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Selecting the best proofreading services: Pricing and service

Updated: May 10

Academic proofreading and editing services in general provide students and academic professionals with affordable and reliable offers. They are often essential services to help with submitting your document. 

An academic editor can find and correct several errors in your writing, including punctuation, sentence flow, and spelling. Also, some academic services also provide commentary on how your research paper could be improved. 

However, there are dozens of professional proofreading services to choose from. In this article, I look at the benefits of using the various professional academic editing and proofreading services, their disadvantages, and an alternative. 

More importantly, I examine over twenty different proofreading services and choose the best top ten to work with. In addition, I closely examine the top five best proofreading services in depth for your benefit. 

Choosing the best proofreading services can be compared to a horse race.
Proofreading services is a market with intense competition

Criteria for selecting the best proofreading services

There are dozens of proofreading services out here. But as a student, it is hard for you to choose the right one. Anyone who has even thought about purchasing proofreading services would be familiar with names like Proofreadingservices(dot)com, Scribbr, Scribendi, Paper True, and so on.  

These companies thrive because of the increasing demand for academic and proofreading services from university students and academic professionals. It’s a competitive market and the claims that these proofreading services make in their offers, as well as their ads can seem spammy and exaggerated. 

As a student or academic professional looking to get their documents edited or proofread, you may have several questions: 

  • Are the proofreading services offered by these various websites and companies legit? 

  • Are they charging me too high?

  • Can this proofreading service finish editing my document on time?

  • Will they do a good job of proofreading my research paper or thesis? 

The best proofreading services are, of course, a matter of personal opinion and plenty of subjectivity. However, we can attempt to answer the question by looking at various factors such as price, customer satisfaction, process, and speed of services.

Table 1. Criteria for determining the best proofreading services



Allocated Points 

1. Price

This refers to the price charged for proofreading services. The rate is per 1000 words and is denominated in US dollars. The best proofreading services were priced at around 30 USD per 1000 words. 


2. Customer satisfaction

This refers to how happy students and academics are with their proofreading.  This is a five-star rating system, which relies on Trust Pilot or Google Reviews. The best proofreading services tend to have an over 4.5-star rating. 


3. Process

This refers to the process that begins with visiting the website and ends with your order finally being delivered. The best proofreading services give customers an idea of what their pricing is on the website. 


4. Speed

This refers to how quick the turnaround time is. The best proofreading services have rapid turnaround times of at least 12 – 24 hours. 


Table 1 shows our criteria and point system for determining the best proofreading services. More points were attributed to Price and customer satisfaction because in my mind these two factors would be the most important for you the customer.

In my previous appraisal of the best proofreading services, I included employee satisfaction and resource support as benchmarks or criteria. These two benchmarks have their unique value, but here I choose to put more weight on pricing and service quality as judged by the customer. 

To read our previous appraisals, please click on the following links: The top 13 proofreading services in 2024; Choosing the best proofreading services in 2024

In my assessment, customer satisfaction is based on the Trust Pilot rating system. Trust Pilot is a website that allows customers to leave anonymous reviews for the services that they have received. However, in the absence of Trust Pilot five star rating for a proofreading service company, I rely on Google Reviews.

In the following sections, we describe in detail each one of the four benchmarks or criteria that are used to judge the various proofreading services. 

1. Best proofreading services based on price

There is much subjectivity around what is an acceptable price for proofreading services. So how do you deal with that. I looked at the pricing for over 20 different companies and websites providing proofreading services to determine what would be a fair price.

The bar chart below shows the pricing for 22 different websites providing proofreading services. The price is USD per 1000 words in USD. The maximum price was 165 USD charged by Edanz — a proofreading service based in Japan. The minimum price was 13 USD charged by London Proofreaders, a proofreading company based in London as the name suggest. The Median price was 30 USD.

However, it should be noted that the price changes based on the type of service. These companies differentiate between proofreading and editing. They also differentiate pricing based on turnaround.

For example, an order with a turnaround time of twelve hours will be more expensive than one with a turnaround time of three days.

2. Best proofreading services based on customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction refers to how happy you the client are after using a proofreading service. This happiness could be based on whether or not you were content with the quality of the editing and proofreading. Or, it could be based on whether or not the editing and proofreading achieved the intended aim, such as:  

  • Getting a high score on the essay paper that was proofread or edited

  • Your journal paper being successfully accepted by your target journal

  • Your thesis/dissertation being edited to a high-quality

  • Your grant proposal getting approval

To measure customer satisfaction, as mentioned earlier, I relied on either Trust Pilot or Google Review scores. These are scores out of five stars left by clients who use these services. And as far as I can tell, they are not at all affected and controlled by the proofreading service providers. 

3. Best proofreading services based on process

By process, we are talking about what happens between you the customer finding a proofreading service and getting your paper properly edited. It also involves things like communication. For example:

  • What happens if they get your order wrong?

  • Do you have a fair idea of what the price is before submitting the order?

  • Do you have to submit the document and provide payment information even before getting an idea of the price?

  • How long does it take to get contacted after uploading your order? 

  • Is your order completed on time?

  • Do they have peer-editing system, where two editors work on your paper?

  • Is it only a single editor working on your paper/document? 

 Ideally, this process should be smooth and frictionless. The less friction, the better. For example, it would be ideal that you get a clear idea of the pricing based on the word count alone. That is, instead of having to upload your document and provide credit card information beforehand. 

Also, having the option of a free sample edit makes the process of establishing trust between you and the proofreading service easier. This is why I also count this as being part of an ideal process. 

4. Best proofreading services based on speed

Speed refers to how quickly your document is returned after being accepted by your chosen proofreading service provider. Most proofreading services offer at least a 12-hour turnaround, which is pretty good. Ideally, a properly edited document would require three to seven days to complete. 

This is because the document needs time to “rest.” That means the editor should be allowed space and distance from his work. This allows them to come back with a fresh pair of eyes that can see errors that may have been previously missed.

But that’s the ideal. Students and academics are often under very tight deadlines. In other cases, they may simply misjudge the amount of time they have to complete assignments. So they have no choice but to rush. 

The best proofreading services account for these scenarios by providing expedited services that come at a higher cost. Table 3 shows the various prices for different expedited services for different companies. Expedite services can be as quick as four or two hours. Such prices may be over 200% more expensive than standard pricing for proofreading services. 

Top 10 proofreading services

Table 2 provides a list of the top 10 proofreading services. Here is the list in descending order:

  1. Cambridge Proofreading

  2. Paper True

  3. Proofreading Pal

  4. Scribendi 

  5. Scribbr   

  6. Editor World

  7. Proofed

  8. Wordvice

  9. Editage

  10. Enago

Cambridge Proofreading, which placed No. 2 in our last assessment is now No. 1. 

Even slight differences in customer satisfaction led to major differences in customer satisfaction scores. For example, a customer satisfaction rating of 4.9 would get a score as high 20/20. However, a slightly lower rating of 4.4 would be scored 20. 

Also, for pricing. The ideal pricing was the median rate of 30 USD per 1000 words. However, pricing below that was not necessarily given a higher score. As too low a price was deemed as underappreciating the values of the services being offered. 

Table 2. Top 10 proofreading services


Proofreading Service

Standard Price 



Cambridge Proofreading




Paper True




Proofreading Pal












Editor World






South Africa













Comparing the best 5 proofreading services

Choosing the top three academic proofreading services is a subjective matter. It relies heavily on personal opinion. However, to come to a conclusion, I used the following four factors:  1. Price, 2. Customer satisfaction, 3. Speed of service, and 4. Process.

Now, Let’s take a look at the top five proofreading services and how they compare with each other. The top five proofreading services are: 

  1. Cambridge Proofreading

  2. Paper True

  3. Proofreading Pal

  4. Scribendi 

  5. Scribbr   

1. Pricing and Speed.  The different proofreading services had fastest turnaround times that ranged between twelve and three hours. Scribendi had the largest differences between standard pricing and the lowest turnaround time. For example, its pricing for 1000 words at a four hour turnaround was over 200% higher than its standard pricing for obe week turnaround. 

2. Customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction was generally high for all five services. None of the top five proofreading services socred below 4.3. However, Cambridge Proofreading scored the highest at 4.9, with a total of 3111 reviews on Trust Pilot — an impressive feat. 

3. Process. All five of the best proofreading service providers had a proces that allowed you to view the pricing before providing information, such as credit card information and email. Everything was done directly through the Internet without any need to place a call or send emails. 

Table 3. Price of proofreading services in $ per/1000 based on different turnaround times

Company Name

1 Week 

72 Hours

48 Hours

24 Hours

10 Hours

12 Hours

3 - 4 hours

Cambridge Proofreading








Proofreading Pal








Paper True
























The advantages and disadvantages of using academic proofreading companies

Academic editing companies have both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are based on the convenience and speed of service. On the other hand, the disadvantages are based on the lack of personalization and face-to-face or direct communication between the author and the editor.

Advantages of using companies providing proofreading services

1. Cheap pricing. Because of the high level of competition among the various proofreading companies,, proofreading and editing prices can be relatively affordable. With standard turnaround times of three to seven days, you may end up paying only 30 USD per 1000 words.

Well, this may not be exactly cheap, especially for those who live in developing countries. However, based on teh value being provided, it is a reasonable price. 

2. Expert proofreaders and editors. Academic editing and proofreading companies employ both in-house editors and freelance ones. These freelancers are located throughout the world. To qualify to work for these companies, they have to go through challenging qualifying tests and rigorous training. This is to ensure that they are more than prepared before editing your work. 

3. Speedy and convenient services. Academic proofreading and editing companies offer turnaround times that range between four hours and one week. They are all based online, and they offer opportunities for you to upload your document and pay around the clock.

4. Educational support. The ideal editing company does not just edit or proofread your document. They also offer a richness of resources, such as blogs and YouTube videos to help explain the questions you have relating to academic tasks and writing. More than that, a proofreader with their corrections and suggestions can help make you a better academic writer. 

The disadvantages of using academic editing service companies

As mentioned earlier, it's a highly competitive industry. They focus on speed and low pricing. This creates conditions that can encourage non-personalized work. Operating at such speeds means that the editors and proofreaders cannot slow down to laser focus on your work. This means that the unique value in your work may be missed. 

Here is a list of some of these disadvantages:

1. Lack of personalization. Academic editing companies are run like factory assembly lines. This is from necessity. They edit such a large volume of academic papers that they need to develop scaled processes that are fast and efficient. This means no face-to-face communication or interactions with the editor who edits your work.

2. Rushed services. Academic editing companies often give clients the option of a minimum 12-hour turnaround. This is great for students with limited time to turn in their assignments. However, this violates the fundamental principles of good editing.

Ideally, an edited work needs time to sleep. At least two to three days have to pass before the editor gets back to it to make sure that they did not miss anything.  These tight deadlines and operations to scale don’t allow this to happen.

3. Poor freelance working conditions. Academic editing companies typically have several hundred freelance editors working for them. Although there is alot of freedom that comes with freelancing, the rate of pay may be low. Also, the working conditions can be tough, especially when freelancers are under tight deadlines.

Final thoughts on choosing the best proofreading services

I have spent over five years working as a freelancer for academic editing companies. During that time, I have edited over five million words. And I must be frank. The average editing company does a more than good enough job of editing even the most difficult document.

However, your document will be treated like a commodity going through a factory assembly line. Of course, if you just need the work to get done effectively, this would suffice.

The Italian novelist Umberto Eco once said, “Your thesis is like your first love. It will be difficult to forget. In the end, it will represent your first serious and rigorous academic work, and this is no small thing."

A big academic editing service will not be treating your manuscript like your "first love."

Instead, it will be treated as an order that needs to be processed through the assembly line. So, what options are available besides a big academic editing website?

CTA: See How EminentEdit Can Help Submit Academic Work Successfully

Think of getting a freelance editor and proofreader

A freelance academic editor and proofreader can provide more personalized services. Having your own personal proofreader allows direct and face-to-face communication. This is unlike an academic editing company, which prohibits direct communication with its freelancers.

Direct communication without the stress of tight deadlines and the impersonal bureaucracy of a large editing company can lead to deeper understanding between editor and client. This can also lead to unique value being contributed to your manuscript or academic work.

So think about getting your own personal freelance academic editor. And good luck with your research writing!

Frequently asked questions

1. Can I use Grammarly to edit?

Grammarly is a popular proofreading tool among students. Unfortunately, however, Grammarly wasn’t designed for editing academic writing. The software is best used for professional writing, such as business emails and blogs.

2. Can I use ChatGPT as a proofreader?

ChatGPT is an even less ideal option than Grammarly. This software has not been optimized for academic editing and proofreading. Instead, use professional proofreading and editing software designed and trained specifically for academic writing.

3. What is the difference between proofreading and editing services?

In short, editing refers to services for documents that need more work before being good enough for publication or submission, whereas proofreading services refer to editing on documents much closer to the publishing or submission stage.

2. What is the difference between proofreading and editing services?

In short, editing refers to services for manuscripts that need more work before being good enough for publication or submission, whereas proofreading services refer to work on manuscripts much closer to being published or submitted. Proofreading services categorized in this way are usually somewhat cheaper than editing services.

4. How much should I pay for proofreading? 

Proofreading rates vary widely among proofreading services. However, we can look at the median of a wide range of proofreading services to come at an acceptable rate. Based on that standard, a rate of 30 USD per 1000 words for standard services is reasonable. 

5. How can I become an academic editor?

So, you’re thinking of becoming an academic editor. To achieve this, you would need intensive training in the basics of academic writing and academic style. You can do this by yourself by studying manual style guides such as the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition or the Chicago Manual of Style. 

Another option includes signing up for formal academic training, which may be expensive. This can be courses you sign up for in a university program or practical courses offered by a veteran academic editor.

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