Best File Managers for Android 2012 (Free & Paid)

File managers are a must-have for every Android device. There are plenty of apps available in Google Play Store that let you explore the file system of Android smartphones. Here we take a brief look at some of the best file managers for Android (2012):

  1. Root Explorer
  2. ASTRO File Manager
  3. File Expert
  4. AndroXplorer
  5. ES File Explorer

1. Root Explorer ($3.94)root-explorer-thumb

As the name explains, Root Explorer gives you access to the root, the whole file system of your device. So you can view, read and write files anywhere in the system. However, to be able to get root access, you must have a rooted Android device. For those of you who have rooted devices, and can afford a $3.94 app, Root Explorer is the perfect catch. As it’s description reads:

Features include SQLite database viewer, Text Editor, create and extract zip or tar/gzip files, extract rar archives, multi-select, execute scripts, search, remount, permissions, bookmarks, send files (via email, bluetooth etc), image thumbnails, APK binary XML viewer, change file owner/group, create symbolic link, "Open With" facility, MD5.

Purchase and Download Root Explorer APK

2. ASTRO File Manager / Browser (FREE)

astro-thumbOne of the best free file managers for Android out there, ASTRO file manager lets you view the file system of your device. Free version of the app comes with ads, if you want an ad-free version you can purchase the ASTRO File Mgr Pro for $4. It’s one of the oldest file managers available and works pretty well on all Android devices. If you want more functionality, there are couple of plugins also available for free:

  • ASTRO SMB Module: Adds SMB (Windows) networking to the ASTRO File Manager. Allows browsing, copy, paste, etc. of files on a Windows or SAMBA server.
  • ASTRO Bluetooth Module: Adds OBEX FTP support for browsing devices and sending/receiving files using Bluetooth networking.

Download ASTRO File Manager

3. File Expert (FREE)

file-expert-thumbFile Expert is more than just a file manager. With ability to let you transfer file over HTTP/FTP using WiFi, File Expert also has the complete functionality you’d need in a typical file manager app. You can even set up cloud storage within the app to transfer files to and from services like and Dropbox. Not just that, if you have another device with File Expert installed on it, you can exchange files over WiFi.

File Expert is your ultimate choice for file management and sharing on Android devices.

Download File Expert

4. AndroXplorer Pro File Manager ($2.94)

AndroXplorer-thumbAndroXplorer File Manager lets you browse through the file system and comes with support for root. The app has a unique UI and plenty of features that set it apart from other file managers. It thrives on support for multiple compression formats and enhanced security features. Using AndroXplorer, you can extract or archive files with Zip, 7Z, GZIP, TAR, BZIP2, XZ, WIM.


Purchase and Download AndroExplorer

5. ES File Explorer (FREE)

es-file-manager-thumbES File Explorer is the file manager for any Android device. One of the most popular apps in its category, ES File Explorer has all the features that you’d want in a file browser. Plus it supports the older versions of Android OS. So, if you’re stuck on Android 1.5, you can count on ES File Explorer for your file management needs. For those who want root access, you can also browse through root, including the data directory.

Download ES File Explorer


Google Play Store is now stuffed with Android file managers, both free and paid. While the key functionality of all the apps remains the same, i.e. to allow you to perform basic functions like copy, paste, rename, read, write using the file system, some of the apps do come with unique features. The one you choose entirely depends on your requirements. Another question that may arise is “free file managers vs paid ones, which are better”. The answer is, free file manager apps for Android obviously come with some limitations, so if you do not want to compromise on performance and need enhanced features, you better go for a paid app. Basic level users should do just fine with a free version and will not need a paid app unless you get annoyed by the ads that free version might come with. All the best with your search.


Rashid Saeed

I blog about the hottest and latest news updates and trends in the smartphone industry - in particular, the Android platform.

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