Best plagiarism checker for students

Scribbr analyzed and reviewed the most popular free and paid plagiarism checkers for students in 2018.

If you want to prevent plagiarism, it’s important to truly understand it. To help you, we wrote these handy articles about the consequences of plagiarism, how to avoid plagiarism, self-plagiarism and the different types of plagiarism.

Top 10 best plagiarism checkers for students
Plagiarism checkerPlagiarism detectedUsabilityAccuracyAccess to sources
#1 Scribbr44%5/55/55/5
#2 Ephorus23%5/55/55/5
#3 Quetext29%4/54/52/5
#4 Compilatio28%1/54/52/5
#5 BibMe19%3/53/53/5
#6 Plagscan17%4/54/52/5
#7 Plagramme16%2/53/54/5
#8 Grammarly0%5/52/54/5
#9 Smallseotools5%1/51/51/5
#10 Searchenginereports4%1/51/51/5

How we tested the plagiarism checkers

Two test documents were used to evaluate whether the plagiarism checkers can detect different types of plagiarism, including direct plagiarism and patchwork plagiarism.

  • Document #1: A real paper with original and plagiarized paragraphs.
  • Document #2: A 100% plagiarized text with excerpts from journals, books and websites. Some words were changed to see how the plagiarism checkers address this issue.

Click on the tabs below to view the test results for both documents.

 

Scribbr review

Recommended: Yes, it is tailor-made for students
Price: $18.95 (up to 7,500 words)
Turnitin originality report

Pros

  • Best plagiarism checker on the market
  • Large access to scholarly databases
  • Easy to use
  • Plagiarism percentage + list with sources
  • Trusted and used by universities worldwide
  • Safe and secure

Cons

  • Quality comes at a price

Summary

Scribbr is clearly the best plagiarism checker for students. Of all the plagiarism checkers we tested, this one was most successful at detecting plagiarism. Furthermore, the plagiarism report includes a clear plagiarism percentage and a list sources that have similarities with your document.

Access to sources 
Scribbr’s plagiarism checker has the largest access to scholarly sources and is therefore capable of finding more similarities compared to other plagiarism checkers.

  • Billions of web sources
  • Millions of publications and scientific articles

Accuracy 
Scribbr’s plagiarism checker can detect not only exact similarities but also patchwork plagiarism (i.e. slightly rewritten text). In addition, the technology has the options available to ignore your bibliography and properly quoted text. This results in a much more reliable plagiarism check.

Usability 
The plagiarism report is clear and contains all the information you need. It reports a plagiarism percentage, a list of sources and a color-coded copy of your document that highlights areas with potential plagiarism.

Discover Scribbr Plagiarism Checker

Ephorus review

Unfortunately, the Ephorus plagiarism checker is not available to students.

Ephorus plagiarism checker for students

Pros

  • Scholarly database access
  • Clear plagiarism report
  • Safe and secure

Cons

  • Currently not available to students

Summary

The Ephorus plagiarism checker has been acquired by Turnitin. Some universities still use the Ephorus technology, but they are gradually upgrading to Turnitin.

Access to sources
Ephorus has access to many sources and is therefore able to detect large amounts of plagiarism.

  • Ephorus database
  • Internet sources
  • Books
  • Journal articles

Accuracy 
The Ephorus algorithm is the second-best on the market, after Scribbr. Like Scribbr, Ephorus can detect patchwork plagiarism.

Usability 
The plagiarism report is detailed and easy to read, as you can see in the example above. Plagiarized sentences are highlighted, and the source is displayed in the margin. Moreover, every source is highlighted in a different color.

Quetext review

Recommended:  Yes, if you don’t mind a monthly subscription
Price: $9.99 per month

Quetext Plagiarism Checker report

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Free trial for three documents (max. 500 words)
  • Built-in citing option

Cons

  • Does not check for plagiarism against scholarly articles
  • Does not find all plagiarized sentences
  • Some sentences are falsely marked as plagiarism (false positives)
  • No individual checks possible, only monthly subscriptions

Summary

In both documents, the Quetext plagiarism checker was able to find more plagiarized text than most other checkers.

However, it detected much less plagiarism than Scribbr. If your university uses a more advanced tool, then you might be surprised by unexpected plagiarism that Quetext didn’t find.

Access to sources 
Quetext’s database is considerably smaller than that of Grammarly and Scribbr. It only checks for plagiarism against Internet sources and online books. It does not detect plagiarized text from journal articles.

  • Internet sources
  • Books

Accuracy 
Unlike many other plagiarism checkers, Quetext is capable of detecting plagiarism, even if some words are changed. However, the algorithm does detect many false positives. This means that the reported plagiarism percentage is in fact much higher than it should be.

Usability 
The results are reported in a nice overview that includes a percentage and highlights the sentences that are matched with other sources. Quetext also has a built-in citation feature to help you cite plagiarized paragraphs.

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Compilatio Studium review

Recommended:  Yes, but be aware of the absence of a detailed report
Price: $5 for a 1-day package (max 7,500 words); bigger packages are available

Compilatio Studium plagiarism report

Pros

  • Rather cheap; credits bought can be used for multiple documents
  • Does not report any false positives

Cons

  • You can’t see what parts of the text contain plagiarism
  • PayPal is the only payment method
  • Does not have access to a database with student papers and theses

Summary

The Compilatio Studium plagiarism checker is of good quality and reported high plagiarism percentages for both documents. The sources found are accurate and divided into three categories: “matching similarities,” “assumed similarities” and “accidental similarities.”

However, it does not report which parts of your document are plagiarized. This makes it hard to add accurate citations or rewrite your text.

Access to sources 
The Compilatio Studium plagiarism checker only compares your document against available Internet sources and its own database. It does not check your work against papers submitted by other students.

  • Internet sources
  • Own database

Accuracy 
The algorithm finds the right source for plagiarized text. In contrast to some other plagiarism checkers, it did not report any false positives.

Usability 
Unfortunately, the report is limited to a plagiarism percentage and a list of sources. An overview of where your text contains plagiarism is missing.

After doing the check, you know which sources your paper matched with but not where to put the citations. Other plagiarism checkers do have this feature.

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BibMe review

Recommended: If you’re willing to pay for a plagiarism checker, there are better alternatives
Price: Three-day trial (credit card required) and then $10 per month (maximum of five checks)
BibMe Plagiarism Checker report

Pros

  • Three-day trial period
  • Built-in citing tool
  • Built-in spelling checker

Cons

  • Does not provide a plagiarism percentage
  • Your document is added to the BibMe plagiarism database
  • Maximum five checks per month included in the price of $10

Summary

The database is small, and the matching algorithm does not perform as well as other plagiarism checkers. If you’re willing to spend money on a plagiarism checker, then there are better alternatives.

If you want to make use of the BibMe plagiarism checker, you’ll need to sign up for BibMe Plus. After the three-day trial, it costs $10 per month and includes five plagiarism checks per month.

Access to sources 
The database includes basically everything that is openly accessible online. BibMe is able to find the plagiarized text from journal article abstracts, but not from the content of the article.

  • Internet sources
  • Books

Accuracy 
The algorithm found quite some plagiarism in Document #2 (100% plagiarized text). However, it detected very little plagiarism in Document #1 (the real paper).

For students, this plagiarism checker is less suitable, as their papers often contain slightly rewritten text rather than 100% plagiarism.

Usability 
BibMe does not report a plagiarism percentage as other plagiarism checkers do. It only highlights the parts of the text that are plagiarized.

BibMe does include some useful additional features, such as a spelling checker (which is of moderate quality) and a citing tool.

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Plagscan review

Recommended: Yes, if you don’t mind that some potential plagiarism is not detected
Price: Free trial (2,000 words); $9.99 for 50,000–200,000 words

PlagScan Plagiarism Checker report

Pros

  • Money-back guarantee
  • Relatively cheap
  • Free trial for up to 2,000 words

Cons

  • Did not find much plagiarism in Document #1 (real paper)
  • Some text is falsely flagged as plagiarism
  • No access to databases with student papers

Summary

Plagscan is a widely used plagiarism checker that performed well with Document #2 (100% plagiarized text). However, in Document #1 (real paper), which contained patchwork plagiarism, Plagscan did not detect much plagiarism. This shows the quality difference with, for instance, Scribbr.

Access to sources 
The downside of Plagscan is the size of its database, which is smaller than that of Scribbr, Ephorus and Grammarly. Plagscan therefore cannot detect plagiarism from certain sources.

  • Internet sources
  • Books

Accuracy 
The algorithm is smart enough to flag plagiarized paragraphs with some changed words. However, the algorithm sees every sentence as separate, resulting in many separate plagiarism matches with the same source.

Usability 
The plagiarism report is clear and easy to use. You receive a list with all the matched sources, which are also highlighted in the document itself. In the report, the text is categorized as “exact match,” “possibly altered text” and “marked as quotation.” However, the categorization does not work perfectly.

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Plagramme review

Recommended: Yes, if you’re on a budget and do not mind spending time looking into falsely marked plagiarism.
Price: $0.35 per page

Plagramme Plagiarism Checker report

Pros

  • Rather cheap at $0.35 per page

Cons

  • It’s hard to recognize your own document as it removes all paragraphs (see screenshot)
  • Requires an account in order to use the trial
  • In order to get free credits, you need to post on social media

Summary

The Plagramme plagiarism checker found a high percentage of plagiarism in Document #2. However, it falsely flagged a lot of words and sentences. This makes the plagiarism percentage less reliable.

The pricing of the plagiarism checker is confusing. Plagramme claims to offer a free check, but in reality, it only gives you the plagiarism percentage for free. To find out which parts of the text are plagiarized, you have to buy credits.

Access to sources 

  • Internet sources
  • Books
  • Journal articles

Accuracy 
The algorithm works rather well, even when some words are changed. It does flag quite a lot of false positives. Furthermore, it does not detect all plagiarism, even if the original information comes from a source that the checker has access to.

Usability 
One of the shortcomings of this check is that the document doesn’t keep the original formatting (as can be seen in the screenshot).

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Grammarly review

Recommended: No, Grammarly did not detect any plagiarism in Document #1 (the real paper)
Price: $29.99 for one month (or cheaper when choosing a yearly plan)

Grammarly Plagiarism Checker report

Pros

  • Combined with a world-class spelling and grammar checker
  • User-friendly
  • Access to ProQuest’s database

Cons

  • Fails to detect patchwork plagiarism (only detects exact similarities)
  • Only available as a monthly subscription

Summary

Grammarly focuses on its spelling and grammar tool and offers the plagiarism checker as an additional service. If you’re already a paying Grammarly customer, then using their plagiarism checker might be a good option.

However, if you really want to identify plagiarism in your paper, then you are better off using another plagiarism checker that is capable of finding more than exact matches.

Access to sources 
Grammarly’s plagiarism database is quite extensive. It can check your document against the following sources:

  • ProQuest’s database
  • Internet sources
  • Books
  • Journal articles

Accuracy 
The Grammarly plagiarism checker does not perform well when some words in a plagiarized paragraph are changed (patchwork plagiarism). It detected 0% plagiarism in Document #1 (a real paper), whereas other plagiarism checkers like Scribbr detected 44% plagiarism.

Usability 
Grammarly is easy to use. It reports a plagiarism percentage and a list of sources in which the matching text can be found. The plagiarized text is underlined in the document next to possible spelling and grammatical errors.

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Smallseotools review

Recommended: No, it uses a very poor algorithm, has a small database and is not user-friendly.
Price: Free
Smallseotools Plagiarism Checker report

Pros

  • Free

Cons

  • A lot of distracting ads and buttons
  • 1,000-word limit
  • The plagiarized text is not highlighted in the document
  • Only finds exact matches with Google Search (you’ll need to find the source yourself)
  • Doesn’t detect plagiarism when some words are changed

Summary

As the name suggests, Smallseotools is a free plagiarism checker primarily meant for marketers who want to check short snippets of text for plagiarism. We only reviewed Smallseotools because a lot of students use it.

Overall, this is not a good plagiarism checker for students as the results are not reliable and are very tough to analyze.

Access to sources 
Smallseotools has no specific database. This plagiarism checker enters every sentence in Google Search to see if it finds a match. When it does, it marks the sentence as plagiarized. As can be seen in the plagiarism percentage, this method is very unreliable.

Accuracy 
Smallseotools uses Google’s “exact search” to find matches. There is no database or advanced algorithm, which is reflected in the limited amount of plagiarism detected by the check.

The downside of the Google Search method is that you have to find the source of the matched text in the search results by yourself.

Usability 
This plagiarism checker doesn’t highlight the plagiarized text in the document. It only provides you with a list of plagiarized sentences.

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Searchenginereports review

Recommended: No, it does not find much plagiarism
Price: Free (maximum 1,000 words per check)
Searchenginereports Plagiarism Checker report

Pros

  • Free
  • Shows plagiarized text on the webpage

Cons

  • Does not work for long texts (max 1,000 words per check)
  • A lot of distracting ads

Summary

Just like the Smallseotools plagiarism checker, Searchenginereport.net is built for businesses rather than students.

The performance of these plagiarism checkers is similar. In Document #2 (100% plagiarized text), the checker did detect plagiarism, but it did not detect plagiarism in the real paper.

Access to sources 
This plagiarism checker only compares your document against sources available on the Internet.

Accuracy 
The algorithm is poor. It finds exact matches but is unable to detect plagiarism when some words are changed. Furthermore, the algorithm analyzes every sentence individually instead of analyzing the paragraph as a whole.

Usability 
The report only shows a list of sentences that are possibly plagiarized. When checking a larger document, this can be confusing because every sentence is shown separately. If you want to find the source of the plagiarized text, then you are redirected to Google’s exact search.

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Edubirdie review

Recommended: No, it finds very little plagiarism and possibly sells your document
Price: Free (used as marketing to acquire customers for their essay writing service)
Edubirdie Plagiarism Checker report

Pros

  • Free

Cons

  • When using the check, you grant Edubirdie a royalty-free licence for your document
  • Hard to analyze the plagiarized parts due to the small window used to display feedback
  • Detects very little plagiarism

Summary

Edubirdie’s plagiarism checker is of very poor quality. It found much less plagiarism compared to other checkers. Its database is rather small, and the algorithm only checks for exact matches.

The major and rather dangerous downside is that Edubirdie stores your document. By using the free service, you grant Edubirdie a royalty-free licence for your work. Edubirdie might even sell your document through its essay writing service. It says so in the terms of use.

Access to sources 
Edubirdie only checks against major Internet sources. Plagiarized text from small websites is not detected.

  • Internet sources (major websites only)

Accuracy 
The algorithm is really poor. It only finds exact matches. When a few words are changed, it does not detect any plagiarism. Furthermore, Edubirdie marks some parts of the text as plagiarism even when they aren’t plagiarized.

Usability 
The window that displays the plagiarism check results is small and fairly useless for students with a large document. You can only see four to six sentences at a time.

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Frequently asked questions about plagiarism

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Raimo

Raimo has a bachelor's and master's degree and has written several papers and theses. He likes to share his knowledge by writing helpful articles.

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