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The best AI chatbots: ChatGPT isn't the only one worth trying

I tested the best AI chatbots and writers that can lighten your workload, from writing emails to generating code, images, and more.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Microsoft Copilot | Best AI chatbot overall
Microsoft Copilot
Best AI chatbot overall
View now View at Microsoft
ChatGPT | Best original AI chatbot
ChatGPT login
Best original AI chatbot
View now View at ChatGPT
Anthrophic's Claude | Best AI chatbot for summarizing documents
Anthrophic's Claude
Best AI chatbot for summarizing documents
View now View at Claude
Perplexity.ai | Best AI chatbot that functions as a search engine
Perplexity AI
Best AI chatbot that functions as a search engine
View now View at Perplexity
Jasper | Best AI chatbot for businesses and marketers
Best AI chatbot for businesses and marketers
View now View at Jasper
You.com | Best AI chatbot for LLM testing
Best AI chatbot for LLM testing
View now View at You
Chatsonic by Writesonic | Best AI chatbot for article writers
Chatsonic by Writesonic
Chatsonic by Writesonic
Best AI chatbot for article writers
View now View at Writesonic
Gemini (formerly Google Bard) | Best AI chatbot if you're a loyal Google user
Google Gemini chatbot
Gemini (formerly Google Bard)
Best AI chatbot if you're a loyal Google user
View now View at Gemini
Socratic by Google | Best AI chatbot for kids and students
Socratic on mobile
Socratic by Google
Best AI chatbot for kids and students
View now View at Google Play Store
HuggingChat | Best open-source chatbot
Hugging Face
Best open-source chatbot
View now View at Github
Show more (5 items)

Since the launch of ChatGPT, AI chatbots have been all of the rage because of their ability to do a wide range of tasks that can help you with your personal and work life. At your command, AI chatbots can write code, compose emails, draft a report, generate artwrite Excel formulas for you, and much more. 

However, because ChatGPT reached worldwide recognition, competitors were motivated to make their own versions, and, as a result, there are so many options on the market to choose from with different strengths, use cases, difficulty levels, and other nuances.

Google I/O, Google's developer conference is May 14 and May 15 this year, and the company announced a list of advancements to its AI model, Gemini. Gemini is more capable than ever, making it one of the best generative AI models out there.

Also: The best AI image generators: Tested and reviewed

For the last year and a half, I have taken a deep dive into AI and have tested as many AI tools as possible -- including dozens of AI chatbots. Using my findings and those of other ZDNET AI experts, I have created a list of the best AI chatbots and AI writers on the market. 

The list details everything you need to know before choosing your next AI assistant, including what it's best for, pros, cons, cost, its large language model (LLM), and more. So whether you are entirely new to AI chatbots, or have used plenty of tools, this list should help you discover a new chatbot you haven't used before. 

What is the best AI chatbot right now?

Thanks to its sourcing abilities, free internet access, and advanced LLM model, Microsoft Copilot is my choice for the best AI chatbot. Keep reading to see how its features compare to others like ChatGPT, You.com, and more. 

The best AI chatbots of 2024

Pros & Cons
  • Access to the internet
  • Links back to sources
  • Uses OpenAI's most advanced LLM
  • Grounded in Bing
  • Query cap
More Details

In February last year, Microsoft unveiled a new AI-improved Bing, now known as Copilot, which runs on GPT-4 Turbo, the newest version of OpenAI's language model systems. As of May 4 of last year, Copilot moved from limited to open preview, meaning everyone can access it for free.  

Also: What is Copilot (formerly Bing Chat)? Here's everything you need to know

When I use a chatbot, I typically reach for Copilot because it solves two major issues with ChatGPT: access to current events and linking back to the sources it retrieved for its answer for free. Copilot is also the only way to access OpenAI's most advanced LLM -- GPT-4 Turbo -- for free. 

Copilot is free to use and offers other features that make it an attractive alternative, including multi-modal inputs, image generation within the chatbot, and a standalone app. 

Copilot features: OpenAI's most advanced LLM, GPT-4 Turbo | Has access to the internet | Works like a search engine with information on current events | Free

Pros & Cons
  • Writing skills
  • STEM knowledge
  • Conversational
  • Not always available
  • Not connected to the internet
More Details

ChatGPT is a conversational AI chatbot by OpenAI that can produce text based on any prompt you input, generating emails, essays, poems, grocery lists, letters, and much more.

In addition to writing for you, ChatGPT can chat about simple or complex topics such as "What are colors?" or "What is the meaning of life?" ChatGPT is also proficient in STEM and can write and debug code and solve complex math equations. 

Using ChatGPT is easier than ever since OpenAI stopped requiring users to log in. Now, you can start chatting with ChatGPT simply by visiting its website like you would with Google. 

Also: How to use ChatGPT

ChatGPT was released in November 2022, and because of its massive success, it became the blueprint for many other chatbots to enter the scene. Therefore, if you are interested in AI chatbots, you'll likely want to try the original tool that began the craze -- ChatGPT. 

Downsides of the chatbot include that it is sometimes at capacity due to its immense popularity, doesn't have access to the internet, and has a January 2022 knowledge cutoff. 

I still reach for ChatGPT because, despite its limitations, it is an incredibly capable chatbot. However, when I do, I ensure my queries do not rely on the most recent information to be accurate. For example, some good use cases to use ChatGPT for are brainstorming text or coding.

ChatGPT features: Uses OpenAI's GPT-3.5 or GPT-4 (if subscribed) | Can generate text, solve math problems, and code | Impressive conversation capabilities | Free to the public right now

Pros & Cons
  • Upload document support
  • Chat controls
  • Light and dark mode
  • Unclear usage cap
  • Knowledge cutoff
More Details

Anthropic launched its first AI assistant, Claude, in February 2023. Now the tool has secured a spot as one of the best chatbots. Like the other leading competitors, Anthropic can conversationally answer prompts for anything you need assistance with, including coding, math, writing, research, and more. 

Also: 4 things Claude AI can do that ChatGPT can't

I think the biggest advantage of this chatbot is that it can accept document uploads to help read, analyze, and summarize files. To upload a file, click on the paper clip icon next to the text box and click on the document you want to upload. Then, conversationally ask for help you want with the document, including document summaries or clarifications on specific topics found within the document. 

Also: This free tool from Anthropic helps you create better prompts for your AI chatbot

Claude is in free open beta and, as a result, has both context window and daily message limits that can vary based on demand. If you want to use the chatbot regularly, upgrading to Claude Pro may be a better option, as it offers at least five times the usage limits compared to the free version for $20 a month. 

Claude features:  Powered by Claude 3 model family | Accepts document uploads | Trained with information up to early 2023 | Free

Pros & Cons
  • Links to sources
  • Access to internet
  • simple UI
  • Paid subscription required for GPT-4 access
  • some irrelevant suggestions
More Details

Perplexity AI is a free AI chatbot connected to the internet that provides sources and has an enjoyable UI. As soon as you visit the site, using the chatbot is straightforward. Type your prompt into the "ask anything" box to get started. The first time I visited this chatbot, I was able to get started within seconds.

On top of the text box, the chatbot states, "Where knowledge begins," and the title could not be more fitting. 

As soon as you click on the textbox, the tool has a series of suggested prompts mostly rooted in news. The chatbot also has suggested prompts underneath the box on evergreen topics. All you have to do is click on the suggestions to learn more about the topic and chat about it. Additionally, Perplexity provides related topic questions you can click on to keep the conversation going. 

Also: ChatGPT vs. Microsoft Copilot vs. Gemini: Which is the best AI chatbot?

Because of the extensive prompts that the tool gives users to try, this is a great chatbot for taking deep dives into topics that you wouldn't have necessarily thought of before, encouraging discovery and experimentation. I dived into some random topics, including the history of birthday cakes, and I enjoyed every second. 

Other perks include the fact that there is an app for both iOS and Android, allowing you to also tinker with the chatbot while you're on the go, footnotes are provided after every answer with sources you can visit, and the answers from the chatbot nearly always include photos and graphics.

Perplexity AI features: OpenAI GPT-3.5 and GPT-4 for subscribers | Has access to the internet and current events | Provides prompt suggestions to get chats started | Free 

Pros & Cons
  • 50 different writing templates
  • Copyediting features
  • Plagiarism checker
  • Need a subscription to try
  • Steep cost
More Details

Jasper is a tool exclusively meant for users looking to incorporate an AI chatbot into their workflow because there is no free plan and you can't otherwise access the chatbot. For example, when I tried using it myself, I was met with dead ends unless I subscribed. The least expensive option, the Creator plan, is geared towards freelancers and solo-preneurs and is $49 a month. However, the investment may be worth it if you rely on an AI chatbot to generate copy for your business. 

Also: ChatGPT vs. Copilot: Which AI chatbot is better for you?

With Jasper, you can input a prompt for what you want written, and it will write it for you, just like ChatGPT would. The major difference with Jasper is that it has extensive tools to produce better copy. Jasper can check for grammar and plagiarism and write in over 50 templates, including blog posts, Twitter threads, video scripts, and more. It also offers SEO insights and can even remember your brand voice. 

Whether you are an individual, part of a smaller team, or in a larger business looking to optimize your workflow, you can access a trial or demo before you take the plunge.

Jasper features: Uses different LLMs, including GPT-4 | Summarizes texts and generates paragraphs and product descriptions | Checks for plagiarism and grammar | Starts at $39 per month with an annual subscription

Pros & Cons
  • Readily available
  • Free
  • Source Citing
  • Some answers stronger than others
  • Subscription required for GPT-4 access
More Details

You.com (previously known as YouChat) is an AI assistant that functions similarly to a search engine. Like Google, you can enter any question or topic you'd like to learn information on, and immediately be met with real-time web results, in addition to a conversational response.  

Also: YouPro lets me access every popular premium AI chatbot for $20/month - but there's a catch

For example, when I asked, "Can you share some pictures of adorable dog breeds?" the chatbot provided six different web links, seven different pictures it pulled from the web, a conversational answer, and related news, as seen in the photo. 

The chatbot can also provide technical assistance, with answers to anything you input, including math, coding, translating, and writing prompts. A huge pro for this chatbot is that, because it lacks popularity, you can hop on any time and ask away.  

One of the biggest standout features is that with YouPro, its premium subscription, you can toggle between the most popular AI models on the market using the Custom Model Selector.

The AI models included in Custom Model Selector include OpenAI's GPT-4 and GPT-4 Turbo; Anthropic's Claude Instant, Claude 2, Claude 3 Opus, Clause 3 Sonnet, and Claude 3 Haiku; Google's Gemini Pro; and Zephyr (uncensored).  

That means that, within one chatbot, you can experience some of the most advanced models on the market, which is pretty convenient if you ask me.  

You.com features: GPT-4 with subscription | Lists sources for the text it generates | Unlike most other Chatbots, uses Google sources | Free

Pros & Cons
  • Up-to-date
  • Variety of use cases
  • Free trial
  • Need to sign in
  • A bit of a lag
More Details

Chatsonic is a dependable AI chatbot. It functions much like ChatGPT, allowing users to input prompts for assistance on many tasks. However, it includes the ability to web search, generate images, and access PDF assistance, which ChatGPT lacks. 

The Writesonic platform offers tools that help generate stories, including Instant Article Writer, which creates an article from a single click; Article Rewriter, which rephrases existing content; and Article Writer 5, which generates articles using ranking competitors. 

Other tools that facilitate the creation of articles include SEO Checker and Optimizer, AI Editor, Content Rephraser, Paragraph Writer, and more. There is a free version, which gets you access to some of the features. However, the free version has a 50 generations per day limit. The monthly cost starts at $12 but can reach $250, depending on the number of words and users needed.

Chatsonic features: Powered by GPT-3.5 or GPT-4 depending on subscription | Aware of current events, whereas ChatGPT is trained up to 2021 | Extensive feature suite, including voice dictation and image generation | Starts at $12 per month

Pros & Cons
  • Free
  • Access to Google
  • Good text editing skills
  • No sources
  • Can't help much with code
More Details

Gemini is Google's conversational AI chatbot that functions the most similarly to Copilot, sourcing its answers from the web, providing footnotes, and even generating images within its chatbot. Since its initial release in March 2023, the chatbot has undergone several upgrades, with the latest version being the most optimized it has ever been. 

Also: What is Google's Gemini AI tool (formerly Bard)? Everything you need to know

The highlight of this chatbot is that it is rooted in Google technology, search engines, and applications. Loyal Google users will feel familiar with the chatbot's UI and offerings. For example, unlike most of the chatbots on this list, Google does not use an LLM in the GPT series but instead uses a model made by Google. 

"Gemini is slowly becoming a full Google experience thanks to Extensions folding the wide range of Google applications into Gemini," said ZDNET writer Maria Diaz when reviewing the chatbot. "Gemini users can add extensions for Google Workspace, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Flights, and Google Hotels, giving them a more personalized and extensive experience."

If you subscribe to Google's new 'AI Premium Plan', you not only get access to the most advanced Google models in Gemini, such as Ultra 1.0, but you also get access to Gemini for Workspace, previously known as Duet AI, which infuses Google's AI assistance throughout its productivity apps, including Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Meet.

During Google I/O 2024, Google announced Gemini 1.5 Pro, the latest model available in Gemini Advanced. Gemini 1.5 debuts with an expanded context window starting at 1 million tokens, which is the longest on the market.

Gemini features: Powered by a finetuned version of Gemini Pro | Includes a "Google it" feature | Generates clear text and images quickly | Free 

Pros & Cons
  • Free
  • Educational
  • Easy to use
  • Doesn't write text
  • No desktop version
More Details

If you want your child to use AI to lighten their workload, but still have some limits, Socratic is for you. With Socratic, children can type in any question about what they learn in school. The tool will then generate a conversational, human-like response with fun, unique graphics to help break down the concept. 

"It's a powerful studying tool that could help students double-check their homework, or get across the last hurdle if a question or formula just isn't making sense. And using the app is as easy as using Snapchat or talking to Siri," said former ZDNET contributor Jason Cipriani, when reviewing the app. 

Also: How Google Socratic can help you with your homework

The app, available on the App Store and the Google App Store, also has a feature that lets your kid scan their worksheet to get a specially curated answer. The app does have some limitations; for example, it will not just write an essay or story when prompted. However, this feature could be positive because it curbs your child's temptation to get a chatbot, like ChatGPT, to write their essay. 

Socratic features: From Google | Type in any question to generate a response | Includes fun graphics | Supports scanning worksheets to get a specially curated answer | Free

Pros & Cons
  • Free
  • Clean UI
  • Cutomizable
  • Intermediate/advanced skills requires
  • Required to create an account
More Details

As seen by the list above, plenty of great chatbot options are on the market. However, if you are on the search for a chatbot that serves your use case specifically, you can always build an entirely customizable new one. HuggingChat is an open-source chatbot developed by Hugging Face that can be used as a regular chatbot or customized for your needs.  

AlsoWant to build your own AI chatbot? Say hello to open-source HuggingChat

As ZDNET's David Gewirtz unpacked in his hands-on article, you may not want to depend on HuggingChat as your go-to primary chatbot. However, it is a good interface to build your own chatbot. 

As Gewirtz said: "If you want something that you control, you can use HuggingChat to build a chatbot where you have visibility into every aspect of its functioning. You can choose to make that chatbot available online to other users and provide transparency to all users."

Socratic features: Clean, Chat-GPT inspired interface | Entirely customizable | Great for developers or AI fanatics | Secure alternative | Free

What is the best AI chatbot?

The best overall AI chatbot is Copilot due to its exceptional performance, versatility, and free availability. It uses OpenAI's cutting-edge GPT-4 language model, making it proficient in various language tasks, including writing, summarization, translation, and conversation. Moreover, it works like a search engine with information on current events.

Another advantage of Copilot is its availability to the public at no cost. Despite its immense popularity, Copilot remains free, making it an incredible resource for students, writers, and professionals who need a reliable and free AI chatbot. 

Although there are occasional capacity blocks, OpenAI is working on releasing a professional version of ChatGPT that will be quicker and always accessible at a monthly cost.

Best AI chatbot


Language model

Current events capability

Key features



OpenAI's GPT-4 

Up-to-date on current events; has access to the internet

Works like a search engine with information on current events.



OpenAI's 3.5 and GPT-4 (with subscription)

Limited current events capability; free version not connected to the internet

Can generate text, solve math problems, and do coding. Offers conversational capabilities.



Claude 3

Limited current events capability

Users can upload documents such as PDFs to receive summaries and get questions answered.



OpenAI's GPT-3 and GPT-4 (for subscribers)

Up-to-date on current events

Can provide prompt suggestions based on current events.


Starts at $39/month

Uses different LLMs, including GPT-4

Focuses on written text; has copy-editing features and plagiarism checker

Can summarize texts and generate paragraphs and product descriptions. Has over 50 different writing templates including blog posts, Twitter threads, and video scripts.



OpenAI's GPT-4 with subscription

Sources information from Google

Outputs an answer to anything you input including math, coding, translating, and writing prompts. Lists sources for the text it generates.


Starts at $12/month

Powered by GPT-3.5. or GPT-4 depending on subscription

Up-to-date on current events

Offers voice dictation, AI image generation, and more.

Gemini (formerly Google Bard)


From Google

Indexes Google for responses

Can provide relevant and useful writing assistance.



From Google

Kid-friendly; can help with homework 

Children can type in any question and Socratic will generate a conversational, human-like response with fun unique graphics.




Can have access to the internet if you'd like it to 

You can build your own chatbot using HuggingChat that suits your specific needs.

Which AI chatbot is right for you?

While Copliot is my personal favorite, your use case may be hyper-specific or have certain demands. If you need a constant, reliable AI chatbot, other alternatives might be better suited for you. If you want an AI chatbot that produces clean, reliable, business-ready copy, for example, then Jasper is for you. If you want to play around with an AI chatbot that isn't always at capacity, YouChat might be the best option. 

Lastly, if there is a child in your life, Socratic might be worth checking out. See our breakdown below:

Use this AI chatbot 

If you want...


The best AI chatbot overall, an AI chatbot that works like a search engine with up-to-date information on current events, links back to sources, and is free and easy to use.


The blueprint for chatbots, encompassing a wide range of skills beyond writing, including coding, conversation, and math equations, and is available to the public at no cost.


The best AI chatbot if you want assistance understanding your documents since you can upload documents, get summaries, and ask questions about them. 


An AI chatbot that is the best choice for experimenting or playing around with a chatbot as it provides suggestions for prompts and is easy to use. 


An AI chatbot that is the best choice for businesses and marketers, with more than 50 different writing templates, copyediting features, and a plagiarism checker, making it an investment worth the monthly cost.


A ChatGPT alternative that is readily available, always accessible, sources information from Google, and free, making it ideal for those who need a ChatGPT-like experience without annoying capacity blocks.


An AI chatbot that is the best choice for article writers, with its ability to offer up-to-date news and stories related to current events, and its additional features, including voice dictation, AI image generation, and more.


An AI chatbot infused with the Google experience you know and love from its LLM to its UI. 

Socratic by Google 

The best AI chatbot for kids and students, offering educational, fun graphics. It has a unique scanning worksheet feature to generate curated answers, making it a useful tool to help children understand concepts they are learning in school.


An AI chatbot that's best for someone interested in building or exploring how to build their very own chatbot. 

Factors to consider when choosing a chatbot

Since there are so many chatbots on the market, picking the right one can get confusing. Some factors to consider to help narrow down those options are: 

  • Price
  • Large Language Model (LLM) 
  • Knowledge cutoff 
  • Access to the internet 
  • Linking to sources 
  • Best use cases 

How did I choose these AI chatbots?

To curate the list of best AI chatbots and AI writers, I looked at the capabilities of each program, including the individual uses each program would excel at. As an AI reporter, I was also sure to test each one myself. Other factors I looked at were reliability, availability, and cost. 

  • Individual use case: AI chatbots have many use cases, often acting as a tool for productivity and easier workflow. I included a variety that can serve as ideation, education, and content creation tools. 
  • Reliability: I kept information accuracy a priority during my testing. 
  • Availability: ChatGPT is popular, but not always available. I selected alternatives that don't have a user limit and are available at all times. 
  • Cost: Many of these AI programs are free, but some require monthly memberships. I included a mix of both, keeping budget-friendliness in mind. 

What is an AI chatbot?

An AI chatbot (also called AI writer) refers to a type of artificial intelligence-powered program capable of generating written content from a user's input prompt. AI chatbots can write anything from a rap song to an essay upon a user's request. The extent of what each chatbot can write about depends on its capabilities, including whether it is connected to a search engine. 

How do AI chatbots work?

AI chatbots use language models to train the AI to produce human-like responses. Some tools are connected to the web and that capability provides up-to-date information, while others depend solely on the information upon which they are trained. 

How much do AI chatbots cost?

AI chatbot programs vary in cost with some being entirely free and others costing as much as $600 a month. Many like ChatGPT, Copilot, Gemini, and YouChat are free to use. 

What is the difference between an AI chatbot and an AI writer?

The main difference between an AI chatbot and an AI writer is the type of output they generate and their primary function.

In the past, an AI writer was used specifically to generate written content, such as articles, stories, or poetry, based on a given prompt or input. An AI writer's output is in the form of written text that mimics human-like language and structure. On the other hand, an AI chatbot is designed to conduct real-time conversations with users in text or voice-based interactions. The primary function of an AI chatbot is to answer questions, provide recommendations, or even perform simple tasks, and its output is in the form of text-based conversations.

While the terms AI chatbot and AI writer are now used interchangeably by some, the original distinction was that an AI writer was used for generating written content while an AI chatbot was used for conversational purposes. However, with the introduction of more advanced AI technology, such as ChatGPT, the line between the two has become increasingly blurred. Some AI chatbots are now capable of generating text-based responses that mimic human-like language and structure, similar to an AI writer.

Read more about the best tools for your business and the right tools when building your business.

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