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Best Free Antivirus Software

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To begin with let me say this: there is no best antivirus out there. Why do I say this? Any product that you take will behave differently against various virus samples since the AV engines and other components incorporated in them are of different technologies.

While one product might have higher detection ratio, another might have better malicious URL blocking or virtualization techniques, yet another might have lesser impact on system performance and so on.

Read more about Antivirus Engine and other related details at the end of this article.

 Rated Products

Kaspersky Free Antivirus/ Kaspersky Security Cloud  
The paid security giant forays into free category and outsmarts its rivals

Our Rating: 
Gizmo's Freeware editor award for the best product in its class!
License: Free (Limited features)
Similar signatures & cloud features as its paid counterparts
Performance impact is decent on higher end systems
Strong behavioral blocker
Attractive GUI with no ads
Top-notch detection and always up-to-date
Thorough malware removal and disinfection process
Privacy policy (complies with GDPR)
Default settings cover most users
Bundles with Kaspersky VPN (can be uninstalled)
Fairly good web protection
Powerful exclusion settings (even for specific modules)
Extensive scan logs
Protection settings are locked with presets in Kaspersky Free Antivirus (KFA) [is available in Kaspersky Security Cloud]
Long but thorough system scans
Performance hit becomes worse on lower end systems
Slow update installation


Avast Free Antivirus  
The only antivirus with a fully customizable installer and selection of user preference components.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)

 Extremely light on the system with a modern and clean UI

 The only antivirus with a fully customizable installer, selection of user preference components

 Works best in hardened or lock-down mode, which blocks all unknown programs (medium-expert users only)

 Top notch detection capability, many secondary components to offer variety to a wholesome software

 Excellent malicious URL blocking, network protection, outdated software checking, integrated password manager, and comes with a rescue disk.

 Deep screen technology that includes Sandbox and Safe machine components for protection

 Bloated default setup, some ads and pop'ups

 Account creation for further protection after a month

 Lack of an anti-ransomware module, and Deepscreen disabled by default

 Cloud reputation, Malware signatures and HIPS module needs improvement

 Offers Google Chrome and various bloated secondary components during install [Choose custom install]

Comodo Internet Security Premium  
Provides a multi-layered protection scheme with HIPS, sandbox, antivirus and firewall.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Limited features)

 Feature-rich with lots of options for customization along with setting tolerance against prompts

 Tweaked settings gives the best 0-day protection among the pack

 Multi-layered protection scheme with HIPS, Sandbox, Antivirus and Firewall

 Industry grade firewall with options for learning and behavioural blocker

 Low on resources with various graphical skins available and a clean user interface

 Painful for beginners to use it, not very newbie friendly 

 Av-module is a bit weak especially the signature based detection

 Auto-sandboxing happens for various legitimate files, troubles with FPS games

 Too many tweaks needed for better protection

 Buggy software and updates are released slow.

 Chromodo browser, Yahoo search engine, custom DNS and Geek Buddy offered during default install. [Click customize installation during install]

Qihoo 360 Total Security  

This free antivirus is better than most commercial ones.

Our Rating: 
License: Free

 Totally free, light on resources, extremely fast scan times and pre-configuration protection modes

 Smooth running installer with no adware, pleasing UI and comes with many themes

 Fast updates/fixes and excellent customer service with immediate replies

 Great signatures with multiple engines and in-house cloud protection

 Web protection addon, browsing locking, webcam, sandbox and usb protection modules

 Online shopping protection, malicious URL protection and network threat blocking

 Includes Glasswire Firewall and Windows patch-up components

 Great detection rates, with very high zero day protection

 Speedup and clean-up tools might not be for everyone (not present in Essentials version)

Bitdefender or Avira engines not enabled by default

Might encounter few false positives

PUP [Potentially Unwanted Programs] detection needs to improve

Avira Free Antivirus  
A free antivirus with high quality signatures, very fast updates and less false positives.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Private/Educational use)

 Pretty light on the system and runs smooth without system slow-downs

 Clean ad-free GUI, Ad-free installer, No pop-ups or ads

 High quality signatures, very fast updates, excellent detection on non-zero day threats

 Deep file scans with very less false positives

 Avira Protection Cloud makes for an excellent cloud engine

 Browser safety Add-ons available for major browsers

 Zero day protection (heuristic & behavioural shield) is very weak. 

 Ineffective Browser launcher which is a memory hog (can be uninstalled)

 Painful removal for detected files. Repeated scans from Luke Filewalker increases CPU & RAM usage. 

 Multiple file exceptions needs to be added (real-time and on-demand)

 No firewall/sandboxing/web shield technologies

Panda Free Antivirus  
Gives you antivirus protection with low memory and CPU usage, and collective intelligence cloud security.

Our Rating: 
License: Free (Private/Educational use)

 Low memory & CPU usage thanks to cloud protection

 Tiled UI with customizable interface and nicely rendered Settings interface

 Collective intelligence cloud security - Downloading virus definitions is history

 Good detection rates and behavioural analysis program

 Fairly good web protection and hardware resource handling

 Dependant on internet connection leading to weaker offline protection

 Slow scanning speed, no fingerprinting (successive re-testing same files) and at times issues with virus removal

 Not really light, performance impact in web browsing, installation and copying

 Certain false positives despite the information available at cloud

 Watch out for Panda security toolbar during install


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