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Best Online Payroll Software Services of September 2021

These top payroll products are reliable, easy to use and full of useful features.

Rick VanderKnyffJul 12, 2021
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

The best online payroll software products for small businesses take care of payroll dependably and with minimal fuss. For most companies, that means offering tax filing and payment options, direct deposit options, live support and employee online access to past pay stubs. Our top picks stand out by offering those features and more.

Our pick for

Overall payroll software

Gusto
Shop now

on Gusto's website

Gusto Payroll

Gusto

Starting at

$39/mo

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $149. Fee per employee varies by tier.

Promotion

One month free

Terms apply

Shop now

on Gusto's website


Why we like it

Gusto includes a suite of HR features, like administration of health insurance and other benefits, in all its pricing tiers.

Pros

  • Benefits administration (401(k)s available in all 50 states; health benefits are available in 38 states and Washington, D.C.).

  • Time-tracking features at higher-price tiers (limited at Core level).

  • HR support available (at the Concierge level).

  • One-month free trial; terms apply.

  • Next-day direct deposit (at Complete and Concierge levels).

Cons

  • More expensive than some options.

  • Limited hours for live support.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Larger businesses

ADP
Shop now

on ADP's website

RUN Powered by ADP

ADP

Starting at

$59/mo

Plus $4 per employee. Custom pricing also available.

Promotion

Three months free

Terms apply

Shop now

on ADP's website


Why we like it

ADP offers a strong list of payroll features, and if you’re business scales up, it has products for every stage of your growth.

Pros

  • Benefits administration available as add-on.

  • Time-tracking features available as add-on.

  • HR features offered at higher tiers, including HR help desk support.

  • First three months free; terms apply.

  • Ability to scale up for growing businesses.

Cons

  • Opaque pricing.

  • Limited HR support at base level.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Integrated payroll solution

QuickBooks
Shop now

on QuickBooks's website

QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks

Starting at

$45/mo

Additional pricing tiers (per month): $75, $125. Fee per employee varies by tier.

Promotion

50% off

50% off for three months or 30-day free trial; terms apply.

Shop now

on QuickBooks's website


Why we like it

QuickBooks Payroll is a logical choice for the many small-business owners who use QuickBooks Online for their accounting needs.

Pros

  • Benefits administration at all levels.

  • Time-tracking features available (Premium and up).

  • Next-day direct deposit at Core level (same-day at Premium).

  • HR support available (Premium and up).

  • The option to choose a 30-day free trial or 50% off base price for first three months; terms apply.

  • Easy integration with QuickBooks Online.

Cons

  • Limited integration with non-QuickBooks products.

  • Additional fees if you have employees in more than one state.

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Best value

OnPay
Shop now

on OnPay's website

OnPay Payroll

OnPay

Starting at

$36/mo

Plus $4 per employee.

Promotion

One month free

Terms apply

Shop now

on OnPay's website


Why we like it

OnPay offers a wide range of features for one base rate.

Pros

  • Benefits administration included.

  • Integrates with third-party software for time tracking.

  • HR support included.

  • One-month free trial; terms apply.

  • Straightforward pricing.

Cons

  • Primarily designed for desktop use (though it can be opened on a mobile browser).

Read Full Review

Our pick for

Low-cost option

Patriot Payroll

Patriot Software

Starting at

$10/mo

Plus $4 per employee. Additional pricing tiers (per month): $30.

Promotion

One month free

Terms apply


Why we like it

Patriot Payroll offers an affordable suite of well-regarded products covering accounting and payroll, with add-ons that can cover HR and time and attendance reporting. For price-conscious companies looking for a single, integrated package, it's worth a look. Be aware that the Basic level does not include tax filing and depositing. These features are included at the Full Service level, which bumps the monthly base fee to $30 — but keeps the per-employee fee low at $4 per month.

Pros

  • Time tracking available as add-on.

  • HR support available as add-on.

  • One-month free trial; terms apply.

  • Covers up to 100 employees.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer benefits administration.

  • Extra fee for 1099 e-filing (at Basic level).

  • Limited accounting integration options.

Read Full Review

Summary of Best Online Payroll Software Services of September 2021

Our picks for best online payroll software

Click the software name to read our review.

Our pick for: Best overall payroll software

Price: 

  • Contractor: $6 per person per month.

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

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

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

At all pricing tiers, Gusto's robust payroll product includes a suite of HR features, like administration of health insurance and other benefits. Employees also get access to a mobile app (Gusto Wallet) to help them track their finances, and can opt to be paid via debit card. For businesses that want the human touch, the Concierge level ($149 per month base, plus $12 per employee) offers dedicated HR support. Gusto integrates with many third-party software products, including popular accounting apps like QuickBooks Online, FreshBooks and Xero.

Our pick for: Larger businesses

Price: 

  • Essential: $59 per month plus $4 per employee per month.

  • Enhanced: Quote only.

  • Complete: Quote only.

  • HR Pro: Quote only.

This small-business payroll product from ADP, a payroll industry leader, offers a strong list of payroll features and solid customer support. And if you’re planning to scale your business up, ADP has products for every stage of your growth. The downsides: You have to talk to a sales rep to get a quote, and many features come with an extra price tag. RUN is geared toward companies of up to 49 employees; Workforce Now is the ADP product geared to those with 50 or more employees.

Our pick for: Best integrated payroll solution

Price: 

  • Core: $45 per month plus $4 per employee per month.

  • Premium: $75 per month plus $8 per employee per month.

  • Elite: $125 per month plus $10 per employee per month.

For the many small-business owners who use QuickBooks Online for accounting needs, turning to QuickBooks Payroll is a logical choice if only for the fast, convenient integration. The Core plan offers a full suite of payroll features, including tax support, 1099 filing and next-day direct deposit. Higher tiers add features such as same-day direct deposit and mobile time tracking, but the cost can add up fast. At $125 a month plus $10 per employee, the Elite plan includes a personal HR advisor, expert setup help and the ability to pay employees in other states at no extra cost.

Our pick for: Best value

Price: 

  • $36 per month plus $4 per employee.

OnPay keeps it simple, offering a wide range of features encompassing payroll, HR and benefits for one base rate — and the first month is free. While designed for smaller businesses, it can run larger payrolls and boasts support for specialized needs such as restaurants, farms, nonprofits and churches. It integrates with accounting software such as QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop and Xero.

Our pick for: Best low-cost option

Price: 

  • Basic: $10 per month plus $4 person per month.

  • Full service: $30 per month plus $4 per person per month.

Patriot Payroll offers an affordable suite of well-regarded products covering accounting and payroll, with add-ons that can cover HR and time and attendance reporting. For price-conscious companies looking for a single, integrated package, it's worth a look. Be aware that the Basic level does not include tax filing and depositing. These features are included at the Full Service level, which bumps the monthly base fee to $30 — but keeps the per-employee fee low at $4 per month.

Last updated on July 12, 2021

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Online Payroll Software Services of September 2021