Best Citation Machines for College Students in 2023

Picture of Santiago Mallea

Santiago Mallea

Chief of Content at Gradehacker

Updated on May 2023

We know citations can be a true nightmare, but luckily there are many citation machines you can use to facilitate the process.

After all, you need to know how to use the correct writing format as it can turn any poor essay into an outstanding one!

There are several writing styles, such as APA and MLA, each with its own set of rules that needs to be followed to get great results, and here at Gradehacker, we have years of experience helping clients with all types of writing tasks.

And as the non-traditional #1 resource, we want you to overcome any writing issues and become the citation expert you want to be. That’s why we are showing you the four best citation machines to finish your references faster and without any mistakes.

Let’s begin!

Best Citation Machines

What is a Citation Machine?

Citation machines are online tool that generates, as you can imagine, citations using the references you give and the writing format you need.

In some cases, you only need to paste the link or PDF you are using. The online citation generator will access the information from across the web and gather the most important data to turn it into the type of citation you need

If they don’t have this automatic citation option, you can manually add the designated blank information, such as the author’s name, publication date, and year.

Most of these machines cover many different writing styles and adapt the citation based on the types of sources you’re taking it from.

All college students can take advantage of this since it speeds up the research process and checks if it’s in the right order for your task of citation.

However, there are many alternatives to choose from. 

Even if they all seem very similar and have the same features on the surface, the truth is that there are minor differences that can best adapt to your needs.

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citation machine first photo

The first option you will find on Google is Citation Machine, and there’s a good reason for it! This service is developed by Chegg, a website entirely dedicated to tutoring students.

This online resource covers the most recent versions of:

You can use their search bar to type your source’s title and see what Chegg founds.

After you find your source, Citation Machine will show you the information they could recognize, and if there is something they couldn’t register, no worries! You can edit it yourself and add anything you need.

When you click on “complete citation,” you will have your citation properly made, ready to be copied and pasted onto your reference list, as easy as it sounds.

The major letdown with this citation maker is that you will need to be attentive to the reference you get, as the APA and MLA generators can have flaws, like putting the data in the wrong order or inaccurate information.

You can access Citation Machine for free, but you’ll have to watch ads every 48 hours to use it.

However, you can avoid them and access more premium features by upgrading to their pro plan. You can first use their 3-day free trial, and after that, start paying a monthly fee of $9.95.

This allows you to:

Citation Machine Pros and Cons

If you are interested in Chegg and the multiple features and tools it offers, we highly recommend checking out our in-depth Chegg review.

Cite this for me

Cite This For Me is an online source that converts any source into an accurate citation in just a few clicks.

It’s also developed by Chegg, so it has the same features and software that Citation Machine uses, including Harvard style as one of their best advantages.

This website stands out by automatically gathering information and generating citations for the current page you’re on. With their convenient browser extension, you can skip the step of visiting their site and going through the citation process.

Another advantage is that it has clear and thorough writing style guidelines.

Below each search bar, you will find blog articles that tell you the story of APA and MLA and explain how they work and which are the latest updates! And it’s not only centered on writing your bibliography but also on how to format your entire essay!

But you should consider that the Chrome extension is likely to have mistakes. 

When trying it out on different journals and websites, on some occasions, it failed to recognize the name of the authors. It worked without any problem most of the time, but know that you’ll need to pay extra attention to it.

Just like Citation Machine, Cite This For Me is free and has a premium plan of $9.99 a month. You can use their 7-day free trial and be able to:

Cite This For Me Pros and Cons


Grafiati is an online bibliography generator that aims to create references and lists of works cited. They claim to have one of the most accurate services.

Instead of using the open-source code used by the other citation tools, they have developed unique algorithms based on scrupulous research, analysis of style manuals, and communication with institutions.

You can search:

You can also add sources manually, where you will have to paste the title or authors of your source material in their search bar, and then it will show you what their algorithm was able to find.

If there is a match, you will simply click on add, and the website will add the complete citation to your bibliography. It is easy to understand, and you’ll have your results fast and in just a few clicks!

There is a downside to point out: Grafiati’s algorithm is not as complete as the open-source code used by the other services.

While it worked perfectly with journals, we found that it failed to find newspaper articles or YouTube videos. It may not be the case for every case, so go ahead and try your luck!

Grafiati offers three different plans: 

Free plan: where you have one bibliography available, a maximum of 20 references, a Bibliography validity period of 7 days, and basic search filters in catalogs.

Cosmic Bibliography: This offers advanced features for $2 monthly. Accessing to:

Zero Gravity: For $6.5 per month, you’ll have the same benefits of Cosmic Bibliology, but the bibliography validity of 6 months lasts the same as your subscription.

Grafiati Pros and Cons

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My Bib 1

MyBib is a free bibliography and Cite source generator that includes APA 6 & 7, Chicago, Harvard, and MLA 8 & 9.

Once on the homepage, you can click on “add citation” or “start a new project.” 

Then you’ll find the search bar where you will paste your link or manually enter all the information from your source.

When you finish, the software will generate your citation and add it to your bibliography.

Even though it has all the same features as Citation Machine, its excellent browser extension makes it stand out!

The MyBib plug-in gets the reference of the website you are at in one click, but unlike Cite This For Me, it has fewer mistakes and allows you to change between many writing styles.

It even tells you whether that site is credible and includes the in-text citations below your reference. Even better, right?

After you get your reference, you can click on “save to project” to add it to your MyBib bibliography. And once you are done, you can copy your reference list or even download it as a Word document, a free feature that other services have on their premium versions.

MyBib is free and has no ads! You get all of their tools from the start, but in case you want to retribute something for their service, you can always donate to them.

What’s the problem with MyBib? Like the rest, it is imperfect, and its citation generator contains multiple flaws.

It doesn’t allow you to cite some basic source types properly, like volumes included in a multivolume edition. But it is still worth trying it out.

MyBib Pros and Cons

Still, MyBib and its browser extension are excellent tools you should definitely use. We listed it as one of the best Chrome extensions for college students. Be sure to check that out if you want to see what other tools you can use for free!

Things To Know When Using a Citation Machine

When using a citation machine, there are a few key things to keep in mind for a smooth and accurate experience:

  1. Understand the Citation Style: Familiarize yourself with the appropriate style for your work to ensure proper formatting.


  2. Verify Information: Ensure that all the required information, such as author names, publication dates, and page numbers, is correctly included.


  3. Cross-check with Style Guides: Refer to official style guides. These provide detailed instructions on formatting citations and can help you catch any errors or discrepancies.


  4. Check for Missing Information: Some sources may have missing information. Use “N/A” or consult your instructor for guidance in such cases.


  5. Proofread and Edit:  Always proofread and edit your citations for any typos, inconsistencies, or missing elements.


  6. Understand In-text Citations: Familiarize yourself with the rules of incorporating in-text citations into your writing to avoid plagiarism and properly use their sources.


By keeping these essential tips in mind, you can ensure that your citations are accurate, complete, and properly used with the help of a citation machine.

And if you need to verify the correct order of the information you are putting out, you can use our guidelines about APA and MLA that will come in handy for any project you’ll have!

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Simplify Your Research With the Best Citation Machines

Now you can relax and stop struggling with your citations! You have a variety of websites that can help you ease the process of the essay writing task.

While all of them have flaws, these websites can save you time and energy in the long run. So choose the best fit for your needs and let the machines do the work!

But remember always to verify the information and cross-check with styling guides to ensure that the citation you are getting is correct.

Still, if you continue finding essay writing and reference listing daunting, be sure to get in touch with us. Whether you need help with papers or entire classes, we are here to make your college life much easier.

If you want to continue learning how to make your college life easier, check out some of our related articles!