Check out our picks for the best free antivirus programs to keep your device safe in 2021:
- Avast Free Antivirus (Best Suited for Personal antivirus protection)
- Sophos Home Free (Best Suited for Remote antivirus management)
- AVG AntiVirus Free (Best Suited for Windows users)
- Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition (Best Suited for iOS users)
- Kaspersky Security Cloud Free (Best Suited for Android users)
Keeping your device safe online requires the use of a reliable antivirus application. When it comes to selecting an antivirus programme, there are numerous possibilities. We’ve compiled a list of the best free antivirus software alternatives to make the selection a little easier. We’ve included the antivirus’s advantages and negatives, as well as a brief explanation that delves into greater information about the application, in each description.
The 5 Best Free Antivirus Programs in 2021
The five greatest free antivirus scanners to use in 2021 are listed below. These antivirus software solutions are listed in order of our top pick, but all of them are excellent for keeping your device safe without having to pay for a membership.
|FEATURE||AVAST FREE ANTIVIRUS||SOPHOS HOME FREE||AVG ANTIVIRUS FREE||BITDEFENDER ANTIVIRUS FREE EDITION||KASPERSKY SECURITY CLOUD FREE|
|AV-Comparatives test score (percentage of blocked malware)||99.7%||98.3%||99.7%||99.6%||99.7%|
|Network Threat Prevention||✔||✔||✖||✖||✖|
|Web attack prevention||✔||✔||✔||✔||✖|
1. Avast Free Antivirus
|Network security inspector||Some extra features require a paid plan|
|Browser protection||Limited password manager|
|Protection from dangerous URLs||The free version is only for personal use|
Avast Free Antivirus comes with a lot of handy tools that will protect your computer from viruses and other dangerous files. You also receive a network security inspector, which helps you see if your home network is vulnerable, in addition to the standard antivirus scans and protection. Browser protection and security against hazardous URLs are two other essential features. Because of these advantages, we’ve chosen to give Avast Free Antivirus the top rank on our list of the best free antivirus programmes.
Last year, Avast and its subsidiary AVG were caught selling client data, sparking a significant privacy scandal for both the corporation and its users. Avast has released a public statement and cancelled Jumpstart, the firm via which it sold the data since the controversy broke. This does not, however, imply that Avast’s software no longer collects user data. Simply put, they no longer sell this information to other businesses.
A password manager is included with Avast Free Antivirus, which is a good feature to have with a free virus scanner and not something we see very frequently. Because it has limited capabilities and no master password to protect your stored logins, the password manager is rated as a disadvantage. So, if you really want to be safe with your passwords, you should invest in a reliable password manager.
Another major drawback of this antivirus software is that many of the sophisticated functions require a premium subscription. This antivirus’s free version is also only good for home use and cannot be used in enterprises.
Because of the wide range of fundamental features and protection that the antivirus scanner provides, Avast Free Antivirus is the best personal antivirus protection solution. The free edition of this antivirus also includes browser and URL protection, which is a useful feature.
2. Sophos Home Free
|Remote management||Limited parental content filter|
|Good protection against malicious sites||Low phishing protection score|
|3 installations per subscription||10 installations are limited to a paid plan|
If you need to handle antivirus protection for people who don’t reside in the same house as you, Sophos Home Free is the finest option. You can install a local agent on the person’s computer and manage the settings from your main account thanks to their remote management capability. Of course, Sophos Home Free also provides outstanding virus protection.
The disadvantage of utilising Sophos Home Free is that its phishing prevention isn’t as extensive as the other solutions on this list. Furthermore, their parent content filter is insufficiently effective to be relied upon. Finally, you’ll need to upgrade your account if you wish to handle more than three remote installations. We’ve ranked this scanner second on our list of the top free antivirus alternatives because of its poor parental content filter and low phishing protection score.
If you want to provide remote antivirus protection administration to other computers, Sophos Home Free is the finest solution. If you have more than one computer in your home, this is an excellent option because you can manage up to three machines for free.
3. AVG AntiVirus Free
|Minimal impact on computer speeds||The first scan is slow to complete|
|Excellent malware protection||Not compatible with iOS devices|
|Great phishing protection|
AVG AntiVirus Free is a full-featured antivirus tool that will safeguard your computer from any risks it may encounter while you’re online. The above-average security rating, fantastic malware protection, and amazing phishing prevention are just a few of the noticeable advantages of utilising AVG AntiVirus Free.
You should be aware that AVG, as an Avast subsidiary, was also involved in the scandal concerning the sale of consumer data to corporations. When the corporation shut down Jumpstart, the company through which they were selling the data, last year, the practice of selling data came to an end. This does not, however, imply that Avast no longer collects data received through their programme.
The fact that this antivirus tool does not work with iOS devices is one of its drawbacks. As a result, it’s impossible to suggest it to anyone other than Windows users. Another small gripe is that the initial scan takes longer than usual to finish. Because of the iOS constraint, AVG is ranked third on our list.
For Windows users, AVG AntiVirus Free is the finest solution. Its high-security scores, above-average phishing prevention, and unrivalled malware protection make it ideal for anyone who runs Windows on their computer.
4. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition
|Good phishing protection||Less options for advanced protection than paid version|
|Independent testing results are excellent||Browser extension not included in free version|
|Antivirus protection is as good as the paid version||No scan scheduling or quick scan options|
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is a free antivirus programme that provides the same degree of protection as the paid edition. This is significant since it means that if you don’t pay for the service, you aren’t sacrificing protection. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition also offers a user-friendly interface and powerful phishing protection.
The only significant drawbacks to this antivirus programme are that you won’t get access to some of the more complex malware protection layers that come with the full version, as well as a browser extension. Because of these flaws, Bitdefender is ranked fourth on our list of the best free antivirus software.
If you have an iPhone or iPad, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is the ideal option for you. The iOS app comes with the same antivirus protection as the PC edition of the scanner. Bitdefender’s iOS version also offers an easy-to-use design, making it our top recommendation for Apple users.
5. Kaspersky Security Cloud Free
|Complete ransomware protection||The iOS version has limited features|
|Good malware-blocking test scores||Tech support isn’t available on the free version|
|Phishing protection results are consistently great||The initial scan takes longer than average|
Kaspersky Security Cloud Free offers comprehensive ransomware protection as well as excellent phishing protection. With this free antivirus tool, you’ll get a good malware-blocking solution for your device. The user interface is simple to use, and the scan scheduling feature makes securing your device even easier.
The disadvantages of Kaspersky Security Cloud Free include no technical assistance and restricted protection for the iOS version of the antivirus when compared to the Android application. In addition, the initial start-up scan takes longer than usual to complete. Because of the iOS limitation, we ranked this malware scanner fifth on our list.
For Android devices, we recommend Kaspersky because the program’s app has a straightforward layout that is simple to comprehend and use. In addition, the antivirus’s security for Android devices should be sufficient to keep your phone or tablet functioning properly.
Is it Safe to Use a Free Antivirus Program?
If you are unfamiliar with the firm behind the antivirus, using free antivirus software to protect your computer can be perilous. The most dangerous scenario is when you use a product that appears to be an antivirus program but is actually malware designed to steal your personal information. That’s why it’s critical to get your antivirus software from a respected company’s official website.
Another potential risk with free antivirus programs is that they may sell your personal information to ads and third-party corporations. Even the most respected organisations (such as Avast) have been found selling their users’ data, which is why reading reviews and conducting your homework are critical. The top 5 free antivirus apps on this list are all alternatives that we trust and encourage you to try for yourself.
Paid vs Free Antivirus Programs
The options that you have accessible to make the programme more effective or convenient are usually the largest difference between premium and free antivirus scanners. This is especially true if you’re looking at a free edition of a pricey antivirus application.
The following are some of the most popular features that are exclusively available to premium accounts:
- Anti-ransomware protection with additional layers
- Additional web security
- Controls imposed by parents
- There will be no advertising.
When deciding between paid and free choices, consider your budget as well as the services you truly require. While commercial antivirus programs are necessary for many people who require additional services, you may be able to get by with a free version of the programme on your device.
It doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to keep your device safe while browsing the internet and downloading data. The apps described in this book are intended to keep your computer safe from malware and other harmful and unwanted threats. Any of the options we’ve discussed are ideal for keeping you safe while online.