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You may not give them credit, but forms are an essential part of your WordPress site. They let people contact you, help you build your email list, allow visitors to register, and just generally power your WordPress site in any number of unsexy ways.

And that oft-overlooked importance is why picking a form plugin for your website shouldn’t be done carelessly.

We’ve already talked about some of our favorite contact form plugins, but now I want to dig into three specific all-purpose form builders: Gravity Forms vs. WPForms vs. Caldera Forms.

All three feature form builder interfaces that go beyond anything you’ll see in Contact Form 7. And they’re also unique in that each takes a different approach to monetization. Gravity Forms is premium, WPForms is freemium, and Caldera Forms is free with paid extensions.

If you’re interested in taking a deeper look at three of best all-purpose WordPress form builders, join me for this three-way comparison.

Overall Summary: Gravity Forms vs. WPForms vs. Caldera Forms

Before I dive into each individual plugin, I want to provide you with a table summarizing some key information for each option:

Gravity Forms WPForms Caldera Forms
Starting Premium Price $39 $39 N/A (Paid Extensions ~ $49.99 each)
Has Free Version? No Yes Yes
Form Builder Interface Drag and Drop Drag and Drop Drag and Drop
Responsive Design? Yes Yes Yes
Conditional Logic? Yes, in $39 premium version Yes, in $39 premium version Yes, for free
Collect Payments? Yes, in $199 premium version Yes, in $199 premium version Yes, with paid extensions. $49.99 per payment gateway
Email Marketing Integrations? Yes, in $99 premium version Yes, in $99 premium version Yes, with paid extension. $49.99 per service.
Date Picker Fields for Scheduling? Yes, in $39 premium version Yes, in $39 premium version Yes, for free

Now that you’ve got the big picture, I’ll get into each plugin in detail...

Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms is probably the first name that comes to mind when you think “premium WordPress form plugin”. It can help you create everything from a basic contact form to multi-page conditional forms with payment integrations.

Gravity Forms Builder Interface

Gravity Forms vs. WPForms vs. Caldera Forms

Gravity Forms utilizes a drag and drop builder to create forms. While I’d say the UI is comparable to Caldera Forms in terms of ease of use, it’s inferior to WPForms. WPForms’ drag and drop builder feels “natural”. Though perfectly functional, Gravity Forms’ builder just isn’t as pleasant of an experience.

Gravity Forms Features

Here’s everything you can do with Gravity Forms, though some features will require varying package levels to access:

  • Conditional logic
  • Multi-page forms
  • Honeypot and CAPTCHA spam protection
  • Track entries in database
  • Payment integrations - good for order forms
  • Email marketing service integrations
  • Limit # of form entries - good for contests
  • Date picker fields - good for bookings/appointments
  • Schedule form - only make the form available for certain dates
  • Create posts from form entries - good for front-end submissions
  • Zapier integration - good for automation
  • CRM integrations - good for managing leads

Gravity Forms Pricing

Unlike the other two plugins on this list, there’s no free version of Gravity Forms. Instead, you get three different premium versions.

Here’s what comes with each plan tier:

gravity-forms-2-pricing
Click to purchase the Pro version of Gravity Forms.

WPForms

I’ve already written an in-depth review of WPForms, so if you’re interested in all the gory details, I recommend you go to that post. Generally, WPForms functions quite similarly to Gravity Forms, down to essentially the exact same pricing structure. WPForms does throw in a few unique features that set it apart, though.

WPForms Builder Interface

Out of the three form plugins on this list, WPForms absolutely has the most user-friendly form builder. The builder looks good, is easy to navigate, and should be simple to understand even for beginners.

wpforms-1-interface

You just drag form fields over to the right side to add them to your form. Similarly, you can rearrange their order by dragging them about. And to edit specific details for each field, you just need to click on it to open the editing window:

wpforms-2-interface

One thing that differentiates WPForms from Gravity Forms is its pre-made templates. It includes templates for a variety of common forms, which make it easy for you to quickly get started.

WPForms Features

Here’s what you get with WPForms. And no, I didn’t just copy and paste this from the Gravity Forms feature list!

  • Conditional logic
  • Multi-page forms
  • Date picker fields
  • Payment integrations
  • Instant notifications - you or your team can be immediately notified any time someone fills out a form
  • Honeypot and CAPTCHA spam protection
  • Track entries in database
  • Custom WordPress registration forms
  • Email marketing service integrations
  • Zapier integration

While WPForms lacks the direct integrations with CRMs that Gravity Forms has, you should be able to still integrate with many CRMs thanks to Zapier.

WPForms Pricing

WPForms pricing is identical to Gravity Forms, though WPForms does typically offer a 20% off coupon.

Here are the different pricing tiers:

wpforms-3-pricing

Click to purchase the Pro version of WPForms.

Caldera Forms

Caldera Forms is unique in that it has, by far, the most functional free version out of all three. You get features like conditional logic and date picker fields for free, whereas both Gravity Forms and WPForms lock those features behind the premium version.

Caldera Forms Builder Interface

Caldera Forms’ builder isn’t flashy, but it gets the job done. I’m not sure how else to put it. The design is simple and the UI is not always as user-friendly as it could be. But once you get the hang of it, it’s quite simple to create forms.

caldera-forms-1-interface

Like WPForms, Caldera Forms includes some templates to help you get started:

caldera-forms-2-interface

If you’re an advanced WordPress user, or willing to put in a little time to learn the ropes, the interface has everything that you need.

Caldera Forms Features

Because Caldera Forms has the most robust free version, I’ll first go through the features available in the free version. Then, I’ll tell you what you can get with extensions.

Free Version:

  • Conditional logic
  • Date picker fields
  • Multi-page forms
  • Honeypot and CAPTCHA spam protection
  • Track entries in database

With paid extensions, you can add these features:

  • Email marketing service integrations
  • Payment gateway integrations
  • A/B testing for forms
  • Postmatic integration
  • Trigger WordPress actions based on form submission
  • SMS notifications of form submissions

Caldera Forms Pricing

As I’ve harped on, Caldera Forms has a feature-rich free version.

If you need any extension, they’re priced at $49.99 each. BUT, Caldera Forms also has a special deal where you can buy a custom bundle of extensions. With that bundle, you can get three add-ons of your choice for just $79.99.

caldera-forms-3-pricing

For most uses, Caldera Forms will probably come out as the cheapest option.

Click to download Caldera Forms

Which Form Plugin Should You Pick?

I won’t give one recommendation because these choices are often constrained by budget options. But to make things simpler, I’m going to eliminate one plugin right away...

While both Gravity Forms and WPForms offer a few unique twists, they still have similar feature sets at essentially identical price points. With that being said, I think WPForms edges out Gravity Forms because of its more user-friendly form builder and helpful pre-made templates.

So that narrows it down to WPForms vs. Caldera Forms, where the decision isn’t so clear...

In terms of pure interface user-friendliness, WPForms wins.

But the free version of Caldera Forms is much more feature-rich than the free version of WPForms.

In terms of pure functionality, the free version of Caldera Forms is fairly equal to the $39 version of WPForms. So if you’re on a budget, you’ll want to stick with Caldera Forms.

Similarly, if you need email marketing integration, you’ll have to go with the $99 version of WPForms. With Caldera Forms, you could just purchase an extension for $49.99. And the difference becomes even starker if you need payments. With Caldera, you can get a single payment gateway for $49.99, whereas it costs $199 for payment support on WPForms.

Of course, if you see yourself switching between email marketing services or payment gateways, then WPForms is better because you won’t have to keep buying new extensions for each service.

Overall, if money's no object, I say go with WPForms. If you’re on a budget, go with Caldera Forms. Caldera Forms’ interface isn’t as nice, but it can offer just as much functionality at a lower price.

Have you used any of these form builders? Which was your favorite?

Published:

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Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer and long-time Internet marketer. He specializes in digital marketing, WordPress and B2B writing. He lives a life of danger, riding a scooter through the chaos of Hanoi. You can also follow his travel blog.

9 thoughts on “Gravity Forms vs. WPForms vs. Caldera Forms: Which is Best?

  1. I use both GF and Caldera for different reasons. Each has its own unique use case. If someone just wants to get up and running and even have some advanced functionality. Caldera is the way to go. Its UI is a little more intuitive, and you get so much more out of box, or for a lower entry price for the functionality you want.

    If you want it all with a lot of customization and dynamic logic done to the form, GF might be a better bet.

    • Have you tried WPForms? I like Caldera but I think WPForms wins for the most intuitive/quick-to-setup interface.

      But the free version isn’t as advanced as Caldera. So I guess it’s really only better for basic contact forms.

  2. if you mean “future rich” among free plugins, Formidable is winner.
    Also paid version is comparable to Gravity.

  3. I’m helping with a fitness membership site. I am looking for each user to be able to have their own food journal tacking the food they eat on a daily basis with access to previous data.

    Is that something you would suggest with gravity forms?

    Thanks

  4. You didn’t mentioned Formidable Forms… should try it and add it to this review. Great plugin and super fast support. I’m just a user, not being paid for any promotion :)

Comments are closed.

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