Torrents are a great way to find and acquire free software or media, but with so much choice available it can be hard to work out which app is the best out there. Not to worry, because we’ve compiled a list of the best free torrent clients to get you downloading those ‘Linux installers’ and all that ‘open-source software’ in no time at all.
If you’re new to the whole idea, then you might want to know about the
legality of torrents and also
how to download torrents.
In the torrent client community, you’ll usually come across two types of client: lightweight and simple to use, or insanely feature packed. It’s hard to find one that offers the best of both worlds, but qBittorrent offers a great balance of speed, features and simplicity.
The package includes everything from a built-in torrent search engine to a media player, without putting a strain on your CPU. It’s open-source and thus junk-free, and ticks all the boxes that make it a great all-round torrent client.
Transmission is the go-to torrent client for Mac users, and is funded by donations rather than adware, meaning the interface is relatively clean and users don’t need to worry about annoying adverts or browser toolbars being installed at the same time.
The software requires a tiny amount of processing power, making it ideal for use on older Macs, while still offering more advanced options for power users.
Vuze is one of the most polished torrent clients around. The interface is clean and simple, but there’s plenty of features on offer. Alongside torrent downloads and media playback, Vuze also handles magnet file links (making the torrenting process that much easier), plugin support, remote control via web or mobile, along with torrent bundles put together by the company itself.
There is also the
Vuze Plus tier, which adds anti-virus protection, removes ads, and allows both the burning of DVDs within the app and the ability to play media while downloading. At the time of writing it costs
£7.69 / $9.90 per year, but the free version should be good enough for most people.
uTorrent is a hugely popular client, maintained by BitTorrent itself, and has been in use since 2005. While some users hit out at recent versions of the software for being a little heavy on the ads and promoted software-bundle, it’s still one of the most useful and effective torrent clients available. In fact, it takes up nearly no space on your PC, but manages to be a great all-round client, plus there’s a web version available now that lets you stream content, not to mention an Android client for mobile downloads.
One word of caution, which could be applied to any of the software in this roundup, is that we’d advise reading each step of the installer so you don’t end up installing extra software and browser toolbars.
While BitComet can handle torrent downloads, it goes much beyond that, offering the ability to download via HTTP and FTP too. Similar in design to Windows’ own Windows Explorer, it’s easy to navigate and, unlike some rivals, doesn’t install annoying toolbars in your browser, nor does it barrage you with adverts.
Sure, it’s not the best-looking client available, but if you want a download manager spanning across torrents, HTTP and FTP, BitComet is a decent candidate.
If simplicity is at the top of your list of requirements from a torrent client, then look no further than BitLord. The developers claim it’s one of the simplest torrent apps around, and features no kind of bundled software.
In addition to being fairly simple to operate, users also have the option of the software’s built-in VLC Media Player to watch or listen to almost any kind of media file available – including those you torrent. Apart from that, it’s fairly light on features, so not ideal for hard-core fans, but it is a great place to start for those new to the torrenting world.
Tixati is described on its website as having “NO spyware. NO ads. NO nonsense” and while that’s a great start for a free torrent client, we’re not so sure about the look. Sporting a rather old-school UI may put off some users, but if you can look past that, Tixati is a lightweight torrent client with decent filtering options and, as it says, spyware, ads and ‘nonsense’ free.