These Are the Best Free Anti-Virus Software Programs of 2018

Yes, you can get top-notch anti-virus protection for free. Here are six highly rated examples.

These Are the Best Free Anti-Virus Software Programs of 2018 Photo by Milan Ilic Photographer /

There’s basically no excuse for not having top-notch anti-virus software on your personal computers these days.

You have multiple well-rated — and no-cost — options to choose from, as PCMag’s latest ratings of free anti-virus programs illustrates.

The publication tested and reviewed 17 free programs and examined the results of other independent labs that have tested the 17 programs.

The best free anti-virus software

PCMag awarded its “Editor’s Choice” honor to two programs:

  • Avast Free Antivirus 2017
  • AVG AntiVirus Free (2017)

The publication notes that both programs:

  • Earned overall ratings of 4.5 out of 5 from PCMag.
  • Earned very good scores in PCMag’s tests.
  • Earned very good scores in independent labs’ tests.
  • Include useful bonus features — Avast even includes a password manager and network security scanner.

Additionally, four programs earned overall ratings of 4 out of 5 from PCMag:

  • Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition (2017)
  • Check Point ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus+ 2017
  • Kaspersky Free
  • Sophos Home Free

Windows Defender

Windows computers now come with Windows Defender, but that doesn’t mean you should rely on it.

PCMag gave it a rating of 3 out of 5, noting that “you can get better protection from the best third-party solutions.”

Should you pay for anti-virus protection?

PCMag notes that paid anti-virus programs offer more protection and better protection than free versions. Whether you should pay for such protection comes down to your budget.

The good news is the publication concluded that you can get by without buying software:

“Don’t worry if the budget doesn’t cover a commercial antivirus. You can get very good protection without paying a penny.”

One exception is for business computers. Free anti-virus programs are often free only for noncommercial use, meaning only for use on personal computers.

For more free stuff, check out Money Talks News’ freebies page.

What’s your experience with anti-virus programs, free or paid? Share what has or hasn’t worked for you by commenting below or over on our Facebook page.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More

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