The following features are considered in this comparison:
There are a couple of features that every client should have. How important these features are depends on your personal preferences and usage of BitTorrent. If you use BitTorrent only to download linux distro’s “RSS support” is probably not that important to you. However, if you use BitTorrent to download TV-shows you might consider RSS support as an essential feature.
Overall these nine features are considered more or less essential.
Priotarization: Is the client able to assign download priorities to the torrents? This option allows you to assign more bandwidth to a torrent.
DHT: Does the client support “trackerless” torrents. DHT keeps the torrent alive if the tracker goes offline.
Selective Downloading: Can you select files within the torrent that you want to download (or not). Can be very useful to check samples (most movies have samples) or to download 1 album out of a “complete discography” torrent.
Encryption: Does the client support “protocol encryption”. To protect yourself against traffic shaping / throttling ISP’s.
Tracker: Does the client have a (built in) tracker. Can be useful if you’re publishing torrents.
Remote Control: Does it support (web based) remote control. A web Gui allows you to access your torrents from any computer in the world.
Super Seeding: Are you able to super seed. Super seeding is different (more efficient) from seeding because it tries to send out pieces of the file that have not been sent before.
RSS: Does the client have RSS support. With RSS you can automatically download your favorite torrents.
UPnP Port Mapping: Is there UPnP support. If your router supports UPnP, you don’t need to forward any ports
A quick comparison on these features shows us that only six clients (that I’m aware of) support more than half of the features.
Here are the results. I have experience with all 6 clients mentioned here and came to the following conclusion.
1st place: uTorrent
uTorrent is the absolute winner, without a doubt. It supports all the features that I mentioned. Is is extremely lightweight, it uses only 7000K memory instead of 50.000K that a clean install of Azureus uses.
Another great option, especially for starting users, is the “setup wizard” that helps you to configure uTorrent’s settings.
uTorrent is actively under development and the developers carefully listen to their users.
uTorrent supports 9 out of 9 features.
2nd place: Azureus
Azureus is the runner up. They do support all the features that are listed (some via plugins), Azureus and uTorrent are in fact the only clients that support all these features. Azureus is a great client, and especially for those who don’t care about memory and cpu usage but like to get all kinds of fancy features to pimp up their BitTorrent client.
But it uses 7x as much memory as uTorrent, and requires Java, which some people might consider a problem.
Azureus has an outstanding dev team that is constantly improving their client, the runner up, but a really great one.
Azureus supports 9 out of 9 features.
Bitcomet and XBT are two totally different clients.
Bitcomet had some troubles in the past and was banned from several private trackers for ignoring the “private flag”. In the meanwhile those problems are solved and Bitcomet is regaining its credibility. It removed the IE toolbar in the latest release, and the torrent encryption is now compatible with Azureus and uTorrent. Bitcomet doesn’t have a Remote Control feature and it doesn’t support Super Seeding. The memory usage is on average 30.000k.
Bitcomet supports 7 out of 9 features.
XBT is a no-nonsense client. No great looks, but it does what it has to and is very lightweight like uTorrent (10.000k memory). So if you don’t care about looks, XBT might be something for you. XBT does not support BitTorrent encryption, RSS, and DHT.
XBT supports 6 out of 9 features.
5th place: ABC
ABC (another BitTorrent client). Decent client, nice interface. ABC does not support BitTorrent Encryption, RSS, DHT and it doesn’t have a tracker. BitTorrent is based on Bittornado, and added a queuing system.
ABC supports 5 out of 9 features.
6th place: Bittornado
Bittornado has the same options as ABC but without the queuing system. It is the successor of Shad0w’s Experimental Client, one of my all time favorites (used it for almost a year). Bittornado was the first client to implement the Super Seeding feature.
Bittornado supports 5 out of 9 features.
Horrible Mention: Artic Torrent
Developed to use low memory and cpu, and it does. But it doesn’t support any of the nine features we listed. Artic supports 0 out of 9 features.
You can find out more about the features that are supported (or not) on Wikipedia