5 Best free survey makers to collect feedback with ease

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February 19, 2024
10 min read

The growing need for online surveys

The internet has revolutionized the way we gather data and conduct market research. Whereas surveys used to require painstaking hours of in-person interviews or phone calls, online surveys provide a fast, convenient, and cost-effective alternative. 

More businesses, organizations, and even individuals find themselves needing to quickly create online questionnaires and surveys to collect feedback, gauge interest, understand customer preferences, evaluate services, and conduct all manners of market research. Online surveys are useful for:

  • Small businesses on tight budgets looking to make data-driven decisions about new products or services to offer.
  • Nonprofits and associations who need to check in frequently with their members and donors.
  • HR professionals administering employee engagement or satisfaction surveys.
  • Market researchers quickly testing concepts or product ideas.
  • Teachers and professors gathering course feedback from students.
  • Event planners gathering RSVPs and requests from attendees.
  • Friends and family informally collecting RSVPs and preferences for a reunion or group trip.

With the proliferation of the internet and mobile devices, collecting feedback and insights online has become significantly more convenient, flexible, and cost-effective than traditional survey methods. Online surveys provide real-time data collection and analysis capabilities that were previously only available to organizations with large market research budgets. The growing need across many segments demonstrates the value of simple, free tools to create online surveys and forms quickly.

Here are our top 5 picks:

Pristo - Full-featured and Intuitive

Google Forms - Quick and easy

Microsoft Forms - Great for Microsoft users

SurveyMonkey - Powerful analytics

Jotform - Form builder

The best 5 free online survey tools and form builders

Whether you need to conduct market research, get feedback from customers, or collect data for any other purpose, online surveys are an easy way to reach your target audience. While there are many paid options, here are 5 of the top free survey tools to consider:

1. Pristo -  Full featured and intuitive

Pristo is a full-featured survey platform that makes it easy for anyone to create professional online surveys, even without any technical skills. Key features include:

  • Intuitive drag-and-drop survey builder
  • A library of expertly designed templates
  • Advanced logic and branching for creating smart surveys that adapt based on responses
  • Real-time response analytics and detailed reports for gaining insights from survey results
  • Custom branding and themes for modern, customizable templates that make surveys look great
  • Survey distribution and sharing tools to easily collect responses via email, social media, QR codes, and more
  • Top-tier data security with encryption and privacy protections to safeguard sensitive information

Pristo is ideal for market researchers, businesses, educators, and anyone who needs to create surveys regularly.

2. Google Forms - Quick and easy 

Google Forms is a simple survey builder that makes it fast and easy to create basic online forms for collecting information. Key features:

  • Extremely easy to use interface - no coding required. Simply open Forms, edit the template, add your questions and start sharing your survey
  • Integration with Google Drive for easy access and Google Sheets to view responses in a spreadsheet
  • Customizable themes - pick from a variety of colors and fonts to match your brand
  • Question types - supports multiple choice, checkboxes, dropdowns, linear scale, multiple choice grids, and more
  • Automated analysis - Forms automatically analyzes results with charts and graphs as responses are submitted
  • Create surveys directly in Google Drive
  • Simple formatting options
  • Easy to collaborate and share

Google Forms is great for quick polls, internal surveys, and basic data collection. But it lacks advanced features like logic or branching.

3. Microsoft Forms - Great for Microsoft users

Microsoft Forms integrates tightly with other Microsoft 365 apps like Word, Excel, and Teams. Key features:

  • Create surveys right inside Word or other Office apps, with built-in collaboration features and the ability to apply custom themes
  • View reports in Excel and output results for easy analysis and charts
  • Create surveys directly in Teams for fast collaboration, and send forms through Outlook with the convenience of viewing responses there
  • Uses the same sign-on as Microsoft 365 for seamless access without extra logins
  • Quickly create polls, quizzes, registrations, and more, with templates for common scenarios like employee surveys
  • Supports branching logic with the premium add-on

Microsoft Forms is ideal for businesses already using Microsoft 365 who want easy survey integration. But it may lack features needed for advanced surveys.

4. SurveyMonkey - Powerful analytics

SurveyMonkey offers robust tools for creating and analyzing online surveys. Key features:

  • In-depth response analytics and custom reports with exports
  • Surveys optimized for mobile and HIPAA-compliant accounts with an option to remove SurveyMonkey branding
  • Over 100 survey templates for easily creating customized surveys for any purpose
  • Real-time results and easy-to-understand reports to interpret survey data, with the ability to filter results for specific respondent groups
  • Integration with other tools such as Excel and Salesforce for exporting data and embedding survey results
  • Higher tiers offer more robust analysis, custom branding, longer data retention, and priority support

SurveyMonkey is ideal for professional market researchers or businesses that rely heavily on survey data. The free plan limits you to 10 questions and 100 responses per survey. 

5. Jotform - Form builder 

Jotform isn't just for surveys - it's a powerful form builder for creating order forms, contact forms, registration forms, and more. Key features:

  • Build any type of online form with beautifully designed form and survey templates across all categories
  • Collect payments and e-signatures
  • View entries in real time and enjoy the convenience of a drag-and-drop form builder for easy customization without coding
  • Break long forms into multiple pages with progress bars to improve completion rates
  • Forms are mobile-ready with automatic optimization for any device
  • Utilize advanced logic to branch surveys based on previous answers, calculate values on the fly, and pre-populate fields for a personalized experience
  • Jotform is HIPAA compliant, meeting security and privacy needs for sensitive health data
  • Accept payments, donations, and online orders directly within your forms

Jotform is great for creating forms beyond just surveys. The free plan limits you to 100 submissions per month.

What to look for in the best survey makers and form builders

When choosing an online survey tool or form builder, there are certain key features that determine how effective, easy-to-use, and powerful the platform will be.

The best survey makers and form builders excel in areas like:

User friendliness

An intuitive, easy-to-use interface allows you to create surveys quickly and makes it simple for respondents to complete your survey. Look for drag-and-drop builders, minimal steps to set up questions, and options to preview your survey.

Custom design and branding

The ability to customize the look and feel of your survey is key. Make sure you can add your logo, brand colors, custom CSS, and format text. This allows you to maintain a consistent brand experience.

Advanced question types 

Look for a variety of question types like multiple choice, dropdowns, ranking, ratings, matrix, open-ended, and more. Advanced logic options help you branch your survey based on responses.

Distribution and sharing

Once your survey is built, you need to be able to easily share it via email, social media, QR codes, or by embedding it into your website. Automated invitation reminders are also helpful.

Detailed analytics and reports

Robust analytics allow you to closely monitor responses in real time. Dashboards, charts, filters, and the ability to export results are critical.

The best free online survey tools and form builders check all these boxes, providing an optimal survey creation and analysis experience from start to finish. With the right platform, you can create surveys that provide valuable insights into your business or research.

Creating the perfect survey

Creating an effective survey takes careful planning and consideration. Here are some tips for creating a survey that will gather high-quality data:

Planning survey goals and target audience

☑️ Clearly define your survey goals - what questions do you want to answer? Understanding your goals will inform the rest of the survey design.

☑️ Identify your target respondents. Tailor the survey towards their knowledge level and interests. 

☑️ Consider survey length and format based on your respondents. A 5-minute mobile survey will garner different responses than a 30-minute computer survey.

Choosing relevant questions

☑️ Focus on essential questions that align with your survey goals. Cut out nice-to-know questions.

☑️ Choose objective questions over subjective ones when possible. Avoid questions with vague qualifiers like "often" or "usually".  

☑️ Use a mix of question types like multiple choice, ranking, ratings, and open-ended questions. This keeps respondents engaged.

☑️ Organize related questions into sections or groups to create logical flow.

Survey design best practices 

☑️ Keep your survey as short as possible while still gathering the needed data. Survey fatigue is real.

☑️ Make mobile-friendly, accessible surveys. Many folks will view surveys on phones. 

☑️ Include progress bars and transition screens between sections. This helps respondents pace themselves.

☑️ Randomize answer choices and question order when possible to reduce bias.

☑️ Make questions and answers clear and concise. Avoid jargon. Define unfamiliar terms. 

Marketing and distributing your survey

☑️ Promote your survey through social media, email, advertisements, QR codes, etc. 

☑️ Incentivize participation through giveaways, discounts, or donations.

☑️ Send email reminders to improve response rates. 

☑️ Thank respondents and share survey results to create rapport.

Following survey design best practices will help you gather high-quality data to inform business decisions and product improvements. Test and refine your survey approach over time.

Start creating surveys today

After reviewing the top free online survey tools, you now have several great options to choose from to create effective surveys and gather insightful data. 

Pristo, Google Forms, Microsoft Forms, SurveyMonkey, and Jotform each offer robust features and capabilities to build professional surveys tailored to your needs.

Whether you need an intuitive and customizable platform like Pristo, seamless Microsoft 365 integration through Microsoft Forms, in-depth analytics from SurveyMonkey, or quick and easy form building with Google Forms or Jotform, you can find a solution that fits.

The time is now to stop putting off that survey project you've been thinking about. With these powerful free tools, you can quickly and easily create surveys to collect meaningful feedback, gain valuable insights, and make more informed decisions.

Start crafting effective questionnaires today by signing up for the survey builder that aligns best with your goals. Experiment with putting together surveys on different platforms to get a feel for the options and identify your favorite. 

Collecting high-quality data through surveys is easier than ever. Choose your survey maker, start asking questions, and enjoy gaining actionable insights!

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