13 Best Free Antivirus Software to Protect PC in 2023

Free antivirus software is essential to have since if your system was infected with malware, you will have a hard time getting rid of it. That’s why you should take it seriously and install the best antivirus programs free of charge before your computer gets damaged.

Top 13 Free Antivirus Programs for Windows and Mac

  1. Kaspersky Free Antivirus - (Free) - Good malware protection
  2. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition - (Free) - Real time protection
  3. NordVPN’s Threat Protection - (Money-back guarantee) - Detailed 7-day protection
  4. Surfshark - (Money-back guarantee) - Private search engine
  5. Avast Free Antivirus - (Free) - Highly customizable
  6. Microsoft Windows Defender - (Free Trial) - Built into Windows
  7. AVG AntiVirus Free - (Free) - Scans system performance problems
  8. Avira Free Antivirus - (Free) - Real-time updates
  9. Panda Free Antivirus - (Free) - Comes with a secure VPN
  10. Norton 360 Deluxe - (Free Trial) - Possibility to monitor the dark web for personal data
  11. Systweak Antivirus - (Free Trial) - Great for Windows
  12. McAfee Internet Security - (Free Trial) - Has a built-in password manager
  13. ESET Smart Security Premium - (Free Trial) - Webcam protection

A good antivirus should allow you to delete malware and protect your computer from other ransomware, botnets, and Trojans that might compromise your data and prevent your PC from functioning properly.

I have rounded up the free antivirus software for PC available on the market today to help you choose an option that will protect your devices in real time. They improve a user’s browsing experience and ensure that they won’t come across a phishing site.

1. Kaspersky Free Antivirus - Our Choice

Good malware protection
  • Streamlined UI
  • Moderate impact on system performance
  • Very fast scanning
  • Several customization options
  • Not many features

Verdict: This is one of the best free antivirus software that has an intuitive interface, doesn’t impact the system’s performance much and provides perfect protection from malware. The only disadvantage is that it lacks extra features. However, it provides great protection on PC and Android devices, secures and stores passwords and personal documents as well as encrypts all sent and received data online through a VPN.

Besides a free version, the developer created premium versions of this antivirus that have more extensive functionality. You can either pay $59.99 per year for using a license for three users or purchase a 5-user license for $79.99. It makes this software comparable with the rest. Even though F-Secure allows you to get three licenses for $39.99.

kaspersky free antivirus software interface

2. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Real time protection
  • Excellent protection from malware
  • Very easy-to-use
  • Fast installation
  • Almost doesn’t affect the system performance
  • Absence of customization options
  • Lack of scan scheduling

Verdict: Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition provides standard features and ensures the best free antivirus protection. However, it’s slightly more prone to false alarms. The software installs and operates very fast without slowing down your computer.

Similarly to the first software we mentioned, it has both free and paid versions. For instance, you can access Bitdefender Internet Security by paying $79.99 per year. It will allow you to get licenses for 3 PC. Bitdefender Total Security is a five-user license that costs $89.99. This version is compatible with 4 major OS. The annual subscription for Bitdefender Premium Security costs $159.99. It allows you to protect 10 devices. Bitdefender Family Pack is a 15-user license that costs $119.99.

bitdefender antivirus free edition free antivirus software interface

3. NordVPN’s Threat Protection

Produce seven-day protection summary
  • Easy to use
  • Blocks malicious ads
  • Keeps you safe from DDoS attacks
  • Protects against malware, phishing, and other online threats
  • No free version or free trial

Verdict: Threat Protection is a reliable software created for those who are looking for protection from online cyber threats. It analyzes the files you are going to download and warns you about possible issues. With it, you can be sure that viruses will be blocked before they affect the performance of your OS. You can turn on the Threat Protection feature to make your browsing experience more secure. Your device will be protected even when you don’t use VPN.

Another advantage is that you can use the best antivirus programs free of charge. If you have already paid for NordVPN, you will be able to use the Threat Protection tool without paying a dime. A monthly NordVPN subscription costs only $11.99. You can save money by paying for an annual subscription. In this case, you will need to pay only $4.99 per month. To save even more, you can pay for a 2-year license. It will reduce the monthly price to $3.99. While there is no free version available, you can get your money back within 30 days after purchase.

nordvpn threat protection free antivirus software interface

4. Surfshark

Private search engine
  • Tunnel splitting
  • Ad tracker blocker
  • Breach monitoring
  • Excellent support
  • No firewall
  • No parental control

Verdict: Surfshark Antivirus stands out as a top-tier antivirus solution due to its impressive performance and comprehensive security features. With a lightweight malware scanner, it efficiently detects and eliminates threats, offering robust protection for Windows, macOS, and Android users. The software's user-friendly interface and exceptional customer support further enhance its appeal.

What sets Surfshark Antivirus apart are its additional features, such as an integrated VPN, the Surfshark Alert data breach monitoring tool, and an ad-free search engine.

Furthermore, Surfshark's real-time protection capabilities are commendable. Surfshark promptly detects all of malicious files before they could even infiltrate the system. This level of real-time protection aligns them with top competitors, underscoring its effectiveness in thwarting emerging threats.

surfshark free antivirus software

5. Avast Free Antivirus

Highly customizable
  • Cross-platform solution
  • Comes with advanced privacy and performance features
  • Has some extra features
  • Has a VPN client
  • Greatly affects the system performance

Verdict: Avast Free Antivirus is one of the best free antivirus software as it provides excellent malware protection. It comes with the biggest network for threat detection, machine-learning virus protection, simple password management, and home network security that won’t affect the performance of your computer system. Unlike many Avast alternatives, the software includes a password manager, an in-built browser, and a network scanner.

Besides a free version, you can also purchase paid ones. The versions for macOS and Windows cost from $39.99 a year (a single-user license). To get a license for 10 users, you need to pay $49.99 a year. Keep in mind that the price will get higher after one year.

avast free antivirus software interface

6. Microsoft Windows Defender

Built into Windows
  • Streamlined performance
  • Great malware protection
  • Minimal system performance impact
  • A lot of features
  • It’s difficult to schedule scans

Verdict: Microsoft Windows Defender is free antivirus software that has plenty of extra features that are integrated into Windows, such as parental control and browser protection. This is the best spyware software for Windows as it provides qualitative, continuous and real-time protection against viruses, malware and spyware in email, apps, the cloud and the Web. Due to its automatic check for updates, your computer will always be upgraded.

To get a Microsoft Defender license for individual use, you need to pay for the Microsoft 365 subscription. Its price ranges between $70 and $100 every year. This software also protects non-Windows devices. To use it to ensure the protection of your Mac and Android devices, you need to pay an extra fee.

microsoft windows defender free antivirus software interface

7. AVG AntiVirus Free

Scans system performance problems
  • Easy to customize
  • Minimal performance impact
  • Blocks unsafe links and downloads
  • Scanner for blocking and removing viruses
  • Not many extra features

Verdict: AVG AntiVirus Free offers a lot of features, such as real-time security updates and scans for malware and system performance issues. This free computer antivirus protects your computer from malicious downloads. This top free antivirus has a new, minimalist design. The program ensures a high level of system protection. It doesn’t matter if you choose free or full protection, your device will be fully secure thanks to automatic updates.

To get access to more advanced features of AVG Internet Security, you can pay $59.99 for one device. A 10-user license will cost you the same, however, keep in mind that the price will increase after the first year of use.

avg free antivirus software interface

8. Avira Free Antivirus

Real-time updates
  • Very customizable
  • Has a firewall manager
  • Protects from spyware, adware and ransomware
  • Provides real-time protection
  • The majority of extra features are trial-based
  • Greatly affects system performance

Verdict: Avira Free Antivirus is the best free antivirus software in its niche as it provides real-time protection and secures the system from malware and such ransomware as Trojans, worms, viruses, etc. The antivirus scanner also has advanced repair features. You can install it on Mac, Android and iOS devices. This antivirus software uses the latest cloud technology to protect your device from cybercriminals.

You can pay for a premium version if you need access to extra features. For instance, Avira Prime is available at a price of $4.95/month, while Avira Internet Security costs from $2.95.

avira free antivirus software interface

9. Panda Free Antivirus

Has an in-built VPN for secure protection
  • Intuitive and eye-catching UI
  • Doesn’t affect the system’s performance
  • Speedy scanning
  • A range of handy features
  • Unreliable protection from malware attacks
  • No anti-phishing tools

Verdict: Panda Free Antivirus is a popular software that is not taxing on a system’s resources. It ensures real-time protection and delivers flawless performance. The program blocked most infected files that I tried to download when testing it. Another advantage of this software is that it has the Rescue Kit tool, which allows you to enjoy the best free antivirus Internet security. You can download the installed version of the program to a USB drive and then use it to remove viruses from your system.

After paying for the premium plan, you will be able to use a VPN without any restrictions. Besides, this plan includes a firewall as well as anti-phishing and anti-ransomware protection. You can use them to manage your password and employ parental control tools. An annual subscription costs $66.99. If you don’t like the available tools, you can get your money back within 30 days.

panda free antivirus software interface

10. Norton 360 Deluxe

Monitors dark web for personal data
  • Web storage
  • In-built password manager
  • VPN is unlimited
  • The top-level identity protection
  • Very slow during full scans

Verdict: Norton 360 Deluxe costs $29.99/ the first year. It is one of the best antivirus software as it has a password manager and unlimited VPN. It allows you to monitor the dark web for personal data, as well as use parent control and up to 50GB of Web storage space. However, Norton can't be used as encryption software; besides, it lacks a file shredder and secure web browser.

There are two retail offers of this antivirus – Norton 360 Premium and Norton 360 Platinum. Using them, you will get more Web storage space and extend the antivirus and VPN coverage to 10-20 devices accordingly. Another advantage lies in the fact that it has a 30-day free trial.

norton 360 free antivirus software interface

11. Systweak Antivirus

Great for Windows
  • Easy to navigate
  • Optimization to improve system performance
  • The software is easy to install, configure, and use
  • Copes with existing and newly discovered online threats
  • Lacks customization settings
  • Windows-compatible only

Verdict: Systweak Antivirus tops the list of antivirus programs because of a plethora of features and reliable protection tools. Moreover, you can activate various scanning modes to make sure all segments of your PC are analyzed and protected. The bragging point of the software is its uninterrupted operation in the background. Thus, your computer is always under reliable protection.

Though the range of antivirus programs is amazingly broad, Systweak Antivirus leaves most competitors behind. It excels at real-time protection and malware detection, building a solid security wall, minimizing the harmful effect of existing files, and preventing possible attacks. You can use a trial version of this free computer antivirus. Once the trial expires, you will need to pay $39.95 per device per year.

systweak free antivirus software interface

12. McAfee Internet Security

Has a built-in password manager
  • Clear interface
  • Protects many devices
  • Protects identity
  • Performance enhancement
  • Comes without a few common device protections
  • Lack of parental controls
  • Pricey

Verdict: McAfee Internet Security has a great password manager. It’s definitely one of the best Internet security software as it protects from all the latest threats such as ransomware, viruses, malware, spyware, unwanted programs, etc. This antivirus software has cross-device protection, award-winning antivirus protection, and performance enhancement.

For parental controls, you will need to get a license for 10 devices from McAfee Total Protection or similar to it McAfee LiveSafe. This antivirus is expensive and costs $54.99. While there is no free version available, you can get your money back within 30 days after purchase.

macafee internet security free antivirus software interface

13. ESET Smart Security Premium

Webcam protection
  • Barely affects the performance of the system
  • Has a file encryption
  • Fast scanning
  • Strengthened browser extension
  • Not many features
  • High price

Verdict: ESET Smart Security Premium offers a lot of great functions, such as file encryption and removable media that will protect your data from being stolen. The software provides multi-platform protection. You can use it on Windows, Mac, Android and Linux devices with a single license to get the best protection and convenience.

Using this software, you can be sure that all your personal data will be protected from ransomware and phishing. You can also encrypt all your files and removable media and manage your passwords. The only disadvantage of this antivirus is its high price. It costs $59.99. You can use a 30-day trial to see if you like its features.

eset smart security premium free antivirus software interface