14 Best Antivirus with Low Resource Usage [Some are Free]

Check the antiviruses that use up the least CPU when scanning

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Key notes

  • If you’re concerned about your computer resources, you must aim for a small-footprint antivirus.
  • We’ve listed below apps that offer comprehensive protection against spyware, viruses, worms, adware, and rootkits but with low CPU usage.
  • Some of these solutions offer additional performance-oriented options such as non-disturb modes.
  • You can find below both premium and free antiviruses that are proven to have minimal system impact while keeping it secured.
eset-antivirus best antivirus low resource usage

Some antivirus software is known to slow down devices while scanning or undergoing other activities on the system. They eat a lot of resources. This issue has been a great concern for many antivirus software users.

However, there are some very good antivirus programs that require little resources, lead to low CPU usage, and don’t slow down the speed of your PC.

They also offer maximum protection against viruses and malware. In this post, we have compiled a list of antivirus software that falls into this category.

BEST ANTIVIRUS WE RECOMMEND

Which antivirus uses the least CPU?

Modern-day antiviruses have plenty of security features to make sure your machine stays protected at all costs. It is subsequently essential that these features don’t impact your PC’s performance.

A good security utility should be able to offer real-time protection without interfering with your system. For this reason, a tiny antivirus with a small file is recommended if you want to secure even low-end PCs that don’t have many resources, to begin with.

It is important to test out your antivirus and make sure that it is the best choice for you. When it comes to performance and system resource usage, the most important assets to look for are:

  • Low CPU usage
  • Low memory space requirements
  • Features that temporarily block/pause unessential tasks
  • Small footprint even when scanning

The antiviruses presented below do meet these requirements. We took it upon ourselves to make sure they perform well and tested them out.

We installed each antivirus on a midrange PC and checked how many resources they used up for full scans and quick scans.

Turns out that all of them used just a fraction of the system’s resources, making it possible for the PC to perform well when leaving the scan in the background and carrying on with other tasks.

We used the Task Manager to check the CPU usage percentage and gathered the data in the table below so you can see it for yourself:

Antivirus NameFull Scan CPU UsageQuick Scan CPU Usage
ESET HOME Security Essential1.7%0.3%
Bitdefender Total Security0.1%2.8%
TotalAV2.1%0.7%
Kaspersky Total Security1.9%0.1%
Norton Antivirus1.8%1.2%
Avira Antivirus0.1%0.1%
VIPRE Antivirus Plus2.0%1.7%
F-Secure Safe0.9%1.3%
Panda Dome0.9%1.0%
360 TotalSecurity360 Total Security2.6%0.6%
Avast Free Antivirus0.1%0.0%
Smadav9.3%1.1%
Trend Micro Maximum Security12.0%3.2%
Note icon NOTE
This table contains the smallest rates registered. As you probably know, these numbers oscillate as the process progresses. Some antiviruses used up a little more resources for the first 1-2 minutes of the scan, and then they became more stable and dropped to the rates presented above.

We must also mention that ESET HOME Security Essential does not have an inbuilt quick scan option, but we used the Custom scan to create a profile that uses similar parameters as quick scan options in other antiviruses. It scanned the Operating Memory, Boost Sectors, System Registry, and the WMI Database.

Which antivirus is the Lightest on resources?

ESET HOME Security Essential – Comprehensive security features

ESET HOME Security Essential is an antivirus software compatible with the Windows OS and uses very little of your computer’s resources. Plus, the antivirus giant has been in operation for about two decades and offers expert assistance.

It also provides all-around protection against spyware, viruses, worms, adware, and rootkits. For instance, external hard drives or USB flash drives are examples of detachable media that need to be protected. 

You can benefit from its Gamer Mode which will prevent annoying pop-ups and interruptions during your gameplay and consumes low resources while running in the background.

Another valuable functionality is the SysInspector diagnostic tool that captures a snapshot of system changes in order to track system changes and for tech support purposes. 

In case something doesn’t work properly, you also have assistance including video tutorials, email, forums, phone help, and live chat. So, don’t hesitate to call in whenever you see something suspicious going on the Windows 10 and 11 PC.

Some of the main key features of ESET are:

  • Advanced protection against new threats
  • Password manager included
  • Military-grade encryption for sensitive data
  • Webcam protection
  • Ransomware shield
  • Parental control features

ESET HOME Security Essential

With over 110 million users worldwide, this solution uses only a very small amount of resources.
Free Trial Visit Website

Bitdefender Total Security – Best threat protection

The big advantage of Bitdefender is its use of system resources. After the antivirus is fully integrated into your system, you won’t notice much of a change in system performance.

Firstly, this is a leading antivirus software with the highest detection rate of malware and viruses alike. It’s capable to secure your PC from advanced antivirus and keep your system clear.

If system resources are not an issue, running a System Scan in high-priority mode may be a useful option for scanning the PC. By conforming to this requirement, the antivirus will allocate equal system resources rather than competing with other programs directly.

In addition, Bitdefender includes a VPN that protects your privacy and makes it impossible for adware to follow you. It also includes anti-Phishing, anti-spam, and Anti-Fraud technologies to safeguard your online browsing experience.

Thus, we recommend this antivirus to everyone who needs advanced security and exclusive malware protection, and multi-layered ransomware defense.

Here are the best features of Bitdefender:

  • Improved PC vulnerability assessment
  • Real-time system shield
  • Cyber threats prevention
  • Web-filtering technologies
  • Autopilot security advisor
  • OneClick optimizer tool

Bitdefender Total Security

Try out tune-up tools and web-filtering technologies to help your device run faster and virus-free.
Check Price Visit Website

TotalAV – Enhanced PC security and maintenance

TotalAV is one of the best antiviruses with a low system footprint and is an entry that very much deserves its place.

Despite a low-resource footprint being its highlight, this antivirus does its job. It runs silently in the background and only performs system scans when it is absolutely necessary.

Its security features are focused on preventing cyber threats in real time. More exactly, the ransomware, malware, or phishing attempts are blocked right on the spot and entirely removed from your PC.

More so, TotalAV comes as a complete system security with additional features for system optimization. It features a disk cleaner and some tune-up tools to improve the overall performance of your Windows OS.

In conclusion, the service is available for pretty much any OS, as you can get it to get protection for your PC, tablet, smartphone, and more.

Here are some perks of using TotalAV:

  • Potentially unwanted application protection
  • Zero Day Cloud scanning
  • System tune-up tools and disk cleaner
  • Browser manager and cleaner
  • Password Vault
  • VPN for safe browsing

TotalAV

This antivirus tool will run in the background, making sure that your PC is constantly protected without slowing it down.
Check Price Visit Website

Kaspersky Standard – Great data encryption

Kaspersky Standard has great features and does not slow down your laptop or desktop, nor is it memory hungry, with a low CPU and resource usage.

Kaspersky is frequently the first to release a viable virus cleanup solution. If your computer’s operating system or programs are performing slowly, you may improve system speed using this software.

Kaspersky will protect your computer against viruses and trojans that may enter via USB, LAN network, or other sources other than the Internet.

Kaspersky is capable of not just stopping viruses and other malware, but also of preventing attacks through the use of exploit techniques.

Because Kaspersky is known for its advanced options and customized workflow, you may adjust preferences to reduce resource utilization.

For laptops, the security tool includes the option to deactivate scheduled processes when on battery power, and to enable balance protection on startup.

Furthermore, if you choose to postpone scan activities when the CPU and disk systems are under heavy demand, you may avoid any shutdowns or battery waste while still getting the greatest performance.

Kaspersky Standard

With few resources, it provides complete protection against information security risks, network and phishing attacks, and spam.
Check Price Visit Website

VIPRE Antivirus Plus – Great ransomware protection

The VIPRE Antivirus Plus tool uses very few resources and offers maximum protection against ransomware and other emerging threats, viruses, Trojans, and more.

It’s easy to use, and quickly selects or schedules scans, it checks for current definition updates and customizes how patches are applied.

This great antivirus blocks malicious activity stops any snooping or data theft attempts, and warns you immediately.

Here are the key features of VIPRE Antivirus Plus:

  • Real-time Protection
  • Anti-tracking
  • Ransomware Protection
  • Unlimited VPN for All Devices
  • Automatic Updates

VIPRE Antivirus Plus

VIPRE Antivirus Plus helps you to provide total protection for your PC against malware threats with few resources.
Free Trial Visit Website

Guard.io – Best web browsing security

Guard.io isn’t your mainstream antivirus. It comes as a lightweight browser extension with the same capabilities as a normal antivirus.

Browsing is one of the easiest ways to expose your computer to threats, as everything we do today is online. Using an antivirus is the best way to protect against any online threats.

Being an extension, it focuses on everything you do on the web. It helps in cleaning your browser, speeds it up, and protects any information that might be easily accessed.

You won’t encounter any annoying notifications no more, the harmful sites will be blocked and any attack on your data will be prevented.

Guard.io’s methods include using deep learning models to protect your browsing session in advance, so it can prevent attacks even before reaching you without compromising privacy, bandwidth or security.

Using Guard.io offer the benefits of:

  • Machine Learning, Big Data, and Cloud Infrastructure for state-of-the-art protection
  • Minimal impact on your system’s resources with full antivirus effectiveness
  • Total ecosystem coverage for full browser protection
  • Smart detection of suspicious sites from visual elements using client-sided deep learning models

Guard.io

A fast, light, private and secure alternative to a classic antivirus.
Free Trial Visit Website

Norton Antivirus – Best safety net for online vulnerabilities

Norton’s Performance Monitoring tool closely monitors your computer and informs you when there is an unusually high amount of CPU or resource usage.

This warning also indicates which component or program is consuming a lot of memory. Some programs may take a large amount of memory when doing particular activities, such as trying to connect to the Internet or displaying a website with a lot of rich media content.

The Crypto function responsible for eating resources is off by default in the product to avoid increasing high CPU and drive utilization while Norton is running scans.

You must intentionally activate the function, and you will only see the choice and be able to activate it if your system supports it.

Norton is very good at preventing spyware. The smart mode of the program stops viruses from modifying files.

If you’re seeking a solution to a specific problem, suspect that your computer is being illegally watched, or have keyloggers installed, this functionality is quite useful.

It is not unusual for Norton to use resources while background programs are running.
As for the full scans, if you have them configured to run only when the system is idle if you never leave the system inactive long enough, Norton will ultimately take over and execute the scan anyhow.

Norton Antivirus

When a virus, worm, or other potentially harmful software is found, it promptly isolates it and notifies you.
Check Price Visit Website

Avira Free Antivirus – Great free antivirus option

Avira is a free antivirus solution for Windows computers. It protects you from major threats with little use of system resources.

Besides being a reliable and comprehensive cybersecurity app, it protects your privacy thanks to its free VPN. Additionally, it has a tool to help you clean your PC.

Furthermore, you can use the Password Manager tool to easily secure your online accounts with strong, unique passwords you don’t need to remember.

Some important features:

  • Free VPN included
  • Speed booster to improve your PC performance
  • Identity protection
  • Anti-Scam protection tool

Avira

Use a comprehensive cybersecurity solution to protect your computer that uses few of its resources.
Free Download Visit Website

F-Secure SAFE – Great browser protection

F-Secure SAFE is the best for browser protection and also has one of the best antivirus software for Windows. This security software utilizes only a small part of your computer’s resources.

In addition, it can protect your devices from ransomware, Trojans, and viruses and keeps all your banking connection secured.

Other features are:

  • Instant notification immediately viruses are detected
  • Device finder to locate, lock or erase the missing device
  • It effectively manages users and devices

F-Secure

F-Secure brings you 30 years of protection experience and works even with the smallest amount of resources.
Free Trial Visit Website

Panda Dome – Great low-resource antivirus

The Panda Dome antivirus software is compatible with Windows OS and is, again, a low-resource antivirus.

Panda utilizes cloud processing to protect  PC thereby removing the need for heavy software updates and demanding scans.

The AV-Test records offered Panda a 98% score for zero-day attacks and 100% for established threats.

Other extensive features are:

  • A process monitor allows you to see active processes and if they are using a secure connection
  • It also contains a handy vaccination tool that checks attached USB drives for malicious software
  • If PCs get locked by a malicious program, Panda can immediately create an emergency rescue USB drive that enables you to scan the affected machine

Panda Dome

Panda Dome offers excellent protection even on scarce resource PCs or old systems.
Free Trial Visit Website

Avast Free Antivirus – Good free choice for low resource usage

Avast Free Antivirus is another antivirus with low resource utilization. This antivirus software is very good for your PC and other devices. In addition, it is free antivirus software.

This antivirus removes all sorts of viruses and other malware. In order to achieve maximum security, Avast Free Antivirus will also analyze unknown files in order to prevent malware infection.

Avast Free Antivirus automatically detects weaknesses in your Wi-Fi and unwanted connections on your network.

Thanks to the Behavior Shield, Avast Free Antivirus will keep an eye on your apps and report any suspicious behavior.

Key features include:

  • Do Not Disturb Mode for gaming
  • Behavior Shield keeps an eye on your software to make sure they don’t suddenly change
  • Lightweight antivirus
  • Protects your home network against intruders

As further notice, AVG Antivirus and technologies have been acquired by Avast Software. By combining forces for a better-reinforced value offering, they both will emerge as global leaders in this booming sector.

The award-winning AVG Business portfolio, supplied through a worldwide partner network, protects small and medium enterprises all over the world with cloud security and remote monitoring and management solutions.

With this increased size, Avast will be able to develop more technically advanced personal security and privacy products.

Avast Free Antivirus

Whether you use your PC for gaming or for work, Avast provides the most comprehensive security with the lowest resource usage.
Free Download Visit Website

360 Total Security – Good overall security

360 Total Security is an ideal antivirus for low-resource devices and well as for older systems running on Windows OS, Vista, 7, 8, and 8.1, 10.

It makes use of several engines to provide the best protection against Trojans, viruses, and rootkits.

Key features include:

  • Comes with four predefined settings: performance, security, balanced, and custom.
  • The interface is simple and easy to use.
  • It offers protection for three main sections: Internet browsing, privacy, and system vulnerabilities.
  • It scans multiple potentially vulnerable areas such as the main applications, system settings, the running processes, the startup items, and the system’s critical files.

Get 360 Total Security

Smadav – Good in-depth scans

This Indonesian antivirus security software is good for slow computers and is compatible with Windows OS.  It is a low-resource antivirus.

Smadav uses only a small part of your computer’s resources. This software offers additional Protection for your PC and is compatible with other antivirus products.

The main features include:

  • Detecting and cleaning viruses, thereby improving security on your PC
  • Protection for USB Flashdisk
  • Cleaning the USB Flashdisk, and restoring the infected files in the USB Flashdisk

Get Smadav

Trend Micro Maximum Security – Dependable malware protection

Trend Micro Maximum Security provides dependable malware protection against both known and undiscovered threats.

It expressly guards against various types of ransomware, which is a major worry right now. At regular intervals, Trojans and viruses are prevented. It has spam filtering and detects dangerous URLs in browsers, so you may navigate securely and protected. 

Overall, it is a solid anti-virus solution with a few small flaws. Having said that, the resource utilization might be a little high at times, but it can be changed in the settings.

If your PC specs are on the lowest setting, this might create some issues. Furthermore, it did not do well in independent lab testing, which might be a concern in the future.

Nonetheless, Trend Micro Support provides dependable solutions to assist people with technical issues.

Get Trend Micro Maximum Security

How do antiviruses use your PC’s resources?

As you may have noticed, most of these tools use up more resources when running full scans. Given that they go through all data on your system, this makes sense.

However, some of them were more demanding on your CPU in the quick scan mode. If you wonder why that is, the reason is performance.

When conducting a quick scan, some of the antiviruses only change the amount of data scanned, which is enough to speed up the process when compared to a full scan.

Other antiviruses do however focus more on speeding up the scan and employ additional processes to make it as little time-consuming as possible which can result in higher CPU usage.

This means that the least resource-intensive antivirus as shown in Task Manager may take a longer time to finish up scanning, while a more demanding one is faster.

They all have an overall small footprint, so it’s more of a matter of preference. We comprised a quick run-down of the features and options you can get in each of these antiviruses to help you make an informed decision.

If you want to discover more software to protect your devices, check our guide including the best lifetime license antivirus tools.

Which one do you prefer? Tell us in the comments section below.

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