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Trying to decide which torrent client to use can be a headache. All sorts of programs from dozens of different companies are constantly fighting for our attention, and to convince us that their client is the best to use in 2020.
Sifting through all the information at our disposal takes time and effort, so it’s nice to take a focused look at a couple of our options and really get into what makes one better and the other worse. Today we’ll be taking a look at qBittorrent vs. uTorrent.
Moreover, users should beware that downloading copyrighted content can get them in serious trouble. To avoid getting caught red-handed, you should obscure your online identity by using a proxy or VPN service.
Below, you’ll find a list of our top 5 VPNs for both qBittorrent and uTorrent:
|#||PROVIDER||CATEGORY SCORECATEGORY SCORE|
All-around leading VPN
Forward-thinking and affordable
Cheapest torrenting VPN
Known for excellent security
After going through the comparison, we’ll have a better idea of how these clients compare, and how we can get started torrenting our content faster and safer.
In order to get a good look at both of these programs, we will be going over a few different categories:
- ease of download
- ease of installation
- design and interface
- safety and security
- user ratings and reviews
- speed tests on desktop and mobile
So let’s start off with the first category: ease of download.
How easy is it to download qBittorrent vs uTorrent?
When you visit the qBittorrent website, you’ll find a rather ugly little page with the typical home page listing some features and asking for donations.
Although the website interface isn’t the prettiest, it is easy to navigate with a tab leading directly to the “Download” section of their website.
When you arrive at the download screen, you will find some public keys for the PGP signing on the various install files that the page has listed for download. Underneath these are the download links for Mac and Windows; the Windows download links are highlighted here:
Obviously, this is pretty straightforward—the website may not be pretty, but it has all the info and data you will need to install and get started with their client.
As for uTorrent: When you visit the uTorrent page you will be met with a much sleeker website interface offering a download of “uTorrent web”, which is uTorrent’s new web-based client. This client allows you to download and stream files directly to your browser.
For now, we’ll scroll down and take a look at their classic uTorrent client:
Clicking on the big green “Download uTorrent Classic” button will bring up the different pay plans with various options available. Click on “Download Now” under the “Basic” plan to go with the free version. We can take a look at the different pay plans later on.
As we can see, both clients have pretty straightforward websites with downloads readily available for their various clients. That being said, I’m going to give the gold to uTorrent in this category since their download link was front-and-center and their website is much easier on the eyes!
uTorrent is better because of their better website and easier download.
Next up is the installation.
How easy is the installation?
Starting up the qBittorrent installer will give you some language options, and ask you to peruse to a license agreement.
This is all pretty standard—if you check the box that says “agree” and hit next, you will be allowed to choose components and options for the install:
If you want desktop or start menu shortcuts, or if you want .torrent files and magnet links to open with qBittorrent by default, select these before hitting next.
Now you’ll be asked where you want to install the program:
The default install folder is C:\Program Files\qBittorrent. If you want the client installed somewhere else, enter a different path.
Hitting “Install” will start the installation. The nice thing here was the absence of any hidden components or sketchy packaged programs.
Moving on to the uTorrent installer, when you open up the .exe you’ll see a much prettier program, and a warning about illicit software:
This is where you will want to be careful. The next page is an “optional offer” from Adaware Web Companion, and it looks just like another license agreement:
We don’t want to install anything besides a torrent client, so we can just hit “Decline” to continue with the install. This will bring us to another optional offer from Avast Free Antivirus:
Again, hitting “Decline” will continue the install without installing any unnecessary software. Next, you’ll be asked if you want Start menu, Quick Launch, and Desktop icons. Hitting next from there will bring you to a few more options. We can choose to start uTorrent on Windows startup, and we have an option to associate .btsearch files as well. Hitting next will begin the install.
The main problem here was the sneaky little optional installations that uTorrent tried to sneak into the package. qBittorrent will have to take the top spot for this category, since they had the decency to not pull a fast one on us.
qBittorrent is better because uTorrent had too many offers and optional installations.
So now that our client is installed, we can take a look at which one looks and handles better.
Design and interface
Opening up qBittorrent gives us a typical little torrent interface with tasteful minimalist icons:
All the basic functions are present as buttons near the top. You can add torrent links, add torrent files, and delete items using the first three buttons.
The other controls here are pretty self explanatory; play, pause, priority controls, and settings. It’s nice to have these functions easily accessible, but there’s nothing special about the layout.
The sidebar has options to sort the torrent list into status categories. Other options for tags and categories are also available, along with a list of trackers with a few different sections.
It’s a very clean interface without any extra stuff sitting around anywhere. There are some options in the drop down menus at the top which control how things are displayed or give you access to various options.
At the very bottom, there are some stats and an option to switch to alternative speed limits which can be set from the options menu.
The options menu is fairly straightforward, and contains all the settings you expect to find:
There are some features that qBittorrent offers which uTorrent does not, including email notifications for completed downloads and web-based remote management.
Moving on to the uTorrent interface, we have some glaring differences we can notice right away:
That’s right, advertisements. I’ll talk about this more in depth in a second, but this is a huge turnoff right off the bat.
All the same controls are here, we can add links or files and control priority with buttons. Overall, the design of the interface seems a little bit more polished for uTorrent. All the typical tabs are available for displaying files, info, peers, etc. for the selected torrent.
There are also links to get torrent files and upgrade to pro, as well as social media links. The dropdown menus at the top are significantly more minimal, but all the same functionality is available.
It’s worthwhile to note that uTorrent has links to forums and other useful resources which qBittorrent can’t really match. There’s also an RSS downloader function and the ability to link mobile devices. The options menu is also a lot more versatile, with dozens of extra options compared to qBittorrent:
Overall, if you’re going with the basic version for uTorrent, it’s a bit of a toss-up. The increased functionality and streamlined interface are nice, but the lack of advertisements are a huge advantage for qBittorrent vs uTorrent.
That being said, unlike qBittorrent, uTorrent offers paid versions of their client with various advantages:
- Ad-free costs $4.95 per year
- disables the ads displayed in the client
- offers the same fast downloads and automatic bandwidth management of the basic client.
- Pro Costs $19.95 per year and adds the following features:
- watch torrents without waiting
- convert files
- play in HD and “on the go”
- protection against viruses and malware
- The Pro+VPN package is $69.95 per year, and includes:
- all the bonuses of the Pro package
- also includes Cyber Ghost VPN.
The Ad-free option is a no-brainer for the extra functionality that the basic package offers in uTorrent vs. qBittorrent. The price works out to around 42 cents every month. If the luxury streaming features of the pro package are attractive to you, $19.95 is also fairly reasonable.
The added security of the Pro+VPN package may be what you’re looking for if security is your main concern, but the price seems a little steep, working out to around $5.82 per month.
Again, this is a toss-up, since qBittorrent is entirely free. uTorrent seems to pull ahead in this category, however, since their package offers a significant amount of versatility, while still offering more options than qBittorrent in their free basic package.
Close, but uTorrent is better because of better package offerings.
Safety and security
Taking a look at qBittorrent, it can function quite safely if you use the correct settings (a tutorial for which can be found here). But there have been some concerns about the visibility of the user’s IP when using qBittorrent. A post on GitHub detailing a hacking attempt through qBittorrent can be seen here from March of 2018.
For uTorrent, they’ve had some issues in the past with their install being bundled with sketchy software, but it is largely considered safe to use at the moment. Of course, safe downloading practices and a proper setup are always important (a tutorial can be found here).
It’s also worth noting that uTorrent offers package deals for VPN services, which are a huge deal for security.
- Watertight security
- Massive server list
- Great for streaming
- Very good for torrenting
- Very fast
- 24/7 customer support
- Excellent security
- Great server list
- Awesome for Netflix
- Good for torrenting
- Very easy to use
- Affordable prices
- Good for Netflix
- Large server fleet
- 24/7 live chat support
- Malware protection
- Great download speeds
So now that we’ve gone over all the features and other concerns, let’s take a look at what people are saying about qBittorrent vs. uTorrent.
Taking a look at the android app store, we can see what people are saying about the mobile apps for qBittorrent vs. uTorrent.
qBittorrent has a relatively low average user review, at 3.7 stars for its free version, and 4.1 for its paid ad-free version.
The pro version also has only 1k+ downloads, compared to 100k+ for the free version. Looking at the user reviews for the free app, some are positive, but a large amount (6 within the first ten user reviews) of users are saying that the app has trouble connecting or pairing with the desktop app.
Moving on to uTorrent, we can see that the user reviews are much more favorable, and it’s one of the most downloaded apps in the entire Play Store:
The user reviews themselves mention some issues, such as the app not being able to run properly in the background, as well as complaining about the amount of ads in the free version.
uTorrent has better (and much more) reviews.
Which is faster? qBittorrent vs uTorrent
One of the most important qualities that a good torrent client boils down to is the speed. How fast is qBittorrent vs. uTorrent?
We’ve taken a look at both clients’ speed by downloading the same file. It’s an .mp4 video file about 307MB in size.
Here we can see the file downloading in qBittorrent:
The download averaged about 13.5MiB/s with one seed connected. This is quite fast, and it finished in less than a minute. Overall, users will probably be very happy with this speed, although it may perform differently with different security settings.
The mobile client for qBittorrent is simply a controller which allows you to remotely manage the torrents on your computer. Since the speeds for the app will be the same as the desktop client, let’s move on and take a look at uTorrent:
As you can see, the test turned out significantly slower, at 2.7MB/s on average during the screenshot. It ended up with an average of 5.3MB/s, and took around two minutes to complete. While the difference in speed with qBittorrent vs. uTorrent wasn’t very noticeable with this file, it was significant.
Users downloading larger files or files with less reliable seeds would definitely prefer the speed of qBittorrent. Let’s take a look at uTorrent’s mobile app and see how the speeds compare:
As you can see with the uTorrent mobile app, the speeds were much more comparable to the qBittorrent desktop client. The download seemed to average about 11.5 MB/s. The mobile app has a few advertisements, but it was easy to use and worked very well, although it was hard to find data like the average speed for the completed download.
This category will have to go to uTorrent hands-down due to it’s easy-to-use mobile app and relative speed capabilities.
uTorrent provides a better mobile experience with great speeds.
qBittorrent vs uTorrent: the better torrent client is…
After taking a close look at the different qualities of the two programs, we can see some obvious differences in some of the categories:
- ease of download: uTorrent wins due to their spiffy website design.
- ease of installation: qBittorrent takes it here for their lack of sneaky packaged software.
- design and interface: uTorrent wins again due to their increased functionality and premium options.
- safety and security: uTorrent is on a killing spree, thanks to their packaged VPN services and extensive online resources.
- user ratings and reviews: uTorrent is on a rampage, with their reviews and downloads blowing qBittorrent out of the water.
- speed tests: uTorrent is dominating, since their speeds on mobile were comparable to that of qBittorrent’s desktop client.
And the obvious winner is: uTorrent, who pulled ahead in almost every single category.
A word on safety while using torrents
Torrenting can be a bit of a gray area in terms of both legality and safety. It’s always important to make sure you aren’t downloading illegal or unsafe content that may harm your computer or wind you up in jail.
There are a lot of safe downloading practices you can employ while torrenting to make sure you have a decent experience. uTorrent actually features and extensive online community that has plenty to say about different steps users can take to protect themselves.
One of the best ways to make sure you are safe is by using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. A VPN privatizes your connection, running it through a proprietary private network with added security and functionality. Many options are available, with some being offered in package deals with torrent clients.
uTorrent offers the CyberGhost VPN with it’s Pro+VPN package as mentioned earlier for $69.99 per year, or roughly $5.82 per month. The installer also had an ad for a deal with NordVPN for $3.99 per month. Take a look at your VPN options and see if you can’t find one that fits your budget and expectations.
So, which of these torrent clients are you using in 2020? In the battle of qBittorrent vs uTorrent, which is your winner?
Disclaimer: Affiliate links help us produce good content. Learn more.
Jan is a cybersecurity and consumer protection specialist focused on investigations that help readers navigate the complex infosecurity sphere. His research and commentary has been featured in Forbes, ComputerWeekly, PC Mag, TechRadar, ZDNet, The Mirror, Entrepreneur, and many other leading publications around the world.