Last Updated: Apr 28, 2021


If you look at a lot of Usenet community forum and review sites on Usenet-related programs, you’d see that NZBGet and Sabnzbd have constantly been put at odds against each other. While Sabnzbd has been around longer than its mentioned main competition and is a very popular NZB downloader of choice among many, NZBGet has also gained traction within the Usenet community due to its significant advantages over its older counterpart. But, of course, the lure of “the conventional” should not be overlooked. There is also a good reason why Sabnzbd still remains as popular as it is when it came out in the market. And with users gladly sticking to what they are used to and know their way around in, many advantages of newer and more efficiently designed applications can also be overlooked.

The question now is, how can we really judge a Usenet downloader? What standards do we follow to know which one is better?

How NZB Downloaders Work

An NZB downloader is a type of Usenet client designed specifically for downloading binary files (.nzb files). It is responsible for locating these NZB files and grabbing them and then piecing them all together in a single file that may span several posts. Commonly, NZBs can point to hundreds of posts to make up one large file and larger files must be split into smaller parts and posted in pieces. This is due to the protocol that runs Usenet where limitations are placed on message sizes. Many of these files are posted in compressed format to make the download process more efficient. These days, they are typically compressed RAR archives.

NZB Downloaders go through several processes to get these files:

  • Locates and grabs the files
  • Stitches file parts back together
  • Repairs the files
  • Automatically decompresses the files after it is assembled and repaired
  • Users can now enjoy the file
Nzbget Interface Sabnzbd Interface

NZB Downloaders pretty much do everything for you automatically. As a user, you would simply need to load the NZB file on your downloader of choice and after a few minutes (depending on your internet connection), you can enjoy your file.

Comparing NZB Downloaders

In terms of the aforementioned process, both NZBGet and Sabnzbd accomplish this almost flawlessly every time. Both NZBGet and Sabnzbd are well-established NZB downloaders and are revered in the Usenet community as their main go-to downloaders. That being said, when you have two great programs, how can we determine which one is clearly better?

Sabnzbd has established a positive legacy for being a convenient and easy-to-use piece of software that is well-maintained and regularly updated. On the other hand, while it has not been around as long as its main competition, NZBGet has done a great job in surpassing Sabnzbd in certain areas however, no new versions of this software has been released since 2019.

We need to get to the nitty gritty and break down a few significant criteria to properly compare the two and see which one has the edge of the other.

Speed and Efficiency

Sabnzbd is written in Python, which is an interpreted language. NZBGet, on the other hand, is written in C++ which is inherently better at multithreading than Python. NZBGet not only uses far fewer system resources than Sabnzbd but has a faster runtime as well.

Typically, for average users there shouldn’t be much difference especially if you are using new PCs. But if you are using a laptop or older versions of PCs, you would be better off using NZBGet since it runs much lighter than its older competition.

And while both programs work on Mac, Windows and Linux, NZBGet runs light enough to efficiently run fast enough on Raspberry PI and Synology SAS devices. SABnzbd is compatible with Synology and QNAP NAS devices but isn’t as lightweight as NZBGet. This probably is the greatest difference between these two popular NZB downloaders.

It is important to note, however, that in some instances NZBGet works on one download at a time. Sabnzbd, on the other hand, can use idle threads on the next. That being said, it is a very niche situation that involves a big queue of older, unreliable downloads and more than one provider, block and/or unlimited.


Although NZBGet has not released a new version since 2019, it has somehow built on a lot of great features that its more maintained competition Sabnzbd. NZBGet is still in active development with versions being released every few years. The older Sabnzbd, while releasing a few changes periodically in a year, is said to be in maintenance mode. Its interface and features have not been changed over the past few years.

The edge goes to NZBGet for still being in active development with new features and settings being added every few years. However, since the existence of NZBGet, Sabnzbd has also included features some years ago that were formerly not in their program from responsive interfaces with mobile devices and integrations with more third-party tools like Sonarr and Headphones, to name a few.

File Transfer Notification

This is an important feature to be compared between these two top NZB downloaders. Both Sabnzbd and NZGet have a feature that senses the availability of files when an NZB is placed on a watch folder. However, Sabnzbd performs this better with the use of a protocol called iNotify, which does not require the constant effort of re-scanning the folder to determine if the new file is there. NZBGet’s system does this every few seconds which means your device will not go in sleep mode until a download has been completed. So long as NZBGet is running and is scanning foldes, it will have to be powered down manually. And since Sabnzbd doesn’t constantly rescan folders, it allows your devices to go on break and power down if configured to do so.

User Interface & Experience

Both NZBGet and Sabnzbd have a clean and sleek interface that users can easily navigate through. But while both have minimalist designs that a lot of people enjoy, it seems that more users like the widgets that exist on NZBGet.

Menus and functions are easy to find on both NZB downloaders but do require a bit of a learning curve when setting up especially if you are new to using NZB downloaders. The current status of downloads and historical information of a user’s activity can also be monitored through both of its interfaces. You can also customize your download experience based on your preference. For this particular category it really is a matter of preference since both are as uncomplicated as it can get.

Compatibility with Indexers

In terms of using these downloaders with indexers, one doesn’t win over the other. The process for both is pretty simple – find your favorite indexer, download the NZB and load it through their “Add NZB” button.

Nzbget Add Button.jpeg


If we go a few years back, Sabnzbd would probably be the landslide winner of the debate between these two NZB downloaders. Sabnzbd has established itself as a reliable and easy-to-use program for years now, making it a very popular option for a lot of Usenet users even up to now. However, we cannot dispute the fact that NZBGet has also managed to maintain a huge following among users for the features, interface, and more importantly, the speed and efficiency it provides.

The question now is, is this a popularity contest or a features marathon? While popularity, of course, plays an important role on what a lot of users will go for since popularity can equate to good quality (at least ideally), features should be the focus of the battle between these two amazing NZB downloaders.

In terms of features, either both are equally good in some respects or one has the edge over the other. Specifically in terms of speed and runtime, however, NZBGet takes the cake. That being said, it may be viewed that NZBGet is the winner of this race.

However, we really cannot disregard the fact that Sabnzbd has been placed in a position of being an excellent NZB downloader for the maintenance its developers continue to do on their program. While NZBGet surpasses Sabnzbd in some aspects, Sabnzbd is already an established program that users really know and trust.

At the end of the day, it really is a matter of preference. Based on our research on forums and Usenet discussions, a lot of users even use both of these downloaders. Whatever you choose between the two or if you decide to use both, you really can’t go wrong with your choice. Both NZBGet and Sabnzbd are excellent NZB downloaders, so maybe instead of deciding who wins between the two, let us celebrate both.

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