Custom JavaScript Automation on a Budget - Comparing Make, Zapier, and n8n

Are you trying to figure out which automation tool is best for custom JavaScript to meet your specific needs?

When choosing automation tools, it's essential to compare what's available to make sure you get the best fit for your needs and budget.

When evaluating automation platforms like Make, Zapier, and n8n, it's essential to consider several factors, such as pricing structures, key features, and specific capabilities like support for custom JavaScript. This comparison will provide a detailed overview to assist in determining which platform best suits personal or business needs.

Whether you're a small business owner, a freelancer, or just someone curious about automating daily tasks, keep reading to find out which tool could be your go-to for simplifying your workflows.


  • Deciding on the best automation tool for custom JavaScript hinges on your technical comfort, the complexity of the tasks, and your budget.
  • Make is an affordable option for those who want to automate tasks using JavaScript without complex coding or high expenses. However, it's important to note that Make does not directly support advanced JavaScript capabilities.
  • Zapier is well-suited for novices due to its straightforward setup and ease of connecting apps. However, keep in mind that costs might climb as your demands increase.
  • n8n suits those with technical know-how who seek extensive customization for complex projects. However, it can require more upkeep and a better understanding of coding.
  • Pairing Make with offers a powerful yet economically sensible solution for those prioritizing cost-effectiveness in their JavaScript-driven tasks. This combo maximizes your ability to execute complex automation without breaking the bank.

1. Make

Make does not offer JavaScript support directly within its platform. However, users can still incorporate custom JavaScript into their automation workflows by using This integration is particularly useful for tasks that require specific calculations or data transformations that are beyond the capabilities of standard automation modules.

Example Use Cases

Data Formatting with Custom JavaScript

Make, integrated with, allows you to use JavaScript to dynamically format data during a workflow.

For example, if you receive data in various formats from different sources, you can use JavaScript to standardize this data into a single format before it is sent to a database or another application.

This integration provides an optimized approach to handling diverse data types efficiently.

Automated Error Handling

Let’s say you have a workflow that involves pulling data from multiple APIs.

With the combination of Make and, you can write a script to check the integrity of incoming data and handle errors smoothly.

For instance, if data from one source is missing essential fields, your script can automatically flag this issue and halt further processing or notify you via email.

Advantages of Using JavaScript in Make

  • JavaScript, coupled with Make's integration with, allows for precise data adjustments and modifications, crucial for workflows that require specialized processing.
  • You can integrate JavaScript seamlessly into various stages of your workflows, enabling more dynamic and responsive automation solutions.

Cons of JS Integration with Make

  • You need to know JavaScript to make the most of these features, which might not be feasible for everyone.

2. Zapier

Zapier offers JavaScript automation through its "Code by Zapier" feature.

This allows users to add custom JavaScript directly within their Zaps (Zapier's term for automated workflows), enabling customized data handling and processing tasks that go beyond standard integration actions.

Example Use Cases

Data Validation

For instance, when receiving data entries via a form, you can use JavaScript in Zapier to validate this data.

If the data meets certain criteria—like correct email format or filled out mandatory fields—you can proceed with the workflow.

Otherwise, you can set up the Zap to send an error notification or reroute the data for correction.

Conditional Logic Processing

JavaScript in Zapier can also be employed to implement conditional logic. For example, based on the incoming data, such as sales figures, a custom script can calculate bonuses for employees and initiate further actions like generating reports or updating payroll entries.

Pros of JavaScript in Zapier

  • Allows for the execution of bespoke scripts, providing flexibility in handling specific data scenarios.
  • Easily integrates into existing Zaps without the need for separate tools or services.

Cons of JavaScript in Zapier

  • JavaScript support in Zapier is limited to simple scripts due to execution time limits and sandboxed environment restrictions.
  • Custom code can introduce errors that are hard to trace within larger workflows.
  • Scripts might need updates when there are changes in the data structure or connected services, adding a layer of ongoing maintenance.
  • Running JavaScript might slow down the Zap execution times, especially with complex scripts or large data volumes.

While Zapier supports JavaScript through its Code by Zapier feature, it generally provides a sandboxed environment where only limited operations can be performed.

Compared to Make, Zapier's JavaScript capabilities are more restricted in scope and scalability. The limitations in script complexity and execution environment may not suit users with advanced coding needs or those managing large datasets.

3. n8n

n8n offers JavaScript capabilities through its built-in nodes like the Function and Function Item nodes. These nodes allow users to insert custom JavaScript directly within their automated workflows, enabling detailed processing and data manipulation.

Example Use Cases

Advanced-Data Parsing

In n8n, you can use JavaScript to parse complex JSON data from an API response.

Suppose you receive a dataset that includes nested arrays and objects.

JavaScript in n8n can extract specific information, reformat it as needed, and pass it along to other nodes for further action, such as updating a database or sending notifications.

Automated Reporting

JavaScript in n8n can automate the creation of custom reports based on incoming data. Suppose you have sales data coming into your workflow.

You can write a script to calculate totals, averages, or other statistics and then generate a formatted report to be sent out automatically to stakeholders.

JavaScript in n8n Strengths

  • JavaScript can be integrated at any point in the workflow, allowing for significant customization.
  • Ideal for complex data structures that require advanced logic and manipulation.

JavaScript in n8n Weaknesses

  • Users need a very strong grasp of JavaScript to effectively use these features, which might be challenging for beginners.
  • Custom scripts can introduce errors, particularly in complex workflows, which can be difficult to debug.
  • Scripts that perform heavy data manipulation may consume more computational resources, potentially slowing down the workflow.
  • As with other platforms, maintaining and updating JavaScript as APIs and data structures evolve can require considerable effort.

n8n offers functionality similar to Zapier's with its Function and Function Item nodes, which allow the execution of custom JavaScript, but these are also somewhat limited compared to the depth of integration seen in Make.

Pricing Comparison for JavaScript Automation

Here’s a straightforward look at the pricing structures of Make, Zapier, and n8n, particularly focusing on how they might affect users who need to implement custom JavaScript in their automation workflows.


Make offers tiered pricing, starting with a free plan that allows a decent number of operations but includes limited features.

Their paid plans increase in price based on the number of operations and data transfer limits.

If your workflows require custom JavaScript, partnering Make with offers the most cost-effective solution. This combination stretches your budget further compared to Zapier and n8n and enables the execution of advanced, bespoke scripts with ease.


Zapier also uses a tiered pricing structure. The free tier is limited in terms of the number of tasks you can run and does not allow the use of custom JavaScript.

Paid plans start from a basic level, which includes access to custom JavaScript but with a cap on the number of tasks per month.

Prices increase as you scale up the number of tasks and add more premium features. For heavy JavaScript users, this can become quite costly, as each script execution counts as a task.


n8n offers a unique model with both self-hosted and cloud versions.

The self-hosted version can be more cost-effective if you have the technical capability to maintain it, as it allows unlimited executions depending on your server's capacity.

The cloud version has a free tier with limited executions, and their paid plans are based on the number of workflow executions, including executions of JavaScript code.

Cost-Effectiveness for JavaScript Users

For users planning to run many custom JavaScript operations, Make might offer the most cost-effective solution.

Its pricing model allows for a larger volume of operations at less cost compared to Zapier, where each script execution is counted as a task.

n8n might be a viable option if you opt for the self-hosted route, which would remove limits on executions but involves managing infrastructure, which incurs hosting costs and is feasible only for customers with technical staff.

Overall, Make, particularly when paired with, emerges as the most cost-effective choice for users looking to run numerous custom JavaScript operations. This setup allows for a greater volume of operations at a lower cost, unlike Zapier, which counts each script execution as a separate task.

Feature Make with CustomJS Zapier n8n
Initial Plan for JS Access Free up to 20 executions/day Starter ($19.99/mo) $20 /month
Monthly Cost for
Higher Usage
$9/mo (Standard of Make) +
$9/mo (Pro of
$299/mo (Team) $20/mo (Starter)
CustomJS Support FullLimitedFull
Number of Executions 10,000 (Standard) 2,000 (Team)5,000 (Starter)
Data Transfer Limit 3 GB (Standard)None SpecifiedNone Specified
Ease of Use EasyMediumMedium

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the cheapest option for starting with JavaScript automation?

Make, paired with CustomJS, offers a free tier where you can experiment with JavaScript, though it’s limited. Their Standard plan at $9 per month is quite affordable for full features. Zapier also has a free plan but requires upgrading to JavaScript, starting at $19.99 monthly.

2. Which tool is best for complex JavaScript tasks without a high cost?

Make is generally the best option for complex JavaScript tasks at a lower cost. Their plans allow extensive use of JavaScript across workflows at a lower price compared to Zapier’s equivalent tiers.

3. Can I use JavaScript in the free plans of these tools?

n8n allows JavaScript usage in its free tier but with execution limits. Make also supports JavaScript in its free plan but with significant restrictions. Zapier’s free plan does not support JavaScript; you must upgrade to custom scripts.

4. What happens if I exceed my plan’s execution limit using JavaScript?

Exceeding your plan's limit generally leads to additional charges or suspension of service until the next billing cycle. Make and n8n may offer to upgrade your plan to accommodate higher usage, while Zapier might charge for additional tasks performed.

Is JavaScript support in these tools suitable for beginners?

n8n and Make offers integration for JavaScript, which might require a basic understanding of coding. Zapier’s environment is more controlled and might be easier for beginners, but it’s also more limited in what you can achieve with JavaScript.