Find the best payroll services for your business

Compare ratings, reviews, features, and pricing to see which service will do the most for your small business.

Start with reviews from business owners

Every day, small businesses share all the dirt about their payroll service on review sites like G2 Crowd. Here’s how the premium companies compare:

OnPay

Gusto

Paychex Flex

Run by ADP

QuickBooks Payroll

Meets Requirements

9.8
8.9
8.9
9.3
8.3

Ease of Use

9.6
9.2
8.6
9.3
8.4

Ease of Setup

9.2
8.8
8.4
8.9
7.6

Ease of Admin

9.6
9.0
8.7
9.2
9.0

Quality of Support

9.7
8.4
8.6
9.1
8.0

Ease of Doing Business With

9.9
8.5
8.8
9.2
8.6

Sentiment on Product Direction

9.5
8.0
7.8
8.7
7.4

Customer review data on this page is all from G2.com. Links and additional resources.

Meets Requirements

OnPay

9.8

Gusto

8.9

Paychex Flex

8.9

Run by ADP

9.3

QuickBooks Payroll

8.3

Ease of Use

OnPay

9.6

Gusto

9.2

Paychex Flex

8.6

Run by ADP

9.3

QuickBooks Payroll

8.4

Ease of Setup

OnPay

9.2

Gusto

8.8

Paychex Flex

8.4

Run by ADP

8.9

QuickBooks Payroll

7.6

Ease of Admin

OnPay

9.6

Gusto

9.0

Paychex Flex

8.7

Run by ADP

9.2

QuickBooks Payroll

9.0

Quality of Support

OnPay

9.7

Gusto

8.4

Paychex Flex

8.6

Run by ADP

9.1

QuickBooks Payroll

8.0

Ease of Doing Business With

OnPay

9.9

Gusto

8.5

Paychex Flex

8.8

Run by ADP

9.2

QuickBooks Payroll

8.6

Sentiment on Product Direction

OnPay

9.5

Gusto

8.0

Paychex Flex

7.8

Run by ADP

8.7

QuickBooks Payroll

7.4

Dive into payroll features and pricing

Once you have a sense of which payroll solutions you want to consider, take a closer look to make a more informed choice. The mix of payroll, HR and benefits that different providers offer can vary dramatically — as can the cost.

Which features should you expect?

Payroll isn’t the only thing most payroll companies do. From paying employees to keeping your HR compliant, here’s a quick overview of what most businesses look for. Or see our complete guide to choosing a provider for a detailed checklist.

Basic payroll processing

Any provider should allow you to enter hours or wage information, calculate state, federal, and local payroll taxes, and keep track of all the deductions and withholding. But getting from gross pay (what your employees earn) to net pay (what’s in their paychecks) is only one thing to look for. When comparing payroll services, make sure completing a pay run is easy and intuitive. And also check the reviews to make sure you choose the most accurate service.

Here’s how the top payroll services are rated for entering payroll data and the accuracy of tax calculations:

OnPay

Gusto

Paychex Flex

Run by ADP

QuickBooks Payroll

Payroll Entry

9.5
9.2
8.8
9.4
9.2

Tax Calculation

9.7
9.3
8.2
9.6
8.6

Payroll Entry

OnPay

9.5

Gusto

9.2

Paychex Flex

8.8

Run by ADP

9.4

QuickBooks Payroll

9.2

Tax Calculation

OnPay

9.7

Gusto

9.3

Paychex Flex

8.2

Run by ADP

9.6

QuickBooks Payroll

8.6

Paychecks, direct deposit, and debit card payments

Can you pay employees the way they want to be paid? And how much work will go into it on your end? Most small businesses (and their employees) prefer direct deposit payroll because transactions happen automatically, but some opt to print checks — or to have a provider do it for them. Make sure the payroll company you choose handles payments your way.


All the best payroll solutions receive great ratings for direct deposit, but some charge extra fees for the service.

Payroll tax processing and automation

Among the premium providers on this page, automated state and federal taxes are par for the course. No matter who you choose, having all your tax forms and payments filed for you will save a lot of time.


These services all offer at least some help with year-end W-2s and 1099s, too. Outsourcing your workers’ year-end taxes will keep you organized and free up employees to do their taxes on time. Double check to understand any fees for W-2s and 1099s. Traditional providers often add on annual and per-employee fees, while newer cloud-based systems like OnPay and Gusto process employees’ tax forms for free.

Here’s how small business owners rate different providers for the way they handle payroll taxes:

OnPay

Run by ADP

Paychex Flex

Gusto

QuickBooks Payroll

Tax Filing

9.7
9.3
9.2
9.0
8.2

Automatic Tax Payment

9.7
9.4
9.2
Not available
9.2

Check/W-2 Printing

9.6
9.5
9.3
9.0
8.2

Check/W-2 Delivery

9.4
9.5
9.3
9.2
8.8

Tax Filing

OnPay

9.7

Run by ADP

9.3

Paychex Flex

9.2

Gusto

9.0

QuickBooks Payroll

8.2

Automatic Tax Payment

OnPay

9.7

Run by ADP

9.4

Paychex Flex

9.2

Gusto

Not available

QuickBooks Payroll

9.2

Check/W-2 Printing

OnPay

9.6

Run by ADP

9.5

Paychex Flex

9.3

Gusto

9.0

QuickBooks Payroll

8.2

Check/W-2 Delivery

OnPay

9.4

Run by ADP

9.5

Paychex Flex

9.3

Gusto

9.2

QuickBooks Payroll

8.8

Employee self-service and onboarding

Once you’ve got payroll and taxes covered, it’s a good idea to look at the other ways the services you consider can save time. Employee self-onboarding lets you move all the paperwork for new hires into the cloud. Just enter a few employee or contractor details, and many providers will work with your new hire to get everything set up online. Self-service features will help down the road by letting employees pull their own paystubs and update information — freeing up you and your team to focus on more important activities. Make sure your provider offers lifetime employee accounts so former employees can retrieve their own records after they’ve left the company.

In customer ratings, the more modern providers lead the way when it comes to employee experience:

OnPay

Gusto

Paychex Flex

Run by ADP

QuickBooks Payroll

Web Portal

9.4
9.4
8.8
8.9
9.0

Benefits Manager

8.9
8.8
8.4
8.7
8.8

Mobile

8.7
8.5
8.5
9.4
7.1

Web Portal

OnPay

9.4

Gusto

9.4

Paychex Flex

8.8

Run by ADP

8.9

QuickBooks Payroll

9.0

Benefits Manager

OnPay

8.9

Gusto

8.8

Paychex Flex

8.4

Run by ADP

8.7

QuickBooks Payroll

8.8

Mobile

OnPay

8.7

Gusto

8.5

Paychex Flex

8.5

Run by ADP

9.4

QuickBooks Payroll

7.1

Reporting, access, and integrations

For most small businesses, payroll is just the beginning of a much more complex accounting process. From analyzing labor costs to getting data synced with your accounting software, there’s still a lot of heavy lifting to do after you run payroll. Does the service you’re looking at give business owners what they need to delegate responsibilities to other employees? And while all of these solutions offer some form of payroll reports and integrations with software like QuickBooks and Xero, a few allow a lot more flexibility. Be on the lookout for add-on fees for access to these services — especially from better-known traditional providers.

Here’s what small business owners think of their payroll’s reporting, scalability, and user management capabilities:

OnPay

QuickBooks Payroll

Gusto

Paychex Flex

Run by ADP

Reporting and Dashboards

9.4
9.0
8.8
8.7
9.0

User, Role, and Access Management

9.5
8.8
9.0
8.7
9.1

Scalability

9.7
7.8
9.1
8.8
9.3

Accounting Integration

8.6
8.5
8.7
7.9
8.5

Reporting and Dashboards

OnPay

9.4

QuickBooks Payroll

9.0

Gusto

8.8

Paychex Flex

8.7

Run by ADP

9.0

User, Role, and Access Management

OnPay

9.5

QuickBooks Payroll

8.8

Gusto

9.0

Paychex Flex

8.7

Run by ADP

9.1

Scalability

OnPay

9.7

QuickBooks Payroll

7.8

Gusto

9.1

Paychex Flex

8.8

Run by ADP

9.3

Accounting Integration

OnPay

8.6

QuickBooks Payroll

8.5

Gusto

8.7

Paychex Flex

7.9

Run by ADP

8.5

Benefits, HR, and workers’ comp

From ADP to QuickBooks, all of the top five payroll companies offer some form of integrated employee benefits and workers’ comp coverage — as well as HR features ranging from org charts to time off management and time tracking. For some providers, like OnPay, most or all of these HR services are automated and included for a single fee. Others, like Gusto and Paychex, require an upgrade.


When researching solutions, it’s a good idea to ask specifically how workers’ comp or 401(k)-related expenses are deducted and remitted, and what additional administration fees are required to access broader HR and benefits admin capabilities.

Level of customer service

While it may be a routine business activity, payroll isn’t easy. The average small business owner who does payroll themselves spends about 18 hours a month calculating and processing payments.


Good payroll software simplifies a lot of the work, but tax laws change, humans make mistakes, and even the best payroll providers experience a hiccup every now and then. From setting up your employees to answering questions to dealing with issues if they ever come up, it’s critical to choose a service with outstanding support.

In the ratings and reviews, one provider really stands out:

OnPay

Run by ADP

Paychex Flex

Gusto

QuickBooks Payroll

Quality of Support

9.7
9.1
8.6
8.4
8.0

Quality of Support

OnPay

9.7

Run by ADP

9.1

Paychex Flex

8.6

Gusto

8.4

QuickBooks Payroll

8.0

So, which payroll service is best for you?

All of the top solutions do most things pretty well. Some small businesses are most comfortable going with a name they recognize, like ADP or Paychex, regardless of the cost. Others like to keep all their finances with Intuit. And some business owners prefer the energetic feel of Gusto.


OnPay is often the highest rated among small business owners — both overall, and when it comes to customer service. We also share PCMag’s highest rating with Gusto (while the Motley Fool’s Blueprint says we’re in a league of our own). If you have a few minutes, we encourage you to take a closer look!

Payroll FAQs

If you have other questions about OnPay, we’d be happy to set up a time talk. For other general information about choosing a payroll service, or additional links to the ratings and review sites where you can learn more about us, ADP, Paychex, and other providers, read on:

  • Where can I see additional ratings and reviews?
  • Should you choose desktop software or a cloud-based service?

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