10 Best Free PDF Reader for Windows (2021)

Whether it’s about reading a document or downloading a course material, PDF readers are still relevant in 2021. In fact, they are still as important as they were 20 years ago. While even the web browsers these days are equipped with the ability to read PDFs, you would still need advanced features like digital signature, annotation, etc.

Best PDF readers for Windows 10

As a PDF reader, the first name that comes into your mind is Adobe Reader. But there are many other PDF readers that are free and without the annoying adverts.

The 10 Best Free PDF Readers for Windows 10 and Earlier Version

To make it easier for you, we have handpicked some of the best free PDF readers for Windows. While some of them are lightweight, there are others that include work as a simple PDF editing tool and not so complicated.

Adobe Acrobat Reader

Adobe acrobat reader

Adobe needs no introduction. It’s one of the most popular and widely used PDF readers across the world. Adobe falls in the category of advanced PDF readers because of its features that do a lot more than the basic. For instance, designing fillable forms that are beyond the capabilities of a basic PDF reader.


  • It converts almost any file or format into a top-quality PDF.
  • Easy to share and looks attractive.
  • It allows you to convert MS Word, MS Excel, and even MS PowerPoint to PDF format.
  • Option to convert camera clicks directly to PDF.
  • Facility to get a print of the PDF, turn HTML pages to PDF, and even convert the PDFs to Office use formats.
  • Option to edit data in scanned tables and right into the PDF.
  • Allows you to review the PDF generated, comment on it, merge or compare two files.
  • It makes it easy to get legal e-signatures, and even fill or sign any form, all online.
  • Lets you send the PDF files online and also keep track of them.

Interesting Fact:

Acrobat Reader allows you to turn the current forms to the fillable PDF version, effortlessly.

Get it here: https://get.adobe.com/reader/otherversions/?red=a

Price: Free trial available; pro version starts from $12.99/month

Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader

Foxit Reader is another great PDF reader that lets you read files in PDF format for free. It’s a simple application, where all you need to do is to choose and upload the file or simply drag and drop the file to be converted in the empty space. It allows you to convert the document to Word, JPG, or Excel. You can also merge the PDF, convert from Image to PDF, or Word to PDF.


  • Simple and easy to use application with the option to upload file or drag-and-drop.
  • It allows you to edit the PDF file when opened in Phantom PDF Online. Lets you fill forms, edit current texts in PDF and modify fonts, style, color, and size.
  • You also have the freedom to modify the document format by shifting the boxes, and even add or remove the text in the PDF.
  • From Windows or Mac to Linux, it’s compatible with a wide range of operating systems.
  • It also works seamlessly with different browsers such as Chrome, Edge, Safari, Opera, and Firefox.
  • It offers more editing PDF tools with the desktop version.
  • It can be accessed anywhere and all the time.

Interesting Fact:

Foxit Reader is cloud-based that offers similar functions to the PhantomPDF in editing PDF or adding text to PDF just like a word processor.

Get it here: https://online.foxitsoftware.com/

Price: Free limited version; pro version starts from $129.


PDF element

With PDFelement, it’s easier to create PDFs. Moreover, you can also edit, convert, and sign the PDF documents online, on major platforms like Mac and Windows. Best of all, it enables you to read PDFs on desktops, laptops, Kindles, and more.


  • It offers a fully-featured word processor that allows you to create PDFs, effortlessly.
  • It helps you create some of the richest and most attractive PDF communications.
  • It allows you to turn PDFs to office documents with the same tables, formatting, and layout.
  • Teams can collaborate more efficiently and collect feedback from customers and co-workers, much faster.
  • Makes creating and sharing PDF forms effortless.
  • Easy to join gathered forms for investigation and export gathered information in a spreadsheet.

Interesting Fact:

Manages documents in a manner that safely keeps sensitive data away from unauthorized access.

Get it here: https://pdf.wondershare.com/

Price: Free trial available; pro version starts from $6.99

PDF-XChange Editor

PDF Xchange Editor

PDF-Xchange is Editor is known for its compact size, fast performance, and a gamut of features all for free. With the PDF viewer/editor, you can create, edit, view, digitally sign, annotate or OCR PDF documents. But, that’s just the start as it allows you to do a lot more beyond that.


  • It equips you with a wide range of Editing Tools, documents improvement features, navigation panel, and options to edit pages. This helps you to edit and update your PDF documents.
  • It allows you to change between the Classic/Ribbon interface and adjust the user-interface for mouse and touch-based actions.
  • Comes equipped with an improved OCR plugin which is optional.
  • Option to add comments and annotations to files in different formats that include shapes, audio files, hyperlinks, and text boxes.
  • Facility to create email documents and even get a print. You can also join the PDFs into one, create PDF files straight from the scanned material, and also convert files to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • It allows you to add or delete images, barcodes, backgrounds, and watermarks.
  • Freedom to create customized toolbars and include comfortable links to third-party applications using the launch preferences.

Interesting Fact:

On purchasing a license of the PDF-Xchange Editor you get a PDF-Xchange Life by Tracker Software, absolutely free.

Get it here: https://www.tracker-software.com/product/pdf-xchange-editor

Price: Pro version starts from $43.50

You may also like to know free Flowchart Software for Windows here in detail.

Sumatra PDF

Sumatra pdf

Apart from being a PDF reader, Sumatra can also read eBooks, Comic books, XPS, DjVu, and CHM on Windows. This free and open-source PDF reader is known for its compact size, portability, and fast performance.


  • It helps you to view PDFs as quickly as possible.
  • Goes easy on system resources since it’s just a window that launches pretty fast.
  • Comes loaded with keyboard shortcuts and provides support for tabs that helps read PDFs even faster.
  • Supports different types of files like ebooks in Mobi and ePub, or comic books in CBZ and CBR formats.

Interesting Fact:

It comes with an integrated EasyStart function that saves your time and lets you convert previews.

Get it here: https://pdf.wondershare.com/top-pdf-software/free-pdf-reader.html

Price: Free

Javelin PDF Reader

Javelin pdf reader

Whether you want to view a standard PDF file or encrypted PDF files, Javelin PDF Reader makes it easy to read for you. This simple PDF reader also allows you to annotate the PDFs and even bookmark them.


  • It offers fast performance and comes with a straightforward and clean user interface.
  • Best option to read and take notes quickly on PDFs.
  • Provides support for internal and external hyperlinks, a variety of page display formats, markup, navigation trees, document text searching feature, and ore.
  • Digitally signed and virus free products.

Interesting Fact:

Option to apply limitations to printing permissions, the flexibility of expiring at a fixed time, or not viewable anymore.

Get it here: https://www.drumlinsecurity.com/javelindownloads.html

Price: Free

Nitro Pro 10

Nitro pdf

Although it’s a pro version, Nitro Pro 10 also comes with a 30-days free trial for users. It offers PDF solutions at the business level helping you get rid of the complex licensing process while focusing on user satisfaction. It helps you boost business productivity by providing employees with a profitable PDF solution. It helps employees to focus on boosting data security, lowering printing requirements, and minimizing paper waste.


  • It offers powerful performance and strong features at half the cost compared to other leading PDF readers.
  • Responsive interface inspired by MS Office and curtailed learning curve which is perfect even for beginners.
  • It helps you create universally compatible PDFs and printable file types.
  • It allows you to edit the PDF text like adding, removing, and changing text and images in different windows at the same time.
  • Converts any PDF file quickly and accurately to and from MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on any device.
  • Facility to merge PDFs and other file formats into a single PDF file.
  • Option to organize pages into PDF with the help of a useful Pages window.
  • Converts scan into editable, and searchable PDFs that are also size-optimized.
  • It allows you to create fillable forms so that others can fill or add their own details to a current form.
  • Option to add eSignature on your PDFs and send requests to others for adding their eSigns.
  • Facility to carry out uniform review and collaboration by implementing searchable commenting, markup, and version control.
  • Compare files and detect disparities and evaluate anomalies in text and images.

Interesting Fact:

It offers total protection and security by offering you to fix access and activity authorizations, add encryption, and hiding sensitive data.

Get it here: https://www.gonitro.com/nps/pro/pdf-software

Price: Free trial available; pro version starts from $159.

You may also want to know about the best download manager software available for Windows.

Soda PDF

Soda pdf

If you are looking for a dependable, responsive, and lightweight PDF software that can be used at home, Soda PDF could well be your answer. With the help of this program, you can access the features on any device in a web browser. From creating PDFs from more than 300 file formats, or converting to a wide range of file types to editing the content of the files, it can do anything you can think of.


  • Option to read the PDFs in 3D using exclusive page-flipping technology.
  • It allows you to create PDFs from any file, merge different files at one time, or convert PDF to Word, Excel, JPG, and PPT.
  • Facility to edit and modify the text and change the structure of the documents on your own as per your requirement.
  • Option to add notes into your PDF docs and collaborate with others.
  • Professional quality data protection with 256-bit AES password encryption.
  • Allows to create fillable forms, send and gather legal eSignatures.
  • OCR features let you convert scanned files and images to PDFs.

Interesting Fact:

Features can be used on almost any device and connect to Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box.

Get it here: https://www.sodapdf.com/

Price: Free download available; plans start from $63.

Slim PDF

Slim pdf

If you intend to work with only PDF documents, then Slim PDF is an ideal choice for you. It’s simple and easy to use PDF reader, perfect for opening PDFs and reading them.


  • A compact program that doesn’t occupy much space of your system.
  • It features a clean interface with no bloatware.
  • Converts PDF documents to MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
  • It allows you to create a PDF document from any file format that can be printed.
  • Option to sign PDF files with eSignatures.
  • Allows you to create fillable PDF forms, and even edit them.
  • Facility to edit PDF texts and files, and protect them with a password.

Interesting Fact:

It’s the smallest desktop PDF viewer and reader in the world with just 1/10th of the size of the Adobe Reader.

Get it here: https://www.investintech.com/resources/freetools/slimpdfreader/

Price: Free download available; pro version priced at $149.95



MupDF is a portable PDF reader that also works as an XPS and e-book viewer. It comes equipped with a software library, command-line tools, and viewing tools for different platforms.


  • Renderer designed for superior quality anti-aliased graphics.
  • Compact, yet fast viewer that supports many document formats including PDF, EPUB, OpenXPS, XPS, FictionBook2, and CBZ.
  • It allows you to add notes to the PDF docs and fill forms.
  • Option to add notes, edit, and transform documents into different formats (PDF, HTML, CBZ, and SVG) using the command line tools.
  • Facility to write scripts for manipulation of documents using Javascript.

Interesting Fact:

Option to add or delete features since the library is written in portable C. Also features a Java library with the help of JNI that runs on both Android and Oracle’s Java.

Get it here: https://mupdf.com/

Price: free


Apart from the top 10, you can also read PDFs on your web browser. Whether it’s Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or Mozilla Firefox, all of these come with a built-in PDF reader. While these may not have advanced features, this is indeed quick to way to at least read PDFs when needed. Best of all, these save a lot of your system resources and are absolutely free. However, if you need advanced features like editing he PDF doc, signature facility, etc., it’s better to download one of the top 10 best free PDF readers for Windows or convenience.



Founder and Writer @ WinOSBite. Future plan is to make this platform open to community to resolve and discuss various issues, usage related to Operating System.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *