Before you publish, it’s always a good idea to use a plagiarism checker.
You’re writing original content. But perhaps some parts of what you write might be duplicate content or accidental plagiarism. It’s not the same as copied content, though.
If you use a plagiarism detector, you can edit or change ceratin sentence structures and phrases. You could even use a sentence paraphrasing tool. Then you can be sure that your content is unique.
If you are writing blog posts and articles, uniqueness is an essential factor for SEO and search engine traffic.
What is plagiarism?
Oxford Lexico defines plagiarism as the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.
Interestingly, the word derives from the Latin word plagiarius, which means kidnapper.
Meridian-Webster gives two definitions of the verb to plagiarize.
1. To steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own : use (another’s production) without crediting the source.
2. To commit literary theft : present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.
I’m sure that these definitions don’t apply to you.
If you do happen to plagiarize content, it is usually by accident and only for phrases that are frequently used.
However, you can avoid plagiarism, even this possibility by checking your new texts with plagiarism tools.
But there are those who still cheat. So a plagiarism detecting tool can help you track down anyone who might have copied your already published content.
Some time ago, I came across a blatant case of plagiarism by one blogger. He had copied not only an entire text but also the images. A plagiarism report quickly brought the errant blogger undone.
How to detect plagiarism
The easiest way to do a plagiarism test is to use online tools.
It is a good habit if you are a freelance writer, content article writer, or blogger.
There are a lot of paid and free online plagiarism checkers. Which one you decide to use will depend on your needs.
Free tools are ideal for short texts up to 1,000 – 2,000 words. If you are writing a novel, a research paper, or an academic paper, you might need to look at a premium tool.
But you have a few good choices for a free checker that can deliver reasonably accurate results.
The 5 Best free plagiarism checker tools
I tested over 25 of the most popular checkers you can find using a Google search.
For each one, I used two texts—one of 500 words and a second of 1,500 words.
One text is published, so a detector should find a high degree of copied content. The second text is unpublished, so it should show almost no plagiarized content.
Except for Grammarly and Prowritingaid, all of the tools I tested were free to use.
But many of the tools I tested failed to be useful or, indeed, failed to provide a result. Most were using the Grammarly API and limiting the results.
A lot of sites were clearly using free checkers as a way to market other products and services. They asked for an email address before delivering a result.
But there was a handful that performed well so you can check for plagiarism without any obligation.
1. Grammarly & Prowritingaid (Free with your subscription)
I have to start with Grammarly. So many writers use it now to do a thorough grammar check.
If you are already a premium user, high-quality plagiarism checking is included for free in your subscription.
But the Grammarly plagiarism checker is not obvious to find. So you may have missed it.
I had been using Grammarly for months before I noticed it, so maybe you should check.
You can find the tool button in the very bottom right-hand corner of your online or desktop editor screen.
It’s small, so you need to know where it is hiding.
But once you find it, the results of a check will only take a few seconds. And it will be extremely accurate.
Without a doubt, Grammarly is the best checker you will find, anywhere.
For users of Prowritingaid, you also have a plagiarism checker included in your subscription too.
Like Grammarly, the button for the report is not on the main menu. You need to go to More Reports, and then to the bottom of the dropdown menu.
The report runs quickly and it is highly accurate with no word count limitations.
2. Small SEO Tools (Free)
For a free checker, the Small SEO Tools checker worked quite well.
It is limited to 1,000 words per check. But if you copy and paste your text in chunks, you can check a longer document.
I had no problem conducting a few tests in succession.
What I liked best was that it gave me the matched sources.
The text I used was an article I wrote some time ago.
The results accurately found the web page address for three locations where it was published. On my site, Medium, and one other site where it was published with my permission.
3. EduBirdie (Free)
When I checked my two texts with EduBirdie, the results were quite fast and very accurate.
Not only that, but it accepted my longer text with no restriction with the free tool.
It found instances of my published text and gave me a friendly popup to tell me so.
If you want a quick, easy, and reliable checker, free of course, then this might be the best one for you.
4. Search Engine Reports (Free)
It might not sound like a name you would associate with checking your content for originality.
But the checker on Search Engine Reports is very good indeed. However, expect it to take a minute or so for your results.
But it has a generous limit of 2,000 words, so it easily handled both of my texts. I also like the report table.
It breaks down your text into unique and original sentences.
That’s a great way to check every sentence in your text. Then you can re-write any that appear anywhere else.
5. Quetext (Free)
When I tested the free version of Quetext, it processed both of my test documents.
However, for the longer text, it only checked the first 500 words.
It was a little slow at about 30 seconds to give the results. However, the results were reasonably accurate.
Which one is the best plagiarism checker?
In researching this article, I tried and tested more than 25 different checkers.
Most of them performed very badly, poorly, or not at all.
A lot of them are simply hooks for paid writing and essay services, so don’t waste your time.
There are many paid checkers available. But they are all attached to premium grammar checkers.
It is not worth paying for these if you already have a grammar or writing checker.
In the end, after hours of testing, I can only honestly recommend the first five options I listed above.
If you already have a Grammarly or Prowritingaid subscription, you have access to the best. You have no limitations, and the results are fast, accurate, and reliable.
For a totally free option, EduBirdie is miles ahead of the rest.
It has a generous word limit, and the results are very good. I think it is an ideal plagiarism checker for students.
But I would give second place to Search Engine Reports for a free check.
Then there are the rest.
Should you check your writing for plagiarism? Yes, of course, you should.
But make sure you are using a reliable tool to do so.