Google Forms vs Surveymonkey vs Paperform: A Full Comparison

/ 12 min read
Jack Delaney

If you’ve stumbled onto this page and you’re not looking for an online survey tool, you should be. Online surveys are one of the best ways to collect meaningful data to help you improve your business.

At the most basic level, survey software works the same way. You ask questions, send out forms, and track responses to get an overview of your data. You can use them for just about anything, from market research to secret santa gift exchanges.

The problem is, that with so many online form builders to pick from, figuring out which one is right for you can be harder than deciding what to watch on Netflix.

We understand your frustration. That's why we've put together this guide to three of the web's most popular survey apps - Google Forms, SurveyMonkey and Paperform. We'll compare all their main features and functionality, so you can decide which one is right for you.

If you want even more options, check out our list of the best online form builders in 2020, as well as a comparison guide that includes Typeform.

Feature Comparison

When looking at online form builders, it’s not about pitting Google Forms vs SurveyMonkey or SurveyMonkey vs Paperform. It's not a boxing match and there's no winner - it's about finding the right solution for your specific needs.

It's like shoes. There's no best pair of shoes. There's just the right pair for a specific situation, whether it be work, exercise or going to the beach. Different situations call for different products. The same goes for form builders.

If you’re after a survey platform for making basic online forms for free, you can’t go past Google Forms. But if pricing isn’t a worry and you’re after a more feature rich experience, one of SurveyMonkey’s paid plans might suit you better.

You get the best of both worlds with Paperform, a versatile form builder that doesn’t break the bank. Its user-friendly interface and ease of use will have you crafting beautiful online forms, payment or product pages in minutes.

Check out the table below to get a better idea of what each product offers.

comparison table comparing the features of google forms, surveymonkey and paperform.

You’ll notice that while each form builder has more similarities than differences, it's those difference that set them apart.

Neither SurveyMonkey or Google Forms offer Google Pay integration or automated taxes. This doesn't affect everyone, but is something to keep in mind if you're going to collect payments.

Paperform comes out in front when it comes to customization. More than any of the other tools it allows you to make something truly unique. Tweak the colors and fonts, embed images and videos, style with HTML and CSS, or insert your favorite GIFs to add some creative flair.

Pricing Comparison

Each of the survey platforms on this list have different pricing strategies, ranging from completely free to monthly or yearly subscriptions.

With survey software, just like any other tool, it’s not about spending the most money or pinching pennies - it’s about what makes sense for your business.

For basic forms you can’t go past Google Forms. You can use it to build unlimited surveys, ask unlimited questions and collect information from as many respondents as you can get - all without paying a cent. (As long as you have a Google account.)

SurveyMonkey offers a free plan, but it’s limited. You can only ask 10 questions in each survey, and receive a maximum of 100 responses. For anything beyond the bare minimum, you’ll have to dig into your wallet, with plans starting at $32/month.

At Paperform we choose not to offer a free account. No, it's not because we want to take all your money and horde it in a secret cave guarded by a fire-breathing dragon. Although that would be pretty cool.

We don't offer a free plan because we concentrate on giving all users an experience that no one else does - or can - for a competitive price. Our standard plan is less than half the cost of SurveyMonkey's cheapest option, with more features.

google forms vs surveymonkey vs paperform pricing comparison

Ease of Use

Google Forms

screenshot of the google forms form builder user interface

You don’t want building your online form to be a hassle. You want the process to be clear, the UI to be responsive and the different features to be simple to master.

Google Forms excels at just that. The minimalist interface makes it a breeze to add survey questions, edit them to your liking and make basic customizations in a few clicks.

From the sidebar you add questions or text, embed images and videos, and split your form into different sections. The top menu is where you go to customize colors or fonts (with limited options), adjust settings, or get a real-time preview of your form.

Google Forms comes with the level of polish and simplicity you see reflected in all Google’s apps - it’s a no-frills experience that just works.


screenshot of the surveymonkey form builder user interface

SurveyMonkey’s user-friendly onboarding process makes it easy to get started. Just pick a survey template or the type of form you want to create, then you’ll be guided to the form builder itself.

This is where things get tricky. The interface is more crowded than Times Square on New Year’s Eve, which makes it difficult to figure out where to click and what to do. Things get easier once you get used to the UI, but first impressions last.

There’s a sidebar on the left of the screen which you use to add questions, adjust options and do things like add conditional logic. It takes a while to get used to where everything is, but once you do the process is as smooth as freshly-spread Nutella.

Helping you along the way are unique features like the question bank, which offers a selection of pre-made questions taken from real surveys. There's also a feature that predicts what question type you'll need based on the text you enter, which saves you some time.

SurveyMonkey has been around for more than twenty years and it’s a fantastic survey tool. But its overcrowded interface makes what is an otherwise great experience feel a bit clunky at times.


screenshot of the paperform form builder user interface

Paperform's goal is to democratize digital creation. That means we want it to be easy for anyone to create a beautiful form - and it is.

Our form builder is as simple as a doc, so if you’ve ever used Microsoft Word you’ll be able to master it in minutes. You can type anywhere on the page to add paragraphs of text and questions, or insert logos, images and videos with a click.

Instead of requiring you to seek out clunky menus, our builder adapts to you. As you add survey questions and customize your form, contextual menus appear right when you need them. This allows you to concentrate on what matters, when it matters.

From the top menu you can view your form or adjust your theme. Any changes that you make are reflected in real-time, so you can see exactly how your form will appear to respondents and adjust it to look just how you want.

We could go on and on, but to put it simply, Paperform’s streamlined interface makes it easy to build a beautiful, versatile form that’s fit for any purpose - from a one page website to a full ecommerce store.

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Google Forms

Google Forms templates page

Google Forms offers a small library of basic templates split between three categories: Work, Personal and Education.

There are 17 in total and, to be honest, none of them reinvent the wheel. One of Google Forms’ biggest restrictions is that it’s not very customizable, so whether you’re making an order request form or a customer feedback survey, it pretty much looks the same.

The upside is that each template is pre-filled with different question types based on the form you're making. For example, if you create a contact form, it’ll be populated with fields you need, like “name”, “email” and “address”.

Google Forms’ template library is quite barebones, but offers enough to speed up the form building process and give you ideas as to what you should include within your own form.


Surveymonkey templates page

SurveyMonkey’s offering is huge in comparison to Google Forms. It boasts over 100 templates, each categorised by industry and the type of data you want to collect.

As for the way they look? Let's just say they emphasise function over beauty. You’ll have to play around with the customization to make something that doesn't look kind of generic.

SurveyMonkey’s templates also come with questions tailored for particular use cases. So if you’re looking to create a consent form, an NPS survey or anything in-between, you’ll find templates that are pre-populated and ready to go.

Any survey tool allows you to preview your forms, but SurveyMonkey takes it a step further by allowing you to preview results. This handy tool gives you an idea of what insights you can collect from your responses, and a chance to see what data looks like on the back end.

Keep in mind that most of the library is filled with “certified templates”, that require a premier plan to access. You’ll also need to pay if you want to edit questions from templates, which makes them fairly useless unless you’re on a paid plan.


Paperform templates page

Paperform’s template library showcases the versatility of the platform. Need to take payments for your photography business? There’s a template for that. Host a page for wedding invitations? Sure. Start your own online bakery business? Go for it.

You’ll find over 300 templates in our extensive library covering just about anything you can imagine - from conference registration and art commission forms to cooking class and magazine subscription software.

And when scrolling through our library, all you need to do is click “use this template” and you’ll be sent straight to the form builder to customize it to your heart's content.

With so many choices you could be forgiven for worrying whether you'll be able to find your way around. Not to worry - templates are sorted by category and industry to make it easy to find the right one.

Our library is being constantly updated too. Each new addition is optimized for a specific purpose, and accompanied by a short tutorial to help you along the way.

Accepting Payments

Google Forms

screenshot of a Google Form with a link to paypal

Online forms are a great way to sell products, take bookings and accept payments. In 2020, most of the best form building apps accept payment gateways of some kind.

Unfortunately, Google Forms doesn’t. It's a lot to expect from a free tool, but it's a bit odd that it doesn't at least accept Google Pay, seeing it's within the G-family.

If you're sold on using Google Forms and want to collect payments there is a small workaround. You're able to include a link to PayPal or another payment tool within your form. Users can then follow the link to complete the process. It's not perfect, but it works.

But if you need to collect payments it's best to use Paperform or SurveyMonkey, both of which allow you to accept direct payments.


Screenshot of the surveymonkey payment page

SurveyMonkey does accept payments, though the feature isn't available on the free tier. To get access to it you’ll have to sign up to a paid plan.

Once you’ve done that you can use Stripe. Just make a Stripe account, add a payment page to your survey, and you’re off to the races. You can set a fixed amount or give respondents a few options to choose from.

While it's not the end of the world, it's important to remember that Stripe does take a small fee from each payment you process with their service. In the United States it's a flat rate of 1.75% plus 30 cents per transaction, but fees differ between countries.

Unlike Paperform, SurveyMonkey doesn’t support receipt generation, invoices or ongoing subscriptions, so you’ll have to crunch some numbers on your own.


screenshot of product sales page using Paperform

Paperform doesn’t restrict you to one provider. With support for over 25 payment tools, we allow you to make the best choice for your business.

Pick from major players like Paypal, Stripe, Braintree and Square, or try out niche offerings from companies like Chargify and Revolut. It’s an important choice - these services offer ways to get paid, which is kind of essential when running a business.

And Paperform goes beyond accepting payments. We make it easy to add things like calculated shipping costs, discountable products, and with custom pricing rules, even taxes. You can also accept subscriptions, generate receipts and create invoices.

Best of all? Payments are part of the Essentials plan, which is $15/month. That price includes unlimited responses and forms, and gives you access to all of our advanced payment features. Too good to be true? Nah, that's just how we roll.

Form Analytics

Google Forms

screenshot of google forms analytics with a pie chart

Even the best online surveys are useless without effective data analysis. That’s how you find out what story your responses are telling so you can get actionable insights to improve your business.

Google Forms comes with fairly basic ways to analyze your data. Within the app you can view individual survey responses and see an overall summary. It also generates graphs and pie charts based on the questions you asked, so you can quickly visualize your data.

You can get more serious insights from Google Sheets. With the magic of Google Drive you can export your data to a spreadsheet and delve deeper into the numbers. Both Paperform and SurveyMonkey allow you to do this too, but Google Forms lets you keep it all under the same roof.


screenshot of surveymonkey analytics

In comparison to Google Forms, SurveyMonkey offers much more powerful tools for data collection and analysis.

The Analyze section of the form builder gives a summary of your data, as well as the options to browse individual responses, create and export dynamic charts, or even download your results in multiple formats.

It also makes your data look good. Bland charts and confusing tables can make things more difficult to understand, but with SurveyMonkey, data is presented with clear graphics that are easy on the eye (and your brain).

On the free plan you can choose between eight graph types, all of which are customizable and look professional enough to share in a blog post or on your favorite social media channels.

There's also a built in cross-tabulation tool that lets you segment your audience to better understand different demographics. If you need more, there's over 100 third party integrations that let you send your data to your favorite business tools.


screenshot of paperform analytics

Paperform has analytics functionality built into the dashboard. You can analyze responses, boost conversions and improve your response rate all from the one place.

Track in-depth data like incomplete submissions and completion rates, the number of sales, or find the questions that are causing respondents to drop off. Our analysis tools help gather insights to perfect your processes and ensure your form is working for you.

Prefer to use your favorite tools? You can do so with direct integrations or more than 2,000 integrations through Zapier and its alternatives. Seriously, you can send your data wherever you need it to go. (Except the moon. We don't support astronomical bodies. Yet.)

Whether you want to crunch the numbers with Google Sheets or automate your email marketing with Mailchimp, we've got you covered. We even offer an option to export all responses and submission data wherever you please.

Made Up Your Mind?

Google Forms, SurveyMonkey and Paperform are all among the best form builders you’ll find. So which one should you choose?

The short answer is Paperform (kidding, but really). The long answer is that each of the three tools are suited for different use cases.

Need something cheap and easy? Try Google Forms. Want more advanced features and data analysis? SurveyMonkey may suit you. Not sure which to choose? Try them yourself without paying a dime.

But you can't go past Paperform if you want to make beautiful online forms, landing pages and payment forms that are unique to your brand. Don't just take our word for it. Try our 14-day free trial and see for yourself. No credit card required.  

About the author
Jack Delaney
Content Manager
Jack is Paperform's Content Manager, based in Sydney, Australia. He loves hard-boiled crime fiction, Michael Mann movies and coffee as black as midnight on a moonless night.

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