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Top 10 Free and Paid App Builders

5 minute read

By Lesley Harrison

Millions of apps are available for smartphones, gadgets, and computers — and in the first quarter of 2020 alone, users around the world downloaded 33.6 billion apps. By 2024, the Google Play Store alone is expected to see 139 billion app installations, so it’s no secret that apps are a rapidly expanding opportunity. Having an app for your business can be an effective way of keeping your customers in the loop and building loyalty.

There’s just one drawback: creating your own app can be costly. Using a professional app builder can cost more than RS750,000. But you don’t have to pay those high costs. Today, sophisticated app builders allow you to create an app from scratch at a much lower cost. Read on for a list of some of the best free and paid app builders on the market today.

The Best Premium App Builders

Premium app builders offer simple low-code or no-code options for you to create your own apps. They’re easy to use and produce polished, professional-looking apps that can run on Android or iOS mobile devices. Pricing can vary, with many premium app builders offering tiered pricing depending on the number of apps you plan to publish and the size and complexity of those apps. This pricing structure can be particularly appealing if you’re a smaller business owner who doesn’t want or need all the APIs and powerful features offered in the top-tier packages.

1. Appy Pie

Appy Pie is an app builder that’s based in India, and it’s one that’s growing pretty quickly. This app is becoming popular worldwide because it’s so affordable — a free plan is actually available that allows you to create a mobile-friendly website without spending a cent. If you want an app, specifically a native iOS and Android app, you need to pay a monthly price. These costs start at RS1,350 per month per app. This app-building platform also works with a wealth of accounts and popular websites for seamless cross-platform functionality.

2. GoodBarber

GoodBarber is a tool for creating native iOS and Android apps with GoodBarber as well as progressive web apps. It’s affordably priced, with the classic version costing around RS2,150 per month for a standard plan. Specialist plans are available if you want to create eCommerce apps. The company offers a one-month free trial, so you can get an idea of the type of apps you can create before you spend money. The app is structured to steer you toward creating stylish and professional-looking layouts. It’s easy to create slick, fun-to-use apps in just a few hours.

3. AppstronautMe

AppstronautMe is a template-based app builder that has a free-to-use version and offers in-app purchases that unlock extra features. You can choose from over 100 templates and customise them to make apps with all the features the average business needs, including GPS integration and shopping cards. You can even monetise the apps you make with ads or in-app purchases. No coding knowledge is required. AppstronautMe lets you make professional apps with a simple drag-and-drop user interface.

4. Shout’em

The Shout’em app builder for Android and iOS has already been used to make over 10,000 published apps. It’s an easy-to-use tool that helps you make polished apps without writing a single line of code. The tool has a 14-day trial, after which you have to pay a subscription fee. The cheapest option works out to RS4,450 per month, billed annually. This makes Shout’em one of the more expensive products on the premium list. However, the quality of templates offered, and the system’s ease of use make it a popular choice with businesses that care about delivering a premium mobile experience for their customers.

5. Penguin Apps Builder

Penguin Apps Builder claims to be the “easiest to use mobile app builder.” It offers support for a variety of features, including push notifications, social and gaming features, and loyalty card implementations. The platform uses tiered pricing, with the lowest tier costing around RS3,750 per month. Not only do you have the ability to make Android and iOS apps, this service includes submission to the relevant app stores and an admin panel for managing the app after release. The platinum tier, costing RS52,550 per year, includes an app promotion service.

The Best Free App Builders

If you run a smaller business, you may not want to pay for a mobile app just yet. Perhaps you want to test the waters and see how interested your customers are before paying for the service. Alternatively, you may be looking for something that lets you prototype an app, but you’re not in a hurry to actually launch it for your customers to try out right now. Fortunately, there are many free app builders on the market that allow you to do just that.

1. NativeScript

NativeScript is a popular free and open-source tool that gives you control over the creation of both native Android and iOS mobile apps. This app builder uses TypeScript, JavaScript, and Vue.js, so it requires some programming skills to use. However, it’s relatively easy to learn. You can take advantage of tools, such as in-person training, app performance analysis, troubleshooting reporting and coding assistance. This app builder helps educate you while walking you through the process of building your own app.

2. AppHive

AppHive is a free, browser-based app maker that offers a drag-and-drop interface. You can create a functional app in minutes, with no technical skills needed. Several templates are available to choose from, and it’s free to get started. If you want to unlock more templates, extra storage, or unlimited access to the build feature, you have to pay a monthly fee. AppHive is less polished than many of the premium app builders and can sometimes be confusing to use. However, it’s hard to beat the convenience of being able to put together a working prototype from within your web browser.

3. AppMySite

AppMySite offers a tool to turn WordPress websites into working mobile apps. It also offers a more feature-rich mobile app maker that can also connect to websites. You can get started for free with the preview tier. If you want to launch the app, however, you have to pay. It costs just under RS1,500 per month (billed annually) for an app deployed to the Android store. There’s an additional fee if you also want an iOS app.

4. Ionic

The Ionic Framework is a free cross-platform app development framework based on JavaScript. It allows you to make high-performance mobile apps using your chosen framework, whether that’s Angular, Vue, React, or just vanilla JavaScript. Ionic is completely free to use, but it has a steeper learning curve than most of the other options on this list. If you’ve already got some coding experience and just want a flexible but portable option for developing apps to target multiple devices, then Ionic can be a good choice. One of the perks of this system is that it gives you the freedom and flexibility to add features not supported by other tools.

5. Flutter

Flutter is a development framework that makes it easy to create apps for mobiles, desktops, and web browsers as well as embedded systems. It’s a popular tool that uses Dart to make flexible GUIs that perform well on any target system. Flutter does require some programming knowledge, but the language is relatively flexible and easy to learn. The development framework is supported by Google and has a large user base, so it’s easy to find support when required. A huge list of libraries and extensions is already available for Flutter and Dart. This development framework is entirely free to use, and once apps are finished, they can be deployed to a wide range of devices and platforms.

Lesley Harrison


Lesley Harrison is a technical writer and open source software enthusiast with a passion for all things "data". In her spare time she coaches youth sports and loves exploring the English countryside.


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