The Fastest BitTorrent Clients in 2020
Sometimes, a seamless and efficient torrenting experience can be as simple as choosing the right BitTorrent client. But with so many clients available, selecting one can feel a bit overwhelming.
Whether you like a feature-heavy BitTorrent client or one that’s light and clean, there are a few key features to look out for.
Your BitTorrent client should be fast, free, reliable, and easy-to-use, with good device compatibility. Depending on your priorities you might also want a built-in search function and freedom from ads.
Remember though, no matter how good your BitTorrent client, torrenting can still come with various dangers. From unknowingly downloading malware to accidentally accessing copyrighted material, you could land yourself in serious trouble.
That’s why we recommend always torrenting with a VPN. The right VPN can keep your device safe from malware and also make sure you’re protected against any legal action should torrenting go wrong.
Read on to find out which BitTorrent clients we’ve found to be the fastest. We’ll also look into why you should always use a VPN when torrenting and talk about the best VPN for torrenting according to our tests.
- Very light app
- Fast downloads
- Low CPU usage
- Scheduled downloads
uTorrent, currently managed by the BitTorrent project, is considered the most useful client in existence outside China. This is mainly because of its low CPU usage and overall efficiency. The entire application is less than 2MB in size meaning it’ll use up hardly any unnecessary computer resources.
One of its most useful features is that it allows users to schedule large numbers of torrent downloads. Apart from being compatible with Mac OS, Windows, and Linux computers, it’s also available on Android. This means that you can download large movies, songs or games directly to your mobile device.
Although it’s free, it’s full of ads. Users have also complained in the past that it’s usually bundled with other software meaning that if you’re not careful, you could end up unwittingly installing something you weren’t expecting during the initial setup.
- No ads
- Simple Graphical User Interface (GUI)
- Available in 70 languages
Considered by many to be the most reliable alternative to uTorrent, qBittorrent provides users with a simple and neat outlook combined with efficient CPU usage. This means that you can use it simultaneously with other software on your computer.
It’s also completely free to use without any distracting ads. It is currently developed by volunteers and survives solely on donations. Currently available on Linux, Mac OS, and Windows computers, qBittorrent offers regular services you can expect to find from most clients such as torrent queuing, IP filtering and torrent prioritization.
The major downside is that it is not currently compatible with mobile devices running iOS and Android.
- Lightweight app
- Fast and Scheduled downloads
- Available for mobile devices running Android
- Too many ads
Many users sometimes wonder why BitTorrent runs its own program alongside uTorrent. Initially, there were slight differences, but recent releases have seen them become more similar.
BitTorrent is available for Mac OS, Windows, and Android. Users with mobile devices running Android can install it and download their favorite movies and playlists.
Like uTorrent, the BitTorrent application is filled with ads. This is its main source of revenue for sustaining the project.
- 100% free without ads
- No Spyware
- Easy and quick install
- Detailed bandwidth management and reporting
Tixati is widely popular for its powerful functionalities such as support for magnet links, IP filtering and event (download) scheduling hidden behind its extremely simple and easy to use user interface (UI).
For Windows and Linux users, Tixati is quick and easy to install mainly because it is small. Users usually consider it to be considerably faster than other BitTorrent clients. It’s completely free to use and does not push any ads to users as it relies solely on donations.
The only downside is that it is just available for Windows and Linux native users so Mac OS, iPhone or Android users will be out of luck.
- Very low memory usage
- No usage tracking
- No third party ads
- High-level encryption
The Transmission BitTorrent client is popular among Mac and Windows users as it is predominantly considered to be the best for the Mac OS. The biggest benefit is that it uses very little system memory – it’s generally considered to consume the least of all major BitTorrent clients.
Transmission is not currently available on Android, iOS or Windows Mobile so you can’t run it on mobile devices.
Why You Should Always Use a VPN for Torrenting
Although the BitTorrent protocol is a fantastic solution to large file downloads, you are relying on other users to provide legitimate and safe files.
The truth is, it’s incredibly easy to hide malicious software in torrented data. Malware can be disguised as a harmless download or hidden in software bundles.
More often than not, you won’t know that you’ve downloaded malware until it’s too late. In a lot of cases, spyware is so efficient at hiding itself you might never know you’re being spied on at all.
Another potential torrenting issue is the risk of legal trouble if you accidentally download copyrighted material.
Torrenting itself is not illegal. It only becomes illegal when it is used to distribute content that is subject to copyright. Since it’s not always easy to tell exactly what you’re torrenting, downloading such content by accident is a real possibility.
The question of legality has led some countries to blanket ban torrenting sites in an attempt to stop the circulation of protected content.
If you live in one of these countries you might need to use a VPN to even be able to access torrenting sites in the first place.
VPNs are capable of bypassing governmental geoblocks.
They can hide your IP address and reroute your traffic through a private server in a different country where torrenting isn’t banned. This makes it looks as though you are accessing the site from that country, allowing you to bypass the geo-restriction.
A VPN can also protect you from the various dangers associated with torrenting. As well as masking your IP address, a VPN will encrypt all of your traffic. This means your torrenting activities will be completely private and hidden.
Not only can this guard you against any legal action, it makes sure that sensitive data — such as your IP address and location — is hidden from other users in your swarm. This can protect you from any potential cyber threats like a DDoS attack.
The best VPNs also come with malware and adware blockers. Anti-malware software can alert you to suspicious sites and files or block them entirely, to prevent you from downloading anything dangerous.
The Best VPN for Torrenting
When choosing a VPN for BitTorrent, make sure your chosen service has the following features:
- P2P-friendly servers
- Lightning-fast speeds
- No logs policy
- Malware-blocking software
- Unlimited bandwidth
NordVPN is our top recommendation when it comes to torrenting. Alongside torrenting-optimized servers, NordVPN has excellent unblocking capabilities and the super-fast speeds you need for seamless downloads.
Summary and Further Reading
The best BitTorrent clients are fast, reliable, and efficient. However, the only way to stay safe when seeding is to torrent with a VPN.
If you’d like more VPN options to choose from, here’s our list of the best VPNs for BitTorrent.
On a budget? There are also some free VPNs for torrenting.
Once you’ve got your VPN sorted, don’t forget to check out our guide to torrenting safely and anonymously.