BitTorrent vs uTorrent: choosing the best for 2021

Jan Youngren
Jan Youngren | Chief Editor
Last updated: August 31, 2021
BitTorrent vs uTorrent

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One of the biggest questions people have when getting involved in torrenting is usually about BitTorrent vs uTorrent: which torrent client is the best in 2021?

Finding the answer can seem difficult as most torrenting clients offer similar experiences. However, in our full BitTorrent vs uTorrent analysis today, we’re going to show you the best torrenting client for 2021.

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How we made this uTorrent vs BitTorrent comparison

To crown a winner, we’re going to look at each torrent client’s:

  • Ease of download
  • Ease of installation
  • Design and interface
  • Safety and security
  • User ratings and reviews
  • Speed tests on desktop and mobile

With that in mind, we need to get one thing out of the way first: the (wrong) idea that both BitTorrent and uTorrent are the same and that there’s no meaningful difference between the two.

BitTorrent vs uTorrent: a useless comparison?

When we decided to look at which torrenting client was better, BitTorrent vs uTorrent, we were eager to see the differences in desktop and mobile applications, their interface, security, and of course, speed.

However, we soon learned that there seemed to be virtually no difference between the two torrenting clients. uTorrent was originally developed by Ludvig Strigeus in 2005. Since 2006, its code has been owned and maintained by BitTorrent, Inc., the private company responsible for developing the BitTorrent peer-to-peer (P2P) protocol.

In fact, after taking over the uTorrent code, the BitTorrent client (also known as BitTorrent Mainline) was rebranded as just another version of uTorrent.

It seemed initially that the battle between BitTorrent and uTorrent was already moot: the two apps are made by the same company, with the only difference being the name and color.

But after digging deeper, we discovered that wasn’t the truth at all:

While they are similar in appearance and functionality, BitTorrent and uTorrent are quite different in a few important ways.

Depending on what you value the most, you can use either BitTorrent or uTorrent. However, based on our tests, in the match of BitTorrent vs uTorrent, we give a slight advantage to uTorrent.

Read on to find out why.

Ease of download

There are some small specs differences we should get out of the way when discussing BitTorrent and uTorrent:

  • BitTorrent has a download file size of around 3 MB, while uTorrent has a file size of about 1 MB
  • the BitTorrent Android app is 67 MB (after a fresh install), while uTorrent’s app is less than 51 MB.
  • BitTorrent only releases stable updates (and not very often), while uTorrent updates regularly with alpha and beta releases
  • both BitTorrent and uTorrent support all of the popular platforms, but uTorrent also supports Linux

Now, to get these torrent clients, the first thing you’ll have to do is visit their websites to download the programs. When you try to download these files, you’ll see that they have a similar, straightforward, no-nonsense approach.

Here’s how to download BitTorrent:

How to download BitTorrent

And this is how to download uTorrent:

Free download uTorrent

For both clients, their websites will determine what your platform is. If you click on the big “Download” button on their homepages, you’ll get the correct file downloaded automatically.

Alternatively, you can choose your platform by yourself. All in all, we can see that there’s virtually no difference in the ease of downloading.

No winners, no losers: both torrent clients are easy to download.

When it comes to installation, however, that’s a different thing.

Ease of installation

Installing BitTorrent (at least for Mac) was a breeze.

We’ll talk later about the ads and monetization systems that both torrent clients are using, but suffice it to say that to install BitTorrent, you’ll have to make it through two offers.

The first one is for Yahoo’s search platform:

BitTorrent Yahoo installation offer

You can choose to install by clicking on Quick (recommend), which, incidentally, we don’t recommend.

You can also install by clicking on Advanced and choosing the options that work best for you:

BitTorrent Yahoo search advanced installation options

For us, we just went ahead and clicked on ‘Skip.’ We then got the second offer, this time for Opera’s browser:

BitTorrent install offer for Opera

For this one, we just clicked on ‘Skip’ again. After that, BitTorrent was installed easily. No problems.

Now, for uTorrent…

When we clicked to install the uTorrent download file, we were immediately notified by our AVG Antivirus program that multiple threats had been detected and had been secured:

uTorrent virus warning and details

We also got the following notification:

uTorrent can't be opened on Mac

(Note: when we installed uTorrent on Windows, we didn’t get any notification, even though we had the same antivirus program installed.)

Deciding to look into it further, we looked up this “pseudonychium” vulnerability which caused our antivirus program to deny us uTorrent.

From what we found out, pseudonychium is no joke. According to ThreatPost, pseudonychium is a vulnerability that can allow for hidden commands ranging from “downloading malware into the targeted PC’s startup folder or gaining access to user’s download activity information.”

Although uTorrent’s founder, BitTorrent, stated in 2018 that they had patched up the vulnerability, our antivirus seems to be telling a different story.

We attempted to install a previous version of uTorrent for Mac, but it provided a buggy experience. Eager to test other parts of the app, we decided to ignore our antivirus’ warnings and very carefully install the newest version of uTorrent.

We went through exactly the same Yahoo and Opera offers that we had with BitTorrent’s installation. The only difference here was the brand colors and the final success image:

uTorrent installation success

After that, we turned our antivirus back on, hoping that nothing too bad will happen.

BitTorrent was easier to install, with uTorrent having some virus problems (at least on Mac).

The overall design and interface

The design interface of BitTorrent is exactly the same as that of uTorrent. Here’s BitTorrent’s interface:

BitTorrent's interface

And this is uTorrent’s interface:

µTorrent's interface

The only difference would be that uTorrent had an ad for CyberGhost running, while BitTorrent’s app didn’t show us any ads.

We wish there were something more that we could analyze here, but these apps are virtually the same with some small and insignificant differences.

In fact, this would be a good point to talk about their ads and monetization policy. Both BitTorrent and uTorrent make money by selling ad space on their apps and including bundles software, which we saw here with the Yahoo search and Opera browser offers.

They also offer a Pro version of each, both uTorrent and BitTorrent, although the big question here is: who would buy it?

They’re both the same price ($19.95 at the moment). BitTorrent Pro includes:

  • File conversion
  • Anti-virus
  • HD media player
  • Instant streaming
  • Remote access
  • Bandwidth booster

uTorrent pro offers much of the same:

  • File conversion
  • Anti-virus
  • HD media player
  • Instant streaming
  • No ads
  • Extra content and bundles

Here we have to decide if it’s more valuable to have a bandwidth booster or no ads.

For us, since we’re so used to seeing ads that we’ve developed a psychological blind spot to them, bandwidth booster is much more appealing.

Both interfaces are the same. However, for Pro plans, BitTorrent has a slightly better offer.

Safety and security

Of the two torrent clients (ignoring that they are created by the same organization), only one has had some controversy that would concern the average torrenter.

And that is uTorrent.

The Conduit Engine adware toolbar

In 2010, some users were concerned when the uTorrent release included adware known as the Conduit Engine. This installed a toolbar on the users’ browsers and changed their homepages and default search engines.

Many users claimed that the installation was done without the user’s consent and that the software was difficult to remove.

The Epic Scale crypto miner

In 2015, one of uTorrent’s bundled software monetization schemes included a cryptocurrency miner called Epic Scale.

As with the Yahoo search and Opera browser that comes bundled when you’re trying to install BitTorrent or uTorrent, Epic Scale was an optional add-on that users could skip if they wanted to.

However, if you’ve ever installed anything at all, you know that most people just click “Next” or “Accept” until their program is installed and working, neglecting to stop and read what they’re actually accepting.

That’s what happened with Epic Scale, as people began claiming that uTorrent silently installed this Bitcoin miner. However, BitTorrent, Inc. simply claimed that there was no silent install happening but that “most likely, the users accepted the offer during the install.”

uYorrent's Epic Scale controversy
Image source.

Beyond that, the Epic Scale miner was pretty easy to install. However, the optics of the entire thing (installing a cryptocurrency miner that can reduce the performance of users’ computers) were terrible.

Because of that, many torrenters were reluctant to use uTorrent again for a while, leading them to use the other BitTorrent client instead.

BitTorrent is safer only because it hasn’t had the controversies that uTorrent has.

User ratings and reviews

It’s quite difficult to get comprehensive reviews of either BitTorrent or uTorrent’s desktop apps, seeing as they’re downloaded from the respective sites that don’t contain any reviews or ratings.

Therefore, the best way to get a sense of user feedback on each torrenting app, we’ll have to go to their mobile app reviews.

On the Android Play Store, you’ll see that both apps have a cumulative rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. However, it’s also worth noting the difference in total installs to get a sense of each app’s popularity and perceived trustworthiness.

BitTorrent has roughly 671,000 installs:

BitTorrent Android app popularity and number of installs

Surveying the average sentiment from the top reviews left by users, the biggest pains with BitTorrent seem to be buggy file selection and problems with the app loading.

However, you should take this with a grain of salt, seeing as the overwhelming majority of users gave this a 5-star rating.

uTorrent has roughly 5 times as many installs as BitTorrent, coming in at 3.5 million:

uTorrent Android app popularity and number of installs

Looking over the average sentiments for the top reviews, we see that uTorrent users most often had problems with ads and some bugs with the app not loading or not fully downloading files.

Again, however, it’s important to remember that most of the reviews gave the app 5 stars.

Both have the same ratings and similar reviews, but uTorrent wins due to its higher amount of installs.

The all-important speed test

To have an in-depth BitTorrent vs uTorrent analysis, we need to check what kind of average speeds these separate clients have.

To do that comprehensively, we’ll do the pairs of speed tests on both desktop and mobile.

BitTorrent vs uTorrent speed test on desktop

To test the speed of each torrent client (in other words, the most important BitTorrent vs uTorrent discussion), we decided to download a popular, totally legal torrent from the Vuze StudioHD Network:

BitTorrent vs uTorrent speed test file - Cpmedy Time - Half Hour Show 4 Bundle

The file comes in at about 330 MB. Using BitTorrent, it took just under 3 minutes with an average speed of 3.3 Mbps:

BitTorrent speed results on desktop

uTorrent did much better, however, blasting past BitTorrent’s with an average speed of 4.1 Mbps:

uTorrent speed results on desktop

In this one, based on the speed of the desktop site for the same torrent file, we can safely say that uTorrent is the better client.

The mobile speed test

The mobile experience for these apps is more straightforward, and therefore less versatile than their desktop equivalents.

We downloaded the same Vuze StudioHD Network comedy file on both BitTorrent and uTorrent. We noticed that the mobile apps didn’t offer the ability to see the average download speed and total download time for each file after you’ve downloaded them.

Therefore, you’ll have to take our word for the average speed and download times. For BitTorrent, it took about 9 minutes, with an average speed of around 600 KB/s:

BitTorrent average speed on Android

Much like its desktop program, uTorrent outperformed BitTorrent again.

This download averaged a speed hovering around 700 KB/s, and it took roughly 6 minutes to download:

uTorrent average speed on Android

uTorrent wins the speed battle, hands down.

However, we did notice something for both apps that we didn’t really appreciate too much – they wanted us to allow access to our location:

BitTorrent vs uTorrent location permission Android

We don’t really take too kindly to having our location exposed, especially with an app that doesn’t really need to know our location (except for better ad targeting), so we did what any sane person did:

Allow uTorrent android location - deny

Don’t even think about asking again.

uTorrent has much better speeds on desktop and mobile for the same file download.

BitTorrent vs uTorrent: the overall better torrent client is…

When it comes down to it, we see that the overall better app between BitTorrent and uTorrent is…

uTorrent*

We put an asterisk there because we believe uTorrent is the better torrenting client only if these two conditions are met:

  • you’re using something else than a Mac (such as Windows, Linux, Android)
  • you read carefully before you click “Accept” when installing the app

Those things are pretty easy for most of the world. This is mainly because of the important similarities between the two apps. However, when it comes to the most critical part of torrenting—speed—uTorrent has BitTorrent beat.

However, if you’re using a Mac, we’d recommend you use BitTorrent. This is mainly because the virus warning about pseudonychium is something that you shouldn’t overlook. Until uTorrent updates the Mac version of their app, we recommend you sacrifice a little bit of speed for a whole lot more security by using BitTorrent instead.

For both apps, however, just remember to either read carefully when installing the desktop apps or simply click on “Skip” to avoid installing the mostly useless software bundles.

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A quick note about being safe while torrenting

It would be irresponsible of us to end this BitTorrent vs uTorrent analysis without discussing the overall—and critical—issue of torrenting safety.

Here we’re not just talking about having your antivirus active when installing the torrenting client. We’re talking about the issue of piracy and copyrights.

We’re not naive: while we went ahead and downloaded a legal file, we understand that there’s a wide variety of files you’ll probably be downloading. Having said that, even though you’re downloading completely legal files, ISPs, corporations, and government institutions generally view torrenting in general as illegal (even though it isn’t).

Because of that, you must practice safety by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to hide your true IP address. If you’re using a different IP address, they won’t be able to find you. By using a VPN, you’re essentially spoofing your true location by using a different city’s or country’s IP address.

There are great VPNs optimized for torrenting that can give you excellent download speeds. In fact, during our entire BitTorrent vs uTorrent analysis, we were using a VPN for both desktop and mobile (it’s just a basic behavior for us since we always have a VPN active when browsing the internet on both).

Even then, we got some pretty good speeds. Internet safety is no joke, and there are many more benefits to using a VPN besides just torrenting safety.

We highly recommend you use a VPN for your torrenting so that you can enjoy all your content in peace.

So, which of these torrent clients are you using in 2021? In the battle of BitTorrent vs uTorrent, which is your winner?

Let us know in the comments below!


Recommended reads:
Best free VPN for torrenting in 2021
Is torrenting illegal in the US?
Is torrenting safe in 2021?
What is seeding in torrenting?
How to spoof Pokemon Go location with a VPN


FAQ

Is uTorrent better than BitTorrent?

Yes, it is. uTorrent is faster and more popular, but all other features, such as design or compatibility, are virtually identical. That being said, Mac users might like BitTorrent more.

Is uTorrent or BitTorrent bad for your computer?

No, both apps are considered to be safe. However, you should pay attention when installing – uTorrent offers some third-party app which is in a grey area. And finally, make sure that your downloaded torrent doesn’t contain malware.

Does Windows 10 block BitTorrent?

No, Windows 10 doesn’t block torrent clients, be it BitTorrent, uTorrent, or any other. However, Windows Firewall may require adding an exception before you can run these programs. The same might be needed if you use antivirus software.

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11 comments
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  1. SZ

    I think you haven’t done enough research on the speed, which, at least for me, is the most important factor by far. downloading one specific file in one specific setting can hardly be called a test.
    what about different file sizes? what about downloading multiple files in parallel? these are just off the top of my head.


    1. avatar
      Ethan Payne

      Hey there. It’s true that there are many variables that can affect download speed. Even the same torrent file can be affected by the number of seeders available. But download speed is just one of the many aspects that we compared in this article. We have to analyze each factor equally while also keeping the article brief and to the point.


  2. someone

    Uttorent is better. It is true that uttorent downloads faster…


  3. Jay

    I’d take security over speed any day, so since I have a Mac, I’ll be giving BitTorrent a try. Thanks for the thorough analysis!


  4. Rajek Bogdan

    I have been using uTorrent for ages now. It’s so simple and solid, never felt need to look anywhere else. And as iOS is way out of my league, I am covered there! 🙂


  5. Jie Hsu

    I like a reviewer that takes the time to dig deep when comparing products. At first I thought there were no differences, but your review really did well with a comparative analysis of both products. I don’t Torrent but if I did, I’d feel like I could make an informed decision by using this review.


  6. tonytheliger119

    Glad to hear that uTorrent is still a solid choice. It’s a great little program, and I used it for years. I’ll be sure to add it back into my roster as soon as I get a good VPN. Which one do you think is the best for torrenting? I’ve got my eye on TorGuard at the moment, but I’m open to suggestions.


  7. Kitoma

    I think I’ll still be using uTorrent because of the speed but I think that some of the trackers and things can also affect download speed(I might be wrong and you should do a research about it?). But thanks for introducing another alternative if uTorrent will be harmful to my PC


    1. avatar
      Jan Youngren Author

      Hi there Kitoma – yes, trackers do affect speed, since they’re crucial for downloading. uTorrent is still our pick, but the other alternatives are also great.


  8. Anaïs Fecteau

    I’ve used both BitTorrent and uTorrent in the past and I also found BitTorrent to be easier and quicker to install and use. I actually found uTorrent installation a bit irritating, that’s why I switched back to BitTorrent.


    1. avatar
      Jan Youngren Author

      Hello, it is really nice that you tried both alternatives and found the one you like the most! Just keep in mind that while using both of these services you should carefully read when installing the desktop apps, just to be safe and avoid the mostly useless software bundles!

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