Inspectlet vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: A Definitive Comparison [June 2023]

Inspectlet vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: A Definitive Comparison [June 2023]

Mihael Cacic

Jul 6, 2023 • 15 min read

Hotjar vs Smartlook vs SessionStack: A Definitive Comparison (July 2023)

I tested both Hotjar and Inspectlet for a month to really understand how the tools differ. I’ve discovered a few key differences which I’ll dive into in this article:

High-traffic websites will find their match with Hotjar since its rough heatmaps and survey features are perfect for analyzing and understanding user behaviors. However, its customer journey analysis and session replay features are very basic and don’t offer much insight. I also noticed a significant impact on site load speed.

Meanwhile, Inspectlet excels at analyzing the customer journey thanks to its detailed user segmentation filters and comprehensive funnel tracking capabilities. But its slow and clunky user interface and lackluster session replay features leave a lot to be desired, especially at its price point.   

Once you use them, it’s obvious that neither platform offers great session replay capabilities. Also, you won’t find features that customer support teams working on SaaS platforms or web apps will find useful  (like real-time sessions).

That’s exactly why I included SessionStack in this comparison.

SessionStack offers pixel-perfect session replay, dedicated error logging dashboard, sitewide click trends, and zero-delay co-browsing tools — perfect for product designers, developers, and customer support teams looking to quickly find and resolve customer pain points in their products.

In this article, I compare Inspectlet vs Hotjar vs SessionStack in five key areas:

  1. Pricing
  2. Heatmaps
  3. Co-browsing
  4. Session replay
  5. Customer journey analysis

I also touched on site load speed impact and integrations in the comparison table below to help complete the picture.

Hotjar Inspectlet SessionStack
Price
⭐⭐⭐
Limited free plan. Paid plans start at $39/mo for 100 sessions/day, split across different use cases.
⭐⭐
Limited free plan for 1 website. Paid plans start at $39/mo for 2,500 sessions.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
All inclusive free plan. Paid plans start at $79/mo for 300+ daily sessions and go up to $129/mo for 800+ daily sessions.
Session Replay
⭐⭐⭐
Core session replay features like player controls and event log. Has a Highlights feature to label important events.
⭐⭐
Basic session replay functionality & activity log with a slow and clunky UI.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Advanced session replay features like filters, search, activity log, console, and a dedicated error tracking section.
Co-browsing

No live sessions or co-browsing capability

No live sessions or co-browsing capability
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Full co-browsing features with sub-1-second latency and interactive tools like pointer, pen, and control takeover.
AI Integration
⭐⭐⭐⭐
AI-assisted customer survey analysis.

No AI capabilities
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
AI-augmented session replays. Saves time with optimization recommendations and session summaries. 
Heatmaps
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Captures static and dynamic page elements (pop-ups, menus, etc.) with click, scroll, and move maps + has side-by-side heatmap comparison feature.
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Offers click, scroll & movement maps. No filters for analyzing user behavior or segmentation.  
⭐⭐⭐
Compiles data on sitewide clicks on every page element, including dead clicks and rage clicks.
Customer Journey Analysis
⭐⭐⭐
Funnels are limited to two event types, four steps, and five filters. The Scale plan offers side-by-side comparison graphs.
⭐⭐⭐
Provides incomplete data by ignoring important instances like the order of visits and unlisted page views.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Funnels support four events and unlimited steps. Helps you identify problematic site elements in the customer journey.
Site Speed Impact

Reported 829ms average page speed impact across the web. Strong impact on main thread execution.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Asynchronous JavaScript — doesn’t block your site by engaging only after your website completes loading.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Extremely lightweight JavaScript. Doesn’t block main thread execution.
Integrations
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
10 native integrations + Hotjar API + Zapier
⭐⭐
3 native integrations + RequireJS compatibility
⭐⭐⭐⭐
14 native integrations + SessionStack API 
G2 Reviews
291 user reviews with a 4.3 rating 25 user reviews with a 4.2 rating 63 user reviews with a 4.9 rating
Used By
Unbounce, Decathlon, Brand24, Hussle, Yatter Shopify, eBay, MediaFire,
Heroku
Kraken, Bazaarvoice, Imagine.ai, Mend, Texas.gov
Best For
For large traffic websites with teams that need collaborative user behavior analytics tools. For e-commerce websites to analyze their funnels and optimize user conversions. Identifying user frustration points on your SaaS app or website.
Try free forever
(no card required)
Try free forever
(no card required)
Try free forever
(no card required)

What is Inspectlet?
“Remove roadblocks in your customer journey” 🛣️🚙 

In 2011, Rachit Gupta started Inspectlet to help businesses understand their website visitors’ intentions using a data-driven approach. Since then, the company has helped over 90,000 businesses provide better user experiences.

The small team in Santa Clara, CA is able to do this by providing their clients what they need to understand their users while keeping things simple. It offers heatmaps and funnel analytics to visualize how users interact with your website, surveys to collect feedback directly from the horse’s mouth, and form analytics to optimize your conversion-critical elements, i.e. web forms. And although its features are very basic, it’s easy to use making it suitable for quickly analyzing user interactions.

Inspectlet is ideal for product teams at e-commerce websites looking to optimize their funnels and increase conversions with insights into how users navigate their sites, which is why companies like eBay, Shopify, and Mediafire trust it. 

What is Hotjar?
Upgrade your analytics from what to why” 🤷➡️🕵️

Hotjar was started in 2014 by David Darmanin who used his experience as a conversion optimization specialist to create an all-in-one platform to analyze and improve a user’s website experience. 

Hotjar’s tools visualize user interactions to help you identify high-impact optimization opportunities on your website. You can understand how users interact with your website using heatmaps, while session replays and event logs show you why. It also lets you analyze what users like about your website using the integrated feedback form. Finally, you can use the Highlights feature to label and share notable events with your digital marketing and development teams for further review. 

Hotjar is trusted by high-traffic websites of brands like Panasonic, Decathlon, and T-Mobile thanks to tools designed to derive valuable insights from rough customer interactions. 

What is SessionStack?
Design the perfect customer experience” ⭐💻⭐

Alexander Zlatkov left his job as a software engineer in Progress to start SessionStack in 2016 because he believed he could create a tool that would allow companies to understand how users interacted with their online apps. 

SessionStack’s advanced session replay features offer so much value that they were named G2’s “Session Replay Category Leader” in 2023. This was possible mainly due to their low latency of less than one second which lets you join a user’s session in real time. They built on this capability to produce a one-of-a-kind co-browsing feature that lets you interact with users during a session and even take control to help out without any third-party software. It also highlights the most pressing issues using advanced error logging and user action segmentation

Companies like Kraken.com, Bazaarvoice, and Imagine.ai trust SessionStack because it helps their teams across the business understand user behavior — including but not limited to product management, development, and customer support.

Inspectlet vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: Session Replay

Hotjar is ideal for analyzing user behavior, SessionStack for faster troubleshooting, and Inspectlet for easier user segmentation.

Inspectlet Hotjar SessionStack
⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Session Replay records a user’s session for playback later. It provides visual insights into important user interactions (clicks, scrolls, mouse movements, and navigation) that you can use to understand how users interact with your website. 

We will compare the session replay feature of all three tools in the following areas:

  1. UI/UX design,
  2. User segmentation,
  3. Live sessions & Co-browsing,
  4. Error logs.

UI/UX Design
SessionStack’s interface is intuitive and informative, Hotjar’s is user-friendly and basic, while Inspectlet’s is slow and clunky.

SessionStack has a user-friendly interface with a video player on the right and an event log on the left-hand side (1) as visible in the screenshot below. Every event is time-stamped. As events occur, the tool highlights the related timestamp in the activity log, making it easier for you to track actions. 

You also have access to a comprehensive console feature (2) that provides detailed logs on each event. This comes in handy when you want to quickly troubleshoot errors. You also have a search bar and filters (3) to find specific events in the session replay (like dead clicks, rage clicks, and errors). 

Hotjar’s interface is pretty similar to SessionStack’s, with the video player in the center, a list of visitor recordings on the left (1), and session information and recorded actions on the right (2).

It also offers a “Highlights” tool (3) that lets you label important events (clicks, errors, movements, frustration points, etc.) for further review. Remote teams of developers and marketers can use it to collaborate and share ideas more efficiently.

Inspectlet has a very minimalistic interface with the video player on the left, the video progress bar above it, and the event log on the right-hand side. The session is divided by page and you can switch between pages from a drop-down menu.

Unlike SessionStack, it doesn’t offer any advanced filters or console details to drill down into specific errors or interactions. Also, I noticed it only populates the event log as the video plays. So, you can’t jump to a specific timestamp until the event occurs during playback. You’re essentially spending more time finding the error instead of fixing it, which defeats the purpose of the session replay feature, in my opinion.

AI-Augmented Session Replays
SessionStack augments session replays with AI, saving you time by generating session summaries and optimization recommendations

When using SessionStack’s session replay tool, you’ll notice a “Get Summary” button in the left toolbar. 

Clicking the button will prompt the tool’s AI helper to generate a summary of the entire session recording. This summary is made of three parts:

  • Session summary: a few sentences that tell you what the user did during the session
  • Most impactful events: ten bullet points of the most impactful events that happened during the session
  • Optimization recommendations: A couple of sentences that tell you how to optimize the user journey based on the events that happened during the session

User Segmentation
SessionStack offers basic segmentation options, Hotjar lets you compare users side-by-side, and Inspectlet provides a rich set of comparison filters.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What is user segmentation?

User segmentation is a way of categorizing your users by demographic, user behavior, interactions, and type (new vs returning). Using this information you can derive insights on improving your UI/UX to maximize conversions.

SessionStack offers basic user segmentation filters that provide insights into users, sessions, and events. You can also create custom filters to analyze behaviors and interactions of specific user segments on your website.

Hotjar provides filters to segment your users by events, user attributes, and error messages by choosing from predetermined user segments or by creating your own custom events. You can also get in-depth insights across user segments using its side-by-side user comparison feature.

Inspectlet divides its recordings according to users in its session recordings dashboard (1). It lets you create and save user segments using filters (2) like date range, user interactions, and session and visitor attributes.

Live Sessions & Co-Browsing
Hotjar doesn’t offer live sessions, Inspectlet has live sessions but they’re unreliable, while SessionStack offers a completely unique live experience called co-browsing.

EDITOR’S NOTE: What are live sessions?

Live Sessions present user interactions on your website in real-time. Product, development, and customer support teams can use this feature to identify and solve issues while speaking with a customer.

Inspectlet offers a live view that shows you the user’s mouse movements and clicks. But when I used it I found it laggy and unreliable. Interactions only reflected on the live view tool after a 10-15 sec delay. So, it’s not truly a live tool but more of an almost-real-time session replay. Also, it’s not very reliable either since it continued to show I was on the page even after I ended my session.

On the other hand, SessionStack is the only platform offering truly real-time live sessions with a consistent latency of under one second. And they used this low latency to create a completely unique feature — co-browsing.

Customer support executives and account managers can use co-browsing to provide real-time guidance to users, without any additional software, plug-ins, or add-ons. 

You get access to three tools with co-browsing:

  • A pointer: A cursor to highlight elements on the user’s screen without interacting with the elements on their page.
  • A pen: Lets you highlight and annotate on your user’s screen.
  • Control takeover: The user can give you permission to perform actions on their behalf from your browser.

SessionStack masks sensitive user information (passwords, credit card details, etc.) to ensure the user’s privacy. While the tool masks most of it by default, you can also set your own parameters.  

NOTE: Co-browsing is not the same as screen sharing. You don’t need to install any new tool or plug-in to use the co-browsing feature. Also, it’s browser-based so you only get access to the tab that the user is currently on, ensuring privacy and security. You can read more in our article about screen sharing vs co-browsing.

Error Logs
Hotjar logs errors in its session replay tool, Inspectlet does the same in a separate dashboard, while SessionStack compiles errors in its session replays and a dedicated tool.

SessionStack and Hotjar both log errors in the session replay tool. You can add filters in both to identify specific error types (rage clicks, dead clicks, u-turns, etc.). You also get a console feature that provides more details about the error to make troubleshooting easier. 

Additionally, SessionStack also compiles all the logged errors across your website in one dedicated error-tracking page (2). You can click on an error for more information about it (1). 

You can click ‘Play’ to go to the session replay tool from the error page and see exactly what a user was doing when an error occurred (1). You also have the option of using the Console feature (2&3) to gather more information.

Similarly, Inspectlet monitors your website for JavaScript errors and logs them in a separate error-logging tool. You can also watch the session replay for more information about the error. However, the playback doesn’t start from where the error occurs which makes troubleshooting more time-consuming. 

Winner: SessionStack. Customer support teams will find its co-browsing feature very useful, while developers and UX designers will love its error-tracking and logging features.

Inspectlet vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: Heatmaps

Hotjar and Inspectlet visualize user behavior, while SessionStack makes identifying issues easier.

Inspectlet Hotjar SessionStack
⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐

Heatmaps visually represent how visitors interact with your website by highlighting their clicks, mouse movements, and scrolls. They highlight elements with different colors depending on the frequency of interactions to identify – 

 

  • elements receiving the most clicks, 
  • page sections that receive the most attention from users, and 
  • any elements that cause frustration during a session.

Hotjar offers advanced filters to analyze user interactions while Inspectlet only lets you filter by device type.

Inspectlet and Hotjar offer the same set of heatmaps:

  • Click maps to see which elements users click on and the frequency.
  • Move maps (called Eye-tracking maps in Inspectlet) to see where users move on the page.
  • Scroll maps to see how far down users navigate and where they drop off.

But that’s where the similarities end. Inspectlet doesn’t offer any filters or tools to analyze your heatmap data. 

Meanwhile, Hotjar offers filters to drill down into the data and understand how different user segments and devices are performing. Hotjar also lets you label any important or interesting activity for future reference using the ‘Highlights’ feature (check out the Session Replay section above to learn more). 

SessionStack provides insights into user interactions.

SessionStack doesn’t use visual heatmaps to highlight important or problematic elements. Instead, it compiles essential user actions on directly the dashboard: 

  • Most clicked elements (1),
  • Elements with the most dead clicks (2),
  • Elements with the most rage clicks (3).

You can these as an alternative to heatmaps to quickly analyze and troubleshoot issues on your website and recognize where your resources should be focused. 

Winner: Hotjar. It offers click, move, and scroll maps to visualize how users navigate your website. It also provides powerful filters marketing and product teams can use to analyze and optimize the online website experience.

Inspectlet vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: Customer Journey Analysis

While Inspectlet provides incomplete funnel data and Hotjar’s features are quite basic, SessionStack makes it easier to troubleshoot customer pain points.

Inspectlet Hotjar SessionStack
⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Customer journey describes how users navigate and interact with your website content like landing pages and product pages, blogs, etc. You can analyze your customer’s journeys by using conversion funnels, i.e. a step-by-step path of how visitors interact with your website. Funnels help you collect the data you need to understand visitor behavior and segment them according to their interactions.

Inspectlet ignores important events in the customer journey.

Inspectlet lets you create your own conversion funnels and also provides a built-in visual editor to easily create multiple variations of a webpage for A/B testing. However, it doesn’t offer any filters to analyze the results, except for user recordings of ‘Abandoners’ (to see where they dropped off) and ‘Successful Conversions’ (to see how they converted). 

However, you’ll be making decisions using incomplete data since Inspectlet ignores some important user decisions:

  1. The order in which pages are visited doesn’t matter as long as all of them are visited.  
  2. Page views that aren’t in your funnel are not recorded.

For example, let’s say your users are visiting the FAQ page before completing a purchase. This may be because they need some important information about the product. You can make the user’s journey smoother by including that information on a page in the funnel. But you’ll never know because Inspectlet won’t show you that information. 

Hotjar offers basic funnel analytics.

You can easily compare multiple funnels using Hotjar, making it valuable when you’re exploring different customer journeys. 

But, you can only add ten steps and five filters per funnel for three specific action types: ‘Viewing a page’, ‘Clicking on an element’, and ‘Triggering an event’. This really limits your ability to deep dive into the data and gather insights. 

SessionStack offers what the other two don’t: complete data with unlimited funnel steps.

SessionStack funnel feature does what Hotjar and Inspectlet can’t:

  • It lets you add unlimited steps to each funnel.
  • The user data is included as long as they complete the conversion step.

On top of that, it offers the ability to display funnels of different user segments. This effectively lets you test out how different user groups behave in your funnels based on their segmentation metrics (discussed in the Segmentation section):

SessionStack also lets you create a much smoother journey by providing data on two very frustrating event types: dead clicks and rage clicks. Addressing these can help you greatly improve user experience. 

Winner: SessionStack because you can add unlimited funnel steps and troubleshoot customer pain points faster with more complete data.

Inspectlet vs Hotjar vs SessionStack: Pricing

Hotjar has different pricing for different use cases, Inspectlet is the most expensive, while SessionStack’s pricing is simple, straightforward, and affordable.

Inspectlet Hotjar SessionStack
⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Hotjar and Inspectlet’s free plans are limited, while SessionStack offers an all-inclusive free plan.

Hotjar offers a free plan with unlimited heatmaps and users. But, you are limited to a maximum of 35 daily session replays and don’t have access to filters and user segmentation.

Inspectlet’s free plan is very limited with access to only a few features like 2,500 session recordings and a heatmap tool for one website. Moreover, it only stores your data for a week after which it’s lost forever since you can’t download it.

SessionStack provides access to all its features with its free plan, including unlimited projects and dev tools, advanced filters, and user segmentation options. It allows up to 1500 user sessions per month, 3 team seats, and 10 live and co-browsing sessions, which is sufficient for small businesses or simply testing out the platform before committing to a paid planInspectlet and Hotjar’s starter plans are cheaper, but SessionStack becomes more affordable as you scale.

Inspectlet’s paid plans start at $39/month. But, you don’t get access to all its features unless you subscribe to the ‘Accelerate’ plan, including important services like phone support. So, Inpectlet might not be the right platform if you’re just starting out, especially when you have other options at a better price point. 

MicroStartupGrowthAccelerate
$39/mo1 website
10,000 recordings
100,000 pageviews
1-week storage
$79/mo3 websites
25,000 recordings
250,000 pageviews
3 months of storage
$149/mo10 websites
50,000 recordings
500,000 pageviews
6 months of storage
$299/mo20 websites
125,000 recordings
1.25M pageviews
12 months of storage
Enterprise
$499-1,799Starting at 40 websites, 250,000 recordings,
2.5M pageviews with 24 months of storage

Hotjar divides its offerings into three use cases: Observe, Ask, and Engage. Each use case offers three paid plans: Plus, Business, and Scale.

Observe
To understand user behavior
Ask
For conducting feedback surveys
Engage
For automating user interviews
Plus$39/mo for
100 daily sessions
$59/mo for 250
monthly responses
$350/mo for
up to 15 interviews
BusinessStarting at $99/mo
for 500 daily sessions
Starting at $79/mo
for 500 monthly responses
Starting at $550/mo
for up to 30 interviews
ScaleStarting at $213/mo
for 500 daily sessions
Custom pricing for unlimited monthly responsesCustom pricing for up to 60 interviews

When you subscribe to a paid plan for a specific use case, you get access to the free plans for the other two use cases. For example, if you subscribe to any Ask paid plan, you automatically get access to Observe and Engage Basic (the free versions). Only go with Hotjar if you know exactly what you need from it.

SessionStack starts its pricing at $79 per month for 10,000 monthly sessions, unlimited websites, and all its features. Its higher-tier plans are also more affordable compared to Hotjar and Inspectlet. It offers everything the other two do but with better scalability.

LaunchScaleEnterprise
$79/mo
10,000 sessions/mo + Unlimited projects + Advanced filters and user segments
$129/mo
Launch features + 25,000 sessions/mo + Data export via REST API
Custom
Scale features + Unlimited sessions + Dedicated support teams

Winner: SessionStack offers the most value of the three with its unlimited projects, advanced filters, user segmentation, and co-browsing features. These diverse features also mean it’s useful in multiple areas of your business, from customer support to product development.

Final Verdict: Inspectlet vs Hotjar vs SessionStack

Hotjar ProsHotjar Cons
✅ Intuitive, easy-to-use user interface❌ Limited free plan
✅ Offers most important heatmaps❌ Complex pricing plans
✅ Useful collaboration tools❌ Only records samples of user sessions
✅ Survey and user feedback widgets❌ No live sessions or co-browsing
✅ Extensive integrations
(Zapier, Mixpanel, Google Analytics, Hubspot, etc.)
❌  Basic funnel tracking features only available with the highest paid plan
Inspectlet ProsInspectlet Cons
✅ Supports essential heatmaps❌ Basic, unintuitive session replay features
✅ Funnel tracking❌ No co-browsing features
✅ Useful user segmentation features❌ Unreliable live sessions
✅ Dedicated error tracking page❌ Inaccurate funnel analytics
❌ Limited free plan
❌ No filters with heatmaps
❌ Slow, clunky user interface
SessionStack ProsSessionStack Cons
✅ All-inclusive free plan❌ No annotation in session replay
✅ Simple and scalable pricing plan❌ Does not have page-specific heatmaps
✅ Easy set up and navigation❌ Can’t track every user event with funnels
✅ Real-time co-browsing and live sessions
✅ Lightweight tool; doesn’t affect site speed
✅ Information-rich session replays
✅ Dedicated error tracking page

Final Verdict: Inspectlet vs Hotjar vs SessionStack

InspectletHotjarSessionStack
Best for:
E-commerce websites looking to set up funnels to analyze and optimize customer journeys.
Best for:
Cross-functional teams looking to collaborate and analyze approximate user behavior on high-traffic websites.
Best for:
Product, developer, and customer support teams looking for in-depth insights into user interaction and tools for live assistance.

Hotjar makes it easier to understand user behavior on large-traffic websites by providing essential heatmaps and survey features. Inspectlet’s user segmentation and funnel analytics features make it ideal for analyzing your customer journey and optimizing them for higher conversions. Meanwhile, SessionStack enables customer support teams, product designers, and developers to quickly troubleshoot and resolve issues in real time by offering advanced session replay, co-browsing, and dedicated error log dashboards.

Use Inspectlet if:

  • You want to easily create funnels to track the user journey.
  • You want comprehensive user segmentation options.
  • You want to easily design multiple variations of a page for usability and A/B testing.

Click here to get started with Inspectlet!

Use Hotjar if:

  • You have a high-traffic website.
  • You want to compare data from multiple sessions simultaneously.
  • You are looking to collaborate with cross-functional teams.

Click here to get started with Hotjar!

Use SessionStack if:

  • You want to quickly troubleshoot and solve site issues and errors.
  • You want a tool that lets you provide users with real-time, personalized support.
  • You need a lightweight platform to track and optimize the user journey.

Click here to get started with SessionStack!

Need more info before making a final decision? We compared SessionStack and Hotjar to some other great UX analytics solutions to help you find the one for your specific needs. Check them out:

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