7 Free Antivirus Compared – Avira, Comodo, BitDefender, Avast, AVG, Panda and Microsoft

Updated: October 11, 2016 / Home » Computer and Internet Security » Download Antivirus Protection » Best Free Antivirus [ Windows 10 ]

Using Microsoft Windows 7 or Windows 8 without installing any antivirus is like not using any protection with an escort. Having said that, if you are still using Windows XP, you are literally asking for trouble. Windows XP is a 10+ years old operating system developed by Microsoft 13 years ago, Microsoft no longer provide crucial security patches and updates for XP. it is time to upgrade! For those into small business, you may like the 6 Free Corporate Antivirus Firewall Solutions For Small Business Commercial Use, they are free but comes with no support or slower antivirus updates.

See Also ➤ 25 Free Antivirus for Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OSX and Linux Ubuntu

computer laptop infected virus trojan

Microsoft windows xp antivirus protection

In this article, we’ll be looking at the top 7 free antivirus by leading antivirus software maker. Remember that free is not always free, there are hidden cost. There is a saying: “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.”

In this case, the free antivirus software are free because it is used by the company to gather intelligence, discover potential new outbreak, modify your browser’s search engine, nag you with nagware to upgrade and etc. Nothing is free, this includes Microsoft Security Essential, it is free provided that you own a genuine windows operating system.

trojan word cloud

Summary of Free Antivirus Features [ Comparison ]

 OSReal-Time ProtectionBrowser SafetyFirewallAdsBlocking Test*
Avira Free Antivirus
Comodo Antivirus 7 Free
BitDefender Antivirus Free
Microsoft Security Essentials
avast! Free Antivirus
AVG AntiVirus Free 2014
Panda Cloud Antivirus Free

*Malware Blocking Test – Test based on 1000 known viruses and the ability of the antivirus software in detecting them.

What is Cloud Based Real Time Protection?

Almost all antivirus are cloud based, files are scanned and the signatures are send over the internet for better identification. This new technology enables the antivirus software to detect 99.99% of malware before it cause problems to your system.

What is Cloud Based Real Time Protection antivirus

Summary of Independent Antivirus Lab Test [ Comparison ]

 DetectionCleaningProtectionFalse PositivePerformanceOverall
Avira Free Antivirus
Comodo Antivirus 7 Free
BitDefender Antivirus Free
Microsoft Security Essentials
avast! Free Antivirus
AVG AntiVirus Free 2014
Panda Cloud Antivirus Free

Paid vs Free Antivirus

  • Paid antivirus doesn’t come with nagging commercial or secretly install toolbars on your browser.
  • Paid antivirus comes with faster updates, which means better protection.
  • Paid antivirus comes with better support.
  • Free antivirus comes with limited features and lack of support.

Antivirus Market Share

It is not a big surprised that Microsoft is the number 1 antivirus software, since it is free and comes bundled with every Windows operating system, Microsoft Security Essential is the all time favorite.

Being number 1 means being the target by hackers and virus author. Therefore it is always good to go with the 2nd or 3rd best free Antivirus, in this case, it is Avast or AVG. Reason being that antivirus are now crowd based intelligence, the more antivirus installed means the better the intelligence gathering is. Based on the chart, I’ll avoid Panda, Comodo and Bitdefender.

antivirus market share

Which Is The Best Free Antivirus?

I am not a big fan of free antivirus, but that doesn’t mean I do not use free antivirus. My primary workstation is protected by Symantec Norton Antivirus. As for other less important work station, I use AVG. Here are my top pick:

  1. AVG AntiVirus Free 2014 [ Download ]
  2. avast! Free Antivirus [ Download ]
  3. Avira Free Antivirus [ Download ]

17 comments on “7 Free Antivirus Compared – Avira, Comodo, BitDefender, Avast, AVG, Panda and Microsoft

  1. Gravatar
    57Revy [ Reply ]

    Your conclusion does not follow the reasoning of your own article. Did someone else write your conclusion? Why is ‘best’ related to market shares? Should I buy a car or TV based on who sells the 2nd or 3rd most? The summary chart clearly shows BitDefender with a rating of 5 stars in every category.

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      Earning 5 stars does not automatically makes it the best product. The best product is the one that you feel most comfortable installing. Just because a person won Miss Universe, this does not mean she is the prettiest women in the world.

      Likewise, you may find some internet provider better than the best internet provider in your area. It could be the location of the base towers, the number of users congesting the internet provider or their backbone. At the end of the day, you define best based on your comfort level, not the amount of stars.

      • Gravatar

        I totally agree with InkFloyd! What is the value of your comparison if hard skills like protection, performance, etc. will not lead straight to a objective ranking??? And a recommendation: include the date of the comments (at least it wasn’t shown to me here).
        Gerry, 2015/06/12

  2. Gravatar
    Inkfloyd [ Reply ]

    Really? If the 5 star ratings are arbitrary and ‘comfort level’ out ranks the testing, we’ve all wasted a bunch of time. Miss Universe still has to RANK above 1000’s to be eligible for a top comparison and then eventually win THAT comparison. I thought the comparison was to be based on measurable stats like uh: performance, protections, etc. I feel that ‘comfort levels’ should be reserved for background screen options and avatars, not data security…

  3. Gravatar
    Jeremy [ Reply ]

    Still using XP with AVG (free version). No problems, no viruses, no trojans. Please stop this unfounded scaremongering regarding XP. I still use it because I have hundreds of games that I can still play on it, some even pre-dating XP itself. As a life-long gamer, there hasn’t been a single Windows 7 or 8 exlusive game that has caught my eye. And even then, a single game wouldn’t be justification enough for ditching XP.

  4. Gravatar
    Gustav [ Reply ]

    As the other people said, if you judge the quality of a product by the marketshare it has (which more or less means the fame it has as a brand) then you„ve done your calculations wrong. Its like wanting to buy the best specced-phone out there, but going for the iPhone 6 despite the fact that OnePLus1 has the best components, just because Apple is more known as a brand.
    PS: the miss universe example actually makes your side of things even shadier

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      1. I don’t think iPhone has the biggest market share in the smartphone sector. http://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2015/05/07/apples-iphone-continues-to-lose-market-share-month-to-month/ I believe Samsung has the biggest market share.
      2. By using your logic, Google must be a lousy search engine.
      3. Android must be the worst mobile OS.
      4. Facebook must be the worst social media.

      We live in a digital age, the more data you collects, the better you are. This is why Google can and have the ability to know which is the best article for XXX keyword, why? because they’ve collected so much data, how? by being the most used and biggest search engine in the world. Same goes with Facebook.

  5. Gravatar
    Alice Wonders [ Reply ]

    This article doesn’t make any sense, you should advice the AV that protects in the most effective way against viruses! And that has nothing to do with the one that gets used the most, Microsoft essentials is rubbish… AVG and Avast are quite heavy on the system, so I don’t know why you think they are top… Market shares apparently, never heard of that criteria.
    Anyway, for Windows 7 I would go with Avira and for 8 with bitdefender.

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      There are many other factors to consider apart from effectiveness. Cost? Business connection (AV sold via enterprise are usually made via business connection deals, not via the quality of the product)? Compatibility? There is a reason why Toyota or VW have the most market share, when Mercedes is a better car.

      What I am saying is, go with the crowd and you can never be wrong.

  6. Gravatar
    LeeToh [ Reply ]

    imbecile! wasted my time here!

  7. Gravatar
    xxnot telling [ Reply ]

    THis is FAKE TEST, avira does not have firewall, but only overlook over windows firewall.

    Also comodo has firewall build in, and it test it says it has none, BECAUE you did not use Comodo internet security which is free.


    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      Only Comodo Internet Security comes with Firewall, the free version doesn’t. Comodo Internet Security is free for 30 or 60 days only. Avira does come with Firewall, do check the official website. Thanks.

      • Gravatar

        Comodo Internet Security is free. Comodo Internet Security Pro/Complete are paid versions.

      • Gravatar

        As of 2014, yes it does come with Firewall in the Free Comodo Internet Security. UPDATE your information.

        Aug 21, 2016

  8. Gravatar
    Awesome1pc2 [ Reply ]

    Comodo now has Comodo Internet Security Free, which would definitely beat Avira, especially since Comodo uses only 20 MB of RAM on average and does just as good of a job.

    • Gravatar

      Actually Comodo is very resource hungry. On low end laptops Comodo is not advised. For them any other free antiviruses are preferable. For example, on one laptop we switched to Avira, and on second one – to Avast. After that laptops stopped hanging and lagging.

  9. Gravatar

    Beware of Bitdefender. They took my money via auto-renewal, when I cancelled they refused to give a refund even though they sent me an email cancelling my license key days before the renewal was to start. AE refused to reverse the charge even though I gave them the Bitdefender email cancelling my license key. The software didn’t work, but I paid for it. I would never do business with them again. Bitdefender is in an east European country and apparently doesn’t have to follow US business customs.On top of that I found their software kludgy and difficult to use compared to others, which is why I tried to cancel after the first year.

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