Since ChatGPT burst onto the scene last year, AI writing tools have been big news. While they aren't taking over the world (yet), they have reached the point where they can absolutely be useful. In the right circumstances, these AI text generators can help you work better and faster, and create more polished and on-brand copy.
Of course, all AI writing software needs human supervision to deliver the best results. Left to its own devices, it tends to produce fairly generic and frequently incorrect content, even if it can pass for something a human wrote. I considered getting an AI text generator to write the intro to this article, but it just felt like a cheap trick. This latest generation of AI writing tools can obviously write a passable lede, but it can't give you an actual opinion as to how good it is. That's what us humans are for. (In my experience, most of these AIs are pretty up on themselves and overstate their current significance.)
As a human and a writer, I've been covering this kind of generative AI technology for almost a decade. Since AI is supposedly trying to take my job, I'm somewhat professionally interested in the whole situation. I think I'm pretty safe for now, but I have to admit that these AI writing tools are getting incredibly impressive, especially if you work with them, rather than just letting them spit out whatever they want.
So, if you're looking for an AI content generator that will help you write compelling copy, publish blog posts a lot quicker, and otherwise take some of the slow-paced typing out of writing, you've come to the right place. Let's dig in.
The best AI writing software
Jasper for long-form content
Copy.ai for copywriting
Anyword for assisting you with writing
Sudowrite for fiction
Writesonic for GPT-4 content
Rytr for an affordable AI writer
How do AI writing tools work?
Search Google for AI writing software, and you'll find dozens of different options, all with suspiciously similar features. There's a big reason for this: 95% of these AI writing tools use the same large language models (LLMs) as the back end. Most of these apps are really just wrappers connected to OpenAI's GPT-3 and GPT-4 APIs, with a few extra features built on top. You could even create your own version of an AI writing assistant without code using Zapier's OpenAI integrations—that's how easy it is.
See how one writer created an AI writing coach with GPT and other ways you can use OpenAI with Zapier.
Now this isn't to say that none of these AI-powered writing apps are worth using. They all offer a much nicer workflow than ChatGPT or OpenAI's playground, both of which allow you to generate text with GPT as well. But the differences between these apps aren't in the quality of their output. With a few exceptions, you're going to get very similar results from the same prompt no matter which app you use. Where the apps on this list stand out is in how easy they make it to integrate AI text generation into an actual workflow.
As for the underlying GPT model itself, it works by taking a prompt from you, and then predicting what words will best follow on from your request, based on the data it was trained on. That training data includes books, articles, and other documents across all different topics, styles, and genres—and an unbelievable amount of content scraped from the open internet. Basically, GPT was allowed to crunch through the sum total of human knowledge to form a deep learning neural network—a complex, many-layered, weighted algorithm modeled after the human brain. Yes, that's the kind of thing you have to do to create a computer program that generates bad poems.
If you want to dive more into the specifics, check out the Zapier articles on natural language processing and how ChatGPT works. But suffice it to say: GPT and other large language models are incredibly powerful already—and because of that, these AI writing tools have a lot of potential.
What makes the best AI text generator?
How we evaluate and test apps
All of our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. We spend dozens of hours researching and testing apps, using each app as it's intended to be used and evaluating it against the criteria we set for the category. We're never paid for placement in our articles from any app or for links to any site—we value the trust readers put in us to offer authentic evaluations of the categories and apps we review. For more details on our process, read the full rundown of how we select apps to feature on the Zapier blog.
We know that most AI text generators rely on the various versions of GPT, so they aren't going to stand out because of some dramatic difference in the quality of their output. Creating effective, human-like text is now table stakes. It was required for inclusion on this list—but not sufficient on its own.
As I was testing these apps, here's what else I was looking for:
Tools powered by GPT or a similar large language model with well-documented efficacy. In practice, this means that only AI writing tools that use GPT made this initial list, though some that rely on their own models, like Writer, were very close to making the cut.
An interface that gives you a lot of control over the text output. The more options you have to influence the tone, style, language, content, and everything else, the better. I didn't want tools where you just entered a headline and let the AI do the rest; these are all tools that you collaborate with, so you can write great copy quickly.
Ease of use. You shouldn't have to fight to get the AI to do what you want. With AI writing software like this, there will always be some redoing and reshaping to get the exact output you want, but working with the AI shouldn't feel like wrangling a loose horse. Similarly, great help docs and good onboarding were both a major plus.
Affordability. ChatGPT is currently free, and all these tools are built on top of an API that costs pennies. There was no hard and fast price limit, but the more expensive tools had to justify the extra expense with better features and a nicer app. After all, almost every app will produce pretty similar outputs regardless of what it costs.
Apps that weren't designed to make spam content. Previous text-generating tools could "spin" content by changing words to synonyms so that unscrupulous website owners could rip off copyrighted material and generally create lots of low-quality, low-value content. None of that on this list.
Even with these criteria, I had 40 different AI writing tools to test. Remember: it's relatively easy for a skilled developer to build a wrapper around the GPT API, so I had to dig deep into each one to find out if it was any good or just had a flashy marketing site.
I tested each app by getting it to write a number of different short- and long-form bits of copy, but as expected, there were very few meaningful quality differences. Instead, it was the overall user experience, depth of features, and affordability that determined whether an app made this list.
Best AI writing generator for long-form content
One of the most mature and feature-filled options on the list
Integrates with Grammarly, Surfer, and its own AI art generator
Expensive given that all the apps use the same language models
Jasper (formerly Jarvis) is one of the most feature-filled and powerful AI content generators. It was among the first wave of apps built on top of GPT, and its relative longevity means that it feels like a more mature tool than most of the other apps I tested.
If budget isn't your primary concern, Jasper should probably be the first app you try. While plans start at $29/month for 20,000 words, if you're seriously interested in using AI to create content, the $59/month Boss Mode plan with 50,000 words is kind of a must. It gives you the ability to write long-form content in a Google Docs-like editor, control things with text commands like "write the intro to this blog post," and integrates with Grammarly and a plagiarism checker. If you want to be able to do keyword research and otherwise optimize your content for search, the Boss Mode plan also allows you to integrate with SEO tool Surfer.
The Jasper web app is fast and responsive, and the dozens of templates make it easy to create anything from Amazon product listings and blog posts to YouTube captions and website copy. And, presuming you've paid for Boss Mode, the editor allows you to both write normally and leverage the AI to create new content or outlines, rephrase what you've written, and generally speed up your workflow.
On top of all this, Jasper has a ChatGPT-style chatbot you can use to manage things, offers team features for organizations, and has a Chrome extension, so you can access its features from anywhere. For $20/month extra, it can also generate images—though you might be better off with a dedicated AI image generator.
Jasper pricing: Starter plan from $29/month for 20,000 words. Boss Mode starts at $59/month for 50,000 words and the features you actually want.
Best AI writing app for AI copywriting
Has an affordable unlimited plan for high-volume users
Workflow actively solicits your input, which can lead to higher quality content
Expensive if you don't produce a lot of content
Pretty much anything Jasper can do, Copy.ai can do too. It has a chatbot, dozens of templates, a good editor, and team features (though its Chrome extension leaves a lot to be desired). Consider it the Burger King to Jasper's McDonalds.
And like the Home of the Whopper, Copy.ai appeals to slightly different tastes. While I could argue that Copy.ai isn't as easy or as quick to use as Jasper, the reality is it's geared toward a slightly different workflow. While Jasper lets you and the AI loose, Copy.ai slows things down a touch and asks some deliberate, probing questions. For creating website copy, social media captions, product descriptions, and similarly specific things, it makes more sense. But for blog posts and other long-form content, it might annoy you.
The other big difference is the pricing. Copy.ai offers an unlimited plan for $49/month, so it can be a lot cheaper if you're generating hundreds of thousands of words per month (though things are pretty similar at lower volumes). If you're looking for a free AI writing generator, Copy.ai also offers a free plan that includes 2,000 words per month.
Overall, there are more similarities than differences between Jasper and Copy.ai, and both can create almost all the same kinds of text. If you're in doubt, try them both out and then decide.
Copy.ai pricing: Free for 2,000 words per month; from $49/month for the Pro plan with unlimited words.
Best AI writing assistant
Makes it very easy for you to include specific details, SEO keywords, and other important information
Engagement scores and other metrics are surprisingly accurate
Can be slower to use
While you can direct the AI to include certain details and mention specific facts for every app on this list, none make it as easy as Anyword. More than any of the others, the AI here feels like an eager and moderately competent underling that requires a bit of micromanaging, rather than a beast that you have to tame with arcane prompts.
Take one of its main content-generating tools: the Blog Wizard. Like with Copy.ai, the setup process requires you to describe the blog post you want the AI to create and add any SEO keywords you want to target. Anyword then generates a range of titles for you to choose from, along with a predicted engagement score.
Once you've chosen a title—or written your own—it generates a suggested outline. Approve it, and it will generate a few intro paragraphs to choose from. Select one of them or write your own, and only then do you get to the editor—and the AI still won't just start churning out content.
For every point of your outline, you have the option to add AI instructions telling it what facts to mention, what style to take, and what details to cover, before generating anything. While certainly a slower process than most apps, it gives you a serious amount of control over the content you're creating.
Anyword is definitely aimed at marketers, and its other tools—like the Data-Driven Editor and the Website Targeted Message—all allow you to target your content toward specific audiences and give things engagement scores. While I certainly can't confirm the validity of any of these scores, they at least pass the sniff test. I generally thought the AI-generated content that Anyword scored higher was better—and even when I disagreed, I still liked one of the top options.
Anyword pricing: Starter plan from $29/month for 20,000 words/month.
Best AI writing tool for writing fiction
The only AI tool on the list explicitly aimed at writing fiction
Super fun to use if you've ever wanted to play around with fiction
It's still an AI text generator, so it can produce nonsensical metaphors, clichéd plots, and incoherent action
Short memory for details
When I saw Sudowrite's marketing copy, I didn't think for a second it would make it onto this list. Then I tried it and…I kind of love it. Sudowrite is a totally different tool than all the others on this list because it's aimed at fiction writers. And while you can get the AI to write a mediocre short story, please don't. Instead, check out its assistive AI tools.
Let's start with Describe. Select a word or phrase, click Describe, and the AI will generate a few suggestions for the sight, smell, taste, sound, and touch of the thing, as well as a couple of metaphors. If you're the kind of writer who struggles to add sensory depth to your short stories, it can help you get into the habit of describing things in more interesting ways.
Then there's Brainstorm. It allows you to use the AI to generate possible dialogue options, character names and traits, plot points, places, and other details about your world from your descriptions and cues. If you know you want a big hairy guy with a huge sword but can't think of a good name, it can suggest a few, like Thorgrim and Bohart.
And these are just scratching the surface. Sure, if you over-rely on the AI to solve all your problems, you'll probably end up with an impressively generic story. But if you use it as a writing buddy to bounce ideas off and get you out of a rut, it's got serious potential.
Best of all, Sudowrite is super easy to use. The onboarding, tool tips, and general helpful vibe of the app are something other developers could learn from.
Sudowrite pricing: Hobby & Student plan from $19/month for 30,000 AI words/month.
Best AI text generator for GPT-4 content
Allows you to select what GPT model is used to generate text
Integrates with Zapier, so you can automate text generation
Generous free plan and affordable paid plans
A touch too focused on SEO content for my taste
While all the tools on this list use GPT, most are pretty vague about which particular version of it they use at any given time. This matters because the most basic version of the GPT-3 API costs $0.0004/1K tokens (roughly 750 words), while GPT-4 starts at $0.03/1K tokens, and the most powerful version costs $0.12/1K tokens—and there's a waitlist. All this suggests that most apps may not use GPT-4 in all circumstances, and instead probably rely on one of the more modest (though still great) GPT-3 models for most text generation.
If having the latest and greatest AI model matters to you, Writesonic is the app for you. Feature-wise, it's much the same as any of the other apps on this list, with a Google Docs-style editor, a few dozen copy templates, a chatbot, a browser extension, and Surfer integration. Overall, it's pretty nice to use and skews more toward SEO-optimized content marketing. (But like with all the apps, you can use it to generate whatever you want.)
The big difference is that Writesonic is available in three qualities: Premium (GPT-3.5), Superior (GPT-4), and the forthcoming Ultimate (GPT-4+). The Premium Long-form plan offers 60,000 AI-generated words for $19/month, while Superior only provides 30,000 words, and Ultimate will only do 15,000 words for the same price.
Whether the content you create will benefit from the extra power of GPT-4 or not depends. In my experience using GPT-4 through ChatGPT, the latest model is more accurate and, essentially, more sensible in how it responds. If you're churning out low-stakes copy variations for your product listings, you likely won't see much improvement. On the other hand, for long-form original blog posts, it could make a difference. Either way, the transparency in which model you're using at any given time is a huge bonus.
Writesonic also integrates with Zapier, so you can send new copy to any of the other apps you use in your writing workflow. Here are a couple of examples to get you started.
Create a Google Doc with new content from Writesonic
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Writesonic pricing: Free for 10,000 Premium words per month; Long-form from $19/month for 60,000 Premium words, 30,000 Superior words, or 15,000 Ultimate words (based on the AI model).
Best free AI writing generator (with affordable upgrades)
A solid free plan and the cheapest unlimited plan on the list
It includes a basic AI art generator as part of every plan
The app is more basic than more expensive offerings
Most of the apps on this list are aimed at professionals, businesses, and anyone else with a budget. The Jasper plan I recommended starts at $59/month, while Copy.ai's best plan is $49/month. Those aren't exactly hobbyist-friendly sums of money, so if you want to explore AI text generators without spending as much, give Rytr a go.
There's a free plan that's good for 10,000 characters (around 2,500 words) per month, and it includes a lot of the features, like a plagiarism checker, and a few AI-generated images. The Saver plan starts at $9/month and allows you to generate 100,000 characters (around 25,000 words) per month. On that plan, you're also able to generate up to 20 images a month, which many other apps charge extra for. And the unlimited plan is $29/month, a full $20/month less than Copy.ai's unlimited plan.
Feature-wise, there are some trade-offs. Rytr is a little less competent at generating long-form content without you guiding it through the process, and there are fewer templates for specific things. The interface also isn't as polished, and there isn't as much hand-holding to get you started. Still, as Rytr is using GPT-3 like all the other apps on this list, you should be able to get it to produce substantially similar output.
Rytr Pricing: Free plan for 10,000 characters/month and lots of other features; Saver plan from $9/month for 100,000 characters; Unlimited plan from $29/month.
Other AI writing tools to consider
With so many AI text-generating tools out there, a few good ones worth considering didn't make this list, only because they didn't meet my initial criteria in some way. If none of the AI writers I chose fit the bill for you, here are a few other options worth looking into:
ChatGPT is surprisingly competent and fun to use. And best of all, it's free. (Google Bard is a little less excellent on the content production side.)
Wordtune and Grammarly are both great tools for editing and improving your own writing.
Notion AI adds a powerful AI tool directly into Notion. If you already use Notion, it's worth checking out, but it's a lot to learn if you just want a text generator. (Same goes for AI within any other Notion alternative, like Coda AI.)
Surfer and Frase are both AI-powered SEO tools. They fell slightly out of scope for this list, but they can both help you optimize and improve your content—AI-generated or not.
Writer is one of the few tools that uses a non-GPT LLM. Supposedly, its Palmyra model is trained on more data relevant to enterprise companies. You can also train your own model with it.
All of the apps on this list offer at the very least a free trial, so I'd suggest trying some of them out for a few minutes until you find the one that seems to work best with your workflow.