Many of the top antivirus programs offer free versions that are as effective as their paid counterparts at stopping malware. Most antivirus programs have a basic, low-end program with limited features, a midrange program that offers more security tools, and the top-end version with all of the bells and whistles.

The free version of AVG Antivirus offers excellent security against malware as well as a low system impact. The free version also includes a range of useful tools, including junk file cleanup as well as RAM optimization and WiFi network scanners. It’s also free of ads and doesn’t nag to upgrade to premium features.

Microsoft Defender is the default malware protection program that is preinstalled on Windows systems. It’s not the best at blocking malware files from being downloaded to your system, but its free version includes several tools like health and performance analyses as well as parental controls that aren’t present in paid versions of other antivirus software.

Bitdefender’s suites, which include antivirus software, are among the most well-known available. The free version is equally robust and effective as paid versions. It is ad-free, has no limit on how many devices it can check and comes with a powerful range of anti-theft tools, such as the ability to locate the device, lock it or wipe it clean of the stolen Android device.

Sophos Home free is great for those who wish to manage antivirus protection of a computer belonging to someone in the family who does not reside in their home. It scores excellently for malware detection, however it has it scores lower for Phishing.

The Best Free Antivirus Programs