7 best antivirus software for low end PCs [2020 Guide]

Ivan Jenic
by Ivan Jenic
Troubleshooting Expert
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  • Some antivirus programs require too many resources for more modest PCs to handle.
  • These lightweight antivirus solutions offer the same protections as more resource-intensive options.
  • If you're having trouble with your PC slowing down, why not have a look at how to optimize it?
  • To ensure you have the maximum protection on your PC, visit our Best Antivirus Section to see which you should use.
best antivirus for low spec pc

If you want the best protection possible but your PC isn’t quite up to scratch, then these antivirus solutions for low spec PCs will keep you safe whilst not hogging all its resources.

Antivirus has become very important since the early 2000s with the expansion of the internet with lots of hackers releasing viruses, malware, and recently ransomware which can put computer users at risk of losing information and files or being held to ransom before accessing their system.

It has become increasingly important to have quality antivirus software to protect against such threats.

If your computer is a low budget PC then the best type of antivirus are those that would be light in size and not use too much of your computer’s resources as this would slow down the PC.

Since a low budget PCs comes with usually lower-end processors, it is vital that the antivirus to be installed should use as fewer resources as possible while providing adequate security against malicious threats.

Today we review the best antivirus software for low spec PCs. Any of the following solutions will work on a low-end system because of their minimum resource requirements:

    • BullGuard Antivirus
    • Emsisoft Anti-Malware
    • Avira Antivirus
    • Panda Cloud Antivirus
    • Microsoft Security Essentials
    • Malwarebytes
    • Avast Antivirus
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Antivirus for low specs PC to use in 2020

bullguard antivirus

BullGuard Antivirus is one of the lightest solutions you can deploy on your PC to keep it both protected from viruses and running fast. The software has been designed to have a low impact on systems, making it ideal if you’re using it on a low-end PC.

Whilst most antivirus solutions will do a decent job when it comes to catching viruses and malware, what makes BullGuard stand apart are the additional features it offers to its users.

When using a lower spec computer, you might be tempted to use optimizing software or cleaners that will scrub your PC of unwanted files. Whilst those might have some benefit, you are loading your system with more programs and therefore slowing it down.

BullGuard offers excellent value to its customers by combining all these features in the same package. This means fewer programs and lesser strain on your PC.

To see what else BullGuard can do for you, we invite you to check out our complete review where we discuss the system requirements, the most notable features, and our experience using the software. Here’s a quick peek at what we’ve concluded:

Pros:

  • Multi-layered protection against malware
  • system optimization
  • Encrypted cloud backup

Cons:

  • The interface is a bit dated

As mentioned before, BullGuard focuses on delivering top-notch performance and protection, but sacrifices on shiny and hard to navigate user interfaces. This way, the developers are passing the savings to you and you still have an antivirus solution that is easy to use.

Moreover, as a sign of how confident BullGuard is of the product, you can try it for 30 days for free with complete functionality.

BullGuard

BullGuard

BullGuard Antivirus will keep your system completely protected against viruses while using minimum resources. Try it now for a whopping 60% off!

$23.99/year Buy it now

Emsisoft Anti-Malware lightest antivirus for low spec PC

Emsisoft Anti-malware is an extremely powerful security software designed to run smoothly on low specs PCs and laptops. It is highly compatible with Windows 10 running on both x32 and x64 platforms.

This tool is offering real-time protection and blocking malware before it can be executed, using the high-performance dual-engine scanner or the behavior analysis.

In addition, the surf protection feature was recently improved and warns you about many phishing sites when you try to access them.

Emsisoft Anti-Malware stands out in the top security software with a redesigned interface, significant improvements and recent awards from AV-comparatives and Virus Bulletin.

Emsisoft AV Malware Protection Test

This is a reliable tool that protects the most important parts of your system against malware, ransomware, adware, you name it – and it is the lightest antivirus to use on your low spec PC.

High performance antivirus
emsisoft logo website
  • Dual-engine Scanner
  • 4 protection layers to block online threats
  • Real time protection

avira

Avira Antivirus is one of the popular antivirus software offering free antivirus and is used by millions. This antivirus gives top-notch protection to user’s computers.

The installation of the antivirus is slow and contains lots of advertisements which reminds users that they are using free software.

After installation things get interesting with the user interface opening a homepage consisting of a main window with a slatted menu and panels where users can view the system status. While gaining access to major features.

When clicking on PC protection users can start a scan of the system. Users can also toggle on the real-time protection features and configure the default settings.

However, Avira is slow in running a full scan with each full scan taking about two and a half hours which is far longer than other competitive rivals.

Unlike other antivirus solutions that skip already validated files for subsequent scanning, Avira still validates these same files for every scan meaning that subsequent scans still take more than 24hours.

Pros:

  • The antivirus gives good independent results when used.
  • Very good in blocking malware

Cons:

  • Quite slow on scanning
  • Limited browser protection

Avira antivirus is an ideal antivirus for low specs PC because it gives quality protection against users’ computers. Though using the free version might be a hassle, choosing the Pro version will make a huge difference.

Next-Gen AI Technology
Avira Antivirus website logo
  • 300 thousand threats blocked per day
  • Endpoint Scanning of malware
  • 100 million sensors for detecting threats

Panda Cloud Antivirus

Panda Cloud Antivirus is a free security software that uses cloud processing to clean the PC. In addition, it has a nice user interface making it ideal for novice computer users as well.

Furthermore, Panda Cloud has a handy vaccination tool that automatically checks for USB drives for malicious software.  Also, emergency rescue USB drive which users can use to reboot to scan the affected system. This antivirus is compatible with Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, and XP.

Pros:

  • Excellent malware detection
  • Users can create an emergency USB rescue disk

Cons:

  • Impacts a bit on the resources of the user’s system

Panda cloud antivirus is a useful antivirus software for low spec PCs with its cloud-based protection which does not impact too much on users PC while still offering other stellar protection features

Recommended antivirus
panda dome
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Personal firewall
  • Device management
  • USB Protection

Microsoft Security Essentials

Microsoft Security Essentials may not be one of the top-rated antiviruses but it is still among the best when it comes to its functions and compatibility with low spec PC.

This malware protection software which was launched by Microsoft in 2009 has gotten a reputation as a decent antivirus software.

Microsoft Security Essentials is free to download for Windows, which is a plus and comes with well-programmed protection tools geared towards antivirus and anti-malware protection.

It is also compatible with multiple Windows versions from Windows XP to Windows 10 and comes in both 32bit and 64 bit which is a crucial aspect for low-end PCs.

Furthermore, one of its unique advantages is that it can be installed and run on more than 8 systems simultaneously because it is small to download and utilizes low resources.

Users can also determine how much of the CPU resources would be allocated to the software for a scan with the default at 50%.

Pros:

  • Easy to install and use
  • Compatible to numerous version of windows O.S
  • Gives protection with access to a large database of virus definitions

Cons:

  • Does not have a gaming mode feature

Microsoft Windows essential is the ideal antivirus for a low specs PC with its small size and easy installation appealing to users.

The routine scan also uses little of the computer resources which gives it an edge for users of low Specification PC.

Download Microsoft Security Essentials

antivirus for low spec pcMalwarebytes is a unique software, best used in conjunction with another antivirus as it helps to detect unwanted bugs that accompany software download, especially if you like to download free software.

Also, it gives layers of protection which specializes in the detection of malware and malicious files.

Web protection blocks traffic to known dangerous addresses, whether by the browser or by a malicious application.

Ransomware protection watches for the behaviors that occur when an unknown program is getting ready to encrypt your files.

Pros:

  • Gives fast scans and good protection.
  • Detects threat normal antivirus may miss

Cons:

  • May interfere with other security software
  • It has no real-time protection.

Malwarebytes is an ideal software to have in conjunction with a regular antivirus as it helps to boost the antivirus software by detecting security threats.

It also takes little resources from user’s PCs which makes it one of the lowest impact antivirus solutions for low spec PCs.

Best choice
alwarebytes logo official website
  • Performance without slowing down your PC
  • Removes infections with a quick scan 
  • Customize your security

avast antivirus

Avast Antivirus is a worldwide giant in the antivirus industry with hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

Avast incorporates features such as excellent detection of malware and malicious software with real-time protection which makes the antivirus consistently rank among the best in the world.

Avast antivirus features browser protection using specific plugins with just little delays when installing this plugin.

This software competes comparatively well in browser protection especially against malware threats and highlights dangerous links in search engine results while blocking trackers.

In addition, the gaming feature prevents displays of updates or pop-ups from appearing to disrupt users gaming experience.

Pros:

  • A myriad of features available
  • Excellent URL filtering options

Cons:

  • Conflicting lab results

However, Avast sometimes causes lagging of PC when running scans but it is an excellent virus threat detector.

Avast provides almost everything needed from an antivirus and is an ideal antivirus for low specs PC from its myriad of features to URL filtering and gaming mode.

Essential antivirus protection
avast logo official
  • Secure password manager
  • VPN
  • WebCam Shield
  • Browser Cleanup

Do share with us your experiences in using any of the antivirus programs we mentioned above.


FAQ: Antivirus for low-end PCs

  • Which antivirus slows down computer the least?

If you’re using a low-end PC, then you should try one of the products featured on our list of the most efficient antivirus software which won’t slow down your PC.

  • Which antivirus has the lowest CPU and memory usage?

We recommend BullGuard as one of the lightest antivirus solutions you can use, but there are other alternatives available.

  • Which Free Antivirus is best for Windows 10?

There are several free antivirus solutions available for Windows users. Our round-up of the best ones will help you decide.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2018 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.