Best Human Resource Software 2021

BambooHR vs. Gusto

Is BambooHR or Gusto the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you decide which human resource tool is the best fit for your business.

Human resource software includes features like payroll, benefits management, and compliance assistance. It is one of the most critical software tools for small businesses, alongside other foundational software systems like document management software and accounting software.

This article will discuss the differences between two of the largest players in this space: BambooHR and Gusto. We’ll discuss the notable strengths and weaknesses of each tool, and provide recommendations for who each tool will suit best.

All of our recommendations are based on firsthand research, product demos with the software companies, and dozens of hours spent hand-testing human resource tools. More details regarding our research process can be found on our human resource category page.

BambooHR & Gusto Comparison Summary

We researched and extensively tested BambooHR and Gusto. BambooHR received a SoftwarePundit Analyst Rating of 89, while Gusto received a 92.

BambooHR was rated lower because it is less affordable and harder to use for newer businesses than Gusto. Gusto was rated higher because it is more affordable and its self-service model alongside its user-interface make payroll, benefits management, and time tracking very easy to accomplish. It does not, however, support recruiting features like BambooHR.

Here’s a breakdown of our review criteria and how BambooHR and Gusto performed in each category.

CriteriaAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support

In terms of pricing, BambooHR is less affordable than Gusto. BambooHR’s pricing starts at $99 for 12 employees. Each additional employee is $8.25 per month. Gusto’s pricing starts at $6 per user per month with an additional monthly platform fee of $39.

Both solutions offer the standard features found across human resource software tools. These include payroll, benefits, time tracking, onboarding assistance, and custom reports. BambooHR offers recruiting features usually found in applicant tracking systems such as job post distribution and candidate pipelines. Gusto does not offer these features. Instead, its strongest points are its self-service payroll, benefits management, and custom report creator.

Overall, we recommend BambooHR over Gusto only if you are looking for an HR solution that offers recruiting features. However, more affordable options like Zoho People offer more flexible job post distribution and candidate pipelines than BambooHR. Most small businesses should opt for Gusto, especially if you want an affordable solution that excels in payroll.

Here’s a quick breakdown of who will prefer each option:

You'll prefer BambooHR if:

  • You need to create and distribute job posts for your company
  • You only need to track benefits for your company instead of selecting them
  • You do not need a robust custom report creator

Try BambooHR Today

You'll prefer Gusto if:

  • Gusto can offer benefits management in your state
  • You are in need of affordable payroll software
  • You want to easily create customizable reports

Try Gusto Today

Table of Contents

BambooHR & Gusto Price Comparison

Overall, BambooHR is less affordable than Gusto. BambooHR does not come with payroll in its base plan like Gusto does.

BambooHR Pricing Details

BambooHR’s pricing starts at $99 per month for 12 employees. Each additional employee is $8.25 per month.

If you want to run payroll for your employees, you will need to pay an extra $75 per month for 10 employees. Each additional employee is $4.25 per month.

Finally, performance management and time tracking features are an additional $4.25 and $3.00 per employee per month, respectively.

Gusto Pricing Details

Gusto pricing starts at $6 per user per month. Gusto also comes with a platform fee starting at $39 per month. Pricing increases depending on the number of employees added to your account.

Core Plan
  • $39 per month base price
  • $6 per month per person
Complete Plan
  • $39 per month base price
  • $12 per month per person
Concierge Plan
  • $149 per month base price
  • $12 per month per person

BambooHR & Gusto Feature Comparison

Overall, BambooHR and Gusto offer a similar breadth of features. BambooHR, however, offers applicant tracking features such as job posting and distribution. Gusto offers stronger compliance assistance features.

For a full analysis of each solution’s features, read our BambooHR review and Gusto review.

Job post distributionYesNo
Employee onboardingYesYes
Performance managementYesYes
Expense managementNoNo
PayrollYesYes (stronger)
Time TrackingYesYes
Compliance SupportNoYes
BenefitsYesYes (stronger)
Custom reportsYesYes (stronger)


BambooHR’s strongest point is its applicant tracking capabilities for recruiting applicants. Gusto’s only native recruiting feature is its ability to create offer templates for prospective applicants. BambooHR, however, can manage and distribute job postings and candidate information from one central location.

BambooHR Job Post Assistance

Above is an example of creating and editing a job post in BambooHR. BambooHR, unlike Gusto, generates a landing page for your post alongside a sharable link. You can choose to distribute your job post directly to Glassdoor and Indeed as well.

Unlike Sage HR and Zoho People, BambooHR does not come with customizable scorecards and candidate pipelines. This means that you are limited to the five star rating system and candidate pipeline that BambooHR comes with.

Employee Onboarding

Employee onboarding assistance in BambooHR is less robust than in Gusto. This is because BambooHR mainly assists with sending documents to newly hired employees.

Gusto, however, comes with an actionable set of tasks that must be accomplished for any new hire. Gusto can also help onboard employees on payroll and benefits. This makes Gusto more helpful for businesses new to HR software.

Gusto Onboarding Assistance

Gusto’s onboarding checklist is seen above. In addition to tasks, you can set offer letters, hiring agreements, or any other necessary documents to be automatically sent to your new hire. You can also set up your employee’s payroll and health benefits in Gusto.

BambooHR’s onboarding assistance mainly comes in the form of sending documents to new hires. Although BambooHR does include tasks that you can create and assign to different employees, there are no redirects to complete tasks like in Gusto.

BambooHR Onboarding Tasks

One strong point of BambooHR’s onboarding is its new hire packet template. This is a template that contains information such as when your new employee should arrive and who they should report to on their first day. You can also automate an introductory email to be sent on the morning of your new hire’s first day.


Benefits management is weaker in BambooHR than in Gusto. This is because BambooHR only allows you to track benefits. Gusto, conversely, guides you through the entire process of choosing benefits and offering them to your employees.

Note that Gusto only supports benefits in 39 states. Zenefits offers benefits in 49 states while Justworks supports all 50 states.

Gusto does not support benefits in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
BambooHR Benefits

Benefits management in BambooHR is seen above. You can organize the plans your company offers in a user-friendly manner. Ultimately, however, this system is best suited for companies that already have their benefits set up.

Selecting benefits in Gusto is more guided than in BambooHR. You are provided with mandatory and optional plans with average costs for each. This is particularly advantageous for newer businesses who have little to no experience with choosing benefit plans for their employees.

Gusto supports common medical, dental, and vision plans. You can also offer employees health care FSAs, HSAs, 401(k)s, and commuter benefits.

Gusto Benefits Guidance

Time Tracking

Time tracking in BambooHR and Gusto is helpful for both salaried and hourly employees. This is because both applications, unlike Justworks, support self-service time clocking. Both solutions are similar in creating paid-time-off (PTO) policies as well. We ultimately recommend Gusto over BambooHR if you are in need of affordable time clocking.

Gusto Time Tracking

Seen above is an example of clocking in with Gusto. In both BambooHR and Gusto, you can clock in through their respective desktop or mobile applications. This is advantageous for workers who need to clock-in outside of an office environment such as field service management employees.

Creating PTO policies in both BambooHR and Gusto is simple. The PTO dashboard in BambooHR is seen below.

BambooHR Paid Time Off Policies

You can create as many PTO policies as you require in both BambooHR and Gusto. Common policies include:

  • Sick days
  • Vacation
  • Bereavement
  • Jury duty
  • Floating holidays

Once you've created your new PTO policy, you can define entitlement, accrual methods, applicability, and restrictions in both software solutions.

Compliance Assistance

BambooHR’s compliance assistance is very weak in comparison to Gusto. Gusto’s self-service model and user-interface are at their best in regards to compliance assistance. You can easily visualize tasks that must be accomplished for your company to stay compliant with federal and state laws.

You can also store important employee forms including I-9s, W-2s, and electronic signatures. Although we feel that Gusto’s compliance assistance is very strong, we recommend considering Justworks if compliance assistance features such as free training courses are priorities for you.

Gusto Compliance Checklist

Seen above is Gusto’s compliance dashboard. You cannot visualize important legal steps your company must handle in BambooHR like you can in Gusto.

Gusto also automates several compliance tasks for your company. These tasks include:

  • Calculating, remitting, and filing taxes
  • Creating and formatting W-2s and 1099s
  • Tracking changing tax laws
  • Tracking time for lunches and breaks for hourly employees


Creating and accessing reports in BambooHR is far less intuitive than Gusto. This is because Gusto’s custom report creator is more user-friendly and comes with live previews.

Gusto Report Creator

Both come with a number of pre-made reports, including:

  • Benefits summary
  • Headcount
  • Payroll
  • PTO balances


BambooHR and Gusto both offer a number of popular integrations found in standard human resource software. Both solutions primarily integrate with accounting, field service management, document management, and integration software. Here are some of the most popular native integrations both solutions offer:

Software SolutionIntegrations

Bottom Line

Overall, we recommend BambooHR over Gusto only if you are looking for an HR solution that offers recruiting features. However, more affordable options like Zoho People offer more flexible job post distribution and candidate pipelines than BambooHR. Most small businesses should opt for Gusto, especially if you want an affordable solution that excels in payroll.

If you’re interested, visit BambooHR or Gusto today to get started.

Yousef Fatehpour

Yousef Fatehpour is a Junior Research Analyst at SoftwarePundit. He graduated from University of California, San Diego, where he studied Human Centered Design and Communications. His work at UCSD's Design Lab emphasized UX research and product management.

Yousef's primary areas of interest are software design, user journeys, and how user experience is handled across software markets. Yousef also has experience in product design and multimedia content production. You can connect with Yousef on LinkedIn.

Yousef is an expert in several software categories including:

  • SMS marketing software
  • Document management software
  • Human resource software
  • Applicant tracking software
  • Design software

Get the latest from SoftwarePundit

We'll share our latest software reviews, technology tips, and deals.