Several top antivirus programs offer free versions that are just as effective at preventing malware as their paid counterparts. Most antivirus programs come with an entry-level, low-end version with limited features. A mid-range program adds additional security tools, and an expensive program comes with all the bells and whistles.
The free version of AVG Antivirus provides excellent security against malware as well as a low system impact. The free version includes a variety of useful tools, like junk file cleanup RAM optimization, and WiFi network scanners. It is also ad-free and doesn’t nag to upgrade to premium features.
Microsoft Defender is the default anti-malware program that comes with Windows systems. It’s not the best at preventing malware files from being downloaded to your system, but its free version has various tools, including health and performance analyses as well as parental controls that aren’t present in paid versions of other antivirus programs.
Bitdefender’s antivirus suites are among the most well-known in the market. The free version is as powerful and efficient as the paid versions. It’s ad-free and does not limit the number of devices that can be scanned and includes a robust anti-theft set of features, including the ability to locate, lock or wipe an Android device that has been stolen.
Sophos Home free is perfect for those who wish to manage antivirus protection of a computer belonging to family members who do not reside in their home. It has excellent scores for malware detection but less than a good score for fraud.