Pixlr is a free, online editing tool that allows you to edit photos on the web, without installing additional software. Although a desktop app is available, the web-based version works just fine as well.
There is also a mobile app editor.
Pixlr has many excellent features you won’t find on many standard editing apps. Some of the features of Pixlr include the ability to liquify images, add layers, remove backgrounds, and a lot more.
There are two versions of Pixlr: Pixlr X, the simpler version for less complicated edits, and Pixlr E, which is a more advanced version for more complex edits. These two versions were added as part of a recent interface update, and both of them are free to use.
Nevertheless, the free versions are lacking in many ways. They lack the AI cutout feature and other AI features and come with limited overlays, stickers, templates, and more.
Although Pixlr is a decent app, not everyone is satisfied with it. One of the most common complaints people have about Pixlr is that it has a lot of ads (on the free version).
These ads can not only get in the way of your editing work but can also make the website laggy and buggy. Another common gripe Pixlr users have is that the editor is sometimes sluggish and laggy, with a lot of bugs.
For example, the mouse optimization in the UI just isn’t good, and it can be hard to control what you are doing at times.
Pixlr is also missing some important features, like oil and pen paint tools. Some features, like auto selection, are there but are limited to premium users.
If you read the Pixlr reviews here, you will notice that the most common complaints are ads, a laggy UI, poor mouse optimization, the lack of tools like oil and pen paints, and a mobile app with fewer features.
Fortunately, there are many great Pixlr alternatives out there. Today, I will be showing you the best Pixlr alternatives for desktop and mobile.
Let us get into it.
Photopea is not that well known, but it is quickly growing in popularity, and I think it is one of the best Pixlr alternatives.
Ivan Kutskir created Photopea when he was around 25 years old. He is a young Czech programmer and computer science professional who created it as a personal project while working in Prague.
He put 7,000 hours of work into it (around 5 hours a day for three and a half years) without earning a dime from it, according to a Reddit AMA post he made. He enjoyed working on it and treated it as a hobby.
Eventually, he put an ad up to monetize the site, but it is still free to use. You can pay to remove the ad if you wish, but otherwise, all features are free to use, unlike Pixlr which restricts some features to premium users.
Consider checking out that AMA if you would like to learn more about the tool. It is very enlightening.
There’s only one more difference between the free and paid versions besides the removal of the ad, which is that the premium version allows you to go back 60 steps in your edit history as opposed to only 30. Otherwise, the free and paid versions are exactly the same.
Even if you stay on the free version, there is only one ad in the right sidebar, and it doesn’t interfere too much with your work.
One of the benefits of using Photopea is its excellent customer support. Ivan really cares about his project and is open to new suggestions about possible features you would like to see him add.
Like Pixlr, Photopea doesn’t require you to sign up or create an account to use it, but you can create an account if you wish.
Photopea does have an oil paint filter option, which is an important feature that Pixlr is lacking.
The interface on Photopea is more similar to Pixlr’s interface than many other alternatives, which is one reason I think it makes a great alternative. However, the interface still differs in many ways and is a bit more straightforward.
Photopea is not fully open source. However, it does have a GitHub repository.
On GitHub, you can report bugs and errors, submit feature requests for features you would like to see added, and discuss the tool with the dev community. This kind of community is not something that Pixlr has.
GIMP is one of the more well-known photo editing tools. GIMP, unlike Pixlr, is open-source, and there is a lot of open-source community collaboration on the photo editing software tool.
Since it is open-source, and you can change the source code, it allows for a lot more customization than Pixlr. Advanced users can take advantage of this to edit the code and create a better version that works better for them.
You can also distribute the new version with the changes you made.
Since GIMP is open source, it is entirely free. It doesn’t hide some features behind a paywall as Pixlr does.
It also allows for a lot of customization and supports various third-party plugins. A lot of these plugins and scripts were created by the active open source community.
GIMP also has a lot more bells and whistles compared to Pixlr. There’s just more you can do once you figure out how to use the software.
GIMP actually stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program.
However, I did not include GIMP as the #1 alternative to Pixlr. Why is that?
Although GIMP is an excellent tool in terms of the features it has, it is somewhat clunky and hard to use. The interface is not the best, and it can be hard to figure out how to do specific actions.
In addition, you have to download GIMP to your computer, though it supports many operating systems.
Once you do get the hang of it, you may enjoy it a lot, however, so be prepared to give it some time and patience.
Canva is a bit different from Pixlr, but it is an excellent alternative if you normally use Pixlr for their built-in stock library or templates. Pixlr has a built-in library of stock photos and templates you can use to create banners, images, and so on.
However, although Pixlr excels as a photo editing tool, I feel that Canva is a better choice if you want to create banners and images using stock photos and free templates.
The selection of templates and photos is much larger, and there are templates available for every kind of purpose, from Facebook page profile headers to print products to video covers.
You can create infographics, logos, posters, presentations, and a lot more using the ready-to-go templates.
There are premade video clips you can use, audio and music you can add to whatever you are creating, and a lot more. There is a wide range of elements, stickers, emojis, and shapes to add to whatever you are designing, and there are also many styles of font and texts you can add.
You can upload your own image to edit it or choose from one of the stock photos. Canva also integrates with a wide range of tools, including Pixabay, which is an excellent source of free stock photos in its own right.
Canva also integrates with GIPHY.
All of this is entirely free! There is a premium version of Canva as well, which will give you hundreds of thousands more stock photos and templates and allow you to schedule posts to be published to social media automatically.
However, the free version is really extensive and will be enough for most people. Canva is always free for nonprofits and class educators.
While Pixlr might have more actual photo editing features, Canva is better for editing banners and posters overall. There are still great editing features in Canva, such as the ability to resize an image, change the font, change the color, and so on.
Fotor is an online photo editor. Its interface is much more straightforward than Pixlr, and it is easier to use overall.
There is even a little tour that the app gives you when you first use it, so you can understand where to find which buttons, something that I did not get when using Pixlr. Not only that but there are various video tutorials teaching you how to use the editor properly with a lot of editing tips.
Fotor is better than Pixlr for touching up images. You can adjust the color, size, and lighting, and you can add HDR effects.
The HDR touch-up tool is pretty cool. By uploading images of different resolutions, it will create a beautiful HDR result with perfect colors and lighting.
You can make yourself look better in your images by removing blemishes, red eyes, makeup, and even wrinkles! It is even possible to brighten your teeth.
You can smooth the photo to make your face look better, and you can even add blush. Something that I have never seen before is the weight-loss feature, which will make you look more fit!
You can also add eye shadow, eyeliner, and mascara and touch up your eyes in various ways.
There are hundreds of thousands of photos and templates you can use for your pictures. That makes Fotor an excellent choice for creating posters, banners, and online images for your brand or presentation as well.
In addition, you can add a huge variety of elements, as well as text, to your images.
Overall, I would say that Fotor is better than Pixlr if you are looking for an easy-to-use photo editing app to brighten your images, touch up your selfies, and make you look more presentable. Since it is easier to use as well, it is also a better choice for creating posters and the like.
Fotor is entirely free, but it does have ads. There are also premium options, starting at just $3.33/month, that give you access to premium features, such as mascara, image resizing, premium effects, and more (check the website for updated pricing information).
In addition to the desktop app, Fotor has excellent mobile apps.
Polarr is a free online photo editor that has a very easy-to-use and intuitive interface. I found it much simpler to use than Pixlr, with a less complicated learning curve.
The editing options are presented in simple-to-navigate menus, without the surplus of confusing options that Pixlr, especially Pixlr E, comes with.
You can add filters to make your photos more beautiful, and you can also add texts, presets, shapes, and more. There is a nice selection of overlays, including weather, flares, backdrops, and many others.
The beautifying tools allow you to smooth out your face and remove blemishes.
You can edit the photo itself by adjusting the color, lighting, curves, tones, and a lot more. There are many brushes available, which allow you to do things like add tints, vibrancy, saturation, brightness, blurring, and a lot more.
Although Polarr is free, there is a premium version as well, which gives you access to unique overlays, adjustments, and the perspective tool. Some premium filters include skin tone, culinary, and 90s’ art film filters, among many others.
Is Polarr better than Pixlr? It’s different.
Pixlr has more advanced editing options. However, it is harder to use overall, it is laggier, and it has a confusing learning curve.
Polarr is a much better option if you are looking for a simpler tool to add filters, retouch your photos, beautify your selfies and professional pictures, and the like. Try it out; I think you will like it a lot, and you don’t need an account to use it.
Paint.NET, despite its name, is not hosted on Paint.net but on GetPaint.net. Regardless of its domain name, however, it is an excellent free alternative to Pixlr that has been around for a long time.
One of the things that make Paint.NET an excellent Pixlr alternative is a strong community behind it. The forum is very active, and it allows you to find answers to common questions you might come across when using the software and chat with other members.
The benefit of such a forum can not be stressed enough, as it can really help you figure out solutions that will help you create better-edited photos.
Not only is there an active forum, but there are many plugins you can download to use with the Paint.NET software. There are 44 plugin packs available so far.
Paint.NET also has many other cool features, such as the Magic Wand, which allows you to automatically select sections with similar colors and the recoloring tool. There are also special effects that allow you to blur an image, remove red eyes, sharpen the image, and a lot more.
Paint.NET is not only free to use for personal reasons, but the license makes it available for free for commercial and business purposes as well. Nothing is hidden behind a paywall.
However, you will need a Windows computer (at least Windows 7) to use it.
If you have a Mac computer, you can use Seashore, which is an excellent Pixlr alternative that is available for Mac devices.
Unlike Pixlr, Seashore is entirely open-source, with a strong community behind it. It is also a lot simpler to use, so even if you are not a professional, you will be able to do beautiful image edits with no problems.
Some of the features available to Seashore users include six gradient effects, layer support, and arbitrary selection regions. It supports a wide range of file formats.
Adobe Photoshop is perhaps the most well-known image editor among many others, making it an excellent alternative to Pixlr. It has a lot more features than Pixlr and is overall a much better choice if you have more extended or complicated image editing needs.
The reason I did not include it earlier in this list is that it is not free. Although there is a free seven-day trial, which will allow you to edit images for free for seven days, you will have to pay to use it after that.
Pixlr is like a stripped-down version of Adobe Photoshop. Pixlr just doesn’t offer the same things that Adobe Photoshop does, and it doesn’t even support certain file formats, like TIFF (you can’t import a TIFF image).
Although Photoshop is much more comprehensive than Pixlr, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to figure out. There are tons of help articles, not just from Adobe but from many third-party bloggers, forum writers, and YouTubers.
Once you get the hang of it and learn how to use Photoshop, you will wonder how you ever thought Pixlr was sufficient. For larger projects and more complex needs, move on from Pixlr and stick with the more sophisticated and popular Adobe Photoshop.
PicMonkey is another paid Pixlr alternative that offers a free trial. It has tons of unique tools, such as the ability to retouch photos by brightening and retouching your smile, adding digital makeup, airbrushing a photo, removing blemishes and wrinkles, and a lot more.
There are millions of stock photos you can import, as well as thousands of templates you can use to create the perfect image. You can choose from over 9,000 graphics and icons to add to your pictures.
You can remove backgrounds, add text to images, and a lot more with the easy-to-use interface.
Although PicMonkey is not free like Pixlr is, it is much easier to use and offers a more intuitive interface. Customer support is better, as it is a paid service, and it is also an easier tool to use for the purpose of retouching your selfies or professional photos by removing blemishes and the like.
PicMonkey also gives you templates to use for designing Facebook and Instagram posts, and it allows you to export your image directly to Facebook or the Facebook Ad Manager.
Despite being a paid service, PicMonkey is relatively affordable, with prices starting at $7.99/month or $72/year. Check the pricing page for updated pricing information.
Or if you want a free tool that supports more file formats, you can consider Canva over PicMonkey.
Although Pixlr does use AI for removing photo backgrounds, Luminar takes AI photo editing to the next level. For example, the AI Sky Replacement tool allows you to change the mood of your sky in an instant to match your photo.
Using the AI Sky Replacement feature, you can choose from different sunsets, cloudy skies, blue skies, and other types of skies to totally change the mood of your photo.
For example, choose a sunset sky for a romantic mood, a cloudy sky for a more dreary mood, and a blue sky for a more bright mood.
The AI Skin Enhancer and Portrait Enhancer take photo retouching to a whole new level. With just one click, you can automatically touch up your entire photo.
The tool will use artificial intelligence to find blemishes in your skin, not just on your face, and touch up all blemishes, pores, and other unpleasant aspects to instantly make you look better.
The Shine Removal and Slim Face feature will make your face look more balanced and more attractive, and the AI Augmented Sky tool allows you to insert new objects, like a moon or fireworks, into the sky.
Pixlr just can’t compete with all those amazing features.
Pricing starts at $89 (one-time fee), but check the pricing page for updated information.
I recommend using Photopea.
Not only is it entirely free to use, with no features restricted to paying users, but it is simpler and has a bunch of features that Pixlr does not have.
Ben Levin is a Hubspot certified content marketing professional and SEO expert with 6 years of experience and a strong passion for writing and blogging. His areas of specialty include personal finance, tech, and marketing. He loves exploring new topics and has also written about HVAC repair to dog food recommendations. Ben is currently pursuing a bachelor’s in computer science, and his hobbies include motorcycling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai.