Here's what we do when we want to buy something:

  • We set a budget, knowingly or unknowingly. Our perceived value of that product determines the higher limit.
  • The choices are decreased after we set the budget. Then, we look for products which offer the maximum number of features within that budget.

Up until this point, it's a very logical process. Next, we enter the subjective areas, where we ask:

  • Is the product reliable?
  • Will we enjoy using the product?

We applied the same thought process to find out the best appointment scheduling software in the market. We restricted our study only to those apps that frequently come up on the first page of Google and Zoho Bookings.

Appointment scheduling software that are part of this study

  • 1Zoho Bookings
  • 2SimplyBookMe
  • 3Setmore
  • 4Calendly
  • 5Appointy
  • 6Appointlet
  • 7Acuity Scheduling
  • 810to8 Scheduling

A quick snapshot about each appointment scheduling app

  • 1Zoho Bookings integrates well with Zoho apps, like CRM, Meeting, Flow, Sites, etc. It offers the best personalization and branding options in the market, without pushing the user to do HTML and CSS coding. We want to make the product suitable for customer-facing teams. Our customer support channels are email, community, and help documentation.
  • 2SimplyBookMe has a usage-based pricing model, which is different from all of the other apps compared here. They allow you to pick a specified number of features in each pricing plan. They support customers by email, chat, and help documentation. They have mobile apps. The primary target audience is the health and wellness industry.
  • 3Setmore comes from a design oriented parent company and it shows. They have good mobile apps, and the web app UI is one of the better ones in the market. Setmore supports customers with help documentation, email, and live chat support. Their pricing plan is one of the simplest.
  • 4Calendly needs no introduction. Their minimal user interface is the main attraction, and their community and support are active. They do not cover all scheduling use cases—for example, classes. They have mobile apps and plug-ins make it easy to share your schedule.
  • 5Appointy also covers many use cases in the service industry. Unlike other apps, they have features that enable at-home/house-call type services. Also, they have many options to filter out unwanted bookings. They support customers via email, chat, and help documentation. They integrate with Square POS, have mobile apps, and offer custom development.
  • 6Appointlet is a Calendly alternative if you want a simpler app. You will miss some of the Calendly features, but if you do meetings by approval, you've to go with Appointlet. They support customers by email, chat, and with help documentation. They don't have mobile apps; Calendly does.
  • 7Acuity Scheduling is a flexible and versatile app that can meet many appointment scheduling cases. Their primary audience is the health and wellness industry. They offer a seven-day free trial. The help documentation is good, and they support customers by email, not by calls. They don't have the best free plans.
  • 8 10to8 Scheduling is another app that is good for scheduling use cases. They offer a 30-day trial period and supports their customers by email. Users have rated the app positively. 10t8 is not very strong when it comes to integrations, and they don't have mobile apps.

Here is how we conducted the study:

Needs vs budget plot: We plotted 75 appointment scheduling features against the best plan each app can offer for $25. The app which gives the most number of features for $25 is the best value-for-money app.

Appointment scheduling features and the cost involved

Why did we choose $25? We've seen in reviews that people are happy to pay that much for a month to automate scheduling. Also, you can order a decent to luxurious breakfast in any part of the world with that amount, which is an indication that $25 is affordable.

Quality of support: After we made the needs vs budget plot, we took a trial of all these apps. We interacted with their support staff and learned from their help documentation. Even if a product offers the best value, you will have a hard time using it if it isn't reliable or customers aren't well-supported. You would rather pay more for another app.

The best support among appointment scheduling software

User experience: Do you like your interaction with the app? It is subjective, but it will still influence your decision. It could be the design, ease-of-use, navigation, consistency, or some other aspect of the app. You cannot rate these, but only experience it. In our study, there is a distinct group of apps that provide a better user experience than the rest.

Appointment scheduling software and user experience

Before declaring the results, let's go through some of the interesting findings from our study.

To pick the best app, identify your need first: is scheduling a part of your business or is that your business? For a sales manager looking to automate customer appointments with their team, Calendly, Appointlet, or Zoho Bookings are the best options. Their features suit sales teams well, and sales managers don't have to spend the whole day setting up the app.

However, if you're in the service industry and your revenue depends on the appointments, you need to look at Setmore, Acuity, Appointy, 10to8, or SimplyBookMe.

Scheduling software categorized based on customer needs

For service-oriented businesses

  • 1Acuity Scheduling
  • 2 10to8 Scheduling
  • 3 Setmore
  • 4 Appointy
  • 5 Simplybookme

For customer and candidate facing teams

  • 1 Calendly
  • 2 Zoho Bookings
  • 3 Appointlet

Calendly vs Acuity Scheduling—finally, an answer!

Acuity's founder developed the app based on requirements from his mother's massage practice. Calendly's founder was a salesperson. The influence is visible in the direction the two apps take. Acuity has tried to cover almost every use case in appointment scheduling, while Calendly focused on sales and recruitment teams. That resulted in Calendly being able to manage everything without complicating things, whereas Acuity added a lot of features that can make it harder to use. Acuity can do all that Calendly can do, but Calendly cannot say that for Acuity. Calendly can do what you want in a shorter time than Acuity.

Image alt tag: Calendly vs Acuity Scheduling

Takeaways for Zoho Bookings

Zoho Bookings team

The study has been beneficial for us. We've identified areas of growth and improvement like:

  • Marketing: We need to emphasize our strengths: personalization, branding, and the modern UI.
  • Strategy: We will double our focus on the customers-and-candidates-facing teams.
  • Support: We need to add people to our support team to provide the best resolution in the shortest possible time.
  • Pricing: Zoho Bookings gives up to 5 staff when you spend $25, which is higher than other apps. We need to emphasize that in our marketing.

Which is the best appointment scheduling software?

The best appointment scheduling software

The best appointment scheduling software is Acuity Scheduling as they provide the most number of features under $25.

The eight best appointment scheduling software ranked

  • 1Acuity Scheduling
  • 210to8 Scheduling
  • 3Zoho Bookings
  • 4Setmore
  • 5Appointy
  • 6Calendly
  • 7Appointlet
  • 8SimplyBookMe

Based on the needs vs budget plot, we made this definitive list of the best appointment scheduling software. If you do the same plot that we did, you will get the same results. That way, this list is objective and not based on opinions.

If Acuity is the best, why do other apps exist?

Because sometimes it's easier to work with a simpler product with lesser features, and perhaps that product has better support.

Quality of support

All apps have good help documentation, community, and email support. The real differentiator is Live chat support. Calendly, Setmore, Appointy, Appointlet, and SimplyBookMe offer live chat support. Among them, Setmore is the app that always responded to questions in the time they promised: under 5 minutes. SimplyBookMe, Appointlet, and Appointy also responds well during their work hours. It is hard to evaluate the quality of email support and community, because that varies for every individual. However, I think the response time and availability of live chat support 24x7 is verifiable by anyone.

User experience

One of the positive aspects of Zoho Bookings when placed among these senior apps is its UI. Since it's newer, it has a fresh feel and adheres to latest UX standards. Except for Zoho Bookings, Calendly, and Setmore, we found it difficult to find our way through the apps. The other apps are feature-rich, but took a lot of effort to set up. Our sample case was to set up an app for our sales team. All apps could do that, but the speed with which we could do that, the learning curve, determined our experience. Time-to-go-live can be a common denominator to measure your user experience.

It is hard to offer many features and great UX at the same time. Each app has its priorities and plans. Calendly has chosen to keep it simple, offer a minimal UI, and support (live chat for more than 10 users). Setmore and Zoho Bookings have covered more use cases than Calendly, and kept their UI clean and easy.

Putting budget, support, and UX together

Setmore and Calendly are the most balanced apps. If we had to pick one of them, we would choose Calendly for the slightly better, minimalistic UI, and overall market standing.

Our ranking of the apps, when we wanted to automate appointment scheduling for our sales team

  • 1Zoho Bookings
  • 2Calendly
  • 3Setmore
  • 4Appointlet
  • 5Acuity Scheduling
  • 610to8 Scheduling
  • 7SimplyBookMe
  • 8Appointy

How to get started

We've given you the answer, from a few different points of view. Here are some final thoughts...

If you need an app to automate your sales, hiring, or customer calls, go for Zoho Bookings, Appointlet or Calendly. These are simple apps and you can fully evaluate them in a few days.

Sign up for a 15-day free trial of Zoho Bookings. Access Zoho Bookings

If you're in the service industry, start with Acuity Scheduling and 10to8 Scheduling. Acuity offers only a 7-day trial, whereas 10to8 has a 30-day trial period.

If you feel that you need live chat support, check out Appointy, and try SimplyBookMe if you want a-la-carte pricing.

Go for Setmore if your feature requirements are not exhaustive, and you just need a simple, friendly app, for your service business.

Do you want to discuss your appointment scheduling requirements with us?

Book a discovery call

Comparison table of appointment scheduling software

Skip the table and return to reading the findings

Note: Please verify the information on the respective app websites because vendors are always changing pricing plans. We plan to update this quarterly.

Scroll right to see how they compare  

  •   AppointletCalendlyZoho BookingsSetmoreAppointy10 to 8 schedulingAcuitySimplybookme
  •   Premium - $8
    per user/ month
    Pro - $12per
    user / month
    Premium - $9
    per user/ month
    Pro - $15Growth - $19.99Grow $20Growing - $23Basic - $9.9
  • FeaturesSub-features       
  •   For $25For $25For $25For $25For $25For $25For $25For $25
  • Number of users / staff / calendars for $25 322533615
  • Number of appointments per month UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited2000 per day300Unlimited100
  • Number of customers UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
  • Number of services UnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
  • Multi-location        
  • Multi-org        
  • Mobile apps        
  • Setting up availabilityWork hours        
  • Staff-based availability        
  • Service-based availability        
  • 2-way calendar syncGoogle        
  • O365        
  • iCloud        
  • Exchange        
  • Types of servicesOne-on-one        
  • Group (One-to-many)        
  • Recurring group        
  • Classes - series        
  • Panel meeting        
  • Group booking by a leader        
  • Dependent service        
  • Resource schedulingCreate and manage resources        
  • Open a service only if a resource is available        
  • SharingBooking page        
  • Embed code        
  • Chrome plug-in        
  • Facebook        
  • Instagram        
  • Checkout processBook multiple services in one session        
  • Multiple appointments        
  • Buy add-ons        
  • Buy products        
  • Notifications and reminders        
  • Online paymentPayment gateway        
  • Vault credit card        
  • BrandingDomain mapping        
  • Send emails from your domain        
  • Remove vendor branding        
  • Customize emails        
  • PersonalizationBooking parameters for emails        
  • Change default send email address        
  • Personalized booking URLs        
  • Private booking URLs        
  • Staff managementStaff log in         
  • Roles and permissions        
  • Sync calendars        
  • Assign the nearest staff to at home services        
  • Workload managementBooking by approval        
  • Limit number of appointments per day or week         
  • Limit appointments per staff        
  • Round-robin allotment        
  • Priority-based assignment        
  • Booking restrictionsRestrict by domain        
  • Members only         
  • Client ManagementClient report         
  • Client portal        
  • Rebooking reminders        
  • Gift cards and discounts        
  • Subscriptions        
  • Packages        
  • IntegrationsOnline meeting         
  • CRM        
  • Email marketing        
  • Website builders        
  • Google Analytics        
  • Facebook pixel        
  • APIs        
  • Zapier        
  • Reporting ModuleCalendar dashboard         
  • List view        
  • Revenue report        
  • Staff performance        
  • CompliancesGDPR        
  • CCPA        
  • HIPAA        
  • Number of features in under-$25 plan3137414039465522

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