Transmission vs uTorrent [Mac Only]

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transmission vs utorrentBitRocket, Xtorrent, Tomato Torrent, BitTyrant, Bits on Wheels. These are some of the torrent clients for OS X. But let’s be honest, they probably don’t sound familiar to you because they’re outshone by the two gargantuas of the torrent world, Vuze (formerly known as Azureus) and Transmission, a lightweight but very capable torrent client.

Prior to switching to a Mac, Azureus has always been my torrent client of choice on my Windows PC. At that time, there weren’t many other clients for it to compete with and even though it was heavy on memory usage, I’d still prefer it over ABC or BitLord. Yes, it was that long ago.

After I got my hands on my first Mac, I was hoping to seek comfort in the soft familiar bosom of Azureus but I found myself sorely disappointed. I was running Tiger on a Mac Mini with 1GB of memory, so imagine what would happen if I opened Azureus, iTunes and Safari at the same time. Spinning Beachball galore. So, I turned to Transmission.

Back then, Transmission was still a young child yet to be nurtured. It was buggy and I had to depend on nightly builds to get the most of the application. What made matters worse, Transmission was not allowed on most torrent sites which kept a record of their user ratio. So, I had to revert back to Azureus and suffer the endless wrath of the beachball.

A lot has happened since then. uTorrent debuted as a lightweight torrent client for Windows and has been hugely successful. Azureus is now known as Vuze due to its “legal” content. And Transmission is finally usable – actually it is more than just that, it turned out to be pretty darn great.

A few months ago, I was reading about how good Transmission has become. A lot of Mac users were trying to use Transmission to trump Vuze and the other way around. I decide to investigate this myself and see how transmission compares vs. Vuze.

Finally, a Transmission I can depend on. It has been smooth sailing so far. Compared to Vuze, Transmission is so much quicker to launch, much lighter to run and causes less strain on my Mac. Previously, my MacBook would run a little slower every time a torrent completes and Vuze starts to verify the downloaded data. Transmission doesn’t even have that feature – a blessing in disguise. Nevertheless, my downloaded data is always perfectly spot on.

Then uTorrent comes along, with its strong Windows pedigree, hoping to penetrate into the Mac torrent world. Has it succeeded? Not quite.

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transmission vs vuze

With all the devoted Transmission fans, it is not easy for this New Kid On The Block to instantly change the minds of those who have helped Transmission become what it is today. Based on uTorrent’s marketing campaign: Lightweight, Feature rich and High Performance; being vague is not going to help it to supersede Transmission. One could also use those exact words to describe Transmission, so what’s the difference? What is the main defining quality of uTorrent that will make the committed Transmission users to switch over? As far as I can see, there is none.

uTorrent for Mac is currently in beta, which means that it is still under heavy development. It is not as “Feature rich” as they make it sound, a quick sift through its preferences reveal nothing spectacular. It is almost identical to Transmission. Have a look at their settings below: Transmission is on the left, uTorrent is on the right.

Transmission vs uTorrent (Settings Menu)

transmission vs utorrent

Compared with its Windows brethren, uTorrent for Mac isn’t even capable of selective file downloading from torrents with multiple files; and doesn’t include support for RSS feeds. Futhermore, it is Leopard only, a big turn off since most of the users who are looking forward to this application would probably be running it on older machines.

So, the answer is No. uTorrent is not a viable option for Transmission. At least not yet. But if you still want to give it a chance, you may download it here. Let us know what is missing from uTorrent and whether or not you’d switch over from Transmission.

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Comments (43)
  • ghost

    I’ve been using transmission on mac for about a year, and have reached my max download speed countless times.(sometimes with one torrent, sometimes with multiple). I Will be testing utorrent for mac, to see how it runs. Also I haven’t seen a feature in utorrent for mac to ‘ignore unencrypted peers’.

    • Johnny

      to ignore unencrypted peers in utorrent there go to preferences and select FORCE for encrypted outgoing cnnxions.

      I dont think transmission ignores them completely, because if you ignore incoming connections, your speed will be zero.

      by the way, Utorrent is faster for me than any other client I ve ever used. Vuze is too slow, both in downloading section and in its operation. It is always doing something, my mac gets slow because of it.

    • ghost

      why would your speed be zero if you ignore unencrypted peers with transmission? Wont you just only download from peers that also have encryption enabled?

  • Shawn

    I’ve noticed that with the mac uTorrent, that once it’s closed out and re-opened. Preferences you set are reverted to default.

    An example is when I change my download location to a torrent specific folder, it’ reverts to my user home DL folder. So I have to pause all torrents on quit, re-open, change DL location, and resume all torrents.

    My conclusion is that I’m not going to switch to uTorrent (At least not until it gets better) I started with BitTorrent’s app, then tried Transmission and used it ever since.

  • Lawrence

    Having tested both extensively, I can report that each client favours peers using their own software. This is astounding but I can verify this 100% on my mac!

    The same torrent file on uTorrent shows a list of peers with approx 70% using uTorrent, while Transmission’s peers for the same torrent shows peers mostly using Transmission.

    If this observation is correct across the board, and since uTorrent is massive in the PC sector, you could get a wider pool of uTorrent peers from which to choose. This may have an impact on the average download rate of the swarm.

  • Kovac

    First of all, a rant. Bad, bad Johnny Boy. Don’t be so stingy, so greedy. Seed. Forever. Not everything, mind you – when I don’t like a file, I don’t want other people to be disappointed with it as well. But my favourites, oh boy – I got one at 30 ratio, and counting. I will only stop seeding when I delete the file itself.

    Now, to business.

    Even though everyone else is already saying it, I feel the need to repeat it once again. And I hate to admit that something originally meant for Windows works better than the one for Unix. But, here goes truth:

    My connection isn’t very fast (top speed is ~200kB/s down, ~60 up). uTorrent gets me there, allowing me to use the whole potential of my cheap connection.

    Transmission doesn’t.

    I pick uTorrent. End of story.

  • i2ehan

    Couldn’t disagree more. Don’t take my word for it however, try it for yourself: download the latest uTorrent beta, enable port forwarding, and you’ll witness a substantial increase in your DL speed; and I mean substantial! I am virtually capped out at my max DL speed, it’s insane! Tip: Since some clients limit the minimum required upload speed (otherwise, the download ratio is drastically affected), even at 10kB/s UL limit, your DL speed can cap at max! Use this only when necessary however, don’t leech! Keep in mind, others are sacrificing their speed for your downloads, so seed people, seed!!! :)

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.