Editor's Picks

Best free antivirus 2020 (Desktop)

The best antivirus for free on Windows

If you think about all the things you do on your PC and online these days, you quickly see why it is more important than ever to have a strong and reliable antivirus program protecting your interests. Think about it, these days we buy more things online than ever using our credit cards, we click on links every day, we receive hundreds of emails every week, and now we’re even furnishing our homes with smart devices connected to the internet.

Yes, all of these technological advances make life that little bit easier, but they also offer new ways in for hackers and cyber criminals, which only add to all the classic threats we face like trojans and adware. We could click on a dodgy link, open a phishing email, give our credit card details to a fake store’s website, and we’re not even going to get into what hackers could do with that new smart lock you’ve just installed or that always listening smart speaker that sits in your den. Even our Wi-Fi networks are vulnerable to exploitation.

Fortunately, there are plenty of excellent free antivirus programs available these days, that are even better than Windows Defender, and we’re going to run through the best of them now. Hold tight for our list of the best free antivirus software for Microsoft Windows 10.

Free antivirus for Windows 10

Avast Free Antivirus

Avast Free

All five of the free antivirus programs we’re featuring today offer strong protection. If we had to pick out one, however, Avast might get our best antivirus recommendation. As well as offering antivirus and malware protection features that regularly score highly with independent testing labs, Avast also offers a wide range of extra features that you’d normally have to pay for.

The best of these extra features is the Password Manager. This will create new and extremely secure passwords for all of your online accounts, store them securely, and then automatically fill them in whenever you’re trying to access your accounts. The only limit to this feature, however, is that it can’t be used across multiple devices, which means you won’t be able to log into your accounts via your mobile if you use Avast on your PC. Avast free still remains an excellent choice though, for anybody looking for a strong level of antivirus protection but who don’t want to pay out a lot of cash for it.

Kaspersky Security Cloud Free

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Kaspersky has long been respected as one of the strongest antivirus programs on the market and has always scored well across most of the independent antivirus testing labs like AV-Test and AV-Comparatives. Fortunately, Kaspersky began offering a free version of its antivirus total security and malware protection software back in 2017. The cloud-based offering has plenty in its locker too.

You can install it on your PC, but Kaspersky Free also offers support for iOS iPhone and Android users too. Key features include full malware protection, spyware defense, and almost flawless real-time protection from phishing scams. The software will flag dodgy links and block malicious URLs. For a free program, Kaspersky Antivirus offers robust security features and even has some you’d have to pay for elsewhere. Definitely worth a look.

Kaspersky Anti-Virus Download Kaspersky
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Sophos Home Free

Sophos has long specialized in protecting business computer networks containing hundreds, if not, thousands of computers. Protecting business interests means the Sophos team has long had to ensure the tightest of security measures in its programs. Thankfully, the move into home security software hasn’t resulted in any lower levels of security. The latest version of Sophos Home Premium makes it easy to coordinate security across multiple devices but the free offering has just been boosted with new AI algorithms.

The idea behind Sophos’ AI antivirus features is a neural network that learns from the threats being dealt with on all machines running the program. This means Sophos can preempt malicious behavior rather than having to check dodgy files and programs against known threats.

Other great features that come with Sophos Home Free include strong anti-phishing protection, anti-malware features, and the ability to protect and remotely control security features across three devices, just like the network administrator would do in an office.

Sophos Download now
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AVG Antivirus Free

AVG Free

AVG Antivirus is another established and very well-respected antivirus software suite. Furthermore, AVG offers a free version of its antivirus technology that comes packed with plenty of features like malware and antivirus scanner, and robust phishing protection including blocking dodgy URLs and rating websites for you so you know which ones are safe and which ones are not.

AVG offers a wide range of free features for internet security-conscious web users. Recently, however, it has lost a couple of prime features including web browser protection and scan speeds have slowed significantly also. Protection-wise, you can still count on AVG to keep you as safe as any of the other free antivirus offerings we’ve included in our list.

AVG Free Download now
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Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Bitdefender

The final antivirus program we’re bringing you today is BitDefender, which brings you a robust offering for free that is really simple to install. There is no need to answer all sorts of questions or hand over lots of details to get your hands on the free version of BitDefender, which is something that sets it apart.

The free version of BitDefender offers the same level of antivirus and malware protection that you get with the paid antivirus version. The difference is that you’ll miss out on some of the premium features like a password manager, ransomware protection, or multi-device support. This means if you’re all your after is a strong scanner and always-on protection, you’ll be happy with what BitDefender Free Edition gives you. If you’re looking for advanced features, however, you’d be better looking at one of the other programs we’ve listed.

Bitdefender 2018 Download now
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Wrapping up

Today we’ve shown you five antivirus programs that will keep you safe online for free. In truth, it is hard to pick between them as each offers strong enough protection to make it onto our list. We wouldn’t recommend any programs that didn’t offer robust security features. If we had to pick one antivirus solution, however, it’d likely be Avast that tops our list. For free you’ll also get a number of premium features with Avast, that you won’t get with the other programs.

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