SurveyMonkey vs. Qualtrics vs. Paperform

/ product / 13 min read
Laura Wilson

Table of Contents

Trying to improve your business without surveys is like trying to sail to Australia without a map—even with the best intentions, you’re bound to get lost.

Surveys are deceptively powerful tools. They help you better understand your customers, your employees and even your competitors (or just find out everyone’s favourite pizza toppings).

There’s one problem: there are a lot of online survey and form builders out there. With so many options, it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you. That’s what we’re here for.

In this guide, we’ll compare three major players in the survey maker game: SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics and Paperform. We’ll take you through all the important features and functionalities, so you can make the best choice for your needs.

Quick Feature Comparison

It’s rare that there’s a straightforward answer when someone asks what the “best” of something is. Whether you’re talking about Queen songs or online survey tools—it’s about what’s the best fit for the individual circumstance. Context matters.

SurveyMonkey is hugely popular because it’s been around for a long time, is relatively easy to use and comes with comprehensive data insights. Qualtrics is similar to SurveyMonkey in that they specialise in advanced market research surveys—though it’s more targeted at enterprise users.

Where both SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics stop at surveys, Paperform champions versatility and flexibility. Our platform empowers you to build beautiful forms and landing pages for any needs, from simple contact forms to eCommerce platforms that allow you to set up an online store.

With Paperform, surveys are just the beginning. Need to take payments? Book appointments? Build lead-generation landing pages? You can do all that and more, then customise your forms to reflect your business, at a fraction of the price.

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

SurveyMonkey Qualtrics Paperform
Best For Creating surveys that collect comprehensive insights. Creating surveys for seriously powerful data analysis. Creating fast, versatile, and visually beautiful forms, surveys, and questionnaires of all kinds.
GetApp Rating 4.6 4.8 4.9
GetApp Customer Support Rating 4.3 4.7 4.8
Export Results To CSV Yes Yes Yes
Custom Fonts Yes Yes Yes
Custom Colours Yes Yes Yes
Custom HTML Yes Yes Yes
Custom CSS No Yes Yes
Insert Images & Videos No Yes Yes
Access Partial Form Submissions Yes Yes Yes
Automated Emails Yes Yes Yes
Question Logic Yes Yes Yes
Multi-page Forms Yes Yes Yes
Payment Collection Yes No Yes
Google Pay Integration No No Yes
Automated Tax No No Yes
Coupon Fields Yes No Yes
Webhooks Yes Yes Yes
Automatic Save & Resume For Responses Yes Yes Yes
URL Customization Yes Yes Yes
Custom Domain Yes Yes Yes

You’ll notice that each form builder offers an array of features. That’s because we’re looking at the best of the best. Each provides multilingual surveys, survey logic and multi-page forms. But there are some key differences to note.

SurveyMonkey’s payment processing is limited and Qualtrics doesn’t accept payments. Neither offer automated tax or allow for forms beyond simple surveys. SurveyMonkey is also limited when it comes to customisation, with no ability to add custom CSS or insert images and video.

In contrast, Paperform offers comprehensive payment and customisation options, as well as the best customer experience of the bunch (backed up by our GetApp rating).

Quick Pricing Comparison

As with many SaaS products, survey software is priced on a monthly or yearly basis. All three solutions we're looking at offer different levels of pricing depending on your needs.

Qualtrics and Paperform have free trials that don’t require a credit card to use, which is hugely beneficial if you want to try before you buy. SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics also each offer a free version with (extremely) reduced functionality.

SurveyMonkey’s free tier only allows 10 questions per survey and is capped at 40 responses. Question types are limited, with no way to capture contact details. There are no customisation options to speak of, and it’s only possible to share your survey through three “collectors” (e.g. web link, social media or email).

Like SurveyMonkey, Qualtrics’ free version has limits on questions per survey (15) and number of responses (100). There’s also no way to customise your survey’s appearance, and analytics are incredibly basic, with no ability to export data for easy visualization.

Keep in mind that, with Qualtrics, you need to request a quote for pricing. Prices start at around $1,500-$5,000 per year, which means it’s certainly not an option for everyone.

You’ll notice two things about Paperform. First, our prices start at less than a quarter of the price of SurveyMonkey. That’s no typo—we aim to democratise digital creation for everyone, and part of that is making sure we’re affordable for everyone to use.

Second is that we don’t offer a free version. Why? Because we focus on giving all our users a rich experience at a super competitive price. Plus, with our 14-day free trial you can try out our platform and make sure we practice what we preach (we do).

SurveyMonkey Qualtrics Paperform
Free trial No Yes Yes
Free version with limited features Yes Yes No
Starting price/month (billed monthly) $99 Not available $15
Starting price/month (billed annually) $32 On request $12.50

Ease of Use

SurveyMonkey

screenshot of surveymonkey form builder

SurveyMonkey has a barebones interface that’s fairly user-friendly. With a basic drag-and-drop interface, a sizeable collection of survey templates and the handy suggested survey questions, it is relatively easy to create an online survey with their suite of tools.

Things become challenging once you want to create your own survey questions. There's a lot going on within the interface and simple actions often take more clicks than they should. Once you get the hang of the menus though, things get easier.

Features are in-line with all leading form builders. Expect to find all the relevant question fields, as well as advanced features like conditional survey logic and A/B testing (also offered by the other two platforms on this list).

Where SurveyMonkey shines is its analytics tools. Result prediction and word clouds are very useful, and their visualization tools are second-to-none. Interpreting data really is a breeze. Unfortunately, their customisation options are a letdown, with limited options to make surveys that really feel unique.

Qualtrics

screenshot of qualtrics survey builder

Qualtrics is the spaceship of survey tools—it’s powerful, but you can’t expect to learn how it works without a lot of training. It’s not really designed for small businesses or startups, but if you’re a large business looking for a research-heavy survey tool, it’s a good choice.

Now, Qualtrics does offer a free survey platform. However, only assessing the free tier doesn’t give an accurate reflection of their offering, so we’ve included Qualtrics CoreXM as well. The first thing that stands out is the UI: it’s confusing.

Thankfully, once you’ve climbed a rather steep learning curve it becomes easier to use (that’s based on our own experience and backed up by user reviews). It would be ideal if Qualtrics offered more tutorials to help with the initial setup, though their real-time support is excellent.

In terms of functionality, Qualtrics may be aimed at more advanced users, but they have tools that cover the basics too. You can create surveys both online and offline, send them out via email, SMS or any other avenue, then export data to Excel or analyse it from within the app.

Like Paperform, you’ll find features like skip logic, dynamic reporting tools and automated save and resume (this makes life easier for respondents). There’s also a predictive AI that helps you come up with relevant questions—not exactly a game changer, but a nice touch.

It’s a shame that third-party integrations are limited. Where Paperform allows you to connect to over 3,000+ popular apps through native and Zapier integrations, Qualtrics relies on their own built-in  tools.

Paperform

screenshot of paperform form builder

Paperform’s philosophy can be summed up in three words: easy, beautiful, yours. Our suite of tools makes survey creation a breeze—without any code or technical knowledge necessary. We mean it when we say that if you can use a Word doc, you can use Paperform.

Unlike Qualtrics and SurveyMonkey, Paperform doesn’t use a clunky drag-and-drop editor. With our free-text builder, just type anywhere or use our lightning-fast slash commands to insert 25+ question types, add text and headings, or embed images, videos and GIFs. Want to add a break or import questions from a Google Sheet? That’s just a keyboard tap away.

📚 Learn more about the types of surveys you can create with Paperform.

Customisation is simple too. From the Theme settings you can change colours; tweak fonts; edit UI elements and even use a video background. At any time you can preview your creations from the top menu, allowing you to design forms and surveys that reflect your brand and look exactly how you want them to.

This simplicity extends to the more complex features too. Whether you need to add conditional logic, automate email marketing or integrate with third-party tools like Google Sheets and Notion for a more refined workflow, with our visual tools you can do so in just a few clicks.

Want a more engaging survey? At any time you can switch from Standard to our Guided mode, transforming static forms into a more immersive one-question-at-a-time experience. It’s as easy as flicking a toggle in the form settings.

SurveyMonkey and Qualtrics may restrict you to survey creation, but with our streamlined editor, you can build forms of any type. Whether you need a registration page, a sign-up form, a quiz or an entire eCommerce website, Paperform empowers you to create it.

Templates

SurveyMonkey

screenshot of surveymonkey templates page

SurveyMonkey offers 250+ survey templates that are categorised by industry and metrics. Most have a standard design, though they come with questions tailored to certain use cases (e.g. an NPS survey would be pre-filled with relevant questions), which is handy.

Theme options are easy to miss at first glance. You can apply these to make basic changes to the appearance of the survey—it’s not much, but it beats the default SurveyMonkey green.

It’s a shame that there are only 40 templates available on the free plan. You can’t customise the appearance or edit the questions, which kind of defeats the purpose of templates.

Qualtrics

screenshot of qualtrics template page

Qualtrics has a library of over 100 templates. For some reason they are difficult to find, which is down to odd UX design. Thankfully they didn’t take a leaf out of SurveyMonkey’s book, and all templates are included in the free plan.

Let’s just say that templates (and customisation in general) aren’t Qualtrics’ priority. While their selection is fairly comprehensive, the design of each template is on the generic side. This may or may not be a dealbreaker depending on your priorities.

Paperform

screenshot of paperform templates page

Paperform boasts over 500+ templates designed by our in-house experts. Each one is unique and pre-filled with relevant questions to speed up the form-building process.

Want to create a real estate landing page? Collect sign-ups for your yoga studio? Set up your own subscription business? There’s a template for all that and more—all ready to be imported into your account with one click.

Once you’ve added a template you’re free to customise it as you please. Add questions, tweak existing ones, and add your own colours and branding to make it feel uniquely yours. With our templates you can be up and running in a matter of minutes.

The library is updated each week, with new additions accompanied by a short tutorial to help you along the way.

Accepting Payments

SurveyMonkey

screenshot of surveymonkey payment page

Stripe payments are available only to SurveyMonkey members on an annually billed plan. If you’re one of these users you can set a fixed amount or give respondents several options to choose from.

SurveyMonkey’s payment “system” is very basic. It’s intended for simple donations and one-off payments rather than full eCommerce functionality like Paperform.

There’s no way to generate invoices or receipts, and Stripe is the only gateway supported which limits things quite a bit. For something like a charity or event registration, SurveyMonkey’s payments will do the trick. But beyond that, you’ll be better off looking elsewhere.

Qualtrics

Qualtrics does not currently offer any way to accept payments.

Paperform

All Paperform users can accept payments—whether you’re on the Essentials tier or an Agency subscriber. Just connect your favourite payment gateway (including names like PayPal, Stripe, Braintree and Square) and watch the money roll in.

But we don’t stop at taking payments. With Paperform you can build a dedicated eCommerce solution that makes it easy (and ridiculously quick) to sell online. Add product pages, manage SKUs and stock levels, track orders and automate invoices all from the one platform.

You can even take subscriptions, create coupons and process refunds within our app. Best of all? We don’t take any additional fees or commission on top of the processors. We think your money should be just that—your money.

Form Analytics

SurveyMonkey

screenshot of surveymonkey analytics

SurveyMonkey is a comprehensive tool for data collection and analysis. All online survey software offer analytics of some kind, but SurveyMonkey does a great job of breaking down data into visuals that look good and are easy to comprehend (or share on social media).

One useful feature is the ability to segment survey results based on audience demographics. This is effective for market research. For example, if you were running a survey to find out the most popular colour among millennials for your new brand identity, you’d be able to split results by gender and age groups.

Analytics is really where SurveyMonkey shines. There are also 100+ integrations (thanks to their API) that let you use third-party platforms to delve deeper into the numbers, or send data to your preferred apps.

Qualtrics

screenshot of qualtrics analytics

Qualtrics analytics are designed with enterprise businesses and large-scale research in mind, meaning it's beefier than The Rock—and just as pretty. Whether you’re collecting customer feedback or diving deep into complex numbers, Qualtrics helps you dig into data of any type.

From the Data & Analysis tab, you can filter, classify, merge, clean and statistically analyze your survey response data. There’s also a nifty Stats iQ section that allows you to identify trends and even produce predictive models.

Their predictive modelling is effective too. For example, you can use it to estimate when a customer might churn, empowering you to better understand customer satisfaction and boost your customer retention.

Of course, these features come at a cost. But if you’ve got the cash to splash, and think you’d benefit from interpreting complex data, these analysis tools are worth the hefty price.

Paperform

screenshot of paperform analytics

Paperform Analytics gives you all the tools you need to get actionable insights from your data, so you can better understand the behaviour of your customers, site visitors and clients. You can boost conversions and improve response rates, all from within the dashboard.

With Paperform there’s no need for third-party data solutions. We automatically collect crucial data like form views, incomplete submissions, completion rates, sales and drop-off questions. This frees you up to analyse the cold, hard data and see where improvements can be made.

If you prefer to use your favourite analytics tools that’s no problem too. We offer direct integration with leading apps like Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel or Mixpanel. You can also export your data to CSV, share it straight to a Notion database or send it to your CRM of choice.

Sick of taking screenshots of data to show employees or stakeholders? We get it. That’s why with a single click you can generate a full report of your form, ready to share in the boardroom or with your staff.

Made Up Your Mind?

Of course, we’ve got some skin in the game, but all three of the survey builders we’ve covered are exceptional in their own way. Remember to think about what it is that you need.

A basic survey with visual reporting? SurveyMonkey is an okay choice. A market research tool for a huge business? Qualtrics might be for you. But, if you’re after a solution that makes it easy to build beautiful, branded surveys, forms and landing pages at an affordable price—Paperform is the way to go.

The good news? You don’t have to take our word for it. Try it yourself with our 14-day free trial, no credit card required.


💡 SurveyMonkey vs Qualtrics vs Paperform FAQs

Is Qualtrics better than SurveyMonkey?
Qualtrics is better than SurveyMonkey overall, yes, but it's also much more expensive and aimed purely at advanced market research.

Who competes with SurveyMonkey?
SurveyMonkey's four largest competitors are Paperform, Qualtrics, Typeform and SurveyGizmo.

How expensive is Qualtrics?
Qualtrics is fairly expensive—pricing starts between $1,500-$2,500/year, though it also has a free version with restrictions.

Is Qualtrics easy to learn?
Qualtrics is easy to learn and difficult to master. As the data features are so comprehensive, it can take time to get the most out of it.


About the author
Laura Wilson
Laura is a Content Writer at Paperform. She writes from rural Australia with pets who really want to attend virtual meetings. She dreams of writing as fearlessly as the Fast and Furious writers do.

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