Best Survey Software – Organize Your Findings Quickly!

By Jovan Milenkovic January 25, 2021

Humans are curious by nature. We want to know what our colleagues had for breakfast, what’s the most popular smartphone brand, how our friends would rate the movie we just all saw together – the list goes on. In short, we like to make surveys: Whether we want to collect feedback or conduct deep market research, we’ll need some kind of survey software to realize our vision. These apps allow us to build, customize, share, and analyze our surveys.

Social research software industry has boomed in the recent years. You can do background checks, search for people, and even build in-depth surveys. The problem is, there are too many apps on the market right now. Some are built for people who have no idea how to make a survey, while others are complicated enough to require coding skills. We’ve done some window shopping for you, and are here to present a selection of tools everyone should use for creating surveys.

  • Very customizable
  • Intuitive survey designer
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Pricey
Price Quote on request
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  • Incredibly user friendly
  • Good free trial
  • Numerous templates
  • Many features reserved for the most expensive plan
Price $25/mo
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  • Ample integrations
  • Affordable monthly plans
  • Highly customizable
  • Restrictive free version
Price $30/mo
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  • Fully customizable surveys
  • Flexible pricing plans
  • Great for coders
  • Insufficient question types
Price $25/mo
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  • Impressive template library
  • Affordable plans
  • Good free version
  • Strict limitations on all plans
Price $24/mo
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1. Qualtrics

" Best Survey Software Overall "

  • Platform:
    Web-based
  • Templates:
    50+
  • Free trial:
    15 questions per survey, Up to 100 responses
  • Survey Types:
    Nonlinear surveys
  • Special features:
    Drag-and-drop editing, logic jumps, crosstabs analysis, collaboration

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Very customizable
  • Intuitive survey designer
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Pricey

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Very customizable
  • Intuitive survey designer
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Pricey
  • Platform:
    Web-based
  • Templates:
    50+
  • Free trial:
    15 questions per survey, Up to 100 responses
  • Survey Types:
    Nonlinear surveys
  • Special features:
    Drag-and-drop editing, logic jumps, crosstabs analysis, collaboration

Qualtrics XM is probably the biggest name in the world of experience management and customer surveying. The company has always been on the bleeding edge of the research industry, owing its initial popularity to the academic need for questionnaires on complicated subjects. At the time, no other platform offered such extensive polling options. Today, thousands of global companies use it to drive their business decisions.

Qualtrics is unmatched when it comes to the sheer number of options for creating a survey. This online survey software entails dozens of question types and lets you create nonlinear surveys with sections folding out according to the respondent’s answers. This is particularly handy when you’re making matrix-based questions and need additional queries to pop up when certain criteria are met. There’s no denying the Qualtrics’ complexity, but its design is intuitive at the same time. Every survey is built in a drag-and-drop interface accompanied by a visual editor previewing every change you make, both in the mobile and the desktop version of the survey. 

Even better, the survey software lets you import questions and sections from your previous surveys, saving you a lot of time in the process. These features would require coding skills and jumping through hoops on other platforms, but not on Qualtrics. 

Data can be analyzed via the Qualtrics app: Your results will be arranged into neat reports you can then export. There aren’t many project management tools, though, so working on survey results in big teams requires additional software. Of course, that depends on how big your analytics team is and what you need the survey for.

You can have a free account with limited capabilities, but if you’re getting Qualtrics XM for an enterprise, the survey software pricing isn’t publicly disclosed, as the company gives quotes on request. The prices generally start at $1,500 a year, clearly delineating Qualtrics as a premium service. Granted, you’ll be getting exquisite customer service and an industry-leading platform to work on, so it’s worth the expense.

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2. Survey Monkey

" Best Survey Software for Beginners "

  • Platform:
    Web-based
  • Templates:
    180+
  • Free trial:
    Up to 10 questions and 40-100 responses
  • Survey Type:
    Nonlinear survey
  • Special Features:
    Question bank, randomized answers, visual editor

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Incredibly user friendly
  • Good free trial
  • Numerous templates
  • Many features reserved for the most expensive plan

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Incredibly user friendly
  • Good free trial
  • Numerous templates
  • Many features reserved for the most expensive plan
  • Platform:
    Web-based
  • Templates:
    180+
  • Free trial:
    Up to 10 questions and 40-100 responses
  • Survey Type:
    Nonlinear survey
  • Special Features:
    Question bank, randomized answers, visual editor

SurveyMonkey is another household name in the realm of online surveys. If you’ve ever shopped online, you probably completed a customer experience poll powered by this company. Pretty much everyone that ever needed digital survey software has used SurveyMonkey at some point.

Incredible ease of use is the reason for that widespread popularity. Accessibility was obviously the designers’ main goal when they were coming up with the SurveyMonkey toolkit. The moment you sign up for a free account, you’ll be presented with a short questionnaire designed to optimize the website experience based on your needs. Some would call this hand-holding, but we prefer to call it good UX. You’ll also find handy survey templates to start you off. 

The reason this is the best survey tool for beginners is the canned question selection: Dozens of them are readily available, significantly cutting down the time required to create surveys, thus granting you extra time for collecting and analyzing your data. You can also randomize answers in your matrices, and once it’s time to publish the survey, SurveyMonkey can automatically highlight one of the question’s multiple choices depending on where you’re embedding the form. Analytics aren’t SurveyMonkey’s strongest suit, but this app does entail impressive team collaboration tools and real-time reporting.

If you’re looking for free survey software, look no further than SurveyMonkey. The default plan lets you create one survey at a time and deploy one of 40 templates. The deal isn’t time-limited, so you can keep using the free plan as long as you like. Of course, upgrading to a paid solution vastly increases functionality – our recommendation is the Advantage Annual plan, which unlocks extra features and connects you with priority customer support.

3. Typeform

" Best Budget Survey Software "

  • Platform:
    Web-based
  • Templates:
    200+
  • Free trial:
    3 forms with up to 10 questions and 100 responses
  • Survey Type:
    Nonlinear survey
  • Special Features:
    Logic jumps, responsive questions, embedded multimedia

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Ample integrations
  • Affordable monthly plans
  • Highly customizable
  • Restrictive free version

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Ample integrations
  • Affordable monthly plans
  • Highly customizable
  • Restrictive free version
  • Platform:
    Web-based
  • Templates:
    200+
  • Free trial:
    3 forms with up to 10 questions and 100 responses
  • Survey Type:
    Nonlinear survey
  • Special Features:
    Logic jumps, responsive questions, embedded multimedia

Typeform, as its slogan says, turns data into experience. And what an experience it is! Among the best online survey sites, this company stands out thanks to its fair pricing, integrations, and logic jumps for sensible survey design. This is mainly a surveybuilder tool, but you’ll be able to use it for contact forms, payments, quizzes, etc.

The editor is one of the most streamlined we’ve ever seen: Instead of digging through menus for basic questions, you can simply type them out, and watch as bullet points turn into multiple choice answers. Typeform’s strongest feature is the use of logic jumps to pull information from previous answers and build relevant questions on the fly. With this software, survey questions can have answers based on the data a respondent entered in a previous instance. For example, contact information added during the survey intro can turn into the choices in a question on how the customer wishes to be contacted.

A few clicks are all you need to set all of this up. You can also use these tools to make nonlinear forms – basically forms within forms – thus neatly segregating your data. Integration capabilities are another important feature of this customer survey software. Pretty much any cloud-based platform can be connected with Typeform, one way or another, making it great for data collection, analysis, internal surveying, and HR insights.

Typeform has a free and a paid form. The free version lets you create a few very basic surveys and test out some advanced features before hitting a paywall. Anything more complicated than a short poll requires a paid subscription. The good news is that all three paid plans make Typeform one of the most affordable top survey tools. They all cost $70 and under on a monthly basis. Annual plans will net you significant discounts, too, so you can rest assured that neither option will bleed you dry.

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4. Alchemer

" Best Survey Software for Enthusiasts "

  • Platform:
    Web-based
  • Templates:
    5+
  • Free trial:
    3 surveys with 100 responses each
  • Survey Type:
    Nonlinear and linear surveys
  • Special Features:
    Embedded multimedia, custom scripting support, importing from Microsoft Word, style editor

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Fully customizable surveys
  • Flexible pricing plans
  • Great for coders
  • Insufficient question types

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Fully customizable surveys
  • Flexible pricing plans
  • Great for coders
  • Insufficient question types
  • Platform:
    Web-based
  • Templates:
    5+
  • Free trial:
    3 surveys with 100 responses each
  • Survey Type:
    Nonlinear and linear surveys
  • Special Features:
    Embedded multimedia, custom scripting support, importing from Microsoft Word, style editor

Alchemer is a multifunctional platform for surveys, payment forms, quizzes, and more. Founded in 2006 as SurveyGizmo, this Colorado-based company caters to the more tech-savvy and enthusiastic crowd with its apps. It has since rebranded but remains an excellent tool for collecting feedback.

Alchemer is the tool for you if you prefer highly modular online survey software. It supports JavaScript coding and can even use Microsoft Word documents as a base for creating surveys. Alchemer connects to Google Drive, too, but only for exporting collected data. Unless you save a Google Docs document as a Word file that Alchemer can read, you can’t import questions from it. Manual survey creation is streamlined, but it isn’t as intuitive as the competition’s. For example, the software doesn’t automatically send “None of the above” to the bottom of the answer list when using a randomizer. 

Like with other survey software, you can import all kinds of multimedia files to enrich the respondents’ experience, and the coding-friendliness we already mentioned means that you’re not restricted to pre-set functions. The Logic tab allows users to create a bunch of rules for reformatting your questionnaire while the users are answering surveys. If you’re artistically inclined, the survey editor also allows for plenty of visual customization, somewhat making up for Alchemer’s otherwise lackluster design template collection.

If you’re not looking to get a subscription, compared to pretty much all other survey software, the free version of Alchemer is pretty decent, but be sure to choose a free account, not a free trial. You can have 3 surveys up at a time, with 100 responses each. Some elements are locked out unless you pay, so be sure to consult the documentation for specifics. If you opt for the paid route, your choices expand greatly, from team to enterprise accounts. The starting packages are affordable, although you might want to purchase the Professional plan if you anticipate needing more flexibility in your web survey software.

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5. JotForm

" Best Survey Templates "

  • Platform:
    Web-based
  • Templates:
    10,000+
  • Free trial:
    5 forms, 100 responses/month
  • Survey Type:
    Linear survey
  • Special Features:
    Drag-and-drop editor, 100+ app integrations, payments processing, widgets

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Impressive template library
  • Affordable plans
  • Good free version
  • Strict limitations on all plans

Things we liked / disliked:

  • Impressive template library
  • Affordable plans
  • Good free version
  • Strict limitations on all plans
  • Platform:
    Web-based
  • Templates:
    10,000+
  • Free trial:
    5 forms, 100 responses/month
  • Survey Type:
    Linear survey
  • Special Features:
    Drag-and-drop editor, 100+ app integrations, payments processing, widgets

When we’re trying to create a survey, especially on a deadline, we’re always on the lookout for shortcuts, either via importing from previous surveys, or templates. Thankfully, JotForm is the template king, offering more than 10,000 survey designs. But that’s not the only reason to sign up for it:

JotForm was made to be straightforward and easy to navigate, using an intuitive drag and drop interface. The site first asks what kind of survey you’re running and if you need a template before jumping straight to the editor. We’d even go as far as to call it the best online survey site for those who don’t want the hassle of creating a questionnaire from scratch. That being said, browsing the template repository can be time-consuming, specifically due to their peculiar titles: As there’s no favorite list to save them to, you’d better write down the names of the templates you liked, or you might not ever find them again. 

On the plus side, this platform boasts amazing integration features. Connect your JotForm account to nearly 200 third-party apps, and export data, accept payments or just get notifications on new replies going through this survey tool. We can’t list all the supported apps, so we’ll just mention Slack, Dropbox, PayPal, and Google Drive. Nice, right? Collaboration tools are another nice touch, and the platform also accommodates response-based survey flexibility – a questionnaire you create through JotForm doesn’t have to be static.

JotForm’s free offering is quite nice, too. You’ll be able to create and run up to 5 forms at the same time, access to all analytics, even accept payments. If you don’t mind having a watermark notifying your visitors you used a free survey maker, we’d go as far as to call it one of the best free solutions out there. 

You can also choose between three pricing tiers paid for on a monthly or annual basis. We highly recommend going with an annual plan and the substantial discount that comes with it. However, be prepared to face some restrictions – even the Gold plan is not totally unlimited on all fronts, as it still imposes restrictions on the number of monthly responses your surveys can collect, although the limit is fairly astronomical, at 100,000.

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Our Methodology for Identifying the Best Survey Tools

Questionnaire Customization

The first step towards launching a survey is to create one. Yes, in theory you can set up a virtual phone number and conduct your survey the old-fashion way, but there are more elegant and efficient solutions. Survey creation progressed both in terms of features and user experience – the platforms now offer a more streamlined building process, more templates, more everything. But this is not the only factor that affects whether a piece of software features on our list.

The most important criterion is the process of creating a survey itself: Is picking a template easy? Are there importing options? Do you need coding skills for nonlinear surveys? We try to answer each of these questions in our survey software comparison. The perfect tool should have a drag and drop capability, a clean UI, clearly marked building blocks, and logic jumps. Nowadays, respondents expect surveys to adapt to their answers: For example, if a user chooses a negative answer on whether they own a certain product, further questions about the usage of that product should be skipped entirely. Also, coding skills shouldn’t be a requirement for making a survey, but it’s a big plus if the platform supports custom code and design.

Reporting

The next important section in our survey software reviews is reporting. All that collected big data means nothing if you can’t process it. You’ll want to see how many people responded to your poll, what the most common and uncommon answers were, how the median score shifted across different demographics, etc. In short, detailed reporting needs to be implemented, preferably with visualization tools like charts and graphs. For bigger surveys, filtering results is of the utmost importance. Thousands of responses make it nigh impossible for a person to manually go through them all in their event-survey software. Filtering tools and averages help you quickly get a grasp on what general responses and narrow down the results to those needed for, say, your upcoming marketing campaign.

Once the results look presentable, it’s time to share them with the rest of your team. Exporting results in Excel form is obligatory, if not in CSV and PDF. Some survey platforms even allow for Microsoft PowerPoint exporting, allowing for easy embedding into your board presentation. Collaboration options are also welcome: e.g., data cross-referencing and shared datasheets. Such high-level survey tools aren’t always a part of these platforms, but they create a well-rounded package where the data can be easily processed to provide usable results.

Price

Money is an inevitable talking point with any product. Not every service offers the same value, so we try to find the most cost-effective ones. Most of these apps have different pricing tiers, limiting or expanding features depending on your subscription level. There might be a free trial or even a full-fledged free version.

We’ll try to get a full picture of each of the best survey sites, and then compare them to each other to clarify how good of a deal you might be getting. Free plans are particularly interesting, as they can range from a vastly simplified version of the app meant purely for small-scale testing, to tools that can help you do extensive research as long as you don’t need thousands of responses. It’s no deal-breaker, but if a service has a formidable free tool, you’ll know.

Customer Service

Even the most user-friendly app can be confusing, so customer support is a vital part of our comparison of survey software. We’re not just looking at the number of contact avenues or how quickly the support team answers our questions, but also how rich the platform’s education section is. If a site has a comprehensive knowledge section, tutorials, or interactive demos, it’s already better than a rival offering merely an FAQ section. This is a very competitive industry, so any attempt a service makes to stand out from the crowd, even with a simple how-to video, might put it on our radar.

The Top Survey Software

  1. Qualtrics
  2. SurveyMonkey
  3. Typeform
  4. Alchemer
  5. JotForm

FAQ

What is the best survey software?

The best software for creating and analyzing surveys is Qualtrics XM, a comprehensive platform for making dynamic forms, collecting results, and deep analysis. Over the years, it became the industry standard and no other platform has yet managed to beat it. It’s a complicated tool, however, so it’s not for everyone.

What are the 3 types of surveys?

In terms of purpose, surveys can be exploratory, descriptive, and causal. Exploratory questionnaires are used in marketing for discovering untapped markets and canvassing for ideas. Companies use survey software to review current trends, develop strategies, and find areas to grow their brands, usually via open-ended questions.

Descriptive research is the opposite of exploratory research. It has a specified structure and serves to collect data that will later turn into statistical information.

Finally, there’s causal research, designed to find the cause and effect of a specific event. Causal research is usually experimental at least in some way, and it’s used in market research, often in the form of AB testing.

What is the best free survey tool?

Pretty much every platform for making surveys lets you at least take a trial version for a spin. Most of them also have full-fledged free plans that are sometimes capable enough for conducting professional research. Since no provider offers the same deal for its free tools, it’s best to shop around and find the tool best-suited to your needs. You can read more about individual tools in this article.

What software do surveyors use?

In-person survey software doesn’t differ much from the survey software used online. Live survey apps present the surveys in a similar fashion, but may employ GPS data and run completely offline, depending on where the survey team is deployed. There’s no specific app for this type of research – most surveyors will use one of the apps mentioned in the article above.

What is better than SurveyMonkey?

There aren’t that many apps that do a better surveying job than SurveyMonkey. Some alternatives include Typeform, JotForm, and Qualtrics, each with a different set of pros and cons. If we have to choose just one piece of survey software, it would have to be Qualtrics. This is the industry-leading app for all kinds of forms, with unprecedented levels of customization. Best of all, it doesn’t require any coding skills to create highly interactive forms.

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