Skip to main content

Best CI/CD Tools Shortlist

Here's a shortlist of the very best CI/CD tools I’ve used that address complex development needs for continuous integration and delivery:

  1. Jenkins - Best for scaling companies
  2. GitHub Actions - Best for small teams
  3. Azure DevOps - Best for Azure development
  4. Google Cloud Build - Best collaboration features
  5. Argo CD - Best for Kubernetes development
  6. Openshift Pipelines - Best open-source option
  7. GitLab CI/CD - Best maturity feedback
  8. Terraform - Best repeatable code
  9. CircleCI - Best for enterprise development
  10. Spinnaker - Best for custom integrations
  11. Travis CI - Best for on-premise deployments
  12. Bitrise - Best for mobile development

If you’ve worked in a continuous integration and delivery pipeline, you might have struggled to juggle all the different parts of the project because processes are often neither one-and-done nor linear.

To help you navigate these workflows, I evaluated some solutions and prepared this list of my picks for the best CI/CD tools, along with my explanations for why I chose them. I’ve also included the integrations you get and pricing information to help you make a decision.

What Is CI/CD?

CI/CD, short for continuous integration and continuous delivery, breaks up the software development lifecycle in a way that things happen incrementally rather than all at once. The tools in this list let you stay on top of each step of the CI/CD pipeline, from planning to deployment, by helping you do things such as merge code and track feature requests.

Overviews of the 12 Best CI/CD Tools

These are the CI/CD tools I’ve evaluated that really stand out, and I’ve included details on where they work best, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. I’ve also included a section on the criteria I used to make the list.

1. Jenkins - Best for scaling companies

Jenkins CI CD tools screenshot
Adding scripts to Jenkins from a repository. (Source)

Jenkins is an open-source automation server built in Java that runs on most major systems, including macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Why I picked Jenkins: I picked Jenkins because it uses a controller/agents system, where controllers assign jobs to agents depending on the total load across the system. With this feature, I was comfortable knowing that I could expand the scope of my projects without worrying about overloading the server.

Jenkins Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked under scaling with Jenkins include the ability to introduce autohealing and have the server automatically replace unhealthy instances of agents or builds for me. It can also scan your servers and find the most optimal ones in which to run agents rather than pick the first available one, ensuring smooth performance system-wide and minimizing chances of failure in the future.

Integrations are pre-built for Jira, GitHub, Docker, Kubernetes, Groovy, Google Play, Appaloosa, TestFairy, Xamarin, and Appetize.

Pricing: Free

Trial: Free plan available


  • Active developer community for support
  • Extensible with hundreds of plugins
  • Highly scalable


  • Dated UI
  • It’s very dependent on plugins

2. GitHub Actions - Best for small teams

GitHub syntax and governance CI CD tools screenshot
Syntax and governance in GitHub Actions. (Source)

GitHub Actions is a workflow automation tool that allows you to develop a CI/CD pipeline from right within your GitHub repository.

Why I picked GitHub Actions: I, like most developers out there, am both familiar with and comfortable working in GitHub, so it was easy enough to get started with Actions. This familiarity means I didn’t need to spend time on training, and this could be the distinction that makes or breaks productivity on a small team.

GitHub Actions Standout Features and Integrations

Features that I enjoyed while using Actions include the ability to kick off workflows from common GitHub events such as commits, forms, pull requests, and pushes. After just one afternoon of some moderate tinkering, I’d developed some fairly complex workflows, all connected natively to my GitHub repos, that I could set in motion with just one action. I also liked matrix builds that I used to test my code concurrently across multiple systems and cut down the time I spent on repetitive evaluations.

Integrations are pre-built for LaunchDarkly, GitKraken, Kubernetes, Code Climate Velocity, Coveralls, Azure, Glo Boards, Mabl, Codecov, and Amazon ECR Login.

Pricing: Pricing upon request

Trial: Free plan available


  • Easy to use
  • Wide range of events to link to actions
  • Actions are isolated, minimizing conflicts and compatibility issues


  • Built entirely around repositories
  • Poor support for actions originating outside the core development team

3. Azure DevOps - Best for Azure development

Azure DevOps CI CD tools screenshot
Project management with Kanban boards in Azure DevOps. (Source)

Azure DevOps, previously called Visual Studio Team Services, is a collection of tools for DevOps teams from Microsoft that, aside from CI/CD tools, also includes repos and agile-based project management boards.

Why I picked Azure DevOps: I chose Azure DevOps because its CI/CD feature, called Pipelines, works on any cloud. But you can pair it with other tools and get more from it out of the box if you keep it on Azure. These tools include Azure Boards for agile project management, Repos for Git repository functionality, Test Plans for exploratory and manual testing, and Artifacts for package management.

Azure DevOps Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked while using Azure DevOps for CI/CD on the Azure platform include the native support for containers, which allowed me to run high-performance parallel jobs and tests at scale with little effort. I also used Boards to plan out sprints months ahead of time because it gave me enough information to predict workflows along the pipeline.

Integrations are native for Azure products and services like Functions, Web Apps, and Container Registry, as well as pre-built for GitHub, Slack, Jenkins, Kubernetes, SonarCloud, Docker Hub, and Google Cloud.

Pricing: From $52/user/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Combines CI/CD with DevOps
  • Includes project management solutions for scrum and agile
  • Robust repository management


  • Poor integration with third-party services
  • Limited customization options

4. Google Cloud Build - Best collaborative features

Google Cloud Build CI CD tools screenshot
Using private pools to secure CI/CD in Google Cloud Build. (Source)

Google Cloud Build is a serverless CI/CD platform that you can use to build, test, and deploy your applications on Google Cloud.

Why I picked Google Cloud Build: Google Cloud Build borrows heavily from the same philosophy behind Google Workspace as far as fostering team collaboration. At every stage of the CI/CD pipeline, I had easy access to all relevant stakeholders; I got updates about and could initiate direct communication around virtually any part of the process via avenues like Google Chat.

Google Cloud Build Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked in Cloud Build include the fact that it’s serverless, meaning I could spin my builds at scale in any environment without worrying about infrastructure. I was also able to use the open-source local builder to work on builds offline, test out experimental features and debug, then upload to the cloud when they were ready.

Integrations are available natively for Google Chat, Cloud Run, and Cloud Source Repositories, as well as pre-built for Docker, Jira, GitHub, Terraform, Bitbucket Configure 8, and Depot.

Pricing: From $0.003/build minute

Trial: Free plan available


  • Strong collaborative features
  • Local builder for debugging
  • Serverless architecture that’s easier to scale


  • Restrictive free plan (only 120 build minutes per day)
  • Sparse documentation

5. Argo CD - Best for Kubernetes development

Argo CD CI tools status screenshot
Viewing the status of a deployed application in Argo CD. (Source)

The Argo Project is a Kubernetes-native collection of tools released by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF). It has a continuous deployment sub-project called Argo CD, which is what I evaluated.

Why I picked Argo CD: I was already familiar with the Argo Project before I started working on this article, and I knew of its main aim: providing tools that promote the adoption of Kubernetes. When I finally got to Argo CD for the evaluation, it was the first thing I tested.

For Kubernetes developers, I’m happy to report that it is fully K8s native, and the main advantage of this is I didn’t have to use any integrations to incorporate it into my workflows.

Argo CD Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked when working with Argo CD for Kubernetes development include how easy it made it to bring in GitOps principles. All I had to do was configure Argo to be the controller for my clusters and connect it to a Git repository, and it took over monitoring my applications. It also gave me several different options for specifying the Kubernetes manifests for my deployments, depending on what I was comfortable with, including json/YAML and jsonnet.

Integrations are available natively with Kubernetes and other products from the Argo Project, like Workflows, Rollouts, and Events.

Pricing: Free

Trial: Free plan available


  • Kubernetes native
  • Supports GitOps
  • User-friendly UI


  • Requires significant Kubernetes expertise
  • Limited to Kubernetes environments

6. OpenShift Pipelines - Best open-source option

OpenShift Pipelines open source CI/CD software screenshot
Managing a deployed pipeline in OpenShift Pipelines. (Source)

OpenShift Pipelines is a Kubernetes-native open-source CI/CD framework from Red Hat. It’s based on Tekton, another framework from the Continuous Delivery Foundation (CDF).

Why I picked OpenShift Pipelines: I chose OpenShift Pipelines because it’s a robust framework for teams that want to put in the extra legwork towards building their own CI/CD systems. On top of the core structure, you can extract even more customization via the OpenShift Container Platform console, where you can access logs and provision Tekton resources.

OpenShift Pipelines Standout Features and Integrations

Features that made my experience building a CI/CD system with OpenShift Pipelines manageable include the fact that it maintains standard definitions. These made it easy for me to work from memory and not rely on the documentation at every turn.

I also liked that it allowed me to leverage Source-to-Image (S2I), a Kubernetes tool, to build images directly from my source code.

Integrations are available natively with other Red Hat products, including OpenShift Kubernetes Engine, Virtualization, Container Platform Development Console, and Ansible. There are also pre-built integrations for Kaniko, Buildah, and Buildpacks.

Pricing: Free

Trial: Free plan available


  • Flexible configuration options
  • Kubernetes native
  • Serverless architecture


  • Doesn’t work as well in non-Kubernetes environments
  • Requires extensive configuration

7. GitLab CI/CD - Best maturity feedback

GitLab CI CD tools screenshot
Running tests in GitLab CI/CD. (Source)

GitLab’s CI/CD solution covers continuous integration, deployment, and delivery methodologies for software development.

Why I picked GitLab CI/CD: I chose GitLab CI/CD because of the Scorecards feature, which measured the maturity or progress I’d made in my pipelines against an ideal that I was meant to be working towards. For teams that don’t have much experience with CI/CD, this feedback is a useful yardstick when building their system.

GitLab CI/CD Standout Features and Integrations

Features I think teams that are new to CI/CD would like in GitLab CI/CD include Auto DevOps, which scanned my project, determined the languages I was using, and suggested templates for complete pipelines. I also liked the onboard ChatOps features, which allowed me to initiate CI processes and receive subsequent updates through the same channel the team used for communication.

Integrations are pre-built for Visual Studio Code, Jira, ServiceNow, Jenkins, Azure DevOps, Slack, SonarQube, Campfire, Pivotal Tracker, and Asana.

Pricing: From $29/user/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Detailed maturity feedback
  • Supports DevSecOps
  • Pipeline templates


  • Significantly underpowered free tier
  • No standalone version

8. Terraform - Best repeatable code

Terraform CI CD tools screenshot
Managing feature requests with Terraform. (Source)

Terraform, an infrastructure-as-code (IAC) tool from HashiCorp, allows development teams to automate various aspects of working on infrastructure.

Why I picked Terraform: I chose Terraform because of its Modules feature, which I used to code containerized bundles of unique resources that I could reuse across my projects instead of creating new ones every time. This approach helped me cut down on redundancies and speed up processes considerably.

Terraform Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked while using Terraform include its strong automation capabilities that I leveraged to improve processes in my existing CI/CD pipelines. I also took note of the HashiCorp Configuration Language (HCL), which allowed me to unlock the full IAC features of Terraform and implement more granular resource provisioning across my development systems.

Integrations are available with AWS, Jenkins, Ansible, GitHub, Terragrunt, Azure DevOps, ServiceNow, GitLab, Bitbucket, and Snyk.

Pricing: From $0.00014/hour/resource

Trial: Free plan available


  • Strong code management features
  • Robust automation capabilities
  • IAC features that work across most platforms


  • HCL takes a while to learn
  • Relies heavily on third-party tools for full functionality

9. CircleCI - Best for enterprise development

CircleCI CI CD tools screenshot
Tracking recent builds from the CircleCI dashboard. (Source)

CircleCI is a continuous integration tool that you can deploy both in the cloud and on-premises to automate workflows.

Why I picked CircleCI: In my opinion, CircleCI’s Scale and Server plans are ideal choices for enterprises with the right budget. On Scale, for example, you get unlimited self-hosted runners, 200GB of storage, and a 50GB network transfer limit. These are the kinds of features that’d give any enterprise development environment the high ceilings it needs for growth.

CircleCI Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked in CircleCI include Insights, which I used to monitor resource classes like processing, memory, and storage, to manage costs at scale. I also liked the option to debug much faster with SSH, which provides an interactive console that I used to access directory paths, active processes, and log files.

Integrations are pre-built for GitHub, GitLab, Snyk, Slack, Docker, LaunchDarkly, JFrog, Bitbucket, Anchore, and Terraform.

Pricing: From $15/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Detailed metrics with Insights
  • SSH debugging
  • Scalable


  • Expensive
  • Support teams often take long to respond

10. Spinnaker - Best for custom integrations

Spinnaker screenshot
Managing a project’s pipelines with Spinnaker. (Source)

Spinnaker is a multi-cloud open-source platform from the Linux Foundation that focuses on the CD part of the process.

Why I picked Spinnaker: Spinnaker being multi-cloud makes it easy to integrate existing CI/CD pipelines or build one from scratch. If you already have a pipeline and want to integrate proprietary tools, you have several options for that with the Spinnaker API, which supports various HTTP methods, including GET, POST, PUT, and PATCH.

Spinnaker Standout Features and Integrations

Features I liked while assessing Spinnaker include the image bakery, which I used to generate immutable VMs that acted as an image base for the container instances I deployed at the tail end of my pipelines. I also liked the onboard canary analysis features that allowed me to expose a small part of my in-progress project and take detailed performance readings that determined whether or not it was ready for deployment.

Integrations are pre-built for Jenkins, Google Cloud Platform, ServiceNow, AWS, Armory, Jira, GitHub, GitLab, Terraform, and Slack.

Pricing: Free

Trial: Free plan available


  • Very configurable
  • Active developer community for support
  • Supports canary analysis


  • CD only
  • Relies heavily on third-party tools

11. Travis CI - Best for on-premise deployments

Travis software screenshot
Customizing builds in Travis CI. (Source)

As the first tool to offer free, open-source CI services, Travis CI is one of the longest-running solutions in the CI/CD space. Today, it provides paid plans as well, but it’s still a solid tool, in my opinion.

Why I picked Travis CI: Travis CI has an on-premise version, which is the one I worked with first for the evaluation, and it has some features that are unique to it. The one that stood out to me the most was the ability to incorporate multiple version control systems, which is good if you’re trying to cover all your bases or want to test different ones out in real-world scenarios.

Travis CI Standout Features and Integrations

Features that I liked while using Travis CI on-premise include the option to use my existing SAML and LDAP configurations as is by connecting to GitHub Enterprise for authorization and authentication. Travis also provides fully configured and regularly updated images for build environments which you can still customize if you want.

Integrations are pre-built for GitHub, Assembla, GitLab, Bitbucket, Apache Subversion, Perforce, SonarCloud, HashiCorp Vault, Code Climate, and Jira.

Pricing: From $34/user/month

Trial: 30-day free trial


  • Straightforward setup
  • Multipurpose GitHub integration
  • Provides preconfigured customizable build images


  • Reporting is too light
  • Not as configurable as other options

12. Bitrise - Best for mobile app development

Bitrise software screenshot
Managing development workflows within Bitrise. (Source)

Bitrise is a fully hosted CI/CD pipeline solution whose main focus is on mobile application development.

Why I picked Bitrise: Bitrise got my attention with its Mobile DevOps features that adapt the system to a more mobile-centric model. One example of this is how I could collect more information to improve my app’s UX through detailed, near-instantaneous feedback and reports from app stores, as well as regular regression testing.

Bitrise Standout Features and Integrations

Features that made mobile app development easier on Bitrise include dedicated CI/CD functions for React Native, like end-to-end UI tests with Detox, accompanied by full reports. I also tested how well it works with Flutter and found that, right from the start, I could customize the build by specifying the exact SDK I was using and declare new parameters. After this initial setup, I could proceed with development on my cross-platform Flutter app using the same workflow for both Android and iOS.

Integrations are pre-built for Jira, GitHub, Jasmine, Karma, Android Sign, Perfecto, Heroku, Carthage, Localazy, and Bundler.

Pricing: From $35/month

Trial: Free plan available


  • Robust Mobile DevOps features
  • High configurability from the UI
  • Easy to set up and use


  • Expensive for small-scale operations
  • Slow build times, especially on the free tier

Other CI/CD Software Options

Here are some other CI/CD software tools I tested that didn’t make the main list but felt were still good enough to warrant inclusion:

  1. Integrity - Best for Ruby development
  2. Wercker - Best for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure development
  3. TeamCity - Best logging features
  4. Gradle - Best for Android development
  5. Semaphore - Best for monorepo development
  6. Nevercode - Best for Flutter development
  7. Buildbot - Best for parallel jobs
  8. Buddy - Best project management features

Selection Criteria For CI/CD Tools

Here’s a short summary of the main selection and evaluation criteria I used to develop my list of the best CI/CD tools for this article:

Core Functionality

For a tool to make the list, I needed it to do the following:

  • Allow me to implement version control, either natively or via integrations, to manage merge conflicts and similar issues with the codebase
  • Be cloud-agnostic to facilitate development in any environment — the more a tool relied on a particular cloud, the less likely I was to recommend it for other clouds
  • Allow me to account for differences in the specifics of pipeline steps across various teams with differing goals

Key Features

Features I was looking for that facilitate the functionality I wanted include:

  • Automated builds: This feature checks the code for any missing dependencies so applications perform more reliably during demos and tests.
  • Configuration management: Use this to log any changes to the pipeline so you can more accurately track its state as the project grows.
  • Monorepo support: This allows different team members to work comfortably with code from a single repository at scale.
  • Reusable pipelines: So teams don’t have to start from scratch with new products or major updates.
  • Parallel jobs: This helps cut down on bottlenecks in the workflows.


The goal of CI/CD is to make it easy to manage several small bits of large, complex projects, and I wanted tools that made this achievable with minimal relative effort. For example, I was more likely to recommend a tool if it allowed team members to visualize their pipelines.


You use CI/CD tools as part of a pipeline that covers different parts of development, so it makes sense that you need them to integrate other development tools. These include code editors, messaging apps, Kanban boards, and repositories.

People Also Ask

Still feeling a bit hazy around the concept of CI/CD pipelines? I’ve gone ahead and included the answers to questions you might have:

Subscribe For More Software Development Insights

If you’re working on a moderately sizable project that requires iterative updates, like nearly half of all developers, a good CI/CD system provides several benefits to your development team and the end user.

Use the information in this article to build a good pipeline, and subscribe to The CTO Club newsletter for more software development insights.

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.