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.
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(First one, hands down.)
They’re not identical, but very similar on many cases.
Picking one over the other feels a little like splitting hairs.
But they do diverge on a few points. One’s accuracy is a little better, while another’s pricing is much lower.
Here are the five key ingredients we’ll review in this guide:
- Accuracy & Database
- Limitations & Device Usage
- Customer Service Response
Feature #1. Accuracy & Database
Both Grammarly and WhiteSmoke are pretty damn accurate.
I judge this by uploading the same exact content to both to get a consistent baseline measurement (along with the other 20+ grammar and plagiarism tools I’ve reviewed). That way, you have an objective way to get feedback.
Speaking of, Grammarly’s ranking system kinda does the same thing within their own system. Feed it content, and it will spit out a score that compares it to all of the other content they’ve seen before. Pretty cool, huh?
I also like how they provide detailed context for each issue. That way, you can see how or why the mistake was made (and learn from it). Or, you can quickly disregard it. Either way, you know the tool is doing its job.
WhiteSmoke is no slouch here, either, though.
Drop your content in the editor and you’ll similarly get grammar suggestions or recommendations.
It’ll even get into style issues, like overusing redundant words. So you won’t just get clean copy, you’ll get engaging copy, too.
I unfortunately have to dock a few points because the total aggregate scoring is kinda vague (“8/10” vs. “86%” in Grammarly). But the line-by-line breakdown into what you’re doing well (or not so well) is great.
Last but not least, their total database sizes are around the same, too. (16+ billion for Grammarly, vs. 17+ billion for WhiteSmoke.)
You really can’t go wrong with either in this department. However, there needs to be one winner. So…
Grammarly just take this one by the skin of their teeth.
WhiteSmoke’s accuracy and database sizes are great. But I’m giving it to Grammarly because the reporting interface seems a little more detailed, and a little more user friendly.
A close one either way!
Feature #2. Limitations & Device Usage
Grammarly has fairly liberal free restrictions. Basically, you’re just losing access to the plagiarism checker and a few other advanced features.
You can install the Chrome extensions and you’re off to the races. Time to finally start cleaning up those error-strewn emails.
Plus, WhiteSmoke has no free version.
So that’s a Grammarly win.
Both tools will hook up with your popular writing apps like Google Docs or Microsoft Office. Personally, I’m a fan of the former, but I gave the latter a test drive and it was smooth as silk:
Browsers are covered with Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, and even Microsoft Edge. And they work on mobile, too.
However, the paid plans do have a few different restrictions.
With Grammarly Premium, you get access to five device connections, and the following restrictions:
- Monthly: 300 reviewed documents or 150,000 words
- Daily: 100 documents, or 50,000 words, in 24 hours
- Size: 4MB or less (for uploaded documents)
- File types: MS Word documents, OpenOffice, .rtf, and .txt
So yes, you have limits. But I’ve never run into any of them to be honest. And my companies checks hundreds of long, long documents every month.
WhiteSmoke allows you to use it on unlimited devices. But they have an odd 10,000 character limit on the desktop app.
That’s characters, not words. So it’s actually a pretty limiting restriction for people who want to check longer documents for plagiarism.
Winner: Grammarly (barely)
This is another close one. But I’m going to make the controversial call and give it to Grammarly.
Grammarly’s paid limits are higher (50,000 words vs. 10,000 characters), and they have a free plan.
WhiteSmoke’s unlimited devices are enticing. And both tools have great apps.
So it’s another tight one that could really go either way, depending on what you’re looking for.
Feature #3. Customer Service Response
This one was not a close decision.
Both Grammarly and WhiteSmoke offer similar customer support requests. But one was significantly faster than the other.
First, I tested Grammarly. I submitted a few simple questions:
And Christine answered in about one hour. The reply was helpful, too, and not just some generic help desk link they copy and pasted.
I thought that was going to be hard to beat.
But if anything could do it, it seemed like WhiteSmoke’s live chat option could.
Unfortunately, when I clicked on it, there were no agents available. I had to leave a message, instead.
However, nothing came in after waiting a few hours. So I fired off another email question just to make sure.
Again, another 24+ hour response. Kinda disappointing.
Grammarly is the clear winner here. Their customer support was top notch, both fast and helpful. WhiteSmoke’s, meanwhile, was nonexistent.
Feature #4. Multilingual
This is another easy one. Except, in reverse of the last point.
Here, Grammarly only supports English.
While WhiteSmoke works with over 55 different languages.
Checking grammar or plagiarism in another language is super simple. Just click on the “Translator” option, copy and paste your content like normal, set your home and foreign languages, then click “Check Text.”
It couldn’t be faster or easier if they tried.
No surprise here, right?
Grammarly is awesome for English. But only English.
WhiteSmoke is awesome for pretty much every other major language.
Feature #5. Costs
Last but not least, how much are these grammar tools gonna set you back?
Grammarly is the only one with a true month-to-month option. It ain’t cheap, though. I paid $29.95 per month.
This monthly option is perfect if you want to try out the paid features for a few weeks. However, you’ll want to switch pretty quickly to save some money.
WhiteSmoke, on the other hand, does NOT have a true monthly option. You’ll have to pay annually to use it.
So how do the two annual plans compare?
Grammarly’s annual payment brings the cost down a lot to only $11.66/month (so $139.95 total).
But have since switched to annual billing to take advantage of the huge discount (slashing the monthly price in half to only $11.66 / month):
That’s a pretty good deal. But not as good as WhiteSmoke.
WhiteSmoke’s starting price is only $6.59/month:
I opted for the upgrade top make sure I had full access for this review, and that still only cost me $9.95/month (or $119.88 total).
Although WhiteSmoke doesn’t have a free plan, the paid plans are significantly cheaper than Grammarly. So they coast to an easy victory on this one.
Grammarly vs. WhiteSmoke: Which One Wins?
Both are good grammar and plagiarism options.
However, they differ slightly in a few areas.
You should opt for Grammarly if you’re interested in accuracy and reporting for the English language.
Otherwise, go with WhiteSmoke if you want to save a few bucks and take advantage of the Translator tool.