The Best User Onboarding Software – In-depth Comparison

Appcues vs Userpilot vs Pendo vs Stonly vs Userflow vs Chameleon vs Product Fruits vs Userguiding vs Usetiful

I’m not associated with any of the reviewed products. Any recommendations are my honest opinions.
Conducted in Jan 2023, last updated in Mar 2024.

Don’t want to read? Scroll to the end to see the comparison table with the final rating, prices, and pros/cons.

Choosing the best user onboarding software (a.k.a. product adoption software) is not an easy task. At first glance, they all seem to offer the same features.

And after making the decision, you’re going to be stuck with it probably for a few years. Integrating, setting it up, transferring content, and getting all the team members up to speed takes time. In other words, transition costs are too high to do it every now and then.

What to expect from this guide?
  • First, I’m going to share my general feelings about each of the best user onboarding software — this will give you a bird’s eye view on the market.
  • Then, we’re going to break it down and look at the availability of different features: Engagement features, Guide setup options, and Additional features
  • At the end, you’ll find a table summing up pros and cons. You’ll also find there a comparison of their prices.

What is the best user onboarding tool?

As you can expect, it’s impossible to say which one is going to be the best user onboarding software for everybody. But if money is not a problem and you’re willing to explore all the advanced options, you can’t go wrong with Userflow.

Most robust: Userflow

Userflow builder — The best user onboarding software
Flow builder in Userflow

Userflow is the most robust user onboarding software currently available. There’s not a single feature that wouldn’t make it to the top 3 compared to its competitors.

In my opinion, it’s close to a perfect solution, especially for the most advanced users who need maximum flexibility. Add to it great targeting/flow triggering options, powerful resource center/checklist, good design, and you’ll know why it finished ahead of the rest of the market.

However, premium features come at a price. As you’ll see in the table below, Userflow is more expensive than most of its counterparts. So if your use of product adoption software will be limited, go for a simpler solution like Userguiding, Stonly, or Userpilot.

Best UX: Userflow and Stonly

Stonly builder — The best user onboarding tools
Flow builder in Stonly

Userflow and Stonly share the first place in terms of general user experience. Using both tools is a pleasure and most of their functionalities work just as they should. They also offer interesting features that other apps don’t, e.g., versioning or a tree view of guides’ structures (Stonly). Interestingly, both of them have guide builders in their app panels (instead of using browser extensions).

And while Stonly is easier to use, it’s because you won’t find there some extra functionalities. It’s generally less powerful (not only compared to Userflow) and lacks features like flow prioritization and account-wide frequency capping (more on that in the last table). Also, its builder doesn’t allow changes to the message structure (image on top, text in the middle, buttons on the bottom).

But if it’s not a deal-breaker for you, definitely give it a try! Stonly, after Userpilot, would be probably my second choice (that is, if I could do without the abovementioned features).

However, note that Stonly’s pricing is based on guide views and not monthly tracked users! So if you send lots of messages to your users, it might become pretty expensive.

Will get the job done: Userpilot, Userguiding

Userpilot builder — User onboarding software
Flow builder in Userpilot

Userpilot doesn’t stand out from the crowd but seems like a reliable, quality tool that should satisfy the needs of a vast majority of user onboarding managers.

All the features needed to do your job are in place. But compared to Userflow and Stonly, it lacks an element of a positive surprise. It doesn’t shine.

Since the first time I tested user onboarding software, Userpilot has expanded their Analytics module which reminds me of Pendo’s approach.

Userguiding builder — User onboarding tools
Flow builder in Userguiding

A runner-up, UserGuiding, is a decent alternative if your budget is limited and you don’t need more advanced functionalities. You won’t find the localization feature, event builder, or flexible audience targeting. Also, its flow builder is pretty basic.

However, the value-for-money ratio is still high, considering it’s the second cheapest user onboarding software I reviewed.

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Mixed feelings: Appcues, Chameleon, Pendo, Product Fruits

Flow builder in Appcues

What struck me most is that Appcues looks like Userpilot’s clone. Their app panel layouts and flow builders are very similar, with only cosmetic changes. Nonetheless, Appcues is less “polished” and doesn’t offer the resource center feature, which I consider a major inconvenience.

If you think about going for Appcues, check out Userpilot first. In my opinion, it’s better and half as cheap!

Flow builder in Pendo

I can’t say Pendo isn’t a decent tool. In the end, it has all the main features and many of the more advanced options. But it’s expensive, not pleasant to use, and takes a long time to get used to.

If its flow builder went through an overhaul, I’d be curious to test it again. But for now, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.

Flow builder in Chameleon

While Chameleon would be far from my first choice, it does offer some interesting features, e.g., the possibility to dynamically show/hide checklist elements or small things like “delight animations” (throwing confetti all over the screen).

Nonetheless, a rather average UX of their builder (which during my limited use happened to occasionally revert the changes I made), the lack of a few rather significant features, and the steeply rising price based on MTUs would discourage me from considering it myself.

Product Fruits
Flow builder in Product Fruits

I’m unsure how to describe Product Fruits: you can do quite a lot with it, yet I wouldn’t recommend it. Recently, they improved their UI which took the experience to a more usable level — well done! But something is still off.

And it’s not only related to the interface. Some features seem irrelevant, some more important are missing. But if all you care about are functionalities, Userguiding is not enough, and Userpilot or Userflow are too pricey, go check out Product Fruits.

The cheapest: Usetiful

Flow builder in Usetiful

Unless you’re on a super tight budget, I’d steer clear of Usetiful due to its limited possibilities and not the most user-friendly guide builder.

Need inspiration for your design?

Engagement features

Table: Main feature availability

AppcuesUserpilotPendoUserflowStonlyChameleonProduct FruitsUserGuidingUsetiful
Resource centers

As you see, all the user onboarding software have a similar coverage of main features, and to spot differences, we need to dig deeper. So let’s look under the hood to see what options they offer and how your work with each tool would look.

While each of the user onboarding tools has its own way of setting up the same experiences, I believe it makes the most sense to divide the engagement features into two categories:

  • messages (usually triggered by user behavior), and
  • widgets (permanently visible information hubs).

Messages (modals, tooltips, hotspots, surveys)

Builder comparison

Below you’ll find a summary of the most valuable findings and differences. However, on its own, it won’t let you decide which user onboarding software you’d prefer to use.

Quick summary

First, we need to differentiate two types of creating content:

  • on page, using browser extension (Appcues, Userpilot, Pendo, Chameleon, Product fruits, Userguiding),
  • in the app panel (Userflow, Stonly, Usetiful).
Message creation & design flexibility

Userflow, Appcues, Userpilot, Pendo, and Product Fruits provide a higher level of control over the content/structure of your message than other tools.

You can add columns and easily move stuff around (except Pendo). Other user onboarding software either let you add only one item per row (Chameleon, Userguiding) or have a content structure set without the possibility of changing it (Stonly, Usetiful).

It’s worth noting that Userflow offers some additional features that make it even more flexible than Appcues and Userpilot, e.g., you can set targeting options for each step or even each button. Thanks to this, you won’t need, e.g., to create separate messages for users who have/don’t have access to a feature. Simply create two buttons (one linking to a feature setup and the other to upgrading the subscription), and that’s it!

A few more observations:

At first, being used to Appcues’ way of building flows, I considered creating them in the app panel unintuitive. However, it was not long till I realized that it doesn’t matter neither for efficiency, nor the quality of produced content. So don’t be put off by neither just because you’re used to another way of doing things.

  • Pendo: I had problems starting the builder and in the beginning detested using it.
  • Chameleon: It happened multiple times that changes were reverted a few seconds after I made them. Pretty annoying, isn’t it?
  • Usetiful: The builder is very limited.
  • Appcues: Based on my working experience, I know there are minor limitations when combining different types of messages in one flow.
Flow/tour structure management
Tour structure in Stonly

I fell in love with how Stonly approached flow structure management. Along with a linear view of how all the steps are connected, they provide you with a tree view. This way, if your flow branches out in different directions, you won’t need to check where each button links to.

Here, I’d like to highlight an interesting feature available only in Stonly. There, end users can report issues and leave in your flows publicly visible comments. Of course, it’s you who decides whether to enable this option or not.

Widgets (resource centers, checklists)

I’d love to be less predictable, but this is yet another category where Userflow outranks other user onboarding software. Both design-wise and in terms of functionalities.

And don’t get me wrong — Userpilot, Product Fruits, and Stonly are not far behind. But if I were to choose based on my personal preference, I wouldn’t hesitate much.

Let’s first take a look at feature comparison, and then I’ll dive more into details regarding the best one — Userflow.


AppcuesUserpilotUserflowStonlyChameleonProduct FruitsUserguidingUsetiful
Add title & description
Embed images/videos in the header
Item description
Add guides and links
Run JavaScript on click
Set targeting per checklist item
Item completion based on user attributes/eventsOnly events
Embed the resource center in a page

Resource centers

UserpilotUserflowStonlyChameleonProduct FruitsUserguiding
Embed checklist
Add guides and links
Add custom contentOnly videos
Add nested pages
Add content groupsOnly flows
Set targeting per item
Built-in “Contact us” section
Built-in contact form
Embed iframe
Search items or flows
Search knowledge base
Integrate live chat
(e.g., Intercom, Zendesk)
Notifications about new items


Resource center setup in Userflow

The most important from my point of view is that checklist and resource center items can have their own targeting. It means you can create one widget for all kinds of users without a need to duplicate and manage multiple variations separately. It’s incredibly useful if you strive to create a personalized experience.

In the resource center, you can add many types of content: a checklist, links, links to flows (also grouped), contact information, and subpages showing content in another state of the widget. There’s also a built-in search function that lets you find flows or articles from a knowledge base.

In the top section of Userflow checklists, you can add texts, embed images, or, maybe most importantly — videos. You can even add columns if you so choose.

Checklist items apart from titles can also feature a short description. Along with the basic options, you can run a JavaScript code on item click.

However, it’s not all perfect. Two things could be improved:

  • In the resource center, you can’t choose a specific checklist you want to show. It’s added automatically based on which one is currently active for the user. I can imagine situations where it wouldn’t be the desired behavior (or at least could cause confusion and uncertainty).
  • You can’t add nested groups of custom links — only flows.
See your competitors’ onboarding flows or check out my top picks.

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Flow setup options


You might think there’s not much science to flow triggering. While in most cases you’ll use a page view to trigger a flow, there are some additional possibilities you might find interesting.

  • Custom event triggering (client-side events) — Appcues, Userpilot, Usetiful (page interaction events)
  • Element click — Pendo, Userflow, Chameleon, Usetiful, Appcues, Userpilot
  • Element hover — Chameleon, Usetiful
  • Element is present/not present — Userflow, Chameleon, Userguiding (wait until present), Usetiful
  • Element is disabled/not disabled — Userflow
  • Input filled out — Userflow
  • Input value — Userflow
  • Element text/attribute – Usetiful
  • Delay (time) – Userflow, Stonly, Chameleon, Userguiding, Userpilot
  • Delay (scroll) – Userguiding
  • Custom JS — Product Fruits offers the highest level of flexibility by letting you run custom JavaScript (but you need to know how)

Additionally, I need to mention that setting up the basic page targeting in Product Fruits is terrible. I consider myself a technical marketer, but I had a hard time understanding what to do.

Audience targeting

Most user onboarding software allow for the same targeting options based on user attributes and performed events (both generated by interactions with the messages/widgets as well as custom events). There are, however, a few things worth mentioning:

Audience targeting in Appcues
  • Appcues: The only one that lets you create endless nested logic groups (logic group in a logic group).
  • Product Fruits: You can’t create logic groups at all!
  • Userflow: The only one that lets you use event attributes.
  • Stonly: Doesn’t send guide interaction events on its own (apart from checklists), and you need to set them up yourself for each guide.
  • Usetiful: I might be wrong on this one, but it seems you can’t send events to Usetiful, just user properties.
  • Userguiding and Chameleon: For each guide, you need to create and save segments outside the guide/trigger setup, which seems somewhat inefficient.


Scheduling in Pendo

Pendo, Userflow, and Userguiding are the only user onboarding software letting you set exact dates your guides will be shown.

Frequency (single flow)

  • Appcues: Once, Every time
  • Userpilot: Once, Every time
  • Pendo: Once, Repeat every X days/hours and set the frequency cap
  • Userflow: Once, Repeat every X seconds/minutes/hours/days and set the frequency cap (or no cap at all)
  • Stonly: Once, Repeat X times with a frequency cap (without an interval setting); for some types of triggers you can set to disable it after X times a user engages with it
  • Chameleon: Once, Repeat immediately, Repeat after reload, Repeat every week/month/quarter/half-year/year (without a frequency cap)
  • Product fruits: Once, Every X days, Always
  • Userguiding: Once, Repeat every session/day/week/month, Always
  • Usetiful: Once, Everytime

Design customization

All tools allow for similar design customization settings. However, Userflow stands out with the number of options available in their no-code theme builder.

Theme editor in Userflow

Additional features

Table: Feature availability

AppcuesUserpilotPendoUserflowStonlyChameleonProduct FruitsUserGuidingUsetiful
LocalizationOnly flowsIn beta
Frequency capping (throttling)
Account structuring/Flow organization
Flow analytics
Event builder


In the table above, you can check the availability of the localization feature, but these checkmarks don’t tell the whole story.

Localization in Userpilot

Simply put, it works best in Userpilot, Stonly, and Userflow. All three allow manual localization in the platform/builder, as well as via file upload. You can easily localize images/videos too. You don’t need to unpublish flows to edit translations and you can make changes to the original version whenever you want. The most noticeable difference is that while in Userpilot and Stonly you can edit translation in the flow seeing the end result right away, in Userpilot you translate sentences in a separate translation panel.

The next position holds Pendo and Product Fruits. In Pendo, you can work only with XLIFF files (no CSV or manual changes), while in Product Fruits, you can only add translations manually (no export/import). What’s important is that Product Fruits doesn’t support fallback languages.

In Appcues, you can localize only flows (and not checklists or pins), and what’s worst is that after localizing the content is locked (you can’t edit it). It causes a lot of trouble, especially for onboarding/lifecycle flows (in contrast to regular, one-off communication) that are meant to stay there for longer and should be subject to iterative optimization.

Chameleon’s localization feature is currently in the beta stage and is available only on the Enterprise plan, which made it impossible for me to test it.


Unlike most user onboarding software, Userflow and Stonly boast guide versioning, where you can preview, compare, and restore previous versions.

Guide versioning in Stonly

Account-wide frequency cap (throttling) + Flow prioritization

I was surprised that not all the user onboarding software offer this crucial function. In the end, you don’t want to spam your users with too many pop-ups in a short period.

Frequency cap setup in Chameleon

While the frequency cap works similarly everywhere, Chameleon, Pendo, and Appcues offer the highest flexibility of guide prioritization (you can define the exact order in which your flows are to be shown). On the other hand, Userflow and Userpilot limit it to a few levels (e.g., Low, Medium, and High).

In Userflow, you need to set throttling for each guide (define how long it’s supposed to wait after the previous guide was shown), while in other user onboarding software, you set it once for the entire environment (e.g., how many guides to show per day). It’s one of the few cases where Userflow offers a non-optimal solution.

Additionally, in Userpilot, I didn’t find any information about the possibility to exclude specific types of flows from throttling, which is crucial for the onboarding experience.

Account structuring/Flow organization

If you use a tool extensively for a longer time, you need to have a proper content organization in place. So kudos to Stonly for providing the ability to create folders (and subfolders), saved filters, and the search option. All the other software offer only basic filtering and search.

Flow analytics

All the compared software offer guide analytics. Most are very similar, and the only one I’d like to highlight is Stonly which shows enough information, a clear overview, and the ability to filter by a specific language.

Event builders

Don’t underestimate the importance of this feature! From my experience, it’s never the case that developers set up tracking for all the interactions. And then one day, it turns out you need a specific event to trigger a flow or to complete a checklist, and it’s simply not there. So what do you do? Wait weeks till your product team adds it to their sprint?

Understanding this pain, more than half of the reviewed tools feature standalone event builders that allow you to send events when users perform some action in your app (e.g., clicking an element).

Additionally, as described more in-depth in the flow triggering section, some user onboarding software have event listeners built into the guide settings.

Final Ranking: Pros, cons, prices

Each tool can receive max. 5 points.

The score is calculated as a sum of the factors listed below (max. 25 points), divided by 5.

  • Main feature availability – max. 7 points
  • Secondary feature availability – max. 3 points
  • Options inside features – max. 4 points
  • Ease of use/UX – max. 3 points
  • Out-of-the-box end user experience (look and feel) – max. 2 points
  • Bonus point (my subjective preference) – max. 1 points

Name & Price




Price for 10k MTU: $680

My rating: 4.75/5

  • Has all the important features
  • Advanced resource center
  • Lots of triggering/targeting options
  • You can show/hide elements inside guides, checklists, resource center dynamically (each element can have their own targeting)
  • Advanced and easy-to-use event builder
  • Generally seems to be a very well-thought-out product
  • Building a flow can become a bit complex


Price for ? MTU: from $500

My rating: 4.25/5

  • Has all the important features
  • Event triggering
  • Good look and feel from end-user perspective
  • Good targeting options
  • High flow design flexibility
  • Extensive product analytics options
  • Seems like a better thought-out version of Appcues
  • Flow priority limited to 3 categories
  • No bells and whistles
  • Easy to use
  • Great look and feel from end-user perspective
  • A tree view on a guide structure
  • Integrated knowledge base
  • Good guide organization options
  • Advanced flow analytics
  • Seems to be a very well thought-out product
  • In my opinion the best localization feature
  • Guide structure (design) is set, without the possibility to change
  • No guide prioritization & frequency cap for all active guides
  • No out-of-the-box guide interaction events
  • No user segments
  • No event builder
  • Pricing based on views and not MTUs


Price for 20k MTU: $389

My rating: 3.5/5

  • Easy to use
  • Good resource center
  • Flow scheduling
  • While has all the main features, they are all pretty basic
  • Targeting is not really flexible (you need to use segments)
  • No localization feature (you’d need to duplicate guides)
  • No guide prioritization & frequency cap for all active guides
  • No event builder


Price for 10k MTU: $1.150

My rating: 3.5/5

  • Event triggering
  • High flow design flexibility
  • User diagnostics useful for debugging
  • No resource center feature
  • Poor localization feature
  • Limited checklist options
  • Quite a few quirks that make working with Appcues frustrating in the long run


Price for 10k MTU: $1750

My rating: 3.5/5

  • You can show/hide elements inside checklists/resource center dynamically (each element can have their own targeting)
  • Quite a lot of options in terms of building flows
  • Delight animations (throwing confetti all over the screen)
  • Mediocre builder UX (seems a bit buggy)
  • No event builder


Price for 10k MTU: ?

My rating: 3.25/5

  • Has all the important features
  • It’s not just a product adoption platform — it also has product analytics and roadmapping
  • Not user-friendly (UI can be a bit confusing)
  • Poor out-of-the-box look and feel from the end-user perspective
  • Localization only with XLIFF file
  • I constantly experienced issues starting the builder

Product Fruits

Price for 10k MTU: $349

My rating: 3.25/5

  • A lot of features and setup options
  • You can show/hide elements inside resource center dynamically (each element can have their own targeting)
  • Mediocre UX
  • No logic groups in audience targeting
  • No guide prioritization & frequency cap for all active guides
  • Only manual localization (no file upload)


Price for 20k views: $82

My rating: 2.25/5

  • Easy to use
  • Many page interaction events you can use for triggering flows
  • Generally, everywhere you have very limited options
  • You can’t send custom events to Usetiful (?)

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