8 of the best free antivirus software options

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8 of the best free antivirus software options

For any PC user, it's important to have effective antivirus software installed. Besides protecting you against nefarious viruses and trojans, antivirus software also blocks spyware and can offer adequate protection against malware and adware. 

In the past, antivirus software has been known for slowing down PCs due to its need to scan extensively on a regular basis. These days though, most software hardly makes a dent on your PC's performance, while still providing protection. 

Which antivirus software should you get, though? You might think that you need to spend considerable money in order to get a great antivirus software package, but that's not always the case. Plenty of free solutions now exist and are worth your time. They're often made by the same manufacturers of paid solutions, such as Panda and Adaware. Various reports have demonstrated that detection rates and accuracy are nearly as high with free software as they are with paid. You're not getting less of a valuable service here. At least, not in terms of spotting viruses, although paid software is sometimes a little smarter at spotting the loopholes.  Read more...

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BEST FOR MULTIPLE FEATURES

Avast Free Antivirus

An impressively detailed piece of software given the non-existent price tag.

  • Features: Virus detection, gaming mode, password manager, malware scanner, network security inspector

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BEST HANDS-OFF ANTIVIRUS

Bitdefender Antivirus

You get all of the antivirus aspects of the paid version, but none of the bonus features. It's limited but highly effective.

  • Features: Strong antivirus protection, fast scanning, cheap paid upgrade available

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BEST FOR VIRUS DETECTION ACCURACY

AVG AntiVirus Free

AVG AntiVirus Free is near flawless with its ability to detect viruses and malware. It's unlikely anything is getting through this.

  • Features: Clear interface, manual scanning, web security plug-in

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BEST FOR REMOTE MANAGEMENT PROTECTION

Sophos Home Free

If you need antivirus software that you can control remotely, Sophos Home Free is an unbeatable option.

  • Features: Remote management for up to 3 PCs, download protection, non-intrusive

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BEST FOR USB PROTECTION

Panda Free Antivirus

Stylish and sleek with some useful features that other antivirus softwares lack.

  • Features: Attractive interface, USB vaccination, bootable rescue kit, diagnostic tools

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BEST FOR EXTRA FIREWALL PROTECTION

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus isn't just antivirus software, it's also a comprehensive firewall and identity protection software tool. It's good for those that want more than just virus removal.

  • Features: Malware scanner, personal firewall, identity theft protection

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BEST FOR SANDBOX VIRTUALIZATION

Comodo Antivirus

It does a good job of detecting viruses and malware, but some of its features are far from necessary for the regular user.

  • Features: Virtual desktop, secure browser, sandboxing

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BEST FOR BUILT-IN VPN

Avira Free Antivirus

If you want an antivirus software that offers more than just virus and malware detection, Avira Free Antivirus is useful for its holistic approach and inclusion of a VPN.

  • Features: Phishing protection, built-in VPN, system optimization tools