I'm the creator of this site (Grammar Gang). I'm also the founder of Codeless, a long-form content creation company that's been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, The Next Web, and hundreds more.
We produce around ~100 long, in-depth articles each month. So we're relying on these tools on a daily basis. Here, I break down the good, bad, and uuuuuuggggllllyyyy.
Latest posts by Brad Smith (see all)
- The 7 Best Writing Tools to Write More, Faster, in Less Time - April 17, 2019
- Why Most Freelance Writers Shouldn’t Waste their Time with Pinterest - February 9, 2019
- How to Prevent a Social Media Shakedown - February 9, 2019
WhiteSmoke is fully-featured writing, grammar, and plagiarism checker that is available on a number of platforms.
That’s some impressive company to keep. How does WhiteSmoke compare? Is it actually a viable alternative to the costly (yet effective) Grammarly?
We put WhiteSmoke through the wringer, paying and signing up for the system, then running it through a series of tests to check its accuracy, overall usability, customer service, ease of installation, device compatibility, language inclusion, affordability, and more.
Here’s how WhiteSmoke stacks up against the competition.
|ACCURACY||80% out of 86%|
|DATABASE||17 Billion +|
|LIMITATIONS||10,000 Characters Per Review|
|DEVICE COMPATIBILITY||Desktop, Browser, Mobile|
|CUSTOMER SERVICE||24+ Hours|
|PRICING||$6.59/ month (Annual)|
Pros of WhiteSmoke +
What does WhiteSmoke get right?
Quite a bit, as it turns out.
This is an accurate system that was easy to install. It has a number of features that work together to create a complete grammar experience. It is compatible with multiple devices and translates a large number of languages.
Let’s break down all of this good stuff, one point at a time.
1. Writing Tutorial Features
WhiteSmoke’s features all work together like the cells of a body in order to create a full and complete experience that helps to shape better writers.
First, and most importantly, you have the grammar checker.
This complete system checks for a number of common grammatical errors including fragments, run-on sentences, incomplete sentences, subject-verb disagreements, double negatives, tense shifts, spelling mistakes, punctuation mistakes, capitalization, object clauses, comma splices, fused sentences, missing words, and many more.
On top of that, WhiteSmoke includes a number of text and video writing tutorials designed to help better your understanding of what it takes to create quality content.
Another feature is the Spell Checker, which uses an algorithmic approach to find not only words that are spelled incorrectly, but properly spelled parts of speech that are being used in the wrong context.
WhiteSmoke also features a style correction function. The system corrects common style issues like monotony and constantly switching tenses. These are problems that the built-in grammar checkers in programs like Microsoft Word tend to miss.
The system’s punctuation checker is another vital component. Punctuation issues can impact the entire meaning of your writing, and having a system specifically designed to find issues related to punctuation is a huge feather in WhiteSmoke’s cap.
2. Accurate System (80% out of 86%)
We always use the same sample article to check these systems. It’s packed with plagiarism.
That way, we can create a transparent, unbiased baseline to compare each tool’s accuracy.
You start off by pasting your content into the blank form on WhiteSmoke’s user interface. There are some limitations to how much content you can enter at one time when using the desktop application, but we will go through that in the Cons below.
Once the content has been entered, click “Check Text” to start the process.
WhiteSmoke gets right to work, underlining mistakes, making corrections, and letting you know what kind of mistake it has found.
They use a color coding system to highlight each type of mistake. Red is a spelling mistake, green is for grammar, and purple is a style issue.
Something I personally like about WhiteSmoke’s system is that you don’t have to hover over the mistake to see the suggested correction. All recommendations are right above the underlined content for your review.
They also have a reporting system that gives you an outline of the document’s corrections. This is a report generated for the first snippet of the sample article that we pasted into WhiteSmoke.
Grammarly rates the article at 85% when we run it through their system. WhiteSmoke, on average, rated the pieces that we uploaded an 8/10, which is 80%. That’s a comparable score and it shows that WhiteSmoke holds its own against Grammarly.
3. Available on Multiple Devices
WhiteSmoke can be used on a number of different devices:
It can be added to your desktop computer on the Windows or Mac platforms. WhiteSmoke also has a web-based application, which provides the same quality and features without having to download a program.
These applications also work with popular web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, and even unpopular browsers like Microsoft Edge.
WhiteSmoke even has a mobile application, available for both iOS and Android devices. We always love to see a grammar checker that carries over into the mobile world. If you think about how you text vs. how you write on a computer, there is usually a large gap in overall quality.
4. Multilingual Translator (55 Languages)
WhiteSmoke uses a translation system that pulls from 55 different languages. This is a huge advantage WhiteSmoke has over Grammarly, which only pulls from the English language.
The translator features a full dictionary and thesaurus, translations in full text or word by word, usage examples given on a word by word basis, and the ability to work alongside any text application.
This is ideal for English as a Second Language (ESL) students who are looking to better their ability to understand, speak, and write in the English language.
That opens up a whole new demographic for WhiteSmoke, on top of professional writers and college students.
The translator can be used for social networks, international business markets, blogs, professional translations services, and in the academic arena.
5. Easy-to-Install Apps
You cannot download any of WhiteSmoke’s applications from the website itself.
You first have to purchase your plan and follow the instructions that WhiteSmoke emails to you.
The email contains a download link and an activation code. Once I clicked on that link, the download began immediately.
Once you accept the license agreement, the download takes off like a shot. It completed in less than 30 seconds on my laptop.
When the installation is complete, you have to enter the activation code that was included in your email to sign into the service.
That’s the entire process. Simple, effective, and you’re online within a minute.
Most services allow you to download the applications directly from their website and create login credentials when you purchase a plan. So it was a little odd at first. But it seemed to work smoothly once you’re past that point.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a perfect system.
And WhiteSmoke is guilty of a few sins.
For starters, we had issues with their plagiarism checker and how it is presented. Their checking limitations were low, and customer service issues plagued our overall experience.
Here’s a look at each one.
1. Limited Checking on Desktop App
While we loved the accuracy found within WhiteSmoke’s grammar checker, it took forever to get the results that we needed when using the desktop app.
WhiteSmoke’s Windows application has a limit of 10,000 characters at a time. That’s not 10,000 words, it’s 10,000 characters. That means every letter, punctuation mark, and space.
Our sample article, for comparison, is 23,272 characters. That means to get the full results we had to run three separate tests.
A mere 10,000 characters are nothing in the grand scheme of things. Our article was only 3,917 words. An author trying to check a 60,000-word novel, or a graduate student trying to check their thesis, would have a long-and-frustrating road ahead of them.
That means WhiteSmoke is great for checking emails, social media posts, and the occasional short essay, but it becomes more of a burden when you try to use it for anything of substantial length through the desktop app alone.
However, this issue does not apply to their web-based application. We were able to paste the entire article into that and get the full report back
Users on the essential and premium plans only receive a license for one computer.
Their business plan (which is by far their most expensive) comes with only three computer licenses. That’s extremely limited, especially since Grammarly can connect on up to five devices, and Ginger, another competitor, has no limits in this regard.
2. Confusing Plagiarism Checker on Desktop App
In addition to its grammar checker, WhiteSmoke also has a plagiarism checker. It is a system that pulls from a database of more than 17-billion web pages to check for copied content.
But for the whole first half of my research and review for this article, I was unclear as to whether or not this service actually existed. That’s because there is almost no mention of a plagiarism checker on the website.
In fact, when listing the features of this product, the plagiarism checker is not mentioned at all.
It wasn’t until I was looking at the various plans offered by WhiteSmoke that I found some kind of proof as to the existence of this mythical function.
When I opened the Windows app for the first time, I saw that there was a section for the plagiarism checker. I clicked on it and attempted to enter our sample article into the interface:
I hit paste and… nothing happened. I hit it again and again and again… and still nothing happened.
Thinking that perhaps this was an issue with the Windows app, I went over to their web-based platform. Sure enough, there was a tab there for the plagiarism checker. I tried to paste our sample article into the interface and it worked like a charm.
Then I clicked the button marked “Analyze Text” and I waited… and waited… and waited… and waited.
I get that it’s searching billions of webpages. But it took at least five full minutes before seeing any results.
3. Slow Customer Service
When I first logged onto WhiteSmoke’s website, I got excited because there was a little chat box in the corner.
I clicked on it and was told that the chat team was not available, so I could leave a message.
I asked about the plagiarism checker:
I sent in the message and received a confirmation reply.
After 24 hours with no response, I began to suspect that something was wrong. After all, even if a live chat wasn’t 24/7, they would have to be open at some point, right?
I checked back periodically but the service was never online. I decided to send an email to their support team instead.
It has now been more than 24 hours since that was sent, and I have received no response whatsoever.
WhiteSmoke Cost, Plans, & Payment Options
WhiteSmoke is an affordable system, priced well below Grammarly on most plans.
It has three different pricing plans to choose from with two different commitment periods offered.
Annual plans start at $6.99 per month for the essential plan. Premium users pay $9.99 per month, and business users pay a whopping $17.95 per month.
The essential plan works with all browsers and comes with the grammar checker, plagiarism checker, and translator only.
Premium plans include the desktop client, all browsers, Microsoft Office, and Gmail compatibility. Its features include the grammar checker, plagiarism checker, translator, one-click instant proofreading, and it integrates with all writing platforms.
I paid for the premium plan:
The business plan includes everything in the premium plan, plus a three computer license, phone customer support, and an extended download warranty.
Prices are lower with a three-year commitment, with essential plans at $4.44 per month, premium at $8.29, and business coming in at $12.42.
The pricing on the essential and premium plans is fair, but the business plan’s pricing seems very high for a service that only offers three connections.
Users can pay WhiteSmoke with a credit card or by using PayPal.
Do I Recommend WhiteSmoke?
Yes, depending on what you’re looking for.
If Grammarly is too expensive for you and you’re looking for a system to check shorter pieces of writing, I think you can’t go wrong with WhiteSmoke.
Their limitations around the number of computers that can be connected and the number of characters that can be checked at one time are troubling, though.
If you’re working on shorter essays or just want to make sure your professional emails are looking good, it’s still a good program.
The business plan also seems overpriced with only three connections. I think most businesses would do well sticking with Grammarly.
Finally getting the plagiarism checker to work was odd at first. But it should probably be a lot easier once you get the hang of it.