Free Photoshop Alternatives (Top 3) [Guide]

Adobe Photoshop is arguably the best image editing software out there. But after the free 7 day trial it comes with a price tag (licensing currently costs around Β£10-Β£20 per month) which can make it less appealing to amateur and occasional users.

However, there are plenty of great free alternatives that are free forever. These include the most useful tools that you love from Photoshop. This guide will be covering our personal top 3, favourite free alternatives to Adobe Photoshop!

#3 – GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)

GIMP is a fully featured free and open source image editor. It’s cross platform so works on most desktop operating systems (including Windows, MAC OS and Linux). It is the most powerful free alternative and has plenty of bells and whistles and is capable of replacing Photoshop in most ways. Overall it’s a great option for advanced users.

  • The most powerful free Photoshop alternative. – Allows for advanced image manipulation with a plethora of tools
  • Lots of online resources and tutorials for GIMP on YouTube
  • Supports most file formats
  • Not easy to use – you’ll need some image editing experience or to run through some tutorials before jumping in
GIMP in action

#2 – Sumo Paint (Online)

Sumo Paint is often overlooked as a Photoshop alternative, but it’s the best free online alternative to Photoshop. It’s also totally cloud based – that means you do not need to download any software as it runs straight from any web browser. It’s compatible on all desktop operating systems. It’s also an excellent tool for artists to draw and create images from scratch as well as editing images. Being the best free online alternative to Photoshop also makes SumoPaint the best free Photoshop alternative for Chromebook devices. What makes it our favourite is the interface is similar to Photoshop, it’s very neat and easy to use. It has all the necessities for image manipulation without the complicated interfaces.

  • Nice interface and layout
  • Easy to use for beginners
  • Has the essentials (like Magic Wand Tool and Layers)
  • Works off the website, you do not need to download anything
  • Works on any desktop operating system and is optimized to be one of the best free Photoshop alternatives for Chromebooks. (There are a few other options too – see the notable mentions at the bottom of this guide)
  • Excellent choice for artists to draw and create images with a stylus
  • Whilst it says it may contain ads we haven’t seen any. Unlike other free online Photoshop alternatives, you aren’t inundated with ads
  • You can resume work when you return to the Sumo Paint website
  • You can install the web app (for free) for offline support
  • Being browser based you could experience lag for heavy editing compared to desktop software. Web apps generally aren’t as optimized to use as desktop apps.
Best free online photoshop alternative - SumoPaint
SumoPaint in action

#1 – Paint.Net (Windows Only) is our personal favourite. It’s the best free Windows alternative to Photoshop. is based off the classic Paint application that everyone knows and loves on Windows. Whilst it looks the same and is just as easy to use, contains the key features that most users would need from Photoshop.

  • Very easy to use, ideal for beginners and intermediate level users
  • Has the key features that most users would need – including layers, magic wand, change history, adjustments and effects
  • Supports most image file formats including .WEBP .HEIC and .PSD
  • Actively developed and updated with new features
  • Lightweight app – can work well without lag low powered Windows machines
  • The biggest (and most obvious) con is the lack of support for other operating systems. This one is strictly for Windows only. (Unless you used some virtualization trickery – however that’s a rabbit hole for another guide)
  • It might not be suitable for advanced users and advanced image manipulation
Best free photoshop alternative on Windows - in action

Honorable Mentions

  • Photopea – online ad supported Photoshop alternative. Has lots of controls and supports most file formats. Like SumoPaint this one is a great alternative for Chromebook users
Photopea in action

  • Krita – free software for all operating systems. Resembles Photoshop and is great for editing photos
Krita in action – Image src: Wikipedia
  • Pixlr – popular ad supported online Photoshop alternative with two versions Pixlr X (basic editor good for basic editing and image effects) and Pixlr E (for advanced photo editing) – you’ll want Pixlr E
Pixlr in action
  • LunaPic – a very basic online photo editor where you can add affects and manipulate images one effect at a time. This is great for complete beginners or those who are looking to add a specific effect to an image (e.g. transparency, rounded corners or animations)
LunaPic in action
  • Photoshop Express/Mix/Fix/Sketch/Lightroom for Android/Chromebooks – Photoshop have free apps available for Android/Chromebooks each apps have specific feature sets – so according to the task you’re trying to accomplish you’d need to download the relevant app. The advantage here is that the interfaces will be familiar and you’re getting Adobe products for free. The disadvantage is the limited functionality. It’s on our worthy mentions list as it carries the Adobe name, however if you’re after mobile apps you can also consider Google Photos for basic cropping and filters. Snapseed for photo editing effects and PicsArt for more feature rich image editing and creation.
Photoshop Express on Android in action

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Let us know what what your favourite free image editor is > here <

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