Discord vs. Slack: Which Chat App Is Right For You?

Discord vs. Slack: Which Chat App Is Right For You?

Portrait of Ivee Yang Lark's Author
Portrait of Ivee Yang Lark's Author

Ivy Yang

January 22, 2024

1/22/24

Jan 22, 2024

1/22/24

16 min read

Professionals having a virtual meeting
Professionals having a virtual meeting
Professionals having a virtual meeting
Professionals having a virtual meeting

Discord is commonly viewed as an app used by gamers and online communities, while Slack focuses primarily on business and productivity. But while they may appear different, the two messaging platforms have similar capabilities, including chats, file sharing, and audio and video calls.

Using Slack or Discord for team communication can increase productivity and collaboration in your team. At their core, both Discord and Slack are communication apps designed to make exchanging ideas between team members easier.

Choosing the right communication app for your team has become more important than ever, especially with the steady rise of remote working in the past few years. Recent reports show that 12% of full-time employees now work remotely, with another 30% adopting a hybrid model, combining at-home and in-office work.

This article will provide an in-depth Discord vs. Slack comparison and help you choose the right one.

Discord vs. Slack in a nutshell


Man participating in a virtual meeting


Collaboration software can be defined as software designed to support workplace productivity. As such, it has a crucial role in communicating, sharing, and managing data and collaborating on projects.

The global collaboration software market is predicted to hit $52.9 billion in 2032. Moreover, a different report has indicated that collaboration software market revenue would reach $14.6 billion in 2023, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2% for the next five years — meaning it could reach $16.12 billion by 2028.

The chart below shows the most-used instant messaging apps in the US in 2023:


Graph showing most used messaging apps

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It shouldn’t be surprising that Facebook Messenger comes out on top, with 81% of users. FaceTime and WhatsApp come in second, with 36% and 31% of users, respectively.

However, the two communication apps we’re primarily interested in here are Discord and Slack. According to the chart above, Discord seems to be the more popular chat platform out of the two, with 14% of users — compared to Slack’s 3%.

Does that imply that Discord is better than Slack? Not necessarily.

Both are channel-based chat tools that can be used for business communication, but there are quite a few notable differences between them.

Slack — the acronym stands for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge” — is a communication platform used for real-time collaboration and exchanging instant messages, with features like group chats (Slack Channels) and screen sharing. It’s not a platform built for online communities, though; it’s made for businesses and internal communication.

Discord is an instant messaging platform comprising Discord Servers, with text-based, voice, and video chats. But unlike Slack, it was primarily designed for gamers and other large communities — although teams can use Discord for business, too.

It’s worth noting that team communication and effective collaboration are vital for performance and productivity — especially now that the workplace is increasingly decentralized. It’s easy to see why mobile chat apps currently have a spot in professional communication, with nearly 70% of professionals reporting they use chat apps daily.

When it comes to advanced communication and collaboration capabilities, you can look no further than Lark. It’s an all-in-one productivity solution for teams, providing seamless collaboration and project management.

Which has the best features?


Laptop screen with Slack logo


Regarding text-based communication, Discord and Slack are relatively similar — in the sense that both platforms allow users to communicate through direct messaging and channels. Plus, both message apps allow users to create threads to manage discussions and have separate, threaded conversations within the same channel.

The one minor difference is that any Slack user gets to create a text channel — an option that’s reserved only for server moderators on Discord. But overall, there’s not much difference in how Slack and Discord handle text communication.

Voice chats are a different story; that’s where major differences become more apparent.

Discord was originally built as a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) platform. That is to say, voice calls are an essential Discord feature that gives it an edge over Slack.

Users can make voice calls in group DMs with up to nine others. Moreover, they have access to additional features like “Push-to-Talk,” noise suppression, echo cancellation, and the ability to adjust the volume for each person in the call.

Plus, Discord has always-on audio channels users can join and leave whenever they like. Slack tried to replicate this with Huddles, but unfortunately, the free version is limited to only two participants, defeating this feature's purpose.

Slack simply can’t compete with Discord when it comes to voice calls. Slack provides Huddles compared to Discord’s audio channels, but they’re not designed for communication in large groups.

What about video call features?

The free version of Discord means limited video quality — but you can still participate in video calls with up to 25 people. Plus, you can access high-quality screen sharing with a Nitro subscription.

By comparison, Slack’s free version doesn’t limit video quality. However, you can only make one-on-one video calls and need a paid subscription to make group video calls with up to 15 people.

Both Discord and Slack list video communication as one of their core features. So, we’d like to share some interesting facts about the use of video calls among global working professionals based on age and gender.


Use of video calls among professionals

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While the use of video calls seems to be more prevalent among male professionals overall, there’s not that big of a difference:

In the group aged 25 to 34, 92.1% of male and 88.6% of female respondents said they used video calls for work. These numbers indicate how important capabilities like video conferencing and screen sharing are for business teams.

As for file sharing capabilities, Slack supports larger file sizes — even with a free account. You can share files up to 1 GB in size. With Discord, you’re limited to 25 MB file uploads — even a Nitro subscription limits the file limit up to 500 MB.

Another key difference is storage: Discord offers unlimited file storage, and with Slack, you get 5 GB of file storage per workspace.

That said, drag-and-drop capability and support for virtually all file types — including documents, images, and videos — are something both platforms have in common.

Gartner’s Global Software Buyer Trends Survey revealed that project management software is currently actively used by more than 85% of businesses. That shouldn’t be surprising, as these tools are typically linked to high-performing projects.

Here’s something to keep in mind:

If you want a tool that offers more than just different methods of communication, neither Discord nor Slack will be a good fit for your team. You need a complete collaboration platform like Lark that packs must-have productivity tools into one easy-to-use app.


A graphic showing Lark's features, including its dashboard and mobile screens


Which has the best integrations?

Project management and communication icons


Integrations are another area where you might see some notable differences between Slack vs. Discord for business:

As a more business-oriented app, Slack supports integration with more than 2,600 other tools and apps.

Granted, the Free plan limits users to 10 integrations with third-party services — but with paid plans, you get to browse the Slack App Directory and find the tools you need. Some available options include Google Drive, Dropbox, Asana, Jira, HubSpot, Zoom, ChatGPT, and Salesforce — and the list goes on.

Discord simply can’t compete with Slack in this department.

In fact, Discord’s native integrations are geared toward gaming and community building. You’re limited to Twitch, YouTube, GitHub, and popular gaming platforms, including Xbox, Steam, and PlayStation. So, you won’t have access to any officially supported integrations with productivity and collaboration tools.

However, there’s a workaround:

Discord relies on bots and webhooks to manage third-party integrations. Plus, you can always use Zapier to connect Discord with other apps you might be using, such as Google Calendar, Trello, Google Drive, Asana, ChatGPT, Zoom, Microsoft Teams — and even Slack.

Now, one thing to keep in mind here is that the average number of apps used by businesses, regardless of size or industry, has been steadily increasing over the past few years.

According to a recent report, the number of SaaS apps used by businesses went up to 371 in 2023.

That is to say:

Teams that already have a large number of apps in their tech stack should prioritize integrations to avoid having to toggle between different apps all the time.

And yet, it seems that only a quarter of companies use dedicated project management software; most teams still rely on a combination of general-purpose tools and poorly integrated solutions. It’s no wonder that only 35% are satisfied with the project management systems they’re currently using.


 Screenshot of project management statistics

Image Source


If you need an alternative to Slack that can help you handle internal communication and project management all in one place, consider giving Lark a try.

Which has the best pricing?

Slack and Discord follow a similar pricing plan — a subscription model where users get to choose between free and paid plans.

However, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Discord was primarily designed to cater to online gaming communities — and that’s reflected in its pricing, too. That is to say, most of Discord’s features are free to use.


Screenshot of Discord's paid plans

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With a free plan, Discord users get access to group video call capabilities (with up to eight participants), unlimited messages, and 8 MB file uploads. It’s no wonder that the majority of Discord’s current user base has a free account.

Of course, you can also choose to upgrade and subscribe to one of Discord’s paid plans — Nitro Basic and Nitro. That will give you access to a few additional perks — namely, a higher file limit for uploads and longer messages (up to 4,000 characters). A Nitro subscription also enables HD video streaming and gives you two server boosts.

Other than that, the upgrade is mostly a matter of aesthetics. For example, you can use custom emojis, have unlimited Super Reactions — essentially just animated versions of regular reactions — and set up custom themes and profiles for different servers on Discord.

Slack’s pricing is a completely different story:


Screenshot of Slack's pricing plans

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The free version is relatively restricted — many key features are placed behind a paywall. Slack Free users are limited to a single Workspace, 90 days of message history, only 10 integrations with third-party apps, and one-on-one video and audio calls.

Next, Slack offers a Pro plan — formerly known as Slack Standard and geared toward small to mid-sized teams — at $7.25 per active user per month. This plan eliminates most of the restrictions of the free version. You’ll get access to unlimited message history, Huddles with up to 50 participants, unlimited integrations, and Slack’s Workflow Builder for automating routine tasks.

Then there’s the Business+ plan, at $12.50 per user per month. It boasts all the benefits of the Pro version, with the addition of advanced security and administration features and 99.99% guaranteed uptime SLA.

And, unlike Discord, Slack also has an Enterprise Grid plan with custom pricing.

Gartner has predicted that annual SaaS expenses will grow by more than 19%, even though 25% of SaaS software will remain underutilized or overdeployed. On that note, it’s worth adding that while Slack is more expensive, its customer base has been growing steadily, with 142,000 paid users in 2021 — compared to 110,000 the year before.


Graph showing Slack's customer growth

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Lark, in comparison, has a free plan that supports teams of up to 50 people, with unlimited chats and 100 GB of storage. We offer even more on our Pro and Enterprise plans, but for the amount we offer with our free Starter plan, you might as well give it a try.

Which has the best customer support?


Customer support icons


While this isn’t a topic that’ll necessarily come up when comparing chat apps, user experience plays a crucial role in customer loyalty. Gartner’s research indicates that customers are 61% more likely to choose to stay with a company based on low-effort service experiences. This probability drops to 37% following a high-effort experience when resolving issues.

If you value access to customer support — and most consumers these days do — then Slack will likely be a better platform for you.

That’s not to say that Discord doesn’t care about helping its users — far from it.

You’ll have access to a comprehensive Help Center — a knowledge base of sorts that covers everything from Discord’s interface and account settings to server setup and safety — and an FAQ/Troubleshooting page.

Even more, Discord has a dedicated Developer Help Center — a great resource for anyone looking to develop apps or make their own Discord bot.

With that said, Slack offers better customer support. Granted, 24/7 support is reserved for Pro, Business+, and Enterprise Grid plans, with the last two plans also boasting four-hour response times.

In addition to that, Slack also has an extensive Resources Library and a neatly-organized Help Center. Plus, those who are struggling to figure out how Slack works — although it shouldn’t be a problem, considering how easy it is to use — can also watch a demo.

It’s worth noting that both platforms currently lack live chat support and can’t be reached by phone. All you get is a standard contact form — which is a shame, considering that most people (54%) still prefer phone calls to get in touch with customer support.


Preferred channels for customer support

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Then again, 38% of consumers prefer digital channels — and Gartner predicts that one-quarter of companies will start using chatbots as their primary customer support channel by 2027.

Which is the easiest to use?


Laptop screen with Discord logo


Based on the survey involving 98 professionals, more than 60% believe that ease of use is very important for SaaS software. At the same time, nearly half of respondents say that most SaaS solutions are difficult to use.


Graph showing importance of ease of use

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With these numbers in mind, it’s obvious that ease of use is another crucial factor business teams should take into account when trying to decide between Slack and Discord.

But, as we pointed out already, Slack and Discord cater to different types of online communities. So, that’s another thing to keep in mind when comparing the two chat platforms in terms of ease of use.

You’d assume that Discord — the more gaming-oriented platform — has a simpler interface and is easier to use. And while Discord’s modern interface looks great, a lot is going on, with all the Discord servers and direct messages shown on the left and a list of active users on the right side of the main window.

In that sense, Slack’s user interface appears neater — and, in turn, easier to use.

It’s worth noting that, as of 2022, the biggest share of Discord’s global user base — 42%, to be precise — were users ages 25 to 34 years, with younger users (ages 16 to 24) making up 22% of the platform’s audience.


Discord's global user base by age

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That said, if you’re looking for an alternative to Discord that’s truly intuitive and user-friendly, be sure to check out Lark.

Which is the most secure and compliant?


Login page with two-factor authentication


Privacy and safety are major concerns linked to using collaboration software in the workplace — and understandably so. In fact, the 2022 Modern Communications Compliance And Security Report — a survey by Theta Lake that involved more than 500 compliance and security professionals — brought up some interesting points:

  • 45% of survey respondents reported using more than four different collaboration apps in the workplace; Slack, Zoom, Webex, RingCentral, and Microsoft Teams are some of the most commonly used tools.

  • There’s a clear preference for collaboration software and team chat apps over traditional communication methods, with roughly 81% of respondents saying they use chat just as much as email.

  • Two-thirds of survey respondents also say they believe their employees might be using unmonitored communication channels, which further increases privacy concerns and compliance risks.


Statistic about using collaboration tools

Image Source


So, how do Slack vs. Discord compare in this regard?

Both platforms rely on Transport Layer Security (TLS), encrypting data in transit and at rest by default. Furthermore, Discord and Slack allow users to set up two-factor authentication with two methods to choose from — SMS and authentication apps.

Slack is primarily a business communication platform, so it’s no surprise that it’s heavily focused on compliance and security. The platform is compliant with ISO 27001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, and ISO 27701 and boasts SOC 2 and SOC 3 certifications.

In addition to HIPAA compliance, companies that sign up for Slack’s Enterprise plan will also have access to advanced features like native data loss prevention and information barriers designed to reduce the risk of sharing confidential information.

Speaking of leaking sensitive information, you might be familiar with the incident where dozens of classified US government documents were leaked on a Discord server in late 2022 and early 2023. While there’s not much that Discord as a platform could’ve done to prevent it, the incident points to certain security loopholes that can be concerning for business owners.

If you’re looking for a safe and compliant platform, Lark has many internationally recognized certifications in security and privacy compliance.

Which is right for you?

GP Bullhound estimates that Slack’s number of monthly active users could potentially reach 79 million by 2025.


Slack DAU and MAU graph

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On the other hand, there’s Discord — which, as of 2023, reportedly has 154 million monthly active users.

It’s worth noting that, as of Q3 2022, more than 94% of global working professionals report that they regularly make and receive calls during work hours, with 87.5% using video calls for work-related communication.

Moreover, more than 55% of respondents said they use video calls daily — and collaboration platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams are used by roughly 60% of working professionals.

The growing user base indicates that Slack is doing something right — and it seems to be the more popular choice among professionals — but that doesn’t necessarily mean Slack is better than Discord. It’s just a more business-oriented platform.

That said, while Discord is generally viewed as an online gaming chat app, it can still be used for workplace communication — especially if your team values voice and video chats over sending text-based messaging.

If Slack no longer meets the needs of your team or you’re looking for a platform that can handle more than just communication, you can easily migrate your data from Slack to Lark and reap the benefits of using an all-in-one productivity app.

FAQ

Are Slack and Discord connected?

No, Slack and Discord are not connected by default. That said, users can integrate Slack with Discord — and one of the easiest ways to do that is to use Zapier. That will allow you to build automated workflows between the two communication apps. One of the most popular options is to send matching messages, ensuring that any message posted on Slack also appears on Discord channels — and vice versa.

Can you migrate from Slack to Discord?

Yes, it’s possible to migrate from Slack to Discord — which is great news for anyone who’s currently not happy with Slack’s free plan but doesn’t have the resources to upgrade to the paid version. Do keep in mind that migrating an entire community — including all files and messages — can take time.

Which came first: Slack or Discord?

Slack technically came first — although there’s only a one-year difference between Slack’s and Discord’s release dates. Slack was originally developed as an internal communication tool for Stewart Butterfield’s company, Tiny Speck. However, when the company failed, Butterfield decided to repurpose the communication tool and turn it into a fully-fledged platform that was released to the public in February 2014. Discord came out a year later, in May 2015.

Conclusion

Both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, making it practically impossible to wrap up this Discord vs. Slack comparison by announcing a clear “winner.”

Yes, they both work great as communication tools — but the fact that they were developed with different audiences in mind is worth remembering.

If you’re struggling to find a platform that meets all your team’s needs and you’re tired of having to switch between all these different apps, consider choosing an all-in-one productivity suite like Lark.

Contact our team today to learn how Lark can improve your workflow, communication, and project management.

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