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Best PDF merger tool of 2020: Free and paid, for Windows, Mac, Android and online

Best PDF merger
(Image credit: Shutterstock.com/13_Phunkod)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

There are many situations in which you need to combine multiple PDFs into a single file. Maybe you’re sending multiple invoices to accounting and want to keep them bundled together. Maybe you’re collating several reports to send to a colleague. Or maybe you’ve printed multiple web pages to PDFs and need to join them together.

Whatever your reason, having the best PDF merger can make it straightforward to combine these files. The good news is that there are many free and paid options that you can turn to for help. The bad news is that sorting through them can be time-consuming when all you want to do is merge PDFs quickly. 

In this guide, we’ll help you sort the top apps from the rest by highlighting five of the best PDF merger apps you can use for Mac and Windows. Note that our list doesn’t include Apple’s Preview tool, which comes built into the macOS operating system.

  • 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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(Image credit: ILovePDF)

1. ILovePDF

Offers numerous tools for PDFs, including a merge tool.

Connects to Google Drive and Dropbox
Drag and drop to rearrange
Free up to 25 files
Includes other PDF tools
Must upload your PDFs
Pricey to merge more than 25 files
Only supports PDF files
Ads when using free version

ILovePDF is a one-stop-shop for working with PDFs and includes a simple tool for merging files. You have to upload your PDFs to the online platform to start the merge process, but this process is made easy thanks to a drag and drop option. You can also connect ILovePDF to your Google Drive or Dropbox accounts. 

Once your files are online, you can rotate pages or drag and drop PDFs to rearrange the merge order. The platform displays thumbnails of each page to make working with your files easier. When you’re ready, just click ‘Merge PDF’ and your new document will download automatically. 

ILovePDF is free for merging up to 25 PDFs and 100 MB in total. A Premium account costs $6 per month and enables you to merge up to 200 files or up to 1 GB of data.

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(Image credit: SmallPDF)

2. SmallPDF

A paid option with an intuitive PDF merger

Includes document conversion tools
Delete individual pages during merge
Save merged PDFs to Drive or Dropbox
Free 14-day trial
Expensive for PDF merging
Requires uploading files
Files are deleted after one hour
Batch upload doesn’t always work

If you’re going to shell out money for a PDF merger, SmallPDF is one of your best options. In addition to merging an unlimited number of files, this platform includes tools for converting between document formats, signing PDFs, and securing files. You can merge PDFs, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and JPGs seamlessly. 

SmallPDF shows you thumbnails of your PDFs and enables you to easily drag and drop files to reorder them. You can also delete individual pages while merging documents, which is nice if you need to eliminate cover pages or other extraneous sheets. Once you merge your PDFs, you can download the new file or save it directly to Dropbox or Google Drive. 

You can try SmallPDF free for 14 days, but after that it costs $12 per month or $108 per year. It’s a bit of an investment, but it can be well worth it if you work with PDFs often.

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(Image credit: PDF Converter)

3. PDF Converter

Lets you do one free merge per hour

Seamless document conversion
Drag and drop files to reorder them
All uploads secured with 256-bit encryption
Premium subscription comes with support
Only one free merge per hour
Cannot edit PDF pages during merge
Doesn’t integrate with cloud storage
Files removed after three hours

PDF Converter is a reliable PDF merger that can handle most of your file needs. You can merge PDFs, Word documents, images, and more through seamless conversion. The web-based merge tool is easy to use and enables you to drag and drop files to reorder them. When you’re done, you can compress your new PDF to save space on your hard drive. 

The catch to this tool is that its name is misleading. PDF Converter allows you to conduct just one merge for free per hour. So, once you merge files, you’ll need to wait 60 minutes before you can merge any more unless you purchase a Premium subscription. A subscription costs $6 per month, $50 per year, or $99 for life and comes with priority account support.

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(Image credit: PDFSam Basic)

4. PDFSam Basic

Desktop-based PDF software with merge function

Desktop-based PDF merger
Works for Windows, Mac, and Linux
No file limits
Easily reorder individual pages
No file conversion
Doesn’t connect to cloud storage
No customer support
Cannot edit PDFs

PDFSam Basic is a desktop-based PDF merging software for Windows, Mac, and Linux. In contrast to many of its competitors, PDFSam doesn’t impose any limits on how many files you can merge or how often you can use the tool. 

Of course, you get what you pay for. This software can merge and split PDFs and enables you to quickly reorder pages, but that’s about it. You cannot connect to your cloud storage or automatically email or share merged PDFs from the tool. It also doesn’t include file conversion, so you’ll need another tool or PDFSam Enhanced (starting at $49 per year) if you want to mix and match file types.

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Soda PDF merge PDF

(Image credit: Soda PDF)

5. Soda PDF

Free online PDF merging

All-in-one PDF software
Available for web and desktop
Limited free version available
Connects to cloud storage
Expensive monthly subscription
Not available for Linux
No page reordering in free version
Doesn’t include PDF encryption

Soda PDF is another all-in-one PDF handling software program with a capable merger tool. What’s particularly nice about this platform is that it’s available both on the web and as desktop software for Windows and Mac. 

Both versions of the platform connect to Dropbox and Google Drive so you can quickly access your files in the cloud. You can also email merged PDFs right from the software. 

You can use Soda PDF for free, but this version is somewhat limited. You can’t reorder individual pages or convert between file types. A paid subscription costs $48 per year or $79 for life and comes with free customer support.