10 Best PDF Reader for iPad

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iPad was launched in April 2010 with much success and one of the main reasons for that is the crisp and beautiful screen which is pretty good for reading. PDF documents are one of the most commonly used document formats out there and there are apps for you to transfer the documents and read it on your iPad. Here I’ve compiled some of the best PDF reader apps for the iPad.


1. FileApp

Opens most documents like PDF, MS Office, images, html, zip, audio and video (standard iPhone formats : H.264, MPEG-4). Easily transfer your file through wifi.

Cost: Free ($4.99 for Pro version)
Category: Business
Size: 2.3 MB


2. GoodReader for iPad

Just like FileApp, it can read most documents. It also has PDF Reflow mode where it extracts the images and only displays text. The performance of the app is also very fast and zippy.

Cost: $2.99
Category: Productivity
Size: 11.2 MB


3. Stanza

Pretty decent app for reading PDFs. You can sync your documents directly to the device via iTunes or import files directly via Safari or Mail. Also has page turning effect for the pages to make the reading experience more real.

Cost: Free
Category: Books
Size: 9.6 MB


4. PDF/Comic/eBook Reader Bookman

This is an eBook reader supporting PDF and Comic Archive files. It has features such as large thumbnails, double-page browsing type which is best for comic, keyword search, URL detection, bookmarks with a folder function, history function which allows you to go back to the page you read.

Cost: Free
Category: Books
Size: 8.8 MB


5. CloudReaders pdf,cbz,cbr

CloudReaders is a free PDF Reader and comic viewer which supports PDF, CBZ, ZIP, CBR and RAR files. It also lets you upload file via WIFI and you do it through a web browser interface. A recent update even lets you transfer files via USB cable and using iTunes. CloudReaders is a solid app that does the job for free.

Cost: Free
Category: Books
Size: 0.5 MB


6. ReaddleDocs for iPad

ReaddleDocs is an all-in-one document viewer and file manager. Among the file documents supported includes PDF, MS Office (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) and Apple iWork files. The PDF viewer supports large files and has text reflow mode as well. It lets you transfer files to your iPad via WIFI or mobile network. It also lets you download and upload files to Dropbox, MobileMe iDisk, GoogleDocs.

Cost: $4.99
Category: Business
Size: 8.3 MB


7. Air Sharing HD

Air Sharing HD is a file management utility that also has PDF viewing and you can even print your documents wirelessly. It also allows you share files wirelessly where you just drag and drop files from your computer to this app. This is a feature packed utility but it’s a bit pricey and it crashes quite often.

Cost: $7.99
Category: Business
Size: 8.7 MB


8. PDF Reader Pro Edition for iPad

PDF Reader Pro is fast and zippy PDF Reader that can take on any large PDFs that you dump to it. It has a whole lot of comprehensive features like word search, page jump, hyperlinks support, USB and wifi file transfer, and Cloud services support like Dropbox, GoogleDocs, Box.net, iDisk and Sugarsync.

Cost: $9.99
Category: Business
Size: 7.7 MB


9. SmileyDocs

SmileyDocs is a simple yet feature packed PDF reader. It lets you highlight PDF documents with colors of your choice just like a highlight marker pen. Also has reflow mode that extracts and displays only text. You can organize your documents by folders and it also remembers your last zoom level which is a very useful feature. You can transfer files via USB/iTunes, or Wi-Fi/FTP.

Cost: $0.99
Category: Utilities
Size: 1.3 MB


10. iAnnotate PDF

iAnnotate PDF is an excellent PDF reader that also lets you highlight, underline, crossing out words by just using your finger. You can even scribble and take notes on the page or you can leave a comment box as well. Excellent for students and also medical professionals.

Cost: $9.99
Category: Productivity
Size: 11.5 MB

22 Replies to “10 Best PDF Reader for iPad”

  1. I’ve bought smily docs and though looks ok the app, the notes features is not working for some reason !!

  2. I have i annotate pdf and air sharing and of course ibooks. The iannotate pdf works like a charm, perhaps a bit complicated and not so straight forward but can realy do the job at any level or role concerning reading and marking.

  3. I still can’t find a pdf app. that supports drm format . Everytime a add a new app to support pdf and go to download an ebook in pdf format I get error message. Does not support drm format. Is there a app. for ipad 2 to read pdf books?

  4. hi lynn,

    I’m afraid if you have a drm pdf, you may not be able to open it with any of the apps since they probably share the same engine with restrictions to display only non-drm pdf.

  5. Thanks for the list. The feature I’d like which I can’t get in iBooks or PDF reader is the ability to set a level of zoom and keep it constant when I turn pages -or at least get a fit to width in landscape. Do you know if any of the above will do this ?
    Many thanks.

  6. Hi Rick,

    I understand the frustration. I haven’t come across any which has constant zoom yet but I believe FileApp has page fit when you rotate it in landscape mode. You can try out the free version and see, FileApp.

  7. When I use a PDF reader or annotator to highlight a sentence on a scanned document that was saved as a PDF file, the document looks fine on the iPad. I can still see the letters where I highlighted. However, when I open that PDF document on my MacBook, the highlighted areas are solid color. I can’t see the words under the highlights. Any suggestions?

  8. I am a teacher in an elementary school and I just got the ipad, and love it. But I do a lot of research in the net, and as an ESL teacher lots of the worksheets found are in PDF format. Can anyone recommend an app, that can be read and also printed. Thanks

  9. Hello, these apps look great. I really need one that allows me to download a PDF and reading off line. Any advice? I would like to spend less than three dollars. Thanks!

  10. i´m looking for an PDF App that can improve contrast of scanned PDF files ?

    Any tip for me which app can do this ?

  11. I use iAnnotate and it’s really very good as either a pure reader or for note taking.

    The only ereader I have found that allows fit-to-width on PDFs is Bluefire Reader.

  12. I´m looking for an PDF App that can copy any information on PDF page, like text, pictures, graphs or formulas and past anywhere.
    Any tip for me which app can do this ?

  13. Hi Francisco,

    GoodReader lets you copy text into your clipboard but I do not know of any app that lets you copy pictures and other stuff.

  14. Rob, try Writepdf, lets you directly edit on your ipad or iphone and then you can edit the same file straight away on your computer see if you have the same problem (which you shouldn’t) best of luck

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