Best Free Antivirus Software

If you’re working on a tight budget but still want to shield your devices from the most recent malware and ransomware threats free antivirus software is a good choice. Free programs use the same malware-scanning engines that their paid counterparts. However, they lack additional tools that provide online protection such as a VPN, a password manager and parental controls.

The best antivirus software for free should offer effective real-time malware protection, which means that the program is actively catching and blocks threats while they are trying to download or get onto your computer. In the past, this kind of security was only available for premium subscriptions, but now it’s common among free alternatives.

The best free antivirus programs should come with a basic password manager and a VPN, at least on the basis of a trial. McAfee, for example, offers a free trial of 30 days to its highest-tier package. This includes all premium features including security for the web and ID theft protection.

In the end, the most effective free antivirus software must be easy to use. Most of the brands in our top choices have user-friendly dashboards with intuitive features, and decent customer support. Some also have mobile applications that make it easier to scan and secure your Android or iOS devices. The most effective free apps can be utilized on a single device. Paid versions offer family-friendly plans, as well as tools for business.