Best PDF compression apps on Android to reduce PDF size

What should you do if you want to share a 30MB PDF and your email client only allows you to attach 25MB files? Well, you can always use a cloud storage option. But if you want things to be really convenient for the receiver, the best thing to do is use a PDF compressor. These handy tools will optimize the size of your PDF by eliminating redundant content and reducing image resolution. There are many PDF compressor options on Android. We have compiled a list of the best. Read on to find out. We test them using the following testing methodology:

Read: How to Remove Watermark from PDF in 3 Easy Steps

The test sample

Our test sample is a 20.05 MB PDF of a single chapter from a high school textbook. This is freely available to the public. here. As you can see in the screenshot below, you have a lot of high resolution images interspersed with the text itself. Text compression is easy. The real value of a PDF compressor is in terms of how well it can handle multimedia and this is exactly what we are testing here. At just over 20MB, this is not a convenient file to email. It conforms to the email attachment limit of many email clients – Gmail, for example, limits attachments to 25MB.

sample pdf

Our testing methodology

We test each PDF Compressor application in the same way. We run each application with its default compression settings; We didn’t make any changes to the file format or compression quality to eliminate bias. We recorded both the size of the final file and the time it took to compress it. The applications were tested on an LG G7, with a Snapdragon 845 processor and 4GB of RAM. This is a high-end 2018 Android flagship smartphone, so expect real-world performance to be slower on cheaper devices. Some of the PDF compressors required the file to be uploaded to the cloud. This was done over a 2 Mbps WiFi connection.

The apps we tested

We tested the following PDF compressor apps:

  • iLovePDF
  • AllPDF reader
  • PDF Compressor
  • PDF Utilities
  • WPS PDF Lite

1. iLovePDF

For whom it is? Users who want an all-in-one PDF kit.

We were impressed with iLovePDF from the start – it has a simple, tiled interface for every PDF feature you want to use. Besides PDF compression, it also allows you to merge and split PDF files, digitally sign PDF documents, annotate them, and convert them to JPG format, among other functions. For PDF conversion, iLovePDF uses a cloud-based solution. Select the PDF of your choice and upload it to a server where the actual compression takes place. This can lead to slow compression times if you use slower internet. We hit a 100 Mbps ultrafast line usage limit and were stuck at 2 Mbps for the rest of the month. At this speed, it took 2 minutes and 58 seconds for iLovePDF to load the test file, compress it, and download the compressed version.

We hope that the process will be much faster with a faster connection. We were very impressed with iLovePDF’s compression solution – it reduced file size by an incredible 87.5 percent. This brought our unwieldy 20MB test file down to just over 2MB. That is real compression.

Pros:

  • Excellent compression results
  • Wide range of additional functions such as PDF merge and split

Cons:

  • The cloud-based solution can take a considerable amount of time with a slow network connection.
  • Privacy issues as you have to upload PDF to the cloud

download it here

iLovePDF

2. AllPDF reader

For whom it is? Users who want fast, offline PDF compression.

We were impressed with iLovePDF. But AllPDF’s local compression solution surprised us in terms of speed. The compression time was recorded in just 3 seconds. Compressing AllPDF Reader reduced the file size by 91 percent, down to just 1.9 MB. However, there is a important AllPDF Reader compression problem. The test file we used made no work with PDF Compressor. Printed black pages with no information or images of any kind.

Curious as to whether the option was completely broken or not, we tested another test file, the Tanzania Human Development Report, available on the UNDP website. here. Now at just 559 KB, this is already a pretty optimized PDF, with just a few images and tables. The AllPDF Reader compressor worked here, but it only reduced the file size by about 10 percent, down to 508 KB. We also tested its other features like JPG conversion and they seemed to work fine. However, we are putting off recommending AllPDF because its compressor doesn’t seem to handle large PDF files very well.

Pros:

  • Offline solution
  • Works fast

Cons:

  • It does not work with all PDF files, especially the larger ones

download it here

AllPDF reader

3. PDF compressor

For whom it is? Users who want a single-purpose application for PDF compression.

The name says it all with this app. Unlike the others on our list so far, PDF Compressor is truly a single function application. Compress PDF files, end of story. Like iLovePDF, it uses a cloud-based solution. But how well does it work? Unfortunately not as good as we would have liked. For starters, it took a ridiculously long 5 minutes and 10 seconds for the end-to-end process, from uploading the PDF to your server to compressing and downloading. Also, the compression output was far from satisfactory. iLovePDF achieved a stellar 87 percent compression ratio. Here, we’re seeing a mere .89 percent size reduction, down to 19.87 MB. In general, it is difficult to recommend PDF Compressor. Even if it’s a single-purpose solution, iLovePDF just does a better job. And even if AllPDF Reader is less reliable, it offers many more additional PDF features. We hope that PDF Compressor works better with files with more text, but as it is, we suggest that you stay away from it.

Read: 10 Best PDF Reading Apps for Android Smartphones and Tablets

Pros:

  • Dedicated to PDF compression

Cons:

  • Very slow
  • Poor compression ratio with our sample PDF

download it here

PDF Compressor

4. PDF utilities

For whom it is? A viable alternative to iLovePDF, for users who want a multipurpose PDF toolkit.

What we’ve seen so far is that there really isn’t an ideal PDF compressor; each of them has quite significant flaws. We think PDF Utils is the most balanced option yet. For starters, it uses offline PDF compression like AllPDF Reader, which makes compression faster. We recorded the compression speed in just 3 seconds, a tie with AllPDF Reader. However, unlike the previous item, PDF Utils can handle larger PDF files with relative ease. Our high school textbook sample was successfully converted and the result was readable. The compression ratio is also moderate. PDF Utils reduces the file size to 8.49 MB, a 57.7 percent reduction in size. Here’s a caveat. While black and white images handle well, color images appear to have their colors reversed. However, unless your PDF has a lot of color-sensitive critical elements, like color-coded tables, this isn’t such a bad compromise.

Pros:

  • Very fast offline solution
  • Moderate levels of compression.

Cons:

  • Color images have their colors reversed

download it here

PDF Utilities

5. WPS PDF Lite

For whom it is? Users already in the WPS office application ecosystem.

WPS PDF Lite is the reduced version of the WPS PDF reader suite. Unlike its older brother, WPS PDF Lite has a more focused feature set. However, it still has a few tricks up its sleeve, including PDF camera scanning and digital signing, in addition to PDF compression. If you’re looking for a consistent experience, this is a decent option if you’ve already invested in the WPS app ecosystem – your office apps, particularly your word processing and presentation apps, are among the best on Android. However, let’s see how PDF compression fares. Taking just 6 seconds, it’s pretty clear that WPS Office is an offline compressor. While it is fast, it is not very efficient. The standard compression setting only shrinks our PDF to 19.5MB, a measly 2.7 percent. This is still better than PDF Compressor’s downright ridiculous result of less than one percent. Both PDF Compressor and WPS PDF Lite have good reviews on the Play Store; both exceed 4 stars. We strongly suspect that the poor result here is due to its inability to handle image compression effectively. Considering the amount of positive reviews, we still think these two options are worth giving a shot, especially if you have text-heavy PDF files.

Pros:

  • Easy to integrate with the rest of the WPS application suite
  • Fast offline compression

Cons:

  • Very low compression ratio with our sample PDF

download it here

WPS PDF Lite

Conclusion:

It’s hard to decide which of these is the best PDF compressor app on Android. What we learned from our PDF compression experience is that most compression apps on the Play Store have a lot of compromises – the decision comes down to what you’re comfortable losing, rather than what’s best. We note here that cloud-based solutions such as iLovePDF and PDF Compressor can take longer, especially if you have poor connectivity. There is also the privacy issue related to sending potentially confidential PDF files to an unknown server.

However, overall, the best cloud-based solution and the best overall is iLovePDF. It’s pretty slow, but it gets the job done – at over 90 percent compression, it still manages to retain image details. PDF Utils is our pick for an offline compressor. It is much faster than iLovePDF and the compression levels are still reasonable. However, the color inversion problem could be a deal breaker. Why just compress PDF files? Check out our list of the best image compression apps here to find out how to compress your images as well.

Read: Best PDF Editing Apps for Android

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