Payroll software can automate a lot of payroll processes, reduce the risk of human error, and save a lot of time and resources. But no payroll software offers a one-size-fits-all solution, and no business has the same needs. So, choosing the right payroll tool is more than just a preference but a strategic tool that can significantly impact your business.

Take for example Gusto and QuickBooks. Gusto offers unlimited pay runs, contract-only pricing, and a wide range of HR tools, like employee onboarding tools, health benefits and workers’ compensation.

QuickBooks Payroll, on the other hand, offers seamless integration with other Intuit QuickBooks products. It also provides faster deposit times, and its health insurance coverage is available in 48 states, compared to Gusto’s 38 states and D.C.

Gusto vs QuickBooks: Comparison table

Starting price$40 base fee + $6/ employee/month$45 base fee + $6/employee/month
Full-service payroll with unlimited pay runsYesYes
Tax filings and paymentsYes to all tiersLocal tax filings and payments available in higher tiers only
Global payrollContractors onlyNo
Workers’ compensationYes to all tiersYes, but only in higher-tier plans
Health benefits coverage38 states + D.C.48 states
Built-in expense trackingNoYes
Visit GustoVisit QuickBooks

Gusto vs QuickBooks: Pricing

Both Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll have reasonably priced plans that cater to a range of business sizes and budgets.


Gusto has three pricing plans: Simple, Plus, and Premium

  • Gusto Simple costs $40 per month, plus $6 for every additional employee. It is primarily designed as a solution for small businesses needing full-service payroll capabilities. It includes automatic payroll processing, health benefits administration, employee self-service portal and basic hiring and onboarding features.
  • Gusto Plus costs $80 per month, plus $12 for every additional employee. Plus is tailored for businesses that are ready to expand their operations and need additional HR support. Plus includes everything in the Simple plan, as well as multi-state payroll, next-day direct deposit, time tracking, PTO management, advanced onboarding features with offer letter templates and more.
  • Gusto Premium has custom pricing and is available upon request. The Premium plan is for large enterprises that need a comprehensive payroll processing solution with enhanced support services. It offers personalized HR consulting, access to an HR resource center and customizable employee surveys.
  • Gusto Contractor Only Plan costs $6 per contractor. It also has a $35 per month base fee which Gusto offers for free for the first six months. This includes unlimited contractor payments in all 50 states and new hire reporting. If you want to pay international contractors, this comes as an optional add-on. Prices for the add-ons vary by foreign exchange rates or by state. Additionally, Gusto doesn’t have a free trial, but it has a product demo on its website.

Gusto’s lower base fee ($40) for its Simple plan makes it more affordable than QuickBooks Payroll’s base fee ($45) for its Core plan. Here’s a comparison of their pricing for a small business with 15 employees:

  • Gusto: $130 per month, calculated as $6 x 15 employees plus $40.
  • QuickBooks: $135 per month, calculated as $6 x 15 employees plus $45.


QuickBooks Payroll has three pricing plans: Core, Premium, and Elite.

  • QuickBooks Core costs $45 per month, plus $6 for every additional employee. QuickBooks’ entry-level plan targets small businesses that need a reliable payroll processing tool. It includes full-service payroll, automated taxes and forms, next-day direct deposit and unlimited 1099-MISC & 1099-NEC.
  • QuickBooks Premium costs $80 per month, plus $8 for every additional employee. This plan is ideal for businesses that have remote or field employees. Premium provides a substantial upgrade to what the Core plan offers. It includes mobile time tracking, expert product support and an employee portal.
  • QuickBooks Elite costs $125 per month, plus $10 for every additional employee. This plan is for businesses that need advanced features to manage their complex payroll demands. It has everything Core and Premium offer while adding project management, tax penalty protection and expert setup.
  • Contractor Payments Plan costs $15 for 20 contractors and $2 for every additional contractor. If you compare it with Gusto, QB’s contractor plan costs less. If you have 20 contractors, Gusto costs $155 (calculated as $6 x 20 contractors, plus $35 base fee).

QuickBooks’ pricing is more transparent than Gusto’s, ensuring that businesses can align their budget with the available tiers without worrying about hidden fees or extra charges. This also helps businesses anticipate when it’s the right time to transition to a higher plan.

Gusto vs QuickBooks: Feature comparison

Based on the features we presented above, Gusto is ideal for businesses that need both payroll and HR tools. QuickBooks, on the other hand, is for businesses that are already using QuickBooks accounting software.

Payroll features

Winner: Tie

Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll have similar features, such as unlimited payroll runs, tax calculations, filing and payment services. Both of them also bring unique features to the table.

Gusto has global payroll services that allow businesses to pay contractors in more than 120 countries. It also handles local tax filing and payments in its basic plan—a feature only available in QuickBooks’ higher plans. Furthermore, Gusto Wallet, Gusto’s payment app, allows businesses to pay employees on demand. Gusto also has budgeting tools and offers higher savings interest rates than traditional payroll.

However, if you need next-day direct deposit, QuickBooks has these features in its basic plan. Gusto offers these features only in its higher-tiered plans. QuickBooks also offers multi-state payroll in its starter plan, making it an ideal choice for businesses that have several employees in different states.

HR and benefits

Winner: Gusto

Both Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll offer an employee self-service portal where employees can view their payslips and benefits anytime. They also provide access to expert HR support where you can get advice regarding payroll and compliance. However, Gusto stands out with its comprehensive HR support and benefits administration.

Some of Gusto’s HR capabilities include job postings, hiring, new hire state reporting, online offer letters and performance review management. Its Plus and Premium plans have self-evaluation and goal-setting features. When it comes to benefits administration, Gusto includes health insurance, 401(k) and college savings plans. These features are seamlessly integrated into its payroll platform.

While Gusto has robust HR and benefits options, its health insurance coverage is limited to 38 states only. So, if your business is located in any of the 12 states it doesn’t cover, you could end up not having a health plan. QuickBooks covers all 48 states and is only unavailable in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Vermont.


Winner: Gusto

In our evaluation, Gusto has a wider range of reporting tools that make workforce and financial analysis easier. It allows you to create 19 reports which are easily accessible and five other types of reports for different situations like tax deferrals, tax payments, year-end summaries and payroll history. Most of all, these reports are highly customizable.

QuickBooks also has pre-made reports, but they vary depending on the version (online or desktop) you are using. The desktop version has a wider range of reports available. Only this version allows users to create and save custom reports.


Winner: Gusto

When evaluating Gusto and QuickBooks in terms of third-party integrations, Gusto seamlessly connects with different accounting software, time tracking tools and benefits management systems. It is also designed to integrate with popular HR management applications like 15Five, Greenhouse, Sapling, BambooHR and many more. These integrations further expand Gusto’s ecosystem to cater to the different operational needs of a business.

Meanwhile, QuickBooks primarily integrates with other Intuit products. Although it also integrates with other third-party applications, you need its accounting software before you can do that. Then, you have to manually transfer data from the accounting system to QuickBooks Payroll.

Gusto pros and cons

Pros of Gusto

  • Reasonably priced plans.
  • Integrates with more than 130 third-party software.
  • A rich set of HR features even at its lower-priced plans.

Cons of Gusto

  • Potentially higher costs as additional features are used.
  • Health insurance is not available in 12 states.
  • Next-day deposit is available only in higher-priced tiers.

QuickBooks pros and cons

Pros of QuickBooks

  • Seamless integration with QuickBooks, simplifying the accounting process.
  • Tax penalty protection.
  • Same-day and next-day direct deposit options.

Cons of QuickBooks

  • Limited HR features.
  • Basic plan has no local tax filings and payments.
  • Health insurance not available in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, and Vermont.

Should your organization use Gusto or QuickBooks?

Choose Gusto if . . .

  • HR tools are as important as payroll.
  • You have international contractors on your payroll.
  • You use a variety of third-party software and applications.

Choose QuickBooks if . . .

  • You are already using QuickBooks for your accounting.
  • You want a next-day deposit option that costs less.
  • You want health benefits that cover more states.


To evaluate and compare Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll, we looked at their websites and third-party review websites for their star ratings and also to get well-rounded insights on what users say about them. We also looked at demos available on the providers’ websites, as well as user-created videos on using the platforms. After that, we compared their pricing and the features they offer for each pricing tier.

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Stay up to date on the latest in technology with Daily Tech Insider. We bring you news on industry-leading companies, products, and people, as well as highlighted articles, downloads, and top resources. You’ll receive primers on hot tech topics that will help you stay ahead of the game. Delivered Weekdays