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With so many API tools on the market, choosing the best one for your needs can be challenging. You understand the need to simplify API integration and management, but finding an API tool that meets your requirements is tough.

Fear not—I'm here to help! In this post, I will make your decision-making process easier and share my insights from using dozens of API tools across projects. I'll highlight my top picks for the best API management tools, making your choice simple.

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Best API Tools Summary

Tools Price
Stoplight From $39/3 users/month
Azure API Management From $48.04/month
Axway Amplify API Management Inquire for custom quotes
IBM API Connect From $83/month
MuleSoft Anypoint Platform Pricing upon request
RapidAPI From $10/month
Celigo From $600/month
Apigee From $1.025 per Apigee gateway node per hour
OpenAPI Generator Free to use
Tyk From $600/month
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How to Choose API Tool Software

With so many API tool options on the market, choosing the one that matches your requirements can take time and effort.

As you shortlist, test, and select your API tools, keep the following in mind:

What problem are you trying to solve - Start by identifying the specific gap or challenge you're trying to address with the API tool. Clarifying the features and functionality needed to fill this gap will help you choose the right API tool.

Who will need to use it - To evaluate cost and requirements, consider who'll use the API tool and how many licenses you'll need. When that's clear, decide whether your priority lies in ease of use for all users or in speed for API tool power users.

What other tools it needs to work with -Identify the systems your API tool needs to work with, such as databases or payment gateways. Seamless integration ensures efficient data exchange and workflow automation.

What outcomes are important - Define the key outcomes the API tool needs to achieve. These include improving data access, enhancing system interoperability, and optimizing performance. You ensure your API tool addresses your needs when you align with these goals.

How it would work within your organization - Test how the API tool will fit into your organization's workflows and processes. Consider factors such as ease of use, user adoption, and scalability. Check current strategies and find what needs improvement. Remember, every business is different, so don't assume that because a tool is popular, it'll work in your organization.

Overview Of The 12 Best API Tools

Let’s dive deeper to explore the unique features, benefits, and pricing models of the 12 best API tools you can use right now.

Best for fast API creation

  • Free plan available
  • From $39/3 users/month
Visit Website
Rating: 4.3/5

Stoplight is an API tool designed to help you design, document, and build APIs quickly and easily. The service places a strong emphasis on team collaboration, project visibility, and governance.

Why I chose Stoplight

I chose Stoplight for its intuitive interface and full API lifecycle support. The visual and collaborative editor is clean, easy to use, and provides clear instructions on how to perform different tasks and functions. I also appreciated Stoplight’s detailed resource center, with instructional guides in written, audio, and video format.

Stoplight Standout Features

Spotlight’s standout features include the Stoplight Studio, which has an easy-to-use interface that is accessible to both technical and non-technical staff. This helps you design APIs in mere minutes and then use virtual mock servers to test your designs and receive feedback from stakeholders.

Stoplight can also help you incorporate governance by letting you use predefined or custom guidelines as a reference.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Open-source API tools for mocking, lifting, and documentation
  • Useful and easy-to-follow learning materials in written, audio, and video formats
  • Complete API lifecycle management, from design to documentation to compliance

Cons:

  • UI can be hard to navigate as projects become more complex
  • Expensive premium plans

Best for hybrid and multi-cloud API management

  • Free trial available
  • From $48.04/month

Microsoft Azure API Management is an API management tool intended to help deploy and manage APIs on the Microsoft Azure platform, along with other clouds and on-premises environments. You can use Azure API Management to control data access, transform legacy web services into RESTful APIs, and incorporate security and compliance.

Why I Chose Azure API Management

The first thing that stood out to me was the pay-as-you-go pricing model, which lets you pay only for the time that you spend on the service. I also appreciated the robust security and customization features. You can control how your data appears to different users (i.e., employees, visitors, customers), implement strict authorization and authentication standards, and customize the developer portal with your own branding to help boost API discoverability.

Azure API Management Standout Features

Azure API Management lets you deploy self-hosted gateways, meaning gateways are placed in the same environments that the APIs are hosted in. As a result, you can more easily streamline the flow of traffic, which helps reduce latency and lower data transfer costs.

You can also use the custom developer portal to personalize the branding of your API. And while that feature isn’t unique to Azure, the Microsoft branding adds an extra level of authenticity to your API.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Manages assets across multiple environments, including in the cloud and on-premises
  • Comprehensive security measures control users’ data access
  • Custom developer portal to promote products to internal teams and external partners

Cons:

  • Integrating with apps outside of the Azure platform can be difficult
  • Flexible pricing can make it hard for businesses to manage fluctuating costs

Best for universal API management

  • No free trial
  • Inquire for custom quotes

Axway Amplify is an API management platform that features an integrated marketplace, management and integration service, and open banking solution. Amplify consists of an open platform that lets you publish, validate, and govern APIs in both multi-cloud and on-premise environments.

Why I Chose Axway Amplify

Axway Amplify caught my attention for its innovative use of automation, which enables you to automate the process of finding, reusing, and applying governance standards to APIs across multiple cloud and on-premise environments. It also lets you easily monitor the usage and performance of your APIs while providing detailed analytics for the full API lifecycle.

Axway Amplify Standout Features

Features that make Axway Amplify unique include the Open Banking solution. Open Banking allows banks to share financial details in a safe, secure, and simple manner. I appreciated how this tool helps you reap all the benefits that Open Banking has to offer, such as widespread integration throughout the financial ecosystem.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Unique emphasis on Open Banking solutions
  • Detailed analytics and API performance monitoring capabilities
  • Strong documentation and customer support

Cons:

  • Can be expensive for businesses on a limited budget
  • Over-abundance of features can be overwhelming

Best for API lifecycle management

  • Free 30-day trial
  • From $83/month

IBM API Connect is an API creation and management tool that is designed with security and multi-cloud API lifecycle management in mind. It provides an intuitive, easy-to-use experience for API providers and consumer developers, with a developer portal that lets you create, secure, socialize, and monetize your APIs.

Why I Chose IBM API Connect

If you’re looking for a full-service API lifecycle management tool, I found that IBM API Connect has everything you’d typically need, including API creation, API testing tools, and analytics. The analytics feature is particularly useful as it helps you better understand who is downloading your APIs, how they are using them, and what can be done to improve the user experience.

IBM API Connect Standout Features

IBM API Connect is notable for its commitment to enhancing the lifecycle management experience. On the creation side, you get auto-generated API models, visual API creation, and support for REST APIs, SOAP web services, MySQL, MongoDB, and more connectors. While on the managing side, you get several instances of API managers, developer portals, and a policy assembly UX for easy compliance.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Self-service developer tools help API deployment strategies for the whole API lifecycle
  • Unique emphasis on socialization to help boost API visibility and user engagement
  • Huge range of API lifecycle management features

Cons:

  • Short free trial period
  • Steep learning curve

Best for API delivery and deployment

  • Free 30-day trial period
  • Pricing upon request

MuleSoft is an API development, management, and integration platform. It helps you to quickly build APIs from scratch with pre-built assets, as well as to discover and connect to APIs made by third parties.

Why I Chose MuleSoft

I recommended MuleSoft because of its powerful API development tools, seamless integration capabilities, and ease of use. I was particularly impressed by how flexible the integration tools are, which let you connect to both newer and legacy systems at the same time. MuleSoft is also owned by Salesforce, so you can incorporate the Salesforce products into your workflow.

MuleSoft Standout Features

One feature that sets MuleSoft apart is the Anypoint Flex Gateway. Designed with speed and performance in mind, the Gateway lets you manage and secure APIs running from anywhere, including the most demanding applications across multiple cloud environments. MulesSoft also has an intuitive user interface featuring drag-and-drop tools and pre-built connectors to streamline the development and integration process.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Can be run virtually in any architecture or environment.
  • Seamless integration with Salesforce and Workforce portfolio of products.
  • Powerful API development tools that are easy to use.

Cons:

  • More features than what most API providers and consumer developers need.
  • Lack of documentation and steep learning curve.

Best API marketplace

  • Free plan available
  • From $10/month

RapidAPI is the largest API marketplace in the world, with more than 4 million developers using the platform to consume APIs and more than 40 thousand APIs currently in the hub.

RapidAPI is great for API providers, thanks to its built-in developer portal and large user base. It is also great for consumer developers, as you’ll find plenty of APIs in broad categories to choose from, ranging from weather and transportation to accounting and music.

Why I Picked RapidAPI

I selected RapidAPI Marketplace because I liked how easy it was to browse and find the APIs you need, right down to their category. There are thousands of APIs to choose from, meaning you are nearly guaranteed to find one that meets your unique requirements.

Another great thing about RapidAPI is that you can test the response times and functionality of your chosen APIs before you integrate them into your system, giving you the assurance that the ones you choose will work properly.

RapidAPI Standout Features

I noted a wide range of features in RapidAPI, with tools to help you design, develop, test, and publish your APIs, as well as find and connect APIs to your system.

While many of these features are standard for most API tools, what sets RapidAPI apart is its ease of use and large user base. Whether you are an API provider or consumer developer, there is an audience for your next API, and there are more than 40,000 APIs ready to use.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Integrated API design, development, and data-driven testing tools
  • Over 40,000 APIs for consumer developers to find and connect to
  • Hundreds of different API categories

Cons:

  • Some published APIs can still present issues and not perform as expected
  • User interface can be challenging for newcomers, especially when designing APIs

Best for API automation

  • Free trial/freemium version available
  • From $600/month

Celigo is an Integration-Platform-as-a-Service (IPaaS) that helps you connect and manage APIs, automate business processes, and sync data across multiple cloud and on-premise environments.

Why I Chose Celigo

Despite how feature-rich Celigo is, I was surprised by how easy it was to learn. The instructor-led training sessions let you engage with a professional one-on-one, where they cover a range of topics – i.e., establishing connections, resolving errors during flows – and let you ask questions.

Celigo also makes it easy for you to automate business processes using pre-built automations that follow industry best practices.

Celigo Standout Features

I appreciated that Celigo has features to assist with virtually every aspect of the API management process, from development to integration and email and Excel integration. For technical users, you can develop your own integrations with custom code.

You can also browse 100+ APIs from official vendors like Microsoft and Salesforce and use universal connectors for over 100,000 apps.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Strong documentation and customer support
  • Huge range of pre-built apps and business logic flows
  • Easy to learn and use

Cons:

  • Over-reliance on universal connectors can lead to issues with third-party APIs
  • Custom pricing can make it hard to predict ongoing costs

Best for Google Cloud API management

  • Free 60-day trial period
  • From $1.025 per Apigee gateway node per hour

Apigee is an API tool for developing and managing REST- and HTTP-based APIs. The Apigee platform is unique for its use of API proxies, where consumer developers make HTTP requests to API proxies instead of interacting directly with your services. This arrangement shields developers from your backend, preventing backend code changes.

Why I Chose Apigee

I chose Apigee because it helps API providers make backend changes to their APIs while maintaining a consistent frontend. This means you can make changes to your services without worrying about negatively impacting the user experience. In addition, Apigee is owned and operated by Google, so consumer developers can connect any Google-based applications to Apigee with ease.

Apigee Standout Features

In Apigee you’ll find a feature-rich dashboard that gives you a bird’s eye view of your API environments. You can control and monitor API traffic, investigate traffic spikes, optimize API performance, and identify potential areas of improvement. You can also customize the analytics data that you collect as it relates to your API, developers, and products.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Automated API security scans with machine learning abuse detection.
  • Simple and straightforward setup and deployment process
  • Native Google Cloud integration

Cons:

  • Documentation can be better
  • More expensive than Azure API Management.

Best for generating API code

  • Free to use

OpenAPI Generator is an API management tool that allows you to generate clients, servers, and documentation from OpenAPI documents. OpenAPI Generator has more than 50 client generators, which you can use to generate and implement code into your API.

Why I Chose OpenAPI Generator

I selected OpenAPI as a recommendation for anyone who needs powerful API generation tools. Whether you’re building a MySQL database or server stub, OpenAPI Generator helps reduce manual coding errors by automatically generating code that meets your specifications. You can also customize the code you generate based on the functionalities you need, such as generating documentation in Cwiki and HTML formats.

OpenAPI Generator Standout Features

OpenAPI Generator has more than 50 client generators for Android, Dart, Ruby, Rust, and many more. It is also very customizable, letting you transform templates with additional static documentation and custom tooling scripts. OpenAPI Generator also supports listing generators, “Meta” generators, and validation of Open API - both 2.0 and 3.0 versions.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Active Slack community for troubleshooting
  • More than 50 client generators and more than 40 different languages and technologies for server stubs
  • Automatic code generator helps reduce manual coding errors

Cons:

  • Limited security features
  • Automatically generated code still needs reviewing to ensure it works

If you still haven't found what you're looking for, check out these closely related API tool software solutions we've tested and evaluated.

Selection Criteria for API Tools

When I'm in the market for API tool software, I lean heavily on my own experiences and deep dive into each tool's capabilities. It's not just about ticking off feature boxes; it's about how these features play out in real-world scenarios.

Core API Tool Functionality: - 25% of total weighting score

Standard features for API tool software usually span user-friendly interfaces, detailed analytics, robust security measures, scalability, and diverse API type support. Other features include integrated testing tools, rate limiting, customization options, a supportive developer community, and integration capabilities.

For a tool to even get on my radar, it needs to meet these basics. It's all about how well it lets you:

  • Craft and oversee your APIs 
  • Keep tabs on how your APIs are performing
  • Lock down your APIs against any security threats
  • Scale your API usage as your demands grow
  • Spot and fix any issues in your APIs early on

Additional Standout Features - 25% of total weighting score

I'm always hunting for what sets a tool apart. This could be anything from:

  • Innovative security enhancements not found elsewhere
  • Unique analytical insights or visualization tools
  • Exceptional flexibility in how you manage and tweak your APIs
  • Cutting-edge support for emerging API types or standards
  • A vibrant community ecosystem offering unparalleled resources and support

Usability - 10% of total weighting score

The tool must be mighty yet manageable. I weigh up:

  • The intuitiveness of the UI
  • Clarity and usefulness of the documentation
  • Availability of quick-start guides, templates, or shortcuts

Onboarding - 10% of total weighting score

Jumping into a new tool should be smooth sailing. I look out for:

  • A straightforward setup experience
  • Handy tutorial content like videos or interactive demos
  • Supportive communities or forums where I can get tips or advice

Customer Support - 10% of total weighting score

Solid support can be a deal-breaker. I assess:

  • The responsiveness and helpfulness of the customer service team
  • The range of support channels available (chat, email, phone)
  • Self-serve resources like a knowledge base or FAQs

Value For Money - 10% of total weighting score

I'm after bang for my buck, so I compare:

  • What each pricing tier offers versus the cost
  • How the tool's pricing stacks up against similar offerings

Customer Reviews - 10% of total weighting score

Honest user feedback is gold. I dig into:

  • User satisfaction and testimonials
  • How the tool has solved specific problems or addressed pain points
  • Any recurring issues or gripes users might have

This method helps me pick out API tool software that's not just good on paper but delivers in the trenches, matching perfectly with what you need.

In 2024, API tools continue to change. This reflects the growing sophistication of business needs and technological capabilities. After looking at product updates and industry news, I've spotted some key trends shaping this field. These trends can improve how you use APIs and even push the boundaries of what APIs can do.

Emerging Features and Functionality

  • Automation in API Testing: The push for automation in API testing is stronger than ever, with tools adding AI to streamline testing. This automation allows for real-time error detection and correction. In turn, it reduces development cycles and improves reliability.
  • Advanced Security Protocols: As cyber threats evolve, so do the security measures within API tools. API software now uses better encryption and compliance standards.
  • Real-time Analytics: Tools now offer detailed analytics. They let businesses track API performance and usage in real time. This function is critical. It optimizes API endpoints and shows how users interact, providing insights.
  • Enhanced Integration Capabilities: With the rise of microservices architectures, API tools are enhancing integration capabilities. This trend addresses the growing demand for interoperability within diverse IT environments.

Diminishing Importance

  • Legacy Protocol Support: Support for older API protocols decreases as newer, more secure ones replace them.

I think the trends generally point toward more automation, better security, and deeper integration in API tools. These match the needs of modern businesses: to be agile, secure, and data-driven.

What is an API Tool?

An Application Programming Interface (API) is a software interface that lets two or more applications communicate with each other. APIs improve application functionality without forcing developers to build new features from scratch. They make it possible for one application to leverage the capabilities of another in a safe, secure, and efficient manner.

An API tool is an application designed to help you make the most of your APIs. It helps with design and development, automated and manual testing, and publishing. You can also use API tools to browse other people's APIs and integrate them into your own system, such as your multi-cloud or on-premise environment.

Features of API Tool Software

Through my extensive experience with API tools, I've discovered that choosing the right API tool software is crucial for harnessing its full capabilities.

The ideal software should make integration easy, ensure strong security, and be simple to manage. Here are the top features to look for:

  • User-Friendly Interface - A good interface makes creating and managing APIs easy, even for those with little technical background.
  • Analytics and Reporting - Detailed data and reports show how your APIs are used and where you can improve.
  • Security Features - Strong security features protect your data from unauthorized access and threats.
  • Scalability - Your software should be able to grow with your business, handling more API calls as needed.
  • Support for Various API Types - Working with different API types, like REST and GraphQL, gives you more flexibility in developing APIs.
  • API Testing Tools -Integrated testing tools help you find and fix errors early.
  • Rate Limiting Rate limiting helps prevent too many API calls from overloading your system.
  • Customization - This feature lets you adjust the software to meet your business's needs. 
  • Developer Community and Support - A good developer community and support resources help you solve problems.
  • Integration with Other Tools - Combining with other tools and systems makes your workflow more efficient.

Choosing API tool software with these traits eases integration. It also boosts security, improves management, and helps you achieve your business goals. This approach also drives innovation and enhances communication across platforms.

Benefits of API Tool Software

As a software developer, I understand the crucial role of API tool software. It's more than a tool; it's essential for driving change. This software enhances productivity and streamlines processes in remarkable ways.

Here's my take on the top five benefits of using API tool software:

1. Enhanced Efficiency: I've found that API tool software speeds up tasks like API creation, management, and testing. It saves countless hours and much effort throughout the development process.

2. Improved Collaboration: It provides a shared platform for me and my colleagues to work on API projects together. This fosters improved communication and teamwork among developers, testers, and other involved parties.

3. Boosted Scalability: In my experience, API tool software helps scale up our API network to support more users and larger projects. It ensures everything runs even when demand spikes.

4. Improved Security: One standout feature of API tool software is its strong security protocols. It uses encryption and strict access controls to protect critical data. They keep out uninvited guests, vital in today's digital world.

5. Quicker Innovation: API tool software has allowed us to develop, test, and refine new services. This is essential to keep up with rapid technological changes and stay ahead of the competition.

Adopting API tool software is a game-changer for developing and handling software. It makes my work more efficient and opens up new possibilities for innovation. I believe this technology is a must-have because it can streamline projects, protect data, and enhance teamwork. 

Cost & Pricing for API Tool Software

Picking the right API tool software is important for businesses that want to connect different systems and make things run automatically. This is especially true if it's your first time buying this type of software.

There are many options, so it's essential to understand the different plans and how much they cost. This ensures you get what you need without spending too much or too little, especially as your business grows and changes.

Here's what to keep in mind:

  • Free plans are a great way to start your API tool project without spending money. Remember that they might not have everything you need or much help if you get stuck.
  • Basic plans are affordable and give you the essential tools you need. This is great if you're working on a smaller project or if it's just you.
  • Pro plans serve as a flexible middle ground. They're not too pricey, and they offer more features and support. This is awesome for teams that are starting to grow or businesses that need a bit more from their software.
  • Enterprise plans are the top tier with all the bells and whistles. They're great for big companies with complex projects, as you get the most customization and help.

Below, I outline the plan options and pricing structures offered by app development software providers. I provide insight into the value of each plan.

Plan Comparison Table for API Tool Software

Plan TypeAverage PriceWhat You Get
Free$0Basic API access, some limits on how much you can use it each day, help from the online community
Basic$10 - $50/monthMore APIs to use, you can use it more each day, some help when you need it, some basic info on how you're using the APIs
Professional$50 - $200/monthEven more APIs, higher use limits, you get help faster, you get better info on your usage, and more ways to make it work with what you need
EnterpriseVariableEverything’s available, you can use it as much as you need, help any time of the day, and really detailed info on your usage

When looking at plans, I also consider how much I need to use the API and what kind of help I might need. It's also wise to consider the future because upgrading to a better plan can give me more options and support as my business grows.

People Also Ask

Below is a quick breakdown of the most common questions people ask when searching for API tools.

Other Recommended API Tools

Here’s a list of the API tools that didn’t quite make my top 12 list. If you are after a specific feature or function that you couldn’t find in the main list, one of these API tools could be up your alley.

  1. Software AG

    Best for seamless data integration

  2. FastAPI

    Best for building APIs with Python

  3. Boomi

    Best API management for enterprises

  4. AsyncAPI

    Best for building and maintaining event-driven architecture

  5. SoapUI

    Best API testing tool

  6. Rest Assured

    Best for validating REST services

  7. Cleo

    Best for EDI and API automation

API Tool Selection Made Easy

When looking at plans, I also consider how much I need to use the API and what kind of help I might need. It's also wise to consider the future because upgrading to a better plan can give me more options and support as my business grows.

Whether you are a developer or a customer, choosing the best API tools for your project is very important. Each tool has unique features, strengths, weaknesses, and pricing models. These factors influence what each tool can do and how much value it can add to your project. 

Hopefully, this article will help you better understand the differences between each vendor so you can make an informed choice for your business.

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By Paulo Gardini Miguel

Paulo is the Director of Technology at the rapidly growing media tech company BWZ. Prior to that, he worked as a Software Engineering Manager and then Head Of Technology at Navegg, Latin America’s largest data marketplace, and as Full Stack Engineer at MapLink, which provides geolocation APIs as a service. Paulo draws insight from years of experience serving as an infrastructure architect, team leader, and product developer in rapidly scaling web environments. He’s driven to share his expertise with other technology leaders to help them build great teams, improve performance, optimize resources, and create foundations for scalability.