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The Best Free Antivirus Protection for 2022 – Microsoft Defender is improving, but you still shouldn’t rely on it by itself. That doesn’t mean you have to pay extra, though. We’ve tested the top free antivirus apps so you can protect your PC for free.
Five antivirus apps which actually work, won’t cost you a penny and will help protect you from malware.
If you think effective antivirus costs good money, you’ll be pleased to know you can get it completely free. It’s not a scam, either: many makers of security software offer their core antivirus protection for nothing.
Of course, they do keep some advanced features, or extra tools (such as a password manager) locked away so that only paying customers get the full set.
Most of the software here is available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS, though you tend to see fewer features on iOS in particular. Windows users tend to get the most, but because this is all free, you can install it on as many devices as you like.
Windows comes with Defender and you might be surprised to learn that it’s just as capable as (if not better than) the protection you get from paid-for antivirus. It’s certainly the easy option if you use Windows, but know that it doesn’t have some of the extra features you get elsewhere such as browser add-ons that warn you of fake websites to protect you from phishing attacks.
- 1 Should you get free antivirus?
- 2 Free Antivirus vs. Paid Antivirus
- 3 Best Free Antivirus for 2022
- 4 Avast One Essential Free Antivirus
- 5 Avast One Essential Free Antivirus Pros & Cons
- 6 Download Avast One Essential
- 7 AVG AntiVirus Free
- 8 AVG AntiVirus Free Pros & Cons
- 9 Download AVG Free AntiVirus here.
- 10 Avira Free Security
- 11 Avira Free Security Pros & Cons
- 12 Download Avira Free Security here.
- 13 Microsoft Defender Free Antivirus Download
- 14 Pros & Cons Pros & Cons
- 15 Download Microsoft Windows Defender Security
- 16 Kaspersky Security Cloud Free
- 17 Kaspersky Security Cloud Free Antivirus Pros & Cons
- 18 Kaspersky Security Cloud Free Antivirus System Requirements
- 19 For all devices:
- 20 Windows®-based desktops & laptops (system with an x86 processor)
- 21 Android smartphones and tablets3
- 22 iPhone and iPad
- 23 Download Kaspersky Security Cloud Free Antivirus
- 24 Is free antivirus really free?
- 25 Does free antivirus software work?
- 26 How to choose the best free antivirus
- 27 Which Free Antivirus Is Best?
- 28 Best Free Antivirus 2022 – FAQs
Should you get free antivirus?
The catch with free antivirus is that it doesn’t always offer the most complete protection. It is better than having none at all but free versions often lack some of the advanced layers of protection that you get with the paid-for equivalent.
This is why using the term ‘antivirus’ can be misleading. Antivirus is typically just one component of a good security product, which can also include specific protection from ransomware as well as spam filtering, parental controls, password managers, VPNs and cloud storage. However, that’s not to say those features can’t be found in free products – you’d be surprised what you can get without paying or even handing over your email address.
The free antivirus from Avast, Kaspersky and others all offer great protection from viruses, as you’ll see below.
If you want the comprehensive protection and support a paid-for version includes, you’ll find recommendations in our best antivirus roundup.
Free Antivirus vs. Paid Antivirus
If free antivirus tools are so great, why should anybody pay? For one thing, quite a few of these products are free only for noncommercial use; if you want to protect your business, you must pony up for the paid edition. At that point, you should probably consider upgrading to a full security suite. After all, it’s your business’s security on the line.
Even for personal use, most for-pay antivirus tools offer more than their free counterparts—sometimes a lot more. For example, the paid editions of Adaware and ZoneAlarm add protection against malicious and fraudulent websites the free versions lack. And Panda reserves quite a few features for paying customers, among them firewall protection, application control, cross-platform support, and detection of insecure Wi-Fi connections.
In addition, many companies don’t offer full-scale tech support for users of the free edition. The first time you need extra help digging a particularly stubborn piece of malware out of your system, you might regret the lack of support.
Best Free Antivirus for 2022
Investing in a threat protection tool is not for everyone’s budget, so a free antivirus software is a good option to get at least some level of security. But why do we need an antivirus when modern operating systems have built-in malware protection tools?
Yet, if you’re thrifty, sometimes a free of charge protection service is the only thing you need. So, we compiled a list of the best free antivirus suites, regardless of what type of device you’re using.
Avast One Essential Free Antivirus
Avast One is a new security suite that combines antivirus, anti-phishing, VPN and other protections into one app. If you visit the website, the ‘Free download’ messaging is a bit confusing but there is a completely free version called Avast One Essential.
Avast One Essential Free Antivirus Pros & Cons
- Many excellent antivirus lab scores
- Very good scores in our hands-on tests
- Protection for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS
- Generous VPN bandwidth limit
- Includes privacy and performance features
- Protection limited on Android, more so on iOS
- Advanced firewall features absent
- No Wi-Fi Inspector
- Many useful features require upgrade
However, limitations are inevitable: Avast can’t give absolutely everything away for free and what you get with One Essential is surprisingly generous. It’s our new top pick for free antivirus software.
AVG AntiVirus Free
AVG AntiVirus Free offers precisely the same excellent antivirus protection engine as Avast Free Antivirus, with useful bonus features.
AVG is owned by Avast but unlike Avast’s One suite, AVG hasn’t had a recent interface refresh, with the dark grey and green highlights not quite conveying the same friendly atmosphere.
AVG AntiVirus FREE performs well in independent testing, and PC users are very happy with it.
If you’re looking for a simple way to beef up the security on your PC, the AVG AntiVirus Free is a great choice.
You want to protect all of your devices from malicious software, no matter who is using them, then AVG Internet Security can give you added peace of mind.
AVG AntiVirus Free Pros & Cons
- Excellent scores from three labs
- Very good scores in all our hands-on tests
- Boot-time scan removes persistent malware
- Some useful bonus features
- Initial scan slower than average
- Fixing found performance issues requires upgrade
- Boot-time scan can be very slow
AVG AntiVirus is essential security software that empowers you to enjoy the internet fearlessly. Catch malware before it has the chance to harm your PC with 24/7 scans.
An easy-to-use interface means you won’t waste time navigating confusing menus. And 30+ years of experience and over 160 accolades assure you we know how to keep you safe.
Regardless, AVG’s free offering include antivirus, ransomware protection, and will stop other forms of malware such as spyware.
And like Avast’s free version, AVG’s is available for Windows, macOS, Android and iOS.
Download AVG Free AntiVirus here.
Avira Free Security
Avira Free Security goes beyond basic antivirus with dozens of security-related utilities. However, many require payment for full functionality.
Threat protection has evolved to better suit your digital lifestyle. That’s why we packed Free Security with a diverse spectrum of features.
It safeguards you, your data, and devices from all types of threats (including the vulnerabilities lurking in your own machine, like weak passwords or outdated software).
So, you can bank, shop, game, browse… you’re free to do whatever you like, and do it safely.
Avira Free Security Pros & Cons
- Many features beyond basic antivirus
- Feature-limited VPN
- Simple password manager
- Many features require payment for full functionality
- Poor scores in some hands-on tests
There’s also a Mac version, reviewed on our sister site Macworld, plus Android and iOS versions so you can protect all your devices for free.
Download Avira Free Security here.
Microsoft Defender Free Antivirus Download
Microsoft Windows Defender Security Center protects Windows 10 PCs that have no other antivirus protection, and it has significantly improved in lab test results and our own hands-on tests.
Honestly, if you practice safe computing — you keep your software up to date, you use strong passwords (with the help of a password manager), you steer clear of unexpected emails and you don’t click suspicious links that may be phishing attempts.
you probably can avoid zero-day attacks and ransomware attacks. And with the free Microsoft Defender Antivirus software running on Windows 10, you have a malware protection safety net if you do let your guard down.
In fact, it is one of the best antivirus software. (Note that Microsoft changed the name of Windows Defender to Microsoft Defender and has expanded the service to other platforms.)
This free antivirus program is built into Windows and it’s turned on by default, the antivirus engine does its thing, and this antivirus solution will cover the basics of internet security.
Microsoft pushes new updates frequently. Defender also lets you tune the level of protection you want, giving you control over blocking potentially unwanted apps and protecting folders and files from a ransomware attack.
Microsoft Defender for Endpoint delivers industry-leading endpoint security for Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and network devices and helps to rapidly stop attacks, scale your security resources, and evolve your defenses.
It’s delivered at cloud scale, with built-in AI that reasons over the industry’s broadest threat intelligence. Our comprehensive solution enables discovery of all endpoints and even network devices, such as routers, in your environment.
It offers vulnerability management, endpoint protection, endpoint detection and response (EDR), mobile threat defense, and managed hunting all in a single, unified platform.
Pros & Cons Pros & Cons
- Built into Windows 10.
- Good lab scores.
- Excellent hands-on malware protection score.
- Simple ransomware protection.
- Always on if no other antivirus is present.
- Poor results in phishing protection test.
- Awkward scan scheduling.
- SmartScreen Filter works only in Microsoft browsers.
Many people think Defender isn’t up to the task. It’s part of Windows 10 (and 11) and runs by default when no third-party antivirus software product is installed. But surely it can’t be anywhere near as good as the expensive, paid-for security apps?
Bring security and IT together with threat and vulnerability management to quickly discover, prioritize, and remediate vulnerabilities and misconfigurations.
Empower your security operations centers with Microsoft Threat Experts. Get deep knowledge, advanced threat monitoring, analysis, and support to identify critical threats in your unique environment.
Defend against never-before-seen, polymorphic and metamorphic malware and fileless and file-based threats with next-generation protection.
Spot attacks and zero-day exploits using advanced behavioral analytics and machine learning.
Use attack surface reduction to minimize the areas where your organization could be vulnerable to threats.
Download Microsoft Windows Defender Security
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free offers full-scale malware protection along with some suite-level features. It gets superb scores from the independent labs, and it won’t cost you a penny.
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free Antivirus Pros & Cons
- Perfect or near-perfect scores from four independent testing labs
- Effective ransomware protection
- Very good score in our phishing protection test
- Good scores in our malware-blocking test
- Support for Android and iOS
- No direct tech support
- Features for iOS limited
Kaspersky Security Cloud – Free comes with top-rated security technologies – and auto-analyses real-time data on new threats – to help protect your PC, mobiles and tablets, including your iPad, from a range of dangers.
As a free antivirus scanner and cleaner, Kaspersky Security Cloud – Free software defends your PC and mobile devices, including your iPhone, against viruses, infected files, dangerous applications and suspicious sites.
There’s also an Android version that includes antivirus protection, and this scored full marks in AV-Test’s most recent tests. But this isn’t realtime protection: you have to run scans manually. Only the paid version will monitor for threats constantly.
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free Antivirus System Requirements
For all devices:
- Internet connection required – for product activation & updates and for access to some features
Windows®-based desktops & laptops (system with an x86 processor)
- 1500 MB free space on the hard drive
- Microsoft Windows 111 Home / Pro / Enterprise2
- Microsoft Windows 101 Home / Pro / Enterprise2
- Microsoft Windows 8 & 8.1 / Pro / Enterprise / 8.1 update2
- Microsoft Windows 7 Starter / Home Basic & Premium / Professional / Ultimate – SP1 or higher2
- Processor: 1 GHz or higher
- Memory (RAM) : 1 GB (32-bit) or 2 GB (64-bit)
- Minimum screen resolution: 1024 x 768
Android smartphones and tablets3
- Android™ 5.0 or higher
- Minimum screen resolution: 320 x 480
iPhone and iPad
- iOS® 14.0 or higher
Is free antivirus really free?
Yes it is. But you may well trade off some privacy. Some companies may record, use or even sell information when you download and use their free product.
You might be asked if you want to opt in to data collection during installation of these products. This is why it is absolutely crucial you read what you’re agreeing to when you install an app, and are extra careful to opt out of any data sharing.
Otherwise, you grant the software the right to share some of your (anonymised) information to third parties, which may include advertisers and other companies.
The danger is that a company might work out how to de-anonymise this data, which is a risk you don’t want to take.
And some free antivirus products will be supported by adverts, typically on Android versions. You can find out if it’s worth installing antivirus on Android and whether iPhones need protecting from malware or not.
And these days, antivirus software should comply with GDPR in Europe and with other privacy regulations in other countries.
Does free antivirus software work?
Privacy is perhaps not the most important factor, depending on your outlook. Antivirus software is designed to prevent your PC and laptop – plus phone and tablet – from being infected by malicious code which could cause issues ranging from annoying pop-ups through to stealing your personal information or even deleting or encrypting your files.
The effectiveness of antivirus software changes over time, and a product that stops all viruses today may not do that tomorrow or in a month. No antivirus software offers a cast-iron guarantee that it will stop 100% of malware, but many achieve this figure. And it’s essentially the same virus protection you get from the paid-for version of that product.
So, yes. It works. It’s not an excuse to start downloading cracked software or visiting dodgy sites though. Security requires a multi-layered approach, and that includes being careful and sensible about the sites you use, the links you click on and the stuff you download.
How to choose the best free antivirus
There are not a lot of things to consider when choosing a free protection tool because they’re usually pretty limited. However, here’s what to keep in mind when searching for the best free antivirus available:
- Malware protection rates. Even if an antivirus is free, it’s supposed to be effective at finding cyber threats on your device. That’s why it’s best to look at such independent laboratories like AV-TEST or AV-comparatives and check how they evaluate protection rates of free antivirus services.
- Real-time protection. While not all free antivirus software solutions offer real-time protection, it’s better to find one that does. That’s because it helps prevent malware from being installed on your device.
- Extra features. There aren’t many extensive free antiviruses, but you can look for providers that offer at least some of the features that you’d find useful. Perhaps you need a password manager to securely store all of your login credentials? Or maybe you’d rather make use of a browser extension that would help you stay safe online? Evaluate what you need and try to choose a service accordingly.
To conclude, picking a free antivirus can be quite difficult, as they don’t offer much. But, on the bright side, you can always uninstall the program you don’t like and try another one. After all, they’re free!(cybernews)
Which Free Antivirus Is Best?
The new Avast One Essential takes the place of Avast Free Antivirus as Editors’ Choice for free antivirus utility, while Kaspersky Security Cloud Free remains the other Editors’ Choice.
Both appear in lab reports from all four labs we follow. Kaspersky earned near-perfect scores, and Avast came close. Both products offer quite a bit more than simple antivirus.
If you do have a little cash in your budget for security, the best paid antivirus software does offer more and better protection. If not, try a few of these free tools and see which one you like best.
Best Free Antivirus 2022 – FAQs
The new Avast One Essential takes the place of Avast Free Antivirus as Editors’ Choice for free antivirus utility, while Kaspersky Security Cloud Free remains the other Editors’ Choice.
What’s the catch with free antiviruses? There is no such thing as a truly free antivirus. You’re always going to “pay” with something. Most antivirus companies limit the free version of their software to only offer basic protection.
Yes, it’s safe to use a free antivirus if you’re sticking with respectable antivirus suite providers. Usually, it will just be a bit limited when compared to the paid version, but you’ll feel safe using it.
As of today, the best free antivirus is TotalAV. This software offers excellent malware detection rates and a few essentials included.