If you run a website, you’ll know how important it is to keep file sizes down and optimize images, code, and files as much as possible. In this guide, I take a look at four image optimization tools, share their features, and compare them against each other.
Image Optimization Tools
I have chosen the following image optimization tools:
- PNG Crush
- PNG Out
Smush.it is provided by Yahoo and now comes with YSlow (a tool used to determine bottlenecks in page-load time.) I’ve covered Smush.It before; here are some of its features:
- High image compression rates
- Handles all popular image types
- Easy to use (as a Firefox extension
- Comes bundled with other tools to help decrease page-load time
Download Smush.it (bundled with YSlow)
I’ve used PNG Crush for a long time. On this post, I’ve included a registry hack you can use to “crush” images from the right-click context menu. PNG Crush doesn’t fair up as well as PNG Out (see below), but it’s simple to use and is convenient. Features include:
- Medium to high compression
- Only works with PNG images
- No installation required
PNG Out faired the best in tests and does a good job or compressing PNG files. There are two ways you can use it: the command line version and the GUI (graphical user interface) version ($15 USD.)
I’ve made a registry hack you can use to automate image processing. Simply merge the registry key, put pngcrush.exe in the folder your compressing images in (or anywhere along the file path of the image(s)) , right click the folder, and click Compress Folder’s PNG Files.
Download PNG Out Registry Hack (<1 KB)
Download PNG Out (PNGOUT.EXE)
RIOT is the most user-friendly tool to use out of the four, but faired up the worst, consistently, in tests. If you don’t want to deal with the command line, registry hacks, or a Firefox plug-in, this tool is for you. This tool also compresses most popular image types.
Download RIOT (Extended Version)
All four tools have their advantages. I’ve decided to rank the tools by different needs:
Ease of use: RIOT
Best for all image types: Smush.it
Best for PNG images: PNG Out
Best overall compression (PNG): PNG Out
Below you can see a comparison of file sizes after running compression, on the same file, with all four programs.