PCs and laptops remain trusty stalwarts of the technology world but they will inevitably slow down and get clogged up over time, especially if they are in daily use and have been in service for a few years. It happens to all of us but you can fix it with minimal fuss, time or expertise.
Even if you’re not running low on storage space, there are lots of ways these clever bits of software can seek out why your machine is running slowly from registry items to start-up programs.
Windows has some built-in tools to help you clear unused files and programs, but for the best results, you’ll want to use dedicated PC cleaner software. There are many apps available, but those we’ve tested here are all relatively inexpensive while offering a comprehensive service.
We used a laptop that’s been used for over three years with an almost full C: drive (80GB in capacity). All the applications have been tested with identical conditions, controlled by creating a system image before any testing was conducted and restoring this for each new piece of software.
This means each one had the same set of files, registry entries and settings to deal with. We simply installed each one and let it do its job to see how well it could do. You can also check out the best antivirus software.
Best PC Cleaner Software 2022
1. CCleaner Professional – Best Overall
Plenty of tools
A stalwart of the PC cleaner world, CCleaner Professional is still the best option for an all-rounder starting with a cheaper price than the other rivals here. There’s no option for 10 machines, but Plus works on three which may be enough for most people anyway.
Despite this, it managed to clean more total space from our test laptop than any other so performance is top-notch. We’d just like a little more control over what is deleted.
The interface is perhaps a little dated and can take time to learn but it’s serviceable and there are plenty of tools on offer here to get various tasks done as well as automatic cleaning and scheduling.
Read our full CCleaner Professional review
2. IObit Advanced SystemCare – Best User Interface
Advanced SystemCare 14 Pro has the modern user interface that CCleaner Professional is lacking so it’s great for new or experienced users.
Performance is solid, freeing up a decent amount of storage and also RAM, too. Like CCleaner, though, some more user control over which junk files are deleted.
Furthermore, there’s a comprehensive set of tools available for various other tasks you might want to carry out. All of this comes at a reasonable price making it a great option for a PC cleaner app.
Read our full IObit Advanced SystemCare 14 Proreview
3. Ashampoo WinOptimizer – Best for Multiple Machines
Easy to use
Packed with tools
In contrast to CCleaner and IObit, WinOptimizer 19 is better for users that want PC cleaning software on a larger number of machines. There’s just a 10 PC option rather than three or one.
It is good value if this fits your needs though, especially if you don’t want an annual subscription like rivals.
The software has a user-friendly interface and if you’re a novice the 1-Click Optimizer will solve a lot of problems with minimal fuss and it has lots of other tools for the more tech-savvy customer.
We found performance to be good, although it took a couple of scans to find everything that could be cleared up.
Read our full Ashampoo WinOptimizer 19review
4. AVG TuneUp – Best for Multi-Platform
Easy to use
Decent tool selection
Like its antivirus software, AVG TuneUp has a simple interface that’s easy to get your head around in a short amount of time.
It does the main job of making your machine faster and cleaner and also has other features such as automatic maintenance. Performance is second to CCleaner when it comes to freeing up hard drive space.
It’s a good option if you want to use it on other platforms than Windows, like iOS and Android. The main downside is the high cost but you can find better prices if you don’t buy directly from AVG.
Read our full AVG TuneUpreview
5. Norton Utilities Ulitmate – Best Toolset
If you want the most amount of tools and features then Utilities Ultimate, as the name suggests, is packed to the brim making it a great choice for the kind of user who wants a technical deep dive.
The user interface is slick and one of the features is real-time optimization of your CPU and memory which is unusual. And there are loads of other tools to get stuck into.
However, it under performed with cleaning up junk files and registry issues, too. Considering the high asking price and lack of a single PC option, you might want to look elsewhere.
Read our full Norton Utilities Ultimate review
6. MacPaw CleanMyPC – Most Flexible Plans
No registry scanning
CleanMyPC is quick and easy to use with a simple interface which is a good start and we like the option to pay annually or a one-time fee giving you flexibility.
Prices are reasonable and the software takes up minimal space making it handy if your drive really is full up.
Performance isn’t up to the level of some rivals, though, with a middling amount of space freed up as it couldn’t access some files to delete and it also couldn’t do any registry cleaning. Other available tools are good but you can typically do the same things just as easily with Windows.
Note: CleanMyPC is no longer being developed. You can still buy and use it, but you will only receive critical bug fixes and support won’t go beyond Windows 11.
Read our full MacPaw CleanMyPCreview
Decluttered your PC but it’s still running slowly? Check out how to speed up Windows for more suggestions.