Parallels Desktop for Mac vs. VMware Workstation Pro

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
Parallels Desktop for Mac
Score 8.7 out of 10
N/A
Parallels® Desktop for Mac is used to run Windows on Intel or Apple silicon. Users can switch between Mac and Windows applications, while retaining the macOS appearance, or use the familiar Windows desktop aesthetic.
$99.99
per year
VMware Workstation Pro
Score 9.0 out of 10
N/A
VMware Workstation Pro is virtualization software which allows running multiple x86-based operating systems on one PC. Users can run Windows, Linux and BSD virtual machines on a Windows or Linux desktop.N/A
Pricing
Parallels Desktop for MacVMware Workstation Pro
Editions & Modules
Parallels Desktop Standard Edition
$99.99
per year
Mac App Store
$99.99
per year
Parallels Desktop Pro Edition
$119.99
per year
Parallels Desktop Business Edition
$149.99
per year
No answers on this topic
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
Parallels Desktop for MacVMware Workstation Pro
Free Trial
YesNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoNo
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
Parallels Desktop for MacVMware Workstation Pro
Considered Both Products
Parallels Desktop for Mac
Chose Parallels Desktop for Mac
Parallels Desktop has better experience for MacOS if we compare to VMware Workstation Pro. It has more extensions and feature that working great on MacOS environment. Support working multi virtual machines on the same time and no limit (if you have a powerful laptop) I am …
VMware Workstation Pro

No answer on this topic

Top Pros
Top Cons
TrustRadius Insights
Parallels Desktop for MacVMware Workstation Pro
Highlights

TrustRadius
Research Team Insight
Published

Parallels Desktop and VMware Workstation are both server virtualization software designed to allow users to run different operating systems on their workstations. For example, Mac users use these technologies to run Windows applications. Both Parallels Desktop and VMware Workstation are used by businesses of all sizes, though mid-sized organizations use them most often.

Features

Both Parallels Desktop and VMware Workstation allow users to run applications of different operating systems, but they also have some standout features that set them apart from each other.

Parallels Desktop provides a setup wizard that walks users through the process of installing Parallels Desktop on their system and launching apps. These features make Parallels Desktop best in class in terms of usability. Parallels Desktop also allows the use of some mac features, like Quick Look, while using Windows. Lastly, Parallels Desktop also allows for the installation of Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Mint in a single click.

VMware Workstation has greater support for mac hardware, including native support for 5k monitors. Additionally, VMware Workstation offers high performance. In particular, VMware Workstation excels in graphics benchmarks. High speed and CPU efficiency make VMware Workstation an excellent choice for a business that needs to get the best performance out of their virtual machines.

Limitations

Though Parallels Desktop and VMware Workstation both provide essential virtualization features, they also each have a few limitations that are important to consider.

Parallels Desktop is a demanding technology, in that it uses a lot of a computer’s resources. These resource demands may make Parallels Desktop a poor choice for organizations without high-end computers or that need their workstations to be performing other resource-intensive tasks. Parallels Desktop also lacks native support for 5k monitors. Lastly, Parallels Desktop does not perform as well graphically compared to VMware Workstation.

VMware Workstation isn’t as easy to implement as Parallels Desktop, which walks users through the entire process step-by-step. Additionally, while VMware Workstation does offer support for some Mac features while using Windows apps, it does not support as many features as Parallels Desktop. Lastly, VMware Workstation can be challenging to set up for workstations with multiple monitors.

Pricing

Parallels Desktop offers three pricing tiers. The Standard tier provides essential virtualization features and is priced at $79.99 per year per workstation. After that, the Pro edition includes premium 24-hour support, as well as increased integrations and plug-ins and costs $99.99 per year per workstation. Lastly, Parallels Desktop Business edition adds centralized administration, and mass deployment features for the price of $99.99 per year per workstation.

The most recent version of VMware Workstation is priced depending on how many workstations are needed as well as the level of support required. Though pricing increases based on these factors, it starts at $249.99 per workstation.

Features
Parallels Desktop for MacVMware Workstation Pro
Server Virtualization
Comparison of Server Virtualization features of Product A and Product B
Parallels Desktop for Mac
-
Ratings
VMware Workstation Pro
8.5
26 Ratings
2% above category average
Virtual machine automated provisioning00 Ratings8.919 Ratings
Management console00 Ratings8.121 Ratings
Live virtual machine backup00 Ratings9.620 Ratings
Live virtual machine migration00 Ratings7.620 Ratings
Hypervisor-level security00 Ratings8.319 Ratings
Best Alternatives
Parallels Desktop for MacVMware Workstation Pro
Small Businesses
Parallels RAS
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Score 8.7 out of 10
Proxmox VE
Proxmox VE
Score 9.3 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Parallels RAS
Parallels RAS
Score 8.7 out of 10
VMware vSOM (discontinued)
VMware vSOM (discontinued)
Score 10.0 out of 10
Enterprises
Citrix DaaS
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Score 8.1 out of 10
VMware vSOM (discontinued)
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Score 10.0 out of 10
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User Ratings
Parallels Desktop for MacVMware Workstation Pro
Likelihood to Recommend
9.4
(30 ratings)
9.0
(27 ratings)
Likelihood to Renew
10.0
(2 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
Usability
10.0
(3 ratings)
9.0
(1 ratings)
Support Rating
9.0
(6 ratings)
7.7
(2 ratings)
Implementation Rating
10.0
(2 ratings)
-
(0 ratings)
User Testimonials
Parallels Desktop for MacVMware Workstation Pro
Likelihood to Recommend
Alludo
I often get asked, why not the "free" stuff (VirtualBox), and/or why not VMWare. VirtualBox, etc. are not as performant for interactive usage. I think they are fine for small applications, perhaps some enterprise app usage, but for developers, it's not good enough. VMWare has become too enterprisey and lacks some of the user-friendly stuff that Parallels focuses on. Ultimately, for developer types running OSes for deep tasks, Parallels is unrivaled.
Read full review
VMware by Broadcom
I would not recommend using a VM as a complete replacement for your everyday driver, but I would recommend
it for testing. One way that I use Workstation Pro is with testing GPO's. I can
make a change to a user or computer GPO, take a snapshot, reboot the computer
to pull the GPO, see if it worked. If it didn't, I revert to the last snapshot before the GPO was pulled, make some changes to the GPO again, and test on the test VM. The same style
of testing can be used with creating and changing scripts for computer changes.
We have a whole computer setup script that installs software and changes a ton
of settings. On a VM you can test over and over to make sure the script runs
how you want it to and revert if you didn't like the script outcome. Especially
handy with software installs, so you don't have to wait for a program to
uninstall and then edit the script and run the script again. Using snapshots save me so much time in testing!
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Pros
Alludo
  • File Transfer - You can easily transfer files between Parallels virtualized desktops and the host desktop either through Copy and Paste functionality, or Drag and Drop. You can also configure shared folders.
  • Switch Between Virtual and Host Desktop - You can configure swipe gestures on a MacBook Pro to be able to switch between the virtualized and host desktop. You can also launch apps from the OS X Taskbar.
  • Performance - Apps in Parallels run quite smoothly on my 2015 MacBook Pro, as of 2020. Considering they are running on a 5-year-old computer, I give Parallels top marks for performance.
Read full review
VMware by Broadcom
  • It provides a great remote access tool for accessing and managing servers in virtual environment. With the security risks surround remote desktop this provides a good alternative to do the same functions.
  • The app itself is very lightweight and easy to install/maintain.
  • Sandbox testing can be a time consuming thing to setup and do. Workstation makes this easy to create, use, and put away. This make you more willing to put new things in the sandbox and test them before production usage.
  • The cost of workstation is very affordable for the functionality that you get and you can try it for free before you buy it.
  • We use it to run apps that can be difficult to setup or conflict with other apps. We just spin this app VM up run it, and then shut it back down. The startup and shutdown is very quick.
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Cons
Alludo
  • The ability to do snapshots, backups, and other types of branching for VMs is a little confusing and takes a bit to get used to
  • The Parallels tools frequently pop up windows advertising functionality, while this is helpful at times it can also happen when you are doing a presentation or typing in a password.
  • Careful using the VMs on a shared cloud drive such as Dropbox or OneDrive, there are hundreds and sometimes thousands of files which are updated when running a VM and this can clog up your Dropbox or OneDrive sync for minutes to hours even on a 2gb connection.
Read full review
VMware by Broadcom
  • At the moment, it's incompatible with Microsoft's HyperVM, which is used in Docker and the Linux Subsystem on Windows 2 (WSL 2).
  • VMware shared files sometimes stop working and need to be reset.
  • 3D support is limited to Windows and only certain scenarios.
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Likelihood to Renew
Alludo
Users are familiar with the application which will keep us going for a little while. However since we are seeing a decline for a need for the software, I wouldn't be surprised to find that this answer changes dramatically in the near future. We would probably keep it to some extent, but we would probably reduce our licensing count.
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VMware by Broadcom
It's a solid product, and if they make it compatible with HyperVM (WSL, Docker, etc.) it would be great
Read full review
Usability
Alludo
It has a good integration, including the connection of peripherals. Taking files back and forth works well and I can attach my Home drive as a network drive in Windows. There is even integration with iCloud and other macOS services. There are also a few different display modes which are useful and fleixible (coherence, windowed, full-screen with multiple screens)
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VMware by Broadcom
There are some settings that can only be done by editing the VMX file. However, that is easily done, and you can find examples on the internet easily.
Read full review
Support Rating
Alludo
So, this rating is a little skewed toward older behavior from Parallels, as I haven't had to contact them recently. However, in an older version of Parallels, an "update" included pop-ups urging users to upgrade to the latest version, implying that their current version wouldn't work for the latest MacOS. I found it very frustrating to be getting ads for a new version of the software in a version I had already paid for. I contacted support about this and got a generic, uncaring response. It was pretty disappointing.
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VMware by Broadcom
I haven't had to call VMware Workstation support. The majority of the time, whenever I have a problem, I can perform an online search and find the answers I need. Online forums and users with similar situations are generally sufficient to answer any questions I have had, though, from previous experience at another company, their support is outstanding and responsive to circumstances. However, that is generally for a paid support contract and should be expected when you are paying for that support.
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Implementation Rating
Alludo
The only advice I can provide is think about who is using the product and build the image based on the true needs of the user.
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VMware by Broadcom
No answers on this topic
Alternatives Considered
Alludo
Main two features that made the balance decission go to the Parallels Desktop were the possibility to pause the Windows partition easily (allowing to consume less resources in Mac and save battery) and the other one is the user interface feature called "Coherence" with allows you to show the Windows application windows as if they were native to the macOS, allowing for a better user experience.
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VMware by Broadcom
VMware ESXi is more enterprise based whereas VMware Workstation offers capabilities at a lower cost and smaller scale. VMware Workstation Pro is also user friendly and easy to install. It can be utilized on a regular desktop system as the name implies. It helps with also demonstrations when needed to clients without having bulky hardware every time.
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Return on Investment
Alludo
  • Avoid extra costs: majority of users have a Mac, so if they needed to dod something that is Windows related, it will require to users have an extra computer to do that tasks, and this have a lot of costs
  • Developers have more concerns how websites behaves on Windows only browsers, which increased the satisfaction of users
Read full review
VMware by Broadcom
  • When updating multiple VM's, this is a much quicker option vs trying to either RDP to them or console using Vcenter
  • We are required to run a VM locally for certain tasks, and this has been the most effective way to use it
  • The ability to manage a VM without having to worry about the console freezing up helps with management
Read full review
ScreenShots

Parallels Desktop for Mac Screenshots

Screenshot of Parallels Desktop running Windows applications, on a Mac.Screenshot of the ability to switch between operating systems without rebooting.Screenshot of Coherence Mode, which minimizes distraction.Screenshot of file sharing between Mac and Windows.Screenshot of application development and testing in Windows, Linux, and virtual macOS (Pro & Business Edition).Screenshot of license management in Parallels Desktop (Business Edition).