If you're looking into esignature options for your business and want to assess all your best options in one spot, this writeup will be your go-to for price, security, features and more.
What’s your signature worth to you? You’d be surprised. Globally, the electronic signature market alone grew to $2.8 billion in 2020, with electronic signature use increasing by over 400 million per year within the span of five years.
In other words, a lot of business is done online these days. And you need the infrastructure in place to keep up.
But when weighing the best electronic signature apps, what exactly comes to mind? From your perspective, you might only view an electronic signature program as a basic one-function download. You put your signature on a contract and that’s it, right? Of course, much more goes into it, including:
- Security. These are important documents, after all. How well does the app take care of your electronic signature and keep it protected from third parties?
- Convenience. Is it easy to use? Does the app handle sending and receiving with ease, or does it fill up your inbox just over the use of one contract?
- Pricing. Does one electronic signature app cost significantly more than the other? If it does, is that price justified because of how superior the product is, or is the less-expensive version the better option?
It takes a lot of consideration. After all, your electronic signature is the most important asset you have online. With it, you can sign contracts, hire employees, and make commerce move. Without it, you can be subject to ID theft and invalidated contracts.
An electronic signature solution is a critical tool in any business’s arsenal. But not just any old tool will do it. You need to understand what your business needs to prioritize. And how do you ensure you get maximum productivity/ROI, especially if you have a lot of contracts to sign?
Given these facts, let’s take a step back and look at the best electronic signature apps. Which ones really deliver the goods? To answer that question, we looked at the key three features above and here's what we came up with:
#1: Nitro Sign
A free trial. Enterprise-grade features and business-level solutions. Unlimited signatures.
If we were to create a checklist of what every electronic signature app should include, it would look like Nitro Sign.
The key word here is “unlimited.” This is integral for any growing business that doesn’t know how many signature requests it’s going to send and receive. With Nitro, you can send unlimited requests for signatures. This means no “pricing tiers.” In other words, you don’t have to pay more just because you’re using the product more.
Nitro Sign is easy to use, agile, and flexible. It includes intuitive design, which helps you apply enterprise-grade features like custom sending orders effortlessly. What previously might have taken too much of your day can be done in a matter of minutes.
It’s also convenient. You can organize several signatures on the same document, creating a single source point for every party to view. From there, you can use real-time tracking and managing features to see who’s viewed the contract. This will help you build a contract pipeline so you can track all of your documents from a single source.
Pricing: Nitro Sign, the best option for individuals, comes in at $9.99USD /user/month. For bulk signing, you can upgrade to Nitro Sign Enterprise for larger teams at $19.99USD /user/month, billed annually. The key point here is price flexibility: you won’t find yourself surprised by bills from Nitro, but instead will know exactly what you can accomplish with each pricing tier.
On the surface, there’s nothing wrong with DocuSign. In fact, it offers plenty of security and convenience. People who use DocuSign aren’t really too concerned with either of those issues: DocuSign makes it easy to sign the basic fields, handle everything on the mobile app (for signing on the go), and even has reasonable pricing options for individuals, similar to what Nitro offers.
So what’s missing? One issue. With DocuSign, the personal package only lets you send 5 requests for digital signatures. While DocuSign provides you with plenty to like in terms of getting business done, you’ll have to upgrade right away if you end up signing more than 5 documents per month. And for a growing business, that can sound like a non-starter.
Pricing: $10/month for individuals; $40/user/month for Business Pro.
HelloSign is another top name in electronic signatures, and for good reason. A lot of startup businesses like it for how easy it is to onboard: you simply sign up for an account, and voila—you’re in. From there, you can start requesting signatures and signing your own. It also has a free plan, which means that any extra-small business (or even freelancer) can start using it without getting out the ol’ credit card.
The problem? A lack of PDF editing. If you need to edit and change PDFs within a workspace or across multiple businesses, you’re not going to find it to be much help.
With that free option, you’ll even have an audit trail for each contract, which helps you track everything you’ve done as a business. After all, one of the most overlooked elements in electronic signatures is the “paper trail” you leave—a figurative term if there ever was one. All in all, a great solution. HelloSign, however, offers even fewer contract requests than DocuSign, which earns a lower spot on our list.
Pricing: Free, but $15/month for the Essentials tier allowing unlimited signature requests per month.
PandaDoc is a major favorite for people with growing businesses, as its free pricing tier includes unlimited e-signatures and unlimited document uploads. There’s a mobile app to use with the free tier, as well. So you might be wondering: why ever pay for PandaDoc, or any other solution for that matter?
With the more advanced pricing tiers, you can unlock 24/7 email and chat support, as well as access pricing tables and document analytics. This means that if you truly want a robust document management solution, you will have to pay. But as a starter electronic signature app, it has a lot to offer. There may be some hidden costs with some features. For example, Bulk Send is an add-on costs, even with the higher pricing tiers. And the lack of solid PDF editing can cause an issue if you’re unfamiliar with handling PDFs.
Pricing: Free with the basic account, $19/month/user for “Essentials” to add document analytics and 24/7 support.
SignNow’s angle is that it wants to enhance the convenience side of things. That means it lets you upload existing forms or even build templates via the online editor, using a convenient web browser to handle this in just a few minutes. You can sign up for a free trial and immediately get going on some signatures, which also means that if you want to try a solution on this list, this is an easy one to start.
One potential weakness: support can be slow to respond, or even lacking altogether, according to Gartner Peer Insights reviews.
Features like importing word documents and creating teams for contract collaboration are all there too, ensuring that you can expand your pricing if you need to build a team that handles a lot of contracts.
Pricing: $8/user/month. You can buy “up to 10 users,” but have to call for any beyond that point. You can use unlimited templates with this tier.
#6: Adobe Sign
If you haven’t heard of Adobe before, maybe it’s time to get acquainted with its broad range of offerings. Adobe has one of the leading PDF editing solutions, which means it makes sense for electronic signatures when you’re working with a very specific file type. But does it deliver?
A key weakness here: consumption-based pricing and transaction limits. As your business grows, you’ll need more flexibility for your electronic signature applications to grow with you.
With the $9.99/month package (billed annually), you have access to the ability to sign and collect signatures, track/send reminders, and use either desktop or mobile e-signing; whichever you prefer. Its online PDF tools are particularly convenient for anyone who struggles to work with PDFs.
Pricing: $9.99/month, billed annually
Dotloop is a robust platform, but we have one caveat: This is a platform that’s also aimed at real estate professionals. Advertising itself as the complete real estate transaction management solution, the emphasis is on security and convenience for high-ticket deals. And if that’s what you’re looking for, great. Because Dotloop can deliver.
A weakness here? Security and compliance, which could be a red flag for customers who want to know they’re getting the most possible security for the high-sensitivity contracts they send.
Dotloop’s lowest pricing tier includes includes robust features: unlimited transactions, a document editor, an audit trail, and a mobile app. It also has real-time notifications for real estate agents who are always on the go.
Pricing: $29/month for the “Agents” tier, which includes unlimited transactions.
Jotform is another offering that comes from the field that often works best for individuals. That means a free “Starter” pricing tier that includes five forms in its limit, 1,000 monthly form views, and 500 total submission storage. The good news: you’ll have unlimited reports and fields per form, which means that when you do send out a contract, you’ll be able to get plenty out of it.
As you work your way up the pricing tiers, you’ll quickly gain exponential access: more monthly contract submissions, more available storage space for your record-keeping, and your monthly form views. The question is: will Jotform grow with your business?
Pricing: Free option, with up to 5 forms. $24/month boiled annually for its Bronze offering, which expands that to a 25-form limit.
Let’s think about things from the convenience side. One of the nice features of RightSignature is its “one-click document preparation,” which means you can use their automatic field detection to generate the fields for you. This makes it surprisingly easy to upload something like a PDF and let RightSignature take it from there.
That covers things from the convenience side. There’s also plenty of security know-how, given that this is a product of Citrix, which has a lot of experience in software. Ultimately, this ends up being a nice, affordably-priced option for freelancers and startups, with a three-team member (three user) plan option at a higher price for a growing business.
Pricing: $12/month standard for freelancers and startups; $60/month for 3 team members.
What would you say about free pricing, along with 2,000 documents for handling? Dochub is immediately started off on the right foot. Their free pricing tier comes 5 e-signatures per month and 3 sign requests; however, if your business starts to grow, you may have to move up the tier ladder.
This is another solution where you may want to research security and compliance. On their own website we found that SOC 2, NIST, FERPA, ISO 27000, and HIPAA compliance were either in-progress or coming June 2021. Is the website out of date? We don’t know.
The good news is that with Pro, you’ll get unlimited documents and e-signatures as well as sign requests. They also throw in “premium tools” that add a lot of convenience, including unlimited saved signatures for when you work with businesses more than once.
Pricing: $4/month/user for unlimited documents and e-signatures; a free option is available for more limited use.
Getting the Most out of Your Electronic Signature App
That’s ten options. Ultimately, you’ll have to choose one on the list, and ideally it’s one that hits everything your specific business needs: convenience, security, and a price point that won’t be a thorn in your side. Which one is best for you? We recommend a free trial of Nitro Sign to check out one of the premier solutions without any commitments.