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Airtable vs. Smartsheet: Which one comes out on top?

Mariam Ispiryan • May 03, 2022 • 10 min read

If you’re on the hunt for a database tool, Airtable and Smartsheet are probably two names that pop up a lot. Trying them both out for yourself is the best way to figure out which platform would better suit your needs, but your busy schedule might not allow for that.


That’s why we’ve done the groundwork for you and put together this guide on Airtable vs. Smartsheet. Check out both their pros, cons, pricing and top use cases below before making your final decision.

Ready to supercharge your Airtable with Softr?

Turn your databases into beautiful front-end web apps, no code necessary.

Airtable vs. Smartsheet


At their core, Airtable and Smartsheet are very similar. They’re both modern, no-code spreadsheet-database tools that operate on web-based platforms. They also lend themselves to a wide variety of use cases including project management, content planning, human resources management, and general data storage.


However, the two platforms aren’t exactly the same. It’s important to consider both Airtable and Smartsheet’s advantages and disadvantages to determine which is the best collaboration tool for you. So, let’s begin.

Airtable: Pros and cons


Founded in 2012, Airtable is considered a spreadsheet-database hybrid. The platform goes beyond anything you’ve ever imagined a spreadsheet could do—and then some. 


By empowering users to store and organize data any way they please, Airtable saves them time, streamlines their workflows, and creates customized solutions for their needs. Once you’ve got Airtable right, it’ll change the way you do business for the better.

Airtable functionality set

Airtable is a spreadsheet-database hybrid designed to help users organize their business more efficiently.

Source: Airtable




Pros

  • Dynamic, visually engaging design
  • Lots of different ways to view your dashboard including grids, calendars, and Kanban boards
  • A wide variety of complex fields like file attachments, buttons, formulas, rankings, and linked records
  • Powerful automation to free up hours of your time 
  • Platform flexibility lends itself to a wider range of use cases than competitors
  • Ready-to-use templates that are perfect for those just starting out
  • Free plan & relatively affordable paid plans
  • Huge ecosystem of Airtable integrations and complementary tools due to their API
  • Collaboration features like mentions, collaborator fields, and personal views make it great for remote teams
  • Lots great educational resources like guides and webinars



Cons

  • The learning curve is steep when you’re getting started
  • Limited and clunky functionality on mobile devices
  • Pricing plans can get expensive if you want advanced features for multiple workspaces
  • Free plan has pretty limited features
  • Some API shortcomings that need to be fixed



Pricing


Airtable has a free plan that’s perfect for individual entrepreneurs and small teams to get started with. It includes unlimited bases and up to five creators or editors.


Once you’re ready to upgrade, you’ve got three paid plans to choose from:


  • Plus plan: $12 per seat per month
  • Pro plan: $24 per seat per month
  • Enterprise plan: By request


Once you’re using Airtable as your collaboration tool, you can supercharge it by connecting Softr for free. Then, you’ll be able to create beautiful sites and web apps out of your databases (no coding required).



Best for


Airtable template for project teams

Project teams love working with Airtable because it helps them monitor their progress and stay on top of their to-do list in one central place.

Source: Top 15 Airtable Use Cases



One of Airtable’s biggest selling points is how flexible it is. Their platform has tons of different use cases, and here are some of the most notable:


  • Project management: Projects involve lots of moving parts, and Airtable helps users keep track of them all with due dates, high priority flags, production timelines, and task owners. Keep all your information in one place where it can be easily referred to and understood at a glance.


  • Customer relationship management: As businesses grow in scale, it gets harder to organize your growing client list, their information, and everything you need to do to keep them happy. Airtable can do it all, whether you’re a freelancer or a large organization. Take things a step further with the Softr integration and build a front-end client portal out of your data in a matter of minutes.


  • Event planning: Whether you’re organizing a wedding, a conference, or a workshop, events are all about collaborating with lots of different people and getting things done. Airtable can help you stay on top of every detail throughout all the stages of your event planning process.


  • Inventory management: If you have an e-commerce or brick-and-mortar shop, you need an accurate record of your current inventory at all times or your bottom line will suffer. Airtable goes a step further than traditional spreadsheets and can streamline your whole inventory tracking process.

Smartsheet: Pros and cons


Smartsheet has been around since 2005. Its modern spreadsheets are popular because of their simplicity and how easy it is for international teams to work together. 


Using Smartsheet is a lot like using Excel or Google Sheets, but taken up a notch. The platform is well-loved by project managers and technical industries like IT, finance, and healthcare.

snick pick into Smartsheet

Smartsheet has brought spreadsheets into the modern day and made them more intuitive, collaborative, and dynamic.

Source: Smartsheet



Pros

  • Clean, simple interface that’s pretty easy for beginners to navigate
  • Designed to help teams work better together with features like Gantt charts, real-time metrics, and dynamic portfolio management
  • Easy to automate repetitive tasks and processes
  • Reasonably priced
  • Softr integration will be available soon, and you can also reach out to Smartsheet to request other new integrations
  • Lots of ready-made templates to choose from
  • Offers assistance in a wide range of languages like Dutch, Polish, Swedish, and Turkish
  • Reliable customer care with phone support



Cons

  • No free plan
  • Less flexible platform when compared with its competitors, but compensates with a specialization in project management
  • The design of their interface is fairly traditional and could be made more dynamic
  • Mobile app has limited functionality
  • Lack of in-house instructions, tutorials, and educational resources for those getting started



Pricing


Smartsheet doesn’t have a free plan, but there is a 30-day trial you can use to get acquainted with the platform.


Once you’re ready to upgrade to a paid plan, you have three options:


  • Pro plan: $9 per user per month (for 3 users)
  • Business plan: $32 per user per month (for 3 users)
  • Enterprise plan: By request


Smartsheet’s plans vary slightly in price depending on how many users you want to have access to your account.



Best for


  • Project management: Smartsheet really excels in the project management space and competes with other big names like Trello and Asana. The platform is simple enough for the whole team to use, but has sufficiently advanced features to tackle everything from project schedules to resource management to budget tracking.


  • Financial services: The finance industry is renowned for loving Excel, so it only makes sense that they’d be big fans of Smartsheet as well. Finance teams use Smartsheet for advanced processes like automating compliance and audit processes and tracking strategic initiatives.


  • IT & operations: Tech teams enjoy using Smartsheet because it saves them time, is compatible with tons of integrations they already use, works with their existing workflows, and ultimately lets them act quicker and achieve more. If we’re talking specifics, IT and ops use Smartsheet for hardware and infrastructure project management, software development, cross-organization portfolio updates, and in-depth reporting.

Should you choose Airtable or Smartsheet?


Overall, Airtable and Smartsheet are pretty neck-and-neck spreadsheet-database tools and only you can determine which one aligns with your workflows better. But in our experience, Airtable has a slight edge over Smartsheet for three key reasons.



1. Airtable has more features and integrations 


Airtable is the newer platform, and it’s surging in popularity, so new features, integrations, and related web apps are constantly popping up. There’s a whole range of related no-code tools like Softr, Make (formerly Integromat), and MiniExtensions that make Airtable even more powerful. 


You don’t even need any tech know-how to get started, because Softr’s key features help users build professional front-end web apps without any coding experience. 

Softr feature set

When you use Airtable, you can connect it with Softr to build beautiful, no-code front-end web apps out of your data.



2. Once you get the hang of Airtable, you can do more with it


Even though Airtable can be hard for people to get their heads around at first, it offers limitless possibilities. It has far more potential use cases than the competition because the platform was designed to be a database-spreadsheet hybrid. That means it works for more than just data storage, task organization, and team collaboration. 


With Airtable, you can transform your data into whatever you want, be it a content calendar, business roadmap, CRM, OKR tracker, product catalog, or accounting tool. And once you integrate Airtable with Softr, your use case horizons expand even further.

LetterHunt built with Softr

LetterHunt made $4k in just 2 months after building a newsletter directory using Airtable and Softr



3. Airtable is better suited to businesses of all shapes and sizes


While Smartsheet’s platform is more geared towards mid-sized businesses, large organizations, and more technical industries, Airtable is designed with just about everyone in mind. Whether you’re a freelancer, a solopreneur, a start-up, or a massive company, you can personalize Airtable to suit your needs and then some. 

Unis built with Softr

United Nations International School used Softr with their Airtable database to create a user-friendly student portal supporting emotional wellbeing

Ready to supercharge your Airtable with Softr?

Turn your databases into beautiful front-end web apps, no code necessary.

Choosing the best collaboration tool for your business


All in all, both Airtable and Smartsheet are fantastic spreadsheet-database tools. They’re both great platforms for storing and organizing information, helping teams collaborate more effectively, streamlining workflows and internal processes, and saving lots of time, energy, and manual work along the way.


Generally speaking, we think Airtable has a slight edge over Smartsheet. It offers a wider range of potential use cases, is well-suited to all kinds of businesses, and has a significant network of web apps and integrations that supercharge it and add on even more functionalities.


Softr already connects directly with Airtable, so you can start creating beautiful front-end web apps like online communities, members-only websites, and client portals out of your data right away.


If you’re interested in Smartsheet but want to use Softr, we’re currently in the process of building an integration with them as well. You can always sign up for Airtable in the meantime and transfer over to Smartsheet once we’ve got our new integration ready.


All that’s left for you to do is see what these spreadsheet-database tools can do for your business.

Ready to supercharge your Airtable with Softr?

Turn your databases into beautiful front-end web apps, no code necessary.

Frequently asked questions about Airtable vs. Smartsheet

To determine whether Airtable is better than Smartsheet you’ll have to consider the features your business wants and the use case you need a database tool for. They’re both excellent software, but Airtable has a slight advantage over Smartsheet. The platform lends itself to a wider variety of use cases, has a free plan, can be suitable for businesses of any size, and has a huge ecosystem of useful related web apps and integrations like Softr.

Airtable and Smartsheet are very similar as they’re both modern, no-code database tools that operate on web-based platforms. They also both look a lot like traditional spreadsheets at first glance, although they’re a lot more dynamic and have much more robust capabilities. Their main differences come down to small things like user-friendliness, target audience, use case specializations, niche features, pricing, and integrations.

Airtable and Smartsheet are both fantastic no-code database tools, but Airtable presents a few key benefits over Smartsheet. For instance: - Airtable has a free plan - Airtable has a large ecosystem of related web apps and integrations like Softr that take its functionalities to the next level - Airtable is more flexible and lends itself to a wider range of use cases - Airtable is better for businesses of all sizes because it can be customized for freelancers, start-ups, and large companies with a few tweaks - Airtable’s popularity is skyrocketing and there’s lots of demand for them to release new features and improve their software, meaning that there are lots of exciting things to come.

Airtable and Smartsheet aren’t currently integrated with one another. However, they might be someday in the near future. In the meantime, you can use a third-party app like Zapier to connect the two database tools and share information back and forth between them automatically.

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