The 5 Best Free Anti-Virus Software Programs of 2019

Photo by Jacob Lund /

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 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 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.

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