5 Best Contact Form Plugins for WordPress Compared In Detail

/5 Best Contact Form Plugins for WordPress Compared In Detail

Subscribe to our newsletter and get more tips!

There are a ton of contact form plugins out there. A cursory search of the WordPress.org plugin directory turns up a straight up silly 3,000+ results (though some of that is the plugin directory’s “creative” search algorithm). All that to say, it’s not easy to narrow down to the best contact form plugin.

But that’s what I’m trying to do in this post. I took all those hundreds and thousands of contact form plugins and narrowed them down to just five options.

After personally using a ton of different form plugins, including each of the five plugins on this list, I feel confident in saying that none of these plugins will lead you astray.

But, choosing between five different plugins still isn’t an easy choice! So I’m going to go in-depth with each plugin so that you can pick the perfect one for you.

Summary: Best Contact Form Plugins for WordPress

Don’t worry – I’ll be digging into every single plugin in greater detail in the following sections. But first, here’s a quick bird’s eye view so you can prepare yourself for what’s coming.

Ninja Forms Gravity Forms Caldera Forms Contact Form 7 WPForms
Free version YES NO YES YES YES
Pricing Structure Paid add-ons 100% premium Paid add-ons 100% free Freemium
Conditional Logic Paid add-on Pro version Free With 3rd-party plugin Pro version
Payment Gateways Paid add-ons Pro version Paid add-ons With 3rd-party plugin Pro version
Email marketing services Paid add-ons Pro version Paid add-ons Some have 3rd-party plugins Pro version
Visit Ninja Forms Gravity Forms Caldera Forms Contact Form 7 WPForms

Now, let’s dig in…

1. Ninja Forms

best form plugin for wordpress ninja forms
Ninja Forms is one of the most popular contact form plugins out there, which doesn’t surprise me given that I think it has the nicest interface out of any plugin on this list.

It comes as a free core plugin (listed at WordPress.org) with over 33+ paid add-ons. The free core version is great if you just need basic contact forms. But if you want advanced forms to handle email opt-ins, payment gateways, and more – you’ll need some of the premium add-ons.

Ninja Forms Core Features

  • Drag and drop, user friendly interface
  • View form submissions in dashboard AND get notification emails
  • Run calculations on form fields
  • Sanitize form inputs and force formatting
  • Templates to help you quickly create forms
  • Email marketing integrations (paid)
  • Payment gateway integrations (paid)
  • Conditional logic and multi-page forms (paid)
  • Zapier integration (paid)

Ninja Forms Pros

  • Has the nicest interface of any contact form plugin
  • Can run multi-part calculations on form fields
  • Option to send form confirmation emails to the submitter
  • Has a paid add-on for pretty much anything you want to do

Ninja Forms Cons

  • Ninja Forms can quickly get expensive depending on the specific add-ons that you need

How Does Ninja Forms Work?

You can install the free version from WordPress.org and quickly start creating forms with the user-friendly drag and drop editor. Then, you can insert forms wherever you need with shortcodes.

Ninja Forms Pricing

The core version of Ninja Forms is free and listed at WordPress.org. The paid add-ons, of which there are over 33, range in price from ~$19 to $49. They also have a few bundles to save you a bit of money.

Go to Ninja Forms

2. Gravity Forms

best form plugin gravity forms

Gravity Forms is one of the most popular form plugins for developers (and subsequently, their clients). It’s popular because, in addition to a solid feature list, it’s easily extensible.

With that being said, Gravity Forms is pricey and lacks a free version. So if all you need is a simple contact form, there are much better options. If you need complex forms, though, Gravity Forms is an industry standard.

Gravity Forms Core Features

  • Tons of integrations with payment gateways, email marketing services, and CRMs
  • Drag and drop form builder
  • Helpful restrictions like scheduled dates, submission limits, and more
  • Vibrant developer community built around Gravity Forms
  • Multi-page forms and conditional logic
  • Front-end post creation
  • Zapier integration

Gravity Forms Pros

  • Because of its popularity, Gravity Forms has a ton of help third-party integrations that other form plugins don’t have
  • The full feature list makes it very flexible – you can build pretty much any type of form with Gravity Forms

Gravity Forms Cons

  • There’s no free version of Gravity Forms
  • The interface feels a bit dated when compared to plugins like Ninja Forms and WPForms
  • If you need payment processing, Gravity Forms is quite expensive. The cheapest version with payments is $199

How Does Gravity Forms Work?

You can build your forms using Gravity Forms’ drag and drop form builder. Then, you insert them on the front-end using shortcodes.

Gravity Forms Pricing

Gravity Forms comes in three different versions – Personal ($39), Business ($99), and Developer ($199). Each version adds additional features – so make sure you pick the version offering the features you actually need.

Go to Gravity Forms

3. Caldera Forms

best form plugin caldera forms

Caldera Forms has, hands down, the most flexible free version that you’ll come across. For instance, you can create conditional logic and multi-page forms even in the free version, which no other contact form plugin allows to my knowledge.

It originally operated as a free core version with paid add-ons, much like Ninja Forms. But the developers recently launched an added Pro version which deals with the emails that go along with your forms.

Caldera Forms Core Features

  • Drag and drop form builder
  • Can create custom layouts with the grid builder
  • Conditional logic and multi-page forms
  • Front-end post submission
  • Integrates well with the Pods plugin
  • Payment gateway and email marketing service integration
  • View entries in your dashboard or get email notifications
  • Zapier integration

Caldera Forms Pros

  • Includes conditional logic and multi-page forms in the free version
  • Allows front-end post submissions (including custom post types) in the free version
  • Integrates closely with Pods, which is a major plus if you use Pods for custom post types

Caldera Forms Cons

  • For a beginner, the form builder isn’t quite as intuitive (intermediate users should feel right at home, though)

How Does Caldera Forms Work?

You build your forms using the drag and drop form builder/layout builder. Then, you can insert them with a shortcode.

Caldera Forms Pricing

The core Caldera Forms plugin is free and listed at WordPress.org. Some of the add-ons are also free, while others cost ~$75+.

Go to Caldera Forms

4. Contact Form 7

best contact form plugin basic

Contact Form 7 is a staple in the WordPress form niche. While it’s not the most beginner friendly form builder, it’s simple and lightweight. Oh, and it also has over 3 million active installs, which is tough to argue with.

If you just need a basic contact form, it’s a solid lightweight option that won’t slow down your site. Just don’t expect a drag and drop form builder or easy styling. Third-party plugins do give you the option of tacking on plenty of functionality, though.

Contact Form 7 Core Features

  • Lightweight
  • AJAX form submissions
  • CAPTCHA and Akismet for spam
  • Email notifications on form submission

Contact Form 7 Pros

  • Because it’s so popular, many themes have pre-built styling for Contact Form 7
  • It’s super lightweight (which is good or bad depending on your needs)
  • Tons of third-party extensions tack on extra functionality

Contact Form 7 Cons

  • The form builder isn’t very user friendly
  • Styling your forms can be difficult without knowing CSS (unless your theme supports Contact Form 7 already)
  • By itself, it’s nowhere near as flexible as other form plugins. Third-party plugins add plenty of features, though

How Does Contact Form 7 Work?

You basically build your forms with shortcodes and a code editor – no drag and drop interface. Then, you can insert those forms on the front-end with separate shortcodes for each form.

Contact Form 7 Pricing

Contact Form 7 is 100% free and listed at WordPress.org.

Go to Contact Form 7

5. WPForms

wpforms

Some have accused WPForms of being essentially a Gravity Forms clone. And while I think there is a bit of truth to that statement, WPForms does do some things to differentiate itself.

First, I greatly prefer its interface to Gravity Forms – in fact, it has my second favorite interface behind Ninja Forms. Additionally, WPForms offers a free, albeit limited, version, whereas Gravity Forms doesn’t.

Yes, you will notice a number of similarities in pricing and extensibility. But there’s enough different to make WPForms worthy of its own entry.

WPForms Core Features

  • A well-designed interface that’s second only to Ninja Forms (in my opinion)
  • Drag and drop form builder
  • Conditional logic (pro)
  • Payment gateway and email marketing service integrations (pro)
  • Unique Form Abandonment add-on
  • Zapier integration

WPForms Pros

  • The interface is beginner friendly and easy to use
  • Has a free version for basic contact forms
  • The Form Abandonment add-on is a unique feature I haven’t seen in other form plugins
  • Hs a lifetime plan, which Gravity Forms doesn’t offer

WPForms Cons

  • WPForms can be expensive depending on which features you need.
  • Despite its similarities to Gravity Forms, WPForms lacks the third-party developer support of Gravity Forms

How Does WPForms Work?

Like most of the other plugins, you build your forms using a drag and drop editor and then insert them on the front-end using shortcodes.

WPForms Pricing

WPForms has a free version at WordPress.org that’s capable of creating basic contact forms. After that, you’ll need the Pro versions which start at $39 and range up to $199. The pricing is pretty much identical to Gravity Forms.

The only difference is that WPForms also offers a lifetime plan that costs a hefty $499.

Go to WPForms

Which Contact Form Plugin Should You Choose?

Ninja Forms Gravity Forms Caldera Forms Contact Form 7 WPForms
Free version YES NO YES YES YES
Pricing Structure Paid add-ons 100% premium Paid add-ons 100% free Freemium
Conditional Logic Paid add-on Pro version Free With 3rd-party plugin Pro version
Payment Gateways Paid add-ons Pro version Paid add-ons With 3rd-party plugin Pro version
Email marketing services Paid add-ons Pro version Paid add-ons Some have 3rd-party plugins Pro version
Visit Ninja Forms Gravity Forms Caldera Forms Contact Form 7 WPForms

If you just want to create basic contact forms, I think Ninja Forms has the best free version to help you accomplish that.

If you want the most feature-rich and functional free form plugin, Caldera Forms is the definite winner. The fact that it offers conditional logic, multi-page forms, and front-end post submissions all in the free version is tough to beat.

And if you want the absolute most flexible form plugins, you really should just pick your favorite between Ninja Forms’ add-ons, Caldera Forms’ add-ons, Gravity Forms, and WPForms. All are flexible in their own ways – it just depends on your specific needs.

And yes – I know I left off some quality options like Jetpack Forms. There really are too many to choose from!

Colin Newcomer is a freelance writer for hire with a background in SEO and affiliate marketing. He helps clients grow their web visibility by writing primarily about digital marketing, WordPress, and B2B topics. You can find him at www.cnewcomer.com

Leave a Reply