PaperRater Review for 2020: Is It Worth Using?

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It’s easy to write a piece of content, scan over it and hit publish.

But not long after, you get comments saying “this sentence isn’t right,” or “did you mean ‘optimized’ instead of ‘optimized’?”

There are tons of editing tools that help you spot those before others view your writing.

One of those is PaperRater.

In this guide, we’ll share:

What is PaperRater?

Before we dive in, let’s be clear on what PaperRater actually is.

PaperRater is an AI-powered writing tool that:

  • Checks grammar
  • Improves writing structure
  • Scans for plagiarism elsewhere on the internet

The writing tool is geared towards students. It shows your estimated grade, with an option to send the text to a teacher. But technically, it can be used for any type of writing—including blogging, social media copy, or professional documents.

Does PaperRater really work?

Now we know what PaperRater claims to do, there’s one question on your lips: Does it really work?

We put PaperRater to the test and found some good things—and some other not so good things.

Pros of PaperRater

It’s fast to retrieve results

Since PaperRater is a platform powered by AI, one of their biggest features is their claim to show results “typically within 5-15 seconds after submission.”

This was true for all of my successful tests.

However, note that these fast checks only apply to sentence structure and grammar. It takes slightly longer (around 15 seconds more) for plagiarism checks. But even still, that’s not excessively long to wait.

It’s accurate for big spelling mistakes (and plagiarism)

What good is a grammar and spelling checker if it doesn’t actually show those mistakes?

Overall, we found PaperRater accurate for checking big mistakes. In this example, you can see they flagged the incorrect tense “I’ve written,” and recommended changing it to “I’ve written”:

Similarly, PaperRater also flagged plagiarism when we tested a copy from this post. It showed the percentage of text that was duplicated, alongside links to show where else the content was found:

PaperRater is cloud-based

Another great feature of PaperRater is that it’s cloud-based. You don’t need to download any software or Chrome add-ons to use it—which also means there’s a little privacy risk.

The tool only sees the content you upload (rather than everything you visit using a browser add-on.)

You don’t need to sign-up to use the tool

Still concerned about privacy? PaperRater also allows you to use their writing tool without creating an account. You don’t need to hand over your email address, nor authorize a social media log-in, to use it.

Cons of PaperRater

Website is full of ads that can be misleading

I don’t know about you, but websites littered with adverts feel spammy to me.

That’s the impression I got when using PaperRater’s website—and it ended up being quite a frustrating experience.

For example: I clicked on a link that looked like a call to action saying “start now” to use the tool from their homepage… But instead, I got sent to a different PDF converter website. The ad looked worryingly similar to the rest of the website design:

Be careful of this when getting a report, too.

You’ll need to click “get report” not “start now,” which would also send you to the same PDF converter website:

It’s not so good for less corporate writing

We’ve already touched on the fact PaperRater is built for college students. This really comes through in their suggestions.

It suggested I turn “and” into words like “consequently”, “moreover”, and “nevertheless.” Switching to those terms would make the content feel incredibly corporate (and dare I say it: boring.)

The bottom line? It’s good for essays and research papers, but not so good for conversational writing styles.

The tool itself is glitchy

PaperRater does flag big grammar and plagiarism problems.

…If you manage to get through to the results page, that is.

I ran into a few glitches during my test—like this one. I typed the sentence “does paperrater flag capitalization problems?” which gave this error message. It told me my content was non-English (when it was written in plain English.)

The glitches continue when you do get through to the review editor, too.

It says (1) next to each section (including spelling and grammar problems) which looks like they’re flagging an issue. But when you click on it, it says no errors were detected.

Their grammar settings might not fit yours

Another problem with PaperRater comes if you’re using different grammar styles.

For example: some companies use the AP style; others use the Chicago manual style. Part of the Chicago manual style rules include using the Oxford comma—another comma separator after the word “and.” The AP style does not.

PaperRater seems to follow AP style because it doesn’t flag where Oxford commas should be used in this sentence:

You can’t change the text during the review stage

Once you get through to the review page, PaperRater shows you what needs fixing.

But when you change the text in the editor, nothing happens. You have to cut and paste it into a new search, so your real-time changes don’t get analyzed. You can’t make changes inside the editor and see results immediately; you need to make a brand new search.

That can get frustratingly repetitive—and quickly use up your free monthly report allowance.

PaperRater vs. other grammar-checking alternatives

There’s no doubt that PaperRater is a great tool, but it does have its downsides.

So, how does it compare to the other grammar and spelling checkers on the market?

PaperRater vs. Grammarly

Arguably one of the most popular grammar and spelling checker tools is Grammarly—a browser add-on that shows real-time suggestions.

One of the first things that came to mind when comparing the two was that Grammarly has a much nicer and cleaner user experience. You don’t see any ads with Grammarly, and since it’s added to your browser, you don’t need to use the website to see their results.

However, PaperRater is more secure because of that. Grammarly users have had issues with privacy since it’s a Chrome extension installed on all of their webpages. Their T&Cs say Grammarly stores most of your data even when you’re not actively using the tool.

(You can use a browser-based version of Grammarly, but you don’t get their full features without installing their Chrome add-on.)

PaperRater, on the other hand, only sees what you add to the browser editor. For that reason, PaperRater is a better option for privacy-concerned writers.

But if that’s not high on your list of priorities, Grammarly is the better option.

PaperRater vs. Hemingway Editor App

Another popular grammar checking tool is the Hemingway Editor.

Unlike Grammarly, this tool is browser-based, which means neither Hemingway nor PaperRater need adding-on to your browser. It only sees the information you submit for review. This makes both tools great options for privacy-concerned users.

(If you do prefer an app, you can download Hemingway to your PC. You can’t with PaperRater.)

However, Hemingway’s website is much more user-friendly and easy to use. The interface is extremely clean with absolute zero ads, and it’s totally free regardless of how much content you check.

Plus, Hemingway shows real-time changes. You don’t need to copy and paste your content and run several searches, to get a final end product. Hemingway shows suggestions as you type.

The only advantage that PaperRater has over Hemingway is the fact that the first checks for plagiarism, whereas Hemingway is a strictly writing and spelling check tool.

(But you can use tools like Duplichecker or Siteliner in conjunction with Hemingway to get the same—if not, better—result.)

How much does PaperRater cost?

Now we know what PaperRater can and can’t do, let’s take a look at how much you’ll be set back if you decide to add this AI-powered writing tool to your toolkit.

PaperRater currently offers two pricing tiers:

  • Free: Up to 50 submissions and 10 plagiarism checks per month.
  • Premium: Allows file uploads, faster processing, and promises to banish those spammy ads. This plan costs a little less than $12 per month.

Is PaperRater Premium worth the money?

The free version of PaperRater gives you more than enough submissions. However, there are slightly more negatives than positives.

We only think it’s worth investing in PaperRater if you’re writing complex papers or professional documents. (And if you don’t mind the spammy design/overall feel.) Otherwise, the other two alternatives are completely free and give just as good suggestions as PaperRater does.

Final thoughts on PaperRater’s writing tool

There’s no doubt that PaperRater is a good beginner’s writing tool.

It flags big mistakes in your grammar, doesn’t require full access to your browser to work, and is super fast to pull reports.

However, it doesn’t pass with flying colors. There are certain issues with PaperRater’s AI writing tool that doesn’t work as well as planned. It’s glitchy, the site feels spammy, and their on-site advertisements are misleading.

The bottom line? PaperRater is a good option for students or writers who need a writing tool to create professional documents.

But tools like Grammarly or Hemingway are better all-round alternatives that are completely free—regardless of how many submissions you want to check. You’ll also get more advanced writing suggestions, and a better experience, using one of those alternatives.

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