There's much more to a good survey than simply asking a series of questions. You've also got to take into account your audience's preferences, question types, logic branching, and last but never least, aesthetics. All of these aspects play instrumental roles in helping create surveys that allow you to gain useful, accurate responses, but your ability to create a good survey is only as good as the tools in your arsenal.
There are so many survey tools out there, and it can be overwhelming figuring out which one does what. Especially given the overlap with form builder apps, which often do similar—but not quite the same—things. The good news is that whether you're doing product research, trying to improve your business, or finally settling the question of whether a hot dog is a sandwich, there's an ideal tool out there for you.
To help you figure out where to start, we tested dozens of online survey apps. The result is a list of our top nine apps, based on which tasks they're best suited for.
The 9 best survey apps
SurveyPlanet for visual question branching
Typeform for beginners
SurveyMonkey for creating surveys on a phone or tablet
QuestionPro for advanced survey logic and scripting
Jotform for survey add-ons and widgets
YesInsights for email surveys
Surveybot for surveys in Facebook Messenger
SurveySparrow for chatbot-style surveys
SoGoSurvey for advanced or corporate surveys
What makes a great survey tool?
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.
Here are the criteria we used when considering survey software for this list:
In order to get the answers you need, you have to ask the right questions. The best survey tools will allow you to pick from a variety of question types—like multiple choice, short answer, or rating scales, for example. We were also looking for apps that allow users to customize questions in ways that would make sense to their audience. Customizing questions also allows you to collect the exact type of information you're looking for, even when you're not looking for a binary yes-no or either-or answer.
A solid online survey tool will allow you to build a survey that uses logic like branching, so that you can direct respondents to answer further questions based on their previous answers. For example, if your first question is "Have you seen The Princess Bride?" you only want people who answer "Yes" to see the next question: "Who is your favorite character from The Princess Bride?" We also looked at services that allowed advanced scripting features, if you want to put your coding skills to use on making your survey just right.
Collecting data is useless without having a good way to learn from it, so we looked at how well survey platforms let you analyze and export data. A good survey tool will let you take your data out in common formats like CSV, Excel, and PowerPoint. For some advanced uses, you might even want a survey app to support SPSS export.
Customization is important for your surveys. We were on the lookout for what options we had as far as design, branding, and template variety. Every individual or brand that creates a survey has their own reasons for doing so, and they should be able to showcase their own unique flare within their surveys.
Finally, we considered how easy each app was to use. Creating surveys can be fun, but if you have to wrangle with a confusing interface, you'd likely change your tune fairly quickly.
While these are the absolute basic criteria for good survey tools, this list includes many apps that go above and beyond in terms of features. These tools help you tackle advanced techniques, like scripting complex survey logic, automating your workflow, and ensuring your survey is accessible.
It's also worth noting that there are plenty of form apps that offer similar features. Some, like Google Forms, may be included in a suite of software you already use. But most form apps are designed to help you collect specific information, like the names and email addresses of people who'd like to subscribe to your email newsletter. The best survey software, on the other hand, is aimed at large-scale data collection and analysis that uncovers broad trends.
Best survey app for visual question branching
Know you need to create a survey, but not sure how to get started? SurveyPlanet is an excellent place to start. It offers over 90 survey templates with pre-written questions that you can use as-is or tweak to better fit your needs.
As you build your survey, you can view a live copy as you edit—right in the same window. The editing panel is a thin column on the left side of the screen and, as you add your survey title, choose from nine question types (e.g., from multiple choice to an image-based question), and input questions, the right side of the screen will display and populate your survey in real time.
SurveyPlanet makes editing fast in other ways, too. By default, for each question you enter, you'll see one text field below it to type in a response. But if you choose Multiple choice, Rating, or Form as your question type, you'll automatically see additional text fields appear as you begin typing the first response option. This lets you quickly add responses to each question without having to click the + button or press
Enter on your keyboard.
One of my favorite features to use was the logic branching. Most survey apps will lay out logic in a sentence format—for example, "if Q1 is THIS, then go to THAT", but SurveyPlanet shakes things up by showcasing the question branching as a map of sorts, so that you can see the threads between various questions. As a visual person, this was a huge help.
SurveyPlanet price: Free for unlimited surveys, questions, and responses; from $20/month for a Pro plan with question branching and result exports.
Best survey app for beginners
Typeform does a lot of things very well, including having a wide library of some of the best-looking themes we've found as well as chatbot-style surveys. Like SurveyPlanet, Typeform does a good job of visualizing question branches, making it much easier to spot all your logic. I found this feature to work best with simple question branching, but when I made the logic a little more complex, I had to click on each question to understand the connections.
Whenever you add logic branches that affect how the user flows from one question to another, a flow chart is automatically updated to reflect the various paths available. You can zoom in and out of the chart to view questions and their answers and quickly make sure users aren't hitting dead ends or getting stuck in loops.
On top of this, Typeform lets users easily search Unsplash—a repository of royalty-free images—or a library of icons for the perfect visuals without ever leaving Typeform. It also lets you preview how these visual elements will look as you build your survey, in the same window, so you can play with the placement of each image in relation to each question. You can even preview how they'll render on a mobile device.
Overall, I found Typeform to be a great all-around, intuitive platform. It's easy enough to get started with for beginners, but its additional capabilities as far as customization, building embeddable chatbots, or crafting complex logic paths make it a worthy option for more experienced survey builders. And when you create automated Typeform workflows with Zapier, you can take your surveys a step further. You can use survey responses to create new email subscribers, add items to your to-do list, and more—no code required.
Create Mailchimp subscribers from new Typeform responses
Typeform price: Free for up to three surveys with ten questions each; from $29/month for an Essentials plan with up to 100 responses and unlimited typeforms.
Best survey app for creating surveys on a phone or tablet
SurveyMonkey (Web, Android, iOS)
One of the biggest names in survey apps, SurveyMonkey also offers one of the easiest ways to create surveys, even when you're mobile. The service uses a wizard to walk you through creating your survey, providing real-world examples for how a question might be structured, which can help you decide how to format your survey.
This wizard is especially powerful when combined with SurveyMonkey's mobile app. While most survey apps just let you collect responses on mobile, SurveyMonkey allows you to create, edit, gather responses, and analyze results on your smartphone or tablet. And anything you do on mobile will sync with your desktop account and vice versa.
When you're done building the survey, you can send it via email, text, or WhatsApp, or share it on social media. As responses start coming in, you can see the total number of responses and completed responses and dig deeper into the data with a pie chart that shows the number of responses to each individual question. This level of analytics is rare on mobile, but SurveyMonkey has figured out a way to let you drill down into the details, even on a small screen.
When you connect SurveyMonkey to your other apps with Zapier, you can automate key parts of the survey process. You can send personalized thank-you notes to respondents, create to-do list items based on survey responses, and more—all with no extra manual work.
Thank new SurveyMonkey respondents with personalized emails from Gmail
Add or update ActiveCampaign contacts with new SurveyMonkey responses
Create Asana new tasks from SurveyMonkey responses
SurveyMonkey price: Free for surveys with up to 10 questions; from $25/user/month for a Team Advantage plan with unlimited questions and surveys.
Best survey app for advanced survey logic and scripting
When it comes to question branching, QuestionPro goes above and beyond. On top of offering basic survey logic, it also supports custom scripting, which allows for even greater flexibility, if you have a bit of coding know-how.
For example, you could create a script that creates a pool of questions and then randomly selects a few of those questions to show to different people. This can be helpful if you want to do A/B testing or to reduce survey bias. Survey fatigue, for example, occurs when respondents get tired of answering questions the longer a survey goes on, and so the answers on later questions might be more rushed than earlier questions. Randomizing survey question order can help reduce this kind of bias from being focused on specific questions.
QuestionPro's custom scripting starts on the Team Edition paid tier, so it might be out of reach unless you're working for a decent-sized company, but even if you're an individual, there are basic logic tools on the free tier, and even more advanced branching logic on the $85/month Advanced tier.
Another great aspect of this app is the amount of question types available. They have your usual options, like multiple choice or 1-10 rating, but you can also take advantage of card sorting, which allows the survey taker to sort options in a question. There's even a stopwatch question (available on mobile) that allows you to start the watch, perform some kind of task, and stop it.
And by connecting QuestionPro to the other apps in your tech stack, you can automatically get notified about new responses or add respondents to your CRM.
Get notified on new QuestionPro survey response via Gmail
Add new QuestionPro responses to Salesforce as new custom objects
QuestionPro price: Free for unlimited surveys with up to 1,000 responses per survey; from $129/month for an Advanced plan with unlimited responses per survey.
Best survey app for survey add-ons and widgets
Jotform (Web, Android, iOS)
Although forms are what Jotform specializes in (it's literally in the name), this platform also provides plenty of survey templates to choose from—875 to be exact. But what I found most impressive was the sheer number of widgets and add-ons available. For example, you can add a section for surveyees to take a photo or connect to their social media as they go through the survey. You can even add a progress bar to the top of the survey to show your respondents where they are in the survey.
Jotform allows payments to be made with their forms, and this feature is also available with the survey templates—just add in a payment widget, and you're good to go.
One more small but much-appreciated feature—I was very happy to see that when I click to delete a question from a survey, I don't get asked one more time if I want to delete. Even though it may not happen often, if you need to delete multiple questions, it can take up a lot of time, and it's just plain annoying to have to assure an app that you truly meant to press delete. (You will get an additional prompt if you try to delete a question after publishing your survey, but that makes a ton of sense.)
When it comes to reporting, you have two options: extended reports, which hold a single chart per page, or compact reports, which combine multiple charts onto a single page. Both look good, but I personally preferred the more compact view for efficiency purposes.
When you use Jotform with Zapier, you can save your survey responses in other apps, add contacts based on survey submissions, and more.
Jotform price: Free with 5 forms and 100 monthly submissions; $39.99/month with the Bronze plan, which includes 25 forms/surveys and 1,000 monthly submissions.
If unique, visually-pleasing templates are more of a concern for you, try forms.app. While it's inherently more of a platform for forms, you can still find what you're looking for as far as surveys and colorful templates.
Best survey app for email surveys
When creating a survey, sometimes simple is best. YesInsights forces you to keep things simple by only allowing you to create one-question surveys that respondents can answer with just one click. That's right. You can only create surveys with one question, which allows you to collect very precise responses.
The setup process is simple. You choose between a regular survey or an NPS survey and whether you'd like to email out your survey or use a beta widget that displays it on your website. Then you're ready to draft your one-question survey.
If you choose to distribute your survey via email, you can create a landing page that respondents see after they click their answer or set up a triggered follow-up email. When you're ready to distribute your survey, you select your email service from more than 35 options, and YesInsights will provide the plain text and HTML for you to copy and paste into your email client.
It's also easy to use survey results from YesInsights to power activities in other apps. For example, you can create a Zap that adds survey respondents to a specific email marketing list or puts responses into a spreadsheet as new rows.
Add new rows to Google Sheets from new YesInsights Responses
Create Copper activities for new YesInsights responses
Create Google Contacts from new YesInsights responses
YesInsights price: Starts at $20/month for a Solo plan with 5 surveys and 1,000 responses.
Best survey app for Facebook Messenger chatbot surveys
In order to get good responses to your surveys, you need to be able to reach the right audience. Surveybot lets you distribute your surveys to an already-established audience on Facebook by contacting them via Facebook Messenger or Facebook Workplace.
When you sign up for Surveybot, you either sign up using Facebook Messenger or Facebook Workplace, or create an account manually and connect your Facebook account later. Building the survey itself is easy—you can customize welcome and thank-you messages, then drag and drop question types into the editor. You'll see a live preview of your survey appear as you type your questions. You can choose certain logic, like ending the survey if someone responds with an invalid answer, or set reminders if respondents haven't completed the survey after X number of days.
If you have a Facebook Page, you have a variety of options for distribution. When you're in the Campaign phase of Surveybot's editor, you can choose to automatically message users with your survey when they comment on a post or click on your ad. Once users begin answering your surveys with Surveybot, they'll automatically be added to a "panel," a segment inside Surveybot that shows all previous respondents.
When you have enough users in your panel, you could send a direct message over Messenger about your new survey. And lastly, you can trigger surveys to launch when someone completes another survey, when a respondent enters a panel segment, or by calling the Surveybot API. If you'd rather not use Facebook, you still have the option of using a standard link to share your survey via other means like email or your own website.
When you connect Surveybot to the thousands of other apps on Zapier, you can cut out a lot of the busywork surrounding surveys. You can create Zaps to push new Surveybot responses into Slack, for example, or create new leads in your marketing automation hub, without any code.
Send a new Slack channel message when new Surveybot responses are submitted
Save new Surveybot responses as Google Sheets spreadsheet rows
Surveybot price: Free for first 50 survey responses; then pay-as-you-go at a starting rate of $3 for 50 responses and scaling up with more responses.
Best survey app for chatbot-style surveys
SurveySparrow is one of the few services we found that not only offered chatbot-style surveys, but even included them on the free tier. When creating a survey, you can choose from a few templates and see how they would play out in a simulated chat. This approach lets you craft surveys that feel less formal and might be more likely to get answers from your audience.
Better yet, while the surveys are styled like a chatbot, they're more robust than, say, Facebook Messenger. You can create custom buttons, scales, or multiple choice answers, in addition to open-ended text responses. This gives it more flexibility than Surveybot, although you'll need to distribute the survey yourself through links, QR codes, or embeds on your own website.
Even if you don't want to use chatbot-style surveys, SurveySparrow offers a robust array of traditional surveys with attractive designs. I especially enjoyed how aesthetically pleasing and inviting the answer icons were—they use smiley faces and thunderbolts in place of text and numbers. Another small feature I appreciated was that I could always see a preview of my surveys as they would look once published, even as I was making changes—I didn't need to publish or save the survey first and click to go to another window.
By connecting SurveySparrow to Zapier, you can do things like get notifications for new responses, automatically add respondents to your email marketing app, or send event feedback surveys to all attendees.
Get notifications in Slack for new SurveySparrow responses
Subscribe new SurveySparrow respondents to a Mailchimp list
Send SurveySparrow event feedback survey to Eventbrite attendees
SurveySparrow price: Free for 3 surveys with 10 questions and 100 responses each; then $19/month for Basic with 1,000 responses per month with unlimited questions.
Best survey app for advanced or corporate surveys
Most people don't need much from a survey—just a simple way to ask a few questions and analyze the results. However, if you're working with a larger company, then you might need a bigger library of questions to quickly build surveys, security features to make sure only certain people are able to access the survey, or more powerful data analysis tools. SoGoSurvey offers all of these.
For starters, while creating surveys, SoGo has a large question bank with ready-made template questions. Unlike other services, which offer templates for the whole survey, you can mix and match these questions in order to build the survey you need. There are over 200 questions in mostly corporate-oriented categories like employee satisfaction, compensation, and work-life balance. You can also create your own custom question bank of all the questions you create. As you start to type out questions, the app will also suggest answers, allowing you to easily select those sample responses instead of typing them out yourself, which saved me plenty of time and effort.
When it's time to distribute your survey, you can create single-use links so each person can only submit one answer, or multi-use links so many people can submit responses from the same link. You can also add a password to the survey in order to keep people from outside your organization from submitting the survey.
Higher tiers of SoGoSurvey let you create custom branching logic, give you total control over your survey's theme (including adding your own company branding), and can even automatically translate the survey to other languages. And by connecting SoGoSurvey to Zapier, you can automatically create contacts, tasks, notifications, and more whenever there are new survey responses.
Create Salesforce contacts from new Sogolytics responses
Get Slack notifications for new Sogolytics responses
SoGoSurvey price: Free for unlimited surveys with up to 100 responses per survey (and up to 200 total responses) per year; from $25/month for the Individual plan with simple skip logic, Excel data export, and custom logos.
Other great online survey tools
Keep in mind: you might already have an app that includes a survey builder. Many form builder apps include survey templates, and all could be used to make a survey with a little extra work. Marketing automation tools—including email marketing apps like Constant Contact—also often include online survey tools, so if you're already using one of them for your marketing, it might be best to use it for surveys, too.
Originally published in June 2016 by Matthew Guay, this post has also had contributions from Emily Esposito, Hannah Herman, and Kristina Lauren. The most recent update was in July 2022.