Free antivirus software is an excellent option if you are on a tight budget but want to safeguard your device from the most recent malware and ransomware threats. Free antivirus software typically employs the same malware scanner engines as their paid counterparts however, they do not have additional tools that offer total online security, such as a virtual private network (VPN) and password manager and parental controls.
The top antivirus programs for free should provide real-time malware identification and protection. This means that the program detects and blocks malware trying to download or sneak onto your computer. In the past, this kind of security was only available for premium subscriptions, but now it’s common among free outliers.
Similarly, the best free antivirus programs should come with a basic password manager and a VPN at a minimum on an initial trial basis. McAfee for instance, offers a free trial of 30 days to its top-tier plan. It includes all premium features, including ID theft and web security protection.
The best free antivirus software should be easy to use. Most of the brands in our list of top picks have user-friendly dashboards with intuitive features, and decent customer support. Some also have mobile applications that make it simpler to protect and scan your Android or iOS devices. Additionally, the top free apps are licensed for use on only one device, while paid versions have family-friendly plans as well as business tools.