Best free photo editing software

Whether you want to make a few easy photo edits without paying for an expensive full-service editor like, or you want to try out a new hobby before upgrading to a more powerful program, you’ll want to make sure you choose the best free photo editing software. 

In this article, we list a few of the top options available today. We’ll also discuss the pros and cons of each product, so you can determine which free photo editing software will best meet your needs.

available now. Or, if you plan on doing most of your photo editing on the go, be sure to read up on theavailable for Android and iOS. 

What is the best free photo editing software? 

After testing quite a few free photo editors, there was one clear winner in our view. The best free photo editor you can download today is, which rivals Photoshop with all it can accomplish, entirely for free. With GIMP, you’ll have access to most of the best premium photo editor features, like layers, masks, custom brushes, and smart selection tools.

GIMP is an open-source photo editor, meaning you can also customize its source code to completely suit your needs. There’s also support for a large number of third-party plugins, although these can be a bit difficult to track down. There used to be an official registry on the GIMP website, but this has since been closed.

However, if you’re just looking to do simple photo touch-ups like cropping, enhancing colors, or polishing the odd blemish, GIMP may be a little complicated. And it can come with a steep learning curve for newbies. Read on to learn more about our favorite options for the best free photo editing software.

The best free photo editing software you can use today

1. GIMP

The top free photo editing software available

Powerful photo editor
Highly customizable
Constantly being updated and improved
Steep learning curve
No centralized add-on registry

GIMP is our number one pick for the best free photo editor, and it’s the only entry on this list that’s a legitimate contender among paid options likeor. It’s an open-source platform, which means that GIMP is always being improved, and there are a vast array of plugins you can use to customize your experience.

In our book, there are only two downsides to GIMP. Firstly, the cluttered interface means it can be a steep learning curve for newcomers. If you enjoy tinkering around with new software this isn’t a problem, but users who aren’t familiar with photo editors, or just want to make a few quick edits, should consider other options.

The other downside to GIMP is the closure of its registry. Several years ago, users were able to download plugins, brushes, and other add-ons from a page on GIMP’s website. However, this became too unwieldy for volunteers to maintain. Without this centralized hub, it can be a little harder to find the exact plugin you need. 

All in all, these limitations are pretty minor, and GIMP is still hands-down the best free photo editing software you can get today.

2. Canva

Ideal photo editor for social media and marketing

Great for social media posts
Beginner-friendly interface
Variety of templates
5GB of cloud storage
Not a full photo editor