Best Free File Manager for Android

toggle-button

Introduction

We are all used to the different flavours of file managers in Microsoft Windows, but just how good are any of the freeware file manager apps available for Android devices? Let's find out from this list of products reviewed and sorted in order of our rating for ease of your reference.

Tap or click the Like button of the file managers you preferred to use, or give your suggestions by leaving a comment at the end of this article.

 

Rated Products

AndroXplorer File Manager  

A pretty neat file manager with simple navigation to manage your files, apps, storage and device.


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Limited features)
This app has a wealth of file management tools all bundled in a well designed app that is a must for anyone who require a tool that can perform as well as it looks.
The cut, copy, paste functions etc, while all work brilliantly, are not designed for someone with big fingers so you may want to use a stylus.
Read full review...

X-plore File Manager  

An easy-to-use and professional file manager with a dual-pane tree view and file transfer between devices.


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Limited features)
Well thought-out split screen view allows easy manipulation of files and folders between devices. Loads of features and advert free.
Doesn't view too well on a small Android phone.
Read full review...

FX File Explorer  

A beautiful and near perfect file managing app with well-designed and customizable user interface.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)
FX has quite a lot of features inside a clean, customizable UI with a modern look and feel and a sane default font even on smaller displays. The Help is easily accessible from everywhere inside the application.
Not really free software, there is a paid version with advanced functionality available. The vertical split screen mode could be a bit too tiny on a smaller screen.
Read full review...

ES File Explorer  

A full-featured file manager complete with an app manager and a note editor.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Ads)
Supported all basic file operations, quick access to favorite folders, zip and unzip with encryption, doubles up as an app manager and note editor, and many other extras.
Searching for files is a tad slow.
Read full review...

ASTRO File Manager  

Helps organise and view your pictures, music, documents and other files very quickly and intuitively.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Ads)
Very clever file management that comes fully loaded with loads of options to manage the file content on your android device with easy to follow menus.
Could do with an easier way to get back to the software's front menu as sometimes if you double-tap too much, it takes you right out of it.
Read full review...

AndroZip File Manager  

A good solid app to help you organize files, compress and decompress encrypted zip files.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free
Lots of settings and features: installs to your external device memory and not directly on your device. Straightforward and well-built app that does what it says it can do.
None that I can find.
Read full review...

File Manager (File transfer)  

A fully featured file management tool for file manipulation, storage analysis and file transfer.


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free (Ads)
It's professional looking and well thought-out. The navigation is easy to follow and it can happily manage your data files.
Would be nice if there was a Help somewhere rather than having to go the developer's site.
Read full review...

Total Commander  

The Android version of the desktop file manager with the whole slew of features supported natively.


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free
Its fast and has nice support for multiple scenarios.
The interface could be a little cleaner.
Read full review...

Ghost Commander  

A lite, dual-panel open-source file manager with plug-ins for SMB and SFTP support.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Open source)
Stripped-down user interface with a two-panel mode and useful extra features.
Using some of the advanced functionality can be a bit messy, the configuration abilities are limited.
Read full review...

Lime  

A noteworthy newcomer appeals visually to those who are into early desktop computing.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free
A unique user interface, visually appealing to those who are into early desktop computing. Also, no bloat while still having all basic file management tools included.
No obvious way to gain root privileges. There was a checkbox for that but it seems to have gone for now. The user interface is not always self-explaining and there is no good manual available.
Read full review...

File Expert  

Manage your files locally and use your device as a server to share files over a Wi-Fi connection.


Our Rating: 
2
License: Free (Limited features)
Straightforward menu options and navigation.
A lot of the features are only available in the Pro version. It is also a bit slow and clunky to use plus the Help wasn't visible. There could also be potential issues with file-sharing security across Android devices.
Read full review...

Reviewed but not recommended:

  • OI File Manager
  • Linda File Manager

 

Related Products and Links

 

Editor

This software category is maintained by volunteer editor Cthulhux. Registered members can contact the editor with any comments or questions they might have by clicking here.

Back to the top of the article.

 

Please rate this article: 

Your rating: None
4.1
Average: 4.1 (40 votes)

Comments

ES File Explorer has been kicked out on many Android review sites. It's because the developer has added bloatware and lots of ads. Example: https://www.androidpit.com/this-is-why-you-should-not-use-es-file-explorer.

The reason MiXplorer is not covered here yet is its continued beta status. Once it has been "released", I'll add it here.

Thank you for the link. I looked around, and yes, ES File Explorer does seem to be getting a lot of flake. I have been using it for years now, but I did start to think lately that it is becoming bloated. To be fair, I haven't come across ads or the turbo charging thingy on my phone yet... so for now I am okay with it. But yes, if I did come across it, I would also surely think of giving up on ES File Explorer.

Anyways, this made me look around for other worthy file managers, and the few names that I came across which users were recommending were FX Explorer, Total Commander, Amaze File Manager, X-plore File Manager, and MiXplorer. Few of them are already covered here. Will try these out, and see if I like one to keep. MiXplorer is available from XDA forum only. I will skip that.

I tried FX Explorer, and Amaze File Manager. Amaze is totally free, but quite simple for my use... it doesn't have a text editor, which I require.

Found FX Explorer to be great. Will use it for a few days, and if I like it, which I think I will.. then bye bye ES.

Might give a try to Total Commander and X-plore sometime.

X-plore File Manager is what I use now. I also use SD Maid which has a file manager that's okay.

I tried X-plore File Manager and Total Commander, but they are not for me. I like a simple and easy to use interface like ES. I like FX Explorer, and I think I will be keeping it. It's more suited for my needs and use.

Asus File Manager is also getting popular and has a good rating, but I don't feel like using it.

I decided to go with FX Explorer. It's bye to ES File Explorer after using it for years. I now really like the plain and simple clutter free interface of FX.. much better than ES.

"File Commander" is an excellent file manager with a beautiful interface, but lacks some advanced features.

"FX File Explorer" remains my favorite though, it's well designed and it has root support which is a must for me.

ES File Explorer: I wanted an app to search for jpg's in my Music folder; select all and then delete them. ES did all that even with some different ways to do it.

My question relates to Total Commander's copy (or move) function - I cannot get paste to work.
I have a Samsung Note 3 (and a Galaxy S2 that has moved it's Phone Number to the Note 3).
My friend has the same, but has not transferred his Phone Number yet. I transferred my Contacts by Exporting them to a micro SD card. And I then imported them from that SD card into my Note 3. I did all that with out using any of the reviewed free File Managers.
HOWEVER my friend does not have a SD card. Thus I am experimenting with connecting a thumb drive via a usb OTG cable.
My objective is to get an android File Manager that makes it 'a piece of cake' to locate files (eg .vcf), and to paste them to desired locations.
Which of the reviewed File Managers would make this an easy operation -
(On his Galaxy S2) - Locating the .vcf file and copying to the thumb drive
(On his Note 3) - Locating the .vcf file and copying from the thumb drive

Thanks,
Rob

For transferring contacts, I would probably prefer the Google Sync way. ;-) I'd assume ES can do that - not tested though, as I don't use a thumb drive with mobile devices...

Do you know AntTek Explorer (File Manager)?
What do you think of it?

Looks interesting, but is there anything it can do that the other file managers here can't do? I'm not really willing to list every single file manager here, most of them are quite similar...

I only know that this one (AntTek) seems to immediately behave more to my liking than others. For instance, I could soon configure it so that whenever I open it, I land directly at the "My Favorites" ("My Bookmarks") screen. Maybe it can also be done with others, but with this one it was easy.

But I have only used it for a couple of days, so I don't know...

Until now I was using File Expert, but it has become too huge and even worse in some aspects. Too many possibilities and less friendly in what I do 90% of the time.

I was wondering if someone has taken the time to compare and see any hidden strenghts or weaknesses of this (new to me) file explorer as compared to others.

Concerning the Bookmarks thingy, you might like FX as it starts with the bookmarks screen by default.

Ok, I'm giving FX a try too. I'm new to both. Thanks!

Glad to help you out. :) If something's still missing, I might want to test your alternative indeed.

Since your are at it right now, I have a pretty specific question.

I have noticed that with File Expert, after I moved .jpg files from one folder to another in my SD card, the built in "Gallery" application in my phone lost track of what pictures and what thumbnails are in each folder, so the Gallery display basically gets broken.

File Expert apparently does not even send a signal for a media re-scanning to be done.

Have you noticed, during your testing, if that's a common problem with other file explorers?

Some file managers have a separate "media scan" button for that, probably because they don't use Android's built-in file operations. I'd report a bug for those which don't. :-)

Im currently extremely impressed with FX File Explore (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nextapp.fx&hl=en). It has a tonne of features and I really like how the Home Page on it is organised so you can go to your phone memory, your SD Card or link to your most frequently visited folders or files.

Yours,
Beev

edit: Tested and worth recommending, added to the list.

I'm perfectly comfortable with Total Commander. The interface is rather passé and needs to be updated but it's beginning to have that "dated" iconic (?) appeal :-) ha ha. I always thought the strongest point of TC would have to be the feature where we could integrate attributes of other apps into TC to make the tasks streamlined, and therefore faster and more efficient. This alone is a good starting point for those who want to learn how Android apps tend to work with other apps. It's like going under hood and tweaking things a bit too have a specialized method of consolidating tasks for a faster and more efficient performance (this is NOT configuring the settings like themes and font size but can be as well). Thus many plug ins which makes TC more powerful, and appealing. This was never mentioned above.

The fact that it can work with, or embed the attributes of other apps. There are so many tasks you can streamline with TC, like sending files to a programmed number of recipients without leaving TC. Check out the rightmost button with the tiny bright green "plus" icon on the bottom of the TC screen. That button, for me, was the start of a great and satisfying adventure: The quest for File Manager Efficiency, Productivity, Utopia. :-)

Thanks for the reply tabby :) im sorry but i did mention the plug-ins but referenced them as add-ons i will change this thanks.

Total Commander for Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ghisler.android.TotalC...) is also one of the best file explorer for android phones or tablets
It includes files access via ftp, windows, ...

For me it's the best !

Thanks for the suggestion i reviewed it :)