Parrot Os vs Kali Linux: Which is better for Penetration Testing In 2021?


Linux is used by professionals in security testing, penetration testing, ethical hacking as an operating system of their choice. It offers a variety of distributions that are flexible and let you customize depending on your end-usage. Kali Linux and Parrot OS are two distributions that are preferred for penetration testing. 

Before comparing parrot os vs kali let us first understand what they are.

  1. What is Kali Linux operating system?
  2. What is Parrot operating system?
  3. Kali Linux features and advantages
  4. Parrot OS features and review
  5. Kali Linux vs Parrot OS

1. What is Kali Linux operating system? 

 Kali Linux is an operating system used for ethical hacking. It is funded and maintained by Offensive Security, an information training company. It is a Debian-based Linux distribution built with the aim of advanced penetration testing and security auditing. It is just a primary server. Kali Linux is used for information security tasks, penetration testing, computer forensics, reverse engineering, and much more. 

2. What is Parrot operating system?

Parrot Linux is a free and open-source operating system used mainly by security professionals. Just like Linux, this is a Debian-based GNU/Linux distribution intended for the Kali Linux alternative. When I say Debian-based, it means the code libraries developed follow Debian based development. It is a complete guide for protection and security operations. but it also includes everything you need to build your programs or defend your network privacy while surfing the internet. That is probably the reason it is considered as one of the best penetration testing OS.  

3. Kali Linux features and advantages 

  1. Customizable:  The crude design we get in Kali Linux is not that appealing and hence they have given us an option of customizing it to a great extent. The default version can be modified as per one’s will and requirements. The customization is possible until the last kernel. 
  2. Open source and free: Kali Linux is completely free for download also all the libraries and repositories are available for viewing as it is an open-source platform. 
  3. 600 plus penetration testing tools: As discussed earlier, Kali Linux gives you the freedom to customize and modify the operating system as per your will. It comes with more than 600 penetration testing tools that are designed for performing essential tasks and are easy to implement.
  4. Multi-lingual support: While penetration tools tend to be written in English, Kali includes real multilingual support to enhance the use of non-native English users, enabling more users to operate in their native language and find the tools they need for the job. 
  5. Wireless device support: Kali Linux has always supported external wireless devices. It supports as many wireless devices as possible, making it compliant with various USB and other wireless devices and allowing it to operate properly on a wide range of hardware.

4. Parrot OS features and review 

  1. Free: We can view the source code and customize it according to our requirements. It is free and open-source.
  2. Lightweight: This operating system has proved to be incredibly light and runs exceptionally quickly, even on very old ones.
  3. Secure: It is all revised, published regularly, and protected. It’s all under our complete control.

5. Kali Linux vs Parrot OS 

These two operating systems are heavily used to test cybersecurity and penetration by most professionals. To compare the two based on analytical variables is subjective as it is a matter of personal taste and choice. Let us consider a few parameters to distinguish the usability and user-friendliness of these two operating systems that will help you make a decision.  

Let us compare Kali Linux vs parrot OS on the following parameters: 

A) Similarities

  1. For penetration checking, all operating systems are tuning in.
  2. Both operating systems accept architectures of 32 and 64 bits.
  3. Cloud VPN is provided by all operating systems.
  4. Centered on development specifications for Debian.

B) Differences 

Hardware requirements:

For Kali Linux 

  1. It needs graphical acceleration
  2. A minimum of 20 GB of space is needed for installation on the hard disk
  3. A minimum of 1GB of RAM is required
  4. A minimum dual-core Processor of 1 GHz is required

For Parrot OS 

  1. Graphical acceleration is not needed 
  2. A minimum of 16 GB of space is needed for installation on the hard disk 
  3. A minimum of 320MB of RAM is appropriate.
  4. A minimum dual-core Processor of 1 GHz is required

C) Look and Feel

Let us compare the look and feel of the two operating systems under discussion. Kali Linux has the GNOME desktop GUI. The features provided by Kali Linux are the same as Parrot OS but the finishing touch of Kali Linux is not as clean as Parrot OS.

Parrot OS on the other hand a Ubuntu desktop version. The finish is more clean and matte. It is divided into two parts, top, and bottom. The part non the top has information such as Programs, Device, Locations, etc. which is a lot similar to Kali Linux. It along with a use graph also provides some cool details about CPU temperature.

D) Hacking tools 

Parrot OS is a clear winner over Kali Linux when it comes to general tools and usable functionality. It has all of the software available on Kali Linux and adds its tools as well. On Parrot OS, you can find some resources that are not found on Kali Linux.

E) Variety 

The variety offered on Kali Linux is limited compared to Parrot OS. Kali provides a custom desktop interface along with two options of basic complete and lite version. It also has cloud and IoT application support. 

Parrot OS has a variety of multimedia support options. Besides, just like Kali Linux it also has updates for IoT applications that have cloud connectivity and support. 

F) Performance 

Kali lags behind when we talk about results. If run on a basic low-end machine and a brute force attack is going on in the background, the efficiency and the results obtained on Kali Linux OS are horrible. Parrot OS on the other hand doesn’t lag much as it runs on low specification schemes.


In the above article, we tried to have a detailed understanding of both the tools. But if you have a coffee specification framework, choosing an OS depends on your taste and range, then we would highly recommend you to fly with Parrot OS as it is one of the best OS for security.

So, have you made up your mind to make a career in Cyber Security? Visit our Master Certificate in Cyber Security (Red Team) for further help. It is the first program in offensive technologies in India and allows learners to practice in a real-time simulated ecosystem, that will give you an edge in this competitive world.

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