Polarr Photo Editor is Available Free and (Optionally) Requires No Installation in Your Computer

I know that many genealogists frequently use photo editors to improve or restore old family photographs and for a myriad of other uses. If you would like to do the same, you might already be aware that the two leading photo editing products are Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) which is only available as a subscription service for $20.99 US per month, and Photoshop Elements, which retails for $99.99 or is also available as a subscription service for $9.99 per month.

NOTE: Adobe, the producer of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, often bundles other products along with the company’s mainstream products and prices vary frequently as various bundles go on sale. Always check the Abode web site at http://www.adobe.com for the latest offers.)

While Photoshop CC and Photoshop Elements are both great products, they tend to appeal primarily to professional photographers and to other business users who can justify such expense. The prices often discourage casual users who only want to edit a few pictures on their home computers. As a result, a number of lower-cost alternatives to the Photoshop programs have become popular, including:

  • Acorn (available only for Macintosh)
  • Affinity Photo
  • GIMP (which is free but difficult to use)
  • Paint.net (which is free but only available on Windows)
  • Pixelmator Pro
  • Pixlr (which is free)
  • Sketch
  • SumoPaint (a limited version is available free of charge but the full version costs money)

While each of these alternative programs are good at editing photographs, each has some drawbacks. One more program might be worthy of adding to the list: Polarr Photo Editor.

Polarr Photo Editor is a FREE photo editing program although a “Pro version” is also available. For $2.49/monthly (or $1.99/monthly if paid 12 months in advance), Polarr Pro offers additional masks, blur, feathering, batch export, and more. Details on the differences may be found at: https://www.polarr.co/web/0?platform=polarr&label=homepage_website.

While to Pro features will indeed appeal to professional users, I suspect that most casual, in-home users will be happy to use the FREE version forever. If you find that the free version of Polarr Photo Editor doesn’t meet your needs, you probably are a candidate for Photoshop.

The biggest advantages of Polarr Photo Editor, in my opinion, is that it works on a wide variety of platforms, including Windows, Macintosh, Chrome OS, Linux, Android, Apple’s iOS (iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch systems) and as a web-hosted app. That last option, a “web-hosted app,” makes it ideal for use on Chromebooks and Chromebox computers.

Even if you are using Windows or Macintosh or Linux, you may find that you prefer the web-hosted version of Polarr Photo Editor. With no need to install software in your computer, the web-hosted version of Polarr Photo Editor can be launched at any time as long as you have an Internet connection. The web-hosted version of Polarr Photo Editor can even be used on borrowed computers, such as at school, in a library, or in an Internet café.

The downside of the web-hosted version of Polarr Photo Editor is that it will run a bit slower than a version that is installed in your computer. The exact speed will depend upon the speed of your Internet connection.

In the short time I have used Polarr Photo Editor, I am happy with its free version. Admittedly, I am not a heavy user of photo editing software who needs professional-level editing. I especially love using the free version of Polarr Photo Editor’s web-hosted version on my low-cost Chromebook, my primary computer when traveling.

Make no mistake: Polarr Photo Editor certainly does not have all the features of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Then again, it doesn’t have the price tag of those programs either. For my light-duty usage, I find the free web-hosted version of Polarr Photo Editor to be an excellent choice. I especially appreciate the fact that it works well on my Chromebook.

For more information about Polarr Photo Editor, or to use the program on your computer, go to https://www.polarr.co. And, yes, that address ends in “.co,” not “.com.”


I use the wonderful, free, IrfanView which has been around for years for all my editing and probably it has all the capabilities of the Polarr you mention. I also have an ancient version of the full Photoshop which I rarely use except for very infrequent, complex ‘photoshopping’ .

Liked by 1 person

    I have never found anything that IrfanView can not do that I need done. I have used it for years as well.
    Having said that, I will try Polarr just to see…never hurts.


I use the wonderful, free FastStone Image Viewer for Windows which has been around for years for all my photo editing.


I have been very happy with Gimp. I think I will try the Pollar though and see what I think


    I see I spelled it wrong. I have downloaded it to my older laptop, but it will not download so far to my desktop which is a year old. All requirements are okay, so I will keep trying.


Who needs Polarr?
There’s plenty of editors out there already. Elmitt’s comment on FastStone which I had never heard of, set me to Wikipedia to find other editors – there’s dozens of them, see https://tinyurl.com/o347956 or https://tinyurl.com/qdvu6ke for instance. Surely some of them must be pretty good without adding one more.
But then I thought that’s great. Some programmer thinks, “I can do that better”, or cheaper, or whatever ,and a new editor pops up. Some will win ,some wither, or old ones will gently fade. Think Tesla or Edsel.
Trust Dick Eastman to keep us all from happily bumping along in a Model T. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)


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