In a world where cybercrimes like email breaches and malware attacks happen almost every minute, having a secure smartphone is non-negotiable. Luckily, many antivirus companies offer free solutions for basic malware protection for your Android devices. But beware, not all are as genuine as they seem. Some claim to be "free" but push trials of their premium plans, while others might sneakily harvest your data.
Thankfully, a handful of antivirus companies truly deliver on their promise of free, reliable protection for your device. Here are the top five free antivirus options for your Android phones or tablets that you can count on:
Kaspersky Free offers a trifecta of defense with its Antivirus, Anti-Malware, and Anti-Ransomware systems. The antivirus runs at all times to identify and stop any malicious code attempting to infiltrate your Android system. Kaspersky's proactive detection ensures all the prevailing and emerging threats are tackled way before they could harm your device.
Similarly, think of its Anti-Malware feature as your personal detective – combing through your applications and files to weed out malware, sneaky spyware, and trojans. The third prong of this defense is Anti-Ransomware protection. The feature keeps an eye on the device and its activities to detect and prevent extortion attempts by stopping ransomware in its tracks.
With attackers eyeing to snag your private information at all times, having spyware detection sounds like a blessing. Kaspersky's stalkerware detection feature keeps track of all the seemingly intrusive apps prying into your personal data. The software studies and scans your digital footprints to inform any suspicious activity from an application or website.
All the above protections combined make for a safer device. But are you concerned that the software might make your devices crawl? Fret not, as Kaspersky secures without slowing down your Android devices. The antivirus integrates smoothly and provides automatic updates to ensure zero disruption in the protection. Compatibility-wise, Kaspersky Free Antivirus should work smoothly if you're running Android version 8.0 or above on your smartphone or tablet.
Kaspersky at a Glance
- Stalkerware detection included
- Auto-updates for uninterrupted service
- It doesn't slow down the device
- No VPN
- Frequent pop-up notifications
Bitdefender is the second on our list, and the software doesn't mess around when it comes to keeping your device safe. It uses cutting-edge malware detection engines to shield your device from harm like trojans and ransomware. And Bitdefender is not just about security – it's about smart design too.
The software's cloud scanning is one of our favorite features of this antivirus. Bitdefender uses in-the-cloud services to check online for outbreak protection instead of downloading and storing virus signatures on your Android device. In short, this process uses less storage and processing resources – improving your smartphone's performance and making a low-battery impact.
Their on-install scanning makes your device safe from the get-go. After installing any app, the software automatically scans whether the app is safe or not. In the same way, sometimes a little extra reassurance goes a long way. With on-demand scanning, you're in control of your device's safety; fire up the scan anytime you wish and let the software go through your apps for extra safety.
Using antivirus software doesn't get easier than Bitdefender. The software offers all the essential antivirus protection necessary for Android version 5.0 or above right out of the box.
Bitdefender at a Glance
- Minimal impact on battery life
- Cloud scanning
- On-install scanning
- Limited features compared to other brands
- No real-time protection in the free version
Bringing top-tier Android security at your fingertips, Malwarebytes comes with a decent set of features for the free version. Their on-demand scans are one of their key features, as they often take minimal time. On-demand ensures that you check and scan your device at your convenience. The software's UI is ideal and features simple navigation for first-time users.
Malwarebytes has multiple layers of malware-crushing technology that shield your devices from cyber security threats like ransomware, viruses, spyware, adware, and trojans. When using the Chrome browser, Malwarebytes detects phishing URLs, alerting you to ensure safe online surfing.
Ever worry about apps lurking on your Android device? Some of them might be stealing your private information. Malwarebytes' privacy audit features examine all the apps and inform which ones are tracking your location or monitoring calls. With Malwarebytes on your devices with Android version 9.0 or above, staying virus-free is as easy as it gets.
Malwarebytes at a Glance
- Easy navigation
- Provides basic cyber protection
- On-demand privacy audits
- No VPN for the free version
- It can make your device sluggish
4. Avast One
Avast One Free is the newest antivirus solution package with a significant upgrade as compared to Avast Free Antivirus (also available). Beyond defending against ransomware, malware, and phishing attacks, the newer antivirus introduces a suite of privacy and performance enhancements.
Backed by reliable security systems, Avast One defends and keeps your device safe from ransomware, unsafe websites, trojans, phishing websites, and other malware spread across the online space. Going further than other brands - the software has a free VPN (5 GB/ week), giving you a safety cloak to carry out your online activities in peace.
To make your digital journey more secure and seamless, the software offers protection against personal data breaches and leaks while tracking down compromised passwords. With constant use, your phone often slows down, and that's when using Avast One comes in handy. The software offers device optimization tools to speed up your Android device.
Avast One is now available to Android users (version 6.0 or higher) across the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, France, and Germany. This antivirus not only wards off digital threats but also ensures a seamless digital journey and a secure device.
Avast One at a Glance
- VPN service available
- Good malware detection
- Optimizes the performance of your device
- It might heat up the device
- Limited global availability
We were saving the best for the last. Avira free Android antivirus packs a punch with its features like security, privacy, and performance management - all wrapped in one free software.
Avira Antivirus Security for Android not only scans threats, blocks malicious sites, and eliminates viruses and spyware but also goes that extra mile by checking your device's external storage. The real-time protection and auto-analysis keep your device one step ahead of all ransomware, phishing, and malware mishaps.
This free software keeps tabs on potential account breaches or email leaks to protect your digital identity. Their protection isn't just limited to your device's safety; the Safe Shopping browser is great for shopping online to dodge malicious links or pesky ads. You also get a VPN service to make Avira a better choice than the rest of the free antivirus applications available on the market. However, the VPN offers only 500 MB of monthly data with the free version for secure surfing.
Oftentimes, over-surfing or over-downloading can slow or overheat your phone, but with their system optimizer, users can say goodbye to the lag while quickly boosting the performance. The optimizer also comes with a basic junk cleaner, battery saver, and RAM cleaner - acting as your digital Marie Kondo. Lastly, a handy feature of Network Scanning can help you stay safe while accessing any public Wi-Fi network.
So, there you have it – Avira, a rare and feature-packed gem for Android version 6.0 or later.
Avira at a Glance
- Great feature set
- Good scores from AV-Test and AV-Comparatives
- Free VPN
- No customer support for free VPN
- Only 500 MB of monthly data for VPN
These five antivirus apps offer excellent malware protection; some even throw in bonus features like device optimization and limited VPN. If you wish to protect your device against malware without spending a dime, opt for any of these antivirus options from our list that appeal to you most.