Pantone Color Libraries have become integral across industries, including graphic design, printing, product design, and fashion. They address color misalignment, ensuring accuracy and consistency across coated and uncoated materials.
The fastest way to turn colors into their Pantone equivalents is to use an online Pantone converter. We’ve rounded up the five best free Pantone converters, but let’s first see why you should use them and how they work.
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Why Use a Free Pantone Converter
Pantone Color Libraries have 15,000+ colors across the Pantone Matching System (PMS) and the Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors (FHI) system.
Forget about inconsistent colors across your branding materials because of printer recalibration whenever you change the paper and ink cartridges. Forget about incorrect colors in textile production and packaging. Pantone provides a faithful color representation that matches your vision.
However, accessing those colors requires a premium subscription. You could use Pantone Connect (formerly Pantone Color Finder) for free (at least some features) until a year ago, but all tools now sit behind a paywall.
Fortunately, you can use a reliable Pantone converter for free. Here’s how these tools work.
How Free Pantone Converters Work
Free Pantone converters turn hexadecimal color codes, RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) ratios, or CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key) values into their Pantone equivalents (the Key stands for black). Most let you specify the numbers or use a color palette, while some can match colors from uploaded images.
However, all online Pantone converters provide only the closest color matches. They may not perfectly match your original colors, but the most reliable tools will produce results with barely noticeable differences. Moreover, you’ll get multiple choices to pick Pantone hues, shades, tints, and tones that best represent your brand.
Let’s explore the five best free Pantone converters.
Top Free Pantone Converters
We’ve tested many online Pantone converters that don’t require a subscription to give you a firsthand review. The following are the most straightforward tools offering excellent results.
Code Beautify offers multiple utilities for developers, including CSS and IP tools, programming editors, parsers, validators, and converters (e.g., image format, color, HTML, XML, and JSON).
Its free Pantone converter offers tools for turning hex, RGB, CMYK, and HSV (Hue, Saturation, and Value) colors into their Pantone counterparts (and vice versa). Each has an interactive color palette and a color preview.
The best feature might be the Pantone color distance picker. For instance, selecting 16 gives the closest color, while 32 and greater distances provide multiple variations, albeit typically less faithful to the original.
We’re confident the absence of an extension for other browsers won’t deter you from using this fantastic tool. After all, you don’t need one to enjoy its features.
2. DNS Checker
Despite its name, DNS Checker offers much more than DNS solutions. Like Code Beautify, it’s every developer’s and webmaster’s heaven, featuring dev, IP, webmaster, network, cybersecurity, and productivity tools. Additionally, it has a handy collection for graphic design professionals.
DNS Checker’s online Pantone converters include CMYK, RGB, HSV, and hex tools for matching colors to the PMS. Each has a distance picker, color palette, and previews, and all except hex (for obvious reasons) have convenient sliders besides value boxes.
You may be unable to pick a Pantone color and find its closest RGB, hex, CMYK, or HSV match, but you’ll still get excellent results with this user-friendly tool.
Printkick is an ecommerce platform helping businesses create printed promotional products and branded merchandise. It’s no surprise that it offers an online Pantone converter.
However, Printkick’s free Pantone converter is unlike most of its counterparts. It matches colors from uploaded images to Pantone and identifies their hex, RGB, and CMYK values. You only need to click the desired color to get the closest Pantone varieties.
The best part? You can click multiple colors on an image to get a list of all their Pantone matches. Talk about speed and convenience.
No browser extension for picking colors may be a missed opportunity, but you may already have a color picker among your browser plugins.
The inability to select distance values shouldn’t be a deal-breaker either. After all, most free Pantone converters don’t match colors directly from images (let alone in bulk), making this one an outstanding find.
StudioRed provides UX and UI design, prototyping, product development, and mechanical engineering solutions. One of them is a free Pantone converter for designers and printing professionals.
It lets you convert RGB and hex values to Pantone colors, displaying a preview to help you match your vision. Unlike Code Beautify and DNS Checker, it doesn’t have a color palette or a distance picker, but it stands out for handy variation comparisons.
Hovering your mouse pointer over the recommended Pantone colors (or tapping them on mobile) helps you compare them to the original hex or RGB color and pick the closest match. See the screenshot above for that comparison.
Do you notice anything unusual? The two colors on the far right are the best Pantone matches, although they have greater distance values. Therefore, don’t immediately pick the shortest color distance. Check other variations because they might provide better results.
These potential drawbacks are far from deal-breakers since this online Pantone converter provides fantastic results and has a feature others don’t. You’ll hardly miss a color distance picker since StudioRed displays each variation’s distance.
5. CMYK Tool
CMYK Tool is another excellent online Pantone converter for printing professionals and designers. As its name suggests, it lets you convert CMYK values to Pantone colors. However, you can also browse an extensive color guide to turn solid colors (coated or uncoated) into their closest Pantone matches.
Once you specify CMYK percentages, you get a corresponding hex color and its three closest Pantone variations for comparison. Selecting them redirects you to a page with valuable information, including RGB, HSL, LRV (Light Reflectance Value), and LAB color space (lightness, red, green, yellow, and blue coordinates). Additionally, it displays other relevant Pantone cards and lets you compare colors side by side.
CMYK Tool’s solutions don’t stop there. Besides multiple color converters, it offers helpful color pickers, including a CMYK color wheel and palette and an image color picker for CMYK and RGB values. That’s ideal for selecting the desired hues, shades, tones, and tints before turning them into Pantone.
These potential disadvantages hardly make CMYK Tool unworthy of your time. It may not support Pantone conversion from RGB or hex values, but its comprehensive information and reliable results make it a superb design and printing ally.
How to Enhance Your Colors After Converting
Does your design include multiple monochromatic colors with light shades, tints, and tones? Do you wish to give them a splash of bolder hues? Do you want to enhance colors in portraits or brand photos featuring models or scenes? Try Wondershare Repairit Online Photo Colorizer.
This user-friendly tool colorizes black-and-white images using AI algorithms, providing four variations you can compare with the originals and download to your device. Additionally, it repairs old, damaged photos, removing scratches and blurriness.
However, it doesn’t limit you to black-and-white photos. It can enhance colors in any image, breathing new life into them.
Wondershare Repairit Online Photo Colorizer’s top features include:
- AI image colorization and enhancement
- Old photo repair
- Multi-format support (JPG, JPEG, PNG, WEBP, and BMP)
- Compatibility with all devices and web browsers
You can use it for free, but you can colorize up to three images with a maximum size of 5 MB. A monthly ($9.99) or yearly subscription ($4.8/month) increases those limits to 300/month and 300 MB. However, the desktop version has no caps, letting you enjoy the functionalities with unlimited photos and sizes.
Online free Pantone converters are excellent tools for converting hex, RGB, and CMYK values to their closest Pantone matches. They eliminate the need to pay for Pantone Libraries while providing fantastic results and helping you enhance your designs.
Our top picks are Code Beautify, DNS Checker, Printkick Image Color Match, StudioRed, and CMYK Tool, but they’re only the tip of the iceberg. Therefore, explore your options to find the best fit for your needs, and leverage Wondershare Repairit Online Photo Colorizer to make your colors pop.