OnPay vs Gusto Payroll: Which Is the Best for Your Business?

In this OnPay vs Gusto review, we’ll dive into the features of two of the most well-known payroll providers on the market. Both OnPay and Gusto are competitively priced, with a wealth of powerful features that help small and medium-sized businesses simplify payroll management and enhance the HR team’s productivity.

OnPay is our pick for our small businesses looking for an affordable, easy-to-use payroll solution, while Gusto is our top choice for growing organizations that are happy to spend a little more in return for enhanced HR features.

Let’s take a look at why in-depth.

OnPay vs Gusto At a Glance

OnPay Gusto
Starting Price $40 per month + $6 per employee $40 per month + $6 per employee
Free Plan N/A N/A
Tax Filing Automated federal, state, and local tax filings and W-2 and 1099 processing Full-service single-state payroll and W-2s and 1099s
Employee Benefits Management health, dental, retirement and more Medical, dental, 529 college savings and more
Employee Portal Good range of integrations Excellent range of integrations
Integrations External integrations External integrations
General HR Onboarding
HR templates
Basic onboarding tools
Customer Support Human support available Monday – Friday 24/7 support
Read Review OnPay Review Gusto Review

OnPay vs Gusto Pricing Compared

OnPay and Gusto are both highly affordable payroll providers. The major difference between them is that OnPay offers a flat-fee monthly plan, while Gusto offers tiered plans that unlock more features the more you pay.

Provider 1 Provider 2
Free Version No No
Contractor only N/A $35 per month + $6 per employee
Starter $40 per month + $6 per employee $40 per month + $6 per employee
Advanced N/A $80/mo + $12/mo per person
Premium N/A Bespoke

OnPay’s plan and Gusto’s starter plan cost exactly the same. However, OnPay’s plan has more features than Gusto’s starter plan. With OnPay, you can run multi-state payroll, manage PTO, and access a wealth of features that simplify the onboarding process. Gusto’s basic plan doesn’t have these features. It only allows single-state payroll, doesn’t include PTO management, and only offers basic onboarding capabilities.

However, when you invest in Gusto’s Advanced plan, you’ll get access to all of OnPay’s features and much more, including next-day direct deposits, geo-location-infused time tracking, and talent management capabilities.

While Gusto’s Advanced plan does have a big jump in price, the quality and quantity of the features mean the fee is still reasonable. In that sense, we wouldn’t say one provider is better priced than the other. Rather, they target different audiences. We would recommend OnPay’s basic plan over Gusto’s for small organizations that need a basic payroll and HR solution.

Gusto, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for fast-growing or established organizations looking for a platform that can scale their business.

OnPay vs Gusto Payroll Ease of Use

Winner: OnPay

Gusto and OnPay both boast clean, modern, intuitive interfaces. Getting set up is a breeze. Both platforms guide you through the process with setup wizards, and each dashboard is highly user-friendly.

OnPay’s dashboard has the extra edge of being customizable, allowing you to choose the widgets you’d like to see when you first open the software. Gusto doesn’t have this–although it’s definitely not a deal breaker.

Moreover, because OnPay has slightly fewer features than Gusto’s Advanced plan, the interface is less intimidating, with fewer features to click through and learn how to use.

Because of this, we rate OnPay as easier to use than Gusto. However, for medium-sized organizations, the simplicity of OnPay could actually be a hindrance, as they may require the more comprehensive features Gusto offers.

OnPay vs Gusto Key Features

Winner: Gusto

While the features in OnPay’s plan trump Gusto’s basic plan, the capabilities you unlock in Gusto’s higher-tiered plans are a cut above. Here, we’ll look at the standout features of both platforms in more detail, helping you to decide which payroll provider best suits your needs.

Payroll (overall)

Running payroll on both Gusto and OnPay is simple. Both offer automated features, unlimited payroll runs, and automated tax filings across states. The major advantages of Gusto are, firstly, its next-day deposit feature, which allows you to run payroll the day before payment, while OnPay takes up to four days to process deposits.

Moreover, Gusto also offers an auto-pay feature, which allows you to put the whole payroll process on auto-pilot. For salaried workers, this is a huge advantage. OnPay, on the other hand, doesn’t have an auto-pay feature. You can only run payroll for the time period at hand, and you’ll have to manually do this each month.

However, OnPay does have one major payroll advantage over Gusto, and that is its thoughtful sector-focused offerings. OnPay, for example, automates overtime hours and minimum wage calculations for hourly employees and has offerings to help with specific tax filing requirements for the agriculture and nonprofit sectors.

So, while Gusto is better for enterprises overall, OnPay may be a better option for farms, nonprofits, and restaurants.

Time Tracking

Gusto also wins when it comes to time tracking, which it offers natively with its higher-tiered plans. Gusto’s time-tracking features are excellent. Your employees can easily clock in and out via the Gusto mobile app or web browser. Alternatively, you can use Gusto’s Time Kiosk function to turn a tablet device into a time clock.

Gusto then amalgamates all the hours in the backend dashboard, making it quick and simple for HR professionals to approve them. We also love the data-based insights Gusto produces based on hours, helping managers and HR professionals to understand workforce costing, PTO accrual and overtime without the need to enter any manual data.

OnPay, on the other hand, doesn’t have a time-tracking feature. You’ll need to integrate your time tracking and accounting software with the platform.

Tax Support/Automation

Both Gusto and OnPay take care of the tax process for you across states, including contractor 1099s. However, Onpay slightly takes the lead because it offers multi-state tax support with its most basic plan. With Gusto, you’ll need to pay for the higher tier plan to unlock this feature.

Employee Portal

Gusto and OnPay both feature user-friendly employee portals that are a joy to use, but Gusto’s offering is more comprehensive. With OnPay, employees can access their pay stubs, employment docs, and tax forms, and the onboarding process is automated on your behalf.

Gusto’s employee portal offers this and more, with beautifully designed in-built onboarding checklists, goal-setting functionality, and L&D courses. While small organizations might not need these features, they would be perfect for larger organizations looking for a comprehensive payroll and HR software suite.

OnPay vs Gusto Integrations

Winner: Gusto

When it comes to integrations, Gusto also takes the win. While OnPay offers integrations with QuickBooks, Xero, and a handful of time tracking and productivity apps, Gusto comes with a huge range of integration options, spanning point-of-sale, business operations, legal and compliance, and more.

For small businesses with basic structures, all of these integrations might be overwhelming, but larger organizations will appreciate the ability to collate and access all of their data in one interface.

OnPay vs Gusto Scalability

Winner: Gusto

Because Gusto offers a range of in-depth HR and performance management features, as well as payroll, it takes the lead when it comes to scalability. This software is perfect for organizations that plan to grow. OnPay, on the other hand, isn’t as scalable. However, because its plan is a lot cheaper than Gusto’s advanced plan, it is a great choice for small businesses that don’t plan to hire many employees.

OnPay vs Gusto Payroll Customer Reviews

So far, Gusto is our top choice for expanding organizations, while OnPay is our pick for small businesses. But that’s just our take. We also wanted to see what other users thought of each platform, so we took to TrustPilot and G2 to gather real-world feedback.

Across both platforms, users praised Gusto for its ease of use and broad functionality, although some noted that the time-tracking features can be difficult to set up. With OnPay, users also praised the platform for its cost-efficiency but criticized the lack of an auto-pay feature.

A customer review of Gusto on TrustPilot

A customer review of OnPay on TrustPilot

Conclusion – OnPay vs Gusto: Which One Wins?

Overall, Gusto’s mid-tier plan beats OnPay as the best payroll provider. With a wealth of HR features and fantastic reporting and analytics, Gusto is an excellent choice for growing and established companies seeking to automate the payroll process. Saying that, for smaller companies looking to prioritize affordability, OnPay is a better option. The basic plan is perfect for small companies that want an easy-to-use payroll solution.

How We Test Payroll Software

When we compare payroll providers, we look at the following factors:

  • Pricing – We explore the pricing and plans of both platforms to decide which is the best value for the money.
  • Features – We test the features of each provider, looking at speed, usability, and functionality.
  • Integrations – We look at the number of integrations offered by each platform.
  • Automation – We test each provider’s automation capabilities.
  • Ease of use – We put ourselves in the shoes of someone who has never used payroll software before, assessing how intuitive it is to use each platform.
  • Third-Party Reviews – We seek out third-party reviews to bring you a broader perspective on each platform.

How to Choose the Best Payroll Software

Choosing payroll software is an important business decision. It’s wise to consider carefully before purchasing to prevent problems later on. So, here are the critical factors to keep in mind:

  • Price Look for a platform that fits your pricing needs both now and in the future. Check for hidden costs and extras that could reduce cost-efficiency.
  • FeaturesMake sure the platform offers all the features you need to run payroll easily.
  • ScalabilityIf you’re planning to grow, does the platform have the capabilities to scale with your business?
  • Ease of use – Look for a platform that is easy to use for both you and your employees.
  • Integrations – Verify that the provider integrates with your business-critical applications.
  • Customer support – Make sure customer support is easily accessible. Ideally, you’ll pick a provider with 24/7 support.


What is the difference between OnPay and Gusto?

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When is OnPay better than Gusto?

Hannah Pisani
Tech Expert

Hannah Pisani is a seasoned writer with a keen focus on the intersection between technology and the evolving nature of work. Over the last five years, she has written content for numerous leading technology brands, including Microsoft, AWS and Oracle. She regularly contributes to international technology publications such as Silicon Angle, Cloudwards and Techopedia. Hannah's depth of knowledge encompasses HR software, cybersecurity, SaaS tools and marketing optimization. She thrives on leveraging her expertise to empower business leaders, guiding them towards informed decisions that optimize efficiency and drive productivity.