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Best PDF compressor in 2021: Free and paid, for Windows, Mac, Android and online

Person using a PDF compressor on a laptop
(Image credit: Glenn Carstens-Peters / Unsplash)
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REASONS TO BUY
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REASONS TO BUY
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The best PDF compressor makes it simple and easy to compress large PDF files into smaller and more manageable file sizes.

The best PDF Compressor

Click the links below to go to the provider's website:

 

1. Adobe Acrobat

2. Smallpdf

3. PDF Compressor

4. Soda PDF

5. PDFelement

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 on PCs and laptops. 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 cumbersome to both use and share PDFs, whether on your own computer, via email, or by collaboration 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.

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(Image credit: Adobe)

1. Adobe Acrobat

The premium PDF compressor

Reasons to buy
+Full suite of PDF tools included+Best-in-class compression software
Reasons to avoid
-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 Windows devices only, or Adobe Acrobat Pro for Windows and macOS. This is the most expensive PDF compressor on our list, 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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(Image credit: SmallPDF)

2. Smallpdf

One of the most popular PDF compressors

Reasons to buy
+Subscription includes full suite of PDF tools+Offline PDF compression+Several options for PDF compression
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-UI can feel disjointed

Smallpdf is one of the most popular PDF compressors available, 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.

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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(Image credit: PDF Compressor)

3. PDF Compressor

Free online PDF compression

Reasons to buy
+Free+Available online as a web application
Reasons to avoid
-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. The only negative is that it has a limit to the size of file it can work with, such as the 1.5GB one we tried it with.

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(Image credit: Soda)

4. Soda PDF

A high-quality, reliable PDF compressor

Reasons to buy
+Both free and paid products available+Premium subscription includes offline PDF compression
Reasons to avoid
-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.

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(Image credit: PDFelement)

5. PDFelement

A powerful and reliable PDF compressor tool

Reasons to buy
+Both online tools and desktop application+Full suite of powerful PDF management tools
Reasons to avoid
-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).

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.