Ten years back, finding a great, copyright-free image to use on a website or social media was not an easy task. There were search engines for images, but they were not as good as now, and reverse image search was not as effective.
Fast forward ten years, you can almost find any image with a few clicks, thanks to reverse image software and search engines. In this article, we will list the best image search engines for general, stock, and reverse image searches.
Top 13 high Quality Image Search Engines
General image search engines
General image search engines help you find more information about something through images. The way these search engines work is that you search with a keyword, and the search engine will return several images related to your query.
The results may include copyrighted and copyright-free images, and search engines usually do not provide proper information regarding the license type. So you cannot randomly pick an image from the results and use it on your website or social media handles. Now, let’s see the best search engines for general image searches
1. Google Images
There’s nothing that beats Google Images for basic image search. Well, with the transformation it has undergone over the last ten years, Google Images is not a basic image search engine anymore—it offers several filters that help you narrow down your search to the exact kind of image you are looking for.
For example, you can narrow down your images to cartoons, illustrations, animations, or even wallpapers by clicking on the buttons under the search bar. Want to filter based on image size, color, upload date, or usage rights? Just click on the ‘Tools’ button under the search bar, and you’ll get more filters to choose from.
Google Images also supports reverse image search, thanks to the integration with Google Lens. So yeah, Google Images is a free image search engine that can do it all, but if you are a marketer or website admin, you might want to use search engines built for specific purposes for better results.
2. Bing Images
Bing Image Search is the direct alternative search engine to Google Images, with very similar features and functionalities to Google Images. Even the layout of Bing is close to that of Google.
Like Google, you can filter images based on size, color, type, layout, date, and license. An additional feature is the People Filter which lets you filter photos of people based on how they were photographed. You can choose head & shoulders images or just face images.
3. Yahoo Images
Couple all Google Images or Bing Images features with a sleek, clean design, and you get the Yahoo image search engine. It lets you filter images based on size, color, type, layout, time, and usage rights. It has a People Filter as well.
But one feature you might miss on this image search engine is that it does not show related images when you click on an image thumbnail. This is an essential feature as it makes it easy to find similar images to the one you like, especially when searching for the best images for your website or social media.
4. Yandex Image Search
Yandex Images is another search engine aggregating images from around the web. It has all the necessary filters, and in addition, you can type in a website URL to see images exclusively from that website.
Yandex displays the full-size image in a pop-up window when you click on an image thumbnail. It will tell you if the image is available in other dimensions, and you can download it from the pop-up window itself. Note that Yandex doesn’t specify the image license, so ensure you have the rights before using it for commercial purposes.
Stock image search engines
These search engines have vast databases of images and graphics uploaded by users. The results will include copyright-free images and copyrighted images, but the search engine will give you accurate information regarding the license.
You can get a license to use any image from the results by paying a premium. In case of copyright-free images, you are free to use them anywhere.
With a collection of over 600 million reusable files, OpenVerse is one of the best image search platforms for finding reusable images. You can filter images by use, license, type, extension, size, and even the source.
When you search with a keyword, it returns images that broadly match your keyword. So OpenVerse is not as specific as general search engines like Google or Bing. But it does help you find interesting pictures and illustrations related to your keyword.
Launched in 2004, Flickr is one of the most popular image search websites among web admins and social media marketers, thanks to the billions of images in their database. It offers advanced filters like depth of field, minimalist, black and white, and patterns. You can also filter by image license, so it is much easier to find the image you are looking for.
Flickr is a bit strict about usage rights, so make sure you have the proper license to use images on your websites and social platforms.
Unsplash is a popular image search database with a massive collection of free, high-resolution images backed by a strong community of photographers. While many other stock image platforms ask for your contact details to download files, Unsplash lets you download any image without giving away any information.
Pixabay is another high-resolution image search engine that aggregates free-to-use images from different websites. With a collection of over 2.3 million pictures, photos, and wallpapers, it’s a great platform to find free images for website and social media purposes.
9. Getty Images
Getty Images is the platform you can use when you don’t find the image you are looking for on sites like OpenVerse or Unsplash. This website does not offer images for free, so you’ll have to pay for each image you download.
But yeah, Getty Images is still a great platform to find high-resolution images that you may not find on other platforms.
Reverse image search engines
Reverse image search engines help you find similar or related images based on an image you already have. This is particularly time-saving for websites and marketers—if you have one good image you can use for your marketing, you can find several images of the same kind.
Launched in 2008, TinEye is the world’s first reverse image search engine. It is also one of the best reverse image search engines.
You can simply upload your image or paste the link to your image, and the tool will search over 55.8 billion images to find the original image and similar images.
The tool supports JPEG, PNG, and GIF images, but the maximum file size you can upload is 20 MB. You can do up to 150 searches a week for free, but if you want more than that, you have to pay $200/year.
11. Google reverse image search
Google launched its reverse image search engine in 2011, 3 years after TinEye. But with the resources Google has, the search engine quickly grew to be one of the world’s leading image reverse search engines.
And it does not have the limitations of TinEye—you can upload images of any size and do as many searches as you want without paying a penny.
The best thing about Google reverse image search is that it is now integrated with Google Lens. So it can read the text included in the image and even translate it into different languages supported by Google Translate.
12. Bing Image Match
Bing Image Match, the reverse search engine of Bing Images, was launched in 2014. Although the search results of Bing Image Match are not as good as TinEye or Google Reverse Image Search, it does work well with product images, illustrations, and wallpapers. If TinEye or Google doesn’t give you the expected results, it might be worth it to give Bing a try.
13. Pinterest visual search engine
Pinterest is great for finding images and illustrations for mobile-first social media platforms like Instagram. And they have an excellent reverse image search tool that lets you zoom in on a section of an image and reverse search to find similar pins or images.
The tool receives over 600 million searches every month and is quite popular among consumers for product image searches. You can simply take a product picture using Pinterest Lens, and the tool will return all related information and similar images.