Best Human Resource Software 2021

Gusto vs. ADP RUN

Is Gusto or ADP RUN 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 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: Gusto and ADP RUN. 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 first-hand 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.

Gusto & ADP RUN Comparison Summary

We researched and extensively tested both Gusto and ADP RUN. Gusto received a SoftwarePundit Analyst Rating of 92 while ADP RUN received a rating of 83.

Gusto was rated higher because it is the best affordable payroll solution we’ve analyzed in the human resource category. Gusto’s user-interface makes payroll, onboarding, time tracking, and benefits management easier to accomplish for small businesses than in ADP RUN.

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

CriteriaAnalyst RatingFeaturesUsabilityPricingCustomer Support
ADP RUN8388.588.5

Gusto’s pricing is transparent while ADP RUN’s is not. Gusto's pricing starts at $6 per user per month with an additional monthly platform fee of $39. ADP RUN’s pricing is ambiguous and not listed on their website.

Both solutions offer the standard features found across human resource software tools. These include payroll, benefits, onboarding, time tracking, and custom reports. Gusto’s strongest points are its user-friendliness and time tracking. ADP RUN offers business insurance and robust custom report creation.

Overall, we recommend Gusto over ADP RUN for small businesses. Gusto’s usability makes essential human resource tasks very easy to accomplish. ADP RUN lacks features like performance management and offers far more limited time tracking capabilities. Although its payroll and benefits management are strong, these features are easier to set up and run in Gusto.

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

You'll prefer Gusto if:

  • Gusto supports benefits management in your state
  • You want a more affordable payroll solution
  • You require compliance assistance and performance management features

Try Gusto Today

You'll prefer ADP RUN if:

  • You want to create customizable reports for employee and company analysis
  • You require onboarding assistance for new hires and payroll
  • You want to purchase business coverage services such as general liability insurance

Try ADP RUN Today

Table of Contents

Gusto & ADP RUN Price Comparison

Gusto’s pricing is affordable relative to direct competitors like Zenefits and Justworks. ADP RUN’s pricing is ambiguous and not available to the general public.

Gusto Pricing Details

Gusto’s pricing starts at $6 per month per user. 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

ADP RUN Pricing Details

ADP RUN’s pricing is ambiguous and not stated transparently on the company’s site. Four plans are available with varying degrees of features offered. Note that your company’s employee count, frequency of ADP RUN use, and feature needs will be important factors in pricing.


  • Payroll on multiple devices
  • Direct deposit
  • Onboarding
  • Everything in Essential plan
  • Ziprecruiter integration
  • Background checks
  • Everything in Enhanced plan
  • HR tracking
  • HR helpdesk support
HR Pro
  • Everything in Complete plan
  • Access to HR businesses
  • Employer and employee training

Gusto & ADP RUN Feature Comparison

Overall, Gusto has a wider breadth of features than ADP RUN. However, both solutions do not offer applicant tracking features such as job posting and distribution.

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

FeatureGustoADP RUN
Job posting distributionNoNo
Employee onboardingYes (stronger)Yes
Performance managementYesNo
Expense managementNoNo
Time TrackingYes (stronger)Yes
Compliance SupportYesNo
Custom reportsYes (stronger)Yes


We recommend Gusto over ADP RUN if you’re in need of an affordable payroll solution. Both Gusto and ADP RUN offer strong, unlimited payroll for full-time, part-time, and contingent employees. However, Gusto’s payroll is more user-friendly than it is in ADP RUN.

ADP RUN Payroll Example

Gusto and ADP RUN offer high level views of which employees are being paid in their payroll dashboards. Both applications also handle federal and state taxes for your payroll. Gusto and ADP RUN can calculate, remit, and file the following tax documents:

  • W-2
  • 1099
  • 940
  • 941

Both applications also let you run a number of off-cycle payments. Here are some common off-cycle payments you might run if your business uses Gusto or ADP RUN:

  • Contractor pay
  • Vendor pay
  • Bonuses
  • Commissions
  • Severance

Employee Onboarding

Onboarding in Gusto is more flexible than in ADP RUN. Because ADP RUN is primarily a payroll tool, many of the onboarding processes involve employee’s payroll and earnings. Gusto allows you to create and send offer letters, onboard employees on payroll and benefits, and even create software accounts for new hires.

ADP RUN Onboarding

Onboarding in ADP RUN is seen above. ADP RUN assists you with seven steps when onboarding new employees:

  • Employee info
  • Employment info
  • Tax info
  • Payroll info
  • Earnings deductions
  • Garnishments
  • Direct deposit

ADP RUN does not assist you with onboarding outside of these steps. Gusto comes with a number of onboarding features, one of its strongest being its onboarding checklist. An example is seen below.

Gusto Onboarding Checklist

As you can see, Gusto comes with a visual checklist that helps you track onboarding tasks you must complete for new hires. Some of these tasks have buttons that redirect you to complete them.

Although Gustos’ onboarding is strong, Zenefits and Justworks have the most robust onboarding tools. Consider these applications if features such as automating the creation of software accounts for new hires and free training courses are important for you.


We recommend small businesses use Gusto to manage their benefits due to its accessible interface. However, we only recommend this if Gusto supports benefits in your state or if you don’t need a tool to purchase business insurance. If Gusto does not support your state, consider Justworks. If you would like business coverage, choose ADP RUN.

Gusto does not support benefits in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Hawaiii
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • Rhode Island
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
Gusto Benefits Guidance

Gusto assists users in selecting benefits through a user-friendly interface. You are provided with mandatory and optional plans with average costs for each. This is effective for new businesses who have little to no experience with choosing benefit plans for their employees.

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

ADP RUN comes with the unique feature of business insurance management. This allows you to select insurance plans for your business. Common business coverage services that ADP RUN offers include:

Coverage PlanDescription
General LiabilityGeneral liability protects you from risks that arise from your business operations, such as injury or property.
Umbrella InsuranceThis type of insurance covers more catastrophic losses that general liability cannot cover.
Commercial Auto InsuranceThis insurance protects your business against costs resulting from business-related auto accidents.
ADP RUN Benefits

Time Tracking

Time tracking in Gusto is more powerful than ADP RUN. You can create paid-time-off policies in Gusto while ADP RUN only supports barebones time tracking features.

Gusto Time Tracking Clock

Gusto’s time tracking is more catered to employee self-service. You can clock in through Gusto’s desktop or mobile app. This will be particularly advantageous for workers who need to clock-in on the go such as field service management employees.

Time tracking in ADP RUN is handled through its Timekeeping add-on. This add-on brings additional, yet basic time tracking features similar to Sage HR and BambooHR.

ADP RUN Time Tracking Clock

ADP RUN’s biggest disadvantage in this category is its lack of support for custom PTO policies. Gusto allows you to create unlimited PTO policies that suit the needs of your employees. This means that ADP RUN will not be helpful for your business if you plan to offer custom PTO policies.


Creating and accessing reports in both Gusto and ADP RUN is easy to do. In fact, we found that these custom report creators were amongst the best we’ve analyzed in the human resource software category. Both Gusto and ADP RUN offer a user-friendly interface and preview function for their reports.

Gusto Report

Gusto’s report creator is seen above. You can select from three report types: employee, payroll, and trend. Once you’ve selected your report type, you can customize your report with columns and filters. These help segment your reports and make them as specific as possible.

Both Gusto and ADP RUN allow you to preview your reports before exporting them. Alternatives like Zenefits and Justworks offer weaker custom report capabilities due to their lack of live previewing.

Finally, both applications come with a number of pre-made reports, including:

  • Benefits usage
  • Payroll
  • PTO balances
  • W-2 preview


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

Software SolutionIntegrations

Bottom Line

Overall, we recommend Gusto over ADP RUN for small businesses. Gusto’s usability makes essential human resource tasks very easy to accomplish. ADP RUN lacks features like performance management and offers far more limited time tracking capabilities. Although its payroll and benefits management are strong, these features are easier to set up and run in Gusto.

If you’re interested, visit Gusto or ADP RUN 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

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