We evaluated some of the leading TriNet Zenefits competitors and selected the top five based on pricing, HR and payroll features, ease of use, popularity, and other criteria. Explore our guide to find the best TriNet Zenefits competitor for your business.
This article is part of a larger series on Payroll Services.
TriNet Zenefits (formerly Zenefits) offers an all-in-one HR platform that lets you manage employees from hiring to retiring, with onboarding, scheduling and time tracking, compensation management, performance management, and more. While popular with small businesses, it may not be right for everyone. You may need stronger benefits, a payroll-first solution, or even a full-service professional employer organization (PEO).
In this guide, we examined multiple TriNet Zenefits competitors and chose the top five you should consider.
- Gusto: Best overall TriNet Zenefits alternative and for small businesses needing strong payroll and basic HR tools
- Rippling: Best for high-tech and IT-heavy businesses needing an all-in-one HR payroll solution with IT onboarding tools
- Justworks: Best for employers looking for affordable PEO services to outsource essential HR and payroll tasks
- Paychex: Best for startups and small businesses needing dedicated payroll support
- ADP: Best for growing companies that want flexible HR plans and global payroll tools
Top TriNet Zenefits Competitors Compared
TriNet Zenefits and its competitors offer new hire onboarding, standard reporting, basic employee information management, and a self-service tool where your workers can access their pay stubs and personal details. Below are the standout features of each software.
Starter Monthly Pricing
Tax Filings and Year-end Reports
Access to HR Experts
Other HR Tools*
$10 per employee
$6 per employee monthly
Hawaii isn’t covered
$10 per employee monthly
$6 per employee + $40 base fee
Included in higher tiers
39 states only
Included in most premium plan
$8 per employee + $35 base fee**
$59 per employee
Starts at $5 per employee + $20 base fee monthly
Justworks is a PEO
$5 per employee + $39 base fee
Some tax services cost extra
$3 per employee + $40 per weekly pay run**
W2/1099 reports cost extra
*Some of these HR tools are available either as paid add-ons or included in the provider’s higher tiers
**Based on a quote we received
Best TriNet Zenefits Competitors Pricing Calculator
Need a quick way to compare costs? Use our online calculator to compute the estimated monthly and annual fees of TriNet Zenefits vs Gusto and the other TriNet Zenefits competitors on our list.
When TriNet Zenefits Is Best
TriNet Zenefits is found on several of our best-of lists because it offers a great toolset at an excellent price. If you don’t need payroll, it’s the cheapest. Overall, its HR tools get a special notice in these lists:
- Best HR Software for Small Business
- Best Performance Management System
- Best HRIS Software
- Best Human Resources Payroll Software
- Top Paychex Competitors
- Best ADP Competitors
If you want to learn more about TriNet Zenefits before deciding, check out our TriNet Zenefits review.
Gusto: Best Overall TriNet Zenefits Alternative
Primarily focused on payroll and earning the top spot in our best payroll services guide, Gusto can process paychecks for both employees and contractors located in any US state. It’s our top TriNet Zenefits alternative because while the other providers on our list offer some of its solutions as paid add-ons, such as Paychex’s time tracking and Rippling’s hiring tools, these are included in Gusto’s platform and payroll packages at reasonable price points for small businesses.
Like TriNet Zenefits, it can provide your staff with medical, dental, vision, life and disability, flexible spending account (FSA), and health savings account (HSA) plans. However, Gusto’s health insurance coverage is limited to 39 US states (TriNet Zenefits’ health plans aren’t available in Hawaii). All the other TriNet Zenefits competitors on our list offer benefits in all 50 states.
In addition to only having health insurance that’s unavailable in 11 states (Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming), Gusto is low on HR functions. You need the highest plan for access to HR professionals, for example. It also lacks compensation planning and staff scheduling tools—functionalities that TriNet Zenefits offer.
Gusto Key Features
- Low-cost contractor-only payroll plan: Gusto is the only TriNet Zenefits competitor on our list that offers a separate plan for paying contractors. For $6 per worker monthly, you get unlimited pay runs, year-end 1099-NEC forms, and new hire reporting for contractors (if this is a requirement of the state where your business is located). Its affordability is one of the reasons why Gusto tops our list of the best software for paying contractors.
- Multiple employee payment options: With Gusto, you can pay employees via manual paychecks, pay cards, direct deposits, and on-demand pay. For direct deposits, its standard processing timeline is two and four days. However, upgrading to its higher plans grants you access to next-day direct deposits—an option that neither TriNet Zenefits nor the other providers on our list offer. Plus, if your employees use Gusto’s free financial management app, Gusto Wallet, they can get a portion of their salary between paydays.
- Full-service payroll: Unlike ADP and Paychex, Gusto lets you run payroll as many times as you need in a month. Off-cycle pay runs also come for free. It handles federal, state, and local tax calculations, deductions, and payments, as well as garnishment payment services (except in South Carolina). It will also generate and file year-end W2/1099 forms for you (ADP and Paychex charge extra for this). If you need global payroll tools, Gusto can help you pay international contractors but for an additional fee (custom priced).
- Basic HR tools: Apart from new hire reporting, onboarding, employee profiles, time tracking, and self-service tools, Gusto has the essential tools you need to manage applicants and post jobs to popular job sites (Justworks doesn’t have hiring tools). Assessing an employee’s performance at work is also made easy with Gusto’s performance management module, which comes with review templates and automated feedback requests.
Rippling: Best TriNet Zenefits Competitor for High-tech & IT-heavy Businesses
Rippling has a workforce management platform as its base system that allows you to manage staff information, workflows, and electronic documents. If you need IT tools to streamline onboarding and offboarding processes, Rippling beats out all the TriNet Zenefits competitors in this guide, as its app and device management modules make it easy to assign employees the business software and computer devices needed for their jobs.
Like TriNet Zenefits, Rippling has talent management solutions for hiring and onboarding, as well as a strong learning management module. You can also use its job codes tool to monitor employee time and the cost of that time on a per location, client, and task basis. However, Rippling doesn’t provide online solutions for managing and tracking compensation and employee performance.
Rippling Key Features
- Feature-rich platform: Rippling has a wide suite of tools to help you manage various HR, payroll, and IT processes. All of its modules are also integrated, which helps ensure the seamless flow of employee-related data across solutions. However, while it has a feature-rich platform, it lacks the advanced HR tools (like compensation planning and performance management) that TriNet Zenefits offers. It also doesn’t have Gusto’s financial management app and Paychex’s dedicated payroll support.
- Flexible PEO: Unlike Justworks, ADP, and Paychex, Rippling’s PEO solution comes with flexible controls, allowing you to turn it on and off from your online Rippling account and then start using its HR platform again.
What is a PEO? A PEO is a co-employer that provides human resource support so that you can focus on the day-to-day HR tasks. It has reps that run payroll for you, reviews and helps you prepare policies, and provides large-group benefits (meaning at very discounted rates). To learn more about PEOs, check out our guide on the best PEO services for small businesses.
- IT tools: Gusto may have email and software provisioning/deprovisioning tools, but Rippling’s robust network of more than 500 partner systems (Gusto has 180+) makes it easier for you to connect with third-party software that businesses commonly use. Its device management module also helps you manage the inventory of company-assigned laptops and peripherals (like a mouse and keyboard). For your resigning employees, Rippling can remotely deactivate or lock computer access at the end of their last working day.
- Efficient payroll processing: Similar to TriNet Zenefits and the other TriNet Zenefits competitors on our list, Rippling offers full-service payroll with payroll tax filings services and year-end tax reports. Like ADP, it has global payroll tools to help you pay international workers. However, it lacks the low-cost contractor-only payroll package that Gusto offers.
Read our Rippling review to learn more about its features and services.
Justworks: Best TriNet Zenefits Competitor for PEO Services
Not only is Justworks included in our recommended TriNet Zenefits alternatives but it also ranks No. 1 in our guide to the best PEOs. This is mainly because of its pricing and its solid PEO services, which include health insurance benefits, payroll management, and compliance support to help you navigate the complexities of managing and paying employees. It also has basic HR tools such as online onboarding, employee information management, and PTO monitoring.
Its Basic plan compares closely to TriNet Zenefits in terms of features, although TriNet Zenefits can get you health insurance. The Plus Plan surpasses TriNet Zenefits for benefits, however. Like ADP and TriNet, it gets you access to enterprise-level health insurance at discounted prices.
Justworks Key Features
- Payroll processing: Justworks can handle payment processing for employees, contractors, and vendors. Like TriNet Zenefits and the other providers on our list, it provides payroll tax payment and filing services and doesn’t charge extra for year-end reports like ADP and Paychex. However, it lacks multiple payment options, providing payments only via direct deposits and manual paychecks. It also has a schedule for paying out hourly and non-exempt salaried employees, wherein it releases payments every other Friday. If you want flexible payment schedules, consider any of the software in this guide.
- Employee benefits: One of the advantages of getting a PEO service is the access to extensive employee benefits options. As a PEO, Justworks has established partnerships with insurance providers and can negotiate for better rates. The types of benefits available are also diverse, with standard and non-standard options like commuter benefits and fitness memberships. Although, if you want college savings plans, Gusto is a good choice—provided your business is located in one of the 39 states where its health plans are available. You may also want to consider Paychex, as it offers financial management tools (like financial health sessions and short-term loans), and ADP, which provides employee discounts with its partner retail shops.
- HR support: Aside from 24/7 customer support, Justworks offers HR consulting services for all its clients, regardless of their selected plan. Its team of certified HR professionals can help answer your payroll, benefits, compliance, and employee management queries. TriNet Zenefits and Rippling offer this service as a paid add-on, while the other TriNet Zenefits alternatives on our list provide this in their higher tiers.
The features above are just a few that make Justworks one of our top TriNet Zenefits competitors. Discover more of its HR solutions and services in our Justworks review.
Paychex: Best TriNet Zenefits Competitor for Startups & Small Businesses Needing a Dedicated Payroll Specialist
Paychex is an all-in-one payroll, HR, and benefits platform. It is the only service on our list that assigns a dedicated specialist to help with all of your payroll and payroll tax needs. It also has a robust learning management solution, which is comparable to Rippling’s.
While its Flex plan is basic, it has over 300 additional tools that you can add to your plan. This can get pricey but allows you the flexibility to create the best HR program for your needs, all administered by one company. Its primary features include online onboarding, time and attendance tracking, payroll and tax administration, workers’ compensation, and benefits administration. You also get access to a customer service team that, like Justworks, is available 24/7.
Unlike TriNet Zenefits, Paychex offers multiple payment options, allowing you to pay employees through direct deposits, paper checks, pay cards, and pay on-demand. Only Gusto and ADP have this level of flexibility.
Paychex offers more than what’s covered here. Learn more about its payroll platform in our Paychex Flex review.
ADP: Best TriNet Zenefits Competitor for Growing Businesses and Those Needing Global Payroll Tools
ADP offers flexible product options designed to support your business as it grows from five employees to more than 1,000 staff. Its HR and payroll product offerings are wider than any of the providers we reviewed (including TriNet Zenefits), offering various solutions and services for small to large-sized businesses. Like Rippling and Justworks, it has a full-scale PEO service for companies wanting to outsource payroll and HR.
It can also work as a Global PEO, paying employees in over a hundred other countries and providing compliance support. It works with partners if you need an Employer of Record (EoR) for certain countries.
For small businesses, ADP offers a pay processing system, ADP Run, that includes full-service payroll and HR solutions for managing benefits, employee information, and new hire onboarding. Similar to TriNet Zenefits and Paychex, ADP has performance, compensation, and attendance management solutions—although these are add-on products.
ADP Key Features
- Payroll processing: ADP can handle payments for both employees and contractors, including global workers. It pays US-based employees via manual checks, direct deposits, and pay cards (through the Wisely Direct Debit card). If you prefer check payments, ADP provides secure checks with advanced fraud protection features. Check signing and stuffing services are also available. However, you have to pay extra for year-end W2/1099 tax reports—a free feature that TriNet Zenefits, Gusto, Rippling, and Justworks offer.
- Feature-rich HR solution suite: ADP is the only TriNet Zenefits alternative on our list with a robust selection of HR and payroll products. For global payroll alone, ADP has three different products, which scale with you depending on the size of your workforce and the number of countries in which you operate. Even ADP Run has a feature-rich platform, with a combination of payroll and HR tools to help you manage basic HR processes such as job postings, background checks, and new hire onboarding.
- PEO services: Similar to Paychex and Rippling, ADP offers a PEO service if you want expert assistance in managing your day-to-day HR and payroll tasks. However, its PEO solution isn’t as flexible as Rippling, allowing you to turn it on/off and switch to using its HR platform again. With ADP, you have to contact the provider to cancel its PEO service.
How We Evaluated the Top TriNet Zenefits Competitors
To identify the top five TriNet Zenefits competitors, we looked at several platforms that provide nearly the same set of HR, benefits, and payroll features. We then ranked them according to how similar they are to TriNet Zenefits but highlighted the different functionalities to help you decide which software is best for your company. We evaluated each using the following criteria:
25% of Overall Score
Aside from the low or high cost of monthly subscriptions (wherein anything below $50 per employee is best), we looked at whether the provider offered multiple plan options, unlimited payroll runs, zero setup fees, and discounts on annual plans.
30% of Overall Score
HR tools that allow online onboarding, new hire reporting, time and attendance monitoring, compensation and performance management, and employee benefit options that are available in many US states are a must. Plus, having access to HR experts and a self-service portal are also ideal.
10% of Overall Score
20% of Overall Score
Apart from having an interface that’s intuitive and easy to learn, the provider’s system should be able to integrate with commonly used business programs such as QuickBooks, Homebase, and TSheets. Users should also have access to how-to guides and live phone support that’s reliable and quick when it comes to problem resolution.
10% of Overall Score
As much time as we spend on research, it cannot replace the experiences of real-world users. Here we consider scoring on popular review sites like Capterra and G2.
5% of Overall Score
Users should be able to access payroll summaries and customize reports, as well as create new reports within the system.
TriNet Zenefits is a great choice for businesses looking for an integrated platform with HR, payroll, and benefits tools. However, there are other good options that also offer functionalities similar to TriNet Zenefits. Some even provide additional solutions like employee device and app management, learning management, and PEO services.
If you want HR and payroll tools for a reasonable price, Gusto is a great option. It topped our list of best TriNet Zenefits competitors because of its full-service payroll and solid set of HR solutions, which are sufficient enough to handle the entire employee lifecycle—from hiring to retiring. And if you compare TriNet Zenefits vs Gusto for pricing, Gusto is more affordable as its plans already include payroll. This feature costs extra with TriNet Zenefits, and you will end up having to pay more if you have a lot of employees.
Sign up for a Gusto plan today.