Top 10 PDF Readers: Pros & Cons

If you deal with documents of pretty much any kind, you’ll probably need to edit and review PDFs at some point. In business settings, this often requires specialized software. Here’s our rating of the top 10 PDF readers and what’s good and not so good about each of them to help you choose the one that works best for you.

Working with online documents

PDFliner: An Intuitive Online PDF Editing Platform

IRS Form W-9 on PDFliner

An online PDF editor and one for Windows are included. These offer convenient editing tools such as signs like checks and crosses, drawing, watermarks, adding and erasing text, and much more, all done in a couple of clicks.

Special features include online alternatives to common PDF tools. From DocuSign to DocHub and much in between, PDFliner offers it all at a moderate price if you get an annual subscription. The platform also enables you to sign PDFs, create fillable fields, and share your data in a secure manner.

✔️ Online fillable forms for various industries
✔️ Quick
✔️ Intuitive interface
✔️ Affordable
✔️ Most features available with the Basic plan

❌ Wordy instructions

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC: The Classics

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC Reader

This Pro version of one of the most famous PDF readers is a premium option that offers a lot of advanced features such as comparing two versions of the same document, converting scans into PDFs that you can search and edit, and measure objects included in your PDF.

With Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, you can make ISO-compliant documents or those accessible to people with disabilities. Interactive media can also be added with this tool. Finally, the Pro version offers advanced mobile functionality.

Acrobat Pro DC Alternative

✔️ A wide range of mobile options
✔️ Version comparison
✔️ ISO compliance support
✔️ Interactive media
✔️ Can be used to make documents accessible to people with disabilities

❌ Not the easiest interface to navigate
❌ Pricy

PDFelement: Simple and Robust

PDFelement Reader

In its Pro version, PDFelement offers a wide range of essential PDF tools needed to edit, convert, sign, review, and share documents as part of your work process. Batch processing is possible in case you have a lot of documents to process.

Although easy to navigate, the interface differs for Windows and Mac, so it may take some extra effort to get used to it if you need both.

✔️ Easy to use
✔️ Advanced business features
✔️ Good cross-platform compatibility
✔️ Batch processing

❌ Windows & Mac interfaces don’t match

Sejda: A Robust Budget-Friendly Reader

Sejda Reader

Even the free version of this online PDF reader has a lot to offer, from converting files to PDF and back to editing, filling, and signing documents. The only problem with it is that the number of saves you can make per hour is limited. Luckily, the license is quite affordable and removes the restriction. The interface is easy to navigate.

Sejda Alternative

✔️ Intuitive
✔️ A lot of features for free
✔️ Affordable license prices

❌ Limited saving ability with the free version

PDFescape: Affordable and Powerful

PDFescape Reader

The pricing policy is probably the best thing about PDFescape. While the free version doesn’t have much to offer, the highly affordable Premium will suffice for essential editing and converting tasks. Please mind that it doesn’t include sign and seal options, though.

PDFEscape Alternative

✔️ Cheap Premium for editing and converting
✔️ Creates a convenient workspace with Premium and Ultimate

❌ Paid redacting
❌ Not the most intuitive interface

DocHub: Cheap and Efficient Edit-and-Sign Tool

DocHub Reader

DocHub is another excellent budget-friendly option. It offers everything it has for free, with the amount of data to process and signing frequency being the only limitation. Alternatively, there is an affordable Premium that offers everything unlimited.

DocHub Alternative

✔️ All features for free
✔️ Cheap Premium for unlimited processing
✔️ Largely intuitive

❌ Confusing field menu
❌ No drafts

PDF Pro: A Decent Basic Option

PDF Pro Reader

PDF Pro is an online platform for essential editing and conversion. It saves all the files you upload in a list, which is both a pain because it takes time to select the one you need and a nice feature if you need to return to a file. From fields to signing, the interface is unfussy and easy to use. The free version is extremely limited.

✔️ Simple menus
✔️ Save a list of your PDFs

❌ Only one plan available
❌ Slow

PDF Expert: Top Mac PDF Reader

PDF Expert Reader

This affordable reader has nearly as many features as Adobe Acrobat and is generally faster. Filling out and signing forms, editing, and redacting are all easy and intuitive. Unfortunately, no OCR capability is offered.

✔️ Intuitive UI
✔️ Extensive page manipulation menu
✔️ Relatively inexpensive

❌ No OCR

PDF Expert Alternative

FormSwift: A Powerful Tool for Specialized Forms

FormSwift Reader

With a big library of industry-specific forms, FormSwift offers extensive collaborative document functionality for editing, signing, and more. The templates save a lot of time. While the annual subscription is moderately priced, monthly and one-time options are ridiculously expensive.

✔️ Good form library
✔️ Easy-to-use minimalist toolbar

❌ Too expensive if used on a short-term basis


Depending on your purpose, your reader of choice might differ. We recommend getting one that offers a reasonably big toolkit at a moderate price. The size depends on your tasks. Most users will like PDFliner as a quick and intuitive platform with lots of functionality.

Liza Zdrazhevska
Content Marketer at PDFLiner