Best Torrent Client? Our 5 Favorite Free Torrenting Software Apps
Compare these free torrent clients to get the best possible file-sharing experience you can.
These torrent clients will help you get the most out of the BitTorrent protocol. This amazingly fast and efficient to download and share files with hundreds of thousands of other Internet users is awesome. Simply visit a torrent index site, find torrents for the files you want and download them using one of the best torrent clients discussed below. All completely free!
First: A Quick Word of Warning
Do be aware that the BitTorrent protocol also makes it easy for snoops to monitor your torrenting activities. The clue, after all, is in the names peer-to-peer and file-sharing.
Files shared via torrents are not centrally hosted, but are shared among all downloaders. This is great, as it means there is no single server or online source that can be taken down, but it also makes tracking downloaders easy, as every person downloading a file can see the IP address of every other person downloading that same file.
It is therefore vital to use the protections offered by a VPN (virtual private network) when downloading via BitTorrent, as this:
- Hides your IP address from other downloaders (they will see the IP only of your VPN provider)
- Prevents your ISP from seeing what you are up to (as all your Internet traffic and data is encrypted)
- Allows you to access blocked torrent sites (this depends on where you live, but in many countries torrent sites are blocked. With a VPN you can “geo-spoof” your location to somewhere else where this is not the case (and ideally has a more lenient attitude to torrent downloading)
So have you got yourself one of the best VPN services for your torrenting? Good! Now let’s look at the best torrent clients out there for actually downloading and sharing torrents …
Top Torrent Clients
(Windows, Mac OSX, Linux)
A problem with more established torrent clients such as uTorrent and Vuze (both discussed below), is that over the years they have become ever more “fully-featured” (i.e. stuffed with bloatware) and more determined to monetize their product. If you prefer a nimbler, fully open source alternative that swaps a big list of features (that you will likely never use anyway) for a more stripped-down and streamlined experience, then qBitTorrent is an excellent choice.
Not that it’s a complete slouch in the features department, as qBitTorrent does everything most downloaders will ever want, including selective file download within a torrent, torrent prioritisation, built-in torrent search using multiple engines, an integrated video player, torrent creation, RSS subscriptions and more.
But no ads, and no nagging to pay for a premium version of the client!
Read our full, in-depth qBitTorrent Review.
(Windows, Mac OSX and Linus)
If for some reason qBitTorrent doesn’t appeal to you, then Deluge is a great alternative. It too is fully open source with a very small footprint, while managing to pack in everything that most downloaders are likely to need (and actually use!). This includes things like support for magnet links and remote web management, as well as a range of third party plugins to greatly expand its capabilities, including RSS management, selective seed timing, Mac OSX Growl notifications, and more.
μTorrent remains the world’s most popular torrent client (outside of China), mainly thanks to it having a large set of features that include remote torrent management, automatic file conversion for different devices, RSS subscriptions, and much more, while still maintaining a fairly small footprint.
μTorrent may not be as fully-featured as Vuze (see below), but μTorrent is more lightweight. Although μTorrent funds itself mostly though ads, these can be turned off if you dig deeply enough into the Advanced settings. μTorrent has also attracted some controversy in the past with behind-the-scenes Bitcoin mining (a practice it has since stopped).
Top Tip - Note that μTorrent was bought by BitTorrent Inc. in 2006 and that the μTorrent and BitTorrent clients are now almost identical except for branding.
There is also a free μTorrent app for Android which is probably the best torrent client for Android. If you don’t want to see ads, the premium Android version called μTorrent Pro is a measly $2.99.
Vuze Torrent Software
(Windows, Android, Mac OSX and Linux)
Vuze (under the name Azureus) was once the world’s most popular torrent client). On the downside, Vuze is resource heavy, continually nagging you to upgrade to its “Vuze Plus” premium version, and tries to install crapware upon installation (as usual these extra installations are optional and easily avoided, but you have to pay attention).
On the other hand, there is no denying that Vuze’s wealth of features can be a joy to the serious downloader. The most important of these is the ability to bind Vuze to your VPN connection, ensuring that Vuze will not download or share torrents unless your VPN is active and protecting you (which could be a life-saver if your VPN connection drops during a download especially if you are away from your computer or device!).
Vuze also includes just about every feature you could imagine a torrent client having, including remote torrent management, file conversion for different devices, playback to TVs using DLNA, content discovery via automated subscriptions, I2P support, etc.
There is also a very funky Vuze torrent client app for Android that, unlike its desktop sibling, is lightweight and ad free, plus a Vuze Remote app for remote torrent management from your Android device. It’s pretty much a toss-up between uTorrent Pro and Vuze as to which is the best torrent client for Android.
Transmission Torrent Software
(Mac OSX, Linux, Windows (unofficial) and more)
Transmission has been around for ages on OSX Mac and Linux systems, and is now also available for Windows (unofficially). Fully open source, Transmission is a lightweight torrent client notable for its great looks.
Mac users will appreciate Growl notification integration, and advanced features such as directory watching, variable per-torrent speed limits and tracker editing. Even more features are available as optional add-ons including an XMBC plugin and RSS feed monitoring.
Best Torrent Client Wrap-Up
When it comes to great torrent clients you really are spoilt for choice, with the main decision coming down to whether you want something open source, lean, and mean, or something more bulky but packed with features.
All-in-all, we recommend qBitTorrent software as a tried, true and tested open source torrent downloader.
Despite issues, it’s also hard to go wrong with the uTorrent family of file-sharing apps for their sheer popularity and the Vuze torrent client for its ability to bind itself to your VPN provider’s connection.
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Last updated: February 7, 2020