Best Free Antivirus Programs of 2024 – Protection without Spending a Dime

Staying secure online in 2024 is more important than ever. Protecting yourself against viruses, malware, ransomware, and other threats is crucial for maintaining your privacy and ensuring your devices run smoothly. While premium antivirus suites offer a full range of features, you might be surprised to find exceptionally robust protection with the best free antivirus programs.

Why Consider Free Antivirus Software?

Despite potential skepticism about “free” security tools, many top-rated antivirus programs utilize the same core protections as their paid counterparts. Paid versions tend to add extra features, but the fundamental malware-fighting technology remains strong in free editions. Free antivirus developers stay committed to user safety and often use their free products to showcase their capabilities.

The Best Free Antivirus Options for 2024

Let’s explore the top free antivirus solutions in 2024. While features and exact performance can vary, each contender on this list delivers impressive security without sacrificing your wallet.

1. Avast One Essential – Comprehensive Security

Avast One Essential is a robust choice, delivering antivirus, anti-phishing, VPN services, and additional security tools within a single package. It runs on the same trusted detection engine as its paid counterparts, offering great defense against online threats.

Best free antivirus program of 2024 - avast one essential
Avast One Essential Scan Center

A notable advantage is the included 5GB weekly VPN allowance, a generous amount unmatched by many paid rivals. Its straightforward interface makes it easy to use for both tech-savvy and less experienced users.

Get Avast One Essential:


  • Excellent protection
  • Generous VPN allowance
  • User-friendly interface


  • VPN limit might be restrictive for some
  • Occasional promotional pop-ups

2. AVG AntiVirus Free – Reliable and Versatile

AVG has earned its place as a respected name in antivirus protection. AVG AntiVirus Free delivers its core protection technology alongside practical bonus features. Users can run full scans, targeted scans, boot-time scans, and more to suit their needs. The software helps block dangerous links and unsafe email attachments, adding another layer of defense.

Avg antivirus free
AVG AntiVirus Free

Get AVG AntiVirus Free:


  • Strong malware protection
  • Variety of scan types
  • Blocks unsafe links and attachments


  • Can occasionally cause minor system slowdown

3. Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition – Lightweight and Effective

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition prioritizes simplicity without sacrificing power. It’s one of the lightest antivirus options available, ensuring it won’t bog down your computer. Though features are limited, it excels with its core task – real-time malware detection and prevention.

Bitdefender antivirus free edition
Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition

Get Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition:


  • Fast and efficient
  • Minimal system impact
  • Powerful real-time protection


  • Lacks additional features found in paid suites

4. Microsoft Defender Antivirus – Built into Windows

Microsoft Defender Antivirus (formerly Windows Defender) is the built-in security solution for Windows 10 and 11 devices. It offers decent baseline protection and, importantly, it’s completely free and immediately available. Microsoft has steadily improved Defender over the years, but Is Microsoft Defender Good Enough in 2024?

Microsoft windows 11 security
Microsoft Windows 11 Security


  • Convenient
  • Good basic protection
  • Constantly improving


  • Might not be the most robust against advanced threats

5. Malwarebytes Free – Excellent Malware Remediation

Malwarebytes Free is a standout choice for users needing serious malware cleaning power. Though its free version doesn’t include always-on protection, it excels at on-demand scans. It effectively targets not just traditional viruses, but also more complex threats like spyware, rootkits, and ransomware. Malwarebytes is popular as a secondary scanner alongside another free antivirus that offers real-time protection.

Malwarebytes free
Malwarebytes Free

Get Malwarebytes Free: (Download the free version)


  • Powerful malware detection and removal
  • Specialized in advanced threats
  • Easy to use


  • Real-time protection requires the premium version


Free antivirus programs hold an important place in online security. For basic, but crucial, protection without compromising your budget, options like Avast One Essential or AVG AntiVirus Free are well worth considering. If you have concerns about a potential slowdown, Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is a light and effective solution. Users familiar with Windows will find Microsoft Defender’s convenience beneficial. Lastly, if deep scans to combat existing malware issues are a priority, Malwarebytes Free remains a valuable tool.

No matter your choice, prioritizing an antivirus in 2024 is essential for any internet-connected device!

author avatar
Derick Payne
My name is Derick Payne. With a deep-seated passion for programming and an unwavering commitment to innovation, I've spent the past 23 years pushing the envelope of what's possible. As the founder of Rizonetech and Rizonesoft, I've had the unique opportunity to channel my love for technology into creating solutions that make a difference.

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