Comparison of LINQPad and LINQ Insight

LINQPad is a popular tool for testing LINQ queries. It is a standalone application that allows you to execute LINQ queries or other C#/VB statements. It can be downloaded at This page compares LINQPad with our Visual Studio addin, LINQ Insight, that allows executing LINQ queries at design-time and profiling ORM calls and data access events.

LINQ Insight can be a better LINQPad alternative, since is developed with user experience in mind, and we do our best to create a product that speeds up and ease the development of ORM-powered applications, and enables developer to improve the efficiency and performance of their applications.

Below you can see the feature comparison of LINQPad and LINQ Insight.

Visual Studio Integration

LINQ Insight is tightly integrated in Visual Studio, thus it offering you a number of benefits. However, Visual Studio is required, and LINQ Insight cannot be used without it.

LINQPad is a standalone application, and can be used without Visual Studio.

In-place Query Execution

LINQ Insight allows you to execute LINQ queries right from the Visual Studio code editor while you are writing them. Just right-click the query and select Run LINQ Query from the shortcut menu or press CTRL+SHIFT+R.

LINQPad requires you to copy the query from the code editor and paste it to LINQ Pad. You also need to make some additional preparations, described below.

No Need to Prepare the Query

If you execute a LINQ query with LINQ Insight while debugging your application, LINQ Insight uses the current values of the variables if there are some in the query. If you execute a query at design-time, LINQ Insight parses the query and offers you to enter values for variables of scalar types.

LINQPad requires you to replace variables in your LINQ query with constants.

No Need to Prepare Context

With LINQ Insight you can execute LINQ queries both in design-time and in run-time instantly with no need to prepare context.

With LINQPad you need to build the context assembly manually and specify it in LINQPad.

Automatic connection string detection

In most cases LINQ Insight can determine the connection string automatically and you don't need to specify the additional connection parameters.

In LINQPad you need to create the connection manually and specify a number of connection parameters.

The Query Information Displayed

LINQ Insight displays the generated SQL with parameter values used and the returned data for a LINQ query.

LINQPad displays the generated SQL with parameter values used, returned data, λ-expression for the query, and the compiled IL code.

Grid for Viewing Data

LINQ Insight displays retrieved data in a grid with convenient data sorting, grouping, and filtering, and allows viewing related data in two ways: in a drop-down box with a grid, opened when clicking a drop-down arrow on the navigation property cell, and in the main grid itself.

LINQPad's data grid allows only data sorting. It does not allow data grouping and filtering. It provides only one way to view related data - in the main grid itself. However LINQPad allows exporting data to Excel.

Supported LINQ Providers

LINQ Insight supports LINQ to Entities (Entity Framework), LINQ to NHibernate, LINQ to SQL, LinqConnect, LINQ to XML, LINQ to Objects, and RavenDB.

LINQPad suports Entity Framework, LINQ to SQL, WCF RIA Services 5.4 (OData 3), Microsoft DataMarket Service out-of-the-box and can use third-party drivers to support most of the .NET ORMs.

Language Constructs Support

LINQ Insight supports only LINQ statements.

LINQPad suports any C#/VB expression, statement or program.

Database Access via LINQ

LINQ Insight requires you to create a compilable project with the ORM model of the database using any ORM supported to access database data. Any database server, supported by the ORM can be accessed.

LINQPad can build the LINQ to SQL model for an SQL Server database automatically while creating a connection. For other databases you will need either a built project, using Entity Framework or a third-party LINQPad driver.

ORM Profiler

LINQ Insight has a unique feature, not present in LINQPad - LINQ Profiler tool. It allows you to really profile application interaction with ORM runtime. With LINQ Profiler you can see how much time a LINQ statement or a SubmitChanges call takes to execute as a whole even if it generated multiple SQL statements. You can profile exactly the code you write and study the real performance of your LINQ code.

For more information about LINQ Profiler read our Profile LINQ Easily with LINQ Insight page.