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The best appointment schedulers and booking apps

These are the 6 best tools for letting people book your business.

By Nicole Replogle · April 13, 2023
Best appointment scheduling apps hero

No two service-based businesses are alike, which means it can be hard to find an appointment scheduling app that works for you. Maybe you're a salon that lets clients book services with individual providers, or perhaps your consulting agency needs a simple online appointment scheduling tool to organize discovery calls.

Regardless of your booking management needs, the best appointment scheduling software should present your business in a professional light while simplifying the booking process on both ends. In my years as a small business owner, I've experimented with several appointment scheduling apps—and I've learned what makes a tool stand out from the rest.

The best booking apps offer the perfect mix of flexibility and ease of use. They save you time (and headaches) by letting clients book appointments with you on their own, cancel and reschedule as needed, and pay in advance for your services.  

For this article, I tested dozens of appointment schedulers to find the cream of the crop: the ones that will free up your time for more impactful business tasks.

The best appointment scheduling and booking software

  • Acuity Scheduling for ease of use

  • Picktime for free booking software

  • Square Appointments for the best mobile booking app with built-in POS

  • SimplyBook.me for international businesses

  • Book Like A Boss for booking and website building

  • Zoho Bookings for managing your entire business

What is an appointment scheduler?

Appointment schedulers are business tools that allow clients to book, reschedule, and cancel appointments through a web interface. When clients want to make an appointment, they go to your business's website, Facebook Page, or anywhere else the booking software is supported, and choose an available date and time.

On the backend, you enter parameters about when people can book certain services, based on business hours you set, as well as the times and dates that your staff or other resources are available. The app also prevents double-booking and over-booking, and gives you the flexibility to block off times when certain services may be unavailable.

Say you run a pet grooming business and your poodle cutting specialist takes a two-week vacation. You can enter her days off in the appointment scheduling app ahead of time so that your clients won't be able to book any poodle grooming time during the days that she's gone.

What makes a great appointment or booking app?

How we evaluate and test apps

Our best apps roundups are written by humans who've spent much of their careers using, testing, and writing about software. Unless explicitly stated, 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.

The best booking apps do more than simply give clients a list of available times when they can come in for a meeting, treatment, or service. They also let your clientele cancel and reschedule appointments without having to contact you. Additionally, they make it easy for business owners and managers to do their jobs, allowing you to streamline communication, centralize payments, and manage your staff. Here's what you should expect from the very best appointment scheduling apps:

  • Flexibility. The best appointment scheduling apps know that different kinds of organizations have different needs, so they let you deeply customize how your bookings work. A small gym offering one-on-one training sessions should have a different booking experience than a community workshop that rents gardening equipment. Do you want your clients to be able to choose from a menu of services? Should they be able to specify the location for their appointment, such as for services offered at their home? Though there are some great niche options out there (like Vagaro for salon, spa, and fitness businesses), the best appointment scheduling apps let you customize these aspects.

  • Calendar syncing. Nearly all appointment scheduling apps let you sync with a calendar. Some even require it. That way, you can see your business's scheduled appointments alongside other important information, such as when you'll be closed for holidays or renovations. Plus, the app can cross-reference your availability with the events on your primary calendar. For our tests, apps were only considered if they offered syncing with at least one popular calendar—and priority was given to apps that offered two-way syncing.

  • Payment processing. The best appointment scheduling apps let you collect a payment at the time of booking. That way, you can take a deposit for an appointment or have clients pay for their services upfront. If a client doesn't show up, your business isn't at a total loss.

  • Integration with third-party tools. Your appointment scheduling tool absolutely needs the ability to connect to the rest of your tech stack. If the app can't integrate with tools like Slack, Mailchimp, and Zoom (or at least let you set up your own connections with Zapier), it has no business being on this list.

  • Value. Ideally, an appointment scheduler should be accessible to solopreneurs and enterprise teams—and everyone in between. The best tools offer a free plan as well as a selection of paid plans that provide a good value for the cost.

  • Professional presentation. Your appointment scheduler should be an extension of your brand. The appointment scheduling process should be streamlined, glitch-free, and aesthetically pleasing. It should also be flexible, with multiple points of access, like a widget on your website, a Facebook Business Page, or a custom URL. For this reason, I tested each app from both the business and client sides.

I also excluded any online booking system that didn't have standalone functionality. For instance, there are plenty of WordPress booking plugins that let your website visitors book appointments, but that could be a list in and of itself, so I didn't consider those options.

One final consideration in choosing the best appointment schedulers was to avoid confusing them with meeting scheduling apps. Meeting schedulers share some similarities with appointment software. The key difference is that meeting apps are specifically for meetings, whereas appointment scheduling apps are for a variety of appointment types that may or may not include a menu of services but often require payment at the end.

The best appointment schedulers at a glance

Best for

Stand-out feature


Acuity Scheduling

Ease of use

"Make me look busy" setting to hide available times

From $16/month for 1 staff member and location


A free scheduling app

Generous free plan with unlimited appointments

Free for up to 3 team members and unlimited bookings; paid plans from $9.99/month

Square Appointments

Mobile booking

Built-in point-of-sale (POS) functionality

Free for a single location; paid plans from $29/month per location


International businesses

Support for 30+ languages and 35+ payment gateways

Free for up to 50 bookings per month and 1 provider; paid plans from $8.25/month

Book Like A Boss

Appointment scheduling app and affordable website builder in one

Works as a standalone eCommerce website

From $9/month for basic scheduling

Zoho Bookings

Managing your entire business

Highly customizable with multiple unique booking pages

Free for 1 person; paid plans from $6/user/month

Best appointment scheduling app for ease of use

Acuity Scheduling (Android, iOS, Web)

Acuity Scheduling, our pick for the best appointment scheduling app for ease of use

Acuity Scheduling pros:

  • Easy to use, even for beginners

  • "Make me look busy" setting keeps you from looking desperate

  • Plenty of templates and integrations

Acuity Scheduling cons:

  • No SMS reminders

  • No free plan

Now a part of Squarespace, Acuity Scheduling is the appointment scheduling app to choose when you aren't tech-savvy but still need to customize your booking process to a fine degree. When you design your booking page, you can allow your clients to choose recurring appointments (if applicable), complete an intake form, and pay in advance for services. You can also offer coupons and give clients the ability to add on services when they book, such as adding a 15-minute foot massage to a pedicure.

I found Acuity's blend of flexibility and ease of use truly impressive. During setup, you'll choose between monthly and daily view for clients, create intake forms, upload a logo, set a time zone, and decide whether to make clients pick their own time zone to avoid remote-call issues.

You can choose to let clients reschedule or cancel their appointments—or not—and change the interval for start times of appointments, which is by default every 15 minutes. You can put a limit on how far in advance or with how much short notice clients can book an appointment. And I especially love that you can enable an option called "Make me look busy," which automatically hides some available times so you don't seem desperate.

When you're ready, you can share your booking page via a direct link, embed it into your website using a few different options (including an easy embed option for Squarespace sites), or create a booking button, booking bar, or QR code. Acuity has mobile apps to access your account from the business side, letting you update your availability from an Android or iOS device, and a client app for mobile booking.

I was impressed with the number of email templates that were available based on different appointment types, including confirmations, reminders, cancellations, rescheduling requests, follow-ups, package/gift card orders, and subscription updates.

Acuity comes with powerful integration options, including QuickBooks, ClassPass, Salesforce, and Zoom. Or you can integrate Acuity Scheduling with Zapier, which lets you connect Acuity to thousands of other apps. Here are some examples of how to automate your scheduling-related tasks.

Add or update ActiveCampaign contacts for new Acuity Scheduling appointments

Add or update ActiveCampaign contacts for new Acuity Scheduling appointments
  • Acuity Scheduling logo
  • ActiveCampaign logo
Acuity Scheduling + ActiveCampaign

Read more: Learn how to automate Acuity, or take a look at our comparison of Calendly vs. Acuity.

Who Acuity isn't right for: While there are several features that would be useful for retail businesses (like in-person payment options), there's no SMS reminder option for customers. So brands that want several ways to get in touch with attendees prior to appointments may want to look elsewhere.

Supported payment systems: PayPal, Square, or Stripe; also works with in-person payments

Supported calendars: Google Calendar, iCloud, Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, Outlook.com; with the option to choose between 2-way and 1-way syncing

Acuity Scheduling pricing: Paid plans from $16/month for 1 staff member and location, payment processing features, and more

If you're looking for another easy-to-use appointment scheduler at a lower price point, 10to8 is a great alternative to Acuity. Its streamlined interface is intuitive and aesthetically pleasing—and it comes with powerful integrations, calendar syncing, and multi-location support. 10to8 also claims to offer the only screen-reader-accessible booking pages on the market. The scheduler is free for up to 10 appointments per month, and paid plans start at $7.20/seat/month for 40 appointments per month and custom branding.

Best free scheduling app

Picktime (Web, iOS, Android)

Picktime, our pick for the best free appointment scheduling app

Picktime pros:

  • Extremely generous free plan

  • Widgets for multiple website builders, plus Google Maps and Facebook

  • Available in 30+ languages

Picktime cons:

  • The booking page isn't very customizable

  • Calendar sync is only 1-way on the free plan

If you're looking for a booking app that'll get you client-ready—in a hurry and for $0—you can't go wrong with Picktime. The app's free plan is the most generous option I found, including unlimited appointments, three team members, two locations, and a number of useful native integrations.

Open the sidebar menu and select Calendar to view your full schedule of booked appointments, classes, and resources. Select Online Booking to customize your booking page, scheduling rules, and booking questions.

Picktime isn't the most customizable when it comes to your booking page, but what it lacks in customization options, it more than makes up for with setup speed. I found the default booking page to be slick and professional-looking, and it allowed me to get my profile up and running in a matter of minutes. Plus, with pre-built widgets for Facebook, Google Maps, and several website builders, you can let clients book from nearly anywhere.

I also loved the streamlined Overview dashboard (the first option in the sidebar menu). There, you can see all the important details at a glance, including total appointments, confirmed, projected, and total revenue, and what's coming up next.

Who Picktime isn't right for: Picktime limits payment processors to PayPal on the free plan, and the only video conferencing app available on the free tier is Jitsi Meet. If you want to sync with Zoom for remote meetings or accept payments through Stripe, you'll need to pay for the premium plan, at which point, you might want to look elsewhere.

Supported payment systems: PayPal, Stripe

Supported calendars: One-way sync with Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, iCloud, Microsoft Exchange on the free plan. Get two-way sync on the paid plans.

Picktime pricing: Free for up to 3 team members and unlimited bookings; paid plans start at $9.99/month and include additional team members and locations, payment processing options, integrations, and more.

Best mobile booking app with built-in POS

Square Appointments (Android, iOS, Web)

Square Appointments, our pick for the best mobile appointment scheduler with built-in POS

Square Appointments pros:

  • Built-in point-of-sale (POS) functionality

  • Beautiful, streamlined interface built for mobile

  • Resource management and commission tracking

Square Appointments cons:

  • Google Calendar is the only calendar sync option

  • Square is the only supported payment processor

Anyone who's paid for drinks at a coffee shop is likely familiar with Square's popular point-of-sale (POS) tech. Square also offers its own Appointments feature, which is a useful addition for retail businesses looking for an appointment scheduler with built-in POS functionality.

In fact, Square offers several features that small retail businesses might find useful within a single app, including flexible payment options (with the option to purchase POS hardware), online and in-person booking, staff management tools, and a client management database.

As any mobile-first platform would be, the Appointments module prioritizes aesthetics. Both the backend and customer-facing interfaces are clean and streamlined, and I was impressed to see that the tool encourages new users to upload photos for their products and services.

The free plan is frankly impressive for businesses with one location. But the paid plans also offer multiple locations, multi-staff appointments, resource management, and commission tracking—which make it easy to manage a complex service-based business with multiple providers.

Who Square Appointments isn't right for: The app is more minimalist than others on this list, which contributes to its ease of use—though it's a downside if you want robust appointment scheduling features. For instance, the only calendar sync option is Google Calendar, and (as you might expect), Square is the only payment gateway supported. Square Appointments is built to be used on mobile and support mobile or POS customer interactions. If that's not your priority, you'd be better off looking elsewhere.

Supported payment systems: Square (The payment processing system is quite robust regardless; you can easily order POS hardware through Square and print receipts with custom branding for your customers.)

Supported calendars: Google Calendar

Square Appointments pricing: Free for a single location. Paid plans start at $29/month per location for Google Calendar sync, automated confirmations, and access to the Bookings API.

Setmore is another great option for mobile-minded businesses. The platform offers a great mobile app and has an intuitive, user-friendly interface on all devices. While Setmore doesn't offer POS hardware, its "Cash Register" feature is a virtual POS system that lets users accept payments via multiple payment gateways. It even lets users record cash payments made in person. It also offers an impressive number of integrations.

Best appointment scheduling app for international businesses

SimplyBook.me (Android, iOS, Web)

SimplyBook.me, our pick for the best appointment scheduling app for international businesses

SimplyBook.me pros:

  • 30+ languages and 35+ payment gateways

  • Professional and customizable booking pages

  • "Book soon" reminders and loyalty systems to encourage repeat customers

SimplyBook.me cons:

  • Only one native video conferencing option (Google Meet)

  • All subscriptions plans limit the number of bookings per month (50 on the free plan; 500 on the standard tier)

Because of how many languages and international payment options it supports, SimplyBook.me is the best scheduling app for international businesses. SimplyBook.me's booking pages are available in 32 different languages, from Arabic to Greek to Icelandic to Ukrainian. It also offers integration with 38 payment processing services so that you can offer a system that works for your customers.

I found the setup process (and booking page) to be extremely pleasant and intuitive, as clear instructions walk you through your options for creating appointment types and add-on services. Choose a color theme and background for your booking page website, and specify how many service providers and services your business offers. As an added bonus, SimplyBook.me automatically identifies the features most relevant to you based on the information you added about your business category (for example, if you select "Gym," SimplyBook.me highlights selling memberships, offering classes, and including multiple locations). It even automatically generates an AI-powered description for your booking page!

And because SimplyBook.me is so conscious of the global business community, it only makes sense that it offers Facebook and Instagram integrations, too, for people who do most of their business through social media.

SimplyBook.me also offers a dashboard and reports, so you can monitor your business: see how many bookings have been canceled, workload per employee, online reviews of your business, as well as all the text message reminders that have gone out from your account.

Plus, you can connect your booking software to all the other apps you use for your business with SimplyBook.me's Zapier integrations. Do things like automate and customize your booking confirmations, add appointments to all your calendars, and more.

Who SimplyBook.me isn't right for: If you do a lot of meetings via Zoom, you may be frustrated with the limited video conferencing options with SimplyBook.me. Microsoft Teams is the only native video conferencing integration for remote appointments; you'll have to create unique links to other platforms like Zoom and Google Meet through Zapier.

Supported payment systems: 38 options, including Square, Stripe, PayPal, TapPay, Virtual Card Services, 2Checkout, Alipay, Asiapay, Authorize.net, Bitcoin, and more.

Supported calendars: Google Calendar, Outlook

SimplyBook.me pricing: Free for up to 50 bookings per month and 1 provider; paid plans start at $8.25/month for additional monthly bookings and providers, a branded client app, and more.

Another great option for international businesses is Bookafy, which offers 32 languages, robust integrations, and unlimited appointments. The tool is both easy to use and extremely customizable, with custom staff schedules and granular appointment and booking page settings. A free plan is available, with paid plans starting at $7/user/month for SMS notifications, unlimited appointment types, multiple time zones, and two-way calendar sync.

Best appointment scheduling app that doubles as an affordable website builder

Book Like A Boss (Web)

Book Like A Boss, our pick for the best appointment scheduling app that doubles as an affordable website builder

Book Like A Boss pros:

  • Works well as a standalone eCommerce website and scheduler for new businesses

  • Plenty of calendar sync and integration options

Book Like A Boss cons:

  • Many features may be unnecessary if you already have a traditional website

  • Page creation process isn't intuitive and can be clunky/repetitive

If you're running a small service-based business or startup with an extremely limited budget, Book Like A Boss could be an affordable way to kill two birds with one stone. The platform lets users create unlimited booking pages for meetings and appointments, events, classes, and products. You can even add text-only pages, meaning you can use Book Like A Boss as your business's starter website. It's not as customizable or feature-rich as a WordPress site would be, but if you're cash-strapped and need a quick way to start selling your products or services, Book Like a Boss could be for you.

That being said, if you're already paying for website hosting and just need a cheap way to schedule (and charge for) appointments, be warned that BLAB users can only accept payments on the third-tier plan ($19/month). While this price is a steal for a combo website builder, scheduling software, and eCommerce tool, it's far from the lowest price on this list for a standalone appointment scheduling app.

When I started testing this tool, I was a little thrown by the bright color scheme and—perhaps too corny for some—language. But Book Like A Boss functions a lot like a WordPress dashboard, so it was quick for me to get started. 

You can create unique booking pages for each appointment type, product or service, or event you offer. Set your custom booking schedule, then customize your page settings by choosing photos, skins, and the right colors and fonts for your brand. You can even add reviews, FAQs, and About Me and sidebar text for your mini-website's "home page."

The tool's robust native integrations let you connect to multiple tools like Google Analytics, Zoom, and Mailchimp. And with the platform's Zapier integration, it's easy to automate Book Like A Boss no matter what tools are in your tech stack. Here are some examples.

Who Book Like A Boss isn't right for: This platform emphasizes selling a mix of services and products, and its main draw is that you can use it as a home base for your business. If you already have a professional website and just need a simple appointment scheduler, BLAB may not be for you. 

Supported payment systems: Stripe, PayPal, Square

Supported calendars: Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, iCloud, Office 365

Book Like A Boss pricing: Solopreneur plans start at $9/month for basic meeting scheduling or $19/month for features like charging for bookings, events and classes, and memberships. Company plans start at $35/month for three users.

Best appointment scheduling app for managing your entire business in one place

Zoho Bookings (Web, iOS, Android)

Zoho Bookings, our pick for the best appointment scheduling app for managing your entire business in one place

Zoho Bookings pros:

  • Extremely customizable and flexible

  • Multiple unique booking pages for locations, booking types, and staff members

  • Option to auto-assign new bookings to the least-busy staff member

Zoho Bookings cons:

  • The number of features and customization options can be overwhelming

If you already use one or more of Zoho's other offerings—or if you're just looking for an all-in-one solution to let you manage your entire business—you may want to consider Zoho Bookings. While the (very affordable) appointment scheduling tool itself is robust, intuitive, and feature-rich, the real benefit is that Zoho Bookings integrates very well with other Zoho apps, including Meeting, Calendar, CRM, Assist, Flow, and Sites.

The platform comes with tools for every business task under the sun, from sales, to marketing, to customer service, to project management and collaboration tools. But since we're talking about appointment scheduling in particular, let's take a closer look at the Bookings app itself.

Zoho Bookings comes with a lot of flexibility, with built-in buffer times and planned breaks, time off or special hours, and a custom cancellation policy. You can also set up several workspaces (aka businesses or locations) with separate booking pages and calendars. 

The calendar dashboard is easy to navigate and check at a glance. It comes with various views (Calendar/List and Day/Week/Month), as well as the option to view the cumulative schedule for all workspaces or only one in particular. As I was testing, I appreciated the easy access to the customer-facing booking page from the dashboard: you can just click Booking Page to see what your customers would see when scheduling an appointment with you. That made it easy to tweak and customize the booking page for the best presentation and customer experience possible.

Users have the option to share a URL for the entire business or direct URLs for each booking type. Alternatively, each staff member has their own booking page URL to share with customers. One unique and useful feature: the software can auto-assign appointments to the least-busy staff member at the time.

Beyond Zoho's apps, Zoho Bookings also comes with a wide variety of integrations, including Google Meet, Zoom, Clockwork SMS, and Twilio. Plus, Zoho Bookings integrates with Zapier, so you can connect all your apps and automate even more business tasks. Here are just a couple examples.

Who Zoho Bookings isn't right for: While the app is extremely feature-rich, the number of features can be overwhelming for some users. If you're hoping for a quick and minimalist appointment calendar (and if you have no interest in Zoho's larger suite of tools), this app may not be for you.

Supported payment systems: PayPal, Stripe, Authorize.Net, Razorpay, Forte, Mercado Pago, 2checkout

Supported calendars: Zoho Calendar, Google Calendar, Office 365

Zoho Bookings pricing: Free for 1 person; the Basic plan is $6/user/month and includes mobile app access, the ability to sync 2 calendars, and the Zapier integration.

Do you need a booking app?

Whether you run a client-based business on your own or with the help of many staff members, you can find the right app to help you manage your client appointments. Using a full-featured appointment booking tool can also cut down on the number of no-shows and late cancellations, and it can help you recoup cancellation fees easily by securing a credit card hold at the time of booking. And when you automate your booking software, you'll be able to use your energy to focus on the work that matters most.

Originally written by Emily Irish and published in 2017, this article has had contributions from Jill Duffy, Kiera Abbamonte, and Emily Esposito. It was most recently updated in April 2023.

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