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The Best Free Online Survey Tool for Market Research

By January 16, 2022June 1st, 2022No Comments

By Angela Robinson | Updated January 16th, 2022

Online surveys are a great market research tool for quickly and easily talking to consumers. Free online survey makers are affordable for small and large businesses that want to gather opinions and uncover insights from their target market at the click of a button.

All of these free platforms can be a great resource for your business. But with so many no-cost online survey tools available, how can you choose the one that is right for your business objectives while avoiding unexpected costs?

Let’s break down the key features that you’ll need in an online survey tool. Then we’ll review some of the most popular survey tools out there so you can choose the one that is the easiest and most cost-effective for your business needs. Finally, we’ll talk about how to overcome the big challenge of connecting with consumers to gather responses once you are ready to conduct surveys.

Best features for creating surveys using free survey tools

There are several top free survey tools available. Each platform offers a unique set of features in its free version versus its paid version. If you know which features you are likely to need, then you can select a survey maker that offers them for free. Let’s talk about some of the most important features you might need when planning market research surveys.

Number of surveys, questions, and responses

When choosing a free survey maker, look carefully at how using the free version limits the number of surveys you can set up, the number of questions you can ask, and the number of responses you can collect.

Some free online survey tools limit the number of surveys you can conduct while allowing you to collect as many responses as you would like. These free tools might work well if you want to gather hundreds of responses on a single topic.

Other platforms may offer unlimited surveys while strictly limiting the number of responses. These survey builders might be a good fit for smaller businesses that want to connect with a limited number of existing customers.

Thinking about your market research goals can help you choose the right free tools. Whether you need unlimited surveys or unlimited responses, the right survey maker can help you connect with your target audience without paying for upgrades that you don’t really need.

Pre written survey question templates

If you are new to conducting market research, survey templates and pre written questions are a great asset to help you get started. Many free online survey tools provide question templates that speed up the survey building process. These question templates make it super quick and easy to collect data on popular topics. For example, some survey makers include pre written questions to gather information about respondent demographics. Survey templates may also include customizable questions to measure brand awareness or gauge customer satisfaction.

Custom questions

Of course, you’ll want the option to create custom questions as well since your brand and your survey goals are unique. Make sure you choose a free online survey tool that allows you to write your own questions so that your survey responses are providing the insights you need.

A variety of survey question types

You will also want to select a survey builder that offers free access to a range of different types of questions. Depending on your objectives, you may need to incorporate multiple choice questions, likert rating scales, checkboxes, comment fields, net promoter scores, dropdowns, and more.

Randomization options

Some survey tools offer the option to randomize the order of questions, blocks, or pages. Using randomization to vary the order of questions can improve the validity of your data.

Randomization options are also important if you plan to use A/B testing in your online surveys. If you are interested in testing out different messages on different groups of people, look for a platform that offers free page randomization.

Skip logic

There are a number of tools that can improve the experience for survey respondents. For example, skip logic features can use a respondent’s previous answers to ensure that they only see the survey pages and questions that are relevant to them. Page logic can reduce survey fatigue by keeping surveys short and sweet.

Survey previews

The best survey makers offer the option to preview your survey as it will appear on a computer and on a mobile device. These days, many respondents complete surveys on their phones. Making sure your survey is accessible on laptops, desktops, tablets, and other mobile devices will improve the quality of your survey responses.

The best free online survey tools

Which free survey tool is the best? It really depends on your survey design and your unique needs. Read on to learn what five of the most popular platforms offer for free.


You may have heard of SurveyMonkey before. It is one of the most popular tools for collecting survey responses. The free version, called the Basic Plan, allows you to create unlimited surveys. However, the free plan limits the number of questions you can include and the number of responses you can collect in a single survey.

SurveyMonkey offers a question bank filled with proven templates for common types of questions. There are dozens of sample market research questions that you can customize for your own products and brand. The question bank is particularly helpful if you are new to market research and need a lot of guidance on how to get started.

The user interface makes it easy to create surveys, collect responses, and review your data. That can make SurveyMonkey a tempting option for people who want to dip their toe into market research and survey design for the very first time. If you are on a tight budget, be aware that many question types and advanced features may require you to upgrade to paid versions.

Google Forms

If you need unlimited surveys, unlimited questions, and unlimited responses for free, then Google Forms might be a good option for you. The free version is the only version, so there aren’t any hidden costs to using some of the more advanced features.

Google Forms makes it easy to distribute your survey via URL or email. You can also easily embed your survey form onto your own website. Responses can be viewed individually, and Google provides straightforward summaries of your data as well. It is easy to automatically export data into Google Sheets if you prefer to analyze survey results in more detailed ways.

While Google Forms offers many great features for free, some common objectives require clunky workaround solutions that may be a turnoff for some researchers. For example, there is no straightforward solution for A/B testing. Applying custom branding and achieving a professional look is also less intuitive here than on other platforms.


Survey design geeks will love Qualtrics for the advanced capabilities of its free version. The drag-and-drop interface is easy to navigate, and they offer a deep library of question templates. The Qualtrics survey logic tools allow for sophisticated randomization, branching, or personalization of survey questions based on previous answers.

Qualtrics makes it easy to distribute your survey using a URL or via their email service. The platform offers the ability to export data or use its more sophisticated interface to analyze survey results online.

The free version limits users to 100 responses per survey, so you may be looking at upgrade costs if you need feedback from a larger group of respondents.


Using Alchemer’s free plan, users can set up three surveys and view up to 100 responses per survey form.

Many of Alchemer’s key benefits are restricted to users of its paid versions. The company proudly states that they offer twice as many question types as SurveyMonkey or Qualtrics. However, the free version limits users to 10 of the most popular types of questions, such as likert scales or dropdown menus. Impressive data analysis tools also require an upgrade.

Since the features that set Alchemer apart are restricted to paid users, this may be a good option once you are ready to invest in taking your market research to the next level.

This platform is perhaps the most generous with its free features. Users who select the free plan can insert any question type, use logic options, conduct A/B testing, and view cross-tabs of survey responses. The free version allows up to 1,000 responses per survey.

A few features require users to upgrade to a paid version, including unlimited responses and longer-running data collection.

The free version allows you to run a survey for up to two weeks. For some users, this may not be enough time to gather responses. If you plan to collect data quickly, this platform is a great option due to the breadth and versatility of the free tools available.

Create surveys that respondents enjoy

Once you have selected which survey software to use, it is time to begin designing your own online forms. But not all surveys are created equal! When you create surveys, it is important to think about the user experience.

You might consider participating in some online surveys via reputable sites like Swagbucks and Inbox Dollars to understand the experience from the perspective of survey respondents. User-friendly surveys help respondents stay engaged. This ultimately improves the quality of your data and helps you make better decisions that drive profit for your business.

Your survey is ready. Now how do you get responses?

Once you’ve selected an online survey tool and written your questions, it is time to conduct surveys. Now comes the big challenge of connecting with consumers to gather responses.

Finding your audience online

To connect with your target market, it can be helpful to hire a company that can help you reach your desired audience. Online survey panels can help you target respondents based on demographic characteristics such as age, geographic location, or income.

If you choose to collect responses in partnership with a company like Prodege or Pollfish, you can expect even more options when it comes to targeting. For example, you can target based on interests, household characteristics, or the types of devices someone uses. With sophisticated targeting options, online survey panels are a great way to collect reliable responses from your target market without the hassle and expense of recruiting survey respondents yourself.

Leverage a free survey maker to build your business

Regardless of how you go about gathering responses, using a free survey tool is a great low-cost way to connect with consumers. By using online survey tools effectively, you can uncover insights that will make consumers feel valued and increase customer satisfaction. Online market research is a great way to genuinely connect with your target market and receive valuable feedback that you can use to build your brand and improve your bottom line.

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