Product Review

The Best Essay Checker The 5 best tested & ranked.

Daniel Midson-Short
October 8, 2019

Essays are a daily reality for every single high school and college-level student.

The good news is that you don’t exactly need to be Hemingway. Teachers and professors are less concerned with your writing prowess, and more concerned with the accuracy of what you’re saying.

Unfortunately, plagiarism is an all-too-common risk.

Spelling and grammar slips are manageable. But even unintentional plagiarism can sink your academic career.

Fortunately, there are tons of essay checkers out there to help avoid this fate.

Not all grammar and plagiarism checkers are created equal, though. You want to make sure that the program that you’re using is accurate, affordable, and user-friendly. That’s why we’ve compiled this list, comparing four different grammar and plagiarism checkers, grading them on a slew of criteria to help you decide which program is right for you.

Now, let’s get into the individual grammar checkers and plagiarism checker software that can help.

Our Verdict

Grammarly is the best all-around essay checker, hands down. We’ve tested over two dozen grammar and plagiarism checkers — and no one comes close.

Grammarly Best All-Around

$11.66 monthly
  • 86% out of 86% accuracy
  • 16+ billion database
  • 150k word limit
  • 5 device limit
  • Includes plagiarism
  • 1 hour response
  • Only English
  • $11.66/mo

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1. Grammarly

Grammarly is our number one rated best essay checker for plagiarism and grammar.

Students can take advantage of Grammarly’s spell checker, plagiarism checker tool, punctuation, and grammar abilities by utilizing their free program to check for plagiarism. Anyone looking for more advanced feedback and plagiarism detection would have to use Grammarly Premium, their paid subscription service.

Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker online service can be useful for students on the high school level, but the best essay checker may prove too limited for college students.

Using the free service, students can check the spelling and grammar of their essays by uploading or pasting their content into Grammarly’s website. The system then goes through what you’ve submitted and gives you feedback based on its findings.

Free users can also utilize Grammarly’s browser extension, which corrects content that you’re writing on different websites. This can include social media channels and emails. While that doesn’t have much of an impact on educational work, students can still get some extra use out of Grammarly in this regard.

Grammarly Premium is where the checker online service really shines.

As you can see, it comes at quite the cost. Yearly subscriptions can be purchased for $139.95, which comes out to $11.66 per month, or you could take it on a month-to-month basis for $29.95 per month.

The monthly rate may be a bit stiff for your average student, but we’ve found that the annual and quarterly plans are far more reasonable based on everything you get.

For starters, Grammarly Premium has an advanced grammar checker that not only offers suggestions on how to correct mistakes, but it also offers powerful grammar checking and teaches you how to avoid falling into that trap in the future.

Grammarly Premium also helps your writing become more dynamic, fighting against a passive voice with vocabulary suggestions, which helps make it the best essay checker out there. It isolates overused terms and offers you suggestions on how to fix them.

Grammarly’s plagiarism checker is top-notch for writing help. We ran a sample article through its system that was loaded with plagiarized content. It identified 86% of the content as problematic. It told us that there were 60 instances of plagiarism that came from 11 different web sources.

The only real downsides to Grammarly are its language limitations and the overall price, which lags behind some of the other writing tools on the market. Grammarly is the best essay checker, but it only supports the English language, which leaves a large percentage of the world’s population out.

The price, as we’ve mentioned before, is a bit high. But the old adage that you get what you pay for rings especially true in Grammarly’s case.

2. WhiteSmoke

WhiteSmoke is a more affordable alternative to Grammarly. Established in 2002, WhiteSmoke offers an affordable, accurate, user-friendly online proofreading software for both Mac and Windows users. WhiteSmoke serves many of the same purposes as Grammarly. It checks for spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as punctuation mistakes and sentence structure issues. 

WhiteSmoke works on virtually all browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. If you’d like more features than that, you can pay for WhiteSmoke Premium, which starts at $6.95 per month. The paid platform offers additional support, as well as apps for Windows and Mac. There are three different levels of paid WhiteSmoke platforms, running all the way up to about $18 per month. 

While WhiteSmoke is a very affordable grammar checker, it’s not as fast or easy to use as Grammarly. You’ll also have to take an additional step when compared to Grammarly, in that you’ve got to copy and paste your final version to a text document.

3. QueText

Quetext is another free plagiarism checker, and it’s commonly ranked as one of the best online. Offering advanced technology and comprehensive security measures, Quetext offers one of the largest searchable databases of web pages, journals, and books, which is excellent for catching duplicate content. 

QueText offers a few unique features: not only does it provide plagiarism detection for duplicate content, but it also offers citation assistants to improve writing. Because of this, it’s used by more than 2 million users, including teachers, students, professional writers, and more.

While Quetext offers free plagiarism features, it also offers a paid premium service, which starts at about $9 a month.

Premium features include basic search, deep search, an unlimited number of both searches and reports, a 25,000 word limit per search, file uploads, PDF report exports, premium support, and more.

2. BibMe

BibMe is specifically marketed to the educational sector, mostly to students.

Like most of the services on our list, BibMe has a free essay checker and grammar and punctuation tool, as well as a paid premium plan. The free version is incredibly simplistic and I fear it may be useless to students regardless of their education level.

As you can see above, they limit their free offerings to 20 suggestions for improving sentence structure, punctuation errors, writing style, and english grammar. So, if you have more than 20 grammar errors, you’re going to be missing out. It also offers no plagiarism checks whatsoever.

Both their free and premium grammar check tool version share the ability to add citations and a bibliography into your writing paper that adhere to multiple styles and types. While that’s great, it doesn’t undo the limitations of the free version.

Their Premium Plan’s pricing is pretty great. For $9.95 per month you get unlimited suggestions on grammar, spell checker, punctuation, and so on. You also get unlimited checks for plagiarism and missing citations. The system comes with a free three-day trial, so you can try BibMe out on one of your essays to see how you like it. At the end of those three days it will auto charge your card, so if you find the system lacking, it’s important to remember to cancel.

I really liked BibMe’s system, as it was very thorough and went through our sample content with a fine tooth comb.

Their plagiarism checker tore our plagiarism copy to shreds, identifying 230 instances where citations were needed.

Unfortunately, they have no information available about what kind of database they’re using to gauge plagiarism. They seem to go out of their way to not give you that info. They also don’t allow any report exporting, which for a student is not a huge deal.

A teacher might want to export a plagiarism report on one of their students’ papers, but there’s no real practical use of this service for a student, and that is who this product is geared toward. They only offer service in English and they have no mobile functionality, which I found to be a bit of a bummer.

Despite that, I would absolutely recommend BibMe to students on all levels, but educators should look for a more complete program.

3. PaperRater

PaperRater is another best essay checker service that markets specifically to students.

It’s a startup, meaning that the best essay checker system is still in its infancy. It has both a free and paid premium plan. I found their free limitations to be very fair to the needs of the average student.

Free users can use their plagiarism checker, which is rare. That’s usually a premium service. Students that are using the free plan can perform 10 plagiarism checks in a month. These queries can’t be more than 5 pages of 300 words each. That means 1,500 words per search, which is perfect for most essays.

Free users can have their grammar and spelling mistakes checked, receive writing suggestions, and automated scoring for your writing.

Their premium plan and spell checker is priced well at only $7.95 per month on a one-year commitment. That’s right in the wheelhouse of most students as far as affordability goes. The premium plan can make 25 plagiarism writing checks in a month, with each check limited to 20 pages of 300 words each. That’s 6,000 words per check.

Unfortunately, I found their accuracy to be lacking.

When performing a plagiarism check, PaperRater checker software gave our sample content an originality score of 33%. That means it found 67% of this copy to be plagiarized. This was the same content that we ran through Grammarly, which found 86% plagiarism.

That’s an awful lot of content that was completely glossed over. I still maintain that the free plagiarism checker for students plan is decent for writing students if you can’t afford anything else. But I can’t recommend spending any money on a service that is so inaccurate.

6. Citation Machine

Citation Machine is a virtual witing tutor and punctuation checker that searches your paper for grammar mistakes, unintentional plagiarism, sentence structure, style, and more.

My first thought upon using this system was, “Wow, this looks and feels a lot like BibMe!” Then I realized that a lot of the wording was identical. Then I realized that the dashboard was also exactly the same.

I soon looked up at the header of this website and I realized that it was listed as “A Chegg Service” which is the same company that owns BibMe.

So what we have here are two different programs that are the exact same thing, owned by the exact same company, but with a different color scheme for each. And each claims to be the best essay checker.

The pricing is exactly the same. Their free service offers 20 checks per paper, the same as BibMe. Their premium plan is $9.99 per month with a three days free trial, also just like BibMe.

At first, I thought about closing this program up and trying to find something else for this list, but then I decided I wanted to check the two services against one another. Can Citation Machine do anything that BibMe can’t, with Google Docs or other services? Can it improve your writing skills?

I signed up for their three-day trial of the grammar checker tool and ran the same piece of content through their system. My results were very similar, with a slight difference in the article’s plagiarism score.

Looks pretty familiar, right? What I found interesting though was that BibMe identified 230 instances of plagiarism and Citation Maker found 229. So it was a one-off. You’d think that identical checker tool services would pull from the exact same system.

If you’re a fan of BibMe then you’ll also enjoy Citation Machine for its proofreading services. Save for one missing instance of plagiarism they are 100% the same product owned by the exact same company.

Originally, I had chosen a service called EasyBib for our final entry, but upon further examination, I realized that this too was a carbon copy of BibMe and Citation Machine.

7. Plagly

Plagly has no grammar checking component in its plagiarism tool, but it markets itself as a free plagiarism checker, which I thought sounded too good to be true. I was correct. It is not indeed the best essay checker for checking for grammatical errors.

My first thought upon hearing about Plagly’s online tool was that, if it were truly a free plagiarism checker it could work side by side with Grammarly’s free grammar checker to provide a complete service at no cost.

If that sounds a bit too good to be true, that’s because it is.

Plagly actually offers nothing for free. It claims to check your paper free of charge, but it won’t actually give you any results unless you throw down money.

I entered our same Microsoft Word content into Plagly and was greeted with this message. It identified “significant” plagiarism. It says that the content is 39% unique, meaning 61% plagiarized. Already, we know from our earlier checks that this system is lacking. Grammarly identified 86%, so Plagly is missing more than a 1⁄4 of the plagiarized content in this article.

The examples that it is highlighting in red and green in this image are not pulled from the article that it was checking. Instead, this is simply a sample of what their premium checking service looks like.

Their paid plan costs $9.99 per month. I was curious so I tried it out. I pasted our content into Plagly’s premium dashboard and waited …and waited…..and waited.

I left the plagiarism detector screen up for more than 15 minutes and Plagly never completed its task, nor did it check for spelling errors. I tried this multiple times and still, I got no results.

This is one of the worst checkers I’ve encountered. It claims to be a free service while offering nothing for free. Then, once I actually forked over the money to try them out, the system didn’t even work.

This is a hard pass on all levels.

Examine Your Needs for Grammar Checker Software

When it comes to the need for the best essay checker, or a grammar and plagiarism checking service, you first have to identify your personal needs.

If you’re a student, how much help do you need? Where is your understanding of proper citation and run-on sentences? Do you trust yourself to not make a costly mistake?

If you’re an educator, how many students do you have? How much time are you giving yourself to check all of their assignments?

For teachers, I recommend Grammarly Premium hands down. It is far and away the most sophisticated and accurate system on our list. For students, I would also recommend Grammarly, but only if it fits your budget. There’s no sense in breaking the bank if it will cause you more stress. Save that for finals week. If Grammarly’s essay writing tool is not in the financial cards, I think a service like BibMe or Citation Machine would suit your needs perfectly. If you need a free spell check service as a student, try Grammarly’s online essay checker free plan coupled with the free plagiarism checking services of PaperRater. Just know that it won’t be a fully accurate experience.

How Many Students Plagiarize?

Are you scoffing to yourself right now, thinking that there’s no way that many students cheat on their assignments?

Well, think again.

Plagiarism is a huge problem throughout the academic world, and it’s not getting much better as technology becomes more ingrained in our daily lives.

There are two different kinds of plagiarism, intentional and unintentional.

Intentional plagiarism is the most egregious of offenses. It occurs when a student, writing tutor, or essay writing service copies and pastes someone else’s content into their work, fully knowing what they’re doing and making no effort to cite.

Unintentional plagiarism is far more common. It happens when a student improperly cites information. This kind of offense is more forgivable and is corrected through education. That’s something a plagiarism detection program can provide. Many of the systems we’re going to be exploring today seek to help students gain a better understanding of their citation mistakes to help them avoid unintentional plagiarism in the future.

This survey which we pulled from plagiarism.org, (citation at work) paints a horrifying picture of academic dishonesty.

Among undergraduate students, 36% admit to paraphrasing and copying from a web source without footnoting it. That statistic also applies to 24% of graduate students. That is proof positive that grammar and plagiarism checkers are important for the modern student’s educational journey.

Which is the Best Essay Checker for You?

There are tons of essay checkers out there.

Ideally, you want one that’s not only accurate, but affordable and easy to use, too.

That’s why for our money, we’d recommend Grammarly for English speakers and WhiteSmoke for multilingual / non-U.S. writers (or those on a budget).

They both have the largest databases out of all the tools we tested. They’re also highly accurate and provide the best bang for your buck.

Yes, there are cheaper essay checkers out there. Yes, there are lots of free ones.

But in our experience, after testing them all and paying for most, Grammarly and WhiteSmoke stand head and shoulders above the competition.