Part of this reason is that the free versions are based on their paid counterparts. If you find a paid version you enjoy that provides a free version, you may safely assume that the antivirus protection level is similar, save for any particular malware types the free version doesn’t cover.

To make this list of the best free AV programs we looked at the very best mainstream antivirus suites for Windows 10 and chosen those offering a free version, as After that, we looked at how well these suites performed in third party detection tests.

Avast Free Antivirus
Avast Premier is highly rated antivirus software. With the free version of the suite you can run all of the many virus scans. The majority of the key Avast protections are also available, such as scanning new files added to your system, watching for malicious behaviour from installed programs, an internet browsing shield.

Avast Free even permits you to inspect your system and see the devices currently connected to your router. Plus Avast’s password manager is available at no cost.

What you do not get for free is that the malware security, the sandbox to different suspicious files from the system, the Avast firewall, and the ransomware protection.

Avast is surprisingly helpful in its free version and is among the most flexible options around.

It attempts to sneak an installation of Google Chrome past you, for instance. Avast also has not been a friend to privacy in the past few years by sharing user information with its subsidiary Jumpshot.

The company recently said it will shut down Jumpshot. Meanwhile, Avast makes it quite clear during setup that you don’t need to share information with the company, as noticed above.

Kapsersky Security Cloud – Free
Kasperksy is another highly rated antivirus using a fantastic amount to provide for a free service. This free antivirus suite does not attempt to install any additional software on the sly like Avast does. It will, however, ask you to make a Kaspersky account during setup. Just make certain to uncheck the box about getting marketing materials–unless you need a whole lot of email from Kaspersky, that is.

Kaspersky Free supports the a variety of scanning options you would expect from paid suites, such as scans of external devices, and the ability to schedule scans. Also part of this free bundle are Kaspersky’s password manager and Secure Link VPN using a 300MB data usage limit each day.

What you do not get are the privacy-protection attributes for preventing unauthorized use of your webcam; Safe Money, the sandboxed browser for monetary transactions; PC Cleaner for clearing out old documents; and some of the additional tools like the software updater or system monitor. To find out what you are missing check out our review of Kaspersky Total Security.

In general, however, Kaspersky provides solid protection at no cost, plus a couple of extras.

Avira Free Antivirus
As we have mentioned in our reviews, there is little point in paying for the Pro version when you get so much with the free choice. Avira Free comprises the antivirus, the software updater, the home network updater, and a free VPN with an allowance of 500MB per month. All these are separate applications connected through the Avira desktop program.

There are basically no limits on all of the extras. The difference in security is using the antivirus capabilities. The free version will scan your PC, and provides real-time security for your computer. However, it lacks protection against ransomware, net threats, email threats, and innovative cloud security. Additionally, it lacks the enhanced PC cleanup feature for clearing out old files from the Pro version.

Installation with Avira is simple, with no efforts to sneak in other applications, and no need for creating an account. Uninstalling, however, is a pain as there are a lot of unique components automatically set up, and every one must be eliminated one by one.