If you’re shopping for the best electronic signature solution this year, DocuSign (www.docusign.com) may be the first stop on your search.
You might even consult the DocuSign pricing page to see if DocuSign is right for you.
But just looking at one set of pricing plans won’t help you figure out the best e-signing solutions on the market or how to incorporate them into your workflow.
So we’ve done the hard work for you.
We took a look at eight of the biggest e-signature solutions on the market today and compared everything they have to offer.
Let’s take a look!
How we sourced our data
For big comparison articles like this, our team spends hours sifting through the offerings provided by these services. We check pricing pages, support documentation, ask questions, and much more.
Because this is a data-based article, we didn’t spend time checking reviews and user feedback. Instead, we focused solely on the facts.
Our team compared subscription plans, the features of each e-signature software platform, and at what price points those features were available.
Then we matched that data to different DocuSign pricing plans along the way to make everything easier to compare and contrast.
A quick word about envelope limits
Before you begin comparing DocuSign with the other competitors on our list, it’s worth taking a moment to point out user restrictions and usage limits.
Every electronic signature solution that we looked at places usage restrictions at each pricing tier.
For the most part, these restrictions make sense.
A single user needs the basic fields required to do sign documents but probably doesn’t need the team management solutions that an enterprise-level organization with hundreds of users will rely upon to manage people and documents.
However, one important piece of information that can get lost in all the noise is envelope limits.
What are envelope limits and why do they matter?
In a nutshell, an envelope or transaction limit is a tool that many e-signature companies use to cap the number of documents you can send over the course of a year.
For example, regardless of which DocuSign plan you choose, the company caps each account at 100 envelopes per user each year.
These envelope limits even affect enterprise-level plans and content accessed through API tools.
Often, the true limits on usage are hidden behind a company’s “Fair Use” or “Reasonable Use” policies, but many e-signature companies are vague about these limits.
You can raise the limit by purchasing additional seats for the account or by talking with the sales team for customized pricing, but the end result is the same: You’ll end up paying more than you thought in order to send the number of documents you need.
What does this mean for you?
Envelope limits can be a major drawback for companies planning to use DocuSign and others for bulk distribution or as a core part of their main business function.
That’s because the limits severely reduce the number of documents that can be sent using the software.
With that in mind, be sure to read the fine print prior to choosing your e-signature vendor.
Failure to do so could result in major costs to your organization as you’re forced to purchase extra seats or more expensive plans in order to send additional documents.
The vast majority of e-signing companies will limit or cap your usage unless you pay extra to raise those limits.
Usually, if the company doesn’t point this out upfront (as DocuSign does), you can find it buried in the Terms of Service or Terms and Conditions pages on the company website.
To our knowledge, PandaDoc is one of the only companies on the market today that offers truly unlimited sending. The vast majority of e-signing companies will cap your usage.
|eSignature solution||Free plan available|
Only a handful of companies that we reviewed offer a free plan, but all companies offer a free trial and the ability to test their software.
We’ll pass over the trials since they have a limited lifespan and focus instead on the free plans.
As a free plan, DocuSign gives users everything they need to send three documents per month for electronic signature.
Using DocuSign, it’s possible to add signature fields and basic information to your document, send documents to multiple recipients, and use the real-time audit trail features to track document changes.
You can also link to cloud storage in order to import your documents as a PDF. Advanced features like bulk sending and in-person signature collection aren’t available.
Without a doubt, the free plan won’t be a great fit for power users.
It’s a no-frills, no-cost solution that works well for individuals and small business owners who need digital signatures for their documents every few months.
To get started, all you need is a DocuSign account.
Many competitors follow DocuSign’s lead by offering equivalent plans at no charge but with very limited capacity to make use of the service.
However, PandaDoc takes free plans to a new level with the Free eSign Plan.
Our free plan supports an unlimited number of users and allows businesses to send an unlimited number of documents — all at no cost!
We also allow users to set up a payment gateway so that they can collect payments via credit card on their signed documents. This is something that no other signature solution offers for free.
Most companies require users to purchase a business- or enterprise-level subscription in order to access this feature if they offer it at all.
Best plan at this level: PandaDoc
The ability to send an unlimited number of documents, onboard an unlimited number of users, and collect payments is something that you just won’t find in other signature software without a subscription plan.
|Maximum number of users||1||Unlimited|
|Minimum number of users||N/A||1|
|Number of documents sent||3/month||Unlimited|
|Basic drag and drop fields||✓||✓|
|Real-time audit trail||✓||✗|
|Integrations: import and storage||✓||✓|
|Integrations: productivity and other||✓||✗|
|Pre-built template library||✗||✗|
|Commenting and collaborative fields||✗||✓|
|24/7 chat support||✗||✗|
|eSignature solution||Plan available|
This collection of plans is intended for individuals, freelancers, and (very) small business owners with limited usage requirements and a simplified signing process.
For DocuSign users, not much changes between the free plan and the Personal plan with a few key exceptions: Reusable templates become accessible and you’ll see a slight increase in the number of documents you can send each month.
While reusable templates can help to automate and streamline your document creation process, this may not be vital since you can only send five documents per month.
DocuSign pricing for this plan runs $15 monthly or $10 per month with an annual subscription. (Coincidentally, the real estate starter plan that DocuSign offers is identical to the Personal plan.)
Every competitor we looked at offers a plan that competes with DocuSign at this level. Most companies offer more features, better pricing, or higher usage limits.
Here are the most unique highlights at this tier:
- HelloSign offers an Essentials plan for $15/month (annual) with unlimited document sending and signing. They also offer the Dropbox Pro + eSign Plan for $25/month (annual), which is the same plan but with a 3TB Dropbox subscription.
- Adobe offers three plans in the single-user tier. The middle-of-the-road plan, Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign, will allow you to edit text and images in your PDFs. This is something that no other DocuSign competitor (including PandaDoc) allows you to do.
- SignRequest, in addition to being the most cost-effective plan at $8/month (annual), also comes with the greatest number of features for any plan at this price point.
You’ll also notice that we haven’t listed PandaDoc as a major competitor in this area. That’s because our “entry-level” Essentials Plan, is actually a better fit for customers who are looking to do more with their documents.
Best plan at this level: PandaDoc free eSign or SignRequest professional
If you’re just trying to upload documents and get them signed, the PandaDoc Free eSign Plan offers many of the tools that other companies would require you to pay for.
PandaDoc Free eSign is also the only way to get access to payment processing at this level.
While you’ll see access to payment gateways become more common in higher-tier plans, the price for plans that include this feature increases exponentially.
If that’s something you really need, but you don’t want to pay the extra costs for it, PandaDoc Free eSign is the way to go.
However, that’s not to say that our Free eSign Plan will be the perfect fit at this level.
The best plan at this level comes down to how you want to get signatures signed — and that’s where SignRequest comes in.
SignRequest offers the greatest number of features at the lowest price point, making it a clear winner for paid services at the entry-level tier.
The service offers many features, like custom branding and in-person signing, that are only available in higher-tiered plans from other e-signature companies.
If you’re looking for a streamlined signing platform that offers great value for cost, SignRequest is the way to go.
|Monthly pricing||$15 / user||$10 / month|
|Annual pricing||$10 / user||$8 / month|
|Maximum number of users||1||1|
|Minimum number of users||N/A||N/A|
|Number of documents sent||5/month||Unlimited|
|Basic drag and drop fields||✓||✓|
|Multiple recipients||✓||Up to 20|
|Real-time audit trail||✓||✓|
|Integrations: import and storage||✓||✓|
|Integrations: productivity and other||✗||✗|
|Pre-built template library||✗||✗|
|Commenting and collaborative fields||✗||✓|
The DocuSign cost for the Standard plan is $45 month-to-month or $25 per month with an annual subscription plan. This is a middle-tier plan designed for smaller businesses.
Most plans we looked at in this category lack integration with CRMs like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics, and this is also the case for DocuSign users.
The Standard plan is the first plan where custom branding is among the DocuSign features offered to subscribers, and most competitors follow suit by offering similar branding and customization experiences at this level.
One notable exception is SignRequest, the winner in our previous category, which offers custom branding options on their entry-level plan.
However, it’s important to point out that the most notable uplift in restrictions between this tier and the previous tier has little to do with functionality or ease of use.
Instead, the biggest changes come down to the number of documents that users can send. DocuSign users on the Personal plan can only send 5 documents each month.
With the Standard plan, standard usage rates apply, allowing for 100 envelopes per year (around 8-9 per month sent on average).
Meanwhile, other brands also raise usage restrictions or (in some cases) remove them entirely.
Most DocuSign competitors follow a similar trajectory in their product offering, but there are a few key features that stand out for users who want to consider other options:
- PandaDoc offers a create-from-scratch document editor starting at this tier. Using the editor, you can build documents from the ground up without having to import them from other sources (like Word or Google Docs) and centralize all document creation in one place.
- SignNow and SignRequest are the only DocuSign competitors to offer custom branding and bulk sending at this tier.
Best plan at this level: SignRequest, SignEasy, or PandaDoc
The best plan at this level comes down to what you want to get out of an e-signature solution.
SignRequest offers a huge variety of tools as part of their Business Plan, including some interesting integrations to services like JuriDoc and M-Files that you won’t find anywhere else.
They also integrate with Zapier, a capability that many other signing solutions withhold until you’re on higher-tier plans.
The downside with SignRequest is that their Business Plan, like their Professional Plan, only supports one seat.
If you’re looking for multiple users, you’ll have to upgrade to their Enterprise plan.
With Business Premium, SignEasy adds some additional features like Kiosk mode, team assignments, and the ability to group documents.
This might be useful if you’re not ready to transition to enterprise-level plans (and costs), but you still want the ability to add multiple seats to your signing plan.
For teams (even small ones) who want to optimize document creation and signing workflows, the battery of tools that PandaDoc gives you is second to none at this tier.
|Plan details||DocuSign (Baseline)||PandaDoc||SignNow||SignRequest|
|Monthly pricing||$45 month/user||$29 / user||$30 month/user||$15 per month/user|
|Annual pricing||$25 month/user||$19 / user||$15 month/user||$12 month/user|
|Maximum number of users||5||Unlimited||10+||Unlimited|
|Minimum number of users||N/A||N/A||1||1|
|Number of documents sent||Unlimited*||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Standard usage limits||100 envelopes per user/year||Unlimited||Unlimited*(fair use policy)||Unlimited*(fair use policy)|
|Basic drag and drop fields||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Multiple recipients||✓||Up to 50||✓||Up to 20|
|Real-time audit trail||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Integrations: import and storage||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Integrations: productivity and other||✗||✗||✗||✓|
|Pre-built template library||✗||✓||✗||✗|
|Commenting and collaborative fields||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Support options||DocuSign (Baseline)||PandaDoc||SignNow||SignRequest|
|24/7 chat support||✗||✓||✓||✗|
Business Pro plans
|eSignature solution||Plan available|
Short of a customized solution, the Business Pro plan is as advanced as DocuSign users can get. These plans are designed to handle most business needs and are typically equipped with a kitchen sink variety of features that will be more than enough for most small- and medium-sized businesses.
At this level, it’s important to shift your idea of scale and focus on the per-user price.
These plans are built to support more than one or two users, and that will drive the cost of your e-signature software up quickly.
With Business Pro, DocuSign users can finally collect payments, use collaborative fields, request signer attachments, and gather in-person signatures.
DocuSign even offers the ability to embed documents into a website using Powerforms — something we didn’t see from all competitors but that has become more common in recent years.
However, DocuSign and several other companies still keep integrations close to the vest.
While cloud storage integration options like Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox are available for fast importing, many critical CRM integrations are locked behind custom and advanced solutions that must be designed by a sales team.
DocuSign Standard vs. Business Pro
Before we get to the competitors, it’s worth taking a quick look at the difference between DocuSign’s Standard and Business Pro plans.
The Standard Plan seats five users, just like the Business Pro plan, so it’s designed to handle multiple team members.
The Business Pro plan adds a variety of additional features:
- Signer attachments
- Advanced fields
- Payment collection
- Form creation
- Bulk sending
For the right user, the Business Pro plan has a few distinct advantages over the Standard plan, but these perks are mostly featured around streamlining and the ability to operate at scale.
Bulk sending allows you to send envelopes to multiple recipients at a time, while both payment collection and signer attachments deliver additional functionality so that you can request documents and payment with DocuSign, rather than handling these necessary tasks through third-party tools.
As you’re reviewing competitors, keep in mind that — at some level — DocuSign is competing with itself by offering multiple business plans to a similar set of users.
Consider the scale of your operation and what tools you need to grow your business before deciding whether these streamlining and optimization tools are worth the added investment.
At this level, competitors are offering their best solutions for the highest price. Here are a few of the key takeaways from most DocuSign competitors:
- PandaDoc offers connections and integrations with many CRMs at this level, as well as approval workflows and some advanced workflow optimization tools.
- Adobe offers Acrobat Pro DC with advanced e-sign for teams for a thrifty $24.99 per month/user, but it requires an annual commitment up front.
- RightSignature offers three seats for $60/month, but there isn’t room to add more users.
Best plan at this level: PandaDoc or Adobe Acrobat Sign (or SignRequest)
Overall, we’re proud to recommend PandaDoc as the best solution at the Business level. We’ve worked hard to ensure that our plan has everything customers need, from key integrations to the ability to design important business documents from scratch.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution that combines ease of use, simple user management, and maximum flexibility, PandaDoc is the right solution for you.
Adobe Acrobat Sign might also be a great option to consider if you work with a lot of PDFs.
The ability to edit PDFs directly is a benefit that is both useful and unique. But there are a few points you should consider before signing up.
- Adobe states that the signatures acquired through Adobe Acrobat Sign aren’t as secure as those used when signing the Adobe Sign enterprise plan. While it’s unclear how these signatures are less secure, this could have a potential impact on how your documents hold up to legal scrutiny.
- Adobe also limits transactions to 150 documents per user/year so, while the price is attractive, these plans have their limits.
We also want to highlight SignRequest. While we didn’t list SignRequest as a competitor at this stage, that’s because our list is based on price points.
All SignRequest plans are so cost-effective that they don’t charge users as much as other DocuSign competitors. If you’re considering an enterprise-level solution, SignRequest’s Business plan is still worth a look.
|Plan details||DocuSign (Baseline)||PandaDoc||Adobe Acrobat Sign|
|Business Pro||Business||Acrobat Pro DC with e-sign for teams|
|Monthly pricing||$65 month/user||$59 month/user||N/A|
|Annual pricing||$40 month/user||$49 month/user||$29.99 month/user|
|Maximum number of users||5 (Call for more)||Unlimited||10+|
|Minimum number of users||1||1||1|
|Number of documents sent||Unlimited*||Unlimited||150 per user/year|
|Standard usage limits||100 envelopes per user/year||Unlimited||150 transactions per user/year|
|Basic drag and drop fields||✓||✓||✓|
|Multiple recipients||✓||Up to 50||✓|
|Bulk send||✓||Available as paid add-on||✗|
|Real-time audit trail||✓||✓||✓|
|Integrations: import and storage||✓||✓||✓|
|Integrations: productivity and other||✗||✓||✗|
|Pre-built template library||✗||✓||✗|
|Commenting and collaborative fields||✓||✓||✓|
|Support options (At level)||DocuSign (Baseline)||PandaDoc||Adobe Acrobat Sign|
|24/7 chat support||✗||✓||✓|
Which plan is right for you?
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which electronic signature solution is right for you, but we hope this guide helps you determine your best fit.
Across every e-signature company, some functionality is standardized. Mobile apps for Android and iOS, for example, are commonplace across nearly all DocuSign competitors, but every plan varies slightly from the DocuSign service.
While you’re considering your options, we recommend trying out the PandaDoc Free eSign Plan. It’s a powerful tool that you can use to get documents signed at no charge, plus our tools make document management and lifecycle upkeep easy.
Want to give our document editor a try, sign up for a free trial to see PandaDoc in action!
Originally published April 16, 2018, updated January 28, 2022
Parties other than PandaDoc may provide products, services, recommendations, or views on PandaDoc’s site (“Third Party Materials”). PandaDoc is not responsible for examining or evaluating such Third Party Materials, and does not provide any warranties relating to the Third Party Materials. Links to such Third Party Materials are for your convenience and does not constitute an endorsement of such Third Party Materials.