15 Best Free PDF Readers in 2022


Although they are older than 25 years, PDFs are still one of the main document types on the Internet. Whether you’re trying to access a W-2, a contract, or an e-book, it’s likely to be in PDF format. But to view these important documents, you need to download a PDF reader to your computer.

There are hundreds of PDF readers out there, and some can cost you close to a thousand dollars a year, so we’ve scoured the internet to find the best free PDF readers you can download online.

Below, we’ve created a list of the 15 best free PDF readers whose capabilities range from just viewing PDFs to creating, editing, and protecting them.

15 Best Free PDF Readers

5 Best Free PDF Readers for Windows and Mac

1. Foxit Reader

Best Free PDF Readers: Foxit PDF ReaderImage source

Foxit Reader is like a Google Docs PDF reader. You can create, share and protect all your PDFs in the cloud. To create PDFs, you can upload scanned documents, convert Word documents, PowerPoint presentations and Excel sheets, and even merge multiple PDFs into a new file.

If you want to collaborate on a PDF document with someone, you can grant and revoke access to the document, track who opens your document and see their activity, edit, comment, and also notify readers of new updates to your PDF.

What we like

Foxit Reader also offers a number of security options to keep your PDFs safe and private, such as passwords, digital signatures, and encryption. If you regularly create PDFs for your work and need a way to collaborate on the same file, Foxit would be a good choice.

2. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC

Best free pdf readers: Adobe pdf editorImage source

Adobe’s free PDF reader, Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, connects to Adobe Document Cloud and other cloud storage systems like Box, Dropbox, and Microsoft OneDrive, letting you open, view, share, and comment on PDFs from anywhere and on any device. .

What we like

The coolest feature of Acrobat Reader DC is that you can read the text aloud, which guides you through any document that is difficult to read. Adobe’s free PDF reader is great for any busy professional who needs to annotate PDF documents on the go or on the go.

3. Javelin PDF Reader

Best free pdf readers: Javelin pdf reader

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Javelin PDF Reader is a simple PDF reader that allows you to run and print standard and encrypted PDFs, add notes and bookmarks. With a download size of two MB and no extra features like editing, the PDF reader is fast with a simple and clean user interface. If you want to quickly read and annotate PDF documents, Javelin is probably the PDF reader for you.

What we like

Although simple compared to the mighty Adobe, Javelin is probably the PDF reader for you if you want to quickly read and annotate PDFs.

4. Google Drive

Best free pdf readers: Google DriveImage source

Google Drive is the most affordable PDF converter and PDF storage system. You can convert all your documents, presentations and sheets to PDF files on the platform and upload all PDFs to it for your own viewing purposes. If you only use PDFs to view or convert files to them, Google Drive is the best option for you.

What we like

Google Drive enables groups to share documents and collaborate seamlessly thanks to its user-friendly interface and intuitive design.

5. Your web browser

All web browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari have integrated PDF readers. To view the PDF in your browser, you just need to click on the PDF link. You can also open PDF files already saved on your computer by dragging them to an open browser tab.

Additional functions included in PDF readers in most browsers: rotate, download, print and adjust text size.

What we like

The most affordable option on this list, web browser readers make it easy to open, read, and customize PDFs. If you don’t need to convert files to PDF and just want to view the PDF, you don’t need to download a PDF reader. You can only use a web browser.

5 Best Free PDF Readers for Windows

1. Nitro Reader

Best free pdf readers: Nitro pdfImage source

Nitro Reader is known for its good balance between usability and advanced features. The platform has an intuitive and smooth interface, and you also have access to many tools for creating, viewing, protecting and sharing PDF files. To create new PDFs, you need to drag and drop your documents into the reader. You can then design your draft PDF with custom colors, font embedding, and orientation.

When you want to review a document, the PDF reader’s review pane helps you edit, comment, and handle feedback. If you are an advanced PDF user, Nitro Reader may be your best option.

What we like

It uses Nitro Reader to protect PDF files QuickSign to password protect and sign your documents. Document sharing is also easy and secure – you can share documents with anyone, as the PDFs you create in Nitro Reader are compatible with almost all other PDF readers.

2. PDF-XChange editor

Best free pdf readers: PDF XChangeImage source

PDF-XChange Editor is one of the more robust free PDF readers. You can create, review, annotate, record and attach audio, highlight text, attach files, cross out words, and add signatures. If you need to create, edit and share PDFs a lot at work, PDF-XChange Editor may be the PDF reader for you.

What we like

The coolest feature of the PDF reader is its optical character recognition tool — it can scan printed documents and turn the text into a searchable document.

3. MuPDF

Best free pdf readers: MuPDFImage source

MuPDF is a standard PDF reader for viewing and editing PDF files. You can fill in text forms, mark up documents, and use it to convert PDF files to other file types, such as HTML, SVG, and CBZ. You can also write Javascript scripts to modify your documents.

What we like

If you want a low-memory PDF reader where you can easily edit and view files, MuPDF is your best option.

4. SumatraPDF

Best Free PDF Readers: Sumatra PDFImage source

Although SumatraPDF lacks some advanced features such as annotations, document signing and form filling, Sumatra PDF provides an intuitive and fast reading experience – it has multiple viewing modes such as single page, book and presentation, and shortcuts to help you navigate through any PDF files. If you just need to read PDF for work, consider using SumatraPDF.

What we like

Sumatra PDF’s various viewing modes make it easy for users to quickly access and read the information they are looking for.

5. Thin PDF

Best free pdf readers: slim-pdf-reader

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Slim PDF is one of the smallest PDF readers in the world, taking up only 15 MB of space on your computer. Despite its small size, this free PDF reader has many advanced features that complement the basic functions, such as those that allow you to print, search, zoom and rotate PDF files.

It is available for Windows, Mac and Linux.

What we like

Slim PDF is small but mighty. If you are looking for a solution that provides the perfect balance between lightness and performance, Slim PDF is an excellent choice.

5 Best Free PDF Readers for Mac

1. PDF Reader Premium

Best free pdf readers: PDF Reader PremiumImage source

With over 50 million downloads, PDF Reader Premium is one of the most popular PDF readers for Apple devices. It has powerful functionality that allows you to view a PDF in multiple tabs, annotate a document with images and sticky notes, organize files with tags, sign and fill out PDF forms, and save and transfer PDFs through various cloud services. . Anyone who frequently uses PDF for work should consider downloading PDF Reader Premium.

What we like

In addition to editing and signing capabilities, PDF Reader Premium allows you to easily export documents to various formats such as JPG and DOCX.

2. Preview

Best free pdf readers: MacOS Preview

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Although Preview is the preinstalled PDF reader on every Mac, it’s more powerful than you might think. You can preview and annotate your documents, merge documents, fill out and sign forms, edit images, share files, and even export a password-protected PDF if your document contains sensitive information. Preview is the best choice for someone who wants to use one PDF reader for both personal and professional purposes.

What we like

Preview is the best choice for someone who wants to use one PDF reader for both personal and professional purposes.

3. recorded

Best Free PDF Readers: Skim Reader PDFImage source

Skim is a PDF reader that was originally designed to help academics read and annotate scientific papers in PDF format, but now they have improved their functionality so that anyone can view any type of PDF file in the reader. On Skim, you can highlight text, take notes, take snapshots, export notes as text, and integrate with third-party applications such as BibDesk, a bibliography manager.

What we like

Designed with academics in mind, Skim has set itself above the competition with its annotation and markup features.

4. Soda PDF

Best Free PDF Readers: Soda PDF ReaderImage source

Soda PDF is one of the best PDF readers for reading visual documents such as digital catalogs, magazines and comics – you can even view the files in 3D. The app also allows you to create and edit PDF files from scratch. Soda PDF also sells an online PDF platform, so it increases its demand by offering free PDF tools on its website, such as convert to PDF, convert from PDF, merge, split and compress, sign and secure, and insert elements like are watermarks and page numbering. You can use these online tools as a proxy for a downloadable PDF reader if you want to save space on your computer.

What we like

The web app and desktop version give users the flexibility to read PDFs on any device.

5. Wondershare

Best free pdf readers: WondershareImage source

Although Wondershare is not completely free, it does offer a free trial. However, it might be a good option for someone who needs a pdf editor for one-off projects.

With Wondershare PDFelement, you can not only edit documents and convert them to PDFs, but also enable digital signatures, watermarks and simplify the creation of forms.

What we like

The free version of Wondershare offers a robust selection of features and functions that users would normally have to pay for.

Edit PDFs with ease

PDF editing software is a must for businesses and professionals. Having the right PDF editor can help your team collaborate and manage files.

This article was originally published in August 2018 and has been updated for completeness.

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