Top ADP Competitors:
The Best ADP Alternatives for Your Business

ADP is a familiar name to anyone who has ever received a paycheck. The company started as a small payroll processing firm in the 1950s and is now one of the largest vendors of human resources (HR) software and services.

ADP offers a diverse range of HR and payroll products. RUN Powered by ADP is the company’s cloud-based payroll solution for small businesses.

(Find out more about ADP’s many solutions.)

RUN Powered comes in three different packages: Essential Payroll, Enhanced Payroll and Complete Payroll + HR. Each package includes:

  • Payroll processing
  • Tax filing
  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Reporting tools
  • Employee access

Enhanced Payroll and Complete Payroll + HR offer more payroll options, including pre-paid debit cards, state unemployment insurance management and wage garnishment processing.

Complete Payroll + HR offers more core HR functionality for managing job posting, onboarding, background checks, performance reviews and more.

Payroll home screen for RUN Powered by ADP

There are ADP solutions for any type of small business. But, you might decide ADP is not right for your business for a number of reasons—perhaps the license cost is higher than the budget allows or it doesn’t integrate with another system your company needs to use.

Fortunately, Software Advice has researched over 100 different HR and payroll systems to help you find the right one for your business.

Here are our top five recommended ADP competitors and alternatives.

Most Asked-About ADP Alternatives

Our first category of ADP alternatives includes payroll systems that are most often searched for alongside ADP. For example, we chose our first most asked-about ADP alternative, PayChex, because it’s the most searched for “payroll software” after ADP.

Note: you can learn more about our Alternatives methodology here.

PayChex Flex

Paychex is also a payroll processing titan and one of ADP’s biggest competitors. The company’s cloud-based payroll software is called PayChex Flex. The system can process multiple payment types, including check, debit cards and direct deposit.

It also offers a self-service portal where employees can review:

  • Pay stubs and tax documents
  • Retirement contributions
  • Time-off balances
  • Schedules
  • Other benefits

Paychex Flex also integrates with other products to support time and attendance tracking, benefits administration and HR functionality, making it a customizable solution that can scale up or down as a company’s payroll and human resources needs change.


Zenefits is a cloud-based human resources and payroll management solution and the second most asked-about ADP alternative.

What’s unique about Zenefits is that it’s free to use. Rather than charging users a license fee, benefits providers such as health insurance companies pay for inclusion in the system.

Free software is often light on functionality, but Zenefits is robust. Features include:

  • Automatic deductions
  • Multiple pay frequencies
  • Prorated checks
  • Direct deposit and check payments
  • Reporting
  • Federal and state tax filing
  • Integration with core HR, benefits, time tracking and other services

Top User-Rated ADP Alternatives

For the next set of ADP alternatives, we analyzed Software Advice reviews data to calculate average overall ratings on a 5-point scale. For reference, ADP’s RUN Powered has a rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars based on 19 reviews as of this writing.

Products identified as most asked-about ADP alternatives—Paychex Flex and Zenefits—are omitted from this category.

Patriot Payroll

Patriot Payroll from Patriot Software is first on the list of top user-rated alternatives to ADP, with 4.7 out of five stars based on 132 reviews on Software Advice.

Patriot Payroll’s core application is payroll management and processing. Two versions are available: basic and full-service.

The basic version lets administrators pay employees in three steps:

  1. Enter regular and overtime hours worked for the pay period
  2. Approve the amounts calculated
  3. Print checks or directly deposit funds in employee accounts

The full-service option offers everything the basic version offers, but also handles payroll tax filings.

One thing that makes this product an appealing choice for payroll administrators is that it is scalable. A growing business can add modules to track time, attendance and other personnel records.


Gusto, formerly ZenPayroll, is second on the list with 4.7 out of five stars and 16 reviews on Software Advice.

Gusto is a cloud-based payroll application built specifically for small businesses. Companies can schedule employee and contractor payments to automatically process as direct deposits or printed checks. At the same time, digital pay stubs are generated and emailed directly to recipients.

This application also supports taxes and reporting by calculating, paying and filing local, state and federal payroll taxes, including W-2 forms.

A few other helpful features include:

  • 401(k) tracking
  • Deductions management
  • Benefits management
  • Self-service portal
  • Wage garnishment

APS Payroll

Rounding out our list of top-rated ADP alternatives is APS Payroll, which also has a rating of 4.7 out of five stars out of 40 user reviews on Software Advice.

Just as Patriot Payroll and Gusto are best-of-breed payroll applications, so too is APS Payroll. Features include:

  • Time and attendance tracking
  • 401(k) contribution tracking
  • Self-service portal
  • Multi-state support
  • W-2 preparation

APS Payroll’s offering goes beyond payroll with functionality for handling employee onboarding, benefits administration, performance review, applicant tracking and more.

Next Steps: Which Is The Right Payroll and HR Solution For You?

ADP RUN Powered and ADP’s other products are suitable for many small and midsize businesses, but they’re not a perfect fit for everyone. The products we covered here are good alternatives..

To get free price quotes and demos on any of these products, you can fill out this form. Or to see more products options, check out our payroll software page to compare over 100 payroll systems.