Pixlr vs PhotoRaster: Finding the Best Online Photo Editor

Over the past few weeks on Web.Appstorm, I’ve covered two web apps which have really impressed me: Pixlr and PhotoRaster. Both of these are photo editing web apps that are powerful and easy to use. After raving about these apps in separate reviews, I decided it was time for a comparison so we can find which is the best online photo editor.

If you’ve read my review of Pixlr, you’ll know that it is split into three different apps. Thus, we will be looking at Pixlr Advanced, the editor which is most similar to that of PhotoRaster’s. Read on to find out which app we like the best!

If you would like to read the separate reviews of Pixlr and PhotoRaster, check out these links: Pixlr: Simple Filters to Advanced Editing, and Photo Raster: An Advanced Online Photo Editor.

Important Features

In this section I’m going to look at five of the most important features which every image editor needs. These may not be the most complicated to use, but, to be a success, the app will need to do good at each of these.

To avoid confusion the Pixlr image will always be on the left hand side, and PhotoRaster on the right.

Cropping An Image

To be honest, I don’t like the cropping on either of these applications. On Pixlr, you have the rule of thirds grid, which is helpful for photographers, but you can’t type in specific measurements. PhotoRaster does have this feature though, letting you type in your measurements and crop to your perfect size every time. Although, the on screen interface lets this down, making it look bulky in comparison. If you’re wanting to get say a width of 620px on an image, this will prove difficult to manage in Pixlr.

Cropping on Pixlr and Photo Raster.

Winner: PhotoRaster

Using Layers

You don’t always use layers, but, when trying to collect many pictures into one, layers need to be easy to use. Both editors have a layer box on the right hand side. These will display all the pictures you’ve added and quickly manipulate where they go and what they do. Going up to the Layer tab at the top of page gives more options again, and both are well equipped.

Using layers on Pixlr and Photo Raster.

I’m going to have to go with Pixlr as the winner here. On Photo Raster you lack the ability to open a new image as a layer, to do this you will need to add a layer then drag your picture in. Pixlr makes this process much easier with an option called Open Image As Layer, quickly saving time and effort.

Winner: Pixlr


Filters are something I love, as they allow you to enhance your photography and add things which can’t be formed by your camera. Being a photographer, these are very important, and required for adding your final touches without much fuss (even if they’re just for fun). Pixlr clearly has the advantage here, just by looking quickly at the filters options. While PhotoRaster only possesses basic options, Pixlr has a range of different abilities including ones mimicking HDR photography.

The available filter options on both apps.

In my opinion, if filters are something you need, Pixlr is going to be the option for you.

Winner: Pixlr


Your photo is unlikely to be perfect first time around. You may need to change the exposure, brightness or even the color balance before you’re happy with the finished product. Again, both apps match the same options and offer the same modification options.

Both applications have virtually the same options in Adjustments.

On both Pixlr and PhotoRaster adjustments are virtually the same. Definitely a tie.

Winner: Tie


For me, resizing is my most used feature. Making images a certain size is a requirement and your image is never going to be the perfect first time round. First of all, both editors can resize, but, PhotoRaster is definitely much easier to use. Here you have a nice and detailed interface and you are shown original sizes and can type in which values you would like. You also have the choice of using a filter and changing the resolution.

Resizing is something PhotoRaster excels at.

Pixlr is nothing like this. Gone are the detailed interfaces, leaving instead small and non-exaustive options. To change the size you must slide a bar, which really isn’t that accurate. If I was using an editor for just this feature I would definitely go with Photo Raster. Their method is much easier and doesn’t cause annoyance.

Winner: Photo Raster


The interface is something which is always important when picking an image editor. No one wants an app which is over complicated and tries to bombard you millions of buttons and tabs at one specific time. We want to be able to pick up the basic principles quick and not be confused from the onset.

The general layout of both apps.

By first impressions both apps seem pretty similar. Toolbars are in roughly the same place and there is basically no change in what is displayed. Pixlr adopts a sleek black and gray layout, whereas PhotoRaster goes with a full gray scheme. Personally, I feel Pixlr’s looks far better, with everything looking free and stylish. Being able to move all the toolbars around too is a great extra feature. PhotoRaster, in comparison appears weak. Toolbars appear block-like, boring, and non-customizable — not the most aesthetically pleasing of UI’s.

Winner: Pixlr

Adding And Exporting Images

Moving your images in and out of editors is definitely one of the main features which we all need. If we can’t actually get our images in we’ll never get anywhere. Firstly, Pixlr, opening the application you have a few options on where you would like to bring your image from. These include: Computer, URL and from their own library. On the other hand, PhotoRaster can only open from your computer. The difference is pretty clear.

Adding images into Photo Raster and Pixlr.

One thing I did notice was that when I opened the same high-resolution picture on both editors was that Photo Raster seemed to reduce the quality of the image. When Pixlr was displaying this picture at its optimum clarity this was a very noticeable weakness.

Exporting your final image is just as important as having the image there. Again, Pixlr blows Photo Raster out the water here. While trying to save an image on Photo Raster you can only save to your computer. Something which highly impressed me on Pixlr is that you can save to six different places, including Facebook, Picasa and Flickr.

The options for exporting images.

Both apps also allow you to export in either JPG or PNG. Pixlr does have other options including BMP, TIFF, or PXD. However, I doubt many of us would use these extra file formats.

Overall, when talking about inserting and exporting your images, Pixlr is a clear winner. Giving you a better range of choice and making the process easier, Pixlr more than suits every one of your needs.

Winner: Pixlr

Picking A Winner

As you can probably tell, Pixlr is a step above Photo Raster on nearly every level making it the winner by far. Photo Raster does do some things well, but, these are pretty minor. However, one thing to bear in mind is that this is still a beta application while Pixlr has been going for a few years. It isn’t surprising how much more developed this photo editor is.

Overall Winner: Pixlr

Pixlr or PhotoRaster? Which is the app for you? Let us know below!