There are many free antivirus options, but not all of them will make our list. That’s not a matter of list size or overall quality, but of function. Some antiviruses, such as Malwarebytes, don’t protect from threats in real-time. They’re used solely to remove malware already on your machine.
Those options are left out of this list. Our first criterion is that an antivirus scans your machine, but also provides real-time monitoring. Cybersecurity is about prevention, and the free options that scan your machine fall flat on that front.
Obviously, we’re looking at price. The antivirus must be free, not a trial or limited version of the paid software. We are also looking at upgrade paths, though. It’s expected that some features won’t be included with a free offering, so we want to see a logical way to purchase them.
Features matter, but not as much as some other areas. As long as an antivirus provides real-time protection and malware removal, we’re content. Extra features, such as the long list from AVG, get bonus points.