In this article, we compare three powerful image optimization plugins: Imagify, Shortpixel and Smush. Let’s assume you already know the benefits of image optimization and are just here to find out which of the three will give you the best results, then just jump to the next heading.
For those interested in the why, please read on. We compare Imagify, Shortpixel, and Smush across a range of different features including price, functionality, and power. The results of the speed test may surprise you.
Imagify for Best Results
This ended up being a close battle between Imagify and Shortpixel. Both are excellent choices and will definitely be a great choice for any image optimization work. However, when it comes to ease-of-use, compression levels, and powerful settings Imagify is the winner.
For those who want a little more information about each image optimization plugin please read on. We’ll go through the settings to look for and then we will pit each of our candidates against one another in a bloody battle to the death. There can only be one winner… Imagify.
What to Look for in an Image Optimization Plugin
How Much Does It Cost?
Price is obviously a massive consideration when signing up to any plugin. Pricing models aren’t always as simple as click and play. Each of our three competitors employs a different pricing strategy. Let’s take a look:
You will be happy to hear that all Imagify plans start with a free option. The free plan provides you with a quota of 25MB (about 250 images) every month. This is plenty for most site owners and another reason why Imagify is the overall winner.
So, Imagify has a slightly different pricing model because it uses a quota system. The size of each image you optimize is deducted from your quota. When your free quota runs out you can buy a once-off top-up or sign up to a paid account.
The next tier up gives you a quota of 1GB for $4.99 p/m. Start with the free plan and see how you go.
Shortpixel also offers a free package and it’s pretty generous, but not quite as generous as Imagify. Shortpixel uses a quota system that focuses on the number of images rather than their filesize.
The free option gives you 100 images per month. The next tier up offers a 5,000 image monthly quota for $4.99 p/m.
Smush also offers a free package but it’s very limited and the compression level is very poor. To get access to the effective image optimization features you will need to pay $7 p/m. This is more expensive than Imagify and ShortPixel. To be honest, you’re better off staying away from Smush.
Don’t Sap My Server’s Power
It’s hard to believe that some compression plugins still use your server’s resources to get the work done. Image compression saps your processing power leading to a slow user experience. A good image compression plugin will send the image to its own server, do the compression work there, and then send it back to back to your site.
Imagify, Short Pixel, and Smush all have this feature so it’s a draw.
Hurry Up! Mime is Money
Sending an image to an external server, compressing it and then sending it back takes time. Too much time in some cases. I tasked each of our competitors with compressing a huge image. I timed each of them to see how long to complete the job.
Here are the results:
Imagify – 32.57 seconds (main image reduced by 1660KB, and 7 thumbnails)
Shortpixel – 16.28 seconds (main image reduced by 182KB, and 6 thumbnails)
Smush – 5.5 seconds (main image reduced by 20.7KB max, and 5 thumbnails)
Network info: Download @ 6.08 Mbps, Upload @ 1.65 Mbps, Ping 48 ms (slow connection)
Settings: Imagify – Aggresive, Shortpixel – Lossy, Smush – Standard free option
Original Filesize – 1.66 MB
What Do All Those Figures Mean!?
The above test looks at the amount of time it took to compress a large image. While Imagify took the longest amount of time it was also the most powerful. The image file was reduced to an impressively low size without any loss of quality.
In the immortal words of Louise Armstrong, (when it comes to results) “We Have All The Time in The World“. In other words, I’ll wait that little bit longer if it means file size is reduced to the absolute minimum. Smaller files mean faster load times…
Brah, Do You Even WEBP?
If you’re into page speed optimization then you’ve probably heard of the .webp file format. It’s a type of image file that is way smaller than standard filetypes like .jpg and .png.
There’s just one catch, it’s not supported by all browsers. WEBP is now supported by Google so Chrome supports it, but Safari does not for some reason. A good image optimization plugin will offer the ability to convert images to .webp.
The best image optimization plugins will also allow you to automatically add important functionality to your website. Instructions that tell your website to serve .webp whenever possible but also have .jpg as a backup for Safari users.
Imagify – Yes, webp offered with the free package
ShortPixel – Also offered for free
Smush – Pro only ($14/month)