f you’re using Windows operating system and you have a rough idea of what’s happening in the cybersecurity world, you must be knowing that your favorite computer isn’t safe from malware and other threats. Same applies to Android and macOS platforms. To protect you from threats, cybersecurity firms develop and release antivirus software. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the most notable and best free antivirus options out there to help you make an informed decision.
You might also ask the usefulness of the free antivirus software and their effectiveness. Well, let me tell you that many free scanners from the likes of Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Avast, etc., do a decent job when it comes to best free virus protection. It goes without saying that their paid counterparts offer some premium features and dedicated support. That’s why I’ve also added the links to some notable premium options as well. Do take a look and make sure that your devices are protected from threats in 2018 —
Avast Antivirus Free
When you’re looking for the free antivirus software to maintain the integrity of your computer and save you from different malware and hacking attacks, Avast turns out to be a worthy leader among all solutions. The latest release claims to be one of the best lightweight antivirus solutions around and promises to be “a light touch on your PC.” The major Avast Free Antivirus features are:
Overall, Avast is a feature-rich antivirus when compared to other entries on the list, including famous Bitdefender and Avira Free Antivirus software. You also get a free password manager named Avast Passwords as well.
The paid antivirus products from Avast come with added features like ransomware shield, firewall, anti-spam, sandboxing, etc. It comes with a 30-day free trial, so there’s no harm giving it a try if you wish to go for extra security layers.
The best free antivirus software solutions of Avast are available for Windows, Mac, and Android.
Get Bitdefender Free Antivirus
Bitdefender, the Romanian internet security solutions company, doesn’t need any introduction in the world of cybersecurity. The company offers top-notch products for home and business use and Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is no exception. It gives a tough competition to Avast’s solution. It’s a no-nonsense, free computer antivirus software that has all the major features you’d expect from a top rated and free virus protection program. Its chief features include:
In the tests of different independent security labs, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition has excelled. This free virus scanner keeps running in the background all the time and comes with an easy-to-use interface.
When it comes to Bitdefender free vs paid comparison, the paid version comes with features like password manager, browser hardening, specialized ransomware protection, etc. If that sounds like what you need, give it a go as it also comes with a 30-day free trial.
It’s a cross-platform product that is supported by Windows, macOS and Android. Windows users can install it on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.
Get Avira Free Antivirus
First appearing on the horizon of PC protection in 1986, Avira has also been performing well in the test of different independent cybersecurity labs. While it might not be as feature packed as Avast Free Antivirus, Avira is known to turn out to deliver a solid performance with a clean user interface. The new 2018 version of this one of best free antivirus isn’t any exception. Some of the most noticeable features of Avira’s free solution are:
It’s worth noting that Avira also ships a software suite named Internet Total Security Suite, which has Free Antivirus, Avira Phantom VPN, and Avira Safesearch Plus. The VPN bundled with this suite has a data limit. However, for VPN, I’ll recommend you to choose from these best solutions.
Avira Free Antivirus software is available for all popular platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android.
Get Kaspersky Free Antivirus
It wasn’t long ago when Russian cybersecurity leaders Kaspersky Labs launched a full-fledged free cybersecurity suite. The company’s home and enterprise products are frequently featured on the annual top 10 antivirus software lists of different websites and experts. The free and lightweight antivirus from Kaspersky Labs is a basic program that doesn’t come with any fancy features and promises to do its job with diligence.
Talking about its features, you get the core protection of this not-so-heavy antivirus, which includes protection against dangerous malware, viruses, phishing attacks, spyware, etc. Its web protection also makes sure that notorious websites aren’t able to fool you. You also get email protection as well, so it’s not a bad deal as it uses the same antivirus engine used by popular and paid Kaspersky Internet Security. You can go for the paid version’s trial if you need advanced features like cross-platform protection, safe online transactions, kids security, password manager, etc.
Kaspersky Free Antivirus is only available for Windows platform. Android users can go form Kaspersky Internet Security, whose basic version is free.
Get AVG Free Antivirus
In September 2016, Avast Software completed the acquisition of AVG Technologies. While both these companies enjoy an enviable reputation in the cybersecurity business, Avast is more popular in non-English speaking markets. After the merger, both the products have maintained their look and we can expect to see some technical under-the-hood improvements in both the products. AVG Free Antivirus is AVG’s popular free virus scanner program that continues to get better.
The main features of the AVG Free Antivirus are:
Apart from the protection from malware and harmful programs, you also get a 30-day trial of free AVG VPN tool. However, if you’re looking for a dedicated VPN for safeguarding your privacy, we’ll recommend you to go for the likes of PIA or ExpressVPN.
A highlight feature of this security tool is an inbuilt File Shredder feature that lets you shred content with AVG and get rid of completely. You can use this feature by directly right-clicking on Recycle Bin or individual files/folders.
While these features of one of the best free antivirus should be enough for most of the users, AVG also providers more paid options in the form of AVG Internet Security (free trial available) and AVG Ultimate. These options ensure dedicated support, Firewall, and Pro apps for mobile.
AVG Free Antivirus software is available both for Microsoft Windows and macOS platforms. For Android users, there’s a free option in the form of AVG Antivirus for Android
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus
CheckPoint’s ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus was earlier called ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall. The company has renamed this product but retained the firewall feature, which makes it a top recommendation on this top 10 antivirus list for 2018. Let’s take a look at its major features:
ZoneAlarm’s Free Antivirus is recommended if you wish to couple the advantage of an antivirus with that of a firewall. If you’re looking just for a firewall, ZoneAlarm has a separate free program for that. If you’re only looking for best free antivirus, choose Kaspersky’s offering as ZoneAlarm uses antivirus technology licensed by Kaspersky.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus 2018 is available for Microsoft Windows operating system, with support for Windows 10/8/7, Vista, and XP.
Get Free Panda Antivirus
If you had read the overviews of above-mentioned free antivirus solutions, you might have noticed the term lightweight antivirus in some of them. In recent years, this characteristic has gained more importance as these software suites unnecessarily end up bloating your machine. Just like Kaspersky, AVG, and Avast’s free tools, Panda Free Antivirus software also labels lightness as its primary feature. Let’s take a look at few more features:
Over the past, Panda has managed to improve its free antivirus product and make the experience better. If you frequently borrow USB drives from friends and colleagues, you can give it a try. However, they still need to do a lot of work to catch up with the top-ranking solutions on this list.
Panda also ships a Protection Advanced version that takes care of ransomware, WiFi connections, parental controls, etc. It’s available as a 1-month free trial, so you can give it a spin.
Panda Free Antivirus is available for Microsoft Windows platform. If you’re looking for cross-platform protection, Panda isn’t for you.
Get Sophos Home
Sophos is another reputable name in the cybersecurity world. Their Sophos Home free antivirus solution promises best-in-class protection from tons of threats that keep budding to take control of your digital lives. This top-rated antivirus software has repeatedly scored good grades in tests of independent labs. Here are its major features:
As said above, Sophos Home PC protection program has many added features that might interest you. It prevents your computer from connecting to malicious websites that are a source of spyware and other malware. You also have the power to control the content your family accesses. Moreover, you can also control it from any web browser remotely.
Sophos Home supports Windows as well as macOS operating systems. You can install it on Windows 7, 8, 8.1, and 10. Apple users can run it on OS X 10.10 and later.
Get 360 Total Security
If you’re looking for a feature-rich antivirus software that doesn’t cost you a penny, you can give Qihoo’s 360 Total Security a try. A big highlight of this free antivirus is the licensed Bitdefender and Avira antivirus engine. The other features of 360 Total Security are:
While its core protection might not be able to beat the market leaders, 360 Total Security is one feature-rich software. Apart from the features mentioned above, you get webcam protection, keylogger blocking, USB drive protection, file system and registry protection, network threat blocking, and more. So, if you love options to play with, give it a try.
This security software from Qihoo is available for Microsoft Windows operating system.
Get adaware antivirus 12
adaware antivirus was earlier known as Ad-Aware from Lavasoft. This free antivirus software for PC has undergone an overhauling and rebranding. While it might not be the best virus protection you can get for your PC, a few highlight features of adaware antivirus are worth mentioning:
While most of the free computer protection software on this list had some bonus feature to offer, adaware antivirus 12 doesn’t have any. As it’s free, you can give it a try. Still, I’ll recommend you to go for the top picks like Kaspersky, Avast, or Bitdefender.
You can install adaware antivirus 12 on Windows 10, 8, 8.1, and 7.
It goes without saying that due to increasing online threats like ransomware, phishing, and new kinds of malware, the antivirus companies are improving themselves and offering the best possible protection. However, when it comes to delivering the expected performance without taking any money from the users, few of them deliver.
Out of these top-ranked best free antivirus software for 2018, I’d suggest you go with Avast Free Antivirus or Bitdefender Free Antivirus. Avast has many bonus features bundled with its free software and it should attract many users. Bitdefender’s software follows a no-nonsense principle and detects threats with ease. So, depending on your personal choice, you can select any of these. You can also install free trials of paid versions of Bitdefender and Avast to see if they are built to fulfill your needs. Don’t forget to give them a try and share your valuable feedback with us and other readers.
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