When you first bought your PC or laptop, it probably ran smoothly and without too many problems. However, over time it can easily get bogged down with various apps, files and the remains of installations, all of which can seriously impair performance.  

The need to do something about all this excess clutter might be obvious if you're getting low storage warning, but it can have a big effect even if you have plenty of spare capacity. 

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. Also check out the best antivirus software.

Best PC Cleaner 2022


CCleaner Professional - Best Overall

CCleaner Professional
  • Pros
    • Affordable
    • Solid performance
    • Plenty of tools
  • Cons
    • Medium control of file removal
    • Not the best user interface

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


IObit Advanced SystemCare - Best Interface

IObit Advanced SystemCare 14 Pro
  • Pros
    • Clean & stylish interface
    • Solid performance
    • Wide range of tools
  • Cons
    • Limited selection of files to delete

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 Pro review


Ashampoo WinOptimizer - Best for Multiple Machines

Ashampoo WinOptimizer 19
  • Pros
    • Modern interface
    • Easy to use
    • Packed with tools
  • Cons
    • No single license option
    • Single scan didn't find everything

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 19 review


AVG TuneUp - Best for Multi-Platform

AVG TuneUp
  • Pros
    • Easy to use
    • Great performance
    • Decent tool selection
  • Cons
    • Expensive if purchased direct

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 TuneUp review


Norton Utilities Ulitmate - Best Toolset

Norton Utilities Ultimate
  • Pros
    • Comprehensive toolset
    • Easy to use
    • Real-time hardware optimisation
  • Cons
    • Poor space freeing performance
    • Expensive

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 optimisation 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


MacPaw CleanMyPC - Most Flexible Plans

MacPaw CleanMyPC
  • Pros
    • Simple interface
    • Speedy scan
  • Cons
    • Limited cleaning
    • 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 CleanMyPC review

Decluttered your PC but it's still running slowly? Check out how to speed up Windows for more suggestions.