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 programs.
The best free anti-virus software
PCMag awarded its “Editor’s Choice” honor to two programs:
- Avast Free Antivirus 2017
- Kaspersky Free
Both earned overall ratings of 4.5 out of 5 from PCMag.
Kaspersky Free stands out for getting perfect marks from four independent testing labs. Avast Free Antivirus is distinguished by its “many useful, security-related bonus features” — including a password manager — PCMag notes.
Additionally, three programs earned overall ratings of 4 out of 5:
- AVG AntiVirus Free
- Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition (2017)
- Check Point ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus+ 2017
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 it’s not so much an anti-virus product as a component of Windows. The publication continues:
“And the very best free antivirus utilities offer many more layers of protection. Windows Defender doesn’t make antivirus software obsolete.”
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.
If a paid program isn’t in your budget, PCMag recommends trying a few of the free programs to see which you like best.
One exception is for business computers. Free anti-virus programs are often free only for noncommercial use, meaning only for use on personal computers.
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.