Best Free Color Picker

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Introduction

A color picker allows you to identify the color codes of any color present on your screen. This information can be helpful when editing an image, programming, writing HTML language or setting up a web page, etc.

There are many free color pickers to choose from. This review picks out a select few, based on the following features:

  • Color code support:
    - RGB (Red, Green and Blue)
    - Hex (hexadecimal in HTML mode, etc)
    - HSL, HSV, HSI or HSB (Hue, Saturation, Lightness/Value/Intensity/Brightness)
    - CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Key/Black)
  • Takes up little screen space  (in its "on-top" setting)
  • Provides useful features including a grabber (or eyedropper) to easily pick and copy a color, a magnifier to see precisely which color you want to pick, a color mixer to adjust colors, and a color palette to re-use picked colors.

 

Rated Products

Color Cop  

A screen color picker with a compact and powerful user interface


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free
Compact and powerful user interface, taking up a small space of desktop area. Features include grabber, magnifier, color palette and mixer, etc.
CMYK color space yet to be developed.
Read full review...

Color Selector  

A color picker with a converter built-in


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Supports RGB, HSL, HSB/HSV, CMY, Hex and Decimal, includes color picker, 9x magnifier, color preview, mixer, configurable color sliders and a Darker slider with a converter built-in.
Palette tool shown in a separate window, user interface takes up some desktop space as well.
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Color Archiver  

A color grabber provides RGB, CMY, CMYK, HSL and HSV color spaces


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Support RGB, CMY, CMYK, HSL and HSV color spaces. Features include grabber, magnifier, color palette and mixer, color names, etc.
Slightly bigger interface.
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CPick  

Pick a screen color behind a magnifier zooming from 1 to 10


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free
Support Hex, Decimal, RGB or HSV value, adjust color with slide bars, click and drag, magnifier, color lists, save image as icon or Bitmap.
CMYK color space not supported, slightly larger interface but collapsible.
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Just Color Picker  

A portable color picker and editor for web designers and digital artists


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
Supports RGB, HTML Hex and HSB/HSV/HSL color codes, save picked colors in text files.
Use hot keys to grab colors.
Read full review...

ColorMania  

A color grabber with a magnifier, a mixer and sliders for RGB and HSV


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
Supports CMYK in addition to RGB and Hex codes in various modes. Features include color grabber, magnifier, mixer and sliders, color palette, predefined HTML colors.
Take up slightly larger desktop area, no modules are collapsible.
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Pixeur  

Keeps a history of colors you've picked with all necessary tools


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
Support CMYK, RGB, HSB and Hex color values. Features include color grabber, magnifier, color mixer, color scheme, slider, etc.
Take up relatively larger desktop area.
Read full review...

gcolor2  

A simple color selector provides a quick and easy way to pick a color on the screen for Linux


Our Rating: 
2.5
License: Free (Open source)
Open Source, a quick and easy way to pick a color, supports HSV, RGB and HTML codes with an opacity slider, color grabber, allows for naming and saving picked colors.
No magnifier is supported.
Read full review...

Other Color Pickers

These are a number of other free color pickers which were brought up in comments here or noted from other sources. As they are not rated in this review, I am listing them here with brief descriptions and links to their sites for ease of reference.

  • Visual Color Picker supports RGB, HSL and CMYK color codes with complete sliders and 2D color mixers. Features include grabber, zoom and color preview with codes. It takes up a relatively large desktop area.
  • ColorPic supports RGB, HSV and CMYK codes with features including sliders, palettes and advanced mixers. It takes up a relatively large desktop area and uses hot keys to pick colors.
  • ColorPix supports RGB, HEX, HSB and CMYK codes and has a very small user interface, but it lacks quite a lot of features such as a color grabber, color mixer, slider, color palette, etc.
  • Pixie is a small and simple program. A portable version weighs in at only 11KB. Pixie shows you Hex, RGB, HTML, CMYK and HSV color values when you point to a pixel on the screen. It allows you to use hotkeys to copy HTML codes, call up Windows' default color mixer and show a floating magnifier. If you don't remember the hotkeys, the program will show them up when you move the mouse cursor over the interface.
  • ColSel (homepage not in English) supports HEX and RGB color values, but CMYK and HSV values are not supported. The program features color mixers, websafe color, etc., but its color grabber together with a magnifier is located at the secondary user interface and requires more steps to just pick a color from the screen.
  • Pickard lets you drag an eyedropper on the screen, then pick a color from a magnified area in the applicaton. Supports RGB, HSL, CMY and YUV color spaces. A relatively large user interface area and no color palette is available.
  • Color Puller is portable freeware, completes with various useful features such as a grabber, a color palette, and a magnifier up to 50 times. The program supports RGB, CMY, CMYK, HSV, HSL, HSI and Hex values. Its user interface is relatively larger but can be minimized when you choose a color code to display with the On-top option.
  • Pipette runs straight from the executable and provides Hex, RGB, CMY, CMYK, HSV and other values. Large user interface, no color sliders nor a magnifier are supported.

 

Related Products and Links

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Editor

This category is maintained by volunteer editor Jojo Yee. Registered members can contact the editor with comments or suggestions by clicking here. You can visit the Google+ profile page of Jojo Yee here.

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Comments

The best color picker is pkColorPicker:
http://www.color-picker.de/

ColorBug seems to be much better than the rest. Wonderful interface and you can define your own color palettes (or color lists) and save them in an XML files. Haven't tried all color pickers around but never found one that allows you to save your color palette. The link is this: http://www.martinstoeckli.ch/colorbug

The best free color picker for me is not even a color picker program (at least that's not its primary function) -- it's a screen loupe utility called Zzoom (http://www.omiod.com/product-zzoom.asp). It's portable (just one 30KB exe), has a tiny memory footprint (consumes about 1.2MB of RAM), you can use it as a color picker (press 'C'), plus you can use it as a resizable, grid-toggable screen loupe for aligning elements with pixel precision. This program belongs in every web developer's toolbox.

Color comes in 3 dimensions, red, green, and blue. Hence, color is best visualized in 3d. It allows for a common sense visualization throughout the spectrum.

http://www.technologicalutopia.com/colorpicker.htm

I just installed ColorCop using the given download link. It may NOT have been this, but as soon as I installed it (along with saying no to some crap toolbar it tried to sneak in there), some malware began running on my PC, called PC Performer (doing a fake registry scam which I couldn't stop), as well as taking me to http [COLON] //www [DOT] speedanalysis [DOT] com/?cid=3883 and running that. I stopped the latter, and managed to uninstall the former, but I'm not impressed. Anyone else have this problem??

ta,
Julie

Did you download ColorCop from Softonic? That download from Softonic provides their own downloader, which must be the cause for the extra stuff in the download. Try downloading the software from the home site of the software itself, which should be clean. We will soon change the download link in the article to the download page of the home site. Sorry for the trouble caused, and thanks for pointing this out.

Thanks so much for the reply ... yes, downloaded from Softonic, grr.

And sorry, I didn't mean for YOU to be sorry!! I just wanted to let everyone know :)

Thanks again,
Julie

Well, an apology is necessary, because the Softonic link should not have been there. We try out best to keep the users safe from any such bad links, but this one was missed, because the editor is heavily busy these days. CNET and Softonic have started wrapping the installers with their own download programs, and so we have put into force a policy to remove links to them on the site. We have removed them from most reviews, but we might have missed some, like in this one. So, thanks to you for alerting us, and I hope you did not have any major problems on your system. The links in the review have now been updated. For alternate downloads, Softpedia is a good download site.

I am awesomely grateful to this site. I've used it for at least 10 years, never install *anything* without checking here first. So thank you for all your hard work!!!

cheers,
Julie

Thank you for the kind appreciation :).