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Best Free PDF Compressor Apps to Reduce File Sizes

A free PDF compressor is essentially a tool that you can use to reduce the size of a PDF file. It is also called a PDF size compressor or PDF optimizer and is available both online and as installation software. There are also mobile apps that can capably compress PDFs on the go, which is useful when sharing files from your mobile devices.

To offer some background, PDF compression involves complex algorithms for text, images, and other types of content. It also removes unwanted content to make the file size smaller. The front-end interface for most of these apps is simple enough, but unless you know the tool and how well it can execute these algorithms, it's hard to evaluate the product.

This article tries to zero in on the best PDF compressor online and offline by looking at various options and how they work to compress files. So without any further ado, let's get started!

Part 1: People Always Ask…

Q1: How do I compress a PDF for high quality?

The higher the compression level, the lower the output quality of the content in your PDF. Therefore, if you require high-quality output from your PDF size compressor, it's best to choose the lowest compression level available. This approach can be used when you have images that need to be printed in hard copy or displayed on a large screen since their resolutions will be kept as close to the original as possible. In HiPDF and PDFelement, you can try the Low or Medium setting to see which is more suitable for your specific use.

Q2: Is it safe to use a free PDF compressor?

Absolutely! Just make sure that the software you download is from a reliable source or has been checked for malware. Check to see if there's a padlock symbol on the website to make sure the site is secure. Additionally, you can look for online reviews of the product before you download it. If you're searching for an open source PDF compressor, make sure it is a stable version.

Part 2: Top Online and Offline PDF Compressor Solutions

Feature Highlights
Trial Version Available?
Pricing for Premium Version
Online PDF Compressor
Wondershare HiPDF ● All basic and advanced PDF tasks
● Powerful compression engine
● Highly user-friendly interface
FreePDFConverter ● Good compression quality
● Clean UI and easy navigation through the site
● Handles small to medium-sized files well
Smallpdf ● Professional PDF utility
● Simple interface
● Several PDF task modules are available
AvePDF ● Advanced compression method
● Good for integrating into products via API
● Easy enough for new users to try
Offline PDF Compressor
Wondershare PDFelement ● Comprehensive PDF features - Standard and Pro
● Cross-platform availability
● Affordable solution for individuals, businesses, and students/teachers
Adobe Acrobat ● Extensive feature list
● Widespread use
● Advanced and professional PDF utility

Section 1: Best PDF Compressor Online

1. Wondershare HiPDF Compressor

One of the most versatile and best PDF compressor online solutions is HiPDF from Wondershare, the makers of Filmora, PDFelement, and several other blockbuster products. This online PDF toolkit comprises several modules for various basic and advanced PDF tasks such as editing, file conversion, PDF security, file and page management, forms management, optical character recognition (OCR), batch processes, and more. It is a highly rated app that can be used free of cost with some limitations on the maximum number of pages or the size of your document, and upgrading to an affordable plan will fully unlock the tool's immense capabilities.

How to Use HiPDF Free PDF Compressor

Step 1 Head over to the HiPDF Compress PDF web page and upload your PDF file - use the button provided or drag-and-drop from its folder location

hipdf pdf compressor

Step 2 On the next page, set the compression level based on the purpose of using the output file (high compression is suitable for web viewing)

hipdf pdf compression degree

Step 3 Directly download the file to a local folder or cloud service, or click Continue to perform other actions on the file, such as editing, protecting, or converting to another format

download pdf hipdf


Easy operations

Free for individual files

No registration required


Batch process is only available with a subscription

No advanced compression settings

Wondering about the best ways to compress your PDF? Watch the video below to find the best ways to compress your PDF file offline.

2. FreePDFConvert PDF Compressor

Essentially a file conversion utility for PDF and other document workflows, FreePDFConvert has now grown to a large repository of useful tools for file compression, protection, and general PDF management. It is a robust and secure platform that encrypts all documents that are uploaded or downloaded so your files are safe. The site is easy to use and you can import PDF files via their URLs or from cloud storage.

How to Use FreePDFConvert

Step 1 In the Online PDF Compressor page of the main website, click Choose PDF File to upload a document

freepdfconvert pdf compressor

Step 2 On the next page, you'll see a preview of your file and two free compression options on the right - Better Quality and Better Compression - choose one and click Compress

freepdfconvert compression degree

Step 3 On the final page, there are options to download locally, save to cloud or perform more actions on the processed file - select Download and save the file to your computer

freepdfconvert download pdf


Simple and attractive interface

Good compression quality

Convenient upload and download methods


Only two free compression options

Compression level is not that high

3. Smallpdf Compressor

Smallpdf is a powerful and versatile PDF compressor with a vast array of PDF tools. The compression quality is excellent, although the free tool only allows basic compression. Nevertheless, it offers a desktop PDF solution in addition to the online version, similar to HiPDF from Wondershare. In a pinch, it's a fast tool to work with and offers several useful PDF utilities to help manage PDF workflows.

How to Use SmallPDF Compressor Online Free

Step 1 Upload your PDF file to the appropriate Smallpdf URL for file compression

smallpdf pdf compressor

Step 2 Once uploaded, select the Basic compression level as the free option and click Compress

smallpdf compression degree

Step 3 On the final page, you can download, share, or continue to other actions

small download pdf


Simple compression process

Good compression quality

Access to premium PDF tools


Only one compression level is free (Basic)

Multiple files require a paid plan

4. AvePDF Compressor

The AvePDF compressor tool is a powerful utility that leverages the mixed raster content (MRC) compression method that gives you almost lossless compression for images. As such, it's a useful tool for compression PDFs that contain high-resolution images that need to be compressed for sharing but also need to maintain the quality of the images in question.

How to Use AvePDF Compressor Online

Step 1 Go to the Hyper-compress PDF page of AvePDF and upload your file by dropping it there

avepdf pdf compressor

Step 2 Choose a compression level from the four options on the next screen

avepdf compression degree

Step 3 Click Compress and wait for the process to be completed

avepdf download pdf

Step 4 Choose one of the download options or proceed to another task with the same processed file


Uses MRC compression technology to maximize image quality at high compression

Versatile utility that can be embedded into another website as a widget

Excellent compression level and quality


No control over compression settings

Intended primarily for professionals

Section 2: Best PDF Compressor Online

5. Wondershare PDFelement

Wondershare PDFelement - PDF Editor is a fast-rising star in the PDF constellation that's appealing for many reasons: it is available for multiple platforms (Mac, Win, iOS, etc.), it has a dedicated cloud platform (Wondershare Document Cloud), it is more affordable and lighter than most premium PDF editors, and it offers the full gamut of PDF tools required by any professional, businessperson, or student. As versatile as the software is, it's even easier to use because of the clean UI and clear navigational elements (icons, labeling, layouts, etc.) A highly awarded PDF product, PDFelement is one of the top emerging PDF editors in the market today.

Wondershare PDFelement Pro DC

Simplify your Workflow with the Document Cloud for PDFelement.

pdfelement pro dc

How to Use the PDFelement PDF Compressor

Step 1 Launch PDFelement on your PC or Mac and drop a PDF file into the interface to open it

pdfelement pdf compressor

Step 2 Click the Tool option at the top and then Compress PDF in the ribbon toolbar beneath it

Step 3 Choose the compression level you need and hit Apply

Step 4 Save the compressed file with a different name using File → Save As


Robust PDF utility with excellent compression quality

Cross-platform availability with cloud storage access integrated

Slick UI with a high usability quotient for beginners and professionals

More affordable than most premium PDF solutions


Watermarks are applied in the free version

Not available for Linux users

6. Adobe Acrobat

Another versatile PDF compressor with advanced capabilities is the ubiquitous Adobe Acrobat. While the software itself is considered a little clunky and cluttered by many users, the majority of users vouch for Acrobat's versatility and width of features. The compression tool is of special note because it gives the user a lot of freedom to control compression quality and other parameters.

How to Use the Adobe Acrobat PDF Compressor Feature

Step 1 Open the Acrobat Optimize PDF utility from the application's Tool section by clicking Tool → Dropdown arrow below the Optimize PDF icon → Open

acrobat pdf compressor

Step 2 Next, import the PDF file to be optimized by selecting it in the Explorer dialog and clicking Open

acrobat import pdf

Step 3 Select Reduce File Size in the ribbon toolbar menu above the document

Step 4 Set the compatibility for the file in terms of the PDF version - use Retain Existing to keep the current format support

Step 5 Once processed, assign a new name to the file and save it to the desired folder

acrobat save pdf


Well-known PDF compressor that millions of users are familiar with

Advanced optimization options to control image downsampling levels, color schemes, and more

Robust utility that works well with heavy PDF workflows


The UI is a little complicated, especially for first-time users

The product is expensive and usually bundled with other Creative Cloud products

Might be too advanced for processing basic PDF tasks such as editing, conversion, security, file management, etc.

In Parting

PDF compression is usually an intricate process, but it doesn't have to be that way for you, as a user. Leveraging the wide platform support of tools such as HiPDF and PDFelement, you can boost your productivity and output in a meaningful way using the simplified user experience that these products provide.

Wondershare's philosophy of making PDF simple is exemplified in these star PDF products for online and offline use. Enhanced file security, extensive features, high affordability, and seamless cross-platform transitioning are topped off by a user-friendly interface and a zero learning curve to get you started on the path to becoming adept at handling PDF workflows.

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