Transparency and Trust – We pride ourselves on being the only site where users can freely contribute and share their reviews on any antivirus with other community members. When you visit an antivirus site we link to, we sometimes get affiliate commissions that support our work. Read more about how we operate.

5 Best (REALLY FREE) Android Antivirus Apps for 2020

5 Best (REALLY FREE) Android Antivirus Apps for 2020
Robert Bateman
Posted: February 5, 2020

Lots of antivirus companies provide a free antivirus app for Android — or at least, a free version of a premium app — and I’ve tested all of the top 50 antivirus apps on the Google Play Store.

What I found during my testing was that most were either fake, ineffective, filled with ads, or not actually free. I only found a few that I thought were good.

Short on time? Here’s a summary of the best free antivirus Android apps in 2020:

Most cybersecurity companies only want to make money. They don’t care if you’re actually protected, so they’ll limit their best features like real-time protection and malware removal — the features you actually need — until you pay for their premium antivirus app.

And if you have a lot of sensitive info on your Android device, you really should invest in a premium antivirus with mobile protection. But if you only need basic protection, there’s no reason why you should be paying lots of money for something that should be free.

But you need to be careful! Some of the free apps on the Google Play Store are secretly malware in disguise, waiting for you to give permissions to all the important areas on your Android device just to steal your data. Every day there’s a new one of these that pops up on Google Play with fake ratings and fake descriptions. Don’t believe them. Only trust one of these free antivirus apps that has been personally tested and will guarantee your safety.

How I Rated the Best Free Antivirus Apps for Android:

Here’s what I look for in a free antivirus app for Android:

  • 100% Free. Antivirus companies try to trick us with a free trial. We get comfortable using their service and then we forget that we need to cancel before the trial is over and we end up paying anyway. If you know you’re going to buy a mobile antivirus from a reputable company like Norton, a free trial is a great way to test out the service before you buy it. Otherwise, it’s just a marketing tactic to get you to download the app. All of my top 5 free antiviruses are actually free. No free trials.
  • Highly Secure. I only recommend Android apps from reputable cybersecurity brands, and I individually test each one of them in line with our extensive testing procedures to guarantee that they provide high quality security.
  • Efficient. I stress-test each of these apps and only recommend the ones that are simple, bug-free, and won’t slow down your device.
  • Features. Even if some advanced features require a subscription, I’ve personally checked that all of the important features of these top 5 apps are available for free users.

Top Brands That Didn’t Make the Cut:

There are many free antivirus apps for Android available that didn’t make it into my top 5. Here are a few well-known brands you may have been expecting to see on this list:

  • Norton Mobile Security. Norton’s Android app is one of the best on the market — for paying users. Norton promotes several free features, but the app only works as a 30-day free trial. But if you know you’re not looking to compromise on your Android’s security, getting Norton for free for 30 days is still a pretty great deal.
  • Kaspersky Antivirus. Kaspersky provides a decent antivirus solution for Android, but too many crucial features — such as real-time protection and anti-phishing — are only for premium users. That said, Kaspersky’s premium Android app is really good.
  • Avast Antivirus. Avast and AVG merged in 2016, and their Android apps are practically identical. AVG’s app made it to our number 5 spot, despite having a lot of ads. Although Avast’s app is very similar, I noticed a couple of bugs during testing, and it still comes with the same amount of annoying ads.

1. Bitdefender Antivirus Free — Best for Ease-of-Use

Bitdefender Antivirus Free — Best for Ease-of-Use

Many Android antivirus apps provide a lot of fancy features. But Bitdefender Antivirus Free only does one thing — it completely protects Android phones from malware — including viruses, spyware, and ransomware.

Using Bitdefender Antivirus Free couldn’t be simpler — just launch the app and tap the Scan button. I’ve had this app on my Android for months now, and I’ve only had to hit that button once because Bitdefender’s Autopilot feature automatically scans all of my new apps and downloads in real-time.

If you don’t need theft prevention, online account security, or safe browsing tools, then Bitdefender’s free app really is the best free Android antivirus out there.

And if those other things are important, you can always get Bitdefender’s premium Mobile Security for Android app. You can also claim a free 30-day trial of Bitdefender’s Total Security plan (read our review here) and use the premium app for free during the trial.

What I Like:

  • No ads.
  • Extremely simple to use.
  • Virtually no impact on performance or battery life.

What I Don’t Like:

  • Lacks extra features.
  • Prompts you to upgrade to a paid plan.

Bottom Line:

Bitdefender Antivirus Free is an ad-free, no-nonsense free Android antivirus app. It’s the perfect choice if you want an antivirus app that sits quietly on your device without consuming battery life or resources while guaranteeing protection.

Download Bitdefender For Free


2. Avira Antivirus — Best for Privacy Protection

Avira Antivirus — Best for Privacy Protection

Avira Antivirus provides on-demand and real-time malware protection for Android devices.

One thing I really love about Avira’s Antivirus is the focus on privacy protection. Avira’s privacy-related features include:

  • Permissions Manager. Keep track of how apps access your data.
  • Identity Protection. Check if your email address has been stolen in a data breach.
  • App Lock. Add additional security to your most private apps.

Other free features from Avira Antivirus include tools to protect against loss and theft, the ability to block unwanted calls and texts, and a VPN with up to 100 MB of data per day.

Paying users can access premium features such as safe web browsing and camera protection.

What I Like:

  • Excellent privacy features.
  • Ultra-fast scanning.
  • Free VPN (up to 100 MB/day).

What I Don’t Like:

  • Displays ads (unless you upgrade).
  • Safe web browsing costs extra.

Bottom Line:

Avira’s trusted antivirus technology will keep your device free from viruses, spyware, and ransomware. It’s a great choice if you need your info to remain private and are concerned about identity theft.

Download Avira For Free


3. ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus — Best for Safe Browsing

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus — Best for Safe Browsing

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus provides a generous range of free features which lets us:

  • Scan devices for viruses and other malware.
  • Locate devices via GPS.
  • Safely browse the web.

But my favorite feature from ESET is phishing protection.

Every day, fake phishing websites trick thousands of people into giving up their passwords, personal information, and credit card details. And since I use my phone to buy most things, I love that ESET’s anti-phishing feature integrates into the mobile browser to prevent me from visiting these phishing websites.

Premium users can access network security, security auditing, and advanced anti-theft features.

What I Like:

  • Phishing protection that integrates into your mobile browser.
  • Effective malware scanning.
  • No ads.

What I Don’t Like:

  • Many features, such as app lock, are blocked for free users.
  • Download is for premium version, limited version comes after 30-day trial.

Bottom Line:

ESET Mobile Security & Antivirus offers effective, ad-free virus scanning and phishing protection. It’s a great choice if you use your mobile device to browse privacy-sensitive websites.

Download ESET For Free


4. McAfee Mobile Security — Best for Theft Prevention

McAfee Mobile Security — Best for Theft Prevention

I love that McAfee Mobile Security offers so many great free features including real-time malware protection and device optimization to keep my phone running like new.

McAfee also offers some great free features to help prevent loss and theft, such as:

  • Thief Cam which takes a photo from your front camera if someone’s trying to break into your phone.
  • Remote wiping of your phone’s data if it’s lost or stolen.
  • Locating your phone via GPS.

Premium features include a virtual private network (VPN) connection and an ad blocker. I think that these things are definitely worth the upgrade, though you can always find standalone VPN and ad blocker apps which will do just fine.

What I Like:

  • Excellent theft prevention features.
  • Strong real-time protection against malware.
  • Effective performance optimization tools.

What I Don’t Like:

  • Displays ads (unless you upgrade).
  • Can drain battery.

Bottom Line:

McAfee Mobile Security brings McAfee’s powerful antivirus engine to Android, combining it with some helpful features to prevent loss and theft, which is a particularly important feature if you own a high-end Android device or store sensitive information on it.

Download McAfee For Free


5. AVG AntiVirus Free — Best for Extra Features

AVG AntiVirus Free — Best for Extra Features

AVG AntiVirus Free is one of the more feature-rich free antivirus apps for Android I’ve been able to find.

It lets you:

  • Scan your device for viruses and other malware.
  • Scan Wi-Fi networks for security vulnerabilities.
  • Test Wi-Fi speed.
  • Clean up storage.
  • Clear RAM to boost performance.

But be warnedAVG has a lot of ads, and they can take up nearly half the screen. This seriously affects this app’s useability. Premium users can remove the ads, and they get access to AVG’s VPN and some additional anti-theft tools. And recently, AVG has gotten some bad press about selling free users’ data. So if you’re concerned about privacy, this probably isn’t the best app for you.

I don’t actually mind AVG’s free antivirus app that much, but McAfee has just as many free features, fewer ads, and they won’t sell your data. 

What I Like:

  • Many features.
  • Device optimization tools.
  • Wi-Fi security check.

What I Don’t Like:

  • A lot of annoying ads.
  • Repeated reminders to upgrade.
  • Sells users’ data.

Bottom Line:

AVG AntiVirus Free provides decent protection against malware, and it has a great range of device security and optimization tools. It’s not my first choice, but it’s OK if you don’t mind staring at a ton of ads.

Download AVG For Free


🔒 Are antivirus apps safe?

Android antivirus apps are not always safe, especially free ones.

Scanning for malware requires deep-level access to the most sensitive parts of your device. Malicious antivirus apps can easily compromise your privacy and security and steal your info.

I’ve thoroughly tested the 5 apps on our list. Each one comes from a brand with a strong reputation for creating excellent cybersecurity software. For example, my top free antivirus provider, Bitdefender, has over half a billion total users worldwide.

🛡️ Why does android need an antivirus?

Your Android device is a valuable possession that contains highly sensitive data. And when compared to other platform providers like iOS, Android is not a secure operating system.

In addition to visiting malicious websites, various Android apps can easily access all areas of your device. Even many of the apps available on the Google Play Store have been known to contain malware.

📋 Which android devices will these apps work with?

All of the Android antivirus apps on our list will work with any Android smartphone or tablet running Android KitKat 4.4 (released in 2014) or above.

There are also antivirus apps available for other Android devices, such as Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus, which integrates with Android smartwatches, and ESET Smart TV Security.

📱 What kind of features can you get with an android antivirus app?

In addition to detecting and removing malware, a free Android antivirus application can:

  • Keep your personal information private (we recommend Avira Antivirus for privacy protection).
  • Protect you from malicious websites (ESET Mobile Security provides a free anti-phishing tool).
  • Prevent loss or theft of your device (McAfee Mobile Security has some particularly effective anti-theft tools).
  • Ensure you’re connected to a secure Wi-Fi network (McAfee can also do this).

Most antivirus apps also offer additional paid premium features, and for every free app out there, there are dozens more premium apps. If you know that your phone contains sensitive info that you don’t want getting out, don’t risk it with a free antivirus app. Get a premium app that has the protection you need to stay safe. For example, Norton Mobile Security provides powerful protection against ransomware, and Bitdefender Mobile Security & Antivirus provides VPN access and smartwatch integration.

SafetyDetectives’s Top Premium Android Antiviruses for 2020:

$29.99 - $49.99 / year
$34.99 - $44.99 / year
$19.00 - $59.00 / year
$29.99 - $44.99 / year
$37.50 - $62.51 / year
Transparency and Trust – We pride ourselves on being the only site where users can freely contribute and share their reviews on any antivirus with other community members. When you visit an antivirus site we link to, we sometimes get affiliate commissions that support our work. Read more about how we operate.