Pixlr vs Photoshop: Comparing Two Photo Retouching Apps

Pixlr vs Photoshop, which software solution works better? In the world of photo editing, these two pieces of software are often referred to in the same sentence. The reality is, the feature sets, pricing and design of adobe photoshop and the Pixlr editor are far from identical.

This page will run through each software’s key features to help you choose the right editing software for you.

Adobe Photoshop Overview

The thing to note about adobe photoshop is that it’s a comprehensive image editing solution. The depth of control and volume of editing tools on offer here are included to justify adobe’s far from insubstantial price tag.

If you’re a professional in need of in-depth image editing, adobe photoshop is the way to go. Pixlr isn’t able to come close to the control of Photoshop, but it’s not trying to either!

Adobe Photoshop Features

Adobe Photoshop comes with a suite of pro-grade image editing features that make it a firm favorite of photographers and editors everywhere. The list of tools available with Photoshop is huge. We outline some of the most noteworthy below.


There are multiple ways to retouch and “lift” images in Photoshop. Blemishes, unwanted details and dull colors can be corrected very easily. Photoshop has years of development behind it and retouch photo editing has been a core part of its offering since the beginning.

As a result, the accuracy and ease of use for these features in particular stand out in a way that other editing software struggles to match.

Transforming and Remixing

Masking and layering are another element of Adobe Photoshop that have years of development behind them. Elements from multiple images can be cropped, masked and layered seamlessly.

The “intelligence” of these features has come a long way over the past few years; the level of detail and control possible with Photoshop is remarkable.


Adobe Photoshop is packed full of illustration features and brush types that cater directly to digital illustrators. Digital illustration just feels right on Photoshop, especially if you’re using an iPad with an Apple pencil.

Neural Filters

The professional price tag that comes with Adobe Photoshop funds the development of groundbreaking new features like their neural filters. With machine learning and AI, Photoshop lets users tweak photos and illustrations in a way that can sometimes feel uncanny.

Add new layers, completely change someone’s expression or eradicate blemishes with the click of a button.

Adobe Photoshop Pricing

Pro-grade photo editing comes with a substantial price tag. In recent years Adobe products have pivoted to a subscription-based payment scheme. Adobe Photoshop is priced differently if you’re an individual, business or teacher.

  • Individuals pay $20.99 a month for the standard version of Photoshop
  • For $79.99 a month, businesses can access the entire suite of Adobe products, including Photoshop
  • The Adobe products plan above can be accessed by students and teachers for $19.99 a month

Pixlr Overview

When exploring the Pixlr vs Photoshop question, it’s important to give credit where it’s due. The Pixlr editor is free to use while offering an impressive number of premium features. Pixlr is a web-based photo editor, meaning you do your work right within your browser.

Users can use Pixlr for free and encounter the occasional ad, or they can subscribe to unlock deeper features and remove ads altogether.

Pixlr Features

pixlr screenshot

While Adobe wins the Pixlr vs Photoshop debate when it comes to the number of features, the Pixlr photo editor is no slouch.

Background Remover

One of the most common image editing tools that people need for posts on social media is an image background remover. Pixlr uses intelligent AI tools to make this process astonishingly simple. The newly cropped image is nearly always flawless.


Granular Editing Options

Pixlr is fantastic for quickly adding new effects and filters on the fly. A surprisingly long list of edits can be seamlessly applied and tweaked using draggable sliders and toggle buttons.

Graphical Templates and Elements

Pixlr makes it simple to create new content with minimal effort. A number of tools are included that significantly reduce the amount of expertise needed to produce impressive graphics and design projects.

Pixlr comes stocked with a huge catalogue of pre-made elements that can be quickly added and tweaked for your work.

Photo Editing Software

Simple photo tweaks are refreshingly easy to accomplish with Pixlr. All the usual software features you’d expect are ready and waiting.

Pixlr Pricing

The developers of Pixlr promise that their software will always be free to use. For users who want to work without ads, deepen their available features and access extra materials, two subscriptions are available:

  • $7.99 a month gains access to Pixlr premium
  • $14.99 a month unlocks the Pixlr “creative pack” with tonnes of extra overlays, stock content and AI extras.

Photoshop Advantages

Adobe isn’t necessarily competing directly with Pixlr. One is a free piece of editing software that can achieve some of the same things as Photoshop. The other is a comprehensive suite of editing tools aimed at professionals.

For this reason, the main advantage of Photoshop vs Pixlr is how extensively you’re able to edit your photos and design your projects. For professional illustrators, for example, the comparison just isn’t there. If you’re working in a professional environment with advanced demands, you’ll need Photoshop.

Pixlr Advantages

Pixlr is geared towards everyone and this is definitely its biggest strength. A direct comparison of Pixlr and Photoshop isn’t entirely fair. It’s worth mentioning though, that if you just need to quickly remove a background, spruce up an image or throw a graphic together, Pixlr is phenomenal and won’t cost you a penny.

If your requirements are light or infrequent, Pixlr is the way to go.


Pixlr and Adobe aren’t the only two options out there. Competitors exist that might be worth considering.


is a no-nonsense, easy-to-use graphics editor that’s fantastic for preparing quick posts for social media. It’s free to use and comes with a premium option for teams and businesses. Premium users gain access to thousands of stock elements and graphics.


is a free alternative to options from Adobe that comes with a more professional set of tools than Pixlr. If you’re working in a professional context but need to save some money, GIMP is well worth a try.



More tools don’t necessarily equate to “better”. Adobe definitely wins here when it comes to the number of tools on offer. If you’re not a professional though, you may never use the things you’ve paid for.

We recommend trying out free programs like Canva or Pixlr first to see if they work for you before splashing out on the pro stuff.

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