Free plagiarism checker comparison [2019]

Free plagiarism checkers are popular. Many students, marketers and text writers use them to avoid plagiarism. We conducted research to answer two main questions:

  1. Which plagiarism checkers are really free?
  2. How much plagiarism is detected by each plagiarism checker?
Overview of free plagiarism checkers
Plagiarism checker Plagiarism detected Really free? Restrictions
Scribbr 44% Not free Best plagiarism checker 2019
1. Quetext 29% Only free trial 3 x 500 words
2. EasyBib 19% Only free trial 3 days (credit card required)
3. PlagScan 17% Only free trial 2,000 words
4. Plagramme 16% Not free Only shows percentage
5. Copyleaks 7% 100% free 2,500 words p/m for free
6. Small SEO Tools 5% 100% free Max. 1,000 words per check
7. Grammarly 1% Not free Only shows percentage
8. Search Engine Reports 4% 100% free Max. 1,000 words per check
9. PaperRater 0% 100% free 10 checks per month
10. Edubirdie 4% 100% free Might not be safe to use

Conclusion

  • Almost all 100% free plagiarism checkers detect very little plagiarism.
  • Plagiarism checkers that offer a free trial perform much better. However, you will probably end up paying for the service.

For comparison purposes, we added the Scribbr Plagiarism Checker, which is the best plagiarism checker as of 2019. It’s not free, but it does detect the most plagiarism of all plagiarism checkers.

Read the reviews

When to use a free plagiarism checker?

Many free plagiarism checkers do not detect all the plagiarism in a document. In some cases, this might pose a problem, but sometimes a free version is good enough.

You can best use a free plagiarism checker when:

  • You’re only checking small snippets of text (maximum one page)
  • You want to test it before buying the premium version
  • No one else will check your text for plagiarism

Disadvantages of free plagiarism checkers

Free plagiarism checkers can be useful, but they often have serious disadvantages compared to paid plagiarism checkers. Many free plagiarism checkers:

  • Do not detect all plagiarism
  • Have usage limits
  • Store, publish or even sell your work
  • Have a lot of advertisements
  • Have no customer support
  • Reserve certain features for the paid version

 


Free plagiarism checker reviews


Scribbr

Scribbr plagiarism checker

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Pros

  • Detects more plagiarism than any other plagiarism checker
  • You can manually delete your document after checking for plagiarism
  • Lists all matched sources
  • Largest plagiarism database

Cons

  • Not free

Review

Scribbr’s plagiarism checker is developed specifically for students. Checking your paper, thesis or essay has never been easier, safer or more accurate. The technology used is as advanced (if not more) as software used by most universities.

Besides showing a plagiarism percentage, the plagiarism report includes a list of all sources that are similar to your document. This makes adding a missing citation very easy.

In addition to checking for plagiarism, Scribbr has an extensive Knowledge Base that helps you understand plagiarism so you can avoid it in the future.

Visit Scribbr Plagiarism Checker

1. Quetext

quetext free plagiarism checker

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Cons

  • Only 3 free checks (up to 500 words)
  • Only monthly subscription of $9.99 possible after free trial
  • Does not detect all plagiarism

Pros

  • Simple plagiarism report
  • Built-in citation feature
  • Documents are not stored in database

Review

The generated plagiarism report of the Quetext Plagiarism Checker provides a nice overview and is easy to understand. Similarities are underlined, and a plagiarism percentage is displayed.

Quetext offers a free trial of three checks (up to 500 words) in the hope that users will switch to the paid version of $9.99 per month after the trial ends. Overall, Quetext is a safe plagiarism checker to use. However, if you’re willing to pay money for a plagiarism checker, there are better alternatives, such as the Scribbr Plagiarism Checker.

2. EasyBib

 

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Cons

Pros

  • Built-in citation tool
  • Combined with spelling check tool

Review

EasyBib’s plagiarism checker is developed specifically for students. You can either upload a document or copy and paste text to use the plagiarism checker.

EasyBib detected 19% plagiarism and placed second in this comparison of free plagiarism checkers. Unfortunately, the free trial lasts only three days, after which it’s automatically converted into a paid subscription.

EasyBib is fairly easy to use, and it includes a built-in citation and spell check tool. If this is what you’re looking for, then Easybib’s plagiarism checker might be something for you. Do keep in mind that all the documents you upload are added to EasyBib’s plagiarism database.

3. PlagScan

PlagScan plagiarism checker logo

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Cons

  • Only the first 2,000 words are free

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • No credit card required for the free trial
  • Can be purchased separately

Review

PlagScan completes the top-three free plagiarism checkers. It detected 17% of the plagiarism in our test document.

From beginning to end, the PlagScan plagiarism checker is easy to use. It’s possible to upload files from your computer, copy and paste your text, or upload a file via Dropbox or Google Drive.

The plagiarism report is easy to understand. It shows you a percentage, a list of sources and an overview of your document that highlights the plagiarized text.

Unfortunately, only the first 2,000 words are free. PlagScan hopes that those who like the tool will eventually pay for it. For $10, you can check another 20,000 words.

4. Plagramme

Plagramme plagiarism checker

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Cons

  • Only the plagiarism percentage is shown, not which sections contain plagiarism
  • Account needed to use free trial
  • Text doesn’t maintain the original formatting

Pros

  • Affordable paid version

Review

With a detected plagiarism percentage of 16%, Plagramme placed fourth in this comparison. The technology is slightly worse than PlagScan and EasyBib. The plagiarism report can be complicated, and it sometimes falsely marks commonly used phrases as plagiarism.

Although Plagramme is on this list of free plagiarism checkers, it’s not really free to use. The free version scans your document and only gives you the plagiarism percentage. It doesn’t show you which paragraphs are plagiarized. To unlock that information, you need to pay around $0.35 per page.

5. Copyleaks

Copyleaks plagiarism checker logo

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Cons

  • Only 2,500 words per month for free
  • Documents are added to the Copyleaks database

Pros

  • Easy-to-understand plagiarism report

Review

Copyleaks detected only 7% plagiarism, whereas other free plagiarism checkers such as Quetext found 29%. That’s because Copyleaks cannot detect plagiarism if a sentence is restructured or when a word in a sentence is replaced.

Every month, you can check 2,500 words for free. If you need more than that, then you can go for the subscription (starting at $11 per month) or for the prepaid option. For an additional 25,000 words, you will need to pay around $10 to $13.

The plagiarism report is easy to understand, and it shows all the sources containing text that is similar to yours. The report displays a plagiarism check percentage and highlights the plagiarized content.

Be aware that every document you upload is added to the Copyleaks database.

6. Small SEO Tools

Small SEO Tools review

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Cons

  • Lot of plagiarism stays undetected
  • Word limit of 1,000 words

Pros

  • No usage limit
  • Different views in the plagiarism report

Review

The plagiarism checker offered by Small SEO Tools is developed for marketers. It can be useful for checking small snippets of text for plagiarism, especially if you might have copied exact sentences from other sources.

However, Small SEO Tools does not detect plagiarized sentences that are slightly changed. A lot of plagiarism stays undetected because of this, as can be seen with our test document: only 5% plagiarism was detected.

The plagiarism report has three different views: the “document view,” which highlights all the plagiarized text; the “matched sources view,” which connects the plagiarized sentences to the original source; and the “sentence wise result,” which analyses each sentence separately.

Overall, it’s an easy-to-use plagiarism checker. It works well for small snippets of text, but it’s not suitable for papers and other large documents.

7. Grammarly

Grammarly plagiarism checker review

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Cons

  • A lot of plagiarism stays undetected
  • The free version shows only whether a text contains plagiarism, not a plagiarism percentage or which sentences are plagiarized
  • Expensive monthly plans for the paid version

Pros

  • Sleek design and easy to use
  • Integrated into the spelling and grammar checker

Review

Surprisingly, Grammarly found only 1% of the plagiarism in our test document. In addition, the free version of Grammarly’s plagiarism checker has very few options for detecting and correcting plagiarism.

If you get a notification that your document contains plagiarism, then you probably want to know which sentences you need to check. To find that out, you’ll need to commit to the paid version, which costs around $12 per month with a yearly plan or $29.95 with a monthly plan.

Is it worth paying for it? If you already pay for Grammarly, then this tool can definitely help you avoid plagiarism. If you don’t, then there are better and cheaper alternatives, such as the Scribbr Plagiarism Checker.

8. Search Engine Reports

Search engine reports free plagiarism checker

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Cons

  • Lots of distracting ads
  • Every sentence is checked separately using Google’s exact match
  • Plagiarized text is not highlighted; you only get a complex list of sources
  • Original sources are not shown or linked; instead, you’re redirected to Google Search

Pros

  • No usage limit
  • They claim to delete all content uploaded to the site

Review

Search Engine Reports’ plagiarism checker detected only 4% of the plagiarism in our test document. The main reason for this is that Search Engine Reports uses Google’s exact search, which means that every individual sentence is searched on Google to see whether a matching source is found.

If you only want to check a few sentences for plagiarism, then this plagiarism checker might help you. However, if you want to check multiple pages, it isn’t useful at all because the plagiarism report leaves you with more questions than you began with.

The plagiarized text it not highlighted, and the report cannot tell you what the original source is. It can only tell you that Google found a similar-looking sentence on another webpage.

9. PaperRater

PaperRater review

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Cons

  • Did not detect any plagiarism
  • A lot of distracting ads and fake buttons
  • Only 10 plagiarism checks per month for free

Pros

  • Strong privacy policy: your document stays yours
  • Does not check every sentence separately

Review

While most free plagiarism checkers use Google’s “exact search” to check every sentence separately, PaperRater can consider whole paragraphs and conveniently link to matched sources. This makes it really easy to correctly cite the sections you accidentally forgot to cite.

However, PaperRater failed to detect any plagiarism in our test document. Therefore, we do not recommend this plagiarism checker.

10. Edubirdie

Edubirdie free plagiarism checker

Safety
Ease of use
Accuracy

Cons

  • Possibly sells your document via their essay-writing service
  • Lots of plagiarism stays undetected
  • Common words are falsely flagged as plagiarism

Pros

  • No usage limit

Review

Edubirdie detected only 4% of the plagiarism in our text document, whereas the other free checks found up to 29%. This shows that there are better alternatives to this service. In addition, we do not recommend using the Edubirdie’s plagiarism checker as its connection with its essay-writing service is unclear.

The terms of use, which every user has to accept, clearly states that you grant Edubirdie a royalty-free licence for your work. In other words, they might sell the text that you upload. This is the last thing you want, especially if you’re a student checking your essay for plagiarism.

Frequently asked questions

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism means presenting someone else’s work as your own without giving proper credit to the original author. In academic writing, plagiarism involves using words, ideas, or information from a source without including a citation.

Plagiarism can have serious consequences, even when it’s done accidentally. To avoid plagiarism, it’s important to keep track of your sources and cite them correctly.

Is plagiarism illegal?

Plagiarism has serious consequences, and can indeed be illegal in certain scenarios.

While most of the time plagiarism in an undergraduate setting is not illegal, plagiarism or self-plagiarism in a professional academic setting can lead to legal action, including copyright infringement and fraud. Many scholarly journals do not allow you to submit the same work to more than one journal, and if you do not credit a co-author, you could be legally defrauding them.

Even if you aren’t breaking the law, plagiarism can seriously impact your academic career. While the exact consequences of plagiarism vary by institution and severity, common consequences include: a lower grade, automatically failing a course, academic suspension or probation, or even expulsion.

How is plagiarism detected?

Plagiarism can be detected by your professor or readers if the tone, formatting, or style of your text is different in different parts of your paper, or if they’re familiar with the plagiarized source.

Many universities also use plagiarism detection software like Turnitin’s, which compares your text to a large database of other sources, flagging any similarities that come up.

It can be easier than you think to commit plagiarism by accident. Consider using a plagiarism checker prior to submitting your paper to ensure you haven’t missed any citations.

Are plagiarism checkers accurate?

The accuracy depends on the plagiarism checker you use. Scribbr is the most accurate plagiarism checker. Many free plagiarism checkers fail to detect all plagiarism or falsely flag text as plagiarism.

Take a look at this comparison of free and paid plagiarism checkers for students to find the most accurate plagiarism checker.

The accuracy is determined by two factors: the algorithm (which recognizes the plagiarism) and the size of the database (with which your document is compared).

Size of the database

Many free plagiarism checkers only check your paper against websites – not against books, journals or papers previously submitted by other students. Therefore, these plagiarism checkers are not very accurate, as they miss a lot of plagiarism.

Algorithm

Most plagiarism checkers are only able to detect “direct plagiarism”, or instances where the sentences are exactly the same as in the original source. However, a good plagiarism checker is also able to detect “patchwork plagiarism” (sentences where some words are changed or synonyms are used).

Can plagiarism be accidental?

Accidental plagiarism is one of the most common types of plagiarism. Perhaps you forgot to cite a source, or paraphrased something a bit too closely. Maybe you can’t remember where you got an idea from, and aren’t totally sure if it’s original or not.

These all count as plagiarism, even though you didn’t do it on purpose. When in doubt, make sure you’re citing your sources. Also consider running your work through a plagiarism checker tool prior to submission.  

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Raimo Streefkerk

Raimo is an expert in explaining plagiarism and citing sources. He has been writing helpful articles since 2017 and is continuously improving Scribbr's Citation Generators.