Ext4 vs Btrfs Filesystems – Which one should you choose?

Ext4 Vs Btrfs

Today we’re comparing Ext4 vs Btrfs filesystems in Linux. There are a lot of different file systems in Linux like Ext4, Btrfs, ZFS, XFS and even though each has its unique set of capabilities, the debate mostly comes down to Ext4 vs Btrfs because they’re more commonly used. In this module, we would have a look at these two file systems in detail and help you choose which one to go with during your next Installation.

Ext4 vs Btrfs – Comparison Table

Here, we have compared both the file systems with respect to some standard parameters :

Maximum Partition Size1 EiB16 EiB
Maximum File Size16 TiB16 EiB
Maximum Filename Length255 Characters255 Characters
Journaling Support
Copy-On-Write Support
FS Level Compression

Difference between Ext4 vs Btrfs filesystems on Linux

With the comparison table out of the way, let’s get right into it!


Ext4 is the fourth version of the Ext(Extended) File System for Linux and is probably the most well know file system for Linux out there. It is the default file system for most Distros. It is backward-compatible with older versions Ext File systems like Ext3. It is an journaling file system.


Btrfs aka B-Tree file system is a modern CoW (Copy-On-Write) File System. It is upcoming in popularity and is the default file system for many modern Distros like Garuda Linux. The reason why Btrfs is increasingly gaining popularity is that it enables pooling, snapshots, and check-sums among other things.

Which one is the better choice?

Both the file systems have their own Pros and Cons. Ext4 is very old and stable and is thus used as the default file systems in Linux. It also supports FreeBSD which Btrfs doesn’t. It also has journaling support which is an important fail safe practice in case of a power failure.

However, Btrfs also has some attractive features like built in RAID support, FS Level Screenshot capabilities and compression and more optimized file storing capabilities. It is to be noted that Btrfs is often a bit slower than Ext4 but the bulk of modern functionalities which it provides still makes it the preferred File System for modern desktop users.


Thus, in this module we discussed about the two most prominent file systems in Linux. You can choose either depending upon your requirements : the old reliable Ext4 or the new, more dynamic Btrfs as per your requirements.