Free antivirus software is a good alternative if you’re in a financial crunch but need to safeguard your device from the latest ransomware and malware threats. Free antivirus software typically employs the same malware-scanning engines as paid versions, but they tend to lack additional tools that provide total online security, including a virtual private network (VPN) and password manager and parental controls.
The best antivirus software for free should offer real-time malware detection and protection. This means that the program actively detects and blocks threats when they attempt to download or stealthy access your computer. In the past, this kind of protection was only available to premium subscriptions, but it’s now common among free alternatives.
The best free antivirus software should include an easy VPN and password manager, at least for a trial period. For instance, McAfee’s software offers a 30-day trial of its top-tier package, which includes all premium features, including web protection and identity theft protection.
Lastly, the best free antivirus software should be easy to use. The majority of brands on our list feature intuitive features and user-friendly dashboards. Some brands also provide mobile apps that aid users to scan and secure Android or iOS devices. Additionally, the top free software is licensed for use on just one device and paid versions include plans for families and business tools.