Subscription-based

Office 365

One-time purchase

Office 2019

Office 365 is the best option for anyone who needs access to the full range of apps and perks on multiple devices. Plus, you can share an account with up to six people. It's also the only option that offers continuity of updates and upgrades with a low cost of ownership. However, there are monthly or yearly fees, and over time, you may end up paying for features that you'll never use.

$70 at Microsoft

Pros

  • All apps access
  • Multiple people can use across multiple devices
  • Free upgrades
  • Customer support
  • Windows 10, 8.x, 7, and macOS support

Cons

  • Monthly or yearly subscription
  • Limited functionality if service issues
  • New changes can be overwhelming
  • Paying for unnecessary features

If you only need the basic features on a single PC, Office 2019 is probably all you need, as it allows you to access the must-have apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, with all the necessary functionalities. However, paying upfront can be pricey, you have to pay again for upgrades, and you don't get extra perks.

$150 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Popular apps access
  • No monthly payments
  • Security updates
  • Traditional experience
  • Windows 10 and macOS support

Cons

  • One device per license
  • Limited set of features
  • Limited to Windows 10 and macOS
  • No upgrades
  • No customer support

If you're planning to upgrade, or you're new to Microsoft Office, you probably noticed that now you have two options: Office 2019 and Office 365. If you're a little confused on which one to get, you're not alone. Although both offerings give you access to the same apps with the latest core features, some significant differences come down to the cost of ownership and list of features (and to be clear, Office 2019 isn't a replacement for Office 365).

Office 2019

Office 2019 product pageSource: Windows Central

Office 2019 is the name that Microsoft is using for the standalone version of its popular suite of office apps. It doesn't require a monthly subscription, meaning that once you go through the one-time purchase, you own the copy forever.

Using this option (also known as the "perpetual" or "on-premises" version of Office), you can install the apps on a single computer, and you'll get security updates. Still, you won't be able to upgrade to a follow-up version. This means that you can keep using the version that you purchased for its life-cycle and beyond (without updates), but if you want to access the new features and tools, you'll need to pay full price again.

Also, even though Office 2019 comes with apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook with more improvements than its predecessor, it only ships with a subset of features and without many of the perks available with an Office 365 subscription. For instance, with the 2019 version, you won't find cloud and AI features, along with benefits such as 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage and free monthly credits to make calls to landlines using Skype.

Who should buy Office 2019

Although anyone can purchase Office 2019, this version has been designed for commercial customers with volume licenses who aren't ready to transition to a cloud-based version of Office, and happen to have specific requirements to use the suite of apps on-premises.

Although anyone can purchase Office 2019, this version has been designed for certain commercial customers.

If you're a regular consumer, this is still (somewhat) a good option if you prefer a more traditional experience. If you plan to install the suite on a single device, don't depend on new features, or you're not ready to start using cloud-based applications, it's also a solid choice.

Additionally, while you're getting a license for one PC or Mac going down the one-time purchase route, you can install the Office apps on all your mobile devices, but you'll only get some basic features.

Office 2019 comes in two flavors, including "Office Home & Student 2019" and "Office Home & Business 2019," and they're typically priced at $150 and $250 per device, respectively. Office Home & Student 2019 comes with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, while Office Home & Business 2019 includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote.

Also, consider that unlike previous perpetual versions, Office 2019 is only supported on devices running Windows 10 or the three most recent versions of macOS. If you must use the most up-to-date version of Office, and you're still on Windows 8.1 or Windows 7, you have to purchase an Office 365 subscription.

Office 365 features

Office 365 Personal product pageSource: Windows Central

Office 365 is the name that Microsoft uses for its subscription plan service that offers the same apps available with Office 2019, but with even more apps, features, tools, and other benefits.

Using this option, you'll be paying a monthly or yearly subscription fee giving you access to apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access, and others across your devices as long as only six devices are accessing the account at a time. Also, depending on your subscription plan, you can share the account with up to six additional people for a total of six people with one subscription.

Perhaps one of the best parts about getting a subscription plan is that you never have to worry about new versions. When you're using Office 365, you'll always be running the most up-to-date version of the apps that Microsoft can offer. This unlocks regular security updates, improvements, and, more importantly, access to the latest features and tools as soon as they become available.

You also get cloud features, such as real-time collaboration and AI features, to help boost your productivity at home, school, work, and across devices. Also, as part of the bundle, everyone gets 1TB of OneDrive storage (up to 6TB in total when using the Home subscription), Skype minutes to make calls to landlines, and you can contact the support line with any questions you may have.

If you need even more storage, in addition to the already 1TB of cloud storage, subscribers can also purchase up to an additional 1TB of OneDrive storage on 200GB increments for an extra $1.99 per month, doubling the total storage up to 2TB (1TB already included with bundled and 1TB additional subscription) in their account for $9.99. This option is only available for Office 365 Home and Personal customers. Still, if you're sharing the account using a Home subscription with other people, only the primary account holder can access the separate full terabyte.

Similar to Office 2019, you can install Office 365 on your mobile devices, but unlike the perpetual version, you'll get access to the complete array of features.

Who should buy Office 365

If you need access to the suite of apps, Office 365 is perhaps your best choice, as it's the only option that ensures continuity of updates and upgrades at a low cost. Also, you get access to all the apps, which you can install on all your devices, including on devices running Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7, and macOS. (Office 2019 only allows you to use apps on a single computer running Windows 10.)

If you need access to the suite of apps, Office 365 is perhaps your best choice.

The subscription service comes with different plans. If you're the only person using the apps and services, you can purchase the "Office 365 Personal" plan for $70 a year, which gives you access to the software suite, along with 1TB of OneDrive storage and Skype minutes.

However, if you're planning to share the account with family members or roommates, you should select the "Office 365 Home" plan for $100 a year, which allows you to share the apps and the benefits with up to six additional people. Plus, everyone gets their Skype minutes and 1TB of OneDrive storage.

If you choose to buy into a subscription plan, you should purchase the yearly subscription as you'll be spending more money paying the monthly fee.

Microsoft even has a free subscription plan for students and teachers using a valid school email address. Using this service, you'll get access to Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Microsoft Teams, and other school tools for free.

So, which should you buy?

Ultimately, it'll depend on your requirements. However, if you'll be using the apps for a long time, purchasing an Office 365 subscription is perhaps your best option, because you get full access to all the apps and perks with low cost of ownership.

Subscription-based

Office 365

Stay productive with the latest features

Office 365 gives you full access to all the apps and perks, such as 1TB OneDrive and Skype minutes. You can also install Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other apps on up to six devices, and depending on the subscription, you can share the account with up to six people.

One-time purchase

Office 2019

Pay once and forget it.

Office 2019 comes with all the popular apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook, with enough features to get the work done.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.