DALL-E vs Stable Diffusion — AI art generators compared

The battle between the most popular AI art generators

DALL-E vs Stable Diffusion AI image generator comparison.

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DALL-E (Stylized DALL·E) and Stable Diffusion are two of the leading AI image generators. Also known as AI art, AI-generated images are digital images (such as JPEG or JPG, and PNG files) that were created via an AI image generator. Unlike OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which can only generate text, these two options we’re putting head-to-head can output images files from a simple text prompt input — or at least that would have been true until the GPT-4V generative model added high-quality image output to the popular AI chatbot. So, how do the free versions and subscription plans of AI art generator DALL-E and Stable Diffusion compare?

DALL-E 3 vs Stable Diffusion 2.1 (Latest versions)

Both platforms offer different capabilities, such as outpainting, inpainting and inference accuracy. However, both diffusion models will produce high-resolution images of high quality and creativity from simple text inputs. To decide which you prefer, here are both, side by side!

A collection of pictures of dogs and a person holding a polaroid transformed using DALL-E 3.
DALL-E 3 vs Stable Diffusion 2.1 — AI image quality comparison.
DALL-E vs Stable Diffusion AI art generator interface.
DALL-E vs Stable Diffusion AI art generator interface.

SDXL 1.0 — AI image generator alternative from Stability AI

512×512 images generated with SDXL v1.0 will be generated at 1024×1024 and cropped to 512×512.

What is DALL- E 3?

DALL-E 3 is an advanced AI system developed by OpenAI. It uses machine learning to create realistic images and art, using natural language inputs. In other words, a short description. This is what’s called a text-to-image model.

Both the current model, and previous model DALL-E 2, are free to access. It is currently available from the OpenAI website. The application features a very sleek and easy-to-use interface, where users have the option to upload images or request images for the AI bot to modify or create. 

With every submission, DALL-E 3 will produce four pieces of artwork, all with slightly different features. But, that’s not all. You can also further modify the art within DALL-E’s software application.

At the moment, OpenAI offers its users 50 free credits in their first month of using the tool. Once this is over, the number of free credits reduces to 15 (or 60 images) a month.

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What is Stable Diffusion?

On the other hand, Stable Diffusion is an open-source, machine-learning model developed by Stability AI. Similar to DALL-E 3, the model can generate images from text prompts and can even improve the resolution of low-quality pictures.

Unlike, OpenAI’s DALL-E, Stable Diffusion can be accessed via various different websites. For example, Playground AI, Google Colab, and DreamStudio.

While each hosting service has its own pricing structure, most of them typically offer a certain amount of free credits to allow users to test out the model. You can access a thousand free images a day using Playground AI.

Due to its open-source nature, you can also download Stable Diffusion’s source code from Stability AI to implement it into your own tools.

Is Stable Diffusion 2.1 better than DALL-E 3?

Stable Diffusion and DALL-E work in similar ways – they create unique artwork from text descriptions using artificial intelligence. Both applications have strong track records and are probably the most popular AI art generators on the market.

So, determining whether Stable Diffusion 2.1 is better than DALL-E 3 really only depends on your specific preferences.  Both have unique strengths and weaknesses.

From what it seems, both applications are easy to access and can be used effectively to create digital images, visuals, and illustrations. Stable Diffusion’s interface is arguably a little less user-friendly, but that’s a very minor difference in what are very similar programs.

Both are free depending on how often you use them, which gives you some flexibility to try it out, as you don’t necessarily need to make a purchase.

Both DALL-E 3 and Stable Diffusion 2.1 will undoubtedly elevate any creative project you have, even in their current iteration. So, we recommend testing out both applications to find out which one you like best.


DALL-E and Stable Diffusion are top-notch AI art models. They can help you generate high-quality images in seconds, from hyper-realistic photographic portraits, to more abstract ideas.

When choosing between the two, consider your needs and the type of content you want to create. By doing so, you’ll be able to choose the AI model that’s best for you.

Kevin is the Editor of PC Guide. He has a broad interest and enthusiasm for consumer electronics, PCs and all things consumer tech - and more than 15 years experience in tech journalism.