What Is Pendo Free? In-depth review & 3 alternatives

It is a fact that providing a frictionless user experience to end-users is a must since customers who are impressed with the onboarding of a company show a 12% to 21% higher willingness than average to spend more money on it.

So, you must retain the users throughout the product adoption curve – even in the early stages.

Actually, “especially” in the early stages.

That’s why Pendo introduced their free plan, and so, Pendo became a freemium product.

Since maintaining a freemium product is close to impossible for B2B SaaS businesses, Pendo was only able to include very few key features in the free plan.

So how did Pendo Free turn out?

Let’s analyze together:

What Is Pendo Free?

Pendo Free is Pendo’s free-of-charge plan that provides very little but strong product adoption solutions for up to 1,000 MAU.

Pendo Free has been the savior of many small companies and startups that needed product onboarding but can’t afford Pendo (or any other product adoption platform.)

And Pendo Free became Pendo’s grand marketing gem.

Think about it:

  1.  Small companies sign up for Pendo Free since it’s a decent tool for free,
  2. As those companies grow and exceed the 1,000 MAU limit, they need more advanced solutions, and sign up for “Pendo for Startups” since it’s cheaper than the other Pendo plans and all their data is in Pendo,
  3. As they get to love Pendo (since the paid plans are really something to love) they become loyal customers, and don’t mind paying $30,000/year, even though there are better and cheaper options.

Genius!

Well, if this wheel works, then let it work, and let us analyze the two-and-a-half features that you get with Pendo Free:

What Features Are Included In Pendo Free?

In-App Analytics

Pendo is known for its robust analytics that are tailor-made for digital adoption. However, if they provide the full analytics pack in the free version, no one would sign up for the ultra-expensive paid plans.

I can’t blame Pendo for not giving out more for free, but it is a fact that any company, no matter how small it is, needs more than that to accelerate their growth.

Well, at least you get one other thing for free:

In-App Guides

Once combined with the analytics part of Pendo, in-app guides and other elements can help your teams onboard users and employees with higher engagement.

As expected, you don’t get full access to the guides feature, but this time, the only things Pendo excluded in the free plan are Resource centers and guide experiments.

You can always use another tool to provide a help/resource center anyways, right?

Yes, but the thing is, product tours is not Pendo’s strongest feature, and there is only so much it can do.

But hey, at least it’s for free.

Pendo for Mobile

This feature is the key differentiator and the standalone reason why Pendo Free rocks: while most digital adoption platforms can’t provide mobile application support even to enterprise customers, Pendo allows free plan users to benefit from the mobile version as well.

Wow.

I knew that Pendo was a marketing genius, and providing access to mobile onboarding is one thing, but doing this for free takes courage (and the budget of a Fortune 500 company.)

Pendo for Startups vs. Pendo Free

You may already know that Pendo has a “discounted” (?) plan that is for startups with less than 100 employees and two products.

And that plan has also only three features:

  1. Analytics,
  2. Guides,
  3. And surveying options.

According to Pendo users, Pendo for Startups costs around $1,000-$1,500/month.

Pendo free is, well, free, obviously, but provides almost the same capabilities.

Considering that, I would say that Pendo Free is a better option for startups.

And if the free version isn’t enough anymore, I would recommend switching to a better alternative such as UserGuiding since UserGuiding offers data migration services as well, and costs only $69/month. [make this paragraph stand out somehow]

Is Pendo For Startups Worth It?

It is a fact that Pendo is an amazing tool in terms of combining guidance and analytics. Provided that “Pendo Free” offers those features as well, it is sure a strong tool to have for customer success and product teams to have. But how long is it going to be enough?

🆓 Possibly the strongest free-forever tool for small companies

Well, it’s not free forever unless you won’t exceed the 1,000 MAU limit forever – which is not something you will like. But until that point, having great analytics and good enough product tours for free is an amazing privilege.

🧩 Very limited amount of features

As I already mentioned, the set of Pendo provides for the free plan is very limited. It doesn’t include a resource center, decent customization options, or funnel reports – which most other affordable Pendo competitors do.

Top Alternatives To Pendo Free

  1. UserGuiding
  2. Iorad
  3. Mixpanel

Let’s go over each tool, compare it to Pendo Free, and see positive and negative reviews from actual users. Our first tool is:

1- UserGuiding vs Pendo Free

UserGuiding is one of the most effortless user onboarding tools that you can create capable in-app experiences with.

UserGuiding is a great tool to enable your team to have a better user experience.

Just like Pendo Free, it allows you to create step-by-step walkthroughs so that users can easily complete their tasks without any hassle.

But unlike Pendo Free, UserGuiding has a wide variety of features and customization options that guarantees higher product engagement rates and increase in feature adoption.

With UserGuiding, you can create:

  • Interactive Product Tours,
  • Tooltips and Hotspots,
  • User Onboarding Checklists,
  • Resource Centers,
  • NPS Surveys,
  • And custom user segments.

While UserGuiding also has in-app analytics options, it is definitely not as advanced as Pendo’s enterprise plan. However, even though analytics is not UserGuidings strongest feature, it still provides more than Pendo Free.

UserGuiding Pricing

  • 14-day free trial (no credit card required)
  • Basic Plan: $69/month when billed annually for up to 2500 MAU
  • Professional Plan: $299/month when billed annually for up to 20000 MAU with unlimited guides
  • Custom Quotation Available for Larger Companies

UserGuiding Reviews

👍 Pros:

“You can get it going in minutes after signing up. The team is very responsive and they are always asking for feedback to improve the product.”

👎 Cons:

“Sometimes interface and Chrome extension could become confusing but once you get used to, it is not a big deal.”

2- Pendo Free vs. Iorad

Iorad is a basic walkthrough tool that helps you create linear guides to help your users and employees.

Iorad is slightly different from regular onboarding experience tools since the Iorad guides are not interactive product tours.

The tool helps you document actions on screenshots, add voiceover to them, and focus on the actions on the screenshots.

Iorad can be a better option than Pendo Free:

→ If you need guides for personal use. Iorad is 100% free for personal use.

→ Since it only takes a few minutes to record a guide and edit it.

Don’t expect Iorad to guide users on a professional level, though. It doesn’t even provide the little bit of analytics that Pendo Free does, 

Iorad Pricing

For personal use:

  • Iorad is free for personal use.

For business use:

  • Startup plan: $200/month with an additional $15 for one additional creator.
  • Premium plan: $500/month with an additional $20 for each additional creator.
  • Company plan: $3200/month with an additional $40 for each additional creator.
  • Enterprise plan: custom quote for personalized needs.

For educational purposes:

  • Educators plan: $10/month for teachers and professors.
  • Institution plan: up to 80% off for school districts and universities.

For non-profit organizations:

  • Non-profit plan: up to 50% off for non-profit organizations

Iorad Reviews

👍 Pros:

“The clients love it, and it is used as an example to the quality of the self-hep part of the software.”

👎 Cons:

“I’m not sure I’m a fan of the new UI panel. When you accidentally delete a tutorial, there is no recovery.”

3. Pendo Free vs. Mixpanel

Mixpanel is a product analytics tool that is preferred by many product teams over the world.

With Mixpanel, you can view how people engage with your product, track your customer conversion and retention, and construct better outcomes along with a better user experience.

Here is what Mixpanel offers for free:

  • A/B Testing
  • Customer Engagement
  • Retention features
  • Visual coding
  • Mobile Surveys
  • Notifications, bookmarks, annotations
  • Event tracking
  • Comprehensible Data Analytics

And here is what it doesn’t: product tours.

Even without the product tours feature, Mixpanel can help you increase every end-user’s product experience with all the actionable user insight it provides.

Mixpanel Pricing

Mixpanel offers a Free trial; however, you need to contact their sales rep.

  • Starter Plan: Free of charge
  • Growth Plan: Starts at $25/month
  • Enterprise Plan: Custom quotation upon request

Mixpanel reviews

👍 Pros:

“We can not master use cases of MixPanel with minimal learning as it requires dedicated efforts and a sharp learning curve to become familiar with the features and navigation process.”

👎 Cons:

“We’re only a month or two in using Mixpanel, but already showing way more promise over what Google Analytics is giving us. Tagging and tracking is really easy and intuitive, the lexicon is great for nailing down exaxtly whats going on behind the scenes clearly.”


Frequently Asked Questions


Is Pendo free?

Pendo is a paid product that has a freemium version, which means that you get access to a selected amount of features and benefits for unlimited time and free of charge.


How much does Pendo enterprise cost?

Although Pendo doesn’t publicly share their pricing information, users claim that a basic Startup Plan cost them $12,000/year plus $1,500 integration fee for the first year, and this price went up to $15,000 in the second year.


What do you use Pendo for?

You can use Pendo to track user activities, collect actionable data about product usage and user behavior patterns, create onboarding guides, and gather customer feedback. The free plan only provides access to limited product analytics and simple interactive guides, though.


What type of software is Pendo?

Pendo is a B2B SaaS digital adoption platform software.


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Hilal Yıldırım

I’m UserGuiding’s growth-obsessed creative content writer and junior journalist. I like to research and write about growth, onboarding, and inbound marketing. If you feel like we could exchange ideas, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or email! P.S. If I don’t respond, please know that I’m on a road trip with my camera and motorbike.