

How does AVG Antivirus protect data? To keep data safe, AVG's award-winning antivirus software encrypts and stores sensitive data, files, and documents, onto a virtual desk of a PC machine protected by password. In addition, there is an advanced file shredder that deletes files securely, which adds a second additional layer of security, where the bad guys with malicious intent ca not recover any of the files.

Another useful feature of AVG Antivirus's security suite is its Email Shield technology. Are you concerned about the contents of the email messages that you open in your inbox.

AVG's Email Shield automatically scans emails and removes any content that may contain any malware or other security/vulnerability threats to your system. It automatically blocks and notifies you when an email contains any attachments that are suspected to be malicious, dangerous, or suspicious.

There is a reason thousands of customers and businesses all trust and use AVG Antivirus to protect their computer system and sensitive data files. The Free version of AVG Antivirus provides adequate security protection with real-time security updates and PC performance scans that are reliable and informative in keeping your computer system both safe and secure.

AVG Antivirus Free Pros

  • It has Email Shield Technology
  • Real-Time Scanner
  • Ease of Use
  • Neat Interface

AVG Antivirus Free Cons

  • Limited customer support channels

[Best for the Neat Interface]

4.8/5

The Avira Antivirus suite is another award winning antivirus product that ensures protection of your computer system from an unwanted virus or other malware. 

avira security

As a free antivirus software option, Avira Antivirus provides above and beyond features such as anti malware notification, password manager, and customizable network security options.

What is great about Avira is its cloud based antivirus engine which allows for you to conserve your local system resources of your computer.

 Available for different platforms and operating systems such as Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS, Avira Antivirus is quick in detecting malware and providing swift information on new virus information.

Many top antivirus and malware independent testing labs including AV Test agree that Avira is one of the best choices for antivirus protection because of its added extra features and high scores in all major categories of protection, performance, and usability.

Avira Antivirus Pros

  • Extremely intuitive interface
  • Quick and easy access to all primary functions
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Lightweight

Avira Antivirus Cons

  • VPN isn’t the best

It is great for antivirus support, malware detection, and ransomware protection. You can customize certain features such as firewall settings to help provide an added layer of security seen in many full security software suites.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is the free version of the antivirus program that covers just one Windows PC. This free option offers useful security features like a password manager, top-level malware protection, and system virus detection .

Bitdefender product

There are a few tiered paid subscription options for Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition that is tailored to your specific needs. If you are interested in broader protection and more functionality, Bitdefender Total Security 2020 is normally $90 per year, but currently a special promotion offers a discounted price of just $45 for the first year. This higher-end subscription antivirus suite lets you protect up to five total devices on different desktop computer and mobile phone platforms such as Windows, MacOS, Android, and iOS.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition packs a lot of value in its paid version. The free version of the anti virus software is also just as worthwhile. Bitdefender includes an excellent web protection module in its core antivirus engine to detect malware quickly. 

Other useful features include a vulnerability scanner, SafePay online banking protection, a password manager, and anti phishing detection.

If you are looking to upgrade to the paid version, then you might consider Bitdefender Internet Security 2020. Some upgraded features in this higher-tiered paid plan include a firewall, spam filter, parental controls, and anti-webcam hijacking privacy features.

In addition, some unique features include allowing adults to set up parental controls on a child's computer setting as well as accessing a VPN separate network. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition's easy to use customizable features such as anti phishing, malware detection and real time scanning make it an excellent choice as a free version internet security tools you can get to make sure your system is secure.

Although the paid version has much stronger antivirus protection features and functionality than the free edition, the free version is still an excellent choice when it comes to its security features in helping your computer system detect a virus or malware quickly and swiftly before it infects your entire system.

Another reason you might want to get Bitdefender is its top-notch functionality to easily secure your Wi-Fi hotspots. Due to its Wi-Fi Security Advisor feature, all network connection vulnerabilities are easily revealed and reported. This added Wi-Fi protection from Bitdefender is one of the best options for protecting your web searches with its added free online shopping protection and unlimited encrypted traffic protection.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition offers a free antivirus protection solution that gives real time features to major security issues such as malware protection, anti phishing, anti ransomware, and virus detection.

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition Pros

  • Loaded protection
  • Safe and secure
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • One of the speediest security suites

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition Cons

  • Additional VPNs cost extra

Kapersky Security Cloud Free is the free version of the full-fledged antivirus software that keeps the main functionality and security features. Where as the paid version of Kapersky's full security suite offers additional features like privacy protection and safe payment sandboxes, the free version of Kapersky is designed at protecting your PC system from immediate viruses malware and other common security breaches.

kaspersky protection

If you are a concerned parent about what your child views or is exposed to on Internet websites, you also have the option of parental controls, which provides great options for web browsing protection for young children. AV Test, one of the leading independent testing labs for reviewing network security products on the Internet, has praised Kapersky's cloud-based internet security suite as one of the best top-rated antivirus software options available currently.

Unique to Kapersky Security Cloud Free are such features like an On-Screen Keyboard to type passwords for added security to thwart the bad guys from attempting identity theft or other malice intent. The main purpose of the On-Screen Keyboard is to protect your entry of sensitive information against keyloggers, or even hardware loggers. By default, the keyboared includes a number pad and arrow keys for number input and navigation, but you can also choose to shrink the size or remove showing certain keys on the keyboard.

Make sure when choosing virus protection software to find one that providers both malware protection, anti phishing features, and anti ransomware detection. In a series of regular test reports by four independent testing labs, Kapersky's antivirus suite was consistently ranked as a top antivirus software product, earning 9.7 as its aggregate score (out of a possible 10 maximum score).

Another useful feature of Kapersky's antivirus suite is its vulnerability scan. A list of vulnerable programs is generated after performing the vulnerability scan on your computer system.

You can click on the "Details" option to learn more about the results of the vulnerability scan. Many antivirus software only offer a vulnerability scan for the Paid version of the product. Luckily, Kapersky offers this feature included in the free version.

Because of Kapersky's easy to use interface and customizable real time features, it is one of the best antivirus programs available out there.

Kapersky Security Cloud Free Pros

  • It has a Free trial
  • Kaspersky uses artificial intelligence and cloud computing to offer safety
  • Has a VPN to offer anonymity when surfing
  • It has a 100% malware detection rate

Kapersky Security Cloud Free Cons

  • Its basic plan comes with fewer features. This is enough if you are looking for basic protection against virus

Microsoft Defender is an anti-malware component of Microsoft Windows. It was first released as a downloadable free anti-spyware program for Windows XP, and was later shipped with Windows Vista and Windows 7.

Microsoft Defender, also known as Windows Defender, is the default free free antivirus software automatically installed on all PCs that have windows 7, windows 8.1 or Windows 10 operating systems.

Windows Defender logo

Windows Defender is an excellent free antivirus choice for Windows/PC users because of its versatility and standard functionality to safeguard your machine. Microsoft does have regular free updates for this antivirus product to make it patch any vulnerabilities or keep up-to-date of any new virus that might need to be monitored closely.

As a free antivirus option on Windows/PC, Windows Defender provides not only real-time threat detection and firewall protection but also a cloud-based virus protection library as well as parental controls for adults.

For internet security features on non-Microsoft browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, they have to be installed separately. Fortunately, for Microsoft-specific web browsers like Internet Explorer and Edge, these top-notch internet security features such as parental controls are already set by default and ready for protection on the web.

What's different about Windows Defender? At the core of its technology is its behavior-based, heuristic, and real-time antivirus protection, which includes constant ON-status scanning using file and process behavior monitoring and other heuristics. This real-time protection allows for your machine to take the necessary safety precautions with a quick turnaround time when detection of unwanted virus intruders to the system.

Because of its cloud-delivered protection, it offers near-instant detection of vulnerabilities or suspicious malware while blocking new and emerging threats. Furthermore, as with most products published under the Microsoft umbrella, Windows Defender is kept up to date with dedicated protection and product updates automatically from the servers to deliver the best antivirus software experience.

There are customizable advanced scans to help deep-dive into your computer system. You can easily schedule a scan for a specific time or date. You can even configure recurring scans at a set schedule or interval such as once per day, week, or month. You simply open "Task Scheduler" and select "Windows Defender" to manage scheduled scans.

For the average user looking for a reliable and free antivirus option before looking for another third-party antivirus vendor, Windows defender is still a great choice that provides sufficient protection and adequate customizable features. For pure performance factors, there may be better alternatives, but on the surface-level, the antivirus suit provides decent security and convenience at its baseline free version.

Microsoft Defender Pros

  • Real-time security
  • It's absolutely free to use
  • Ransomware and malware protection
  • It is easy to install 

Microsoft Defender Cons

  • It is not the most updated antivirus software

The free version of Sophos Home Free offers a free antivirus protection software suite that can be used to protect up to three Windows PC machines.

Named after the Greek word "sophos" (Greek: σοφός) for "wise", Sophos software is committed to providing customers with the "wise" choice in free antivirus protection for their sensitive data and personal computers.

logo of the company sophos

Sophos Home Free protects up to 3 computer systems in its free version. Some of its key free features included in the product include:

  • Predictive artificial intelligence (AI) threat detection
  • Real-time antivirus
  • Parental website filtering
  • Web protection
  • Remote management

Sophos identifies and blocks never-before-seen malware - including deep learning capabilities thanks to its world-class predictive artificial intelligence (AI) threat detection. At its core technology is its real-time antivirus engine that protects against known computer viruses, malware, Trojans, worms, bots, potentially unwanted apps (PUAs), ransomware, and more.

If you have a young family and care about what Internet websites are visited, Sophos provides a parental controls features that allows you to control the content that your children can view online.

 There is even deeper web protection that leverages SophosLabs blacklist database to block compromised or dangerous websites -- further ensuring you, your family, and your children are all safe when surfing the Web.

If you are looking for more premium features, than Sophos Home Premium can be a worthwhile paid upgrade. You can even try the Premium version for up to 30 days for free before deciding on the paid subscription. The Sophos Home Premium has a retail price of $60 for up to 10 systems.

Some of the premium features include:

  • Password manager
  • File encryption
  • File shredder
  • Backup software
  • Banking protection
  • Privacy protection
  • Identity protection
  • Access to a virtual private network (VPN)
  • Advanced web security
  • Ransomware security
  • Advanced real-time threat prevention
  • Advanced malware scan and clean
  • Premium support

The Sophos antivirus security suite offers great options in both its Free and Premium versions. Desktop computer platforms like Windows PC and MacOS devices as well as mobile platforms like Android and iOS are all supported by Sophos.

Sophos Home Free Pros

  • Gives a 30-day trial
  • It is easy to use and have a menu that is easily accessible from its dashboard
  • Ransomware and malware protection
  • Uses artificial intelligence to detect and block new and existing threats

Sophos Home Free Cons

  • It does not have a quick scan.
what is the best monitor

What Makes a Good Antivirus Program?

The constant threat of different computer virus and other malware threats grow larger each and every day. Hackers and other bad hackers are looking for ways to exploit your computer system by taking advantage of any vulnerabilities or open holes.

Malware Detection and Removal

Many viruses, malware, or other attacks can be either in compressed or uncompressed form. That is why when deciding the right anti-virus program to protect your computer system you should find the most robust option that balances quality, performance, and reliability.

Comprehensive Virus Scan

Having a regularly scheduled virus scan at certain time intervals can be an effective way at protecting your computer system from attacks. Monitoring the diagnostics of your system and overall security safety health of your internet network can mean the difference between thwarting an outside attack or not. Therefore, setting and performing a comprehensive virus scan regularly is an absolute must.

Identity Protection

With more and more cyber attacks targeting identity theft, finding the right anti virus software that protects users from cyber criminals from accessing sensitive personal data becomes more and more important. Safeguarding the integrity of your personal information means taking extra precaution each time you input sensitive financial information like credit cards or banking information online.

Data Backup

Sometimes your computer is under attack and there is not much you can do. That is why it is crucial to have a secure data backup of your sensitive files and data in case your system has been corrupted by outside intruders. Once issues and problems settle down, restoring the backup can mean a big sigh of relief for you as a fresh restart.

Email Protection

Email is the center of most communications between employees and other business leaders at different companies. For this reason, finding an anti virus software that focuses on filtering and scanning email attachments for any viruses and malware is absolutely crucial to keeping your computer system and internet network safe.

Are Free Antivirus Programs Any Good?

Finding the right free antivirus software might sound like a challenge, but in fact there are many options out there that can provide adequate protection without costing a single dime to start off.

You would want to find the best antivirus software that provides adequate antivirus protection, malware protection, and phishing protection at its core functionality. Additional features such as a password manager, virtual private network (VPN), or parental controls are often the standard for many free antivirus protection software available for download.

Which Is the Best Antivirus for Windows 10 Free?

As a Windows user, you might think your options for a trustworthy, reliable antivirus provider might be limited. In fact, finding the best antivirus software for Windows can actually mean some benefits in features and functionality for antivirus protection compared to other platforms or operating systems like MacOS, Linux, Android, or iOS.

When it comes to free antivirus software for Windows that offers full-spectrum features and functionality for providing reliable protection, there are often only a few virus protection software products that is consistently on the top of the list for many users due to their versatility and antivirus protection on the Windows platform.

The key to a great free antivirus software out in the market is one that offers unparalleled secure protection for your PC machine as well as an option for other extra features to safeguard your system from almost every virus new or old that might intrude into your work station.

Our recommendation: McAfee

From phishing scams to malware attacks, security threats grow increasingly by the day. Although the products we mentioned are very good, it cannot beat the likes of McAfee. With McAfee it has protection on all sorts of devices ranging from phones to even cars! It’s extensive product line-up has protected over 18.9 billion devices to this day. We are sure that you will come across a package that is perfect for you, to check out their line-up, click here!

Conclusion

Finding the best free antivirus software can be difficult to sort through different internet security providers that provide antivirus programs both with a free version and paid version. Choosing the right free antivirus software that suits your personal and private needs of your digital life is about finding award running virus detection software that is both credible and trustworthy with additional features that provide real time protection.

FAQs:

1. What is the best free antivirus software?

Here is the list of the Top Free 3 Antivirus Software that we can recommend.

1. Avast Free Antivirus -
Avast Free Antivirus is a family of cross-platform internet security applications developed by Avast for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android and iOS. In addition to giving you a network security scanner, password manager, malware detection, and web browser protection, Avast's antivirus security software suite provides an outstanding collection of security features to meet your standards.
2. AVG Antivirus Free - AVG Antivirus Free offers one of the best free antivirus software security suites with full features and functionality at no extra cost. At its core technology of AVG Antivirus Free is its active real-time performance issue scans that allow for strong and secure virus protection, malware protection and phishing protection.
3. Avira Antivirus - 
The Avira Antivirus suite is another award winning antivirus product that ensures protection of your computer system from an unwanted virus or other malware. As a free antivirus software option, Avira Antivirus provides above and beyond features such as anti malware notification, password manager, and customizable network security options.1. What is the best free antivirus software?

2. Is paying for antivirus a waste of money?

Not at all. You must have an antivirus program installed on your computer. However, this does not imply that you must pay for it. If you use the Internet (which you are, if you are reading this article), you run the risk of contracting malware, a virus, or another type of malicious computer program.

3. Are paid antivirus better than free?

Absolutely! With a paid version of antivirus software, you can shield your PC from malware such as trojans, worms, and ransomware. If your system has already been infected, paid antivirus software is a better option for recovering your PC than free software.

4. Is free antivirus really free?

No such thing as a truly free antivirus exists.
The majority of antivirus vendors restrict the free version of their software to providing only the most basic protection.

5. Are free antivirus any good?

As a home user, free antivirus software is an appealing option. If you're strictly speaking about antivirus, the answer is typically no. It is uncommon for businesses to provide less protection in their free versions. Generally, free antivirus protection is just as effective as the paid version.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.