Gusto vs ADP Payroll: Which To Choose

Sections of this topic

    Are you looking for easy-to-use payroll software for your business that offers full-service features and customer support to answer your questions? This comparison of Gusto vs ADP Payroll software goes into detail to help you determine which is the best choice for your company and needs.

    The right payroll service makes it simple to process each payroll run while tracking data and compiling the reports you need to analyze and manage your business. We looked at pricing, payroll processing, tax filing features, direct deposit, employee portal access, and more to discover how these popular payroll software options measure up.

    Gusto logo

    Gusto: Best for Overall Value

    Gusto is a top choice in payroll software. Originally founded in 2012 under the name ZenPayroll, it has developed into a powerhouse payroll and reporting software for customers.

    One of the best things about Gusto is that you get access to many important features even with its core plan. Each of the three tiers includes automated payroll and direct deposit for unlimited payroll runs. Tax filing for all levels of government for both W-2 employees and 1099 contractors is also included. Access even more features, such as time-tracking and HR services, with the higher-priced tiers.

    Gusto is great to help you with the setup that comes with the start of a new business. Manage every aspect of your payroll and reporting needs with a self-onboarding system. You can automate your payroll tasks to limit errors and help the process run smoothly and handle all the essentials from one convenient and easy-to-use interface.

    One of the biggest downsides to Gusto is the limited customer service hours. It is only available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST. Read the Gusto review if this software sounds like the right choice for you.

    • No hidden fees
    • No extra cost for tax filing in multiple states
    • Low-priced option for companies with contractors only and no W-2 employees
    • Pricier than some other options
    • Customer support unavailable during the evenings and weekends
    • No mobile app


    Gusto gives you a choice of four plan tiers to choose from:

    • Core at $39 per month plus an additional $6 per employee
    • Complete at $39 per month plus an additional $12 per employee
    • Concierge at $149 per month plus an additional $12 per employee
    • Contractor at no monthly fee and $6 per person
    ADP Run logo

    ADP Payroll: Best for Large or Complex Businesses

    ADP Payroll
     has more than 70 years of experience in the payroll industry, offering you knowledge and expertise you can trust. It has a range of plans to choose from to get what you need from your payroll software.

    The area where ADP truly shines is the additional features that make running a large or complex business simple. Higher priced plans assist you with HR support, recruiting, and onboarding. All plans give you access to customer support that is available 24/7, so you can get answers and assistance whenever you need it.

    One drawback of ADP Payroll is that you can’t see the cost of all plans upfront to compare them. You must first request a quote after answering some questions about your business to see the prices of plans that may suit your needs. Read the ADP review to learn more about this software.

    • 24/7 customer service availability
    • Customizable for growing companies
    • Mobile access
    • Difficult to access pricing without requesting a quote
    • Hidden and additional fees
    • Interface may be overly complex for small businesses


    ADP Payroll’s prices are hard to find. It has a basic plan that starts at $29 per month plus an additional $5 for each employee. The cost of higher-level tiers is not accessible without requesting a quote.

    Pricing & Features Comparison

    The price and range of features of your chosen payroll software determine the value you get from the product. You want something that has the capabilities to perform all the functions your business requires, without paying more for services you won’t use.

    Go on a deep dive into Gusto and ADP Payroll to learn more about each option. We compare all the major features and considerations that you should take into account when making your selection.

    Key Features


    Starting at $39 monthly plus $6 per employee


    Ease of Use

    Simple interface, lacks a mobile app

    Complex for small businesses, excellent for growing companies

    Mobile access

    Customer Support

    Limited to M-F business hours


    Business Size

    Ideal for small businesses

    Best for large businesses

    Employee Portal

    Yes, lifetime access

    Yes, up to three years of pay history

    Direct Deposit

    Next-day direct deposit


    Reporting and Tax Filing

    Federal, state, and local tax filing

    Available for multiple states

    Federal, state, and local tax filing


    The cost of your payroll software is likely one of your primary concerns. You want high value at a reasonable cost. You should also only pay for the payroll services that you need to run your business. Small companies normally don’t require as many bells and whistles as more complex businesses.


    Transparent pricing and multiple tiers to choose from make Gusto an excellent choice. While its prices are slightly higher than some other competing payroll companies, Gusto is still highly affordable and a great value.

    ADP Payroll 

    ADP Payroll pricing is difficult to determine or compare. The company uses quote-based pricing. This can be a useful way to find the exact plan that meets your business’s needs without paying more than you need. However, the lack of transparent pricing can be frustrating for business owners who are shopping for the right payroll service.

    Winner: Gusto. Although it’s hard to know what you’ll pay for ADP for small business payroll, Gusto’s pricing is transparent and relatively affordable.

    Ease of Use

    Your payroll software must have an interface that is easy to use so you can navigate to the appropriate tool and carry out tasks promptly.


    This payroll software is simple for most users, although it does lack mobile access. Step-by-step guides and autoprocessing features make it a snap to use.

    ADP Payroll

    If you have a complex or growing business, ADP Payroll can simplify your payroll and reporting processes. The interface is accessible from both desktop and mobile, with a host of tools and resources available to explain any process you may be unfamiliar with.

    Winner: ADP. Both Gusto and ADP are relatively easy to use, but ADP’s mobile app makes the payroll software more accessible.

    Business Size

    The size of your company plays a big role in determining the right payroll software. Smaller businesses are normally better off with a simple interface, while larger businesses may require access to additional features that make operating the software more complex.


    Gusto is easy to use for nearly any company size but is especially great for small business payroll. Take advantage of the helpful setup to get started right, knowing you have all the bases covered.

    ADP Payroll

    If your business is expanding, then ADP Payroll is likely the better choice for you. It has plans that offer a wide range of services, including more complex options for recruiting and HR processes for large businesses.

    Winner: ADP. Larger businesses would do better with ADP because it allows more room for growth.

    Employee Portal

    High-quality payroll software should offer an employee portal for self-service. Managing your business takes a lot of time. You can reduce the inquiries from employees needing access to lost paystubs and past work history by letting them access this information themselves.


    All of your employees have lifetime access to Gusto’s employee portal. This makes it simple to view pay stubs, prior W-2s, and more.

    ADP Payroll

    ADP also provides access to an employee portal to access employee pay history. However, your employees can only view three years of past W-2s or 1099s.

    Winner: Gusto. Although the employee portals from Gusto and ADP are similar, Gusto’s lifetime access for employees narrowly beats ADP’s three-year limit.

    Direct Deposit

    Employers and employees alike love direct deposit. It’s fast, simple, and minimizes the risk of late paychecks due to error.


    Gusto provides next-day direct deposit for your employees.

    ADP Payroll

    ADP Payroll also offers direct deposit. It’s unclear whether this service is the same day, next-day, or varies by plan.

    Winner: Gusto. It’s hard to beat next-day direct deposit. 

    Reporting and Tax Filing

    Keeping track of payroll data and filing the required tax forms is essential for your business. With payroll software, it’s a breeze to create reports for specific periods and file your quarterly and end-of-year tax forms.


    With Gusto, you can calculate, file, and pay your taxes for federal, state, and local agencies. If you do business in more than one state, you can file in multiple locations without any added fees.

    ADP Payroll

    ADP Payroll also calculates, files, and pays your federal, state, and local taxes.

    Winner: Tie. Both payroll services help you with filing your taxes.

    Customer Service

    Customer service is a crucial part of any business. The availability and level of service can easily affect the performance of your company and therefore your trust in your payroll software. In a comparison of Gusto vs ADP Payroll customer service, ADP offers better support options.


    Gusto’s customer support is limited to the hours of 6 a.m. through 5 p.m. PST on Monday through Friday. While this is probably adequate for most businesses that also operate during these hours, the lack of support available on weekends or during the evening falls short. During Gusto’s support hours, you can get assistance by phone, chat, or email.

    ADP Payroll

    ADP Payroll has superior customer service. Both phone and online chat support are available 24/7. This offers greater flexibility and convenience to run your business whenever you want, without waiting hours or even days to get answers to your pressing questions or concerns.

    Winner: ADP. Gusto offers decent support, but ADP gives you more access to its support team through 24/7 phone and chat channels.

    Customer Reviews

    Both Gusto and ADP Payroll have mainly positive customer reviews. However, the limited availability of Gusto’s Monday through Friday service falls short of the 24/7 options offered by ADP Payroll and has affected some customers’ opinions.

    Gusto Customer Reviews

    Most customers report a good experience with Gusto payroll software. However, there are some complaints regarding customer service, stating the wait times can be lengthy. Customer favorite features include reliable service, a great web portal, and a direct deposit function. The mobile access is rated as average, while time tracking and integration options are slightly below average. Gusto has received a G2 rating of 4.3 out of 5.

    ADP Payroll Customer Reviews

    The user-friendly interface that offers step-by-step guidance is a popular customer favorite with ADP Payroll. The straightforward platform makes even complex businesses easy to manage. The mobile app is considered to be excellent, although customer service reviews are mixed. ADP Payroll has a 3.9 out of 5 rating on G2.

    Winner: Gusto. Gusto has more favorable reviews than ADP overall, though it’s fair to say both payroll software gets mixed reviews from customers.

    Alternative Payroll Software Options

    Small business owners can also check out these other payroll software options.

    Intuit QuickBooks is a popular accounting software for small businesses. Payroll software from QuickBooks easily integrates with the main platform to offer full-service bookkeeping for small businesses of one to 50 employees.

    QuickBooks Payroll is cloud-based and simple to use. You are guided through the various features with step-by-step prompting and explanations. If you have questions, its customer support is excellent, with both phone and chat options available. This is a solid option to handle all your payroll needs, including tax filing and employee portal access.

    • Integrates easily with your existing QuickBooks accounting software
    • Fast direct deposit on the same or next day
    • Automate your tax filing
    • Additional filing fees applicable with some plans
    • Must purchase a higher-tier plan to unlock some premium features
    • Integration is limited unless you have QuickBooks online


    QuickBooks Payroll offers three plans to select from:

    • The Core plan costs $45 each month plus an additional $4 for each employee per month; this plan gives you auto payroll and tax features and next-day direct deposit
    • The Premium plan price is $75 plus $8 per employee for a month’s access, with all the features of QuickBooks Core with same-day direct deposit, HR support, and time tracking
    • The Elite plan is the highest price at $125 per month plus $10 per employee per month, providing the complete features of QuickBooks Payroll, including expert setup

    Paychex Flex offers easy setup and impressive reporting capabilities to file all of your tax forms at the federal, state, and local levels. This scalable payroll software can grow with your business, offering varying tiers to match the size of your company. Another great feature of Paychex is the mobile app, which lets you conduct business from anywhere, at any time. For a more in-depth analysis on this software, check out our Paychex review.

    • Excellent reporting features
    • 24/7 support available
    • Mobile app for on-the-go use
    • Must request a quote to access pricing for higher-tier plans
    • Some hidden fees associated with setup
    • Customer support has mixed reviews


    Get the Essentials plan for $39 per month plus $5 for each employee. All other plans require that you request a customized quote.

    OnPay is an affordable payroll service for small and medium-sized businesses. The interface is easy to use and offers unlimited payroll runs. You can pay both W-2 employees and 1099 contract workers. OnPay is a streamlined software that doesn’t have a lot of additional features, but if you are looking for something simple, this is a good choice.

    • Simplified pricing with one plan that includes everything
    • Integrates with third-party software
    • HR support
    • Best for desktop use
    • No fast direct deposit
    • Some customers say that support response times are slow


    Onpay offers simple pricing. Get access to all payroll features for a base fee of $36 per month with an additional $4 per employee per month.

    Bottom Line on Gusto Vs ADP Payroll

    After looking more closely at Gusto Vs ADP Payroll software, they both have some excellent features that make them great options for your business. Both are customer favorites with a  wide range of services and useful tools. However, Gusto has an advantage over ADP Payroll, making it the overall preferred choice.

    Gusto Payroll software gives you access to more features, even with the basic tier package. With both, you can process payroll, offer direct deposit to your employees, and file all required taxes. Gusto’s core package also allows you to administer your company’s health benefits and manage worker’s compensation. You can even complete specialized employee payroll features like wage garnishments for employees. These types of features are only available with ADP Payroll if you enroll in a higher-cost tier.