Top EyeLink eye tracker alternatives

Andrzej Morawski
April 16, 2024

SR Research produces and designs EyeLink eyetrackers. These devices are often used for academic research, with over 12,000 peer-reviewed publications citing their use. Hand-built by experts in Canada, EyeLinks eyetrackers are renowned for their reliability, accuracy, and continuous upgrades of software and tracking algorithms

EyeLink 1000 Plus is the most commonly used hardware in the EyeLink family. It’s known for its precision and accuracy in video-based eye-tracking systems. With a binocular sampling rate of up to 2000 Hz, it surpasses many other trackers. Researchers appreciate its versatility, offering multiple mounting options, interchangeable lenses, and both head-fixed and head-free tracking modes. 

The other SR Research devices are EyeLink Portable Duo and EyeLink II.

The main challenges you might face when working with EyeLink eye trackers: 

  1. Cost Considerations:
    • While hardware eye-trackers provide precise data, they can be costlier than online alternatives. Expenses include device purchase, physical space, and assistance for participants during lab sessions. Online panels may be more budget-friendly but may sacrifice some accuracy.
  2. Data Collection Challenges:
    • Without chin rest it’s difficult to calibrate and eliminate head movements, which affect your research output
  3. Data Aggregation Challenges:
    • Gathering eye-tracking data for websites can be tricky. Unlike controlled lab experiments, web studies involve diverse contexts and layouts. Researchers need to handle this variability.
  4. Integration Complexity:
    • Connecting eye-tracking systems with other software isn’t always straightforward. It requires expertise in both eye-tracking technology and broader research methods.
  5. Licensing Costs:
    • The 1-year license for SR Research Experiment Builder and EyeLink Data Viewer adds an extra $195 USD. While these tools enhance analysis, budget considerations matter.

In general, SR Research seems to offer great tools that can serve you if you can afford them and if you want to set up a specialistic Lab where you want to invite panelists also for other experiments like EEG, GSR, MRI etc. But if you want to run experiments remotely, occasionally or at scale and you do not need participants present in your lab, there are other tools (also using eye tracking) available on the market that are worth checking out.

If you’re on the lookout for something different than EyeLink, or if you’ve hit a roadblock using it, you’re in the right spot.

Take a peek at these solid alternatives to EyeLink eye-trackers that are worth your attention:

  1. RealEye
  2. Hotjar 
  3. GP3 Eye Tracker
  4. Attention Insight


Imagine conducting eye-tracking studies without needing a fancy lab setup. That's the magic of RealEye! This web-based platform utilizes participants' webcams, transforming laptops, smartphones, and tablets into eye-trackers. Remember that time you struggled to get your grandma to use a new app? RealEye eliminates the need for software installations, making it super user-friendly for remote participants. It's like getting valuable eye-tracking data without ever leaving your couch!

It’s all possible thanks to eye tracker calibration. What’s more RealEye goes beyond simple eye movement tracking. It analyzes gaze and fixation data to understand where participants focus their attention and even emotions. This comprehensive data allows researchers to gain deeper insights into user behavior.

RealEye integrates seamlessly with existing survey tools, fostering a smooth research workflow. Additionally, the platform prioritizes data security. It adheres to GDPR regulations and avoids storing or recording participant videos or photos.

Last but not least, you may export raw data for further data analysis.

EyeLink vs. RealEye

Eyelink provides higher accuracy (especially for precise gaze data) with a higher sampling rate. What is more, it may be integrated with fMRI, MEG, EEG etc. So if you plan to do an experiment in a controlled lab environment then EyeLink would probably be a good choice for you. RealEye is ideal for researchers on a budget or those who need to conduct remote studies with a large pool of participants. While webcam eye tracking is not as precise as EyeLink 1000 Plus, RealEye’s accuracy and precision is better than most of the webcam alternatives. RealEye eye tracking system offers a convenient and affordable way to gain general insights into user behavior.


Hotjar isn't strictly an eye-tracking tool (there is no gaze tracking), but it offers valuable heatmaps that reveal where users click and scroll on your webpages. Think of it as a click whisperer, telling you which areas grab attention and where users might be getting lost. Remember that time you spent ages crafting a call to action but no one seemed to notice it? Hotjar's heatmaps can expose these hidden gems (or frustrations) on your website.

Hotjar is a product experience insights platform that provides a suite of tools to help you understand user behavior on your website. It combines behavior analytics with feedback data, allowing you to observe how users interact with your site and why they behave in certain ways. With features like heatmaps, session recordings, surveys, and feedback tools, Hotjar helps you gain a deeper understanding of your users’ experiences so you can make informed decisions to improve your website’s UX and conversion rates

EyeLink vs. Hotjar

Hotjar is fantastic for website usability testing and understanding general user behavior patterns. It's a cost-effective way to identify areas that might need improvement. If you need precise eye-tracking data to understand where users are looking on a webpage, EyeLink 1000 Plus and RealEye remain the superior option.

GP3 Eye Tracker

The GP3’s price tag is a fraction of traditional hardware eye-trackers. Developed by Gazepoint, the GP3 Eye Tracker is a hardware eye-tracker so it comes with all the advantages and disadvantages of the physical device. It’s a research-grade device that offers high-performance eye-tracking at an accessible price point. It features a 60Hz machine-vision camera for precise tracking and 0.5 – 1 degree of visual angle accuracy. The actual price is $895.

EyeLink vs. GP3 

GP3 is less accurate and has a lower sampling rate (60 Hz vs. 2000 Hz), but it has a huge advantage—it’s cheaper that is why it’s often used for eye-tracking research. What is more, GP3 has an open API, so the data from GP3 may be used with different software without any problem or additional license.

Attention Insight

Attention Insights is an AI-powered software tool that utilizes machine learning to analyze user behavior and predict where viewers will focus their attention on a design. This can be particularly valuable for marketers and design teams who want to quickly understand how users will interact with their content before it's officially launched.It's important to note that Attention Insights relies on estimations based on user behavior patterns, not actual eye-tracking data.Based on them Attention Insights can generate heatmaps that illustrate areas of high and low focus. This allows teams to identify design elements that might be particularly distracting or confusing, or conversely, areas that naturally capture user attention. Based on these insights, teams can then optimize their designs to achieve specific goals, such as improving conversion rates or boosting engagement with key elements.  

Eyelink vs. Attention Insights

Eyelink and Attention Insights offer contrasting approaches to understanding user focus. Eyelink, a traditional eye tracker, captures precise gaze data by monitoring participants' eye movements directly. This meticulous approach allows researchers to pinpoint exactly where someone is looking on a screen, making it ideal for controlled lab studies where detailed eye movement data is crucial. For instance, Eyelink would be perfect for studying how users read complex web pages or analyze intricate product designs.

Attention Insights, on the other hand, takes a broader approach. It utilizes machine learning to estimate a viewer's focus. This method provides insights into overall engagement but lacks the pinpoint accuracy of an eye tracker. However, Attention Insights shines in its accessibility. It requires no special hardware and no panelists. The prediction happens in 60 seconds. 

This list and comparison of EyeLink eye-tracking alternatives and competitors does not cover all available options and tools, but we’ve selected those which we think are the best.

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