Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are useful in disease modeling and drug discovery, and they promise to provide a new generation of cell-based therapeutics. To date there has been no systematic evaluation of the most widely used techniques for generating integration-free hiPSCs. Here we compare Sendai-viral (SeV), episomal (Epi) and mRNA transfection mRNA methods using a number of criteria. All methods generated high-quality hiPSCs, but significant differences existed in aneuploidy rates, reprogramming efficiency, reliability and workload. We discuss the advantages and shortcomings of each approach, and present and review the results of a survey of a large number of human reprogramming laboratories on their independent experiences and preferences. Our analysis provides a valuable resource to inform the use of specific reprogramming methods for different laboratories and different applications, including clinical translation.