Avast’s free antivirus software is impressively powerful, with an extensive collection of tools and features that make it one of the best options for beginners. Despite some significant controversies about the suite’s session and data-logging (and subsequent sales of consumers’ browsing habits via a subsidiary) the suite is ahead of the rest of its competition in regards to malware detection. The initial scan that is part of the process of installing is a fantastic feature. It prepares the suite to run its native tools.

All Avast plans come with a generous 30-day refund guarantee. Upgrading to one of the premium suites unlocks a host of additional features, including an advanced firewall, anti-phishing protection and an automatic VPN. It also gives you the Rescue Disk, a secure browser for online shopping and banking, a sophisticated security against tracking and a collection of solid tools to optimize your system.

One of the most useful tools is Avast’s Smart scan, which is an efficient and more thorough alternative to check your computer for any issues. While it’s a great tool however, my tests showed some issues when trying to scan for specific types of threats like ransomware, which can hold certain files indefinitely and demand payment to release them.

Avast also provides a website cleanup tool that is able to clean browsing histories, caches and cookies from all major browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Opera Brave, Edge and Internet Explorer. This is a basic, effective feature, but it’s not as many options for customization or privacy settings as the other competitors.