Data has always been a valuable asset for various businesses. Companies invest loads of money finding out about shopper habits, predicting future trends, and gathering information about their competitors. With so much data on the internet, data analysts have plenty of work to do.
Web scraping tools are invaluable for gathering large amounts of data. Manually collecting data is often no longer an option simply because there’s so much data on the internet. Web scraping tools automate the process and allow experts to focus on interpreting data and developing business decisions based on it rather than wasting time by manually collecting data.
Companies use data from the web for market research, developing effective business strategies, and generating leads, among other use cases. Web scraping tools are an excellent asset that automates data gathering and makes it much more efficient.
The market is loaded with various web scraping tools, but web data extraction isn’t a simple process. Different web scraping tools can work well on some websites and be completely useless on others. We’ll help you find the best web scraping tool for your business by reviewing different scrapers and listing their features, pros, and cons.
Factors to consider when choosing a web scraping tool
You can find many different web scraping tools on the market. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing a web scraping tool:
- Your coding skills or developer resources. Using some of the tools requires technical skills and coding knowledge, while others cover every step of the web scraping process.
- How much you’re willing to pay. Some of the tools are free, and others offer premium access. Depending on your use cases, a free scraping tool with reliable proxies may be enough, but you may need a robust and reliable scraper in other cases.
- What websites your scraper will be targeting. Some scrapers are very simple and would break if targeting a complex, dynamic website. Some other tools don’t permit search engine scraping or can’t access information under login forms, which means they’re not capable of social media scraping. So think about your targets when choosing a web scraping tool.
With these factors in mind, let’s look at the 14 best web scraping tools for 2022.
14 best web scraping tools
We’ve listed the best tools for web scraping and reviewed their features. Each tool also has a list of pros and cons you should consider.
Scraper API is a web scraper tool for developers. The scraper handles proxies, CAPTCHAs, and browsers. It returns raw data in HTML format via an API call. The tool has integrated proxies and can take care of proxy management.
- Built-in anti-bot detection
- Custom headers and sessions
- Free trial (5,000 API Credits)
- High uptime (99.9%)
- Simple integration
- Requires strong developer skills
If you’re looking for an open-source project, Scrapy is the best web scraping tool for you. This web crawling library helps Python developers build web crawlers that can be scaled depending on the user’s needs.
Scrapy is a collaborative framework with a number of benefits. Developers can use its core and add needed plugins and designs. The tool works on different operating systems (OS) such as Windows, Mac, Linux, and BSD.
One of the largest Scrapy benefits is that it’s completely free. Using this web scraper requires some learning, but it comes with extensive documentation, and you can easily find the information you need online.
- Works with the largest OS
- Broadly customizable
- Extensive documentation
- You can plug your functionalities
- Steep learning curve
- Requires Python development knowledge
Those without coding knowledge will appreciate what Octoparse has to offer. This web scraping tool has a user-friendly interface and fully automates the web scraping process. Octoparse users can collect data into structured spreadsheets in just a few clicks.
The tool can crawl and scrape websites by gathering drop-down menus and forms data. It even collects information that's behind login forms. Octoparse can handle data extraction from social media. If you’re wondering about the use cases, the tool also collects e-commerce and retail data and helps with lead generation.
- Saves scraped data in CSV, Excel, API or databases
- Scheduled scraping
- Automatic proxy rotation
- No coding experience needed
- Free 14-day trial
- Data extraction to the cloud
- It only works on Windows OS
One of the features that make ParseHub stand out is its API and webhooks. Using their API, you can integrate the extracted data anywhere you need. You can also download the structured data in any format that’s convenient for you - JSON or Excel.
- Automatically saves data to the cloud
- IP rotation
- Scheduled web scraping
- No coding experience required
- Works with most OS
- Free trial for 200 pages
If you or your developers’ team have experience with jQuery, you’ll appreciate Cheerio. Their web scraping API offers a straightforward way for parsing HTML, since it can parse almost any HTML or XML document. The scraper is quick and features an HTML parsing library in a NodeJS server-based environment.
You may have already figured that Cheerio requires experience in coding. While those familiar with jQuery may quickly get their heads around Cheerio, it has a steep learning curve for others.
- HTML and XML parsing
- Fast web scraper
- jQuery syntax
- Quick and straightforward for jQuery users
- Requires developing experience
- Few features
Puppeteer is a headless browser automation tool for NodeJS developers. It’s supported and developed by the Google Chrome team and is completely free since it’s an open-source API.
- Open source headless Chrome API
- Can generate screenshots
- Automates form submissions
- Extensive documentation
- Automatically updates browser versions
- Requires coding experience
BeautifulSoup is a popular HTML parser for Python developers. It’s not very powerful and requires some coding knowledge, but those experienced in Python will easily find their way around BeautifulSoup.
The parser has been around for quite a while, so it has extensive documentation, and you can easily find tutorials online. It doesn’t require writing much code to build a web scraper with Python but may take a while if you’ve never dealt with it before. The parser works with Python 2.7 and Python 3.
- Pulls data out of XML and HTML files
- Supports Python 2.7 and Python 3
- Extensive documentation
- Plenty of online tutorials
- Building a web scraper without coding experience can take a while
If you want to scrape web data from complex websites that often change their HTML structure, Diffbot is the best web scraping tool for you. Contrary to most scrapers, Diffbot uses computer vision rather than HTML parsing to gather relevant data from a website. It means that the tool reads websites like a human eye.
It’s one of the premium tools on the market and is more expensive than others. However, it also offers features that most other tools don’t have.
While Diffbot is created for developers, it doesn’t require as much maintenance as most other web scraping tools.
- Computer vision scraping technology
- Supports various data types (organizations, news articles, e-commerce sites)
- Free 14-day trial
- Simple integration
- Supports on-demand web data collection
ScrapeBox specializes in search engine scraping and supports data extraction from over 30 search engines. The tool is created for SEO experts and offers many useful features, such as a backlink checker, keyword scraper, and comment poster. It also helps develop sitemaps or RSS feeds, extract emails, and check indexed pages.
This web scraper is created to cater to SEO specialists’ and agencies’ needs.
- Data scraping from over 30 search engines
- Performs keyword scraping, backlink checking, and other SEO tasks
- Desktop software
- Has many features
- One-time payment
- It can be slow when scraping at scale
Mozenda takes care of enterprise web scraping needs. They say they are working with a third of 500 Fortune companies, including Tesla, HSBC, CNN and many other familiar names.
One of Mozenda's main selling points is that the tool doesn’t require any maintenance, meaning you don’t need a team of developers to run this scraper successfully. Mozenda web scraping tool allows extracting web data in a number of formats, such as CSV, XML, XLSX or JSON.
Since Mozenda is targeting large enterprise companies, their tool is on the more expensive side. However, it comes with strong client support, so you can be sure your questions will be answered whenever you need any help.
- Full web scraping service, no script writing or developers needed
- Built for large-scale web scraping
- Based on the cloud
- No developers needed
- Reliable client support
- 30-day free trial
Depending on your data needs, Common Crawl may be a good option for you. This tool is an open repository of crawled data that was previously only open to large corporations. The data is free and is available to everyone.
Common Crawl’s information is especially beneficial to startups or small companies that don’t have large budgets for data crawling. The Common Crawl gives everyone access to large amounts of data completely free of charge. However, you can donate to the company if you wish.
- Open repository of web crawl data
- Support via Common Crawl community
- Great for learning data analysis
- Free data
- Data in over 40 languages
- Billions of pages
- No live data
- Available data isn’t structured and cannot be filtered
Scrapestack offers a web scraping API for many use cases, including social media scraping and extracting data from search engines. The tool features a powerful infrastructure powered by over 35M datacenter and residential IPs.
- 99.9% average uptime
- Supports simultaneous API requests
- Over 35M IPs
- Helpful documentation
- Limited features with a free plan
You can choose how you’d like to get your data delivered - get structured data in JSON or raw HTML. The best thing is, you can also get your data right into a Google sheet.
ScrapeOwl can extract data from social media, product pages, real estate listings, and search engines. Their pricing starts from $29 a month and goes up to $249/month for larger business needs.
- Takes care of CAPCTHAs, cookies, JS rendering
- Extracts data from many different pages
- Can extract data into a Google sheet
- 1,000 free credits
- Low maintenance
- No specific coding knowledge required
If you’re looking to get ecommerce data at scale, this tool may be the right pick for you. Import.io says to have the experience and technology to deliver large scale e-commerce data.
Since scraping ecommerce data can often deliver incomplete results, import.io uses automated data checks and a rigorous QA to ensure they extract full data. Their solutions can be used for analytics, brand positioning, and optimizing retail businesses based on competitor data.
- Large-scale ecommerce web data
- Accurate and complete data
- Great for ecommerce companies
- Quality data
- No pricing available on their website
Proxies for web scraping
Proxies are an irreplaceable part of web scraping. There are a number of reasons why proxies go hand in hand with data extraction tools.
First of all, proxies significantly reduce the chances of getting blocked. If you’re gathering data at large scale, you’ll need a number of proxies. Otherwise, target websites will quickly recognise your IP address as suspicious and ban it.
Secondly, you may need to access different locations to gather information. Proxies allow you to target websites from various geo-locations. This is especially helpful if some of the targets are unavailable in your country. You can also see how your target pages appear in various regions.
These are just a couple of examples but what’s important is that proxies and web scraping go hand in hand, and gathering data without proxies is nearly impossible. Especially if you’re scraping at scale.
Some web scrapers already have integrated proxies, while others allow you to use IPs from your preferred proxy provider. Web scrapers often run on residential proxies, although it may depend on your specific targets. Residential proxies appear as regular residential IPs and are less frequently banned compared to datacenter IPs.
Web scraping can serve a number of different business needs. It’s one of the main tools for modern companies that base their decisions on data. Companies can build their strategies, conduct market research, and learn valuable insights about competitors simply by scraping web data.
Depending on web scraping needs, the market is full of various tools. Some are rather basic, while others can scrape at large scale and serve the world's largest enterprises. We listed the 14 best web scraping tools, reviewed their features and named their pros and cons.
If you’ve already made up your mind about the best web scraper, don’t forget to get proxies for your tool.