When you have a new PC, the first thing you should do is install good antivirus software. The good news is that high quality protection can be completely free, but with so many options, choosing the right one can be difficult. So we have updated our guide to obtain the best software in exchange for your personal information and data.
Windows has come a long way in terms of security, but it's still fair to suggest that Windows 10's integrated antivirus solution, Windows Defender, is the latest free AV application you must rely on to keep your system clean.
It is not openly bad, although it is behind almost all third-party antivirus solutions, but because its widespread adoption has a great goal painted for attackers.
Windows users who have not installed something more resistant are the perfect hosts for viruses; Attack the weak links, attack through the cracks in the only software armor that have these weak links by default, and you're inside.
That's why we have removed Defender from our list of free antivirus applications in this latest update to our free AV summary. You need more than you can offer. If you are not running advanced virus detection, zero-day antivirus protection, antimalware, anti-ransomware and other essential security elements, you are not doing the right thing and you are exposed to infections and identity theft.
Once again we consulted the experts at the AV-TEST virus laboratory to find the most effective antivirus protection, and we have also heard their comments regarding usability. However, the free AV has a cost. It serves as an advertisement for the most premium offers of many suppliers and the collected data helps them improve the security of all their products.
So we understand that for many of you the constant annoyance of free AV pop-ups can be a bit much to take, so if you're willing to sacrifice a tiny amount of antivirus protection in favor of a cleaner experience, we're with you.
1. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
The best free antivirus in 2018
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Android | Version: 2018 | Features: Phishing protection, behavioral analysis, automatic scanning
Excellent virus detection
Advanced users may want more control
Scans can not be scheduled
Essentially it consists of the AV section of the complete product, the clean, lightweight and well-constructed scanning mechanisms of Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, which are almost universally faster than the industry average, and the unsurpassed virus definitions mean that it is retreating to the top of the tree. However, the December test round of AV-TEST detected some flaws in its handling of zero-day threats.
The insistence of the free version in running in automatic pilot mode is a double-edged sword, facilitating the process of virus administration but taking it out of the hands of the user; Although we are inclined to trust him, there have been cases in the past that automatic systems became a bit dishonest, like the incident of a few years ago when Panda Antivirus identified itself as a virus and blocked a large number of systems Windows
While Bitdefender is not exactly free of pop-ups, it's clean, smart and efficient enough to take our first place this time.
Review and where to download: Free edition of Bitdefender Antivirus
2. Avast Free Antivirus
A much improved free antivirus package
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Android | Version: 17 | Features: Virus detection, game mode, password manager, malware scanner
Does not slow down your computer
Irritating privacy settings
Includes links to components paid
Avast and AVG have not yet fully merged, although the first one formally acquired the latter in mid-2016. The new combined company says that the two free antivirus products will remain separate, although apparently there is a whole AV package on the way soon Obviously, Avast now has much more data to work with, and has expanded its effective user base (and, therefore, its threat detection network) to a whopping 400 million users.
The latest edition of Avast Free Antivirus adds an automatic game mode to mute pop-ups and reduce system load when a processor hungry game is running, which is very useful, and the interface has received a new one and clean review. There is also a password manager, which is undeniably a good addition to your security portfolio.
It has a good score on the AV-TEST malware comparison test and continues a clean sweep against 0-day attacks, presumably that extended detection network is really helping. Less impressive is the slight negative effect that Avast has on software release times, and its slightly emergent attitude.
Review and where to download: Avast Free Antivirus
3. Sophos Home
The perfect choice for a home full of PC
Operating system: Windows, Mac | Version: 17 | Features: Virus detection, phishing protection, parental controls, protects up to 10 PCs
Simple and non-intrusive
Good cloud-based control of protected devices
Without scanning programming  Limited controls for advanced users
Marketing itself as "enterprise level security", Sophos Home does a bit more than most free antivirus software, and actually seems to be more suitable for families.
Get standard antivirus and antimalware protection, along with browser tools such as antiphishing and, most importantly, content control. In combination with central administration of up to 10 PCs, this means that you can effectively block your children's browsing options.
Although AV-TEST has not formally evaluated Sophos' abilities, laboratory partner AV-Comparatives offers a decent rating of their antivirus skills
Although Sophos Home has always had desktop notifications, there was no premium version of the software. software to encourage an update. That changed in February with the launch of Sophos Home Premium.
Review and where to download: Sophos Home
4. Kaspersky Free
First Kaspersky incursion in free Internet security
Operating system: Windows | Version: 188.8.131.525 | Features: Real-time scanning, anti-phishing, email scanning, spyware protection
Accurate and reliable antivirus engine
Easy to use
Basic functions set only
Support limited technical
The paid version of Kaspersky's Windows security software frequently tops the graphics of the best antivirus solutions and AV-TEST once again gave it the best ratings in its latest round of testing.
As expected, Kaspersky Free is a scaled-down version of the complete program, eliminating additional features such as privacy protection and secure secure payment environments to concentrate on powerful, simple and, most importantly, free protection for your PC The result is tremendously easy to use and navigate software that does an effective job of keeping you protected from viruses.
Using the real-world analysis engine of the paid package, Kaspersky Free is terribly hard for viruses and Trojans to decompose and we love that it does not constantly bother you with the jostling to upgrade to the full version.
Review and where to download: Kaspersky Free
5. Avira Free Antivirus
Excellent antivirus, but a bit noisy for our taste
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS | Version: 20
18 | Features: Virus detection, phishing protection, integrated VPN, system optimization tools
Little impact on system performance
Excellent detection rates
The installer promotes other Avira products
Many pop-up windows when running
Avira Free Antivirus for Windows continues to score high on the strict AV-TEST testing program, overriding 99.7% of the threats tested, and generally does not represent a very large load for your hardware.
It has a clean and friendly interface, with a sophisticated redesign ready for 2018, and yields a minimum of false positives. The introduction of a free security suite to run it optionally, with ransomware and phishing protection, a VPN of 500MB / month and several promises of acceleration, simply sweetens the deal. This is one of the best free antivirus packages of 2017.
So, why have we discarded it from the top of our list, a position it has occupied for two years? It is the constant abuse. There is a certain level of pop-ups and ads that are acceptable for a free product, and Avira has started to cross the line. It's not as expensive as some, the overly enthusiastic Comodo interface comes to mind, but booting up your PC and seeing Avira yelling at you one more time is jarring.
Review and where to download: Avira Free Antivirus
6. AVG AntiVirus Free
Nice antivirus, but it lacks some areas
Operating system: Windows, Mac, Android | Version: 2018 | Features: Virus detection, phishing protection, system optimization tools, malware scanner
Large malware protection registry
Analyzes may be somewhat slow
] It is not the best protection against phishing
There is a growing trend among some online experts to label antivirus applications such as AVG (and, in fact, AVG specifically) as & # 39; crapware & # 39 ;. We do not subscribe to that definition; if that term is supposed to mean that these applications are ineffective or useless, it simply is not true.
AVG offers (reasonably) effective protection against viruses for free, and does so with minimal impact on the system. If, on the other hand, the term derogatory refers to products that weigh a little on advertising and features that do not matter, for example, the adjustment part of AVG AntiVirus Free, maybe the shoe fits here.
Emerging or not, it is the antivirus that most interests us. Looking at the AV-TEST figures, and considering that AVG shares the same extended user base as Avast, we were a little surprised that its strength did not match its new father and anti-phishing tools could also improve. Nor does it have the same benefits, such as extensions.
Speculatively, this could mean that the AVG engine is not receiving the same love as before, or that Avast is a little stronger. Anyway, keep your eyes open for the combined Avast-AVG antivirus that is in play by the end of this year, because the two products that run in tandem can be hard to beat.
But until then, you should not fear too much about AVG Credentials. You just got a perfect score of 12 out of 12 for AV-TEST.
Review and Download: AVG AntiVirus Free
7. Panda Free Antivirus
PC security rich in features, but not as light as promised
Operating system: Windows | Version: 18 | Features: Cloud-based scanning, game mode, USB immunization, boot rescue kit
Good virus and malware detection rates
USB stick vaccination tool
has a remarkable impact on system resources  The eternal battle against pop-up windows does not start exactly right, with Panda's site throwing a huge banner screaming about a discount on the full version before it is even allowed to download the free version
Leave that aside, however, to see the software itself: Panda's fully cloud-based antivirus solution works as l
ittle as possible with system resources, at least when running quietly in the background. But you will probably find, as did the AV-TEST lab, that Panda Free Antivirus has a greater impact on many common system tasks: installation, file copying, application downloads, than most other antivirus applications. We also experienced strong CPU peaks at both random times and when Panda was updating.
That said, the overall look of Panda, which offers soothing views where others turn white or gray, is refreshing, incredibly well-designed and comes with a host of additional features that not only look like lint. It marks itself even more with a game mode when it needs additional CPU speed, offers to immunize USB memories (useful if you're worried about preinstalled spyware), has a boot rescue kit in case a malicious program stops your installation of Windows and includes a process monitor weighted by threats.
Review and where to download: Panda Free Antivirus
8. 360 Total Security
Antivirus overloaded with features, with a possible sting in the queue
Operating system: Windows | Version: 2018 | Features: Multiple virus scanners, malware scanner, Phishing protection, mobile application
Bitdefender and Avira engines included
Most tools have little power  Many ads
The spectrum of the VW-scale traps of AV developer Qihoo seems to be improving a bit these days, and it's hard not to recommend it when you consider exactly what it offers for free: Multi-engine AV protection concurrent (Bitdefender, Avira, and Qihoo's own engines) along with reasonable extras like anti-phishing and a mobile application to help manage multiple systems.
Neither are we very impressed by its interface. You will have to make some adjustments so that several antivirus engines run at the same time, and doing so with the user interface quite messy is not easy.
The most recent significant update released in January claims to have improved the user interface, along with the speed and intelligence of the software.
But many of the tools included seem strange, and we achieved a couple of false positives in the tests as well. Therefore, if you want quiet and solid protection, this is a good option, but you must do a job and pay a high price.
Review and Download: 360 Total Security
9. Free Antivirus ZoneAlarm
Licensed antivirus and noisy alerts, added to a solid firewall
Operating system: Windows | Version: 2017 | Features: Malware scanner, personal firewall, identity protection, online file backup copies
Performs very well in security testing
Firewall protection and identity released
Sneaky attempt to install Yahoo software
Insanely slow installation process
ZoneAlarm's reputation in the firewall world precedes it, and although that particular aspect of this all-in-one package is not what really sets us Worry here, it's an extra solid if you do not trust your router or the integrated Windows firewall.
The antivirus engine that is offered here is actually licensed by Kaspersky, so even though we could not find any results from the independent testing labs, hence its low position on our list, it is safe to have at least a small amount of confidence in their abilities. It is well designed, easy to use and is your only real option if you want to use the ZoneAlarm firewall along with any other anti-malware application other than Windows Defende
That being said, ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall is not a silent program, alerting you to every little thing that has been blocked or diverted – some people like that, others will quickly become enraged.
Review and where to download: ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus
10. Adaware Antivirus Free
Renamed but reduced, with a lot of advertising on board
Operating system: Windows | Version: 12 | Features: Malware scanner, Behavioral analysis, Download protection
Game mode removes notifications
Can be installed along with other protection tools
Blocking imperfect viruses and malware
Without adequate email protection  A new name for what was once Ad-Aware Free Antivirus +, to celebrate the re-branding of your company from LavaSoft to Adaware.
Like another antivirus package with a licensed engine, this time from Bitdefender, and the benefit of Adaware's anti-spyware history, you expect its results to be good. But things are not so pink.
This new Adaware Antivirus Free 12 removes the Web Companion from version 11, which blocked malicious and fraudulent URLs; now it only acts in dubious downloads. There are a number of other promised features, but they are not really there, located, temptingly, in an interface that screams much more than "adaware". It is better to choose one of the other downloads in this list instead of being dazzled by its polished and shiny interface.
Review and know where to download: Adaware Antivirus Free