Best PDF reader for Android of 2021: Free and paid

The best PDF readers for Android make it simple and easy to manage PDF files on your smartphone or tablet, allowing you to edit, annotate, merge, and more.

While it’s possible to read PDF files already using Android devices, for most people that’s about all they can do with them. If you want to do anything more with PDFs then you’ll almost certainly need to install additional software to your Android device.

Luckily, there are a lot of different PDF apps available, which allow all sorts of additional functions and features to be opened up. This includes the ability to edit PDF files, which can be invaluable for users. Other features might include the ability to annotate PDF files as well as print them out, or even insert forms and similar for really user-interactive PDF files.

While Adobe Acrobat might be the first app people might think of, not least because it was Adobe who originally developed the PDF format, there are also other PDF apps well worth looking at.

So to help you make a decision, here’s a round up of the best in Android PDF apps that we could find.

We’ve also highlighted the best free PDF editors.

(Image credit: Google Play)

1. Adobe Acrobat Reader

The best overall PDF reader for Android

Reasons to buy
+Advanced tools available+Excellent document compatibility +Reliable form filling +Access scanned documents via free app

Adobe Acrobat Reader is one of the most powerful PDF apps. Even the basic free version offers more than enough functionality for most situations, and excellent document compatibility means you should be able to view even the most complex of PDFs as it was meant to be seen.

Open a PDF from the web or share a document from another app and Acrobat Reader quickly displays it in a simple viewer. You’re able to scroll around the document, zoom in and out or use simple searches, and everything works more or less exactly as you would expect.

Advanced features in the paid-for version include form filling and signing, and you’re able to annotate files, highlight text, plus you can add and manage PDF comments.

The app is designed to work with many other Adobe services and products. Some of these are free, including cloud storage when you sign up for an Adobe account, and the OCR-powered Adobe Scan app which enables using your device as a PDF scanner, turning receipts, business cards, whiteboards and anything else into searchable, editable PDFs.

The commercial extensions aren’t always such good value. Converting files to and from PDF, reordering and rotating pages, are functions that other tools often do for free. Still, you don’t have to sign up, and the free app delivers all the viewing functionality that many users will need.

(Image credit: Google Play)

2. Xodo PDF Reader

A powerful PDF app for Android

Reasons to buy
+Versatile PDF reader +Edit and annotate documents+Sync edits with cloud services

Xodo PDF Reader stands out from the underpowered masses for the range and depth of its feature set. Despite its name, the app isn’t just about PDF reading: you can also create new PDFs via your camera, from images or Office documents. You can fill in, save and send PDF forms, or highlight text and add annotations of your own. It’s even possible to collaborate on your document with others via Xodo’s connect service (no registration required).

Supporting features include smart integration with Dropbox, Google Drive and OneDrive. That’s not just about providing an easy way to import documents from the cloud: Xodo can also automatically sync your edits with the source file, ensuring it always has the very latest version.

There’s another neat extra in Xodo’s File Manager. Thumbnail previews and a Recent Files list give you speedy access to the documents you need, and you’re able to freely rename, copy, move or delete any documents.

The core PDF viewing engine is what really matters, though, and Xodo’s creation works very well. High zoom factors, page cropping and a full-screen mode help you focus on the content, Night Mode makes for comfortable reading in darker environments and versatile search tools and table of contents support enables drilling down to key areas of the file.

(Image credit: Google Play)

3. Foxit PDF Reader

Read, annotate and share your PDFs with ease

Reasons to buy
+Speedy and straightforward viewer +Fill out PDF forms and import/export data +Easy document sharing

Foxit PDF Reader is a popular PDF app with more than a hundred thousand installs recorded on Google Play, and a high rating of 4.6.

It doesn’t take long to understand Foxit’s success. PDFs open quickly, you can control orientation with ease, text reflows to fit and you’re able to tweak brightness and change the background to make for comfortable reading in all situations.

Simple annotation tools are on hand to assist in highlighting text, adding notes or drawing on the page, and Foxit’s Connected technology enables sharing comments and changes with others in real time.

Form handling is a major plus, with options to fill out and save forms, import and export their data and submit forms via HTTP, FTP and email.

While Foxit’s core functionality is free, a number of more advanced features are only available if you subscribe (converting PDFs, combining files, password protection, digital certificates, OneDrive Business support). That’s no surprise, but if you’re on a budget, keep in mind that some PC-based PDF editors can carry out many of these tasks for free.

(Image credit: Google Play)

4. All PDF

The independent PDF reader

Reasons to buy
+Merge and split PDF files+Free app+Organize files

Reasons to avoid
Ads

All PDF is an independent PDF app that’s free to use but run by ads. While there are a number of other PDF readers that may initially seem similar, All PDF itself comes with some nifty tools to help with handling PDF files that are often charged-for features in other apps.

For example, All PDF offers the ability to merge or split PDF files, which is a great feature to have in a free app. You can also convert PDF’s to images, control printing and sharing from the app, as well as reduce file size. There’s also the ability to extract sections of text.

Organizing PDF files is made easier, too. You can star the most important files and displays all PDFs in a grid view as required, making it easier to find the PDF file you want. Additionally, when you close and re-open a PDF file you’ll go straight to the last page you were on, rather than have to restart from the beginning and scroll back down to your place.

Overall, this is a nice little free app that can offer a little more than others.

(Image credit: Google Play)

5. Gaaiho PDF Reader

A likeable PDF viewer from an experienced developer

Reasons to buy
+Comfortable reading environment +Share files with any WebDAV servers

Reasons to avoid
Not updated very often

Gaaiho PDF Reader doesn’t get nearly as much attention as Adobe, Foxit and the other big-name competition, but with Gaaiho’s 20+ years’ experience in developing PDF software, it’s certainly worth a closer look.

The main viewing engine opens documents at speed and provides a comfortable and flexible environment for reading, adding and managing comments, or checking out any attachments.

Speedy options to add and edit bookmarks ensure that you can mark important areas of any document and speedily return to them later.

Basic annotation tools include the ability to highlight text or draw lines, arrows and assorted simple shapes.

Gaaiho PDF Reader ‘only’ offers direct support for accessing cloud files via Dropbox, but the ability to add other WebDAV servers gives it a level of flexibility that you won’t often find elsewhere.


Also consider these PDF readers for Android

ReadEra is an app specifically made for reading a wide-range of documents, especially files intended to be read as books. This means the app is not only able to open and view PDF files, but also epub, mobi, as well as Word .doc and .docx files, RTF, plain text, and other text-based documents.

WPS Office is a free all-in-one office suite that can be used to read, edit, and create Word and PDF documents, as well as spreadsheets and presentation files. The PDF features are especially strong, with the ability to read, convert, and edit PDF files. There’s also a document scanner included in the app.

Librera is another genera book reader that allows most document formats to be read, such as PDF files. In addition to this it also includes neat additional features such as text-to-speech built into the app, as well as allow notes, comments, and bookmarks in PDF files. Password protection of documents is also included.

We’ve also featured the best PDF to Excel convertors.

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