Top 10 Free Antivirus Software for Your PCs in 2024

It’s time to give the digital villains the boot!

Viruses, malware, Trojan horses, worms, adware, zombies – the list of software cybercriminals use is long. So is the list of troubles they give to our devices and the damage they do to our businesses. The computer slows down; services go down. You lose data and valuable information. Sometimes, you lose money. But we have a knight in shining armor to protect us – antivirus software. Antivirus software protects your device against viruses and malware. 

Your antivirus software should be able to detect and remove current malware and spyware. Still, its primary goal should be to prevent ransomware, botnets, Trojans, and other harmful programs from gaining a foothold. But which one should you choose for your personal computer (PC)? Hundreds of antivirus software tools are ready (142 on G2, to be exact) to safeguard your gadgets. 

Fret not! We have listed the best free antivirus software for individual users based on genuine reviews from verified users on our website. All of the free antivirus services we chose provide real-time malware protection.

Some take the fight to the browser, ensuring you never visit a malware-hosting site or are duped into providing your credentials to a phishing site. And because they’re free, you can sample a few before deciding on your favorite!

Best free antivirus software

Antivirus software has your back, whether you are looking for protection against sneaky Trojan horses or to ward off pesky phishing attacks.

The free antivirus software list below contains real user reviews, and in the context of this list, vendors that offer a free trial are also considered free. To qualify for inclusion in the antivirus software for individual users, a solution must:

  • Capable of scanning files and programs in real-time.
  • Identify and/or remove malware.
  • Include antivirus and antispyware features.
  • Display the health and security status of devices.
  • Operate efficiently in the background without slowing down the user’s system.
  • Provide regular updates for newly detected virus and malware signatures.

*This data was pulled from G2 in February 2024, and the product list is ranked alphabetically. Some reviews may have been edited for clarity.

1. Avira Antivirus

Avira Antivirus is a robust antivirus software with everything you need for your devices. Best part? It’s completely free. Brownie points out it contains a free password manager and a virtual private network (VPN). Avira also has a paid version that offers additional protection against online threats and ransomware.

What users like best:

“It is efficient for scanning computer files. The best part is the auto-update of its virus database, which enables the software to keep up to date and protect your computer and files from harmful viruses.”

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– Avira Antivirus review, Hassan A.

What users dislike:

“There are times when it emits virus alarms that do not correspond. This mostly occurs when software the antivirus is not aware of is installed and blocks files that are not threats.”

– Avira Antivirus review, Raymond S.

2. Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020

As the name suggests, Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020 works as more than just antivirus software. The tool protects against the growing cyber threats of viruses, malware, and ransomware.

Its anti-phishing and anti-fraud features are the other notable web security attributes. It flags malicious websites or links before users click, protecting them against internet-based threats.

What users like best:

“As someone who does a lot of online banking and shopping, I’m always concerned about falling victim to scams and fraudulent activities. But with Bitdefender, I can surf the web with confidence, knowing that the software is actively blocking any suspicious activity and keeping my personal information safe.”

– Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020 review, Ashesh K.

What users dislike:

“The biggest issue with Bitdefender is that it sometimes doesn’t provide up-to-date protection against newly released malware and viruses. For example, there was recently a new virus circulating on Facebook Messenger that was undetected by Bitdefender’s security software..”

– Bitdefender Antivirus Plus 2020 review, Hicham S.

3. Emsisoft Anti-Malware

 Emsisoft Anti-Malware is a strong antivirus program that detects and prevents all kinds of malware, including ransomware. The software comes with capabilities like a file guard that scans for 10 million+ malware types and a behavior blocker, which stops new and unknown threats by analyzing their behavior.

Users can try Emsisoft for free with its 30-day free trial.

What users like best:

“Its modern, clean, intuitive, and easy-to-use interface allows any user to start without going to a technician in this type of software, which saves time. It is also extremely light, so it does not harm the performance of the equipment, something that with other software is impossible.”

– Emsisoft Anti-Malware review, Marybel M.

What users dislike:

“If you have a program other than Windows, it may not work perfectly for you. Also, sometimes it throws some things as dangerous but (are) not.”

– Emsisoft Anti-Malware review, Chloe T.

4. Kaspersky AntiVirus

With its free download for Windows, Kaspersky AntiVirus is one of the widely used antivirus software provided by Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky. This tool provides essential protection for your device, like scanning removable devices and removing malware. It also supports safe browsing.

The software is very easy to install, and the user interface is simple, making it a breeze for even beginners to use it.  All this makes it a reliable choice for those who want basic virus protection without complicated features.

Apart from the free software it provides, Kaspersky has three different antivirus software plans with additional features like online payment protection and adware removal. These paid plans have a 30-day free trial.

What users like best:

“I believe that the best part about the Kaspersky antivirus software is how easy it is to use. So far, it’s the best antivirus software that I’ve used…Another feature I like is the beautiful and aesthetically pleasing user interface. Not only does the user interface look good, but it is also straightforward to use without the need for any training. It automatically scans any external hard drives when plugged in without the user scanning the storage drives manually. This feature is essential since many users forget to scan their external storage drives manually before opening them.”

– Kaspersky AntiVirus review, Chandrika P.

What users dislike:

“It slows down our system, taking a lot of memory to run. Scanning files take more time. There is less information provided about detected threats.”

– Kaspersky AntiVirus review, Vinoth K.

5. Malwarebytes for Home

Malwarebytes for Home is considered an excellent choice for removing hard-to-detect malware that other antivirus software miss. They offer both a free version, and users can take advantage of the paid version today with a 30-day free trial.

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The free version quickly scans and removes malware if present. On the other hand, the premium version has extra features like real-time protection, VPN, and a browser extension for a clean browsing experience.

What users like best:

“Malwarebytes is an easy-to-use, well-designed, and perfectly silent partner in protecting your digital assets from ،. It blends perfectly into the background, is unobtrusive, and almost disappears to the point where you forget it’s running: the best possible interaction for an anti-malware suite.”

– Malwarebytes for Home review, Zach M.

What users dislike:

“During whole PC scans, it hangs a lot and disturbs and interrupts other processes, which is very annoying.”

– Malwarebytes for Home review, Snehal V.

6. McAfee AntiVirus Plus

McAfee AntiVirus Plus offers precisely what we expect from antivirus software: real-time protection, scanning for malware, and online safety. The tool is suitable for different devices like PCs, mobile phones, or Macbooks. Users can test out McAfee AntiVirus for free with a 30-day trial on all their devices.

What users like best:

“I use the one-device plan from McAfee. It blocks viruses, videos, and other high-data-consuming content on websites. The software is very fast and does not show any performance-related issues. It also blocks harmful websites and gives threat pop-ups. The quick scan option scans the PC very fast, and it can be used periodically. The price is competitive compared with other available options.”

– McAfee AntiVirus Plus review, Jagruti G.

What users dislike:

“It can be frustrating to use at times due to its excessive resource consumption, complicated interface, and challenging navigation, which are compounded by frequent notifications and pop-ups.”

– McAfee AntiVirus Plus review, Premkumar A.

7. Norton Antivirus

Norton Antivirus is one of the popular antivirus software platforms on the market. It’s a reliable and powerful tool designed to constantly scan your computer for any suspicious activity and prevent malware from infecting your system. Users can also take advantage of additional features like password management, spam filtering, and online backup. Norton offers users a 7-day free trial.

What users like best:

“I have used Norton for as long as I can remember and like best its usability and reliability to keep machines working safely. It has a clean user interface that keeps me informed.”

– Norton Antivirus review, Brad G.

What users dislike:

“It sometimes shows some self-advertisement which I feel is very annoying, and I think that should be removed as it creates a bad user experience.”

– Norton Antivirus review, Adithya S.

8. Trend Micro Antivirus + Security

Trend Micro Antivirus + Security is a comprehensive antivirus solution for Windows. It covers a single device and comes packed with features to protect against threats like ransomware and online scams. Apple product users can get the same protection with Antivirus for Mac provided by the company. The tool’s modern interface is user-friendly and easy to use. Trend Micro offers users a 30-day free trial.

What users like best:

“Its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features make it easy to use, even for those who are not tech-savvy. In addition, it offers various advanced features such as anti-phishing, parental controls, and privacy protection.”

– Trend Micro Antivirus + Security review, Khaled M.

What users dislike:

“It presents a decrease in computer speed. Installation takes a long time (and has) uncommon updates.”

– Trend Micro Antivirus + Security review, Oliver K.

9. Webroot Antivirus

Webroot antivirus is cloud-based antivirus software. It doesn’t download all the virus definitions and signatures to the device, but stores them on the cloud. As a result, it’s very light on system memory and scans fast compared to other antivirus programs. The tool is available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS devices. It offers a 14-day free trial.

What users like best:

“I use both the home and business versions of this product, so I get to see both sides of this product. I love the speed of the product, along with how lightweight it is on your computer. It does not interfere with the PC’s speed too much, unlike other antivirus software. It is easy to install and forget about, as it silently works away in the background. I have used it for years, and I haven’t had any issues with false positives.”

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– Webroot Antivirus review, Morgan H.

What users dislike:

“Sometimes it can block applications that are not actually threats.”

– Webroot Antivirus review, Jamie W.

10. 360 Total Security

360 Total Security is a free antivirus program that includes a suite of system optimization tools to clean and speed up your device. It has a paid version, too, but the free version covers most of the basic features you need from an antivirus.

What users like best:

“It contains a simple and elegant user interface for the consumer, but that does not make it less advanced. Among its many features we find a simple interface to use compared to other similar programs and automatically updated to increase your security against future malware.”

– 360 Total Security review, Raymond C.

What users dislike:

“One thing that bothers me and slows down my PC is the constant and overwhelming advertisements. It is also that the application does not work quite well with its characteristics if it is not connected to the internet.”

– 360 Total Security review, Raymond C.

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The need for advanced antivirus in the artificial intelligence era 

With AI-powered malware becoming increasingly sophisticated, traditional antivirus solutions struggle to keep up. In 2024, cybersecurity is evolving beyond firewalls and basic antivirus software. So, investing in advanced antivirus solutions that use innovative techniques like behavioral analysis to detect and thwart threats effectively is crucial. 

The list above takes you over the top free antivirus software options you should consider using in 2024 to protect your devices. Before you start using them, let’s address some common questions about antivirus software to ensure you’re fully informed.

Frequently asked questions on free antivirus software

1. Do free antivirus software actually help in device protection?

Free antivirus software effectively safeguards your devices against a wide range of dangers. They detect and eliminate any problematic programs in the system and prevent them from causing too much damage. They do not, however, usually offer some of the more complex capabilities that come with paid options.

2. Which devices need antivirus software?

All internet-connected gadgets are exposed to viruses and other hazards. That is why it is critical to have antivirus protection on all of your gadgets.

3. Can free antivirus software prevent attacks from hackers?

No, paid or free antivirus software will not keep hackers at bay. It can, however, identify and delete any harmful software that hackers may have installed without your awareness on your computer. Furthermore, antivirus software may assist in preventing your computer from being hacked in the first place by detecting and preventing any unusual behavior.

4. Do I need antivirus software for Mac?

While Macs are less susceptible to viruses than PCs, they are not immune. That is why, in addition to other security precautions, it is critical to have some type of antivirus protection on your Mac.

5.How do I choose from several free antivirus software?

Consider all the devices you wish to protect and the family members who will use these devices when purchasing antivirus software. Some features you should look for are:

  • Browser protection that assists you in avoiding risks when browsing the web.
  • Online protection against phishing and harmful links
  • A dependable firewall that prevents attacks from reaching your PC
  • Effective virus detection and cleanup

If you are looking for paid options, consider your budget and choose antivirus software appropriate for your needs at a price that reflects a good investment in the security of your digital life.

Get your digital guards up

With ever-increasing cyber threats, having reliable antivirus software installed on your computer is critical. Whether you’re looking for real-time protection, ease of use, or advanced protection features, an antivirus program will meet your needs. Get your digital defense in place. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Want more protection? Learn how a VPN can protect your online identity.