While you have a few choices of BitTorrent client on Windows, uTorrent is hands down the best we've ever used: it's feature-filled, very lightweight, and completely free.
- Download torrents (obviously) and manage/prioritise multiple torrents
- Search for torrents directly from the app
- Automatically download torrents through torrent RSS feeds
- Play and stream media files as you download them
- Set up a complex speed schedule, so you don't use up bandwidth when you need it for other things
- Monitor and control your torrent downloads remotely, from any computer or mobile device
- Label torrents for easy sorting
- Drag and drop a file or group of files into uTorrent for quick sharing with friends
- Rate and comment on torrent files for other users
- Hide any features you don't care about to make the uTorrent interface as minimal as you like
- Add features through the uTorrent App Studio
- Automatically adjusts bandwidth usage so if you're making a Skype video call or downloading a file from the web you won't have to worry about uTorrent getting in the way
- Many more advanced features
uTorrent does something few other apps can: it's incredibly feature-filled, while staying very simple and lightweight. It's perfect for novice and expert users alike, and you can tweak uTorrent to fit nearly any download routine. You can search directly on uTorrent or from your favourite torrent site, add RSS feeds for automatic downloading, or even share files with a simple drag and drop. uTorrent's automatic bandwidth management feature is also great, though if you prefer, you can run it on a schedule, so it uses more bandwidth at night (when you aren't using the computer) and less during the day. The ability to stream audio and video as it downloads is also a killer feature.
There's very little wrong with uTorrent. If you are a very advanced user, you might prefer something like Vuze, but for the vast majority of users, uTorrent has all the features they could ever need. If you're opposed to closed-source software, you might want to look elsewhere (uTorrent is even coming out with a paid version sometime in the near future), but other than that we've found it's easily the best client around.
uTorrent has pretty much killed most of the competition, but there are still a few other apps worth looking at. Vuze is a popular client for the more advanced crowd, offering more features than you'd ever know what to do with -- which would be great, if it didn't make the app so much slower. If you want to tweak the inner workings of BitTorrent, or stream movies from BitTorrent to your TV, Vuze is worth checking out, but be prepared for a much heftier program than uTorrent.
While uTorrent is still very lightweight and simple, some very minimalist users would prefer something with less "add-on" type features, and for them, there's Tixati. It's less feature-bloated than uTorrent, but about the same on system resources. It still supports advanced features like magnet links, bandwidth management, RSS, and more, so if uTorrent isn't doing it for you, Tixati could be a good alternative.
Those are far from the only BitTorrent clients on Windows, but these days, the above choices should appeal to nearly any user looking to download large files. Do you have a favourite that we didn't mention? Share it with us in the comments.
Lifehacker’s App Directory is a new and growing directory of recommendations for the best applications and tools in a number of given categories.