The Best AI Image Generators in 2024

The biggest names in AI images are Midjourney, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion – but there are plenty more.

Google Gemini‘s image generation tool is the newest AI kid on the block, but it already has growing pains: Shortly after its launch, reports surfaced of the software generating ahistorical images of the past.

Google immediately paused the tool and released a statement saying it planned to debut an “improved” version soon. In the meantime, though, the recent boom in text-to-image generative software means that you’ll have plenty of the options for creating your own AI images.

We’re still in the wild west of AI tools, with plenty of concerns still swirling around the controversial software, from the questionable legality of image scraping practices to the potential devaluation of human artists to the scams that fake imagery can trick victims into falling for.

While you’re waiting for the dust to settle, these are the major players to know in the AI image game — free and otherwise.


Generally considered the best AI image tool, Midjourney was developed by the independent research lab Midjourney, Inc, and is still in open beta. Critics say this tool generates complex, relatively high-quality imagery, but also requires a little finessing and patience in order to hit on the perfect (often lengthy) prompt.

It’s not free, though: You can access it starting at $20 per user per month as part of OpenAI’s ChatGPT Plus plan. There used to be a free trial period, but thanks to AI hype, too many people abused it and the company has officially shut it down.

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OpenAI also has its own AI image engine, DALL-E, which is named in reference to both the Pixar movie WALL-E and the artist Salvador Dali. It’s designed for ease of use, which helps set it apart from the tougher Midjourney. DALL-E isn’t free anymore, either: You’ll need to buy the ChatGPT Plus plan, for $20 per user per month.

Currently in the “DALL-E 3” iteration, DALL-E is actually the engine that powers an AI image generator, so you may be more familiar with other names: Jasper Art (or Jasper AI) is the biggest name that uses DALL-E, while Craiyon, formerly known as DALL-E Mini, is another one.

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Stable Diffusion

The Stable Diffusion engine-powered tool DreamStudio is the final entry in the big three stand-alone AI image generators, after Midjourney and DALL-E. It’s known for photo-realistic images that are easily editable to cover up some of the more common AI giveaways.

The service comes in three plans, starting with the Basic plan for $27 per month, aimed at hobbyists. The other plans include the $47 per month Standard plan, for anyone exploring AI APIs, and the $147 per month Premium plan, for those beta launching their own apps.

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Nightcafe, developed by AI tech company NVIDIA, is another big AI image generator. And it’s one of the rare big names to remain free to use in 2024. Users can log in online or through a mobile app on both Android and iOS phones.

Granted, you’ll have more limited access with the free version — you’ll only have five credits to spend each day, so that no one overuses the tool. Additional credits beyond your free supply will cost money, although this can be “as low as $0.08 per credit,” according to the company. You’ll need to know how to use modifiers in order to fine-tune your prompts as well.

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Bing Image Creator

Microsoft’s AI art generator is Image Creator from Bing, a fully free service that you can access without any extra subscriptions. You can even use it on Bing while in Chrome or another non-Edge browser.

Like most image generators, you’ll still have limitations to what you can create — no sex, violence, or hate speech, for instance. Plus, you’ll eventually run out of “boosts” (aka, credits), with more available for a fee. Overall, though, Bing remains one of the most accessible and easy to use options for an online image generator.

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Canva AI

The social media design tool Canva is incredibly popular right now — seriously, ask any social media manager you know, and they’ll tell you it’s their favorite software on the planet. It’s not resting on its laurels, though, and it’s launched its own AI tool.

You’ll get the ability to generate 50 images on a free plan. After that, you’ll need to pay for the $14.99 per user per month Canva Pro plan. Even then, you’ll be limited to 500 uses per user per month, although this is admittedly more than most users will need.

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Adobe Firefly

Firefly is the Adobe AI image creation tool, trained on the 300 million Adobe Stock images that Adobe has licensing access to — or, if you’re talking to one group of disgruntled contributors, the images that Adobe never asked for “express notification or consent” to train on.

Firefly has both a free and a premium paid plan: You can get started with either through the standalone web application available at It stands out from other AI image tools because it works for editing existing images, not just creating entirely new ones. You can use it to quickly swap out a sweater on a profile pic or swap a color palate on an artwork.

Firefly isn’t unique among the big names in stock-image-related brands, either: There’s also the Getty Images Generative AI, a tool trained on Getty’s vast collection of photos.

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Verdict: What Is the Best AI Image Generator?

When it comes to the best AI image generator, it’s all about what you’re looking for. From our quick research, it seemed that Adobe Firefly was by far the most realistic, generating the only human that didn’t look straight out of a Pixar movie.

On the other hand, Bing AI Creator was the best at staying true to the prompt, nailing all the details outlined in a surprisingly realistic image, even if it does shirk the laws of physics.

All that to say, with AI image generator still in its infancy, there are a lot of options out there and no clear winner has taken center stage just yet. But as the technology evolves, these platforms will likely evolve with it, and anyone of them could be the best AI image generator by this time next week.

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Written by:
Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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