9 best antivirus with low resource/CPU usage/small footprint

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Concerned about PC resources or CPU usage, but at the same time, you're looking for an antivirus?
  • No worries, there are quite a few options for you and we're listing them in this article.
  • If you're looking for similar guidelines, visit our Optimization Guides & Tools section.
  • We've extensively covered all there is to know about online security in the larger Antivirus Hub so make sure to take a look at it as well.

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 with 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.

Which antivirus has low CPU usage and needs few resources?

VIPRE Antivirus Plus

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 schedule scans, it checks for current definition updates, 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

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

TotalAV

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

However, despite a low-resource footprint being its highlight, this antivirus doesn’t do its job. It runs silently in the background, and only performs system scans when it is absolutely necessary.

More so, 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:

  • Anti-Malware
  • Anti-Ransomeware
  • Anti-Spyware
  • Anti-Malware
  • Remote Firewall
TotalAV

TotalAV

This antivirus tool will run in the background, making sure that your PC is constantly protected without slowing it down.
$19/year Get it now

BullGuard

bullguard antivirus CPU resources

At first use, Bullguard might seem a little too over-protective, having the tendency to throw false positives that can get in the way of legitimate activities.

But overall, this antivirus software continually scans code for signature and all kinds of anomalies that are associated with malware and provides you intelligent triple layer protection.

Any detected malware is quarantined and then neutralized before the infection can even begin.

Further features include:

  • Recognition of trusted applications and sites.
  • Home network scanning.
  • Improved firewall with added layers of heavy-duty protection against intruders and malware, to block unauthorized attempts to connect a device to the Internet.
  • Continuous vulnerability scanning to notify you whenever a device needs updating.
  • Easy installation; 24/7 free expert support.
BullGuard Antivirus

BullGuard Antivirus

With BullGuard, you keep your web traffic protected and your device working at optimal speed.
$23.99/year Visit website

Read our BullGuard Product Review

F-Secure SAFE

F-Secure antivirus for low CPU usage

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 missing device.
  • It effectively manages users and devices.

30 years of experience
f-secure official logo website
  • Winner of AV‑TEST Best Protection award 2018 
  • Ransomware protection
  • Healthy boundaries for kids’ device use

Avast Internet Security

Avast antivirus low resources

Avast Internet Security 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.

It offers great protection against online threats and is very good for slow computers.

Other comprehensive features are:

  • It is very light on the system.
  • Modern and neat GUI.
  • It has a customizable installer: features can be selected for installation.
  • It includes SafeZone, Avast’s Chromium-based safe browser that’s specifically designed to be hard to hijack.
  • Avast also has a password manager, which allows you to synchronize credentials on multiple devices, as long as they’re all connected to your Avast account.
Avast Internet Security
truly free antivirus
  • Do Not Disturb Mode (NEW)
  • SandBox protection
  • CyberCapture
  • Smart Scan

Panda Dome

panda antivirus low resourcesThe Panda Dome antivirus software is compatible with Windows OS an 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 which enables you to scan the affected machine.
Recommended antivirus
panda dome
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Personal firewall
  • Device management
  • USB Protection

ESET NOD32

eset nod32

ESET is a PC protection company that has been in operation for about two decades now.

The ESET NOD32 is an antivirus software compatible with the Windows OS and uses very little of your computer’s resources.

Its the main features are:

  • It offers comprehensive protection against spyware, viruses, worms, adware, and rootkits.
  • Protection for removable media such as external hard drives and USB flash drives.
  • Gaming mode blocks unwanted pop-ups and intrusions during gaming activities.
  • A snapshot of system changes is captured by the SysInspector to track system changes and for tech support use.
  • Tech support consists of video tutorials, email, forums, as well as phone support and live chat.

2020 Edition Software
eset website logo
  • Protects you across multiple platforms
  • Uninterrupted gaming and videos
  • Masterful in the stealthiest threats

360 Total Security

360 Total Security is an ideal antivirus with 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’s settings, the running processes, the startup items, and the system’s critical files.
Ultimate in Virus detection
360 Total Security website logo
  •  Frees your disk space 
  • WiFi Security Check
  • Latest patches and security updates available

Smadav

This Indonesian antivirus security software is good for slow computers and compatible with the 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 compatible with other antivirus products.

The main features include:

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

Get Smadav


All the antivirus software listed here are reliable and are easy to find, install, and manage. They use very few resources and offer maximum protection against viruses and malware.

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

FAQ: Read more about efficient antivirus tool

  • Which antivirus slows down the computer the least?

Antivirus developers have made a lot of progress in the past years to address clients that use the less performant system, so you’ve got quite a good list to choose from.

  • What is the best free antivirus?

Depending on what features you’re interested in, the list of today’s top antivirus programs varies slightly from one year to another.

  • Does antivirus improve performance?

The antivirus is used to prevent, detect, and eliminate malware so that programs and apps run smoothly. Some antivirus programs come with specific features that improve your device’s performance as well.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2018 and was completely revamped and updated in October 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

  • Avast used to offer low CPU usage, but the latest version consumes more and more CPU over time. After a few days, it uses over 50% of the CPU on an older 3GHz Core 2 Duo. After trying many things, I was finally forced to uninstall it.

  • props for you for mentioning smadav, its really a very good antivirus considering it’s only 2mb !!
    i’ve recently switched from 360 total security, it really sucks and takes so much cpu usage and hard disk space (1gb or more)