What is the best Slack alternative for your team in 2024?

What is the best Slack alternative for your team in 2024?

Portrait of Jess Cheung Lark's Author
Portrait of Jess Cheung Lark's Author

Jess Cheung

March 5, 2024

3/5/24

Mar 5, 2024

3/5/24

20 min read

Lark the Slack Alternative
Lark the Slack Alternative
Lark the Slack Alternative
Lark the Slack Alternative

The right workplace communications tool can significantly improve your team's productivity.

Forty-five percent of workers say they feel more connected to their team thanks to their digital comms system.

But the wrong communication platform can have the opposite effect. Nearly half of all workers say that ineffective communication systems affect their productivity.

This is because tricky platforms cause headaches. As a result, two-thirds of workers admit that digital communications make them feel more burnt out.

So, while Slack is quite a popular tool, is it the best?

Let’s dive in to discover how Slack stacks up against the alternatives.

Understanding Slack: Breakdown and review

Slack is designed for team communication and collaboration.

Picture a digital venue where discussions unfold, decisions take shape, and information is within arm's reach.

This platform is tailored for businesses across the spectrum.

It is a common meeting ground for teams to share ideas and propel projects forward.


Slack's interface provides a main navigation bar on the left for users to switch between different channels; in addition, users are also able to switch between different workspaces, which usually represent different organizations. Users are able to engage with colleagues and partners on desktop or mobile. Still, most Slack alternatives provides a similar layout and functionality for ease of use and navigation.

Slack's interface. Source: Slack.com


Slack features:

  • Channels: Slack channels are focused project spaces facilitating a shared perspective on ongoing work. They ensure everyone is in sync and provide a seamless avenue for live voice conversations via Slack Huddles.

  • Pinning messages and document management: Pinning messages or documents to channels enhances visibility around priorities. Moreover, integrations with file management platforms like Google Drive and Dropbox Paper streamline document tracking and sharing.

  • Shared channels across workspaces: Collaborate within your organization and with external entities, establishing a direct communication line across different Slack workspaces.

  • Customization and navigation: Slack offers a range of customization options for a tailored user experience, from managing sidebar preferences to quick navigation between channels using keyboard shortcuts.

  • Integrations and workflow builder: Slack provides a wide range of apps and integrations, allowing it to connect with other services and extend its functionality. The Workflow Builder feature enables the creation of automated workflows, enhancing process efficiency.

But, despite its robust feature set, Slack users experience challenges in these areas:

  • Integration dependency: While Slack's integration capabilities are a strength, they can also be seen as a limitation due to the additional setup, IT resources, and maintenance required.

  • Not for real-time collaboration: Slack Huddles can enable quick discussions, but longer and more formal meetings with internal and external stakeholders may require a separate conferencing software like Zoom.

  • File management and sharing: Although Slack supports file sharing, its capabilities may not match dedicated document management systems, potentially leading to a fragmented document storage system, especially for teams handling a large volume of files.

  • Pricing: Slack can be costly, particularly for larger teams or organizations, which could pose a financial barrier for smaller companies or startups with limited budgets.

Slack limitations: Why pick an alternative?

While Slack is a well-known team communication platform, is it the perfect solution for your team conversations?

Let’s look at some of the downfalls of Slack as a team chat app to understand why teams are choosing alternatives.

Why organizations don’t choose Slack

When your internal communication isn’t on point, team engagement suffers.

While Slack strives for flexibility, this often makes users feel overloaded.

Here are some of the common issues with Slack:

Onboarding is confusing

Users complain that Slack makes it hard to onboard new users unfamiliar with the platform.

As one review explains: “Whenever a non-Slack person wants to be a part of the existing organization the procedure needed to add him to the existing channels is so confusing.”

Another says: “There is so much noise and virtually no organization by default. Other similar applications will deliver default views, making it easier to get started.”

Too many ‘pings’

Ever noticed how that Slack notification can pull you away from a great idea? You spend so much time responding to those "pings" that it interrupts your daily productivity.

Plus, the confusion between “mention” and “message” push notifications leads to an overwhelming user experience of constant pings and dings.

As one user says, “Slack's notification overload and file management challenges hinder its usability.”

It’s easy to miss messages

Users feel overloaded by Slack’s different channels, messages, and threads. They often complain that it feels cluttered. This makes finding a conversation or reply hard, even when you’ve had a notification.

As one user explains: “[It’s] confusing and often leads you to waste time or miss real notifications.”

As another says: “I regularly miss messages. Checking it has become a source of stress. There is no easy to use notification system!”

Lack of key collaboration features

Slack is a great real-time chat app but lacks many features that streamline the wider communication workflow.

For example, there’s no real-time transcription to document virtual meetings for later.

There are no translation features or message scheduling functionality for managing global communications.

Without these built-in tools, you’ll have to find third-party tools to work alongside Slack.

What should you consider when choosing a Slack alternative?

Selecting an alternative to Slack requires carefully evaluating several factors to ensure the new platform aligns with your team’s needs. Here are some criteria to consider:

  1. Centralized workspace: Look for a communication, collaboration, and work management platform. This helps significantly reduce app toggling and context switching, improving employee productivity.

  2. Ease of use: An intuitive user interface with a minimal learning curve will ensure a smooth transition. Switching to a new tool is no easy task, and you can only maximize your investment by having everyone fully utilize the tool for their work needs.

  3. Integration capabilities: The ability to integrate with other business tools is crucial. Often, your business might already use specialty software, such as a POS system or a business intelligence platform.

  4. Cost-effectiveness: Affordability without compromising essential features is key. As your organization grows, you want a tool that can scale with you while maintaining reasonable costs.

  5. Global collaboration: Features like real-time translation, time-zone checking, and meeting recordings are invaluable for teams across different geographies and languages. This helps reduce late meetings, time wasted on translations, and unreasonable schedules while keeping the business moving forward.

11 best Slack alternatives for 2024

The alternative you pick should meet your business and team needs.

While larger organizations might need advanced features, you might simply need a dedicated chat app for in-team discussions.

Check out these Slack alternatives and their features.

Learn each of their pros, cons, and pricing structure.

This will help you choose an online collaboration software that suits your team.

1. Lark – Best overall Slack alternative

Ideal for teams and companies seeking a centralized workspace to enhance productivity and collaboration, Lark offers a unified platform for accessing all work-related resources.

This includes Lark Messenger, an instant messaging module within Lark that allows teams to connect, converse, and collaborate without leaving the chat feed.

Lark Messenger, the instant chat module within Lark, acts as the center of collaboration, allowing you to connect with any team members instantly and take action on the next steps directly.



Whether booking a meeting with the group, reading important documents and tables, or receiving and opening automatic notifications across Lark, teams can do so without switching to different apps by accessing them directly within the chat feed on Lark.

  • Communicate clearly and effectively: Easily locate anyone in your company by searching their names. Create well-formatted messages using bullets, screenshots, or screen recordings. React to messages using emojis or by replying in threads. You also have the option to directly share emails, meeting invites, and more in chats.


Lark group workplace conversations


  • Build and engage with your communities easily: Create topic groups within Lark to encourage your internal or external communities to share ideas and engage in meaningful discussions. You can create, reply to, or forward different topics. Control posting permissions to ensure optimal engagement and content moderation.

  • Collaborate with full context: Access the entire chat history when added to a new group to understand what's happening. Pin important documents, Base dashboards, announcements, and more for immediate access and context. Keep conversations organized and focused by replying in threads.

  • Act on to-dos immediately in the chat feed: Receive notifications on document comments, data updates in Base, approval requests, and more in your chat feed. Easily view and respond to incoming inquiries without leaving the chat feed.


Lark approval workflow automation


In addition, Lark Messenger comes in handy when teams work across time zones, languages, and cultures.

  • Communicate in your preferred language: Working with global teams that speak multiple languages? Use translate-as-you-type and auto-translation in Messenger to communicate fluently while still using your preferred language.


Lark AI auto-translation


  • Send messages at the right time: Consider time zones and project timelines, and ensure that your message reaches your colleagues at the perfect time by scheduling it to be sent at a specified time.

Why Lark?

  • Truly all-in-one: Lark offers a comprehensive suite of tools that combines personal and group chat, video conferencing, online documents, project management, business workflows, approvals, business email, calendars, attendance, and more. By combining these features into a single platform, Lark removes the need to switch between different apps, saving time and optimizing productivity. Additionally, Lark seamlessly integrates with existing business tools, enhancing their capabilities.


Lark reporting and analytics dashboard


  • Mobile-first: Lark is designed with a mobile-first approach, ensuring a consistent user experience across desktop and mobile devices. Users can easily edit and comment on documents, join meetings, follow presentations, and complete tasks such as inspections and issue submissions with just a few taps on their phones. This mobile accessibility empowers frontline teams and busy business travelers to be productive without relying on laptops.


Lark dashboard view customization


  • Customizable to every business: Lark provides highly customizable solutions that streamline workflows through automation and centralize business data. For example, Lark Base automates purchase order management, creator management, and inspection tracking processes. Additionally, Lark Approval enables businesses to create approval flows, simplifying the process with automatic reminders and easy approval on mobile devices. This level of customization ensures that Lark can adapt to the unique needs of any organization.


Lark Suite tools, functionalities, and features


  • Power global collaboration: Lark overcomes different time zones, languages, and cultures. Lark incorporates various solutions to overcome these barriers, such as real-time translation in chats, documents, and meetings. This ensures teams can understand each other without needing to learn a new language. Additionally, Lark provides time zone checkers and powerful Minutes solutions to remove the need for inconvenient meetings and allow colleagues to catch up during their respective working hours.


Native language conversations with Lark AI translation


Lark pricing:

Lark offers a free plan for up to 50 users, which includes features such as business email, chat, video conferencing, project and task management, and more.

Pro and Enterprise users can access additional features such as extra storage, watermark capabilities, and increased automation runs, making collaboration even more efficient for larger teams.

User reviews:

G2 rating: 4.6/5


G2 Lark user review

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2. Google Chat – Best for quick, instant conversations


Google Chat desktop app


Google Chat is a robust alternative to Slack, powered by the Google ecosystem. This makes it ideal for Google Workspace users.

This way, users benefit from a unified workflow and centralized hub on a platform they already know.

Plus, it’s a great choice for small to medium-sized enterprises as it’s free.

As an affordable basic alternative to Slack, Google Chat can integrate with third-party apps to enhance workflows and connect your existing systems.

Top Google Chat features:

  • Spaces for team collaboration: Similar to channels in Slack, Spaces in Google Chat help keep conversations organized around projects or topics.

  • Direct messages: Like Slack, Google Chat allows for quick one-on-one or group conversations with teammates within the Google ecosystem and emails. Unlike Slack’s limited plan, ‌chat history is unlimited.

  • AI-powered suggestions: Unlike Slack, Google Chat combines Google’s AI capabilities for smart suggestions, event summaries, and reminders.

Pros of Google Chat:

  • Seamless Google Workspace integration for unified workflows

  • Built-in Google AI features

  • Robust security and strict data privacy

  • Easy-to-use interface for users already familiar with other Google services

  • Unlimited message history

Cons of Google Chat:

  • Limited third-party integrations compared to Slack's vast app ecosystem

  • Less customization and fewer advanced features than Slack

  • Not ideal for large organizations with complex communication needs and intricate workflows

Pricing:

Google Chat is free with any Google account. Google Workspace subscriptions offer additional features through the app library.

User reviews:

Capterra rating: 4.5/5


G2 Google Chat user review

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3. WhatsApp Business - Best for customer engagement


WhatsApp Business customer communication app

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While commonly used for personal chats, WhatsApp has a business app beyond personal conversations.

It’s not for internal communication. It's to connect with customers.

Small businesses and local enterprises seeking a free Slack alternative to engage customers can use WhatsApp Business for interactive conversations.

It provides a direct line to customers to boost customer satisfaction, and it can automate conversations to offer speedy support.

Top WhatsApp Business features:

  • List your business on WhatsApp: Showcase your business and attract new customers by creating virtual storefronts on WhatsApp. Send automated messages to new customers when they inquire.

  • Connect and interact with customers: Provide real-time customer support on WhatsApp to address feedback, concerns, and inquiries. Set up quick replies for faster responses.

  • Offline automated responses: Use greeting or away messages to help customers outside of business hours, attending to their needs.

Pros of WhatsApp Business:

  • It’s free to use

  • It’s very user-friendly

  • Automates customer conversations for faster service

  • Encrypted and secure

  • Enables automated communication

Cons of WhatsApp Business:

  • Lacks important features, like threaded conversations and document collaboration

  • Limited integrations to streamline workflows

  • Not designed to handle complex communication flows

Pricing:

WhatsApp Business is free to start. There are also custom pricing options for larger businesses.

User reviews:

G2 rating: 4.6/5


WhatsApp Business user review

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Want to learn more about how WhatsApp stacks up against Lark? Head here: Lark vs. WhatsApp

4. Telegram – Best for secure, simple communication


Telegram desktop interface

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Telegram, known for its security and speed, paves its way as a robust alternative to Slack.

It’s especially good for those valuing privacy and encryption in business communications.

Companies and communities emphasizing secure, private communication will find Telegram a compelling alternative to Slack.

A haven for creating secure communities and groups, Telegram has several features that trump Slack.

Top Telegram features:

  • Secret chats: End-to-end encryption provides secure conversations

  • Cloud-based: Messages can be seamlessly accessed across different devices, enabling users to access chats from multiple devices

  • Large Groups: Supports groups with up to 200,000 members

Pros of Telegram:

  • End-to-end encryption to secure secret chats

  • Very fast, reliable message delivery

  • Large groups and channels make it ideal for broadcasting to large communities

  • It’s open-source and ad-free

  • Discord bots speed up repetitive communication tasks

Cons of Telegram:

  • Users complain that the interface is less intuitive than other tools

  • Limited functionality for complex team communications

  • Requires a phone number to sign up

Pricing:

Telegram is a free group chat app that promises no ads, subscription fees, or tracking.

User reviews:

Capterra rating: 4.7/5


Capterra Telegram user review

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5. Discord – Best for community development and engagement


Discord user interface and app

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Originally designed for gamers, the Discord app has become a popular hub for creating and joining communities.

It serves as a platform for both casual conversations and serious workplace communication.

Its stability and wide range of supported platforms make Discord the preferred communication tool for community enthusiasts.

Companies use Discord to quickly build communities with their fan base. It’s engaging and easy for like-minded customers to join your conversations.

Discord can be used for internal team communication, similar to Slack.

Top Discord features:

  • Servers: Servers are spaces on Discord created by specific communities and friend groups, and anyone can start a server for free. Some of the most popular servers on Discord include Midjourney (text-to-image AI), Leonardo.AI, Blox Fruits (Roblox games), and more.

  • Voice channels and video chats: Discord provides real-time voice and built-in video communication tools, replacing Channels and Huddles on Slack. Additionally, Discord offers live streaming functions.

  • Customizable roles and permissions: Customize access based on your organizational hierarchy to organize your communities flexibly.

Pros of Discord:

  • Strong community-building and engagement features

  • Ideal for informal and formal workplace communication

  • Easy to join and organize voice channels to simplify voice calling

  • Excellent screen-sharing functionality

  • Free plan available with paid options for additional features

Cons of Discord:

  • Reports of malware in some of the applications

  • Becomes overwhelming for complex team structures

  • Its focus on gaming communities might not suit all industry sectors

Pricing:

Discord offers a free version with the option to upgrade to two different Nitro plans, which provide additional quality during streaming, larger uploads, custom emojis, and more.

User reviews:

Capterra rating: 4.7/5


Capterra Discord user review

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Learn more about Discord and its alternatives.

6. Microsoft Teams – Best for office collaboration


Microsoft Teams video calling functionality

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If you’re already using Microsoft’s ecosystem, Microsoft Teams is a good alternative to Slack.

You use it as a messaging app and enjoy real-time meetings and calls.

For companies deeply integrated with Microsoft's ecosystem, Teams is a natural choice.

It offers better value with its pricing and includes Microsoft 365 apps in higher-tier subscriptions.

Top Microsoft Teams features:

  • Integration with Microsoft 365: Seamlessly connect with other products within the Microsoft 365 suite to enhance productivity.

  • One-on-one and group chats: Easily find and connect with the right contacts within the app through messaging.

  • Large-scale video conferencing: Host video conferences or live events with hundreds of participants.

Pros of Microsoft Teams:

  • Easy to learn for teams using the Microsoft ecosystem

  • Higher-tier bundled pricing makes it cost-effective as you scale

  • Excellent video conferencing capabilities

  • Allows teams to structure group conversations around projects

  • Apps enable teams to collaborate and edit work within Teams

Cons of Microsoft Teams:

  • The free plan significantly limits file storage space and customization features

  • Interface can feel cluttered and overwhelming

  • Users report slow load times and notification delays

Pricing:

Microsoft Teams pricing starts at $4 per user per month.

User reviews:

G2 rating: 4.3/5


G2 Microsoft Teams customer review

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To compare Lark and Teams, head here: Lark vs. Microsoft Teams.

7. Rocket.Chat – Best for secure messaging


rocket.chat communication app and dashboard

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Rocket.Chat is an open-source alternative to Slack that offers numerous possibilities for organizations interested in self-hosting their communication platforms. It’s especially recognized for its on-premise deployment, a distinct difference from Slack's cloud-centric approach.

Companies with strict data privacy policies or those who prefer on-premise solutions may find Rocket.Chat a more suitable alternative to Slack. It's advantageous for organizations that lean towards open-source solutions, as it allows for customization and control that Slack may not provide.

Top Rocket.Chat features:

  • Communication and collaboration tools: Rocket.Chat offers real-time messaging, voice messages, calls, and video calls for seamless team communication. It also includes key features like conversation archiving, team inbox, and customization options.

  • Enhanced security and customization: Rocket.Chat provides advanced security features such as 2-factor authentication, End-to-End encryption, and Single Sign-On (SSO). It also supports self-hosting for better control and privacy.

  • Self-hosted Solution: Unlike Slack, Rocket.Chat can be self-hosted, ensuring that data stays within your control.

Pros of Rocket.Chat:

  • Strong emphasis on security for data-focused organizations

  • Highly customizable and self-hostable

  • Very intuitive user interface

  • Unlimited chat history

  • It’s very affordable

Cons of Rocket.Chat:

  • Self-hosting requires technical expertise

  • Users report quirks and bugs in ‌its mobile apps

  • Smaller community and fewer integrations than some competitors

Pricing:

Rocket.Chat has a free plan and a paid plan that costs less than $5 a month.

User reviews:

G2 rating: 4.2/5


G2 rocket.chat user review

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8. Pumble – Best for budget-friendly communication


Pumble team communication interface

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Pumble combines work chats, file sharing, and video conferencing into a simple yet effective platform for team collaboration.

It’s a cost-effective choice for communication, with features that suit small to mid-sized teams.

With a design similar to Slack, transitioning teams would find it easy to adapt to Pumble, making it an appealing alternative.

Top Pumble features:

  • Channels, direct messages, and threads: Pumble provides channels, direct messages, and threads, similar to Slack. Teams considering switching to Pumble from Slack will find the setup easy to adapt.

  • Unlimited chat history: Like Lark, Pumble also offers unlimited chat histories, allowing teams to catch up on conversations and gain full context.

  • Import from Slack: Pumble allows you to export your Slack public and private channels, private messages, and users and import them into Pumble for a seamless transition.

Pros of Pumble:

  • Budget-friendly alternative to Slack

  • Fast and responsive, even with large team discussions

  • Includes task management and user survey features

  • Simple and user-friendly interface

  • Free starter plan with affordable paid options

Cons of Pumble:

  • Restricted feature set compared to more robust platforms

  • Primarily suited for small to medium-sized teams

  • Limited integrations as it’s still developing

Pricing:

Pumble starts with a free basic plan that extends up to $6.99 per user per month (billed annually).

User reviews:

G2 rating: 4.5/5


G2 Pumble user feedback

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9. Flock – Best for fun and engagement


Flock Team Conversation Channels

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Flock prioritizes user enjoyment to boost engagement.

It uses gamified features, emoji reactions, and custom themes to create a lively team communication environment.

The idea behind this approach is to boost team morale and foster a more connected work culture.

Flock offers an interactive alternative to Slack that brings workers together in an organized format.

Top Flock features:

  • Channels and Direct messaging: Organized channels with separate direct messaging make it easy to organize internal conversations

  • Gamification: Points, badges, and levels encourage users to actively participate by promoting friendly competition and motivation

  • Video and audio calls: Connect face-to-face with high-quality video and voice calls within the platform

Pros of Flock:

  • Fun, engaging interface with customizable dashboards

  • Intuitive design works well for beginners

  • Feature-rich mobile app for on-the-go communication

  • Basic plan comes with all its core features

  • Integrated calendar functionality to streamline scheduling

Cons of Flock:

  • Gamified elements might not align with all professional environments

  • Advanced features have a steep learning curve

  • Fewer native integrations than more established platforms

Pricing:

Flock has a free basic plan for up to 20 users, with a paid plan at $4.50 a month.

User reviews:

G2 rating: 4.4/5


G2 Flock user review

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10. Ryver – Best for project communication


Ryver team communication channels

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Ryver helps teams manage projects by combining communication tools like chat and file sharing with built-in task management features.

This creates a centralized hub for project discussions, task coordination, and collaboration.

It works using Kanban boards, helping you visualize workflows and communicate about projects in one place.

Top Ryver features:

  • Kanban boards: Visualize workflows, manage tasks, and track progress in the same app as your team's communications

  • Real-time chat, voice, and video calls: Individual and group chat functionalities, face-to-face video conferencing, and private and group call functionalities.

  • File sharing: Teams can store documents and collaborate within the platform

Pros of Ryver:

  • Centralized project management to combine task organization and communications

  • Visual dashboards for easy project tracking

  • Several ways to communicate synchronously and asynchronously

  • Reporting and analytics to track communications and progress

  • Robust mobile app for managing team communication on-the-go

Cons of Ryver:

  • It’s expensive for larger teams

  • Not suitable for highly complex projects with intricate dependencies

  • Complex to set up integrations

Pricing:

There’s a free plan for up to five users. Paid plans start at $4 a month.

User reviews:

G2 rating: 4.4/5


G2 Ryver customer review

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11. Twist – Best for asynchronous communication


Twist platform direct messages

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Twist tackles the challenges of communication across different time zones and schedules.

It offers threaded conversations and well-organized channels that suit the recipients' calendars.

Its asynchronous approach allows team members to contribute and stay informed on their own terms.

This fosters more focused and productive communication and reduces the overwhelming user experience with Slack.

Top Twist features:

  • Threaded conversations and persistent channels: Keep discussions organized while current topics stay active and accessible. This way, teams don’t have to repeat themselves.

  • Flexible notifications: Users can customize notification settings to maintain focus and avoid information overload and maintain focus.

  • Advanced search functionality: It’s easy to find past conversations and information within channels without scrolling over the chat history.

Pros of Twist:

  • Higher focus and less communication overload

  • Searchable repository streamlines knowledge sharing

  • Ideal for coordinating remote teams

  • Easy to learn, even for less tech-savvy users

  • Free plan available to accommodate small teams and solo users

Cons of Twist:

  • Not designed to handle instant, real-time communication

  • Advanced features can be complex to learn

  • Limited personalization options

Pricing:

Twist offers a free plan for up to 5 users. Paid plans start at $5 per user per month.

User reviews:

G2 rating: 3.9/5


G2 Twist online review

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Other top Slack alternatives

Here are some more options you might want to consider:

  • Chanty - Best for voice notes and calls: Chanty is designed to improve team productivity through high-quality messaging, video conferencing, and task management.

  • Element - Best for privacy: With a focus on privacy, Element provides end-to-end encrypted conversations for teams.

  • Zulip - Best for easy organization: Organized team chat that applies a thread model to make conversations at work cleaner and more focused.

  • Mattermost - Best for technical teams: Secure messaging and collaboration platform for technical teams, providing a self-sovereign infrastructure and strong access controls.

Choosing your Slack alternative

Navigating communication can be daunting with so many platform options available.

The best business communication tool for you aligns with your team's needs, operational demands, and budget.

While there’s a Slack alternative suited to all kinds of teams above, none come close to Lark.

Lark’s a sophisticated centralized workspace that’s a breeze to use.

Its wide range of communication methods, easy-to-use interface, and powerful AI-driven tools allow your team to communicate in versatile ways, depending on what needs to be done.