Perplexity AI vs. ChatGPT: AI Chatbot Comparison

by Anthony Cardillo
June 19, 2024

This is an in-depth comparison of Perplexity AI and ChatGPT.

Both are powerful, free-to-use conversational AI tools that use machine learning algorithms and natural language processing to respond to queries and prompts in real time.

This guide examines these two AI powerhouses in greater detail to help you determine which conversational AI tool best suits your needs.

Perplexity AI ChatGPT
Key Differentiators Contextual search capabilities, accurate information retrieval with cited sources, access to multiple advanced AI models Advanced conversational agent, trained on a broad knowledge base, provides human-like responses with creative content capabilities
Best For Accurate, context-aware research with cited web sources Conversational, engaging, human-like dialogue and text generation
Target Users Researchers, students, and professionals Creative and business professionals, general users for content creation
AI Models Supported Sonar Large 32k, GPT-4o, GPT-4 Turbo, Claude 3 Sonnet and Opus, DALL·E 3, Stable Diffusion XL GPT-3.5, GPT-4, GPT-4o, and DALL·E 3 for images
API Access Monthly credits required, supports Mistral 7B, Llama 13B, Code Llama 34B, Llama 70B, and other models OpenAI playground access, Billed as pay-per-use with rate limits, supports more use cases and integrations
Data Accuracy Pulls from Google and Bing searches, academic papers, WolframAlpha, and social media platforms for more accurate data Less accurate than Perplexity, retrieves most of its data from the Bing search API and its pre-trained knowledge database
Conversation Capabilities Allows for follow-up questions but less conversational because of the structured, information-centric responses with source citations Better for conversational queries because of the engaging, human-like dialogue and context memory for coherent, ongoing conversations
Pricing Free forever for basic use; Starting at $20 per month for Pro members Free forever for basic use; Starting at $20 per month for Plus members

Perplexity AI Overview

Perplexity is a conversational AI search engine where users can ask questions and get accurate answers in real time.


The platform uses various natural language processing and large language models, including GPT-4o, GPT-4 Turbo, Claude-3, and an in-house proprietary model, to comprehend a query’s context and generate relevant answers.

Perplexity AI’s key differentiator from AI chatbots is its ability to generate faster, more personalized responses with cited sources and relevant statistics.

Even free users can access this knowledge database and retrieve quality information with each search.

Perplexity AI: Key Features

Multimodal Capabilities

One of the primary reasons users opt for Perplexity AI over ChatGPT is due to the advanced models it integrates into the search functionality.

Rather than solely relying on OpenAI models (GPT-3.5, GPT-4, and GPT-4o) like ChatGPT, Perplexity combines all the best models into one tool.

For example, Perplexity uses GPT-4o’s vision capabilities to analyze uploaded images, screenshots, and documents.

It also uses Stable Diffusion XL, DALL-E 3, and Playground V2.5 to generate new images from text prompts.

The conversational search engine also uses GPT-4o, Claude 3 (Opus and Sonnet), and Sonar Large for more advanced tasks, such as data analysis, detailed searches, and file analysis.

If you prefer one model over another, Pro users can choose which to use in their account settings. All accounts are pre-set to Perplexity’s default model.


Pro Search (Perplexity Copilot)

After creating an account, all Perplexity users get unlimited Quick searches for free. Free plan members also get five Pro Searches included with their plan, while premium members get up to 600 per day.

The Pro Search feature not only provides more refined results but also asks follow-up questions to refine the search parameters. These searches dig deeper, pulling from more online sources like academic databases, industry-specific resources, and real-time web searches.

Users will notice Perplexity functions more like a conversational chatbot similar to ChatGPT when utilizing the Pro Search feature. It’ll consider previous interactions within the same thread for more personalized responses.


Search Focus Filters

When using the Perplexity answer engine, you can include or exclude as much information from the Internet as you’d like.

This Search Focus feature narrows your selected sources and provides more targeted and relevant results.

While ChatGPT may consider search parameters mentioned in your prompt, it does not offer the advanced filtering mechanisms that Perplexity does.

The Perplexity Search Focus filters include:

  • All (searches all information on the Internet)
  • Academic (searches only published academic papers)
  • WolframAlpha (Only WolframAlpha computational answers)
  • YouTube (Searches and cites from YouTube videos)
  • Reddit (Pulls information from subreddit discussions)
  • Writing (Only generates text without searching the web)



Perplexity AI has focused heavily on becoming a well-rounded tool in the artificial intelligence and tech space. The latest Discover feature is a prime example of that.

This personalized news feed includes AI-generated summaries on topics across the tech, science, and culture sectors.

Users can ask follow-up questions or request more information on specific topics.


Collections and Threads

Collections and Threads are how users store, organize, and manage information on the platform.

Threads are the initial conversation you have with Perplexity AI. They include your initial question, all follow-up questions, and all responses.

Collections are an information storage method that allows you to group related Threads into organized, sharable spaces.

Both Threads and Collections can be set to private or shared with team members and other Perplexity AI users.

When you create a new Collection, you're prompted to include a title, emoji, description, AI instruction prompt, and privacy settings. When inviting others, you can also set roles for Collections - owners and up to 5 contributors.



In late May 2024, Perplexity AI announced the release of its newest feature, Pages. It’s now available for free and paid users.

With Perplexity Pages, users can create in-depth articles, reports, and guides from prompts and publish them for Google AI Overview and SERP visibility.


After compiling research in a Thread, you can choose to convert the Thread to a page.

Perplexity creates your article and gives you full customization over how it looks, what it says, and the audience it’s written for.

Customization options include:

  • Media type (uploaded or AI-generated images)
  • Sections
  • Text alignment
  • Image alignment
  • Sources
  • Shareability

Users can also set an audience type (beginner, advanced, or anyone) when generating content to decide the tone of the test.

Pages combine Perplexity AI's existing search capabilities with a new content generation feature.

API Access

Like OpenAI, Perplexity allows developers to access its API for enterprise use and integration with digital applications.

It's also compatible with OpenAI's API, enabling developers to integrate Perplexity's models into their applications. Pro users receive a monthly credit to try the API and can purchase additional credits if needed.

File Upload

Perplexity AI's file upload feature lets users upload plain text files, code files, or PDFs in a Thread.

When uploading a file, include a prompt or question. Perplexity will analyze the file and extract information to provide a relevant response.

Pro users can upload an unlimited number of files daily. You can also ask follow-up questions and engage in conversations about specific documents within a thread.

This is especially useful for academic and professional research.


Perplexity Labs Playground

Similar to the OpenAI playground, Perplexity also has the Perplexity Labs playground. It's free to use and allows users to test different large language models.

This is also where developers can integrate models into their apps using pplx-api. Currently, the available models for users include Mistral's 8x7b-instruct, Meta's Llama-3-70B-instruct, and more.


Perplexity AI Pricing

Perplexity AI is free forever and has some useful features. However, you must upgrade to a paid plan to unlock more features, such as extra Pro Searches and more advanced AI models.

Here’s a quick look at what each plan costs and what notable features are included with a subscription:

1. Free

  • Unlimited Quick searches
  • Five Daily Pro Searches
  • Default Perplexity AI model
  • Profile for creating Threads, Collections, and Pages

2. Pro - $20/month per user

  • Unlimited Quick searches
  • 600 daily Pro Searches
  • Select any AI model for your searches (GPT-40, Claude-3, etc.)
  • Unlimited file uploads
  • Playground, DALL-E, and SDXL access (50 searches per day)
  • $5 in monthly API credit

3. Enterprise - $40/month or $400/year per user

  • Supports up to 250 users
  • All Pro plan features
  • User management
  • More data privacy (models are not trained on Enterprise account data)
  • SOC2 Certification
  • Single Sign-On (SSO)
  • API credits

ChatGPT Overview

ChatGPT is a versatile AI chatbot that can engage in human-like conversations to answer questions, create written content, summarize research materials, and much more.


Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is the best-known and most widely used AI chatbot with over 180 million users.

It uses fine-tuned versions of the primary GPT foundation models, including GPT-3.5, GPT-4, and GPT-4o. What makes ChatGPT unique is its focus on and advancements in conversational AI.

It's more geared towards content creation because of the large knowledge base it's trained on and the human-like responses it can generate.

ChatGPT: Key Features

Large Knowledge Base

Since ChatGPT is a fine-tuned version of the various OpenAI GPT foundation models (GPT-3.5, GPT-4, and GPT-4o), it's been trained on a large amount of text data from the internet, books, websites, and other sources to build its knowledge base.

OpenAI has not disclosed the exact size of ChatGPT's training data, but rumors speculate it ranges between 570GB and 45TB of text.

Create and Use Custom GPTs

OpenAI replaced its previous plugins feature with Custom GPTs. Users can choose to chat with existing GPTs developed by the community and other partners in the GPT Store or to create their own with the GPTs Editor.

GPT categories include writing, research, programming, and education. There is also a search bar to look up different GPTs in sub-categories like DALL·E or marketing.

Any ChatGPT user can build their GPT without any coding requirements. This feature is available for all ChatGPT Plus, Team, and Enterprise users.


Multilingual Support

Because ChatGPT is so popular around the world, providing multilingual support was a top priority.

Currently, the application supports over 50 languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic.

ChatGPT can also automatically detect the language of the input text and respond in the same language.

In comparison, Perplexity AI only supports 28 languages and does not provide voice recognition, image recognition, and emotion detection capabilities.

Easily Customizable

ChatGPT lets users create custom instructions to help generate more accurate and relevant query responses.

Once you open the “Customize ChatGPT” tab, you’ll notice two questions with blank text boxes (a 1,500-character max) for instructions.

  • What would you like ChatGPT to know about you to provide better responses?
  • How would you like ChatGPT to respond?

These instructions can tell ChatGPT the length of responses, the tone of voice it should use, whether it should use opinions or remain neutral while responding, etc. Users can also enable these instructions for all new chats.


Voice Conversations

ChatGPT's latest update to its voice conversation feature is expected to make waves in the world of AI chatbots.

Currently, users can interact with the AI using natural speech by speaking into their device's microphone.

Your speech is converted into text using OpenAI's speech recognition technology. This technology can handle various accents and speech patterns.

With the release of GPT-4o, speech recognition and responses are faster and more advanced than any previous model.

Currently, users can only access this feature on the mobile app. The GPT-4o-powered version is expected to be released in 2024.

You can also modify your settings by choosing the Voice option you wish to hear when conversing with ChatGPT.


Temporary Chat

ChatGPT also offers privacy features, which are especially important if you’re collaborating with team members or using an Enterprise plan. This is known as Temporary chat.

Any user can turn this on when selecting their preferred model. All chat history will be deleted when activated, and none of your ChatGPT searches will be used to train the OpenAI models.


Browser Extension

More integrations are where ChatGPT shines. One example is the ChatGPT browser extension, which gives you access to the AI assistant during your web browsing experience.

Rather than continually switching tabs, the extension will be right there alongside your searches. It will primarily display ChatGPT answers alongside regular search engine results.

However, you can also ask questions and the extension will search using multiple keywords, review all the results, and provide the most relevant answer.

Mobile and Desktop App

In terms of mobile and desktop compatibility, the ChatGPT app is superior to what Perplexity AI offers and ranks as the best option overall among all chatbots.

Users can access the AI assistant from their preferred devices with instant response times for all queries. Using the ChatGPT app allows you to use the Voice Mode feature, too.

With voice commands, you can turn your app into a real-life assistant that understands what you are saying. The latest GPT-4o model generates responses with human-like response times.

API Access

While you may not get direct API access to ChatGPT, OpenAI provides API access to the models that support ChatGPT, like GPT-3.5, GPT-4, and GPT-4o.

This allows developers to integrate capabilities into applications and services. For the latest GPT-4o API, input costs are approximately $5.00 per 1M tokens.

ChatGPT Pricing

ChatGPT can be used for free without creating an account. However, the free version is limited, and users can unlock a suite of added features when creating an account and upgrading to ChatGPT Plus.

Here are the available ChatGPT plans:

1. Free

  • Full GPT-3.5 access
  • Limited GPT-4 and GPT-4o access
  • Limited file uploading, web browsing, and data analysis access

2. Plus - $20/month per user

  • Immediate access to new feature releases
  • Full access to all GPT models (GPT-4, GPT-4o, GPT-3.5)
  • Send 5x more GPT-4o messages than Free users
  • Full access to file uploading, web browsing, and data analysis
  • DALL•E image generation
  • Full custom GPT access

3. Team $30/month per user ($25/month billed annually)

  • All Plus plan features
  • Higher messaging limits for all models, web browsing, and image generation
  • Create custom workplaces to share GPTs with team members
  • Increased privacy (team data not used to train models)
  • Admin Console

4. Enterprise - Custom pricing

  • All Team plan features
  • Unlimited messaging limits
  • Larger context windows
  • Priority customer support and account management
  • More advanced admin controls

Perplexity AI vs. ChatGPT: Key Differences

Perplexity AI and ChatGPT are open compared, and for good reason, but the truth is they are not the same product type.

Perplexity is an AI search engine, and ChatGPT is a conversational AI chatbot.

Despite sharing many similarities, their key differences make them both unique tools. Let’s examine a few notable ones to help you decide which tool better suits your needs.

1. Conversation and Query Style

Perplexity AI offers conversational answers to questions and queries, but the primary focus of this tool is information retrieval and research rather than human-like dialogues.

ChatGPT is more about creating interactive, human-like conversations when answering user prompts and queries without losing context.

2. Web Research Capabilities

Perplexity AI finds information in real-time from Google and Bing search results, academic papers, WolframAlpha, and social media, making it more accurate and valuable for research purposes.

ChatGPT provides web search capabilities for Plus users, but the tool still lacks the depth that Perplexity can provide because the primary search function only utilizes Bing search results.

3. Creative Content Generation

Perplexity AI will enable users to change their preferred AI model, meaning you can generate creative content. However, its capabilities in this area are limited compared to more specialized models like ChatGPT.

ChatGPT excels in content generation because of its Transformer architecture, fine-tuning, and large-scale training database.

The advanced natural language processing techniques used in ChatGPT allow the model to generate contextually nuanced, creative, and imaginative text.

Who Should Use Perplexity AI?

Perplexity AI functions more as a search engine and gives users access to numerous AI models within one subscription.

It best suits researchers, students, and professionals who need quick, accurate, up-to-date, properly cited information.

Perplexity is less useful for those looking to generate original creative content or engage in long-winded conversations with their chatbot.

While Perplexity does allow for follow-up questions, the focus is more on information discovery than conversational content generation.

Who Should Use ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a more versatile chatbot built for a wider audience of creative and business professionals.

For example, it can be used as a writing tool for drafting articles or as a coding assistant to provide syntax examples.

Anyone who needs help with writing, idea generation, or basic digital tasks will find ChatGPT useful.

For research purposes, it won’t provide as much in-depth information as Perplexity AI, but it can still serve as a solid research tool.

Conclusion - Perplexity AI vs. ChatGPT

This comparison guide of Perplexity AI and ChatGPT was designed to help you choose the best tool for your unique needs.

Both Perplexity and ChatGPT are dominating the space for a reason. If you are searching for a research tool that can do deep dives through the internet in seconds, Perplexity AI is the ideal choice for you.

However, if creating content or fixing coding issues is a top priority - ChatGPT is the apparent winner.