Plagiarism Check Tools: How to Find the Right One for You

Have you ever found yourself wandering all over the web searching for a decent plagiarism checker? Good news! You are not alone. I am sure you already know what plagiarism is. The life of a student is stressful enough – worrying about accidental plagiarism (which is, by accident, a common problem these days) should not be your top academic priority.

Here’s why:

According to Donald McCabe’s research, 95% of students admit to having participated in some form of cheating. Another study found that on average 80% plagiarize. A study by David Wangaard and Jason Stephens in New England found that 95% of students cheat knowingly.

You might be surprised to discover that cheating is common. Almost half of both master and bachelor students confess to it.

While plagiarism is common, it is also not always intentional. Sometimes you may not even realize that you forgot to properly reference a quote you had included in your essay.

But because we live in the age of information technology, you should always double-check to make sure you’re not accidentally repeating something you’ve read somewhere else. Plagiarism-free content is becoming harder and harder to achieve with the sheer quantity of information out there. Freedom of speech means that millions of writers across the world are generating blogs and social media posts on all sorts of topics – academic or otherwise.

Why is it so important to check for plagiarism?

90% of students believe that cheaters don’t ever get caught. But this assumption is false. Further, plagiarism-free content is a question of ethics. Why did Melania Trump do it? Maybe she didn’t know she was cheating. Or maybe she just though she wouldn’t get caught.

The topic of fair use policy is discussed in this blog post. All you need to ensure your paper is free from duplicated content is access to the internet. Once you find the right tool for conducting a thorough check for plagiarism, using it will put you in the 50% of students who don’t cheat – by copying from either the internet or books.

plagiarism facts

Here we’ve compiled an updated list of plagiarism check tools you can use either for free or for a fair fee. To top it all off, we’ll tell you about several of the most expensive programs that claim to find plagiarized text, as well as some words of caution. At the end of the day, you’ll be able to make a judgment about what’s worthy of your attention.

Read on to find out more about plagiarism scanners that will fit your needs. And by saying “your needs” I mean the particular academic integrity goals you’re looking to achieve with your plagiarism scanning software. It might be access, speed, quality or cost. In the spectrum of modern programs that detect plagiarism, you will definitely find what you need. And your relationship with your instructor will not be damaged, because you’ll be able to confidently submit top-quality, original material.

Let’s make a start.

Free and handy plagiarism check tools

If you don’t know how to detect plagiarism in a paper you’ve just written, you should consult some of the free tools listed below. They will help you see whether or not you need to make a further check for plagiarism. If you are looking for a program to replace TurnItIn, you can find it here. Free plagiarism detectors will offer a good starting point in your quest for plagiarism-free content.
What’s first?

  1. Article Checker does not require users to sign up or buy a subscription package. Its speed is only outperformed by its ability to detect duplicate content.
  2. CopyScape may also come in handy, but you will need to sign up to check Word or TXT documents. Here, the plagiarism check happens both for text published online and for your own written papers. The results are pretty accurate.

More (almost) free plagiarism checkers

Some of the software that guarantees academic integrity is free, but there is a twist to using it.

  1. Don’t rush to use Plagium or ScanMyEssay (Viper) if you are not looking to pay to ensure you will be submitting plagiarism-free content for your academic assignment. With Plagium’s plagiarism check, be ready to make a mandatory donation. With ScanMyEssay, you might be asked to pay to see the results of analysis.
  2. Additional programs that detect duplicate content, such as Dustball or net, are of questionable accuracy. Also, it might take them a while to show the results. You may also have to insert your text in parts. Free versions analyze short chunks only.

Is that all? Not really.

Academic integrity for an average price

Academic integrity for an average price

  1. There is also PlagiarismDetect. At first glance, this tool really checks for plagiarism – and it’s fast. This program is also praised for its user-friendliness. Every sentence that the tool identifies as plagiarized text is highlighted for the user’s convenience. Yes, you will still need to sign up to use this service. The good news is that you pay for each page you check for plagiarism. This plagiarism check tool asks for about 5 bucks for 100 pages. Good deal! You can go ahead and order this one for your final thesis.
  1. There are other types of plagiarism detection software that come at more student-friendly prices. For example, Check for Plagiarism is another great tool that checks papers for originality. Unfortunately, it has no free trial. Student pricing plans start at $20.

Plagiarism scanners specifically for academia

Plagiarism scanners specifically for academia

If you’re worried about the academic integrity of your university paper submissions, look no further. Read on to find the most suitable tools to detect academic plagiarism.

  1. PlagScan lets you subscribe for a free version before you buy a subscription. New users are allowed to check 2,000 words for plagiarism, free of charge. The report comes in a separate file along with the links, and plagiarized text is highlighted in red. This plagiarism scanning tool returns reliable results. This plagiarism checker also offers personalized email notifications and scheduled checks, and it sends the results directly to you.
  1. Similar results can be achieved with Plagiarism Checker and PaperRater, both of which have free options. Plagiarism Checker checks separate phrases on the web for plagiarism.

Check for plagiarized content online

Most plagiarism check options today include only online searching, excluding academic papers written by other students. Still, they can be helpful to determine whether you’ve included any plagiarized content copied from social networks, blogs, forums, message boards etc.

  1. To look for similarities in online sources, use DupliChecker.
  2. If you are working with online content on a daily basis, go ahead and try SmallSEOTools and their additional analytics, including grammar checker and cool SEO features. Be prepared to divide your text into chunks of 1,000 words.

The Center for Academic Integrity found that 80% of students cheat, either publicly or privately. Most of those students believe the reward for cheating is worth it. But you know that’s not right. Using these tools to find plagiarism in your papers will help you to be in the top 20%.

But you should also know about the most common stumbling blocks when it comes to copied text checkers. Are you looking for a quick plagiarism check? Of course nobody wants to spend hours googling “free plagiarism scanner” or “effective plagiarism detector”.

Plagiarism check tools that get positive reviews

In the abundance of modern sites that offer plagiarism checking, there are only so many you can really rely on. So don’t waste your time trying to detect duplicate content with the wrong tool. Look at the reviews, because it’s likely that others are experiencing the same problems.

  1. PlagTracker has been created by two graduate students passionate about computer science. It’s pretty user-friendly. You can go ahead and send your feedback to the owners of this plagiarism check tool.

There’s more:

  1. Grammarly has been very popular among students. It’s really neat and easy to use. It costs around $30 for one month of use. This plagiarism scanner also points out your grammatical, spelling, stylistic and other mistakes.
  2. Another pearl is a plagiarism detector called Unplag. Users of Unplag get a free trial without the need to register. After the trial, if you sign up you’ll pay $5 to $10 per month, depending on the plan you choose.

Each of these tools offers quality search results.

The most popular plagiarism checkers

Below we list the pros and cons of the most popular plagiarism check tools. Most people rate these websites as the most efficient plagiarism detectors.

#1: TurnItIn
  • Pros: precise, compares online sources and academic submissions
  • Cons: too much student info required, students have limited tools

#2: Grammarly
  • Pros: results are quick and clear, grammar check included, accurate, reliable
  • Cons: pretty pricey, too many corrections

#3: CopyScape
  • Pros: free, accurate, fast
  • Cons: every source shows separate results, only searches online content

#4: iThenticate
  • Pros: many academic databases (Springer, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell), accurate
  • Cons: expensive ($100 for 25,000 words)

#5: CheckForPlagiarism
  • Pros: many papers in the database, multiple languages, cheap ($20 for a basic account)
  • Cons: only 5 papers per month

#6: PlagScan
  • Pros: clear, reliable, includes books and student papers, free trial
  • Cons: targets educators, costs are per number of students

#7: Writer Check
  • Pros: includes 250 million student papers and 100,000 published research works
  • Cons: no free trial, you pay per paper (the cheapest option is $8)

No money – no honey

Now let’s have some fun.

If you are looking for the most reliable plagiarism check tool, you might want to know why some of them are pricier than others.

  1. The most expensive tool for plagiarism detection that we could find on the web is… TurnItIn. According to institutional users, this software is pretty pricey. An annual subscription can cost as much as $30,000.
  2. Another expensive plagiarism scanning program is Glatt Plagiarism Services. It is distributed on a CD – maybe not the smartest choice in 2016. However, it is highly reliable and has good reviews in academic circles. You will have to pay $300 for a disk, or $250 if you buy it together with the Plagiarism Teaching Program.

And now let’s put a cherry on this pie.

The ugly side of copied content checkers

So here’s the kick.

We suggest you use plagiarism detectors that have a proven record. But, if you are looking to experiment, keep the following points in mind.

  • Viper. We’ve already talked about this. The creators claim it’s “a free alternative to TurnItIn”. It does work well, but it is available only for Microsoft products. Plus, you have to download the plagiarism scanning software directly to your computer. But it runs a check on the files on your computer as well.
  • Dustball. This website enjoys a lot of positive word-of-mouth. Still, be careful when checking large papers. It may take a while.
  • net. This free plagiarism scanner shows only online duplicated content (no academic or research works are included). Results are questionable, so try using it only hand-in-hand with other plagiarism trackers.
  • CopyLeaks. Again, this tool performs an online search exclusively. So use other software to back up its results.

Some final remarks on plagiarism detection

After these words of caution, we should confess that free plagiarism check systems do have some inconveniences. They are suitable for a quick scan – but not for a detailed copy check. So, to avoid even unintentional bits and pieces of plagiarized material, you definitely need a reliable plagiarism checker.

To pay or not to pay – that is the question. Choose a plan depending on your academic load. Some plagiarism checkers charge you per word, and others charge per day or month of use. In any case, ensuring the academic integrity of your work by scanning it closely for plagiarism is a serious and necessary undertaking. And it deserves the investment of some cold hard cash.

Finally, take a look at the takeaway: an infographic presenting the pluses and minuses of the plagiarism check programs we recommend.

plagiarism checkers our picks

Irene Fenswick

Irene Fenswick is a freelance writer and blogger with a Master's degree in English Literature. She has been working as an academic advisor for undergraduate students for five years and she is willing to share her knowledge about writing. Currently Irene lives in Bournemouth, England with her two dogs, Arett and Mady. You can always reach her at

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Comments (6)

Omotola Oluwadarasimi
October 5th, 2016 - 7:43 pm

Hmmm it’s nothing but the truth..How little students realise the bad effect of plagiarism.

Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
October 7th, 2016 - 5:10 pm

Hi Omotola!

Thanks for reading my article and writing the feedback! I really appreciate it :)

December 21st, 2016 - 5:33 pm

Your story was really inmrefativo, thanks!

Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
December 22nd, 2016 - 4:27 pm

Thank you, Cami!

December 21st, 2016 - 6:00 pm

I waetnd to spend a minute to thank you for this.

Irene Fenswick
Irene Fenswick
December 22nd, 2016 - 4:25 pm

Thanks for that, Elly! I appreciate you :)