If you’re on a limited budget, but want to secure your devices from the latest ransomware and malware threats, free antivirus software is a good choice. Free programs use the same malware-scanning engine as their paid counterparts. However, they do not have additional tools that offer online security, such as a VPN, a password manager, and parental controls.

The best antivirus software for free should provide effective real-time security protection, which means that the program is actively catching and blocks threats as they are trying to download or infiltrate your computer. In the past, this kind of security was only available for premium subscriptions, but it’s now common among free alternatives.

Additionally, the top free antivirus software should have an easy password manager and a VPN at the very least on an initial trial basis. McAfee, for example, provides a free trial for 30 days to its top-tier plan. It includes all premium features including protection for websites and ID theft protection.

The best antivirus software that is free is one that is easy to use. The majority of the companies on our top picks come with user-friendly dashboards, easy-to-use features, and good customer service. There are also mobile applications that make Look At This it easier to scan and secure your Android or iOS devices. In addition, the best free apps are licensed for use on a single device as opposed to paid versions that offer family-friendly plans as well as business tools.