When comparing Ranger vs Dolphin, the Slant community recommends Dolphin for most people. In the question“What are the best Linux file managers?” Dolphin is ranked 2nd while Ranger is ranked 4th. The most important reason people chose Dolphin is:
Like other KDE applications, Dolphin makes use of KIO which gives Dolphin access to other APIs and services. For example, it allows Dolphin to manage files stored remotely the same way you can manage local files through FTP.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Minimalist and efficient
There is no need for icons of files if headings are used. Previews of text documents and a simple design creates and efficient workflow.
Pro Extensible, scriptable
Ranger allows the use of various scripts for calling on individual or multiple files, for file previews, or for other operations.
This allows for in-terminal full colour previews of images and videos.
You can even call external scripts or chain shell commands from the primary interface.
Pro Vim-like bindings
Ranger has Vim-like keybindings which help a lot in increasing efficiency and speed up the workflow.
Pro Can be used in terminal
Which makes for a good choice of file explorer for those that use machines without a GUI.
Pro Bookmark system
Makes it easy to jump to any specific folder locations you work with.
Pro Easily used with SSH
Pro Can split views
Dolphin supports splitting the view in two navigational areas, this way you can navigate two different directories at the same time.
Pro Easy to extend with plugins
Dolphin follows KDE's philosophy of being extendable and configurable. It can easily be configured and customized through plugins.
Pro Integrated terminal
Perssing F4 with any opened folder on a mounted path opens a konsole within dolphin.
Pro Auto mounts flash drives
Dolphin automatically identifies and mounts external flash drives.
Pro Immenseley configurable
As with any KDE app, Dolphin, allows adding or modifying toolbar buttons and keyboard shortcuts.
Pro Fast at opening graphics folders
Pictures with or without previews is optional and selectable at the touch of a button.
Pro Also has a refresh option
Dolphin is without a doubt the best fully functional and easy to use and multitask with.
• Dolphin also has a refresh button which no other File manager has. It's great for tracking a large files transfer; that's what file managers are for - good common sense.
Pro Fully supports HiDPI
Supports HiDPI displays.
Con Difficult learning curve for people who are not used to Vim
Since it uses many of vim's keybindings, it may be hard for someone who does not use vim or does not know how to use vim to learn how to work with this file manager.
Con A great idea but not GUI friendly
May be difficult to get past the fact that it asked for commands dd and cc and the likes to cut and or paste. Arch-Linux normally prides itself on not over-complicating things. Too bad ... a great idea with the 3 Smart Columns, but why would anyone prefer to need to learn 30 commands in order to cut and paste or copy a file or folder, or to see/change permissions.
Con No built-in ability to navigate FTP/SSH
Most other GUI-based file managers provide easy bookmarking and browing of multiple FTP & SSH locations using either keys or keychain stored user credentials. Ranger doesn't have this.
Con "Type" column too verbose
Despite having a large enough monitor, If you keep the size of the browser window small, the "Type" column (in "Details" view mode) insists on including the complete multipart MIME string, making the column so wide that trying to limit its width makes the column useless. Sorting by "Type" renders the list into an incomprehensible mess.
Con Maybe a little slow on startup
Dolphin can be a little slow on startup (depending on distro, hardware etc...). Startup time can vary from a couple of seconds to up to a minute.