Antivirus software is an important part of your computers immune system. It protects you against viruses that can use your computer for malicious purposes and most antiviruses also offer malware and spyware protection, which helps to keep your online privacy intact.
In the video above and article below, I will briefly review some of the best free antivirus programs for 2015.
|#||Name||Protection||Performance||Usability||CNET Rating||PCMag Rating|
|1||AVG Free Antivirus||Good||Excellent||Excellent||4/5||3.5/5|
|2||Bitdefender Antivirus Free||Excellent||Excellent||Average||3/5||4/5|
|3||avast! Free Antivirus||Very Good||Good||Good||4/5||3.5/5|
|4||Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+||Good||Good||Good||4/5||3.5/5|
|5||Avira Free Antivirus||Good||Average||Average||4/5||2.5/5|
#1 AVG Free Antivirus
AVG Free Antivirus has been my go-to antivirus for the past two years and it remains my top choice for this year. AVG has many features such as good antivirus, malware, spyware and rootkit protection, automatic updates, linkscanner which protects against phising attacks, privacy and identity protection, WiFi guard which detects fake hotspots, game mode and even free phone support for those who may not be as technically experienced as some of us.
The AVG interface is also quite good, it displays a decent amount of data and allows the user to manage and configure most of the features. Additionally their advertising is very mild with pop-ups urging you to upgrade few and far between, at least in my experience.
#2 Bitdefender Antivirus Free
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is underadvertised and underrated. On CNET it ranks as tenth in the free antivirus software category with a user rating of 3 out of 5 stars and it doesn’t even have an editor’s rating.
Props to PCMag for actually reviewing the software, they gave it 4 out of 5 points. Bitdefender virus detection ranks very high and is among the best you can get right now.
Other features include real-time protection, active virus control, intrusion detection, a feature that tests potentially malicious programs in a safe environment, protection against phising attacks, rootkit detection and best of all, absolutely not pop-ups or aggressive advertising.
It does however have some downsides, the software and interface is very lightweight, too lightweight if you ask me. There’s very few options to configure the software, enable and disable specific features or know what it’s actually doing. If they improved the interface, I’d rank it as #1.
#3 avast! Free Antivirus
In terms of virus detection and performance, avast! ranks among the top antivirus programs available, which is why it’s ranked as first on CNET Downloads in the free antivirus category, with a 4.5 out of 5 stars editor’s and user rating on CNET as well as Amazon.
The reason why I decided to uninstall Avast was due to their aggressive advertising practices, which included frequent pop-ups urging me to upgrade to their paid version. If that’s something you can tolerate, then Avast is definitely a good option.
Special features include home network security which scans your local network for vulnerabilities like insufficient WiFi encryption and browser clean-up which removes unwanted and malicious web browser add-ons.
#4 Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+
Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ is ranked third on CNET downloads, with a 4 out of 5 star user rating and PCMag rated it as good with 3.5 out of 5 points.
Features include real-time virus protection, malware protection, automatic threat updates, virus scanning and game mode, which blocks notifications and pop-ups when you are playing games or watching movies. Ad-Aware Free Antivirus+ is a good option for free antivirus software, but not the best.
#5 Avira Free Antivirus
It’s been a while since I’ve last used Avira, but from what I remember it had a lot of pop-ups which were annoying, however that’s sometimes an acceptable cost of good free software.
Both the editor’s and user rating on CNET downloads were good and Avira comes up as fifth in the free antivirus software category.
Features include malware and antivirus protection, excellent virus detection, support for multiple platforms including Android and iOS and a built-in firewall system. One downside with Avira is that it doesn’t seem to have an instant full PC scan button, which makes it a bit less convenient to use.