cx_Freeze vs Pyinstaller Comparison

In this article, we will be comparing two very popular libraries used for converting Python Code Files to standalone EXE’s (executables). This ‘cx_Freeze vs Pyinstaller’ comparison will help you understand the various pros and cons of each library, and which one you ought to be using.

What are Pyinstaller and Cx_Freeze used for?

Pyinstaller and cx_Freeze are both libraries used for creating standalone executables from Python scripts. They enable the distribution of Python applications without the need for a Python installation or specific dependencies on the target system. Both libraries have the ability to package the script, dependencies, and any necessary data files into a single executable file.

While their main goal remains the same, the method in which they achieve this goal, and other minor differences in terms of features offered, is what makes them different.

How do Pyinstaller and cx_Freeze work?

Both PyInstaller and cx_Freeze work by taking a Python script and packaging it along with its dependencies and any necessary data files into a standalone executable. They both use a similar process to accomplish this:

  1. Analyze the Python script to determine the dependencies it needs to run.
  2. Package the dependencies, along with the Python interpreter, into the executable.
  3. Create the executable file.

The main difference in how they work lies in the implementation details of these steps.

PyInstaller uses a technique called “analysis” to determine the dependencies of the script, which allows it to include only the necessary modules and not the whole python library. On the other hand, cx_Freeze uses a technique called “inclusion” which includes all the modules that the script might use. This can make cx_Freeze executables larger in size than those created by PyInstaller.

Pyinstaller vs Cx_Freeze Comparison

Here we will directly compare cx_Freeze and Pyinstaller and a variety of important metrics and benchmarks. I will also include my personal experience of working with both libraries, to help you better understand the difference.

Note: The term virtual environment will be used often here. For those who do not know, virtual environments are basically a fresh copy of your Python installation

PerformanceSimilar performance as regular Python code. Similar performance as regular Python code. May be slightly worse than Pyinstaller due to extra imports and increased size. Can be solved with Virtual environments.
SizeVaries greatly based on libraries included and settings. Varies greatly based on libraries included and settings. Without proper exclusion of extra modules or use of virtual environment
Cross-platform Windows, Linux, macOS.Windows, Linux, macOS.
Loading timeTakes a long time to load, especially the one-file setting. About 5 – 10 seconds for most applications. I have had cases where it takes upto 15 seconds.

(This is partly the windows firewalls fault, which doubles the load time)
Loads much more quickly than Pyinstaller. You can expect majority of applications to load in under 5 seconds.
Compile timeCompile time scales well with the number of libraries. Doesn’t take longer than 5 minutes on average.Varies greatly based on the number of libraries. Can take a few mins, to a few hours (if using big libraries).
CommunityPyinstaller is more popular and widely used than cx_Freeze. Many online resources and user generated content available. Is well known and used often in the Python community, but not as much as Pyinstaller.
Out-of-the-boxPyinstaller almost always work “out of the box”. Less need of customization or tweaking for a successful compile. Cx_Freeze is the reverse. It is almost always won’t work out of the box. It needs slight tweaks here and there to get it working. The fixes are decently documented though, and only take a minute to implement.
FeaturesPyinstaller offers more features and customization options. For example, there is a GUI interface for Pyinstaller, you can make splash screens, onefile mode, better compression support (UPX), etc. Lesser number of features and customizations.

cx_Freeze vs Pyinstaller – Conclusion

In conclusion, both cx_Freeze and PyInstaller are powerful tools for converting Python scripts into executable files. Cx_Freeze has the benefit of having a faster load time, while PyInstaller offers more features such as support for one-file executables, UPX compression, GUI interfaces, and more.

The choice between the two ultimately depends on the specific needs of the project. For projects that require a faster load time, cx_Freeze may be the better choice. On the other hand, if the project requires more advanced features (or a certain feature that cx_freeze doesn’t have), PyInstaller may be the more suitable option.

This marks the end of the cx_Freeze vs Pyinstaller comparison. Any suggestions or contributions for CodersLegacy are more than welcome. Questions regarding the tutorial content can be asked in the comments section below.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments