10 FREE ways to choose a random winner

If you host prize draws on your website or social media then you need to have a demonstrably fair way of selecting your random winner(s). It’s not OK to choose a winner by scrolling through Instagram comments and stopping on a name you like, and it’s not OK to choose a Facebook comment at random because it makes you laugh.

A random prize draw (or sweepstakes) winner should be chosen fairly from all valid entries – and there are plenty of free tools that can help!

In the UK, all prize promotions should follow the CAP Code, which states:

8.24: Promoters of prize draws must ensure that prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and, unless winners are selected by a computer process that produces verifiably random results, by an independent person, or under the supervision of an independent person.

If challenged, a promoter must be able to show that a winner was chosen at random. It’s sufficient to provide screenshots, spreadsheets or videos of a computer process that chooses at random – and here I’ve shared ten FREE tools that can choose a random winner.

If you’re struggling to track entries and choose a random winner for Instagram giveaways, you will find my post 10 tips for running Instagram giveaways helpful.

The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority has recently ruled against three brands who breached the CAP Code by running unfair prize draws on Instagram, so make sure you dont make the same mistakes they did!


Ten free ways to choose a random winner

1. Random.org

Random.org is the best way to choose your winner if you have access to a numbered list – for example, a spreadsheet of email addresses. On the website, enter the maximum number (eg. if you have 125 entrants, it’s 125) and click to generate a random number between 1 and 125. Then go back to your list/spreadsheet – that number line on your spreadsheet is the winner. You can also use their List Randomizer by pasting in a list of names – use this function, and your list will be shown in random order. Then simply choose the the top name/email address/entry as the winner.


Using random.org to choose a random winner

2. Wheel of Names

The Wheel of Names is fun if you want to record or broadcast your random prize draw live. Simply type in your list of names then spin the wheel!


Choose a random winner using the Wheel of Names

3. Random Picker

The Random Picker tool allows you to paste in a list, and choose one item at random. You can also upload a text file to the tool.


4. Comment Picker

Comment Picker offers lots of free options to choose your winner from Facebook, Instagram or YouTube comments – you can even choose a random winner for a simultaneous Facebook and Insta prize draw. To choose Instagram winners, you’ll need to have a Facebook page linked to an Instagram Creator or Business account. You’ll also be able to add extra entries manually to your prize draw – for example, a list of entrants who completed a bonus Instagram story share. You will need to log in and allow Comment Picker access to your account in order to make your random draw.


4. Tweetdraw

Tweetdraw will give you a random winner for a Twitter retweet promotion that has 3000 or less RTs. Authorise access to your Twitter account by logging in, then enter the tweet URL to select a random retweet (you can only link to one tweet using this method). Unfortunately Tweetdraw no longer offers the option to choose a random winner from a hashtag, you would have to use a paid tool like Woobox for this.


(see my guide on how to run a Twitter giveaway)

Using Tweetdraw to choose a random winner

5. Pick A Winner

If you’re hosting a simple Instagram comment giveaway with less than 100 comments (or a YouTube giveaway with up to 2000), you can choose a random winner without logging in using Pick A Winner (for any more than 100 comments, you will need the paid version). Paste in your link to the post, and choose filters. By default only one comment per user will be entered into the draw – if your giveaway allowed one entry per comment, select Allow Duplicates.


Using Pick A Winner to choose a random winner on Instagram

6. GetComBot

If you have more than 150 comments on your Instagram post, or would like to download an Excel file of all entries, GetComBot is your best bet – although you will need to wait a while for the results. Enter your email address and a link to the Instagram post – a new browser window will open, and after a while you’ll see a list of all the comments. Select options to specify if the winner had to tag 0, 1, 2 or 3 friends. Each comment will be a separate entry in the draw – if it’s only one comment allowed per entrant, select ‘Unique by user’ at the top. When you’re ready, click Get winner!


(see my guide on how to run an Instagram giveaway)

Using GetComBot to choose a random winner

7. Pick Giveaway Winner

Perfect for bloggers who run comment-to-win giveaways, install this WordPress plug in, and access it via your Tools menu. Select a blog post, and it will choose a random comment and show you their name and email address. You can even tell it to discard multiple entries from the same person.

Pick Giveaway Winner

Using Pick Giveaway Winner to choose a random winner

9. Gleam

If you’re hosting a simple prize draw on your blog or website, Gleam is a flexible and clever embeddable widget that will effortlessly choose a random winner for you – simply click the ‘Draw winners…’ button when your giveaway ends.

www.gleam.io (my affiliate link)

Using Gleam to choose a random winner

10. Rafflecopter

Like Gleam, Rafflecopter offers a easy flexible way to host a prize draw with a random winner. Simply click the Entries tab to select your winner when the giveaway ends.


Using Rafflecopter to choose a random winner

Hopefully these tools will help you choose your random winner fairly!

When you’ve chosen your winner, read my blog post How to contact winners for the most reliable ways to contact them (and successfully get a reply!)

If you’d like more guidance on running a fair and successful prize promotion, check my posts:

You can also join my mailing list for promoters and bloggers by clicking here.

This post contains affiliate links

68 Responses

  1. nolan says:

    Photo Lucky Draw is a tool software to find a winner by a fun and easy way. With Photo Lucky Draw software, you can quickly scroll through guest photos on the big screen. The order in which photos are displayed is random. When you click the draw button, the screen will immediately stop scrolling. And the person that is frozen is the winner of this lottery. Winner’s photo will not repeat unless you initialize the Photo Lucky Draw software. Be used with projector or LED large screen etc., you can create lucky draw on your party. Photo Lucky Draw is also supported to draw with name or number. And also supported to draw prizes with your mobile phone.

  2. Tuck says:

    There is a point that I want to highlight. I read it somewhere that these tools actually scrape data from social networks which is against the policy and there is high chance that all of these tools will be dead pretty soon except a few of them.

    What are you thoughts on this?

    • Liza says:

      Good ones, like Lizaonair utilize official Facebook API and works in proper way.

    • Di says:

      I doubt that will happen! Social media giveaways are incredibly popular and drive a lot of traffic to the platforms, so a policy like that wouldn’t help Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc at all. Competition entries are publicly accessible so there’s no problem with collecting that data at the moment. There will always need to be a way to process the data to choose winners at random, but it could be that it ends up being a job for the larger paid apps like Woobox, while the free options get phased out.

  3. Saffi says:

    Really nice and informative article, thanks for sharing.

  4. Igor says:

    Try verifyshre.com
    Good tool!

  5. monasebaty says:

    Thank you , what a great article

  6. LAUREN says:

    THANK YOU!!!!

  7. Marija Grigorjeva says:

    Hi! Thanks for this informative article. In case if we are running a prize draw where participants enter with their email address, what would be the best service to make sure it is GDPR compliant? Many thanks.

    • Di says:

      Once the winner has accepted their prize, the best option is to delete all the entrants’ email addresses from your records (unless you used a tick box so they could opt in to further commnuications!).

  8. Laura says:

    Hi, how do companies choose a winner when there are multiple entry routes such as postcard, online and phone? Do all routes have an equal chance of being picked? Thanks

    • Di says:

      Yes! For prize draws like the ones advertised on TV – where you can enter by text, postcard or online – every entry will be assigned a reference number and all added to the same database/spreadsheet – eg, let’s say a prize draw received 1000 phone entries, 1000 online entries and 200 postcard entries. Then the winner is chosen at random from all those collated entries. For example, entry 2050 might be chosen as the winner, which was the 50th postal entry received. Every postcard entry would have been numbered as they arrived, and the postcard with number 50 on would be the winner. Does that make sense?

  9. Vladimir says:

    Hi, you can use this solution for Instagram. http://tools4insta.com/random-comment-from-instagram-post.php, this way you need only to input POST URL and that POST needs to be from public profile. This is really simple how to choose a random comment from Instagram post.

  10. Jonathan says:

    Hi. My company is looking to introduce two prize draws each month to promote more sustainable commuting – one for car-sharers that both the passenger(s) and driver can enter, and one for anyone who comes to work on foot, by bicycle, or by public transport. Each individual can have one entry per day. I’d also like the ability to log the journey length so that we can work out how much CO2 has been saved based on an average car.
    The issue is how staff enter their journey each day, especially as there are 450 people in the building. I don’t want to turn this into a cottage industry to run it!
    Can you recommnd a software/app, even if there’s a charge/licence fee
    Thank you

  11. Mindy says:

    If you have a game with multiple winners who have paid to play but cannot win more than once, after randomization should you take the first winner’s name out and re-randomize? Or does it even change anything? It seems to me it would increase the odds of hitting the next winning # for those who haven’t won yet.

    • Di says:

      Yes, you should ideally take the winner’s name out of the list/spreadsheet. And yes, the odds would improve for the remaining entrants with a winning name removed in each subsequent draw. If you didn’t want the hassle of removing a name from the spreadsheet, you could just draw again if a previous winner’s name popped up.

  12. siteroos says:

    thanks for export instagram comments

  13. Karen Snook says:

    Hi, I’ve had 15 Instagram Giveaways running for 4 weeks. They have now finished and I’ve send the first link and my email address to GetComBot. Out of interest does it take a while to get back to you or have I missed a point ie I needed to send it at the beginning? Thanks

    • Di says:

      It can take a few hours Karen!

      • Karen says:

        Thank you… it’s been a few days – I’ve tried with 2 email addresses so not sure working for me. Seems to be the only site that checks more options than just comments.

        • Di says:

          I’ve actually just had an email from a Russian website who wants to be featured here – I don’t have time to check it out just now, but if you want to investigate it for your giveaway the link is https://lizaonair.com/giveaway/#in:BrQWPRvlR3Y – it doesn’t look like there are filters to check if the entrant has tagged or followed though.

          • Liza says:

            Click on gear icon (while authorised as post owner) to get an option how to chose from (authors, comments, likes, hashtag) and what you need to check (following status, sponsors following status, repost to srory, like).

  14. Thanks for sharing this information.

  15. Antonia says:

    Hi Di,

    Great post!
    I’m looking to launch a Facebook comment competition and I was thinking to pick a winner by time the comment was posted because the idea of the contest it that whoever publishes their comment last by a set time gets the prize. My question is do you know any winner picker tools that has time figure amongst other post data to export?

    • Di says:

      Ah – last comment wins. I hate those! It encourages people to spam with comments, looks messy and has the big risk that entrants will get banned from commenting on Facebook for a week (it wouldn’t be good for your page to be responsible for that ban!). I’m afraid I don’t know of a tool that downloads precise timestamps for Facebook comments!

  16. mahsa says:

    i have decided to use getcombot but will it work if i close my comments on that Instagram post?

    • Di says:

      No – Getcombot can only see what’s public (as it doesn’t actually log in to your Instagram account) so you would have to leave the comments visible until the draw had been done.

  17. I’m looking to do a Facebook drawing giveaway away what would be the best way to do this

  18. Mei says:

    Hi! I’m doing an Instagram giveaway where users can tag others for additional entries. So if someone tags 4 different people in addition to following all the rules they’ll have 5 entries. Will one of these sites work for this? Thanks!

    • Di says:

      You can – but you would have to specify that they tag each one in a new comment – ‘tag up to 8 friends in seperate comments and receive a bonus entry for each’ for example. Use http://www.getcombot.com but DON’T check the ‘Unique by user’ box – then every comment is a new entry. If your giveaway has started though, unfortunately you’ll need to manually create a spreadsheet for this one!

      • Natalie says:

        So, could you tell me the timeline for posting and sending the info to getcombot? I create a post and immediately send it to them to ensure they have all the comments? I want to avoid spreasheets at all cost.
        Also, is there an option for making a 1st 2nd and 3rd winners from the same post on getcombot?

        • Di says:

          Upload the link to Getcombot as soon as your competition ends. You’ll get results in a new browser window – but this could take a while (I think it was about 45 minutes for my last giveaway). When you choose your winner, you can then add a second and third winner in the same session.

  19. Sam ng says:

    we use lucky draw kit for our events

  20. Bongenie says:

    Our club has several drawings every year at our Christmas party with runner-ups in the event a winner can’t use the prize which may be a trip. Usually, my friend and I are the ones cutting up all the little pieces of paper to put in a hat for multiple drawings. This would be wonderful, except I wondering if it will accommodate about 200+ names with many multiples and having a total of approximately 1500+ entries. How would we eliminate duplicate drawings in that case? Is it possible to just draw again if a duplicate is drawn either for a winner or a runner-up?

    • Di says:

      I”m not sure I fully understand this one! Why are there duplicate names in the draw? Would it be easier to give each entrant/member a numbered raffle ticket to avoid cutting up names to go into a hat?

      • Bongenie says:

        We have over 500 members. For every hour a member volunteers. whether it’s cooking, cleaning, teaching, attending meetings, etc, that member earns 1 chance into the yearly drawing provided he logs it into our point book and it’s entered into our point spreadsheet. Hence, at the end of the year, some members may have 20 hours (20 chances) and others may have 200 hours (200 chances). It seems this is the only way to encourage people to volunteer throughout the year. As you can imagine, numbered raffle tickets would also be a hassle not taking in to consideration the cost of tickets. Since I input the names, hours, etc of those who volunteer into a spreadsheet, I thought it would be easier to copy the list and paste it in the Random Name Picker and let it pick the names and alternates during our holiday party. I tried it with a partial list and it worked but it seemed to choose the same name multiple times. That’s why I was questioning if there was a way to eliminate duplicate names once a name is drawn.

        • Di says:

          Ah I see! It’s a similar problem to the reply below. I can’t find any free tools that enable you to do this online. My suggestion (as below) would be to have someone at the drawing with a computer/tablet showing a spreadsheet of all entries (in name order) then use random.org to draw a winning row. That winner’s entry rows are then all deleted from the spreadsheet, and then use random.org to draw again.

  21. Sharifah Syahirah Tuan Abdul Rahim says:

    Hi, this is a great article. But which one is the best to use for a lucky draw? because I need to find on online generator to pick out lucky draw winner for multiple sessions during our Annual Dinner. So, those who already being picked out, will not get another chance to win again, how do I do that yea? Please help me. Thank you.

    • Di says:

      Random.org is your best bet! Simply have a spreadsheet with all your attendees in (numbered) and then have a new browser window with random.org. For example, with 250 attendees – put in 1 and 250 to random.org. When you’ve got your first winning number, announce it and then move their name to the end of your attendee list (number 250) and then use random.org to choose between 1 and 249. Then move your next winner to the bottom of your list again, and choose again between 1 and 248. Does that make sense?

  22. Thanks for sharing this nice information.

  23. Hi, Have you seen the Good luck Fairy now requires you to give them access to your Facebook page (the default options which come up if agreed to would have given them full access to my Facebook and Instagram. And then they ask for a GDPR form to be completed which asks for full name, address and a load of information they have no reason to have! I can appreciate they made need access to a page (although the information is publicly visible so not sure why) but it all seems a bit much so I canceled out of it.

  24. Tamara Jackson says:

    I am looking for a free random name picker that allows for multiple entries per name (people are recognizing fellow employees for outstanding work, and there may be employees recognized by several people so I would want their names weighted accordingly). Any ideas? I don’t want an embeddable app.

    • Di says:

      Hmmm, can you import every nomination into a spreadsheet – including all duplicates – then simply use random.org to choose a numbered row from the spreadsheet?

  25. Brett says:

    Number 2, random name picker, appears to be a monthly subscription only. Is there a free option that I am missing somewhere on there site? That random name picker will be perfect for our group, if it were free.

    • Di says:

      To use the name picker you just click on the play button on screen, then type the list of names in – there’s no log in or registration required!

  26. Cristina G. says:

    Absolutely brilliant. I had no idea that I had so many options. I was panicking a bit. Phew!
    Random winners, bring it on!
    Thanks a bunch.

  27. C says:

    Anyone know how to do a random winner when you have two accounts doing a giveaway, how do you load up both sets of information?

  28. Andrey says:

    Giveawation did not work now with >150 comments… But getcombot.com is correct now. Yesterday i get more than 27,000 comments by it 🙂 Regards.

  29. MOKHTAR says:

    It’s a nice and informative post. I own a website and wanted to announce a winner for a USB flash drive for those who subscribed to our newsletter so now I can do that. Thank you very much.

  30. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much Di… you solved my problem.. i had just published my first giveaway blogpost.. thanks for Pick Giveaway Winner ☺

  31. Jamie says:

    Very interesting. I’m thinking about delving into prize draws myself using some kind of hybrid entry method (follow on Twitter and enter via online form on website to collect email addresses in a tidy CSV). I’ll follow your advice and give one of the free services above a try.. I guess if I come a cropper, so to speak I can always try a different service next time. What in your opinion is a good value of a prize, if say for instance I wanted to attract 1000 entrants?

  32. PrizeDeck says:

    Good article as always and good research too. We use random.org to select the winner but actually add an extra step or two in the process. We randomize the list of entrants first so the entrants are in no particular order on the list and then we randomize once again to get the winner. We then randomize those entrants remaining to select up to 5 runners-up in the event that the winner fails to claim their prize. We take screenshots of the process(es) and archive all spreadsheets/files of entrants. All our prizes are awarded in accordance with the laws of chance and it does not matter when you entered, how many likes/followers you have or any other stat/act which you think may give you preference/favour over another entrant!

  1. 30/09/2018

    […] enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on my blog by Sunday, October 7, 2018. I will then randomly choose three winners and announce the results on my […]

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