Both Rippling and Paychex champion customizability. And the two competitors are well-suited for small businesses.

Still, these dueling contenders aren’t interchangeable. Rippling is stronger with international growth. Plus, it specializes in managing employees’ information technology (IT) equipment. But it falls short of proactive legal compliance.

Meanwhile, Paychex is a beloved favorite for traditional entities that aren’t so tech-centric. Managing hourly workers is one of its specialties, and it goes above and beyond to aid with legal adherence.

Let’s break down the details to determine your preferred payroll software.

Recommended Alternative: GustoSPONSORED

Looking for an alternative to Rippling or Paychex? Gusto is one of the best payroll software options for small and midsize businesses in any industry. With more payroll features than practically any product on the market, it's ideal for first-time employers who want user-friendly, fully automated payroll with next-to-no learning curve.

Rippling vs. Paychex: Comparison table

Our rating4.3 out of 54 out of 54.6 out of 5
Starting monthly price$35 + $8 per employee$39 + $5 per employee$40 + $6 per employee
Extensive HR managementYesNoNo
Fully automated onboardingNoYesYes
Time and attendanceYes, for additional feeYesYes
International SupportYesThrough third-party vendors onlyNo
Customer supportPrimarily chat and email, with phone during business hours24/7 via phone, email and chatChat and digital help center, with phone during business hours
Visit RipplingVisit PaychexVisit Gusto

Rippling vs. Paychex: Pricing


Rippling starts at $35 plus $8 a month per employee. This package includes payroll, time tracking, employee onboarding and access to Rippling Unity, among other features. Additional services like benefits administration and global payroll are available at extra costs.

Unfortunately, the company doesn’t reveal costs for any add-ons or higher subscription tiers. Still, this starting price aligns with most competitors, like Gusto and Patriot Software.

For more information, check out our full Rippling review.


Paychex also hides pricing on more complex subscription packages. However, its entry-level option, Flex, starts at $39 per month plus $5 for each employee — a full $3 less per person than Rippling, which can make a big difference if you have a larger workforce. At this level, you’ll get payroll and some personnel management tools, like onboarding and full-service tax filing.

For more information, check out our full Paychex review.

Rippling vs. Paychex: Feature comparison

Best for global support: Rippling

Rippling shines with its superior international capabilities. Nearly every administrative need, from payroll to tax filing to onboarding, is localized and in-house. There is no need for third-party contractors, like Paychex mandates. Everything you do domestically can also be done abroad without leaving the platform.

There are also local HR and compliance experts available in many countries. So, if you need personalized consulting about expanding overseas, Rippling is your best friend.

Best for integrations and customization: Rippling

Rippling boasts over 500 third-party integrations, including well-known entries like PayPal and Microsoft Office and lesser-known platforms like Brex and Yubikey.

It’s not just software connections. You can also trick out Rippling with unique functions and appearances. The title’s marketplace includes user-made accounting formulas, workflows and employee surveys, which are all called “recipes.” This personalization and integration capacity makes for a hyper-tailored workflow.

Best for small team operations: Paychex

Paychex impresses with its abundant time-saving perks. You won’t need a full administrative team to make the most of the platform.

For starters, its Pre-check feature lets employees verify their own time cards. This outsourced approach means you only tend to report errors rather than reviewing people’s punch cards for them. Plus, it reduces common errors and lets staffers preview their next paycheck, helping them budget.

And there’s more beyond that: Paychex offers full-service business insurance services. Live support is available 24/7, and the title automatically reports events like wage garnishment and new hires to the proper authorities. Plus, if you ever feel stuck, human resource professionals are available for consultations.

Best for hazardous industries: Paychex

If your business is chock full of safety mandates, then Paychex is your friend.

Paychex provides a Safety Representative to help assess risk exposure. This professional can then recommend steps to help you meet OSHA requirements. Their analysis includes identifying applicable legal requirements, creating a safety manual and discovering areas prone to accidents. The company can also assist you with monitoring workplace injuries and fire code adherence.

Beyond OSHA compliance, Paychex offers various services to ensure businesses are fully covered. This array includes help with COBRA administration, workers’ compensation insurance, state unemployment insurance and FMLA.

Paychex also reports that it has people involved in the day-to-day operations of lawmakers and government agencies. As a result, the title is quicker to adapt to changing laws, even before they become official — so you’re exposed to less risk and legal burdens.

Rippling pros and cons

Pros of Rippling

  • Extensive customization and integration options.
  • Global payroll.
  • Comprehensive HR and IT management solutions.

Cons of Rippling

  • Unclear pricing.
  • No free trial.

Paychex pros and cons

Pros of Paychex

  • Fully automated onboarding.
  • HR management, benefits administration and compliance support.
  • Superior legal compliance, such as required employee trainings, OSHA guidance and other services.

Cons of Paychex

  • No global payroll.
  • Not as much HR management.

Should your organization use Rippling or Paychex?

Choose Rippling if…

  • Your business operates globally and requires payroll support for international employees.
  • You’re seeking a highly customizable and integrative payroll and HR solution.
  • You’re a high-tech business with lots of IT assets to track.

Choose Paychex if…

  • You need a comprehensive solution that includes payroll, HR and compliance support.
  • You have a more traditional business with hourly employees.
  • You prefer full-service assistance with setup, insurance, human resource compliance and more.

For more help deciding which payroll software is right for you, take advantage of our payroll services comparison tool.


We conducted a detailed review of each platform’s pricing, features and scalability and how they serve the specific needs of businesses. We focused on each brand’s pros and cons, ability to meet the demands of global operations, customizability and comprehensive service offerings, among other factors.

If you’d like to know more about how we rate payroll software, review our payroll methodology page.

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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