With Bitdefender bringing to an end their free anti-virus and rising concern over using Russian-owned products and services - today we are looking at what is the best Free Anti-Virus software for your PC in 2022 that doesn’t slow you to a halt?
We’re going to look at my top 5 picks for anti-virus as well as look at the pros and cons of using each of them. Once you’ve sorted yourself out with some free anti-virus, then I’d also recommend signing up for Synology’s C2 Password Manager which is also totally free and I’ll link that down below along with everything else I’m talking about in this post.
So let’s get the ball rolling.
Yes, after pulling their free anti-virus at the end of last year, this year in some bizarre move, they re-released their free anti-virus under a new name; Bitdefender Anti-virus Free for Windows, which they say has been re-written from the ground up to be a much slicker experience than their older version.
Now the old version of Bitdefender already was one of the top players in online independent tests and this version is so new that it’s yet to be tested, BUT it’s using the same engine as those high-scoring reviews along with a shiny new client. This gives it an overall faster experience along with a basic level of protection.
The company is based in Romania with offices worldwide, and overall, the new Bitdefender free product seems like a good, no-frills option when looking for a free antivirus solution.
However, if you want some additional protection, then you may want to consider an alternative.
Next, we have AVG Anti-Virus which has been around for decades, with its version of a no frills anti-virus which offers a few additional features. Including protection against malware, but also blocking malicious links, and attachments within your email, all without dramatically impacting the speed of other applications.
Using the independent tests provided by av-test.org we can see that AVG has extremely good levels of protection without slowing machines down and all with a pretty clean and usable interface.
You get Computer, Web, and Email protection included, but there are some additional features you can unlock if you upgrade.
AVG was originally an American Company, but a few years ago was bought by Avast which is based in the Czech Republic BUT more recently, and right now, is moments away from being acquired by Norton, who is again a US-owned company.
At number 3 is Avira Free Anti-virus, similarly topping the AV test scores for protection, speed, and usability. Avira is a German-made anti-virus product that provides a lightweight, good-looking client with no bloatware or unnecessary features.
Avira can also prevent unwanted apps from making their way onto your machine, as well as block dodgy websites, ads, and tracking from your browser. They do also bundle in a price comparison feature which I’m not a huge fan of - but rating this on just the anti-virus component, it’s a great choice.
2. AVAST ONE
Next up we have Avast One, even though Avast own AVG, they still have their own branded free offering called Avast One Essential. Providing anti-virus, a firewall, an included VPN with up to 5Gb per week, password compliance, data breach monitoring, and additional privacy controls.
Avast One Essential is one that has a few more features than the others reviewed which also scored high on the AV Tests for protection, Speed, and Usability. Avast also has a brighter interface which I find easier to navigate and use and for most people gives you everything you’d need under a single free product. The only thing to watch out for is that when you install Avast One, you’ll be asked to install their browser. If you don’t want that, you can just decline it during installation.
As I mentioned earlier, Avast is currently going through an acquisition by Norton, and that’s expected to close in the coming weeks or maybe months of this year.
Then we have Microsoft Defender, which hasn't had the best reputation in the past, but honestly if you are a savvy user with a fair dose of common sense, then many of you will be just fine running the built-in Windows Defender service, that comes as part of windows. This is great, because there’s no need to download any additional third-party apps.
You get some basic anti-virus threat protection and also some firewall but none of the additional features like VPN, password, or data breach monitoring tools. For most people with a little common sense though, this can be more than adequate for your needs.
Once you’ve sorted yourself out with some free anti-virus, I’d also recommend checking out Synology’s C2 Password Manager which is also totally free, or get yourself a good backup solution.
🛒 Sign up for a FREE and fully featured Password Manager from Synology: https://geni.us/SynologyC2
🛒 Sign up for Bitdefender: https://geni.us/BitdefenderFree
🛒 Sign up for AVG: https://geni.us/AVGFree
🛒 Sign up for Avira: https://geni.us/AviraFree
🛒 Sign up for Avast One: https://geni.us/AvastOneFree
🛒 Sign up for Microsoft Defender: https://geni.us/MicrosoftDefender