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Best free antivirus software

By Adam Marshall

We rate free antivirus software downloads for malware protection and ease of use, so that we can tell you the top best free antivirus software suites around.

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Choose the best free antivirus software for you

Equipping your computer with virus protection doesn't have to be expensive – we've pinpointed the best free antivirus downloads that impressed us most in our lab tests. These free tools even outperformed a number of paid-for security suites.

Although these free security software packages are pretty basic, they will help you locate, prevent and remove viruses. The best have extra features such as a firewall or parental controls. But free internet security may not have all the features you need – for the most comprehensive protection, check out our Best Buy antivirus software.

Best free antivirus software packages

Sophos Home (Windows) (Free)
Which? score 78%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Best Buy
Security:
5 out of 5
Anti-phishing:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Firewall feature:
Member exclusive
Identity Protection feature:
Member exclusive
Anti-phishing tool:
Member exclusive

A no-frills product that's superb at keeping your PC safe from harm. Don't expect any bells or whistles, just Best Buy standard virus vanquishing.

Panda Free Antivirus (for Windows)
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Security:
4 out of 5
Anti-phishing:
3 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Firewall feature:
Member exclusive
Identity Protection feature:
Member exclusive
Anti-phishing tool:
Member exclusive

Very thorough at spotting and stopping malicious software targeted to harm your PC.

Microsoft Windows Defender
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Security:
4 out of 5
Anti-phishing:
5 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Firewall feature:
Member exclusive
Identity Protection feature:
Member exclusive
Anti-phishing tool:
Member exclusive

An extremely capable malware-deterrent for Windows 8.1 and 10 only. A decent first line of defence for your PC.

Avast Free Antivirus (Windows)
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Security:
4 out of 5
Anti-phishing:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Firewall feature:
Member exclusive
Identity Protection feature:
Member exclusive
Anti-phishing tool:
Member exclusive

For a free download, this antivirus program is strong on malware and phishing threats and really easy to use.

AVG Antivirus Free (Windows)
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Security:
4 out of 5
Anti-phishing:
4 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 5
Firewall feature:
Member exclusive
Identity Protection feature:
Member exclusive
Anti-phishing tool:
Member exclusive

Core anti-malware protection is perfectly good, and even catches Android and MacOS malware or nasties lurking on a USB stick.

Does free internet security give enough protection?

Downloading free antivirus software is certainly tempting, and the options above will help to keep your computer free from malicious malware.

But you shouldn't regard paid-for packages as a waste of money – you can get Best Buy security software for around £20 per year, which isn't much to pay for the extra peace of mind it offers.

To help you decide whether or not to dig into your wallet for virus protection, check out our expert guide to choosing the best antivirus software.

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