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The 9 best free form builders and survey tools

By Matthew Guay · October 4, 2021
A hero image with the logos of the best free form and survey apps

It's hard to serve your customers' needs if you don't know what they are. That's where form and survey apps can be helpful, letting you gather feedback, collect data, and ask questions of the people your business serves. 

Turn forms and surveys into business growth

While some form apps are part of larger customer management suites, many of the best tools let you build forms and surveys, distribute them to your audience, and perform data analysis on the submissions you receive—completely for free.

We considered more than 20 free form and survey builder tools to find the best ones out there. Here are our top picks.

The 9 best free form builders and survey tools

What makes a great free form builder/free survey builder?

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.

To find the best free form builders and survey tools, we investigated and tested more than 20 of the most popular options. Here are the main criteria we kept in mind:

  • They let you create as many forms/surveys for free as possible. Some of our picks limit the number of questions you can ask or the number of responses you can receive, but some offer completely unlimited forms and responses. We looked at which services have the most generous free plans overall.

  • They let you build your form or survey easily. If you don't want to spend money on a survey tool, you probably don't want to spend a ton of time, either. We looked at how easily these services let you set up your form, which includes how robust their existing form library is, as well as how simple it is to tweak forms or build them from scratch. 

  • They have robust design and theme tools. We chose to prioritize apps that make it easy to tweak the color scheme, fonts, layouts, or branding of the forms, so you can make sure your surveys are easy for your audience and consistent with your brand.

With those criteria in mind, and looking for unique features that set the apps apart, we narrowed down our list to the following nine options.

If you can't find what you're looking for on this list, discover more options in our lists of the best form builder apps and best survey builder tools.


Best free form builder for the fastest form creation

Google Forms (Web)

Google Forms screenshot

Google Forms is the fastest, most intuitive way to build a form. Adding and editing form fields in the Google Forms editor is noticeably faster than using any other app, with question types updating as you start typing (for example, Google Forms recognized an open-ended question as we were typing and automatically changed the answer field from multiple choice to a textbox). You can even reuse questions previously added to other forms to speed up the process.

While Google Forms is technically a form builder, you can also use it to create surveys, polls, or even quizzes that get automatically graded. Collect short- and long-form questions, use linear scales to capture sentiment, or upload several images to let people choose from multiple options in a grid.

Google Forms offers 11 different field types—all of the major types you'd expect in a form or survey tool. It also has simple data validation checks for text fields and conditional logic that serves different questions based on previous answers. You can't accept payments through a Google Form, but you can accept uploaded files and save them right to Google Drive.

If you need to collaborate with teammates on a form, you can share it with your colleagues so they can add and edit form fields too—even in real time. After your form is published, view responses as a report in Google Forms, get emails for new responses, and/or export responses to Google Sheets to sort, filter, or visualize your data in a more meaningful way.

Finally, you can use Google Forms' Zapier integrations to send your form responses to the right place. For example, you can automatically add new form responses to your to-do list or email marketing tool, or get a notification in your team chat app whenever there's a new response.

Create Trello cards from new Google Forms responses

Create Trello cards from new Google Forms responses
  • Google Forms logo
  • Trello logo
Google Forms + Trello

Want more inspiration for how to automate Google Forms? Take a look at how to power up your Google apps with automation.

Google Forms Price: Free with a Google account

Best free form builder for analyzing results in Excel

Microsoft Forms (Web)

Microsoft Forms screenshot

Like Google Forms, Microsoft Forms is an intuitive, powerful, and free form app created by a technology giant. It works largely in the same way, but with more data analysis capabilities thanks to its integration with Excel.

Building your form is fast and simple: add a question, choose the answer format, and type in your questions and response options. You can even choose from unique response types you won't find in the majority of other free apps, like Net Promoter Score or Likert.

To collect responses, send a direct link to others or embed it on your website or in Sway. Once the data starts coming in, you can see a quick overview within the Microsoft Forms interface or open your responses in an Excel spreadsheet for more advanced analysis and visualization.

Microsoft Forms Price: Free with a Microsoft account

You can also use Excel Online to create a survey in Excel that collects your results directly in your survey—and if you have a Microsoft account already, it's free. Open a new spreadsheet in Excel Online, click Insert in the toolbar, and select Survey. Give your survey a title, add your questions using seven different response types, and decide whether or not to make questions required. When you're finished, click Save and View to preview your survey, or click Share Survey to grab a link to share with others.

Best free form builder for unlimited forms with advanced features

Cognito Forms (Web, Windows)

Cognito Forms screenshot

Google Forms offers only basic conditional logic and doesn't let you accept payment information. SurveyMonkey has more advanced logic and lets you accept payments—but only if you subscribe to a premium plan. So if you need more advanced features like these for free, Cognito Forms is an ideal choice.

You can split your form up with logic sections, figure out totals with calculated fields, build repeating sections to use on multiple forms, and accept payments using its built-in integrations with Stripe (you can accept payments via PayPal or Square by signing up for a paid plan). Cognito Forms can even turn your form results into a templated PDF document, so you can send a formatted receipt to your customers.

This is a powerful set of features to have on its own, but it's even more impressive given that Cognito lets you create an unlimited number of forms for free. Most services put a limit on how many forms you can make without paying, but Cognito doesn't. You'll hit a limit if you need to accept more than 500 responses per month, but if you don't hit that cap, you can keep creating forms to your heart's content.

All of these features are available in Cognito's free plan, minus payment processing fees if you use the form to collect payments. Forms are also relatively customizable: insert page breaks to create multi-page forms, or edit fonts, colors, and column widths. You can also use Zapier to connect Cognito Forms to thousands of other apps to streamline your form workflows.

Cognito Forms Price: Free for one user and unlimited forms with up to 500 form entries per month; from $10/month for the Pro plan that includes two users and up to 2,000 entries per month

Best free form builder for pop-up forms

HubSpot Form Builder (Web, iOS, Android)

HubSpot Form Builder pop-up forms

If you want to create a form that pops up on certain pages, HubSpot's Form Builder is the app for you. Create forms that appear in pop-up overlays on certain pages or to certain visitors, forms that drop in at the top of the page after a certain amount of time, or forms that slide in on the left or right side of your webpage (advanced form targeting based on CTA clicks, country, device, or referral URL requires a premium plan).

HubSpot's pop-up forms are primarily designed to collect a few pieces of information, so the only available fields are email, first name, last name, and phone number (adding custom fields requires a premium plan). But if you're just collecting data for newsletter subscribers or new leads, that's probably all of the data you need.

You can also use HubSpot Form Builder to create more traditional, non-pop-up forms, and there's much more flexibility there. There are a few templates to choose from—mostly for marketing- or sales-related use cases—or build your own custom form using nearly 50 fields.

HubSpot Form Builder is part of its Marketing Hub product, which comes with a free customer relationship management (CRM) tool, and you use the CRM to consolidate details from form responses. But if you prefer to use a different tool to view and manage your form responses, you can use one of HubSpot's Zapier integrations to send new contact details to Google Contacts, Mailchimp, Slack, Google Sheets, and more.

HubSpot Form Builder Price: Free for unlimited forms, questions, and responses and up to one million contacts; from $50/month for Marketing Hub Starter that includes custom pop-up form fields and lets you build forms without HubSpot branding.

Best free survey builder for gathering lots of responses

SurveyPlanet (Web)

SurveyPlanet pre-written questions

Most of the survey builders on this list limit the number of responses you receive per month. SurveyPlanet stands out because its free plan puts no limit on the number of surveys you can create, the number of responses you can collect, or the number of questions you can ask, making it an ideal tool if you anticipate getting lots of responses to your surveys.

SurveyPlanet makes it easy to build surveys. You don't even have to write your own questions. For example, if you're trying to get product feedback, type product into its questions template search bar to see tons of pre-written questions you can grab and use in your survey. It's a great way to avoid writing leading questions and to build a survey quickly.

If you want to tweak more, SurveyPlanet lets you do that, too. Choose between a variety of themes that control your survey's color scheme, or have your questions display one at a time or all at once. The only downside is that you'll need to upgrade to export your survey results—but if its built-in reports are enough, SurveyPlanet is an excellent free option.

SurveyPlanet Price: Free for unlimited surveys, questions, and responses; from $20/month for the Pro plan to export survey results or build custom themes.

Best free survey builder for an extensive library of pre-written questions

SurveyMonkey (Web, iOS, Android)

prewritten questions in SurveyMonkey

When it comes to the volume of pre-written questions, SurveyMonkey has all other apps beat—hands down. Type a keyword into its Question Bank search bar to get hundreds of results for pre-written questions, then click questions you like to add them to your survey instantly. Or, use the "Build it for me" feature to answer a handful of questions that allow SurveyMonkey to create a finished survey for you.

The downside: The number of questions you can ask and responses you can collect on SurveyMonkey's free plan is limited. You can only ask 10 questions and collect 40 responses per survey, and you'll have to upgrade to customize the design of your survey, add a logo, or export your results. However, with one of SurveyMonkey's Zapier integrations, you can send results to Google Sheets or Excel automatically, even if you're on the free plan.

In addition to its large library of pre-written questions, SurveyMonkey also provides one of the best mobile survey experiences. Each question has plenty of white space above and below it, the buttons are large so they're easy to click, and a step indicator lets respondents know exactly how many more questions they have to answer at each step along the way.

SurveyMonkey Price: Free for unlimited surveys, 10 questions/survey, and 40 responses/survey; from $32/month for the Advantage Annual personal plan that includes unlimited questions, up to 5,000 responses/year, skip logic, and data exports

Best free survey builder for business-oriented surveys

Zoho Survey (Web, iOS, Android)

Zoho Survey screenshot

Zoho Survey has pretty much everything you need to create either detailed forms or simple polls and surveys, all with more response options than you'll get in other free apps. Its pool of form templates and question library are particularly geared toward business-oriented needs, so it's better suited for handling bug reports and lead generation than organizing birthday parties or movie nights.

To start, Zoho Survey lets you add more than 25 question types, including things like Net Promoter Score, ratings, and drag-and-drop rankings that many other apps don't support. It also offers pre-written questions like SurveyMonkey and SurveyPlanet.

On the free plan, you can create up to three forms and receive up to 500 responses per month. And while you can access responses in Zoho's app or export them as a PDF or CSV, you'll have to upgrade to export them as an XLS file. Overall, it's a flexible tool that could be perfect if you don't need to make too many forms.

Zoho Survey Price: Free for 3 forms and 500 responses/month; from $10/month for the Basic plan that includes unlimited forms, 10,000 responses/month, and XLS exports

Best free form builder for building forms from a template

Jotform (Web)

Jotform screenshot

If you don't want to waste any time building a form yourself, Jotform almost certainly has you covered. It has a massive library of over 10,000 pre-existing form templates in a variety of categories. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of forms in categories like order forms, event registration forms, and applications.

You can search through Jotform's library by the type of survey you're looking for, or you can filter by industry. Most of the form templates are sorted into industries like education, healthcare, and marketing. There's also a search box, so you can look for the exact form you need.

Once you pick a form template, you can tweak the form using a drag-and-drop editor that shows you exactly how all the changes you make will look right in the window. When you're done, publish the form and share with a link, embed code, email campaign, or even generate a fillable PDF.

You can also use Jotform's Zapier integration to send any submissions from your forms to your calendar, get a ping in Slack, or update contacts in your CRM or email marketing tool. This works especially well if you eventually want to use Jotform to accept payments or manage your inventory (some of which requires an upgraded plan).

Jotform Price: Free for 5 forms and up to 100 responses/month; from $24/month for a Bronze plan with up to 25 forms and 1,000 responses/month

Best free form builder for attractive-looking forms

forms.app (Web)

forms.app screenshot

There's something to be said for curbside appeal, and if your business depends on good branding, then forms.app is one of the best tools you can have in your belt. This service has a wide selection of dozens of bright, attractive themes. Whatever your company's branding, you can probably find a look that fits your design aesthetic—and apply it with a single click.

If you're not finding what you're looking for, though, forms.app also offers tools to customize the font, colors, button borders, and background image to your liking. If that's still not enough customization, you can tweak the design of the form even further with custom CSS, which is often a paid feature of other apps, but is entirely free here.

Forms.app lets you create up to 10 forms and receive up to 150 responses per month. It also has an odd limitation of up to 1,000 form views per month, so even if you don't hit your other limits, you might end up hitting a limit if too many people view your forms without actually submitting them. However, unless you anticipate less than 15% of your audience actually finishing a form, this might not be an issue for you.

With forms.app's Zapier integration, you can also send new form submissions to Trello, Gmail, Mailchimp, or a host of other services you use to manage your business.

forms.app Price: Free for 10 forms, 150 responses/month, and 1,000 form views/month; from $9/month for a Basic plan with up to 25 forms, 1,000 responses/month, and 5,000 form views/month.

Finding the best free form app or survey builder

Each of the tools on this list makes it easy to create and share forms and surveys, so how do you choose the right one? It boils down to what features are most important to you.

If you need to create lots of forms/surveys and accept unlimited responses, choose Google Forms, Microsoft Forms, or SurveyPlanet. If you need help writing questions, you'll probably have the best luck with SurveyMonkey. For more advanced capabilities, choose Cognito Forms or Zoho Survey. Or if you're looking for something specific like pop-up forms, easy templates, or attractive-looking forms, try HubSpot, Jotform, or forms.app, respectively.

The best part: since all of the tools are free, you can try as many as you want before choosing one to use long-term.

Originally published in September 2017 by Matthew Guay, this post has since had contributions from Jessica Greene, Emily Esposito, and Eric Ravenscraft.

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tags
mentioned apps
  • Cognito Forms
  • Google Forms
  • HubSpot
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Jotform
  • SurveyMonkey
  • forms.app

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