Gusto and BambooHR provide HR payroll solutions to help small to midsize businesses (SMBs) easily handle essential employee management processes. These two cloud-based systems may have similar functionalities, but Gusto’s core platform is payroll while BambooHR’s software is ideal for managing various HR processes. Gusto also provides a solution for processing international contractor payments, whereas BambooHR only offers US payroll services.
To help you gauge whether Gusto vs BambooHR is right for your business, here are our recommendations.
- Gusto: Best for full-service payroll and handling essential HR functions
- BambooHR: Best for managing employee information, onboarding, and training
These two systems appear in several of our buyer’s guides for small businesses given the solid suite of HR tools that each offers. Gusto ranks high in our best payroll software for small business users and best payroll services guides, while BambooHR is on our lists of top HR information systems (HRISes) for small business owners and best HR solutions.
Gusto vs BambooHR Compared
There may be times when neither BambooHR nor Gusto’s HR and payroll functionalities fit your requirements. We recommend the following options:
Companies looking for an all-in-one HR, payroll, and IT solution
Fast growing businesses that want flexible payroll tools
Startups and SMBs that need customizable HRIS and payroll tools
US & Global Payroll Tools
(Global payroll via partner solution)
US payroll*: $35 base fee + $8 per employee
Call for a quote
$39 base fee + $5 per employee
Contractor Payments Plan
US contractors: included in US payroll plan
Global contractors*: $20 per worker
Included in payroll plan
Included in payroll plan
For More Information
*Pricing is based on a quote we received
Need help deciding which provider to choose? Check out our guide on how to select a payroll service.
Best for Value: Gusto
All business sizes: Charges per-employee and software base fees every month
Companies with 20 or fewer workers: Charges a flat monthly rate
Companies with more than 20 workers: Charges per-employee fees per month
Included in payroll module
(which is a paid add-on)
*Pricing is based on a quote we received
Comparing BambooHR vs Gusto in terms of value for money is a bit difficult since the starter plans of both providers contain different solutions and it also depends on the HR functionalities that you want. Plus, BambooHR and Gusto have different pricing matrices that may make one a more reasonably priced option than the other, especially if you have a very small team and don’t need a payroll module.
However, if you’re looking for pricing transparency, Gusto wins because most of its fees are posted on its website (BambooHR requires you to call its sales team for a quote). It also offers the best value for money especially if you require a pay processing solution as this feature is included in all Gusto plans (whereas, BambooHR charges extra for it).
Upgrading to its higher tiers will grant you access to time tracking and performance review solutions (both are paid add-ons with BambooHR). And if you only need to pay contract workers, Gusto has a reasonably-priced contractor-only payroll plan (BambooHR doesn’t offer this).
Pricing Comparison: Gusto vs BambooHR
Let’s do a quick computation by comparing Gusto’s Plus plan with BambooHR’s Advantage tier (based on the quote we received). We also added BambooHR’s payroll, time tracking, and performance review add-ons to the calculation because Gusto’s Plus plan includes those features.
For a company with 25 employees, you have to pay:
- Gusto: $380 monthly
- Computed as $80 base fee + ($12 per-employee fee X 25 workers) = $380 monthly
- BambooHR: $601.25 monthly
- Computed as $75 base fee for the Payroll module + ($8.75 per-employee for the Advantage plan + $4.05 per-employee fee for payroll + $3 per-employee fee for time tracking + $5.25 for performance reviews) X 25 workers = $601.25 monthly
Note that BambooHR charges a flat monthly fee if you have 20 or fewer employees. Meanwhile, businesses with more than 20 workers are billed per-employee fees each month. Gusto doesn’t have multiple pricing matrices. Regardless of the size of your workforce, its monthly fees include a base software rate and per-employee costs.
Best for Payroll: Gusto
Handles Payroll & Payroll Taxes
(Payroll is a paid add-on)
For international contractors only
US payroll only
Flexible Pay Schedules
Automated Pay Runs
Wage Garnishment Services
South Carolina excluded
Expenses and Reimbursements
Time Off Requests & Approvals
Pay card, direct deposits, and manual checks you prepare yourself
Direct deposits and manual checks you prepare yourself
In comparing Gusto and BambooHR for payroll, Gusto wins with its solid pay processing that can even handle global contractor payments in more than 120 countries. Plus, you don’t have to pay extra for its payroll module as you would with BambooHR.
With pay processing as its platform’s core feature, you get full-service payroll along with basic tools for managing employee profiles, benefits plans, and time-off requests. Gusto will even handle payroll tax reporting and wage garnishment payments (except in South Carolina) for you. Employees can even submit reimbursement requests for business-related expenses and Gusto will include the approved transactions in its pay runs.
It supports unlimited payroll, allowing you to process worker payments as many times as you need in a month. If you don’t expect changes in your pay runs for salaried employees and hourly-paid staff with fixed working hours, you can set up Gusto to automatically run payroll for each pay period.
On the other hand, BambooHR is the optimal choice for payroll if you’re already using its platform to store staff data and don’t want to manage separate systems to pay employees. Similar to Gusto, its payroll and HR modules connect seamlessly with each other. This means you don’t need to manually input your workers’ pay- and attendance-related information into its payroll solution because it will automatically get the required details from its centralized database and other HR tools (like time tracking and benefits).
Best for HR Features: BambooHR
Online Employee Profiles
Onboarding and Offboarding Tools
Health Insurance and Retirement Benefits
(with Gusto as the health insurance broker)
(via partner brokers)
Health Insurance Coverage in All US States
37 states only
Depends on the selected broker
Job Postings and Applicant Tracking
Candidate Management Tools
(run background checks directly from its platform)
(via third-party partners)
Built-in Training Tracking
Self Service Portal for Managers & Employees
Business Software & Email Account Management
Gusto and BambooHR may have similar functionalities, but the latter has a slightly wider suite of HR solutions than the former. While you have to pay extra for performance reviews and benefit administration, the HR functionalities included in its Essential and Advantage plans are sufficient for hiring, onboarding, and managing employees. You can even use its platform to monitor your workers’ training progress—a feature that Gusto offers through its third-party software integrations.
BambooHR also has a more advanced candidate management solution than Gusto, allowing you to filter keywords from candidate resumes and custom application questions. You can even use it to maintain talent pools of previous applicants for future searches.
Best of all, it offers a hiring mobile app, which enables you to manage recruiting processes while on the go. Gusto doesn’t have a mobile app—what it offers is a Gusto Wallet app for managing, saving, and accessing your funds (including payroll).
Meanwhile, Gusto is a great option if you want access to a wide variety of employee benefits, such as health, retirement, dental, vision, health savings account (HSA), flexible savings account (FSA), workers’ compensation, and commuter benefits. It even provides financial management tools via its Gusto Wallet app. However, its health insurance is unavailable in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
While it only offers the essential tools to help you track applicants and post jobs, Gusto’s onboarding and offboarding solutions include software provisioning and deprovisioning capabilities. This allows you to set up, manage, and remove your employees’ business software and email account access.
Best for Ease of Use & Customer Support: Gusto
Ease of Use
Dedicated Customer Success Manager
Included in the Premium plan
Via chat, email, and phone
Email support available in all plans; live phone and chat included in the Advantage tier
Access to HR Advisers
Included in Premium plan
(costs extra for the Plus tier)
Third-Party Software Integrations
Over 180 apps, such as:
Over 130 apps, such as:
Online Guides & Tools
In the battle between Gusto vs BambooHR for overall ease of use and customer support, Gusto wins in this category. While both have online platforms that are relatively easy to learn and use, Gusto’s HR advisory services and access to a dedicated customer success manager make it a better partner for business owners—they can rely on Gusto to provide them with the HR and software support they need.
Gusto also offers chat, email, and phone support regardless of the plan selected. This is unlike BambooHR, which only provides email support if you get its Essential plan. You have to upgrade to its Advantage package if you want additional chat and phone support.
However, if you prefer to learn how to navigate through a software’s features on your own, consider BambooHR. It has a robust selection of online guides—from FAQs and help articles to video tutorials and self-paced, guided courses about HR topics and its platform’s different functionalities.
Best for Popularity Among Users: Gusto
To assess BambooHR vs Gusto for user popularity, we looked at each provider’s average number of user reviews and average overall ratings on third-party review sites. While both have the same average rating, Gusto has more user reviews than BambooHR.
What Users Think
How We Evaluated Gusto vs BambooHR
To evaluate the differences between BambooHR and Gusto, we compared the HR and payroll features of both providers, including the global payment options that they offer. We also checked both platforms’ popularity among users, ease of use, third-party software integrations, and customer support options. Lastly, we considered pricing transparency and monthly costs.
Gusto and BambooHR may have similar features but the core capabilities of their platforms differ from each other. Gusto is great for full-service payroll while BambooHR is optimal for managing employee data and basic HR processes.
To identify whether Gusto vs BambooHR is best for your organization, take a look at your budget and the HR functionalities that your business needs. Don’t forget to factor in your workforce expansion plans, especially if you think you’ll need more advanced HR features (like performance reviews) to manage employees. Your selected HR software should have the specific tools to help you handle those processes with ease.