6 Best Free Antivirus Software to Protect Your PC

Reading time8 minutes
Jaqueline Corradi
Jaqueline Corradi
Content Manager

Having an antivirus on your computer is essential to protect it and prevent you from having your data exposed or your device damaged because of malware or hacker attack. You don't even have to pay to use a good antivirus, you just need to choose the best free antivirus software that fits your needs.

Whether it's a home computer or the one you use in the office, they need to be protected. You will avoid a lot of headaches by installing antivirus, and keeping it updated. We use computers every day, they are part of our lives and store much sensitive information, digital security mustn't be overlooked.

1. Avast 

Avast's logo

With more than 435 million users worldwide, Avast is one of the most popular antivirus software and it offers a free version for Mac and Windows. Easy to install, Avast will scan your devices, laptop, or desktop PC, to check if there are any privacy, security, and performance issues, then help you to fix them. 

The software counts on an intuitive interface, advanced application protection, and enables you to run multiple security products in parallel. Avast is an intelligent antivirus that blocks viruses, malware, spyware, ransomware, and phishing. It uses smart analytics to detect threats and stop them before affecting your computer. 

The CyberCapture feature sends suspicious files for analysis automatically, while the Wi-Fi inspector detects if there are any security failures on your Wi-Fi, including strangers that could be using or spying on your network. Use the Smart Scan to find cracks that could enable malware to access your system. 

Key features: 

  • Easy to install
  • Intelligent antivirus
  • CyberCapture
  • Wi-fi Inspector
  • Smart Scan

2. Avira

Avira's logo

Avira gives you real-time antivirus protection and helps to ensure your data is going to be kept private. It blocks, spyware, adware, ransomware, among others, with the advantage that the software won't slow down your PC.

Besides virus scans, you are also going to count on advanced repair functionalities, enabling you to fix files, for example. 

Avira has an automated intelligent learning system to make sure you are always safe against new threats and the PUA Shield feature, which identifies unwanted applications that could be hidden within legitimate software. To navigate securely through the internet, Avira also blocks harmful websites before they even load. 

The ad blocker will protect your PC from malicious ads, banners, and pop-ups, by stopping them from loading too. You can download Avira for Windows, Mac, IOS, and Android, so all your devices will be secure. 

Key features:

  • Real-time protection
  • Light and fast
  • Antivirus scanner
  • Nightvision
  • PUA Shield
  • Safe browsing
  • Ad Blocker

3. Panda

Panda's logo

With Panda free antivirus, you can protect your Windows and Android devices. It gives you maximum virus detection rate without slowing down your desktop computer, laptop, or smartphone. The software is easy to install and all the work is done from the cloud, so you don't have to store any files. 

You will count on real-time protection, USB scan, to prevent the automatic execution of malware when you insert it, and the Multimedia/Game mode where the antivirus notifications are disabled to avoid disturbing you, but your computer keeps safe. 

Panda also offers a rescue kit, which allows you to run an advanced scan on your PC or create a rescue USB drive to clean infected computers that won't start. For your Android devices, use the Privacy Auditor to check the access permissions of the apps, and optimize battery life. 

Key features:  

  • Maximum virus detection rate
  • Easy to install
  • Light
  • USB protection
  • Panda Rescue Kit
  • Multimedia/ Game Mode

4. AVG

AVG's logo

More than 30 years of experience and over 160 awards are some of the reasons that prove why AVG is considered one of the best free antivirus software. It gives you 6 layers of security to stop viruses, spyware, and malware, and the software is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and IOS. 

With the Email Shield, your emails are going to be protected too since AVG blocks dangerous email attachments and phishing links that could steal your data. You are going to count on real-time updates to be always protected. Besides, the antivirus blocks malicious links and web pages that could contain malware. 

Another advantage is that AVG has an easy-to-use interface, which allows you to quickly find the tools you need, and your PC will be scanned 24/7. 

Key features:

  • 6 layers of security
  • Malware protection
  • Email shield
  • Real-time updates
  • Phishing protection
  • 24/7 scans

5. Malwarebytes

Malwarebytes' logo

Installed more than 90 thousand times a day, Malwarebytes keeps all your devices protected against viruses and malware, enabling you to use your computer and navigate through the internet safely. You will count on real-time protection that works 24/7 without affecting the performance of your devices. 

The antivirus software catches dangerous threats automatically, so you don't have to worry about it. It can also remove adware and block unwanted programs. Malwarebytes is available for Windows, Mac, IOS, Android, and Chromebook. 

The Premium version is paid, but you can enjoy the free trial period to get to know the features better and analyze if you want to invest in it. But, you can keep using the free version, which is a disinfection scanner and helps you to revert the damage caused by viruses or malware or your computer. 

Key features:

  • Real-time protection
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Cleans up an already infected computer
  • Light and fast
  • Protects against online scammers

6. Sophos

Sophos' logo

Sophos offers extended detection and response (XDR) by combining the world's best endpoint protection with the skill to detect and investigate threats across endpoints, servers, firewalls, among other data sources.

With Sophos Home, you can protect your Windows PCs and Macs, counting on scans that are going to detect any threat on your computers and remove malware.

You will be able to navigate with safety through the internet knowing that your data is protected from phishing and hacking, without the antivirus software slowing down your computer. Sopho provides privacy protection, malware scan and clean, ransomware security, real-time antivirus, and many other tools. 

Key features:

  • Malware scan and clean
  • AI Threat Detection
  • Ransomware Security
  • Security Management
  • Privacy Protection
  • Web Protection
  • Real-Time Antivirus
  • Parental Web Filtering

Aspects to Pay Attention When Choosing the Best Free Antivirus Software

Now that you have discovered different options of the best free antivirus software, there may be a doubt about which one to select.

To make the most assertive choice, analyze the features each one provides, and how they fulfill your expectations. As they are free, you can enjoy the opportunity to test different ones and see which you like more. 

Malware Detection

The best free antivirus software needs to provide an effective malware detector, capable of identifying, for example, trojans, spyware, ransomware, rootkits, and keyloggers.

This way it will keep you safe from any threats on your computer. The software has to be continuously updated to detect not only known malware but also new ones. 

To be sure about the malware protection rates the antivirus software of your choice offers, you can test it using independent laboratories such as AV-TEST, and AV-comparatives.

Minimal Slowdown

Another important characteristic to pay attention to when choosing the best free antivirus software for you is if it won't slow down your system.

Some of them take too much space and may be difficult to stream content or play games on your pc, for example, mainly when it is scanning the computer. Choose the ones that are lightweight to avoid this problem. 

Real-time Protection

To prevent any malware from being installed on your computer or mobile devices, opt for the best free antivirus software that offers real-time protection. This means your devices will be 24/7 secure, and the antivirus will block threats as you navigate through the internet, for instance. 

Easy-to-use Interface

It's important to count on an antivirus software that has an intuitive interface, which you find easy-to-use. Otherwise, you may have amazing software but don't enjoy its features because you don't know how to enable them. A user-friendly dashboard makes a whole difference in user experience and is going to be very useful to you. 

Extra Features Available

Check if the free antivirus software of your choice also offers extra features such as a browser extension to protect your privacy online or a password manager. It depends on what tools you would like to use, many of them have features that can only be used in the paid versions, pay attention to that as well. 

Keep Your Devices Safe with the Best Free Antivirus Software

Regardless of which of the best free antivirus software you decide to use, one thing is for sure, it needs to be constantly updated to keep your desktop computer, laptop, and mobile devices safe. 

Without antivirus software, you are vulnerable to hacker attacks, viruses, and malware, which can violate your privacy and make you lose valuable data. Be cautious, install an antivirus, but also pay attention to other safety measures such as 2 step verification, and how to create passwords.

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