Both Rippling and Gusto are among the best payroll software for small businesses. But each boasts distinct differences.

Rippling better suits ambitious growth goals. For starters, it sports broader international support, whereas Gusto offers only employer of record (EOR) services. Rippling also covers a broader range of enterprise needs.

On the other hand, Gusto is a top choice for user-friendliness. It isn’t a jack of all trades, but it’s a master at simplifying payroll.

Let’s discover which small business solution is best for you.

Rippling vs. Gusto: Comparison table

RipplingGusto
Starting price$8/employee/mo.$40/mo. + $6.00/employee/mo.
International payrollYesEOR services only
Advanced analyticsYesNo
Employee-facing mobile appLimitedFull-featured, with banking services
Hiring and onboarding toolsAdd-on for an additional feeIncluded (free)
Visit RipplingVisit Gusto

Rippling vs. Gusto: Pricing

Rippling

Rippling’s pricing model is per employee, starting at $8.00 per staffer monthly. And since there is no flat fee, it could cost less than Gusto if you have five or fewer payees.

Keep in mind that this only covers essential payroll functions. Adding anything else will cost more. And unfortunately, these additional fees aren’t publicly displayed, so you have to talk to a sales agent to nail down the details and get a clear quote.

Still, Rippling’s $8 entry point is below average. That’s comforting for those on a tight budget.

Gusto

In contrast to Rippling, Gusto offers a fully transparent pricing structure, starting at $40 per month plus $6 per employee per month. This subscription includes full-service payroll and tax filings and some basic human resource (HR) support. The middle tier with more perks costs double at $80 flat and $12 a head per month. And for those commanding growth, there are custom packages available too.

Rippling vs. Gusto: Feature comparison

Payroll features

Winner: Tie

Both Rippling and Gusto offer similarly robust payroll features. These functions include fully automated payroll runs, same- or one-day direct deposits, full-service tax filings and compliance management.

When it comes to keeping people paid, the differences are negligible. You’re unlikely to feel underserved with either option. So, it ultimately comes down to preference. Rippling provides a more global approach but has a less beginner-friendly interface. Gusto lacks overseas support yet boasts a prettier platform that anyone can grasp immediately.

HR and other services

Winner: Rippling

Rippling shines with its extensive suite of solutions beyond payroll. This array includes HR, IT management and benefits administration. There are also some accounting tools, like expense management, in-house bill payments and advanced financial analytics. Plus, you can even issue branded corporate credit cards. Oh, and if you want even more power, the title boasts integrations with over 500 third-party applications.

Most of these add-ons cost extra, though. But if your budget allows, there is little left to the imagination. For comparison, Gusto is far more limited in its abilities, making Rippling the better option for a one-and-done approach.

User-friendly interface

Winner: Gusto

Gusto is championed for its beautiful user-friendly interface and automated payroll process. It excels at making everyone — regardless of their technical background — feel welcome. This simplicity is wonderful if payroll and HR make your head spin. It’s also great if you’re trying to avoid putting your administrative staff through extensive training.

And it isn’t just administrators who benefit. Employees can also enjoy the Gusto Wallet app. This financial management tool lets workers set savings goals and access their paychecks sooner. It also offers a spending account and debit card for unbanked folks.

International payroll

Winner: Rippling

Rippling is the only contender that supports overseas payroll. Gusto only provides an employer of record service, which is fairly new.

Still, the title doesn’t just win by default. Rippling offers excellent global payroll capabilities. Nearly every function, including general HR and IT tools, also supports workers abroad. This breadth goes beyond many competitors, which often provide global payroll while ignoring other international needs.

Both Rippling and Gusto provide employer of record (EOR) services, however, which allows businesses to hire abroad even if they don’t have any legal standing in the target country. In these situations, Rippling, Gusto or their affiliates become a worker’s employer on paper, although that employee still reports to your business.

So, whether you currently manage a global workforce or plan to do so in the future, Gusto could be a good choice, but Rippling is the best choice between these two options.

Small-business features

Winner: Gusto

Gusto’s clear, tiered pricing and all-inclusive approach are undeniably tailored to smaller businesses. Nearly every nook and cranny was fine-tuned for a broader demographic, even those lacking a technical background. For example, the title’s educational resources shy away from jargon in favor of simpler vocabulary. And there are no advanced analytics that require complex programming. Everything is plain and simple.

Simply put, Rippling appeals to complex businesses, both big and small. So if you want a more thoughtful platform that truly fits your modest footprint, Gusto is the way to go.

Rippling pros and cons

Pros of Rippling

  • Integrations with over 500 finance, HR and IT apps, enhancing operational efficiency and flexibility across various business functions.
  • Comprehensive HR and IT management.
  • Global payroll support, including compliance.
  • Plan customization and flexibility.

Cons of Rippling

  • Unclear pricing structure that requires discussions with a sales agent.
  • Only offers products in English and French, despite global services.
  • Users have reported difficulties in reaching customer support.
  • Mobile app is primarily focused on payroll functionality, which may not meet the needs of users requiring broader HR management tools on the go.

Gusto pros and cons

Pros of Gusto

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Predictable pricing model.
  • Payroll, benefits administration and HR tools that cater to small businesses specifically.
  • Responsive and helpful customer support through email, phone and live chat.

Cons of Gusto

  • Limited features for larger organizations.
  • Fewer integrations compared to competitors.
  • Restricted international capabilities.

Should your organization use Rippling or Gusto?

Ultimately, the right choice for your business is up to you. Review your essential needs and nice-to-haves to compare alongside product offerings — and for Rippling and Gusto, we’ve covered some of their top highlights below to make it easier to decide between the two.

Choose Rippling if . . .

  • You require a robust, scalable platform for HR, payroll and IT management.
  • You prefer a la carte pricing that allows you to add or remove functions over time.
  • Your business operations span multiple countries and you need international payroll capabilities.
  • You value extensive integration options with over 500 third-party apps.

Choose Gusto if . . .

  • You’re a small business looking for an intuitive, easy-to-use payroll and HR platform.
  • You prefer clear, simple pricing that includes most functions for one fee.
  • You only operate domestically, with no international operations.

Methodology

We evaluated customer reviews, feature sets, pricing structures and the overall value each platform offers to its users. We also considered each title’s ease of use, scalability and breadth of functions, among other aspects.

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