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Stellar Photo Recovery Standard review

Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery is fast and powerful raster image recovery software.

Our Verdict

Stellar is easy to use for people of any skill level, and its solid vector and raster recovery rates make it a sure bet if you've lost those types of files.


  • Recovers 100% of raster files


  • It does not support Polaroid raw files

Stellar Photo Recovery is some of the best photo recovery software you can buy. It is easy to use, even for novice users, and has no trouble recovering most vector files and all JPG files or other types of raster files quickly. The program’s interface is clean and well-designed, and the company backs the software with terrific customer service.

Stellar Photo Recovery 9.0 is now available. The new version offers the following features: an improved interface; supports all known and unknown file types; photo, audio and video recovery support for FAT32, ExFAT, NTFS, HFS+, Linux file systems, and hard drive recovery support; option to recover from CD/DVD; repairs corrupt photos, and extracts thumbnails of corrupt photos.

In our tests, we simulated the most common data loss scenario on multiple drive types and averaged the results. The scenario is this: You either accidentally or purposely delete a photo and then empty the recycle bin. In this test, the image recovery software rescued 100 percent of JPGs, the most common format. It also recovered 100 percent of other raster image formats, including GIFs, TIFFs and BMPs. This outperformed many other products in this category.

Stellar recovered 60 percent of production images and 45 percent of raw formats, both of which are above average. And most impressively, it successfully retrieved nearly all of the vector files in our tests. This is a huge improvement from its last version, and it is well above the category average.

The second portion of our testing simulated data loss that occurs when you reformat a drive. We tested this on multiple drive types and averaged the results. As in the lost file tests we ran, the biggest concern for this software was the low recovery rates for production and raw formats. Though they were still above the category average, they weren’t perfect, meaning you may not be able to recoup all of them.

On a positive note, the image recovery tool easily retrieved all other images at above-average rates. The 100 percent recovery rate for general raster images is above average and tied for the highest rate across our comparison. It also found and recovered 80 percent of lost and reformatted vector images, which was an extremely impressive result from our tests.

One of the greatest aspects of this photo recovery software is its ease of use. The installation process was quick and simple, and the program’s intuitive and modern design seamlessly guides you through scanning your hard drive and recovering your cherished photos. Not only is everything clearly labeled – it’s also one of the few programs that recovers many of the original file names, which makes the post-recovery stage of organizing your reclaimed photos much easier.

The software has an impressively fast scan speed but a sluggish recovery speed. The eventual output was none the worse for wear, but we always prefer the convenience of faster results.

One of the best features of the program is its digital camera file recovery. Digital cameras typically allow you to take a picture in raw formats, which are uncompressed and unprocessed images that contain all the information that the image sensors capture. These images are proprietary formats to their manufacturers and are difficult for many other applications of this kind to recognize. Stellar can recognize nearly all of the major digital camera formats, except for Polaroid, which is better than most other programs out there, except GetData Recover My Photos, which recognizes them all.

The software developer offers customer service via live chat, email and phone. It also hosts online informational resources such as manuals and a knowledgebase on its website.

Stellar Photo Recovery is the best photo recovery software out there, combining exceptional ease of use with strong overall performance. Aside from a slow recovery speed and less-than-perfect product and raw format recovery, its recovery rates for every other image type were perfect. The high number of camera raw formats it recognizes helps make the software a great option for novice and professional photographers alike.