This in-depth review of the top free Antivirus Software compares their features and pricing to help you choose the Best Antivirus Software for Windows & Mac:
Installing a quality antivirus on your desktop computer or laptop remains a necessity, especially in the light of events around the world. We are no closer to eliminate the threat of hackers and cyber-criminals that haunt the connected world than we were in from the past ten years.
Cyber-attacks have only increased in the past few years, especially since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
What You Will Learn:
- Best Free Antivirus Software
- List Of Best Antivirus Software
- Comparison Of Top 5 Free Antivirus Software
- #1) Norton Antivirus
- #2) McAfee Free Antivirus
- #3) LifeLock
- #4) Avast Free Antivirus
- #5) Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
- #6) AVG AntiVirus FREE
- #7) Sophos Home
- #8) Kaspersky Cybersecurity Solution
- #9) Windows Defender AntiVirus
- #10) Avira Antivirus
- #11) Malwarebytes Anti-malware Free
Best Free Antivirus Software
According to Statista, cybercrime has directly caused annual losses over $525 million to businesses in the United States, with most of these attacks arising from DOS and malware.
The following graph shows the losses incurred by businesses due to reported cybercrime during the period 2001-2019.
Besides DOS attacks and malware, cybercrimes that are contributing to the annual losses mentioned above include breaches of data and their implications, that have a significant impact on consumers whose credit details and personal data are being stolen.
It is an enormous threat that needs to be dealt with on a war-footing basis. While regulatory authorities and individual businesses are doing their best to overcome this problem with the help of cybersecurity agencies and professionals, individual users or small business owners may not have that luxury.
For small business owners, it is the lack of finances that prevents them from using cybersecurity agencies and professionals, while individual users are unlikely to trust a stranger with their sensitive data.
How then can these Internet users protect themselves against cyber-attacks?
They can safeguard themselves by installing one of the best antivirus available today. In the past, if you wanted a quality antivirus for your PC or laptop, you had to pay top dollar for it.
While some antivirus still costs money, you don’t have to go with them simply because there is a plethora of free antivirus with prominent features available today.
In this tutorial, we will review the 10 best antivirus software, including the comparison of the top free software based on some key factors. We will also look at some industry/market-related statistics and frequently asked questions. We will also provide a pro-tip to choose the right option for you from the software we have reviewed in this article.
Types of cybercrime most frequently reported during 2019:
From the above graph, we can find that Phishing is the most prevalent type of cybercrime that needs attention. Installing a good antivirus on a PC or laptop will help to prevent phishing emails from reaching your email inbox.
Additionally, a lot of other cybercrimes, such as identity theft, extortion, harassment, etc often arise because of malware compromising the network or computers of businesses and individual users to steal sensitive information. An antivirus will prevent this by dealing with all kinds of malicious software including worms, viruses, and Trojans.
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So, it is clear that an antivirus can protect phishing, malware, and other types of cybercrimes to prevent theft of sensitive data and loss of money.
But what is the best or most used antivirus software today? According to Statista, Symantec Corporation is leading the anti-malware market with a market share of just under 14 percent. McAfee Inc., ESET, Bitdefender, and AVAST software make up the top 5.
The below graph illustrates the Global market share held by Windows anti-malware vendors 2021:
As seen in the above image, Symantec Corporation is the most widely used anti-malware vendor today. Norton Antivirus—the antivirus program offered by Symantec Corporation—makes our list, as do the antivirus programs of McAfee, Avast, Bitdefender, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions About Antivirus Software
Q #1) What is the Best Free Antivirus?
Answer: This is difficult to answer because all the antivirus software programs on our list have a lot of useful features and benefits. However, if we had to choose the best amongst them, we would go for Kaspersky Cybersecurity Solution, Bitdefender, and Avast Antivirus as our top three picks. The reasons will be evident once you read through the reviews.
Q #2) Is there a complete Free Antivirus?
Answer: Yes, there is. Bitdefender, AVG, Avast, and Kaspersky all offer free antivirus software. Despite being free, these antivirus programs have advanced features that will protect against almost all types of malicious software.
Q #3) Is free Antivirus any good?
Answer: The antivirus from Kaspersky, Bitdefender, and Avast all provide comprehensive protection against cyber-attacks, as you will find out in our reviews below.
List Of Best Antivirus Software
Here is a list of our top picks for Free Antivirus Software:
- Norton Antivirus
- McAfee Free Antivirus
- Avast Free Antivirus
- Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
- AVG AntiVirus FREE
- Sophos Home
- Kaspersky Cybersecurity Solution
- Windows Defender AntiVirus
- Avira AntiVirus
- Malwarebytes Anti-malware Free
Comparison Of Top 5 Free Antivirus Software
|Tool Name||Best For||Features||Price||Our Ratings
|Norton Antivirus ||Protection against all kinds of threats, including ransomware, viruses, phishing, and malware.||•Anti-theft|
|Free trial: 30 days|
Norton Antivirus Plus: Price starts at $19.99 for the first year for one PC.
|McAfee Free Antivirus||Protection against ransomware and viruses.||•Protection against phishing.|
•Protection for up to five computers.
|Free trial: 30 days|
2 Yr: $55.99 for 5 devices
1 Yr: $39.99
|LifeLock||Antivirus, Anti-Spyware, and Malware & Ransomware Protection.||•Online Threat Protection, |
•Smart Firewall, •Parental Control, etc.
|It starts at $95.88 per year.|
Monthly billing plans are also available.
|Avast Free Antivirus||Its core protection engine that provides advanced threat protection||·Wi-Fi Network Scanner|
·Limited access to VPN service
Business solutions start at $139.99 for 1-10 devices.
|Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition||It’s smooth, lightweight, well-built monitoring mechanisms which perform much faster than the industry average||·Malware detection engine|
·Real-time virus shield
Antivirus Plus: $29.99
Total Security: $44.99
|AVG Antivirus Free||Performing scan searches for malware that is hidden and ensuing protection against phishing||·File shredder|
Internet Security: $69.99/year. Try it for free 30 days
|Sophos Home||Remote security management for multiple PCs or laptops||·Remote management|
|Sophos Home free for home use. The premium plan starts at $45 for 1 year.|
|Kaspersky Cybersecurity Solution ||Blocking malicious URL and phishing threats||·Email Scans|
|Kaspersky Security Cloud is free. The paid plan starts at $29.99 per year for 3 PCs.|
Let’s see a detailed review of these tools:
#1) Norton Antivirus
Best for protection against all kinds of threats, including ransomware, viruses, phishing, and malware.
Norton Antivirus without a doubt is the best antivirus available today. It offers a level of protection that no other software can match. The only reason it does not feature in our top 5 picks is that it does not have a free version.
Instead, there is only a 30-day free trial that you can try before deciding whether you want to continue with this antivirus by paying for it.
- Unlimited VPN
- Backup software
- Webcam protection
- Parental controls
- Game mode
- Password manager
Verdict: Norton Antivirus has literally everything that you could ever need to ensure your protection against cyber-attacks. However, you should choose it only if you are willing to pay an ongoing fee to use it after your 30-day free trial expires.
Price: Norton offers a free trial of 30 days. Norton Antivirus Plus price starts at $19.99 for the first year for one PC.
#2) McAfee Free Antivirus
Best for protection against ransomware and viruses.
- Protection against phishing.
- Ransomware protection.
- Password manager.
- Protection for up to five computers.
Verdict: If you’re looking for total protection against viruses, phishing attempts, malware, and other threats that can compromise your privacy and performance of your computers, then McAfee Antivirus is a good option provided that you are ready to pay for this antivirus after the 30-day free trial expires.
Price:McAfee Free Antivirus offers a free trial of 30 days. Its 2 Years subscription for 5 devices will cost you $55.99. One Year Subscription for 5 devices is for $39.99.
Best for Antivirus, Anti-Spyware, and Malware & Ransomware Protection.
LifeLock – Norton 360 with LifeLock Select will give all-in-one protection to your devices and identity. It protects your online privacy. It is available for Windows, Mac, smartphones, and tablets.
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It has a password manager and a LifeLock identity alert system. It provides real-time threat protection for your device with multi-layered and advanced security.
- Online Threat Protection
- Anti-Spyware, Antivirus, Malware & Ransomware Protection.
- Smart Firewall 100% Virus Protection.
- Parental Control
Verdict: This comprehensive malware protection solution comes with multiple capabilities like cloud-backup and parental control. It contains stolen wallet protection and credit monitoring.
Price: Norton 360 offers a free trial of 30 days. Norton 360 with LifeLock has three pricing plans i.e. Select ($95.88 per year), Advantage ($179.88 per year), and Ultimate Plus ($251.88 per year). Monthly billing plans are also available.
#4) Avast Free Antivirus
Best for its core protection engine that provides advanced threat protection.
It is a lightweight, strong, globally renowned free antivirus that is known for its minimal risk and advanced threat protection. Simple to install, the antivirus checks for problems in performance and security while allowing you to know how fast you can resolve them.
- Wi-Fi network scanner
- Unlimited password manager
- Game mode
- Limited access to VPN service
Verdict: If you are looking for an antivirus program that offers the most features for threat protection, then Avast Free Antivirus is your best option.
Price: Avast offers free antivirus. It has solutions for home use as well as for businesses. It offers plans for small businesses as well as for businesses with 1-1000 devices. Small Office protection will cost you $139.99. This license is valid for up to 10 devices.
Website: Avast Free Antivirus
#5) Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
Best for its smooth, lightweight, well-built monitoring mechanisms that perform much faster than the industry average.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is a free and effectively safe antivirus packaged into user-friendly software. This protection program provides you with the surety that all risks have been taken care of.
- Malware detection engine.
- Real-time virus shield.
- Support options.
Verdict: Antivirus Free Edition from Bitdefender is a great option for people who are searching for an antivirus scanner that eliminates the need for them to monitor it after it has been installed.
Price: Bitdefender offers a free edition for Antivirus. It has two paid versions, Antivirus Plus ($29.99 for the first year, 3 devices) and Total Security ($44.99 for the first year, 5 devices).
Website: Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
#6) AVG AntiVirus FREE
Best for performing scan searches for malware that is hidden and ensuing protection against phishing.
This antivirus software, AVG, is loaded with features and allows you to update security components in real-time before any malware or other threats can disrupt your computer.
- File shredder
- Customization options
- System optimizer
Verdict: This software is recommended for anyone looking for free antivirus for their PC or laptop. However, business users should refrain from its use if they don’t want the security of their systems compromised. They should instead go for another antivirus or the paid versions of the AVG antivirus.
Price: AVG Antivirus offers a free version. Its Internet security is for $69.99 per year for one Windows PC. This version can be tried for 30 days.
Website: AVG AntiVirus FREE
#7) Sophos Home
Best for remote security management for multiple PCs or laptops.
Sophos Home is an antivirus that provides real-time threat protection and allows you to stop your kids from accessing parts of the World Wide Web that you believe is not good for them.
- Remote management
- Real-time protection
- Parental controls
Verdict: If you’re looking for an effective, user-friendly free antivirus that comes with parental controls, then look no further than Sophos Home.
Price: Sophos Home is free for home use. Its premium version can be bought for 1 Year ($45), 2 Years ($78), and 3 Years ($99).
Website: Sophos Home
#8) Kaspersky Cybersecurity Solution
Best for blocking malicious URL and phishing threats.
Kaspersky Cybersecurity Solution is an antivirus with an impressive range of security features that perform exceedingly well in tests. Not only does it make scanning for threats easy, but it also allows you to protect your privacy through dark web scanning, a password manager, and a VPN.
- Email scans
- Game mode
- Ransomware reversal
- Scan scheduler
- Support options
Verdict: It is a great choice if you’re looking for a powerful antivirus that is free to use and makes it incredibly easy to protect your privacy.
Price: Kaspersky Security Cloud is free. This free version provides Antivirus protection on all devices. Its business solutions start at $87.50 for 5 devices and one year. The Home solutions price starts at $29.99.
Website: Kaspersky Cybersecurity Solution
#9) Windows Defender AntiVirus
Best for its malware detection capabilities.
Windows Defender is a built-in antivirus for Microsoft Windows and is included in Windows 10 for free. Over the past few years, the malware detection capabilities of Windows Defender have improved considerably, as evident in its testing.
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- Malicious URL blocking
- Protection against phishing
- Parental controls
- Game mode
Verdict: Use Windows Defender as your primary protection software if you’re looking for a low impact antivirus and don’t want the inconvenience of having to install a third-party antivirus on your Windows PC or laptop.
Website: Windows Defender AntiVirus
#10) Avira Antivirus
Best for its excellent protection against malware.
Avira Antivirus is free and protects against phishing scams and malicious websites. It runs efficiently on both new and old Windows PCs and fights malicious software on its own servers.
- Protection against phishing.
- Ransomware protection.
- 500 MB VPN.
Verdict: Avira Antivirus is a great option if you’re looking for powerful protection against malware but do not desire a lot of security features.
Price: Avira Antivirus is available for free download. The business solutions price starts at $38.00.
Website: Avira Antivirus
#11) Malwarebytes Anti-malware Free
Best for eliminating the threat of adware and other unwanted software.
This is an extremely useful tool for malware removal. It has some of the finest and most robust tools for virus removal, which makes it a preferred option for many businesses and even individual users today.
- Automatic scans.
- Anti-malware protection.
- Ransomware protection.
Verdict: Malwarebytes Free is a good option to use as a supplement to a top antivirus such as the free antivirus programs of Kaspersky, Bitdefender, and Avast.
Price: Malwarebytes is available to download for free. It offers pricing plans for personal use as well as for businesses. Personal plan price starts at $39.99 per year. Business plans price start at $119.97 per year which includes 3 devices.
Website: Malwarebytes Anti-malware Free
All the antivirus programs listed above have their fair share of pros and cons. Therefore, the best software will depend on your specific needs. For example, if you are looking for a program that offers the most features for threat protection, then Avast Free Antivirus is your best option.
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On the other hand, Antivirus from Bitdefender is a great option for people who are searching for an antivirus scanner that eliminates the need for them to monitor it after it is installed.
AVG Antivirus Free is recommended for anyone looking for free antivirus for their PC or laptop. However, business users should refrain from its use if they don’t want the security of their systems compromised. They should instead go for another antivirus or the paid versions of the AVG.
If you’re looking for an effective, user-friendly free antivirus that comes with parental controls, then look no further than Sophos Home. Kaspersky Cybersecurity Solution is a great choice if you’re looking for a powerful antivirus that is free to use and makes it incredibly easy to protect your privacy.
Use Windows Defender as your primary protection software if you’re looking for a low impact antivirus and don’t want the inconvenience of having to install a third-party antivirus on your Windows PC or laptop.
Norton Antivirus has literally everything that you could ever need to ensure your protection against cyber-attacks. However, you should choose it only if you are willing to pay an ongoing fee to use it after your 30-day free trial expires.
Similarly, if you’re looking for total protection against viruses, phishing attempts, malware, and other threats that can compromise your privacy and performance of your computers, then McAfee Antivirus is a good option provided you are ready to pay for this software after the 30-day free trial expires.
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Avira Antivirus is a great option if you’re looking for powerful protection against malware but do not desire a lot of security features. Finally, Malwarebytes Free is a good option to use as a supplement to a top antivirus such as the free antivirus programs of Kaspersky, Bitdefender, and Avast.
Our Research Process:
We spent 10 hours researching and writing this article so you can get a useful summarized list of tools with a comparison of each for your quick review. To come up with a final list of the top 10 free antiviruses, we considered and vetted 25 different options. This research process makes our recommendations trustworthy.