The Top 12 Session Recording Softwares

Learn the Secret to Your Website Visitor Traffic with Session Replay Software

Step aside, Google Analytics! It’s time to dive into the world of understanding HOW your visitors are browsing your website. Session replay videos let you see EXACTLY what your visitors are reading, clicking on, and scrolling through by recording their visits and letting you watch.

There are so many different software companies, how do you know which to choose? Let me help you with that.

Here’s a list of all the platforms I review here:

Inspectlet
Mouseflow
Lucky Orange
Logrocket
SessionCam
Hotjar
FullStory
Unamo
Capturly
Smartlook
Tealeaf
Clicktale

I broke down this review into the different categories that actually matter:

Price ($/100 session recordings)
Free Trial vs. Free Version (super important!)
Ease of Installation
Video Playback Quality (by far the most important!)
User Interface
Overall Grade

First, a Quick Note about Price

* Session replay softwares are all pretty inexpensive and the best ones are similarly priced, so even though we are talking about price, it really shouldn’t deter you on making a decision.

In order to effectively compare the pricing, I calculated how much it costs for every 100 recordings using the price from each company’s cheapest package. Since they offer different packages (some have free versions) with a variety of features, I felt that using their cheapest option is the most effective way to get a baseline comparison. Some companies offer bigger packages that include other features in addition to session replay. This article does not compare or review all those extra bells and whistles. For companies that price their packages based on pageviews and not sessions, the price calculation assumes 5 pageviews per session to calculate price.

Let’s dive in!

Inspectlet

Price

$0.78 per hundred sessions (calculated from Inspectlet's "Micro" Plan)

Free Version?

YES (5 sessions per day)

Ease of Installation (A)

I had no problems installing the code at all. Once you register, simply copy and paste the code they give you right into the HTML. They even labeled the code at the beginning and end with comments to let you know where their code starts and stops. This is nice for non-technical people like myself who might easily forget where the code is.

Video Playback Quality (A+)

Compared to all of the software I personally played around with, I can safely say that Inspectlet has the best and cleanest video playback. When watching videos recorded from both desktop and mobile, the playback is smooth, clear, and easy to tell exactly what the user is doing. It’s exactly how it would look if I were browsing the website myself. A lot of the other softwares’ playbacks are either too fast and/or lag quite a bit, but not with Inspectlet. It is even lag-free when the user is scrolling at various speeds, which is pretty difficult to do, in my opinion.

User Interface (C)

The overall interface, from when you first login all the way to the video playback, needs a bit of work. While the design is very simple and not overwhelming, it lacks detail. The dashboard itself is a bit boring, and I would like it to include more data.

inspectlet dashboard
Inspectlet's dashboard


Moving on to the recording sessions page, the filtering across the top needs to be fixed (see screenshot). It has wonderful options that let you decide what you want to show (display name, IP address, session length, etc.) but when you turn on too many of those options, the data becomes disorganized and overlaps.

inspectlet recordings page
Inspectlet's recordings page


In contrast to the filtering options on the top, the filtering options on the side are very nice. The Conversion Funnels tool lets you define a series of pages that lead to a conversion and see where your lost customers are dropping off. You can also filter by date, device, interactions, session attributes, number of pages, visit duration, navigation path, and tags.

When I look at the layout of the video playbacks, it is also a bit too simplistic. While this is nice for beginners, I would appreciate more options to toggle certain features like mouse trailing, click labeling, and whether or not you want to skip user inactivity.

inspectlet session recording
Inspectlet's recording playback page

OVERALL GRADE : A-

PROS:

High quality video
Easy installation
Affordable
Free version
Filtering

CONS:

Boring user interface
No feature toggling

Mouseflow

Price

$1.16 per 100 sessions (calculated from Mouseflow's "Starter" plan)

Free Version?

Trial only

Ease of Installation (A+)

In addition to the simple copy and paste of code, Mouseflow offers a digital tour showing off all of the features and operational basics of their site. They also have introductory videos that overview the session recordings, heatmaps, and dashboard.

Video Playback Quality (B-)

The video quality is decent, but there are times when the video lags while the user is scrolling. Knowing a user’s scroll speed is vital because it is important to see how the user is scrolling, how fast they scroll past certain sections, and where they slow down so you know what is catching their eye.

Videos are set to skip over intervals of inactivity, and you CANNOT turn this option off. You may think this is a good feature, but it is not when the playback is too fast. The software claims to be playing the videos at 1X speed, but I could tell it was a bit faster. This speed combined with auto-skipping of inactivity makes some of the videos difficult to follow. It would be much better if they offered 0.5X playback speed with the option to turn off auto-skipping.

User Interface (A)

Mouseflow did a very nice job organizing everything into a neat menu on the side of the dashboard, and I appreciate how easy they made it for non-techies. The dashboard includes a nice overview of your analytics; including the number of recordings, users, page views, and pages per recording. A nice graph shows visitor friends and the average recording duration.

mouseflow dashboard
Mouseflow's dashboard


Mouseflow offers an easy-to-use support button in the bottom right corner of every page no matter what you’re doing on the site. The support feature lets you type in any question, keyword, or topic. AND if that’s not enough support for you already, you can even send them a quick email within this support feature.

The recordings page has a nice layout and shows location, referer, entry page, and visitor history. A really cool visual timeline shows how long each visitor spends on each page. This feature gives you valuable information without even having to watch the videos, which is helpful when considering the average quality of their videos.

mouseflow recordings page
Mouseflow's recordings page
mouseflow recording timeline
recording timelines broken down in the recordings page


The timeline across the top of the video playback interface labels and color codes different user actions like mouse movement, scrolling, clicking, form interaction, and inactivity. Once you start to get the hang of things, you can even use keyboard shortcuts to efficiently navigate through a large amount of video and save time.

mouseflow session recording
Mouseflow recording playback page


The only negatives I found with Mouseflow’s interface were that you cannot toggle different features like mouse trailing, click highlighting, and inactivity skipping, to name a few. Also, each page that a visitor views is separated into a different video file, which causes loading problems.

OVERALL GRADE: B

PROS:

Easy installation
Nice user interface

CONS:

Pricey
No free version
No feature toggling
No filtering
Average video quality

Lucky Orange

Price

$0.20 per 100 sessions (calculated from Lucky Orange's "Starter" plan)

Free Version?

Trial only

Ease of Installation (A+)

Lucky Orange has a nice tour of the site which includes features like walking you through a step-by-step processes to install the code on your website. 

Video Playback Quality (C)

The biggest issue with the quality of the videos is loading speed. Because Lucky Orange uses separate video files for each page a user visits, it takes quite a while to load the next video when the visitor goes to another page. This loading issues is quite frustrating at times and occasionally prevents the video from loading, despite a strong internet connection. It appears to me that the larger the file (longer videos, desktop playbacks), the slower the loading speed. This loading issue also causes lagging.The video will start to play while it is still loading and the playback then has to catch up making it difficult to tell what the visitor is doing on the site.

On the bright side, there are a few features that I liked. Lucky Orange gives you the option to playback the videos at half the normal speed, which makes following the videos a lot easier. The scrolling quality itself is very good when the video loads normally. It is easy to tell what parts of the website the user didn’t care to read and which parts they slowed down or stopped to read.

If Lucky Orange fixes the loading problems, than the quality will be very good.

User Interface (A)

First, I want to mention an interesting feature that I notice not many other companies have with their session replay software. Lucky Orange keeps track of LIVE visitors on your site, and you can even enable live tweets to see who’s tweeting about you or your company. Pretty cool.

The dashboard interface overall is pretty straightforward, simple, and easy to understand. Everything you need is right across the top of the page, and there is a nice little summary of different statistics.

lucky orange dashboard
Lucky Orange's dashboard


On the recordings page, once again everything is organized and easy to understand. You can filter by time, tags, and user activity.

lucky orange recordings page
Lucky Orange's recordings page


My favorite part of the user interface for the video playback is the user options! The options let you toggle on and off all of the features they have available, which is pretty nice. Some of these features include marking and numbering the clicks on the page and tracking the the mouse's path.

lucky orange session recording
Lucky Orange's recording playback page


Even though you can toggle the “skip user idle activity” feature, I have to make an important note. Sometimes when the user is idle, Lucky Orange claims that the “user is reading the page.” When this happens, you cannot skip over the idle activity.

OVERALL GRADE: B

PROS:

Easy installation
Nice user interface
Affordable
Feature toggling
Filtering

CONS:

Bad video quality
No free version

SessionCam

Price

$0.05 per 100 sessions (calculated from Sessioncam's "Small Business" plan)

Free Version?

YES

Ease of Installation (C-)

While I try to not be too much of a complainer, I think it’s necessary to be detailed for this review. Compared to the other sites, SessionCam’s installation process and account setup is a little bit of a hassle. Instead of giving me the code right after the account was made, I had to go back to my email, copy and paste a random password they gave me, then create my own password instead of just letting me make my own password from the start. Even after installing the code, the recordings do not show up right away. I know I sound picky, but I’m just trying to be thorough.

Video Playback Quality (C)

Like most other software, the main issue with the video quality is the scrolling feature. The video lags quite a bit when the user scrolls, which is a big deal since you want to know how the user is scrolling through your page.

It’s almost like SessionCam is aware of how bad their scrolling is because they offer an option to turn off the scrolling, so instead YOU are responsible for scrolling through the video while trying to follow the user’s mouse. However, and here’s the sad part, when you turn off auto-scrolling and do it manually, you can’t even scroll down the entire page! This feature is just a lazy solution instead of actually fixing the poor auto-scrolling.

Another quick note, the timer across the top that shows where you are in the video freezes on occasion.

User Interface (A)

So here’s the dashboard. No complaints here. It’s pretty simple, straightforward, and offers a quick overview of the important analytics. It’s nice and easy to use.

sessioncam dashboard
SessionCam's dashboard


The only thing I notice that’s different about the recordings page compared to the other companies is what they call the Customer Struggle Score. I feel like this is a very nice and convenient feature, but I have no idea how the algorithm works and how they calculate this score. It helps you target the visitors that “struggled” the most on your site, so you can focus on fixing the higher priority issues that are most increasing the bounce rate.

As far as the aesthetics go, everything is neat, organized, and all the information is at your mouse-click.

sessioncam recordings page
SessionCam's recordings page


On the session recording playback page, you can toggle all of the features on or off. I like having the control to decide what features I want to use, so that is pretty nice. Since they want their interface to look simple, in order to see all of the information about the recording (IP address, device, location, etc.), you have to click the little “i” at the top, versus having this information easily viewable at all times.

sessioncam session recording
SessionCam's recording playback page

OVERALL GRADE: B-

PROS:

Nice user interface
Affordable
Feature toggling
Free version
Filtering

CONS:

Bad video quality
Hard installation

Hotjar

Price

$1.45 per 100 sessions (calculated from Hotjar's "Plus" plan)

Free Version?

YES

Ease of Installation (A+)

I like the sites that give you a virtual tour or walkthrough of how to use everything, and Hotjar does a nice job of making the setup simple and showing you how to take advantage of its features.

Video Playback Quality (B)

There seems to be a common trend when it comes to inspecting the video quality, and that is with the user scrolling. While the mouse moves super smoothly and is easy to follow, the video lags sometimes when the user is scrolling. This happens more when the “skip user inactivity” feature is on. When I turn this on, some videos’ playbacks are so fast that I have no idea what is happening because of the skipping combined with the minor lag. Hotjar does offer an option to play the video at 0.5X speed, which helps a bit.

User Interface (A-)

As you can see on the dashboard, there is a simple menu on the side that helps you find and manage all of the available tools. More detailed analytics with charts and graphs would be nice.

hotjar dashboard
Hotjar's dashboard


Hotjar also has a nice help and support button in the corner where you can easily contact them or look at FAQ’s.

hotjar recordings page
Hotjar's recordings page

hotjar session recording
Hotjar's recording playback page


Hotjar’s autoplay feature will automatically play the next user session unlike other video playback software. This is great because you don’t have to go back to the video list and click on the next one. Imagine how much time this saves when you have hundreds of videos to go through!

Another nice feature is that it shows all of the pages a user visits in ONE video, saving time from having to load the next page. You can also add notes at a specific time in the video, and the playback interface shows a clear and concise list of all of the user actions on the right side (above).

OVERALL GRADE: B+

PROS:

Easy installation
Nice user interface
Feature toggling
Free version
Filtering

CONS:

Average quality video
Pricey

Fullstory

Fullstory only offers session replay software, so the statistics and information are more detailed towards session replay. Keep this in mind if you want your software to do other things like heatmaps, analytics, etc.

Price

$0.80 per 100 sessions (calculated from Fullstory's "Professional" plan)

Free Version?

YES

Ease of Installation (A)

In addition to the easy copy and paste of the session replay code, Fullstory offers optional code that can collect the user’s personal information and code that will hide sensitive customer data (like address or credit card information, for example).

Video Playback Quality (A)

The general quality of the videos is a lot better than most of the other software I’ve reviewed. The only minor concern is that the scrolling lags a bit, but the mouse movement is smooth and really easy to follow. A feature that I really like about Fullstory is its ability to playback at 0.5X speed, because it is actually HELPFUL and makes the playback really nice compared to others that have the 0.5X speed option.

User Interface (A)

I really like this dashboard because it has more visuals to help you understand your data (like the pie chart and bar graph in the photo). It is nice to have a visual representations to get a better sense of your analytics instead of just reading numbers.

fullstory dashboard
FullStory's clean and clear dashboard


The dashboard interface is simple, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to use. Unlike other software, there isn’t even a separate page showing the recordings - it’s all right on the dashboard.

The playback page is very clear, simple, and easy to understand. While it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles in terms of the features (no mouse highlighting or trailing), it does give you the option to toggle user inactivity, show a summary of user activity (similar to Hotjar), and autoplay to the next user session video.

FullStory recordings page
FullStory's recording playback page


Fullstory has great video quality, an awesome, simple, and easy-to-use interface, but doesn’t have ALL of the bells and whistles that you might need. I highly recommend Fullstory if you only care about session replay, but keep in mind they do not off any other features.

Check out Fullstory's Magic Moments, where they categorize clicks into error clicks, dead clicks, and rage clicks to help you get a better understanding of where and how your users are having trouble with your site.

OVERALL GRADE: A 

(offers session replay ONLY)

PROS:

High quality video
Easy installation
Nice user interface
Feature toggling
Free version

CONS:

Slightly pricey
Session replay ONLY
No filtering

Usability Tools (Unamo)

Price

$0.19 per 100 sessions (calculated from Usability Tools' "Starter" plan)

Free Version?

Trial only

Ease of Installation (B+)

My only complaint is how long it took for the recordings to start appearing. I only received one recording after waiting for 20 minutes, while most other platforms’ recordings started showing up instantly. Everything else with the setup was a breeze.

Video Playback Quality (A-)

One cool feature that I really like is all of the playback speed options. You can play the video at 0.125X, 0.25X, 0.5X, 1X, 2X … all the way up to 256X (which seems a bit unnecessary). I don’t care for the faster speeds, but having multiple options to slow down the playback helped me easily follow the user’s mouse. Unfortunately, the ability to adjust the speed is about the only interesting feature. The slower speeds combined with skipping the user's inactivity (which it does by default, and you cannot turn this off) makes watching the playback smooth and efficient.

Like most other platforms, the scrolling and mouse movement is a bit hard to follow at normal and faster speeds, but this isn’t an issue when you slow the videos down.

User Interface (C-)

The interface is boring and bland. This makes it simple and easy to use, but there are not as many details as I would prefer.

Unamo dashboard
Unamo's boring dashboard


The instant pop-up chat support is nice. Unamo asks if you have any questions or concerns right off-the-bat and gives you a convenient place to chat with an employee.

The recordings page is well organized, but it doesn’t tell you everything you may need like IP address, referrer, device, or any tags. You can filter by click count and device type, but these details aren’t shown. This interface definitely needs more work to add details.

Unamo session replays
Unamo's recordings page


I hope I’m not boring you with these pictures. There’s just nothing other than the basic information. The software says nothing about the user’s activity or feature toggling. You can get some basic information when you click on the “i” like operating system, browser, number of clicks, and number of pages visited. Pretty basic if you ask me.

Unamo session recording
Unamo's recording playback page

OVERALL GRADE: B

PROS:

High quality video
Easy installation
Affordable
Free version
Filtering

CONS:

No feature toggling
Boring interface

Capturly

Price

$0.40 per 100 sessions (calculated from Capturly's "Small" plan)

Free Version?

Trial only

Ease of Installation (A+)

Installation is simple and straightforward with copy-and-paste code provided after sign up.

Video Playback Quality (D)

You’d probably be better off recording someone browsing your site by pointing a camera at their screen and pressing the record button (that would be creepy though because you’d be standing right behind them). The scrolling is just bad. The video lags so much, you don’t even see the user scroll at all. The video jumps to wherever the user stopped scrolling on the page, which doesn’t help anyone. This is especially troublesome when the visitor is more active by moving the mouse, scrolling, and clicking a lot.

On the (very dim) bright side, the mouse movement is easy to follow at the normal 1X speed, which is good since they don’t offer slower playback.

User Interface (A)

The user interface is pretty nice. Information is organized with nice graphs showing user devices, popular pages, and referral sources. The dashboard also tells you the page loading time, number of returning visitors, and average pages per visit. I really like the design and look of the dashboard.

Capturly dashboard
Capturly's dashboard


How about all of these filters on the right? This is one of the most clean, organized, and detailed interfaces I’ve seen compared to the others.

Capturly recordings dashboard
Capturly's organized recordings page


The only thing noteworthy about the video playback page is the nice pink feedback button in the upper corner, which allows you to send feedback directly to Capturly while you’re watching your videos. I really hope people are utilizing that button and letting them know that they need to fix the lagging.

Capturly recording session
Capturly's recording playback page


Everything else on this page is pretty simple, but not very detailed. The only option they give you is toggling user inactivity. This is still nice as not all other companies give this option.

OVERALL GRADE: C

PROS:

Easy installation
Nice user interface
Affordable
Feature toggling
Filtering

CONS:

Terrible video quality
No free version

Smartlook

Price

$0.05 per 100 sessions (calculated from Smartlook's "Starter" plan)

Free Version?

YES

Ease of Installation (A)

Simply copy and paste the code they give you. Nothing special to note, and no complaints either.

Video Playback Quality (C)

When watching the mouse, the quality is great. Smartlook uses mouse tracking and highlighting, and it’s not hard to follow at all.

The scrolling, however, is a different story. If I had to describe it in one word… terrible. Similar to Capturly, you’re not even seeing the user scroll. It just jumps to the next part of the page where they stopped scrolling, which is very uninformative of how the visitor is using your website. The scrolling is not AS BAD on mobile videos. This might have to do with the size of the file?

Sadly, you can watch the video at 0.5X speed, but the scrolling is STILL just as bad.

User Interface (A)

The interface is nice and simple, and lets you show which columns you want to look at via the column settings button on the right. I like how they have all the details you need. The dashboard and the recordings list are on the same page. While some may prefer this because it makes the site simpler, I like to look at all the charts, graphs, and analytics that some of the other dashboards showed.

Smartlook dashboard
Smartlook's dashboard


I like having details about the video visible on the interface without having to click on something in the corner, and Smartlook does this pretty well. They show you the time the visitor was there, where they came from, a list of the pages they viewed, etc. It’s nice to see this information at a glance, so you don’t always have to watch the entire video.

Smartlook recording playback
Smartlook's recording playback page


Other features include skipping user inactivity, selecting playback speeds from 0.5X to 8X, taking notes at specific times in the video, and moving on to the next visitor session video without having to go back.

OVERALL GRADE: B-

PROS:

Easy installation
Nice user interface
Affordable
Feature toggling
Free version
Filtering (search feature)

CONS:

Bad video quality

Logrocket

Similar to Fullstory, Logrocket offers only session replay services.

Price

$0.49 per 100 sessions (calculated from Logrocket's "Starter" plan)

Free Version?

YES

Ease of Installation (B)

Logrocket assumes that you’re a bit more technically minded, or that you’ve at least studied some coding. You can install Logrocket using NPM or script tag code and they have a variety of options to add code for “library-specific packages for additional logging context.” Don’t ask me what that means. There are also a bunch of integrations you can add. I just added the script tag code to my site and it was enough for me to start seeing recordings, so that’s all I did.

Video Playback Quality (A-)

While the general quality of the videos is fine, I would’ve like to make the video itself a bit bigger. The interface is a little bit too crowded, making the video itself too small for my liking.

On some of the mobile video playbacks, there was no “mouse”, so I couldn’t tell where the user was clicking, however, Logrocket does tell you on the side of the playback all of the pages the user visited. The scrolling is nice and smooth, the mouse is easy to follow, and it’s pretty easy to see what your visitors are doing.

User Interface (A-)

The dashboard is simple, clean, and organized. However, it does not have as many statistics and information about the sessions like some of the other platforms. I do like the timeline feature that shows what pages user’s visited and how long they stayed on each page (similar to Mouseflow). These features are not clearly labeled, you have to hover your mouse over the gray bars to see these stats.

Logrocket dashboard
Logrocket's dashboard


There is a friendly chat support that comes up when you start that asks if you have any questions, and there is also a very detailed docs page explaining just about everything you need to know.

Looking at the session video playbacks, I do not understand the reason for having two timelines for the “developer” page (one at the top and one at the bottom). Also, I’m not sure what the “status”, “method”, and “URL” is referring to at the top left of the screen. All the details you need to know are in the filter dialog box on the right, and it notes all of the errors and difficulties that a visitor to your site experiences. This is a nice feature since you can search and filter through the video to find exactly what you want.

Logrocket developer playback page
Logrocket's "developer" playback page


The “playback” page gets rid of the details that I don’t understand, and makes the video itself larger and easier to view. It also gives you the freedom to jump right to the next user session without having to go back to the dashboard, but the filter dialog box disappears.

Logrocket playback page
Logrocket's "playback" page


In terms of the video itself, the only freedom Logrocket gives you is to change the speed (only 1X and up) and to toggle user inactivity.

OVERALL GRADE: A-

(offers session replay ONLY)

PROS:

High quality video
Nice user interface
Affordable
Feature toggling
Filtering

CONS:

Session replay ONLY
Hard installation
No free version

Clicktale and Tealeaf

Just a quick note about these two platforms. I did not personally test with the software myself because, well, I couldn’t. These companies offer consulting services with their analytic and session replay software and you cannot purchase the software to use on your own. This is recommended only for large companies who need professional help diagnosing their analytics, like large e-commerce sites.