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Best PDF compressor in 2020: Free and paid, for Windows, Mac, Android and online

Best PDF Compressor
(Image credit: Pexels)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

Invented by Adobe, PDF stands for portable document format. It was designed to appear exactly the same on all devices, making it the ideal file format for sharing and collaborating. What is more, PDFs are secure and easy to edit, and are supported on most hardware and software platforms.

However, if you add images and graphics to a PDF, the file size can rapidly increase. This can make it difficult to share PDFs via email or upload them to cloud storage platforms. To avoid this problem, you will have to compress the file and reduce its size. 

Fortunately, this is a straightforward task with PDF compressor software. These platforms will take your original file and compress it to only a fraction of its original size. Compressed PDFs can then be sent to colleagues or clients or uploaded to cloud storage servers for safekeeping. 

This buying guide explores the best PDF compressors and helps you make the right choice for your business.

  • Want your company or services to be considered for this buyer’s guide? Please email your request to desire.athow@futurenet.com with the URL of the buying guide in the subject line.

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Smallpdf is one of the best PDF compressors. (Image credit: SmallPDF)

1. Smallpdf

One of the most popular PDF compressors

Subscription includes full suite of PDF tools
Offline PDF compression
Several options for PDF compression
Expensive
UI can feel disjointed

Smallpdf is one of the most popular PDF compressors available in 2020, and justifiably so. More than merely a compressing tool, Smallpdf provides a suite of PDF tools that will surpass most businesses’ needs. 

Although a 14-day free trial is offered, users will need to pay for a pro subscription if they want to continue using it. Users can either pay $12 per month, or $108 for a year (saving $36). 

With a pro subscription, you will have access not only to online PDF compression, conversion, and merging, but also features such as e-signing, page rotation, and encryption. Premium customers can also download and use Smallpdf’s offline PDF compression software. Offline software makes it even more straightforward to compress PDFs. 

We also like that Smallpdf provides numerous resources for businesses, explaining how the technology works and how you can make the most of it. For businesses, there could be few better choices for PDF compression than Smallpdf.

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Adobe Acrobat is the premium solution when it comes to PDF compression. (Image credit: Adobe)

2. Adobe Acrobat

The premium PDF compressor

Full suite of PDF tools included
Best-in-class compression software
Expensive

Perhaps it is not surprising that the inventors of the PDF would have one of the best PDF compressor tools. Although it is expensive, Adobe Acrobat is still the best software platform for designing, editing, and managing PDF documents, including PDF conversion. It is only due to the high cost that we haven’t given Adobe the number one spot on our list. 

Businesses can purchase Adobe Acrobat Standard for $18.69 per month (Windows devices only), or Adobe Acrobat Pro for $21.99 per month (Windows and macOS). These prices make it the most expensive PDF compressor on our list. For this price, however, you get a best-in-class product. 

Going beyond simple file compression, Adobe Acrobat features several optimization tools that enable you to control the quality and file size of your PDF compression. A blurry and unreadable PDF is of no use to anyone. With Adobe Acrobat, you can be confident you’ll end up with a high-quality compressed file every time.

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It might not look the best, but PDF Compressor is a reliable and free PDF compressor. (Image credit: Media4x)

3. PDF Compressor

Free online PDF compression

Free
Available online as a web application
No optimization features
Processing can be slow

PDF Compressor is a free and easy to use online PDF Compressor. There’s no software to download, so you can use the platform directly from your web browser. It might not be the most attractive website, but having used the tool for years, we can confidently say it does what it says it does: compress PDFs. 

Although there are no options for optimizing compressed PDFs, we’ve found that compressed PDFs are still of a high quality. However, we’d make sure to check large documents before sending them. It’s also worth mentioning that PDF Compressor converts documents to and from PDF format, which can be a helpful additional feature for businesses. 

There’s not much else to say about PDF Compressor. It’s free, it works, and the company has monetized its site with ads, ensuring the tool remains free to use.

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Soda PDF offers both a free web application and a premium PDF product for businesses. (Image credit: Soda PDF)

4. Soda PDF

A high-quality, reliable PDF compressor

Both free and paid products available
Premium subscription includes offline PDF compression
Freemium pricing model may not suit medium or large businesses
Web-based PDF compression is slow

Soda PDF is a high-quality, reliable PDF compressor that is free to use. It also offers a paid desktop application for businesses wanting a premium PDF compression solution. 

The free online tool is easy to use and integrates with Google Drive and Dropbox for easy uploading. Compressed files retain most of their original quality and are easy to email or upload. If you’re looking for a free PDF compressor, it’s hard to go past Soda PDF. 

Although the online tool is useful and may serve many businesses’ needs without any need to purchase a subscription, we recommend the Soda PDF Business plan. Soda PDF’s premium product includes a full suite of PDF management tools, such as intelligent PDF compression, file encryption, and file format conversion.

Soda PDF’s premium plan costs $85 per year per license or $170 for a lifetime subscription.

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Wondershare PDFelement is another top performer, but it’s expensive. (Image credit: PDF element)

5. PDFelement

A powerful and reliable PDF compressor tool

Both online tools and desktop application
Full suite of powerful PDF management tools
Expensive
PDFelement Standard doesn’t include PDF compression

PDFelement is another powerful and reliable toolbox for all things PDF. It offers a wide range of features, including uncommon features such as optical character recognition (OCR) conversion and optimization. However, when it comes to PDF compression, we’re a little disappointed. 

Although Wondershare’s PDF compressor works perfectly, it is only available with PDFelement Pro (the more expensive of Wondershare’s two PDF management products). PDFelement Standard costs $59 per year (with no PDF compression tools included). PDFelement Pro costs $79 per year (with PDF compression included). 

We would recommend PDFelement to businesses looking to invest in an integrated PDF management solution, as it’s one of the best. But if you’re only compressing PDF files on the odd occasion, then we’d recommend considering one of the cheaper or free PDF compressor options.