Rippling vs. Gusto: Why Gusto Comes Out on Top

The payroll software products offered by Rippling and Gusto are similar, but there are some important differences.
Jul 26, 2021

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Rippling and Gusto offer similar cloud-based payroll software and also partner with brokers to offer employee benefits. In a direct comparison, Gusto finishes first by offering full-service payroll features plus health benefits administration and onboarding tools at a price that is simple and affordable.

Rippling does stand out when it comes to an all-in-one platform that manages payroll, benefits, HR and IT. It’s well suited for businesses that are looking for an integrated system that can manage more than just payroll.




Payroll service:

$35/month plus $8 per person.

Pricing for additional services is quote based.

Pricing tiers:

Core: $39/month plus $6 per person.

Complete: $39/month plus $12 per person.

Concierge: $149/month plus $12 per person.

Tax filing and payments

Yes. Payroll taxes are calculated and paid to federal, state and local agencies at no additional cost.

Yes. With each payroll run, taxes are calculated and paid to government agencies at no additional cost.

Ability to manage employee benefits

Excellent. You can manage health insurance, 401(k) and other benefits. For an additional cost, Rippling PEO (or professional employer organization) offers access to health insurance, 401(k)s, HSAs and FSA plans at lower rates.

Good. You can manage medical insurance, health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts, 401(k)s and more, with payments automatically deducted from payroll. (Health benefits not available in all states.)

Employee access to portal

Good. Employees can view their pay stubs and W-2s and request time off from a mobile device or online. Employees also have access to view and update benefits.

Excellent. Employees have lifetime access to their own account to view pay stubs, obtain W-2 forms and change personal information.

Live support

Decent. Support is available by live chat, in-app video call and email. Customer phone support is not offered.

Good. Offers live customer support by phone, email or chat at all plan levels. Support is not available on weekends.

Ease of use

Good. Has an easy-to-navigate dashboard with task lists, app displays, helpful notifications and time-saving automation.

Good. Has a user-friendly interface with simple step-by-step tools, checklists and tutorials.

Why Gusto is a better choice

Gusto offers full-service payroll with the bonus of benefits administration and HR tools at an affordable price. Its setup options and live phone support are also important factors that move it ahead of Rippling.

Gusto Payroll

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on Gusto's website

Full-service payroll with a little extra

Gusto offers full-service payroll at the lowest-tier plan for a monthly cost of $39 plus $6 per person. That includes unlimited payroll in all 50 states, calculation and filing of payroll taxes, garnishments, direct deposit and more. Health benefits administration and standard hiring and onboarding tools are available at the Core level for no additional cost. Rippling provides similar payroll features, but services for benefits and HR are each billed on a per-employee, per-month basis.

Live phone support for customers

Gusto offers customer support at every plan level via email, chat or phone, Monday through Friday. You can speak with a representative who can answer questions about setting up payroll, running payroll or managing benefits. Gusto’s help center is available to both the employer and employee. Live chat and email are offered by Rippling, but customer phone support isn’t. However, a virtual call option is provided for urgent issues where you can share your screen with a representative.

Streamlined setup option

Gusto offers you a choice on how you set up payroll. Get free payroll assistance when creating your first payroll account or opt to do it yourself by following a 10-step guide that includes a short video. At Rippling, you’ll work with an assigned implementation manager, and the setup process takes between three and eight weeks. There’s no option to set up Rippling yourself.

When Rippling might be a better fit

Full integration of payroll, benefits, HR and IT

Businesses looking for a full integration of payroll, benefits, time and attendance, team training, recruiting and IT options would find Rippling appealing. Its all-in-one platform uses a unified employee database and built-in apps for benefits administration, time and attendance, and paid time off tracking systems. Rippling also integrates with over 400 apps so you're not limited to the ones provided in its platform.

Manage employees and devices remotely

Rippling has a number of features that can help a business manage employees, from basic time and attendance options to more advanced features such as overtime alerts and automatic labor law compliance. Employee computers and other company devices can also be managed remotely. This includes loading software, resetting passwords, wiping data from stolen devices and reassigning devices to another user.

Add options as your business grows

In addition to payroll, Rippling offers benefits, time and attendance, learning management, talent management, app management and device management services. Each can be purchased separately and is billed on a per-employee, per-month basis. Rippling PEO offers health plans, 401(k)s, HSA and FSA options for businesses that want more than standard benefits administration.

Other payroll products to consider

QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks Payroll may be a logical choice if you're using QuickBooks for accounting. QuickBooks Payroll offers full-service payroll products that also include HR support, health benefits through SimplyInsured and access to 401(k) plans. Its lowest-tier plan starts at $45 per month plus $4 per employee.

QuickBooks Payroll

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on QuickBooks's website

Paychex Payroll Services

Paychex Payroll offers multiple payroll packages for a small business to select from. Paychex Go®, the lowest-tier plan at $39 a month plus $5 per employee, features online payroll, direct deposit, payroll tax administration and more. Paychex PEO offers access to in-house benefits and a high level of HR services.

Square Payroll

Businesses looking for less-expensive payroll options may want to consider Square Payroll. It has a low monthly base fee of $35 plus $5 per employee. For small businesses that have only contractors, it’s $5 a month per person. Unlimited pay runs, direct deposit, calculation and filing of payroll taxes, and customer support are some of the features offered by Square.

Square Payroll

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on Square's website