Best Free Antivirus Software 2024

There are few antivirus programs that provide good protection against viruses and malware for free. We evaluated the top antivirus software based on their cost, performance in detecting and removing malware, impact on system resources, and user-friendliness. The list below features free software, trials, and money-back guarantees. Click on the product names for more details.

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Norton is one of the most well-known brands in the competitive antivirus business - and with good reason...

  • Protect your PC, Mac® or mobile device
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Advanced machine learning antivirus with many added features at an incredible price + a FREE VPN. Highly recommended new security package!

  • Highest levels of protection
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Bitdefender security solutions are constantly collecting top marks from various testing centers worldwide.

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  • 500 million satisfied users worldwide
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Avast protects your computer well and contains several important security tools to keep your system free from viruses and hackers.

  • Excellent Scores in Third-Party Lab Testing
  • Very good free version of the software
  • E-Mails without spam - keeps your inbox clean
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PC Protect

This 'ultimate antivirus' offers an antivirus engine, real-time protection, firewall, ad blocking, disk cleaning, startup program management, a browser manager and more.

  • One of the most accurate malware detectors
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  • Offers tune-up tools for optimizing system performance
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AVG Antivirus is an award-winning anti-malware solution. It provides on-the-go protection and tons of extra features without compromising your computer’s performance.

  • Trusted by 435 million users worldwide
  • Excellent Trustpilot rating of 4.3 from 14,322 reviews
  • Offers webcam and ransomware protection
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Some important notes about free antivirus software

The best free trial package antivirus program is offered by TotalAV, which is powered by German made Avira software, but offers some added benefits and a cleaner interface.

TotalAV runs on one of the most powerful cloud-based virus scanning engines available today and you can use this with the free trial antivirus package offered via our link. This cloud-based technology has two main advantages over other antivirus programs - Firstly, this antivirus engine operates in the cloud, meaning that most of its malware detection and analysis doesn’t actually take place on your PC. This makes everything more efficient, causing little to no impact on system resources, which means TotalAV will work well even on older PCs that run Windows 7. The other big advantage is that cloud based antivirus programs are updated instantly when a new threat is discovered. You won't need to download new protection with every scan, TotalAV can detect viruses and malware much faster than many competing, PC based programs.

If you don't want to download ToatalAV's trial software, you can check out the different packages of our other recommended antivirus programs. None of them can be downloaded for free (unfortunately, Norton has recently removed its free package), but you can make use of the free trials and money back guarantees that these top providers offer. If you are not happy for whatever reason, you can easily claim your money back within the trial period.

Yes, there are free legit security programs like Avast or AVG, but here’s what you need to know...

Avast — and their subsidiary antivirus company AVG — continue to offer a very popular and widely used free antivirus software. However, due to the recent controversy over their privacy violations we cannot recommend these programs on our site any longer.

You’ll have to be mindful when choosing other "free" antivirus software, as a lot of these free antivirus programs are in fact malware cleverly disguised to steal your private data, or infect your device with annoying popup ads.

Sometimes it’s a case of you getting exactly what you pay or don’t pay for. Most of these so-called free antivirus programs don’t offer complete protection. And why would they? Of course, all the good stuff such as advanced protection against ransomware and phishing attacks are exclusive to paying customers.

Ransomware is a malicious software that locks your system files and holds them hostage until you pay the ransom. It’s one of the common threats but not the only one you should be worried about.

There are trojans that masquerade as just another file with extensions such as .exe and .doc. These are often sent via email, but you can also get infected by simply visiting the wrong website. If you open an infected document, you trigger the trojan, which will then go to work by sending your personal information to hackers. We spend so many hours in front of our computers and mobile devices, and there are literally thousands of emerging threats that can wreak havoc to your device's security if you’re caught undefended.

Your computer’s default security software is not good enough either

The built-in Windows Defender just doesn’t cut it when it comes to proper online protection and cybersecurity. Add to that the fact that Microsoft does not provide real-time updates. With hackers getting more and more creative, you can’t rely on Windows Defender to keep viruses at bay. Sure, it covers the basics, and the Windows Firewall that comes along with it is pretty decent, but that’s pretty much it. Don’t expect protection against common cyber threats such as ransomware or phishing scams.

You really cannot afford not to have a good antivirus program running on your computer at all times. Nowadays, this is like driving without a seat belt.

While there’s no such thing as a totally free antivirus program that offers full protection (you should be wary if they claim to be!), some are definitely worth trying out and can do a better job at scanning for viruses than Windows Defender. TotalAV for example, is powered by Avira software and has been on the front lines of cybersecurity for many years. The free version of this software can help secure your computer against many of the aforementioned threats (but not all of them).

If you seek more than just basic protection and want real peace of mind, check out our list of the best paid antivirus programs.

Saving $20-$40 per year on a decent antivirus program will cost you dearly if you get infected with nasty malware that will risk your privacy and valuable data.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is it vital to install an antivirus?

Not necessarily. If you rarely browse the web, open only known websites, keep your web browsers up-to-date, never download unknown files or click on email links, then you're probably going to be okay. For most people, this is hardly the case. A decent antivirus program offers protection against viruses, malware, Trojans, rootkits, spam and phishing attacks, as well as other cyber threats. This alone makes it money well spent.

Is a free antivirus program good enough for my computer or mobile device?

Maybe. It really depends on a few things. Are you an expert in troubleshooting? If you encounter any problem, you are pretty much on your own. You'll need to figure out how to configure another firewall or use recovery tools and boot CDs if your computer gets infected. If you don't mind seeing numerous ads or prompts to upgrade, or you don’t need extras like parental controls, it might work out for you. At the end of the day, you're getting the most basic level of protection, so it really boils down to your risk tolerance.

Is it dangerous to rely on free antivirus software?

We wouldn't say that it's outright dangerous, but we would consider it risky. It's known that some free antivirus utilities actually contain some type of data-stealing malware. Besides, professional cybercriminals are adept at evading these free programs anyway. With limited scanning options and a lack of frequent updates, free antivirus programs are simply no match against modern malware.

Am I getting complete protection with the trial version?

Yes! There really isn't any difference between an antivirus program's trial and paid version other than the fact that you'll get a constant reminder to upgrade. In any case, it's an excellent opportunity to test the software and see what you're getting for your PC or smartphone, before purchasing the full version.


Top10Antivirus.Review is offered as a free service. We are reader-supported and only receive commissions from the Antivirus companies we recommend on this page if you click our links and make a purchase via our site. This impacts the ranking, score, and order in which the services we work with (and their products) are presented. Antivirus listings on this site DO NOT imply endorsement. We do not feature all of the available Antivirus providers, only those we have reviewed. We try to keep all of the information on this site as up-to-date and fresh as possible, but cannot guarantee that this will always be the case. All prices quoted on this site are based on USD so there could be slight discrepancies due to currency fluctuations.