When deciding on HR software for your small business you should weigh the available features, price, and overall ease of use. Rippling and Zenefits both offer an all-in-one HR platform that allows you to manage employee onboarding and benefits administration in one location. While their services are specific to HR, they both offer full-service payroll with unlimited pay runs, making them overall robust HR platforms. Still, there may be differences in features between the two that can sway you to pick one over the other.
When to Choose Rippling vs Zenefits
Rippling: Best For
Zenefits: Best For
You are a small business with no HR or IT department that needs HR management features
You are a growing small business with a small HR department that needs a fully integrated HR platform
You are a technology company that needs to pay and track employees no matter where they work
You want to integrate existing payroll software (Gusto, Paychex, ADP)
You are a business with international contractors
You are a company with hourly distributed workers (time tracking and scheduling included)
Still not sure if Rippling or Zenefits is a good fit? Check out our top recommended HR software solutions for more options.
How We Evaluated Rippling vs Zenefits
Our evaluation of Rippling vs Zenefits was broken down into the six categories listed below using a 5-star rating scale to bring you the best analysis between the two. We considered transparent pricing and advanced HR features (such as benefits administration and employee onboarding functionality) among our top criteria.
Based on our evaluation, Rippling came out the winner, scoring 4.71 out of 5 stars. Zenefits came in a close second at 4.28 out of 5 stars. To view our full evaluation criteria click through the tabs in the box below.
25% of Overall Score
Both Rippling and Zenefits met our top criteria in this category with base-level pricing of less than $60 per employee (including payroll). Points were awarded for transparent pricing and unlimited pay runs. Zenefits achieved a perfect score in this category, while Rippling fell slightly behind due to non-transparent pricing.
20% of Overall Score
We evaluated the available HR Features between Rippling and Zenefits to determine the winner in this category. Both offer a large array of benefits, including employee onboarding and health coverage. However, additional consideration was given to Rippling for offering a PEO option.
5% of Overall Score
We determined popularity by evaluating real user reviews on third-party sites such as Capterra and G2. An average score of 4+ stars and over 1,000 reviews is ideal in this category.
5% of Overall Score
Tieing in this category, both Rippling and Zenefits offer the ability to customize reports, a top criterion here. We also evaluated the number of canned reports and the ability to create new reports within the system.
25% of Overall Score
We evaluated each provider based on their offering of full-service payroll processing and time and attendance features. Both Rippling and Zenefits came in strong in this category offering similar features. However, Rippling outperformed with its IT management, and Zenefits outperformed in its ability to integrate with third-party payroll providers.
20% of Overall Score
Points are awarded to those providers who offer an intuitive, customizable interface with an easy learning curve. While both providers offer set-up assistance, extra favor was given to Rippling for offering a dedicated representative and available live phone support (at an extra cost).
Rippling vs Zenefits Overview
Core Employee Management - $10 per employee, per month ($8 if paid annually)
Essentials Plan - $10 per employee, per month ($8 if paid annually)
Growth Plan - $18 per employee, per month ($14 if paid annually)
Zen Plan - $27 per employee, per month ($21 if paid annually)
Direct Deposit Processing Time
Two business days
Four business days
Health insurance, medical, dental, vision, 401(k), commuter benefits, FSA, HSA, ACA, COBRA compliance
Health insurance, medical, dental, vision, 401(k), COBRA compliance, HSA, FSA, commuter benefits, life and disability, supplemental benefits
Health Insurance Coverage
All 50 US states
All 50 US states
Add "pay-as-you-go" workers’ comp insurance
Not handled by Zenefits. Partners with a third-party broker to provide workers’ compensation
Both salaried and hourly employees, including international
Both salaried and hourly employees
Online chat, email, HR advisors, and live phone support for an extra cost
Offers a help center and training videos, online chat (ZenBot), email (no phone support)
Common Features of Rippling and Zenefits
- Employee Onboarding
- Benefits Management
- Applicant Tracking
- Compensation Management
- Time and Attendance
- Payroll Management
- Time Off Management
- Self-Service Portal
If you think Rippling and Zenefits seem like similar platforms, you would be correct. Parker Conrad, the former CEO of Zenefits, is Rippling’s creator. The big difference? Rippling is designed to handle both employee management and IT management.
Pricing: Zenefits Wins
If price is a major determining factor to your small business, then our overall winner, Rippling, may not be right for you. Zenefits, while similar in price to Rippling on the core level, is the clear winner with its transparent pricing. Both offer a core HR solution that includes the basics, however, payroll and other applications are added at additional fees. Zenefits also offers additional tiers that add more core features.
Zenefits and Rippling core plans both start at $10 per employee per month ($8 with an annual contract). However, Zenefits’ additional items, such as payroll, come in at a smaller price tag, making it a more affordable solution.
Example: Core plan + payroll + 10 employees:
Zenefits cost: $160 per month or $1,900 per year ($1,680 per year if purchased annually).
Rippling cost: $180 per month or $2,160 per year ($1,920 per year if purchased annually).
Zenefits Pricing Plans*
- Essentials Plan: $10 per employee, per month
- Includes: Core HR, Time and Scheduling, Integrations, Mobile App
- Growth Plan: $18 per employee, per month
- Includes: Essentials Plan plus Compensation Management and Performance Management
- Zen Plan: $27 per employee, per month
- Includes: Growth Plan plus Well-Being, Employee Engagement Surveys, and People Hub
- Additional Features
- Payroll – $6 per employee, per month
- Advisory Services – $8 per employee, per month
- Benefits Admin Using Your Own Broker – $5 per month, per employee
Rippling Pricing Plans*
- Core Employee Management: $10 per employee, per month
- Additional Features
- Payroll – $8 per employee, per month
- Employee benefits – $6 per employee, per month
- Flex HSA and FSA benefits – $6 per employee, per month
- HR help desk – $100 per month
- App management – $8 per employee, per month
- Device management – $8 per employee, per month
*Both Zenefits and Rippling offer a discount if paid annually.
HR Features: Rippling Wins
Although the HR features of Rippling and Zenefits are very similar, Rippling’s PEO option pushes it ahead. This feature bridges the gap between self-service and full HR management by handling all payroll and HR functions for your small business. Rippling’s PEO acts as the employer of record (EoR) for payroll and tax purposes and pools together small businesses to offer large company benefits, such as reduced-cost medical insurance.
Both offer core HR features such as employee onboarding, health insurance, and unemployment insurance in all 50 states. However, if you are looking for advanced HR features, both offer different types—and at an additional cost.
For instance, Rippling offers talent management, great if you’re scaling your company and need to hire more employees, and learning management. And although Rippling provides a compensation report (with its core product) that helps you track where you’re spending money on wages and salary, Zenefits provides a separate compensation management product that brings in external wage data from its other customers, so you can gauge how your payouts measure up. Zenefits also offers a performance management tool that Rippling doesn’t have.
Popularity: Rippling Wins
While both Rippling and Zenefits score well for popularity based on overall scores and the number of user reviews provided, Rippling outscored Zenefits by achieving 4.9 out of 5 stars across the board, compared to Zenefits’ average of 4 stars. Both providers have favorable reviews and users like the ease of working with the software.
In our evaluation, Rippling and Zenefits tied for reporting. Both providers offer customizable reports and provide the capability of creating new reports within the system. Reports can also be exported for use within multiple departments. However, neither provider offers a large selection of canned (preformatted) reports.
Functionality of HRIS Features: Rippling Wins
Both Rippling and Zenefits offer HRIS features, however, there are a few things that Rippling can do that Zenefits does not offer. Its IT management feature allows you to manage your employees’ devices right from the platform. This makes it the right choice for technology companies.
Rippling’s learning and training tools offer training for compliance courses and a feature that enables employers to create custom courses. Additionally, its applicant tracking system allows you to post to job boards and communicate with other hiring managers. This can make the hiring process easier for a small business.
However, Zenefits, unlike Rippling, does offer the ability to integrate with your Paychex or ADP payroll system (currently offered through Pay Connect Sync). This means companies who already use Paychex or ADP can add Zenefits seamlessly to their existing payroll processes without having to switch providers.
Ease of Use: Rippling Wins
Being able to easily and effectively use software can help a company’s bottom line by allowing employees and managers to focus on their job duties. Both Rippling and Zenefits offer an intuitive (but not customizable) interface with setup help and software integration. Where Rippling wins in this category is by offering a dedicated representative and live phone support (part of their HR Help Desk add-on) to assist with issues that arise. Additionally, both providers offer a chat feature to answer immediate questions directly on the platform.
Rippling Pros and Cons
|Offers comprehensive benefits management||No free trial|
|Extensive third-party software integrations (integrates with 400+ apps)||Limited mobile apps|
|User-friendly||Pricing transparency is limited and Employee Management Plan must be purchased before any other products|
|Streamlined payroll processing||Limited payroll payment options|
|PEO option available||Limited customer support (live support costs extra)|
Zenefits Pros and Cons
|Employee onboarding||Lack of live phone support|
|Time tracking and scheduling capabilities||401(k) integration limited to specific companies|
|Offers a complete payroll processing solution with unlimited pay runs||Payroll integration with existing providers limited to Paychex and ADP|
|Provides extensive reporting options||Very limited third-party software integration|
|Transparent pricing; plus a 14-day free trial||Does not support international employees|
What Users Say About Rippling and Zenefits
Both Rippling and Zenefits rank well when it comes to user reviews, however, users seem to prefer Rippling. They like how accessible and user-friendly the software is as well as how easy it is to manage all your employees in one place.
What users don’t like is the slow response time and lack of live phone support seen with both Rippling and Zenefits. Additionally, integration with third-party software is a concern for many as it is either not available or can be glitchy.
We researched G2 and Capterra to see what users had to say about the products. See their reviews below.
After our extensive evaluation of both HR providers, Rippling came out the clear winner. Overall, Rippling offers the best HR solutions that a small business needs to be successful in employee onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, time and attendance tracking, and reporting. While pricing isn’t as transparent as Zenefits and a little more expensive overall than Zenefits, where Rippling lacks, it gains in overall user experience.