The Best Free Antivirus Software for 2023 free-software-for-all

The Best Free Antivirus Software for 2023

Microsoft Defender isn't bad these days, but it's still not enough to fully protect your PC. You don't have to pay extra, though. We’ve tested and ranked the top free antivirus apps.

 

By Neil J. Rubenking (PCMag)
September 16, 2021
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Best for Comprehensive Free Security

Avast One Essential

Avast One Essential

Who It’s For

If you consider security software interesting rather than tedious, if a tight budget is the only reason you don’t buy a full security suite, Avast One Essential is perfect for you. The commercial Avast One suite does more, naturally, but this free edition is packed with features. The fact that you can use it to protect all your devices, not just Windows PCs, is icing on the cake.

 

Best for Few-Frills Protection

AVG AntiVirus Free

AVG AntiVirus Free

Who It’s For

Not every user wants the nearly suite-level features of Avast One Essential, and not everyone needs cross-platform protection. If your focus is on powerful protection against both malware and malicious or fraudulent websites, AVG offers the same protection as Avast but in a simpler, more traditional package. The user interface can be important, too. Both Avast and AVG have a widespread international presence, but they’re popular in different regions.

 

Best for No-Frills Protection

Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Windows

Bitdefender Antivirus Free for Windows

Who It’s For

Bitdefender has an excellent reputation in the security world, and the company’s researchers frequently report on important discoveries. Relying on such a company for antivirus protection is a smart move, but you may well be put off by the cornucopia of features in the commercial edition. In that case, try Bitdefender Antivirus Free, which gives you the full core protection without any possibly confusing trimmings.

 

Best for Many Security Components

Avira Free Security

Avira Free Security

Who It’s For

Do you want a full-on security suite rather than a bare-bones antivirus? Can your nerves handle the occasional upsell windows when you accidentally click a feature that’s not free? Avira Free Security may be just the thing for you.