7 Best MQTT Client Tools Worth Trying in 2023

EMQ Technologies
7 min readMay 31, 2023

Table of Contents

Introduction

With the rapid development of the Internet of Things (IoT), the MQTT protocol is being widely used by many companies and developers. In the journey of learning and using MQTT, MQTT client tools are used to connect to MQTT brokers for publishing, subscribing, and messages sending and receiving.

A handy client tool can greatly facilitate developers to explore MQTT features and debug IoT applications, shortening the development cycle. Given the variety of MQTT client tools available with different functional focuses, choosing a suitable MQTT client tool is challenging for beginners and even MQTT experts.

We have selected seven of the most useful MQTT client tools in 2023 and listed them by Desktop, Browser, Command Line, and Mobile categories. We hope this article will help you quickly find a suitable one for MQTT development.

How to Choose an MQTT Client?

A good MQTT client tool should possess the following key features.

  • Support for one-way and two-way SSL authentication.
  • Support for MQTT 5 features.
  • Maintain ease of use on a full-featured basis.
  • Support for multiple clients online at the same time.
  • Cross-platform, available under different operating systems.
  • Support MQTT over WebSocket.
  • Advanced features: Customized script, logging, payload format conversion, etc.

Free Public MQTT Broker

Before diving into the MQTT client desktop tools, we need an MQTT broker to communicate and test. We choose the free public MQTT broker available on broker.emqx.io.

MQTT Broker Info

Server: broker.emqx.io

TCP Port: 1883

WebSocket Port: 8083

SSL/TLS Port: 8883

Secure WebSocket Port: 8084

For more information, please check out: Free Public MQTT Broker.

MQTT Desktop Client Tools

MQTTX

MQTTX is an elegant cross-platform MQTT 5.0 desktop client that runs on macOS, Linux, and Windows. Its user-friendly chat-style interface enables users to easily create multiple MQTT/MQTTS connections and subscribe/publish MQTT messages.

MQTTX fully supports MQTT versions 5.0 and 3.1.1, MQTT over TLS, MQTT over WebSocket, and one-way and two-way SSL authentication. In addition to these essential features, MQTTX offers advanced functionality, such as customizable scripts for MQTT Pub/Sub simulation and support for codecs like Hex, Base64, and JSON payloads.

MQTTX is an open-source project developed with Electron and maintained by the EMQX team. The latest release is version 1.9.2 by the end of April 2023.

GitHub Project: https://github.com/emqx/mqttx

Features

  • User-friendly and easy-to-use UX design
  • Chatbox for sending/receiving MQTT messages
  • Fully support for MQTT versions 5.0 and 3.1.1
  • Support MQTT over TLS, and MQTT over WebSocket
  • Support for one-way and two-way SSL authentication
  • Hex, Base64, JSON, and Plaintext payload codec
  • Customized colors for different MQTT subscriptions
  • Customized script for MQTT Pub/Sub scenario simulation
  • Cross-platform, running on Windows, macOS, and Linux

Installation

  • Homebrew
brew install --cask mqttx
  • Download

https://mqttx.app/

MQTT Explorer

MQTT Explorer is an open-source MQTT client tool that provides an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) with a structured topic overview. It adopts a hierarchical main view and supports a visual chart display of received payload messages.

MQTT Explorer supports MQTT 5.0 and 3.1.1 protocols and allows developers to simultaneously create one MQTT/MQTTS connection.

MQTT Explorer is written in Typescript and developed by Thomas Nordquist. It’s cross-platform and can run on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It’s a pity that the project has been out of development since the last release of version 0.4.0-beta1 on April 28, 2020.

GitHub: https://github.com/thomasnordquist/MQTT-Explorer

Features

Quote from MQTT Explorer

  • Visualize topics and a dynamic preview of the change of topic
  • Delete the retained topics
  • Search/filter topics
  • Recursive delete topics
  • Difference view of current and previously received messages
  • Publish topics
  • Draw digital topics
  • Retain the historic record of every topic
  • Dark/Light topic

Download

https://mqtt-explorer.com/

MQTT Online Client Tools

MQTTX Web

MQTTX Web is a user-friendly, browser-based tool for online debugging, developing, and testing MQTT applications. It connects to an MQTT broker via a WebSocket client and offers an intuitive interface.

Developed by the EMQX team, MQTTX Web is an open-source tool that supports MQTT 3.1.1 and MQTT 5.0 protocols and WebSocket transports. It is licensed under Apache Version 2.0.

GitHub Project: https://github.com/emqx/MQTTX/tree/main/web

Try Now: http://www.emqx.io/online-mqtt-client

Additionally, MQTTX Web supports private deployment using Docker, which is beneficial when only a browser is available, or for testing in restricted intranet environments. Deploy from Docker Image:

docker pull emqx/mqttx-web
docker run -d --name mqttx-web -p 80:80 emqx/mqttx-web

MQTT.Cool Test Client

MQTT.Cool Test Client is a very simple and linear GUI (based on the MQTT.Cool API) through which you can test the interaction between the MQTT.Cool server and MQTT brokers. It supports connecting to the broker via MQTT TCP in the browser.

Try Now: https://testclient-cloud.mqtt.cool/

MQTT CLI Tools

MQTTX CLI

MQTTX CLI is a lightweight and easy-to-use MQTT 5.0 command line tool. With various commands for MQTT publishing, subscribing, benchmarking, and IoT data simulation, it is one of the most powerful tools for MQTT development.

MQTTX CLI is an open-source project written in Node.js and developed by the EMQX team. It’s cross-platform and can work on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

GitHub Project: https://github.com/emqx/MQTTX/tree/main/cli

Features

  • Fully support for both MQTT v3.1.1 and MQTT v5.0
  • Cross-platform compatibility with Windows, MacOS, and Linux
  • Dependency-free setup allowing for quick installation without prerequisites
  • Supports CA, self-signed certificates, and one-way and two-way SSL authentication
  • Performance testing capabilities for quickly evaluating MQTT service performance.

Installation

MQTTX CLI is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux. For additional installation options, please consult the documentation.

  • Docker
docker pull emqx/mqttx-cli 
docker run -it - rm emqx/mqttx-cli
  • Homebrew
brew install emqx/mqttx/mqttx-cli
  • Download

https://mqttx.app/cli

Usage Example

  • Connect

Test connecting to an MQTT broker:

mqttx conn -h 'broker.emqx.io' -p 1883 -u 'test' -P 'test'
  • Subscribe

Subscribe to an MQTT topic:

mqttx sub -t 'topic/#' -h 'broker.emqx.io' -p 1883
  • Publish

Publish a QoS1 message to an MQTT topic:

mqttx pub -t 'topic' -q 1 -h 'broker.emqx.io' -p 1883 -m 'Hello from MQTTX CLI'
  • Publishing multiple messages

The MQTTX CLI also supports publishing multiple messages. Add a -M parameter and a -s parameter to the command in the editor, and newline it after each entry.

  • Benchmark

For MQTTX CLI, the bench command is easy to use and concise in its content output. For a large number of connections, subscriptions, and publications, the display method has been optimized by dynamically updating the real-time numbers to avoid being overwhelmed by a large number of output logs during use.

Mosquitto CLI

Mosquitto is a widely used open-source MQTT broker with the popular mosquitto_pub and mosquitto_sub command line clients. These CLI tools offer a wide range of options to connect, subscribe to, and publish messages to an MQTT broker.

The Mosquitto project is written in C/C++ and maintained by the Eclipse Foundation. Mosquitto is highly portable and can be deployed on various platforms, including Linux, Mac, Windows, and Raspberry Pi.

GitHub Project: https://github.com/eclipse/mosquitto

Features

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Support for MQTT v3.1.1 and v5.0 protocols
  • Extensive command-line parameters
  • Support for SSL/TLS encryption/authentication
  • MQTT v5.0 request/response functionality

Installation

  • Docker
docker pull eclipse-mosquitto
  • Homebrew
brew install mosquitto
  • Download

https://mosquitto.org/download/

Usage Example

  • Publish

Publish a QoS1 message to an MQTT topic:

mosquitto_pub -t 'topic' -q 1 -h 'broker.emqx.io' -p 1883 -m 'Hello from Mosquitto CLI'
  • Subscribe

Subscribe to an MQTT topic:

mosquitto_sub -t 'topic/#' -h 'broker.emqx.io' -p 1883
  • Request/Response
mosquitto_rr -t 'req-topic' -e 'rep-topic' -m 'request message' -h 'broker.emqx.io' mosquitto_pub -t 'rep-topic' -m 'response message' -h 'broker.emqx.io'

MQTT Mobile Client Tools

EasyMQTT

EasyMQTT is an MQTT client for iPhone, iPad, and macOS, allowing you to interact with any MQTT Broker. Use it to manage your own setup at home, control things like Zigbee2MQTT or monitor a remote broker. It features a simple, user friendly interface, supporting both light and dark modes.

Download

https://apps.apple.com/us/app/easymqtt/id1523099606?platform=iphone

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have provided a detailed introduction to MQTT client tools in different categories.

Among these, the MQTTX open-source project stands out as a fast-growing client tool that offers a modern chat-style interface, full MQTT 5.0 support, and a rich set of features that provides a great user experience. With three versions available — Desktop, Command Line, and Browser — MQTTX can fulfill your MQTT testing requirements in diverse scenarios. Undoubtedly, MQTTX is among the top MQTT client tools of 2023.

References

Originally published at www.emqx.com

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EMQ Technologies

EMQ is an open-source IoT data infrastructure software provider, delivering the world’s leading open-source MQTT message broker and stream processing database.