When comparing iTerm2 vs st, the Slant community recommends iTerm2 for most people. In the question“What is the best terminal emulator? ” iTerm2 is ranked 1st while st is ranked 5th. The most important reason people chose iTerm2 is:
iTerm has autocomplete features built in. It remembers your past commands and when you are writing something on the terminal, simply pressing `Control-;` it will show you a drop down menu of suggestions from which to choose.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Autocomplete is built-in
iTerm has autocomplete features built in. It remembers your past commands and when you are writing something on the terminal, simply pressing
Control-; it will show you a drop down menu of suggestions from which to choose.
Pro Extremely customizable
Other than being able to customize the various shortcuts, iTerm2 also lets you customize the colorscheme, font, transparency, etc.
Pro Fine tuning for fonts
It's possible to choose a font and adjust vertical and horizontal spacing.
Pro Complete out of the box
Unlike most terminal emulators, iTerm2 comes with a pretty complete set of features. It has built-in search, autocompletion, tabbed navigation, Growl support and even a built-in clipboard manager for various API keys and such.
Pro Any key can be mapped to any function
Using the Preferences Menu you can set up hotkeys to map virtually any action you can think of to a single key or a combination of them. This is extremely helpful as it allows you to use shortcuts to edit commands you are typing in the terminal and while most terminal emulators have shortcuts for this sort of thing, few of them let you define your own.
Pro Supports mouse actions
Has support for mouse actions like clicking, dragging, selecting, etc.
Pro Can immediately open files inside a text editor
You can Ctrl+Click on a file path to open said file in a text editor.
Pro Active maintainers
Issues resolved fast by quality contributors.
Pro Works well with powerline fonts
Pro Supported by many applications as a terminal app selection
If an application has terminal integration, there is high probability it allows iTerm2 to be selected.
Pro Can be configured as a drop-down terminal
Can be configured to work as a drop down terminal like Quake.
Pro Completely free and open source
iTerm2 is completely free and open source. It's released under the GPLv2 license.
Pro Works well with tmux
The great mouse and clipboard support that are built-in go really well with tmux.
Pro Split panes
Easy to split panes to either horizontal or vertical sections. Makes it easy to observe multiple console windows.
Pro You only need to type in commands once
iTerm2 can store up to 4M of history of commands you already used. This, coupled with the built-in search features makes it possible to type a command only once and then search for it through the history for subsequent uses.
Pro Cmd+D to split plane vertically
Very handy to use multi-tab.
Pro Works perfect with Oh My Zsh
It's a perfect base to add Oh My Zsh on top of it and enjoy a lot of themes and a really pleasant look and feel.
Pro Cmd+Shift+I to Input all
Wanna SSH your server from multiple tabs, here you go.
Pro Low memory usage
st is built to serve as a lightweight terminal emulator. It's very light and doesn't require many resources to run, making it able to run well on older and low-end machines.
Pro Extremely simple architecture
st consists of a single C file that takes seconds to recompile. This also makes it very easy to understand and customize.
Pro 24-bit "True Color" support
st supports color escape sequences for a full 16 million 24-bit color spectrum, instead of the typical 256 colors.
Pro Support for fontconfig
There is full XFT (X Free Type interface library) and fallback font support through fontconfig in st. If your selected font is missing a certain glyph or symbol, but one of your other installed fonts has it, it will be shown.
Pro Image previews
Handles image previews (e.g. in ranger) way better than other terminal emulators.
Pro Copyfree licensing
Copyfree licensing implies that the user has the freedom to copy, use, modify, and distribute what he/she possesses.
Pro Patches are great
The patches on the site are great. Scroll back, hide the mouse, etc.
Con Not quite as fast as Alacritty or Kitty
Comparing these 3 terminals on the same machine/config, iTerm stands out as the slowest of the bunch. The difference may not be noticeable to all users.
Con Doesn't support Snow Leopard 10.6.8
Some people still use Snow Leopard or other 32-bit systems.
Con Doesn't support RTL
Con Configuration requires recompiling
Though recompilation takes seconds, knowledge of C header files is required for customization.
Con Crashes when some characters are displayed
Con No scrollback by default
The best way to perform scrollback is to use a multiplexer (such as tmux, screen, or dvtm) if you want scrollback and reverse-search support.
Con Text is cut off when resizing windows
When reducing windows, lines do not wrap, they are cut off. When the window is made large again, some of the text is missing.
Con New features means installing patches
Just to get copy/paste support and scrolling, you have to install patches. And it's not that intuitive for a beginner.
Con Imperfect fontconfig support for CJK characters
st doesn't seem to use CJK fonts provided by fontconfig while other programs use such fonts.