Best Free Antivirus 2017

  • Ad-aware

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Avast

    Votes: 71 44.9%
  • Avira

    Votes: 8 5.1%
  • AVG

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • BitDefender

    Votes: 23 14.6%
  • Comodo

    Votes: 11 7.0%
  • Forticlient

    Votes: 7 4.4%
  • Panda

    Votes: 8 5.1%
  • Qihoo

    Votes: 24 15.2%
  • Sophos

    Votes: 5 3.2%
  • Total voters
    158
  • Poll closed .

jackuars

Level 23
Verified
I have excluded Windows Defender because it's baseline protection and only 3rd party antiviruses are included here.

If your primary antivirus isn't included in the poll, mention it in the comments section.

*Please comment on why the antivirus is your personal choice for freeware protection, so that you can help others in making a decision.*
 

Spawn

Administrator
Verified
Staff member
Avast Free.

+ Protection above Windows Defender
+ Additional technology from AVG (IDP)
+ Easy to use (UI)
+ Hardened Mode for anyone to use
+ Web Shield Protection without a Toolbar or Extension
+ Scans router and connected devices for vulnerabilities on your Home Network
+ Smart scan scans for viruses and spyware, outdated software, home network security in a single click.

- Comes with paid-only bloatware (Cleanup, SecureLine)
- Not all additional technology is enabled by default
- Settings for finer control isn't always easy to understand
- Using Aggressive settings can cause more False Positives
- Avast SafePrice and Online Security may be a conflict of interest
- Free users are subjected to in-app Upsell promotions by Avast Marketing. Can be disabled by Upgrading.
 

uninfected1

Level 10
Verified
I voted Panda. It's the only AV I've never had any issues with. Easy to use, simple and intuitive UI, good protection (virus free since using it for the past three years), and importantly for me with an older machine, super light. Updates every few minutes in a few seconds with no noticeable system impact.

Just be careful on installation to uncheck the boxes for Panda Safe Web (unless you want it of course).

EDIT: Having looked at the responses below, Avast seems to be a clear favourite. I had a number of issues with it last time I used it but that was a few years ago. These replies make me think I should give it another go.
 
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Arequire

Level 23
Verified
Content Creator
I say Avast. I feel it's the most developed of those listed.
While I do like some of the other vendors listed (Bitdefender, Panda, Qihoo) I feel a lot of them don't make their free AV the focal point and it feels to me as if they only have a free AV to increase their market share and/or to use said free AV as nothing more than marketing tool for their paid products instead of increasing the protection of users who wish to use their products but are unwilling or can't afford to pay. Ad-aware, Avira, Fortinet and Sophos are hugely guilty of this. (Ad-aware and Forticlient only offer signature detection. Sophos Home feels like it's been abandoned and hasn't received a major update since its release in December 2015 and Avira's only just recently added additional protection components to its signatures/heuristics.)
 
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Evjl's Rain

Level 43
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
Malware Hunter
Avast free no doubt. @Spawn said it all

Avast can be ad-free if we use windows firewall or any third-party firewall to block AvastUI.exe
We should only install the first 3 modules, most problems come when we install other modules. Now I don't have any issue with avast

Qihoo can be extremely good against new ransomwares (slow encryptors) but can be bad against fast-encrypting ransomwares and non-ransomware malwares. It has delayed signatures

BD free is a lot weaker than Avast if avast is properly configured

Panda is good if we don't encounter any malware but when we do, the system freezes. Testing panda against malwares is a pain because each time it detects 1 malware, the testing system will freeze for 30 seconds before we can execute next samples

Comodo is great but not for everyone. There are some annoying bugs/features too. It's not an install-and-forget product. However it the only one which can produce 99-100% protection
 

Solarlynx

Level 14
It was a difficult choice as I have several pets among freebies. I checked Comodo as it has HIPS which is powerful instrument in skillful hands. Others my favs are more user friendly and have good non-sig defence, their glorious names are: Avast, Bitdefender, Panda, Qihoo.
 

Winter Soldier

Level 25
Avast hardened mode aggressive is my choice.
The risk of false positives exists, but security is a process that requires the user's intervention if and when needed.

The threats evolve and then the malware is no longer just a matter of signatures.
As threats evolve, and so the security solutions do. The new security features added to the traditional antivirus scanning based on signatures, created the stack of integrated security with multiple components.
Inside the stack, the antivirus scanning is still effective and compared to the sophisticated heuristic analysis, the method is easy to detect the malware, but behavioral analysis is increasingly needed even if it requires the participation of the user that has to know how to process the alert messages.
 

Arequire

Level 23
Verified
Content Creator
Avast hardened mode aggressive is my choice.
The risk of false positives exists, but security is a process that requires the user's intervention if and when needed.
Sadly I believe it only defends against .exe files. Malware using wscript/cscript, powershell, cmd, etc. walks right past hardened mode. Thankfully now that Avast integrated the behavioural shield it should be able to monitor that kind of activity.
 

Winter Soldier

Level 25
Sadly I believe it only defends against .exe files. Malware using wscript/cscript, powershell, cmd, etc. walks right past hardened mode. Thankfully now that Avast integrated the behavioural shield it should be able to monitor that kind of activity.
Yeah agree, just in case of javascripts, usually they are downloader which will download the payload, usually an executable file, and in this step, HM should trigger the detection at the time of its execution.
 

shmu26

Level 82
Verified
Trusted
Content Creator
Avast is out because it blocks my Macrium Reflect automated backup jobs.

Panda is out because it is cloud based and cannot be relied on with a flaky internet connection.

Comodo is out because the AV component, which is the subject of this thread, is below par.

Qihoo is out because you cannot configure it from a standard user account. That means every time it blocks something, you have to switch user accounts. No thanks.

Avira is a pain to use.

So I vote for Bitdefender.
EDIT: I just tried installing Bitdefender free on top of Comodo firewall. Even if you ignore the warning, it doesn't work. Neither can BD free be installed on top of the Norton Family standalone. So I withdraw my vote from Bitdefender.
I vote for Windows Defender. It doesn't do that much, but at least it lets you live.
 
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RejZoR

Level 11
Verified
Avast Free.

+ Protection above Windows Defender
+ Additional technology from AVG (IDP)
+ Easy to use (UI)
+ Hardened Mode for anyone to use
+ Web Shield Protection without a Toolbar or Extension
+ Scans router and connected devices for vulnerabilities on your Home Network
+ Smart scan scans for viruses and spyware, outdated software, home network security in a single click.

- Comes with paid-only bloatware (Cleanup, SecureLine)
It doesn't actually come with it, there is just a placeholder in the UI.
- Not all additional technology is enabled by default
Actually, it is. You can't count things like Hardened Mode under this since it's a specific functionality.
- Settings for finer control isn't always easy to understand
- Using Aggressive settings can cause more False Positives
It's not a detection system, it's whitelisting. It's not a false positiver, it simply isn't whitelisted and thus not allowed to run.
- Avast SafePrice and Online Security may be a conflict of interest
SafePrice is optional and can be enabled/disabled at any time.
- Free users are subjected to in-app Upsell promotions by Avast Marketing. Can be disabled by Upgrading.
 

Faybert

Level 22
Verified
Malware Hunter
I would choose Avast as the first option, the 2017 version is very good, although some things need to be fixed in the interface. Panda would be my second choice, good detection rate, two problems I see in it is the scan time and that has to go on the site to download new versions of the program. Avira would be my third choice, it has good detection rate, but the interface is horrible (outdated) and Avira Connect is unnecessary.