Skip to main content

The best free torrent clients of 2022: faster, safer downloads

PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
Best free torrent clients qBittorrent on a laptop against a gray TechRadar background
(Image credit: Future)

The best free torrent clients will make downloading so much easier and stress-free. Grabbing files directly from a server can be frustrating as you often deal with long wait times and slow speeds. Not only because you're just be dealing with a single source, but also you might be competing with other users for bandwidth.

A torrent client, on the other hand, delivers faster download speeds and shorter download times. That's due to the fact that the client will grab parts of that file from multiple sources and simultaneously downloading those different bits then putting the file together for you to use. 

Luckily, there are excellent free torrent clients out there, offering their downloading services without charging you a single penny. And, since we've used, tested, and reviewed many of them, we thought we'd share the best ones in this guide for your convenience. There are options below that are streamlined for those that just want to get started without fuss as well as ones with more advanced features.

We’ve highlighted what we like and dislike with each to point you to the one that meets your needs best. That includes considering user experience, bloatware, or ads, which you can sometimes circumvent with some of the best VPNs for torrenting and even integration with other apps. To let you find out more about each pick, we've even included links to our reviews.

No matter which free torrent client you choose, they’ll improve download times, especially on larger files. And, as long as you have enough space in your internal or external hard drive to store your digital haul, you're golden.

(opens in new tab)

We strongly advise you get a great VPN for torrenting (opens in new tab)
The only way to keep yourself safe and anonymous when torrenting is to use a VPN (opens in new tab). A VPN encrypts all your internet activity and passes it through a secure tunnel so that no one can see what you're reading or downloading - not even your ISP or the VPN service itself. One click and you're protected. This also allows you to unblock sites like The Pirate Bay, or access foreign versions of Netflix. The best VPN service according to our tests is ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) which effectively costs just $6.67 per month and has a risk-free 30-day money back guarantee.

The best free torrent clients 2022

A laptop on a desk, displaying qBittorrent, one of the best free torrent clients

(Image credit: The qBittorrent Project; Shutterstock)

1. qBittorrent

A balance of speed and simplicity: the best free torrent client

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux | Features: Built-in RSS feed support, built-in search engine

No advertisements
Handy extra tools
No bundled software
Fewer extensions than some

qBittorrent is the perfect compromise. Some torrent clients offer every function imaginable while others keep things as simple as possible. This free torrent client, on the other hand, sits right in the middle, aiming to "meet the needs of most users while using as little CPU and memory as possible."

It boasts an integrated torrent search engine, media player, encryption, prioritisation of torrents and the files within those torrents, IP filtering and torrent creation, and it's the closest open source, junk-free equivalent to uTorrent. It also offers a minimalist and ad-free user interface, which we found to be easy to use and download content off the internet. During our testing, it's proven to be secure as well, which isn't surprising because it is an open-source software. If you're looking for a cross-platform torrent client that covers the essentials without getting overly complicated, qBittorrent is great.

Read our full qBittorrent review

A laptop on a desk displaying Vuze, one of the best free torrent clients

(Image credit: Azureus Software Inc; Shutterstock)

2. Vuze

A feature-packed torrent client if you don't mind the ads

Operating system: Windows | Features: Built-in search function

Clear, well designed interface
Expandable via plugins
Contains ads
Bundled antivirus trial

Vuze (formerly Azureus) claims to be the most powerful BitTorrent client on Earth. We're not sure how it ranks on other planets, but it's certainly a serious contender for that title. There are two flavours: the stripped-back Vuze Leap, and the fully fledged Vuze Plus. Both offer torrent download, media playback and support for magnet file links, but Vuze Plus adds integrated virus protection and the ability to preview media files.

One of Vuze's key selling points is its interface, which we found during testing to slice through jargon and make even the more advanced features accessible to new users. In fact, setting up Vuze is extremely easy, even for first-timers. Vuze also offers bandwidth limiting, IP filtering, and all the other features you'd expect from a robust torrent client. Definitely one of the first options to consider.

Read our full Vuze review

Deluge, one of the best free torrent clients, being displayed on a laptop

(Image credit: Deluge; Shutterstock)

3. Deluge

A customizable client that can be as lean or powerful as you want

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Linux | Features: Can be customized to a great extent with different plugins

Cross platform
Expandable via plugins
Browser integration
Interface is a little sparse

Deluge has been around forever, and it can be as simple or as powerful as you want it to be, making it one of the most versatile free torrent clients out there. That's because it's extendable via plug-ins. During testing, we found that to be its greatest strength, being customizable with the help of different plugins. That effectively enables you to build your own personalised version of Deluge.

Fancy something that resembles uTorrent without the unwanted software? No problem. Want to add alphabetical downloading, move downloaded files to specific directories according to the file type, adjust speed according to network conditions, create pretty graphs, schedule everything, integrate with Chrome or Firefox, or batch-rename downloads? That's not a problem either. And, while it may look plain and slightly outdated, especially next to Vuze and other rivals, it's simple interface and wide-ranging features allow it to hold its own.

Read our full Deluge review

uTorrent, one of the best free torrent clients, being used on a laptop, resting on a desk

(Image credit: BitTorrent; Shutterstock)

4. uTorrent

An incredibly lightweight client maintained by BitTorrent itself

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Android

Download scheduling
Very small
Runs on the web
Contains ads
Additional bundled software

uTorrent, also known as µTorrent, has been around since 2005 and it's the most widely used free torrent client outside China. It's attracted some criticism over the years, however: it's ad-supported and many users argue that the most recent versions are a little too heavy on the advertising and bundled software front. Make sure you read each step of the installer carefully and uncheck any software you don't want to install.

That aside, uTorrent is useful, effective and doesn't gobble up too much of your system's resources: the entire app mainly runs in your web browser. Although it isn't the official BitTorrent app, it's been maintained by BitTorrent for the last decade.

It's worth noting that uTorrent has a record of security problems, the most recent of which had the potential to let hackers control key functions of the client and spy on users' downloads. BitTorrent has since released a patch for the vulnerability.

Read our full uTorrent review

BitTorrent, one of the best free torrent clients, being used on a laptop

(Image credit: BitTorrent; Shutterstock)

5. BitTorrent

BitTorrent's own client, with web-based seeding and comments

Operating system: Windows, macOS, Android

Simple to configure
Download scheduling
Very small
Contains ads

You might be wondering why BitTorrent has its own torrent client when it also maintains uTorrent – especially when the BitTorrent app is a rebranded version of uTorrent. Are you still following us? However, while the apps are functionally identical there are a few key differences: BitTorrent offers web-based seeding, commenting and reviewing, and you may find that the BitTorrent client is welcomed by private trackers that don't like uTorrent. 

Still, if you’re looking for a free torrent client, uTorrent is a great option – could be a good choice if you're new to torrenting and want a client that will give you an easy introduction. We found it to be very simple and easy to use as well during testing, benefitting from a clean yet visually appealing interface with plenty of options. Meanwhile Impressive performance levels help to make for an enjoyable experience.

Read our full BitTorrent review

Are torrents legal?

Torrents have a bad reputation due to piracy, but they aren't illegal in themselves and have lots of legitimate uses, including downloading open source software and material that's in the public domain.

It all depends on the content you're downloading. Provided the copyright holder has given permission for the file to be shared this way it's fine, but using torrents to download content you'd otherwise have to pay for is not legal.

Daryl Baxter
Daryl Baxter

Daryl had been freelancing for 3 years before joining TechRadar, now reporting on everything software-related. In his spare time he's written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', alongside podcasting and usually found playing games old and new on his PC and MacBook Pro. If you have a story about an updated app, one that's about to launch, or just anything Software-related, drop him a line.