By this point I’ve bookmarked a dozen image compression websites — and for the longest time I’ve used the Optimizilla out of habit.
This week a thread popped up in the group asking for suggestions for a web-based option for compressing photos, and it sounded like a fun thing to test!
Below I’ll take you through the test I ran, and give you my overall thoughts on each of the compression software services.
Using the suggestions in the group, we ended up with 5 contenders:
After running all the tests, I realized that Bulk Resize Photos is the black sheep of this bunch, as it’s not really a compression tool. This should have been obvious from the start (doh!), but since I had already run the tests, I figured I’d leave it in the results anyway.
Later in the article I’ll share my thoughts on each of the tools, and I’m glad Bulk Resize Photos is still included, because it’s actually a nifty little tool!
For this (highly-unscientific) test, I’m going to upload four different images into each of the optimizers (3 JPG’s and one PNG with transparency) and see which one gives us the best compression rate.
Keep in mind, all 5 of these services offer some different options, and it will be impossible to have true apples-to-apples comparisons — but I’ll do my best to choose the most similar options across the board.
At the end of this test, I’ll provide you with a link to a zip file where you can download all the images (since uploading them to WordPress and having ShortPixel running on this site wouldn't give a true representation of each image). Judging the quality of the images is subjective, so you can download all the images and be your own judge!
In my opinion, all the compression tools did a great job of maintaining quality that I’d be happy with in most cases (unless it’s a photography website where the image quality is the product).
The three images I will be using are:
You can click the links above to download the original images.
The original file comes in at 3.66 MB at the dimensions of 7372 x 4392.
Here are the results:
The original file comes in at 1.03 MB at the dimensions of 4800 x 4800.
Here are the results:
The original file comes in at 912 KB at the dimensions of 3456 x 2304.
Here are the results:
The original file comes in at 526 KB at the dimensions of 794 x 806.
Here are the results:
Interestingly enough, in all 5 tests, each one of the tools finished in the exact same order with ShortPixel on top, TinyPNG 2nd, Bulk Resize Photos in last, and Squoosh and Optimizilla neck-and-neck in the middle.
As I mentioned before, this is far from scientific, but it’s enough data to get a loose idea of how the tools compare.
Most of these tools offer more fine-tune adjustments, and you could get different results if you manipulated the settings. In the end, I see a good use-case for each of the five tools depending on exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.
You can download the entire zip file, with all of the images here.
Out of the tools I tested, ShortPixel offered the best out-of-the-box compression.
ShortPixel's free tool, which I used for this test, is really a sales tool to get you into their paid tool which gives you the ability to add more features and removes the file size restrictions. The free tool will only let you download images one at a time, which is quite the pain when you're trying to process a bunch.
I've been using ShortPixel for quite a while now, but not with their web-based tool, but rather with their WordPress plugin. Their plugin will automatically compress images as you add them to your media library, and you can bulk process your images if you install the plugin and already have a bunch of media items loaded.
One added benefit to the plugin is you can set a maximum width or height on photos and ShortPixel will automatically resize the images so you don't end up with clients uploading 6000px wide images on their website (1920px is more than enough!).
The free version allows you to upload 100 images per month, but their paid options are affordable starting out at $3.99 per month for 5,000 images.
As far as the web-based interface, this wasn't my favorite of the ones I tested, but if you're specifically looking to optimize images inside your WordPress website, then look no further!
TinyPNG makes compressing your images pretty simple. Just drag and drop your file (or up to 20 files at once) onto the page and your images are immediately processed and compressed.
There are no adjustments or options to choose, which makes the task extremely simple (which is great if you’re sending clients here!).
You have the option to download images individually, or download all the images in a zip file.
TinyPNG also offers a WordPress plugin to make it easy to compress your images right inside your website.
If you’re looking for simplicity, without having to make fine-tune adjustments, TinyPNG will do a great job compressing your photos!
Optimizilla offers a similar drag-and-drop interface where you can upload up to 20 images at a time.
Unlike TinyPNG, you do have adjustments you can make to the quality of the image before you download. JPG’s give you a 0-100 quality scale, while PNG’s allow you to choose the number of colors you want in your photo(s) from 2 to 256.
Because you have more fine-grain control, you can actually get a higher compression rate than TinyPNG — but you will notice a quality difference as you drop the slider down.
If you want more control than TinyPNG has to offer, and you don’t mind making adjustments to the files, then Optimizilla is the best choice.
Squoosh offers the most modern UI of the bunch with a similar drag and drop interface. Unfortunately, I did not find a way you could upload more than 1 photo at a time — which makes the process of optimizing multiple photos quite a pain.
However, once you upload a file you’re given, by far, the most options to choose from — including resizing the photo, reducing the color palette, the type of compression you want to perform, and a quality slider (similar to Optimizilla).
Squoosh also has a set of advanced features if you really want to get deep in the weeds — most of it, even after spending years in the design industry, I was unfamiliar with.
If you’re looking for the most control over your optimization, and don’t mind processing your images one at a time, Squoosh is a good option.
Bulk Photo Resize did the worst job in our test — but that’s because it’s not really a tool for compression — but rather on resizing the photos (as the name implies).
Where its true power lies is being able to resize a whole batch of photos in a similar matter in just seconds.
This gives you the ability to make all your images the same width, height (or both) or reduce by a certain percentage. The “Longest side” resize option is great for scaling all your images (no matter the proportion) to a maximum width or height.
Unlike the other options, images you upload to this platform do not get uploaded to their servers and you can process up to 150 images in 60 seconds. It was certainly the fastest of all the tools I tested.
Once you upload an image (or images) you are given options to resize the image and change the image format (png, jpg, or webp).
If you want to process a lot of photos in a hurry, or resize photos to a specific dimension, Bulk Photo Resize is your tool — but I wouldn’t lean on it for its compression rates.