The number of software packages for kinetic modeling of biochemical networks continues to grow. Although most packages share a common core of functionality, the specific capabilities and user interfaces of different packages mean that choosing the best package for a given task is not trivial. We compare 12 software packages with respect to their functionality, reliability, efficiency, user-friendliness and compatibility. Although most programs performed reliably in all numerical tasks tested, SBML compatibility and the set-up of multicompartmentalization are problematic in many packages. For simple models, GEPASI seems the best choice for non-expert users. For large-scale models, environments such as Jarnac/JDesigner are preferable, because they allow modular implementation of models. Virtual Cell is the most versatile program and provides the simplest and clearest functionality for setting up multicompartmentalization.