One nasty virus could expose your financial information or stop your computer from working at all. What you need is the best antivirus software possible on your computer. Luckily, some of the best are also completely free!Many companies offer free versions of their popular antivirus programs for home users. My favorites are avast! Free Antivirus, AVG Anti-Virus Free, and MSE (all of which are available for easy installation at ninite.com) but be sure to look through the alphabetical list below to find the best free antivirus for you.
These are not trial ware or shareware they are completely free. These are the best antivirus programs that are completely free and work similarly to, or better than, expensive programs from companies like Norton and McAfee.
Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ program is different than the “Ad-Aware” you may already be familiar with. This program is a true, always-on, completely free antivirus program. Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ supports Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP. Though Ad-Aware Free is a solid program and works well 1 drawback is that it does not support email scanning. However for those using online email such as Hotmail or Gmail this should not be an issue.
AVAST Free Antivirus 2016 is my number 1 pick for a Free Anti Virus program. Avast! Free Antivirus has fully functioning antivirus and antispyware engines protecting your PC from threats from the Internet, your files, emails, and even instant messages.
One big reason I included avast! Free Antivirus 2016 as a best free antivirus program is because of its “heuristics engine” which can detect previously unknown viruses and other malware. I also like the fact that AVAST has been making this antivirus product since 1988 and is often cited as the most installed antivirus product.
Avast! Free Antivirus 2016 supports Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
AntiVirus Free 2015 from AVG is one of the best free antivirus software tools available and is was my personal favorite. (I’ve only changed because of some of its data collection policies)
AVG AntiVirus Free is a full-fledged antivirus and antispyware tool, includes an email scanner, link scanner, scheduled scanning options, automatic updates, and more. There is no need to pay for an antivirus program when one this good is just a download away.
The huge number of premium features, frequency of updating, and install-it-and-forget-it. Every aspect of AVG’s AntiVirus Free make it one of the best free antivirus programs available today.
AVG AntiVirus Free 2015 works on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
Avira Free Antivirus protects you from viruses, Trojans, worms, spyware, adware, and various other kinds of malware, making it a fully functional antimalware tool and certainly one of the best free antivirus programs.
The scope of malware that Avira Free Antivirus can keep you safe from, is alone enough to make it one of the best free antivirus software programs but the heuristics and ease of use add to its value too. The only things I didn’t like about Avira Free Antivirus was the configuration you have to complete after installation which might be intimidating if you’re a computer novice.
Avira Free Antivirus works on Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Avira can also be used on a Mac and Linux computer.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is on par with any of the arguably better-known free antivirus programs in this list.
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is incredibly easy to setup and configure, uses very little system resources (it won’t slow down your computer), and doesn’t constantly suggest that you upgrade to their premium offerings.
The sheer simplicity of Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition, both during installation and use, make it, in my opinion, a top contender for one of the best free antivirus programs.
Antivirus Free Edition by Bitdefender fully supports Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP. Though it’s not officially compatible, it may also run just fine on Windows 10.
Comodo Antivirus from Comodo Security Solutions is another excellent program that has been around for a very long time. Easily one of the best free antivirus options out there. Comodo Antivirus protects you from several threat sources, just as most of the other free antivirus programs on this list do.
Comodo Antivirus ranks as a best free antivirus solution almost solely because of its Defense+ technology that, by default, assumes unknown files are threats instead of safe. That sounds like it might cause problems but Comodo Antivirus utilizes some other technologies to make the whole process silent but still very effective.
Comodo Antivirus officially supports Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
Security Essentials from Microsoft is definitely one of the best free antivirus programs available right now. Microsoft is relatively new to the antivirus game but don’t let that scare you – Security Essentials is a fantastic antivirus program that protects you from all sorts of malware, updates automatically, and is incredibly easy to use. You can also download it here.
Two of the biggest reasons I added Microsoft Security Essentials to this list of the best free antivirus software is because it’s available directly from Microsoft and also because it’s very easy to see if you’re computer is secure from threats: if the icon next to your clock is green, you’re good; if it’s red, something is wrong.
Microsoft Security Essentials supports Windows 7 and Windows Vista. The anti-malware protection in MSE is part of the built-in Windows Defender tool in Windows 8 and 10, while Windows XP is no longer supported.
Panda Free Antivirus protects you from several kinds of malware threats – viruses, worms, Trojans, adware, and more – just like all the other free antivirus programs in this list.
What makes Panda Free Antivirus one of the best free antivirus programs is that it does its job from “the cloud” meaning the hard antivirus work that typically slows down a computer is done on computers elsewhere on the Internet, freeing up your computer to work like it should and protecting you from malware even better.
Panda Cloud Antivirus FREE supports Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015 is just that – a combination free antivirus and firewall tool.
Zone Alarm a long time favorite of mine because of the Firewall and the excellent Antivirus protection. Check Point Software, the makers of ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015, have been in the firewall business for a long time. They make great software and this program is no exception. While I didn’t notice anything spectacular about the antivirus portion of this program, having an antivirus and firewall tightly integrated has its benefits. The only downside to this program is the firewall configuration and pop ups may be intimidating to a novice user, but it does have an easy silent mode.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall 2015 should work with all recent versions of Windows.
Which Free Antivirus Program is the “Best of the Best”?
As you can see from my list above and there are many more not included here, there are many great completely free antivirus choices but which one really does the best job at preventing your computer from becoming infected? Have an opinion or one to add to our list? Leave a comment below.
Luckily, a company by the name of AV-TEST independently examines a number of free and paid antivirus programs and ranks them for protection, performance, and usability.
See their Detailed Test Reports for rankings. Antivirus makers regularly update their programs so AV-TEST publishes updated test results every couple of months. Also take a look at PC Magazines reviews