Our Testing and Review Process Explained

TopETL has one mission: 

To find the right ETL tool for your business. 

We fulfill this mission by running the world's top ETL software through our comprehensive testing program. Then we create an ETL tool review based on five factors:

  1. Features
  2. Pros and cons
  3. Data source connectors
  4. Support and training
  5. Price

Finally, we reveal our verdict. 

It's a rather complicated process. We consider what other users think — real, verified users — and what the vendor says about its software. We take a while to compile all this information into a single page, but we're getting there. Our goal is to review every single ETL tool on the planet. (Or at least the most popular ones.)

Whatever happens, we're always going to be fair and honest. Always. That means giving credit where credit is due as well as pointing out a tool's shortcomings. If we love something, we're going to tell you. If we think something sucks, you're going to know about it. 

Ultimately, we only recommend the very best ETL tools. That's because we don't want to waste your time or money. Finding the right ETL tool shouldn't be a challenge. 

In this guide, come behind the scenes and learn about our testing and review program.

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Table of Contents

  1. Our Testing Program for ETL Tool Reviews
  2. Our Five-Step Process for an ETL Tool Review
  3. Other Considerations for an ETL Tool Review
  4. Why We Compile ETL Tool Reviews
  5. Why We Also Review ELT, Streaming ELT, and CDC
  6. What We Do
  7. What We Don't Do
  8. Final Word

Our Testing Program for ETL Tool Reviews

We make a cup of coffee and take a deep breath before we test an ETL tool here at TopETL HQ. It's a tradition. Then we download and install the tool and get down to work. Most ETL platforms offer a free trial version, which makes testing easier for us. Over the next few days, we use the tool:

  • We check out the connectors. 
  • We build data pipelines. 
  • We evaluate the features.
  • We decide what we like and don't like. 

It's all part of our testing program — the initial step of creating an ETL tool review. At this stage, we stay away from claims made by the vendor or reading what other users think on social media and review websites. We don't want any of that to influence our opinion. 

Every review is different, and we don't have a long list of requirements. However, we try to test each ETL in the same way for a fair and consistent review process. Here's what we look for:

  • Free trial: Does the ETL platform come with a free trial? If so, for how long? 
  • Data transformation: How does the tool transform data? Is it just ETL? ELT? A combination of both? Does it do iPaaS too?
  • Data source connectors: How many connectors are there? Are they any good?
  • Customization: Can you customize the platform in any way? Can you create your custom data pipelines with code, for example?
  • Data warehouse: This one's especially important. Does the ETL tool connect to data warehouses?
  • Data lakes: Does the ETL tool connect to data lakes?
  • Support SLAs: Does the ETL tool support service-level agreements?
  • Developer tools: What tools for developers are there? For example, is there a REST API?
  • Compliance/security certifications: What about compliance and security? Does the ETL tool comply with HIPAA? GDPR? CCA? Does it support SOC2? SOC3?

We test tools for the above attributes because we feel these qualities bring users the most value — customization, security, number of connectors, etc. We wish someone had told us all this stuff when we needed an ETL in the past. So that's why we do what we do. 

Our Five-Step Process for an ETL Tool Review

After the testing stage, we write up our review. We only want to post essential information for our readers (that's you!), so we don't include everything in our reviews — just the critical bits. We know you're busy and don't have time to read a 10,000-word review. That's why we keep things simple and break everything down into a five-step process: 

Features

We always include a features table at the top of our reviews based on the factors we examined during our testing process. It looks something like this:

  • Trial length: 
  • Capterra/G2 scores: 
  • Data transformation: 
  • Data source connectors:
  • Customization: 
  • Connects to data warehouses: 
  • Connects to data lakes: 
  • Support SLAs: 
  • Developer tools: 
  • Compliance/security certifications: 

This table makes it easier to view features at a glance and compare other ETL tools. If you only read one element of our review, we hope it's this one! Sometimes we add or remove categories in the table depending on the type of software we tested.

Pros and Cons

With our extensive experience of ETL, we know what makes an excellent tool — and what makes a bad one. So we compile all the pros and cons of an ETL tool in the "What You Need to Know" section under the features table. 

We think about security, compliance, SLAs, developer tools, and other critical components that make a piece of software a good buy. 

Data Source Connectors

We think connectors are one of the most relevant considerations for ETL software. Most users invest in these programs because they don't want to code complex data pipelines. It's that simple. Perhaps they lack the budget or resources for data engineers or architects. Or maybe they don't want to pipe data from scratch because it's such a complicated process. So no-code and low-code connectors provide them with a data management solution. 

With connectors, you can extract data from various sources, transform the data, and move it to a warehouse for analytics. However, you need to know whether an ETL tool has the connectors you require for the job. That's why we include as much information as we can in this section. Unfortunately, we rarely list all the connectors offered by the ETL tool because there are often so many. Instead, we'll post a few examples and tell you the number of connectors if this information is available. 

Support and Training

Customer support often dictates the entire user experience, so we want to give you as much support information as we can in this section. We include details about the quality of support, different communication methods and the levels of customer service available for various pricing plans. Then we give you information about any training programs or certifications offered by the vendor.

Price

The price of an ETL tool could be the most significant deciding factor when buying this kind of software. So, where possible, we list all costs in the "Pricing" section. This information isn't always available to us because some vendors don't make it public. Other vendors set custom prices based on the user's specific business requirements. But whatever we find out, we'll tell you.

Other Considerations for an ETL Tool Review

We don't want to post reviews solely based on our opinion. We understand you might approach ETL differently and seek specific software attributes that we don't look for during our testing process. So we consider other factors before creating our ETL tool reviews. 

At the end of all our pages, we include two sections:

  1. What the Vendor Says
  2. What Users Think

What the Vendor Says

We want to be as fair as possible, and we know vendors put a lot of time and effort into creating ETL products. (Well, most of the time!) So we read every page of the company's website and include a quote or summary of the platform from the vendor. We don't always agree with what the vendor says — it's their job to sell the ETL platform, after all — but we include it anyway. We want you to make up your own mind. 

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What Users Think

We always include three reviews from users of the platform to help you make your ETL decision. We post a broad range of feedback for balance — typically a "good" review, "bad" review" and "ugly" review. Reviews are always subjective (including ours!), so we incorporate various opinions into our pages. 

We source user reviews from two sources:

Both websites include reviews from real, verified business users who work in finance, healthcare, engineering, IT, and other sectors. These sites have user reviews about all kinds of software, not just ETL platforms.

Why We Use G2

G2 is a peer-to-peer review website based in Chicago with over 6 million readers a month. It's a reliable source because G2 verifies each reviewer's identity and employer via their LinkedIn account and business email address. 

Why We Use Capterra

Capterra connects technology vendors with business users. Research company Gartner owns Capterra, which has been around since 1999. Like G2, Capterra verifies users before posting a review, so we think it's a trusted source.

We also post the ETL tool's average user score from both G2 and Capterra in our features table. These user scores are correct when we compile the review, but they can change over time.

Why We Compile ETL Tool Reviews

Finding an ETL tool online is difficult. In the past, we've spent hours searching Google, reading countless user reviews, and contacting pushy software reps. The entire process is seriously stressful. So that's why we built TopETL.com — the one-stop hub for ETL reviews online. We wanted to create a single place where businesses like yours can review the world's best ETL tools without the hassle. 

Why We Also Review ELT, Streaming ELT, and CDC

Sometimes a 'conventional' ETL tool might not be the right fit for your organization. So that's why we test and review other data integration tools too:

Some tools in these categories overlap functions with ETL, but we want to provide you with as many alternatives as possible so you can make smarter purchasing decisions. We test and review tools in the categories above the same way we test and review ETL platforms. This involves our five-step process and listing the pros and cons of each program.

What We Do

  • We test top ETL tools and review these tools based on a set of criteria.
  • We consider user reviews and what vendors say about their products.
  • We're honest about all the ETL tools we review.

What We Won't Do

  • We will never accept money for a positive review.
  • We won't give an ETL tool a positive review because the vendor asked us to. 
  • We will never sell your data.

Final Word

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So there you have it. That's TopETL's comprehensive testing and review program in a nutshell. If you're looking for a specific ETL tool review, you'll probably find it here. If not, check back with us soon. We're updating this site all the time. 

We want you to be part of this journey too. If you'd like us to review an ETL tool, get in touch, and we'll do our best.