What is the Best Free Invoice App?

In search for the holy grail of free invoicing tools.

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As software developers we are constantly looking to improve our arsenal of tools. If something doesn't work for us, we make it happen with code. It just feels a waste to pay for something every month if it can be coded in a few hours.

They say there are no free lunches - if you don’t pay straight up, you pay with other means: hidden fees, ads, being upsold, incomplete features or giving away your data.

As somone who has to bill for their time I have tried quite a few invoicing solutions through the years. I have listed the best free tools i've used over the time. I need something simple that is not bloated but sustainable for a few invoices per month. A basic task like invoicing should not be a problem these days.

As browsers have become super powerful over the years and you can now have full applications running just on the browser side without any hosting, then we made our own attempt at a free tool. Hopefully this can show that complete solutions can be free if you are creative and remove limiting factors such as hosting.

I've used the following criteria to compare the different tools i've tried:

1. Transparency - Are there any hidden fees? Do you own your data?

2. Feature completeness - Is it a sustainable solution for more than a few invoices?

3. Speed - How long does it take to create invoices?

Serverless Invoices by Moku

Serverless Invoices by Moku

invoices.mokuapp.io/invoices

This is our go at truly free invoicing. We created this during a one day hackaton. If something can run without maintenance and servers, then it feels weird to charge for it. We decided to open-source it.

Pros

  • No account required
  • Download PDF
  • Data stored in browser
  • Dark/light mode
  • Export/import data
  • Client and company details are persisted
  • Track invoice statuses and due date
  • Mobile friendly
  • Open source

Cons

  • No sending via email

Transparency

Same level of transparency as invoice generator, with one main difference - you own your data fully, your data never touches any servers. The project is open source and you can inspect and extend the code yourself!

Feature completeness

Serverless invoices remembers your client details so you can easily choose them for subsequent invoices. You can change and track the status of your invoices and overdue invoices get highlighted. This could be quite a complete invoicing solution for small companies.

Speed

First invoice took 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Second invoice for an existing client: 1 minute 20 seconds. As everything including client details are persisted you can quite quickly create subsequent invoices for existing clients.

Summary

I would say this is quite a complete solution for companies with moderate amounts of invoices per month. You can create new invoices for existing clients in a blaze and track their status. The great thing is that you can grab the source code and add any features you need. This is as free a lunch can get :).

Invoice generator

invoice-generator.com

This is one of my favourites. You can see that the developer cared for the result.

Pros

  • Download PDF
  • No account required
  • Data stored in browser
  • Decent template
  • Export data
  • Mobile friendly
  • Send via email

Cons

  • Client details not persisted
  • No status tracking

Transparency

You can create and send unlimited invoices. You can delete your data, you can export your data. Data is stored in the browser only! This is great as it’s not stored on any servers and you can be sure your data is not being utilized for someone else’s gain.

Feature completeness

You can easily use it for a small company to create and save invoices. You also have a list of them to refer back to. Only problem is that client details are not stored and you have to insert them again for new invoices. Also you cannot track the status of invoices.

Speed

First invoice 3 minutes 30 seconds. Second invoice for existing client 1 minute 50 seconds. Your company details are persisted so it speeds up second invoices. Client details have to be inserted again though.

Summary

All in all this is a very decent solution. With a few extra add-ons it could be a complete solution. Taking everything into account this is definitely a free lunch!

Zoho Invoice Generator

zoho.com/invoice/free-invoice-generator.html

Zoho is known for their affordable variety of business software. This one is an easy to use simple solution.

Pros

  • Simple and straightforward
  • Download PDF

Cons

  • Incomplete solution without an account - data not persisted.
  • Not mobile friendly

Transparency

The only false impression is that sending and saving requires you to have an account. You can still print the invoice though.

Feature completeness

This is a simple tool for one off invoices, but far from a complete solution. The free plan is also quite limited (up to 5 customers).

Speed

First invoice 3 minutes 30 seconds Second invoice also at 3 minutes 30 seconds. As nothing is persisted then every invoices takes the same amount of time to create.

Summary

It’s a simple tool for one time invoices. Taking into account that other free tools have more features, then you might as well use the more advanced invoice tools that persist data in your browser.

Invoicely

invoiceto.me

Another simple solution, but lacks a bit on features.

Pros

  • Simple
  • Download PDF

Cons

  • Limited fields
  • Incomplete solution without an account - data not persisted.
  • Not mobile friendly

Transparency

Quite transparent as you get no false impressions.

Feature completeness

This is even more limited than Zoho invoice generator. You have to manually type in the dates. Also there is no field for client address, due date etc. The free plan is even more limited than Zoho (3 customers, 5 invoices per month)

Speed

First invoice: 3 minutes 50 seconds (had to type in the dates) Second invoice 3 minutes 50 seconds It takes a bit longer as there are no datepickers for the date fields.

Summary

No free lunch with this one - limited functionality, missing fields. A few extra tweaks could have improved quite a bit.

Invoice maker

invoicemaker.com

This looks like the perfect deal on first glance. There are some limitations for non US based clients though.

Pros

  • Feature complete free plan
  • Send via email
  • Download PDF
  • Mobile friendly

Cons

  • US only

Transparency

To store invoices you have to sign up. They charge a 1% fee for paying the invoice through Paypal, Venmo etc. Fair deal i guess.

Feature completeness

The invoice generator has a few limitations - you cannot change the currency. Also you have to sign up to save invoices. Their free plan has unlimited invoices and clients though.

Speed

First invoice 3 minutes 30 seconds. Second invoice 3 minutes 30 seconds. Roughly the same time to create invoices as with Zoho invoice generator.

Summary

Without an account it’s less flexible than Zoho as you cannot change the currency, also you cannot bill non US based companies. Otherwise it’s quite a complete solution for only US based small businesses.

Verdict

Out of all these solutions I like the invoice generator or our serverless invoices as they are most feature complete in my opinion, you own your data and there are no hidden fees. If you are looking to customize further then the source code for serverless invoices is available on GitHub.

Let me know if you have found something superior and I would be happy to try it out and add it to the list.

Comments (1)

Henri Toivar's photo

sliptree.com is also a decent solution. Free plan is a bit limited as you can only invoice up to 1000€