The 5 Best Chromebook Photo Editors of 2019

Edit your photos like a pro

A woman holding a loupe and a sheet of film slides.

Jon Feingersh/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Chromebooks may be the more price-savvy option when compared to traditional Mac and Windows laptops, but that doesn't always mean sacrificing functionality for frugality. 

One area where Chrome OS is surprisingly versatile is in the ability to manipulate photos and other image files through different types of editing software, some similar in nature to Photoshop. We've profiled the best Chromebook photo editors below, listed in alphabetical order.

Best for Basic Photoshop Functionality: Adobe Photoshop Express

A screenshot of Adobe Photoshop Express for Chromebook

While you can't run a full-fledged version of Photoshop on your Chromebook, Adobe's Photoshop Express is available as an Android app in the Google Play Store. Many Chromebook models provide the ability to install these apps, stretching their functionality even further. Check out The Chromium Projects site to find out whether or not your particular Chromebook supports Android app installation.

If you can install Photoshop Express, this more-than-capable app allows you to edit photos in a number of ways. You can apply unique effects, correct common issues like red eye, add custom frames and borders, eventually sharing the finished product by email, social media or other methods directly from the Photoshop Express interface. 

What We Like

  • Supports a large number of raw file types including those from Canon, Epson, Fuji and Sony cameras, among others.

What We Don't Like

  • Lacking in some advanced features found in other Chromebook-supported editors.

Cost

  • There is no fee for using Adobe Photoshop Express.

Best for Advanced Editing: GIMP Online

A screenshot of GIMP Online for Chromebook

Often referred to as a poor man's Photoshop, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is probably the most robust open source photo editor around and its online version runs rather smoothly on Chrome OS. GIMP Online's full suite of painting tools as well as the ability to scale, shear and flip gives you full control when editing your photos. Blending is a breeze, and anti-aliasing is also possible.

What We Like

  • Although GIMP doesn't have the most intuitive interface for beginners, its set of online tutorials are the perfect combination of in-depth and user-friendly.

What We Don't Like

  • Unlike the desktop (Linux, macOS, Windows) version, GIMP Online's advertisements can prove intrusive and the app does not mesh well with ad-blocking software.

Cost

  • GIMP Online is completely free.

Best for Editing Webcam Photos: Pixlr

A screenshot of Pixlr for Chromebook

A browser-based editor with an impressive feature set, Pixlr permits both progressive photo enhancements as well as the ability to design images from scratch. Common formats including GIF, JPEG and PNG are supported, along with basic PSD files. Pixlr's dashboard also works with your Webcam to snap and tweak photos in real time, coupled with cloning, sharpening, blurring and red-eye reduction tools. 

What We Like

  • Pixlr provides more integrated filters than many of its competitors.

What We Don't Like

  • Complex PSD files, in particular those exceeding three layers, will not always open in Pixlr.

Cost

  • Basic features and even some advanced functionality is accessible at no cost, while Pixlr Pro will run you $5/month.

Best for Applying Custom Filters: Polarr Photo Editor

A screenshot of Polarr Photo Editor for Chromebook

Polarr Photo Editor contains a respectable subset of tools that include the ability to create and share your own custom filters. With multiple blending modes and cool effects like flares, clouds, rain and more, this web app is adept at tweaking photos exactly to your liking.

What We Like

  • Polarr works without an internet connection.

What We Don't Like

  • Does not support raw image files.

Cost

  • Most features are available for free, but batch edit and some other advanced functionality requires a paid upgrade to Polarr Pro. 

Best for Layering: Sumo Paint

A screenshot of Sumo Paint for Chromebook

If you've got past Photoshop experience then Sumo Paint's interface will look quite familiar, and the similarities do not stop on the surface, either. This handy web app's layering features pair nicely with a bevy of editing tools, making it a formidable photo editor for your Chromebook. 

What We Like

  • Powerful photo enhancement tools and several image transformation types are offered.

What We Don't Like

  • Limited support does not include advanced file types, such as Photoshop's default PSD format.

Cost

  • Sumo Paint is free, but if you'd like an ad-free experience along with access to the online app's more advanced features then you'll need to subscribe to Sumo Pro.