Spyder vs Pycharm: The detailed comparison to get best option for Python programming

PyCharm vs Spyder are two of the most competitive IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) for Python programming. To clarify, an IDE is a software program that provides tools to facilitate the programming process. Python is an object-oriented programming language that programmers use in data science, engineering, artificial intelligence, and much more.

This article will show you everything you need to know about the PyCharm vs Spyder, including a comparison of the features both IDEs have, and what makes them unique.

Introduction to Spyder vs Pycharm


Spyder is an open source project that runs on MacOS, Windows and Linux and was originally developed by Frenchman Pierre Raybaut, although now jointly maintained by the Spyder Development Team. It combines many features you would expect in a good IDE, which we will mention below.


In some ways, comparing Spyder and PyCharm CE is an unfair comparison. Both are free, but while Spyder is the result of a purely open source collaboration with a scientific-engineering bias, PyCharm CE is an open source offshoot of a commercial product developed by the Czech company JetBrains. Despite the obvious scientific merits of Spyder, comparing its interface to even the Community Edition of PyCharm feels like comparing the technology levels of the original 1960s Star Trek to that of 1990s Voyager: Spyder is a solid, stable scientific IDE platform, and it does what it says on the lid, but the feature set of PyCharm CE’s interface is a quantum leap ahead.

Spyder vs Pycharm: The comparision


Both PyCharm and Spyder include essential IDE features including debugging tools and code editors. But they also have a few unique features that set them apart from each other.

PyCharm was built with the Python programming language in mind, though it also has support for some other languages, including JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.  Additionally, PyCharm users enjoy a library of code snippets and templates that can speed up the programming process. Lastly, PyCharm allows for high levels of customization for how it handles things like syntax highlighting and code completion.

Spyder offers robust debugging tools that allow users to quickly edit variables and breakpoint conditions to speed up the debugging process.  In addition, Spyder provides a global variable explorer that allows users to easily assess and edit the state of each variable in their code. Spyder is also a lightweight program out of the box compared to other IDE options.


PyCharm is available for $199.00 per month, though there is a free option available for student users.  In contrast, Spyder is open-source and available for free.

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Text Editors

text editor
a common text editor

PyCharm and Spyder are advanced text editing programs. Both IDEs have many helpful features, such as code completion, helping users automatically complete familiar lines of code. Also, each program features syntax highlighting and style analysis. Both programs also feature ‘go to definition’ (Spyder) or ‘go to declaration’ (PyCharm), which helps users find component definitions.

PyCharm includes code snippets and customizable premade templates. It has an integrated project browser, which developers often covet.  Moreover, users can customize everything from syntax highlighting to themes. PyCharm also features safe refactoring functionality. Spyder, on the other hand, has an outline explorer, which is a function/class/method browser. 

Spyder allows developers to create code cells. According to the company, a ‘code cell’ in Spyder is a section of lines (typically in a script) that users can execute simultaneously. Spyder also features vertical and horizontal splitting capabilities.

Help – Documentation

Both IDEs allow quick and integrated access to help documentation.  Users can access help features from the text editor or command line. Once there, users can find the definition of any object, method, or class included with the common libraries and see examples and code snippets. Also, both IDEs have a built-in browser for online information about standard libraries.


Spyder IDE
Spyder IDE with the variable explorer

A debugger is a beneficial tool for programmers. In this case, both PyCharm and Spyder have an integrated debugger. You can use PyCharm debugger anywhere. 

The Pro edition of PyCharm comes with a JavaScript debugger. Also, PyCharm offers the possibility to step through your code visually. According to the JetBrains website, PyCharm’s debugger is the fastest on the market.

Spyder uses the PDB debugger. This debugger has many favorable elements like a pane that displays the line, file, and condition of each breakpoint. Moreover, it can quickly edit variables in each breakpoint through the variable explorer. The variable explorer on Spyder is an attractive characteristic for this IDE. So, it shows all global object references and allows you to interact with them.


PyCharm and Spyder both offer essential IDE features, but they also have a few limitations that are important to consider.

PyCharm is a heavy program due to the variety of plugins included with it, so businesses looking for the lightest, fastest IDE may want to consider other options.  Additionally, PyCharm has extensive support for Python, but does not offer the same level of support for other programming languages.  This can make it a poor choice for organizations that don’t work primarily with Python. 

Spyder is a lightweight program, but the lack of plugins and customizability can make it more difficult to use compared to PyCharm for new users.  Businesses looking for an IDE that is customizable from top to bottom may prefer PyCharm. Additionally, Spyder doesn’t include a library of code snippets like PyCharm does, which can make coding slower compared to other options.

To Sum Up With Spyder vs Pycharm

We hope that after reading this PyCharm vs Spyder article, you can weigh the options and decide which IDE is the best one for your needs.
Feel free to leave your opinions below.

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