Smartsheet vs. Airtable: A Comparative Analysis [2024 Update]

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: A Comparative Analysis [2024 Update]

Author Swathi Bhat
Author Swathi Bhat

Swathi B.

March 11, 2024

3/11/24

Mar 11, 2024

3/11/24

8 min read

Project management tool comparison of Smartsheet vs Airtable
Project management tool comparison of Smartsheet vs Airtable
Project management tool comparison of Smartsheet vs Airtable
Project management tool comparison of Smartsheet vs Airtable

Ninety-one percent of companies say they experience project management problems.

Of these, over half of all project managers say they feel frustrated (58%), and nearly a third admit to burnout (31%) and embarrassment (27%).

When you improve the flow of projects, you’ll find teams feel less stressed and better connected. This is where the right project management tool makes all the difference.

But how do you choose?

Let’s compare popular tools, Smartsheet and Airtable, to break down their benefits, pricing, and features to see who they work best for.

We’ll also peek at how Lark overcomes some of the drawbacks of both tools to streamline project collaboration in a revolutionary way.

Smartsheet vs. Airtable in a nutshell

Both Smartsheet and Airtable offer popular solutions for streamlining project management. However, each tool caters to different user needs and preferences.

Teams that use Excel feel right at home with Smartsheet since it has a familiar spreadsheet-like interface that works like Excel users expect. Plus, its solid automation capabilities help automate repetitive tasks and speed up workflows. Users can enjoy lots of integrations and robust security features.

On the other hand, while its traditional spreadsheet format is intuitive to Excel users, it takes a bit of effort to master its more advanced features. It’s also lacking in-app team collaboration and communication tools.

Airtable appeals to more visual workers. Users benefit from outstanding data visualization and a very intuitive interface. It's flexible for users, thanks to its user-friendly design and wide array of views and customization options.

The main problem is that Airtable is more expensive. Also, its integration library is a little slim.

If you don’t want to compromise, try Lark instead. Lark offers a unified platform for project management, team communication, and task collaboration. Teams can't just organize and track work. You can also collaborate in diverse ways, regardless of location.

Instead of using a different project planning tool, video conferencing software, and collaborative work doc, you can do it all in Lark. Plan, view, track, discuss, complete, and analyze projects in one easy-to-use platform.

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: Which has the best features?

Let’s compare the project management features of both tools side-by-side to see how they stack up against each other:


Smartsheet vs. Airtable Feature Table


In brief, Smartsheet offers a range of features to track and manage projects. It’s also great for automating workflows and integrating with other tools.

Airtable is a more visual tool, so its features focus on simplifying and visualizing projects as a team. While it lacks as many integrations and automations, teams can customize dashboards and data to quickly understand their progress.

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: Which has the best integrations?

The project management tool you choose might rely on how well it connects with your other tools. If you already have established workflows, you’ll need project management software that plugs into those processes.

Let’s compare Smartsheet and Airtable based on their integrations.

Smartsheet packs a punch with over 80 integrations. There are native, pre-built, and Zapier connections. Smartsheet connects you to many popular tools like Google Drive, Salesforce, Slack, HubSpot, MailChimp, and Jira. You can also access extensive options through Zapier.

Airtable offers around 25 native integrations, including Zendesk, Stripe, Basecamp, Dropbox, and Google Workspace. While Airtable has fewer native integrations, when paired with Zapier, you can connect thousands of tools.

Overall, both tools bring valuable integration capabilities to the table. However, Smartsheet offers a wider breadth and better reliability.

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: Which has the best pricing?

Price is usually a pretty important factor when picking a project management tool. It’s not just about finding a cheap tool. You need a tool that meets your budget and your needs.

Let's compare the pricing plans of both tools.

First off, let's talk about what you get for free:

  • Users: Smartsheet allows one user for free, while Airtable generously offers access to 5 users

  • Projects/Bases: Smartsheet provides two sheets, whereas Airtable offers unlimited bases

  • Storage: You only get 500 MB of storage with Smartsheet, but you get 1 GB per base with Airtable

  • Automation: Both platforms offer 100 automations, but Airtable offers 100 automations per base

  • Reports: Smartsheet includes dashboards and reports, offering detailed project insights. Airtable's free reporting is limited.

  • Key focus: Smartsheet is all about straightforward project management. Airtable focuses on data organization and simple workflows

Overall winner for free plans: Airtable

Airtable is more generous with its free user count, project bases, storage, and automations.

That said, looking at how your team will use the platform is essential. Airtable’s limited analytics and reporting might be problematic if you need solid data insights.

Now let’s consider the paid plans:

  • Smartsheet's Pro Plan: Offers unlimited viewers and Gantt charts at $7 per user/month. A great pick for small teams who want straightforward spreadsheet-like project management

  • Airtable's Team Plan: Starts at $20 per user per month. Focuses on organized data and basic workflows for small teams.

  • Business and Enterprise Plans: Both platforms offer more advanced features for larger teams. Smartsheet’s enterprise plans focus on robust project management, while Airtable offers advanced data, automation, and admin features.


Smartsheet and Airtable pricing plans

Image Source


Check out the chart below to compare the paid plans in detail:


Smartsheet plans table


Airtable plans table


Overall, Airtable tends to be more affordable. You get a lot of features and value for the price, especially if you’re a team that needs to visualize and organize data quickly and effectively.

Smartsheet's Pro Plan can save small teams $46 annually compared to Airtable's Plus Plan if you want more strict, traditional project management processes. But be aware that it comes with fewer features.

Pro tip: Think about how affordable scaling with each tool is.

What’s the cost of scaling through ‌the paid plans as your company grows? It’s true that Smartsheet’s Business Plan is cheaper than Airtable’s, but Smartsheet costs more to scale. When you move up ‌from Smartsheet’s Pro Plan to its Business Plan, you more than triple your monthly costs. With Airtable, it’s just over double the price.

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: Which is the easiest to use?

These two tools have very different layouts. While they’re both designed to be intuitive, how easy they are to use depends on the style of tools you’re familiar with.

Let’s look at Smartsheet first.

Smartsheet welcomes Excel enthusiasts with its intuitive, spreadsheet-like dashboard. However, if you’re not an Excel user, the dashboard can initially seem cluttered.

When it comes to advanced features, you’ll need to put in a little effort to learn about its automated workflows and detailed project management features. Luckily, Smartsheet offers Smartsheet University for free basic lessons and its Center of Excellence for paid users.

Now, let’s consider Airtable.

Airtable is very visually pleasing. It’s also super easy to customize. It offers drag-and-drop functionality to customize the interface with multiple views, Kanban boards, and color-coded grids.

It’s not just functional; it’s also engaging. If you’re not tech-savvy, Airtable offers an intuitive way to organize data and set up basic workflows. To help, Airtable also provides free webinars and a comprehensive knowledge base. Airtable’s automations are so user-friendly that it’s easy for beginners to streamline their processes.

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: Which is the most secure and compliant?

When it comes to ‌data security, both tools have you covered.

Let’s compare security and compliance features:

Encryption: Smartsheet uses AES encryption to keep data safe at rest or in transit. Airtable does the same, but it secures data on AWS servers with top-notch encryption, whether just sitting or moving around.

Authentication: Smartsheet offers two-factor authentication (2FA) across all plans. Airtable also offers 2FA, but it’s only available to Business and Enterprise users.

Compliance: Smartsheet is a fortress certified by SOC 2 Type 2, ISO 27001/27701/27018, FedRAMP (moderate), and DoD/DISA Impact Level 4 (IL4). Airtable isn’t far behind, boasting SOC 2 Type 2 and ISO 2700, with a strong focus on GDPR and CCPA/CPRA compliance.

Data location: Both store data on AWS servers.


Smartsheet security measures

Image Source


Smartsheet spreads its data across servers globally. Airtable keeps it in the US and Ireland.

Self-hosting: Unfortunately, neither tool offers self-hosting options.

In short, both tools are highly secure, but neither allows you to self-host.

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: What are other users saying?

Let's look at what users like and dislike about these tools:

First up, Smartsheet.

Overall, users appreciate Smartsheet’s project management features, excellent security, and scalability.


Smartsheet user review on G2

Image Source


Pros of Smartsheet:

  • Strong project management tools features

  • Great automations and custom workflows

  • High security and compliance standards

  • Integrates well with other apps

Cons of Smartsheet:

  • Complex advanced features

  • Steep price jump

  • Limited free version

Here’s what users say about Airtable:

Users praise Airtable for its customizability and ability to organize data effectively.


Airtable user review on G2

Image Source


Pros of Airtable:

  • Flexible, customizable drag-and-drop interface

  • Strong data organization and visualization

  • Easy to automate workflows

  • Facilitates in-app collaboration

Cons of Airtable:

  • Record caps on free and lower-tiered plans

  • Some integrations aren’t deep enough

  • No option for self-hosting

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: Which is right for you?

Simply put, your choice boils down to your specific needs and the nature of your team.

Smartsheet is a solid choice for project-driven teams prioritizing Gantt charts and resource management and needing robust security. Think engineering companies, construction firms, and marketing agencies — organizations where concise project management works best in a traditional setting.

On the other hand, Airtable caters to data-driven teams seeking flexible customization and good data visualization. It suits content creators, startups, nonprofits, and non-tech users who want an easy data management tool.

So, who wins?

Smartsheet gets the vote for the following reasons:

  • Robust project management capabilities

  • Scalability

  • Security and compliance

Airtable wins for:

  • Data visualization

  • Collaboration and communication

  • Usability

But why compromise? Lark is better than both put together.

Lark offers an all-in-one solution to unify team communication and work management under one roof.

Teams can manage entire projects without switching tools:

  • Communicate and collaborate globally with Messenger

  • Manage projects, tasks, and documents

  • Schedule and attend meetings

  • Use project management templates to improve efficiency and productivity

  • Automate workflows with Meegle

  • Store and share docs

Lark enhances productivity and simplifies the work process for teams of all types. No more context switching. Lark streamlines the workflow, making it the most powerful choice for future-forward teams.

Conclusion

Both Smartsheet and Airtable are powerful project management tools. Where Smartsheet favors traditional formats, streamlined automation, and tool integration, Airtable offers flexibility, ease of use, and data visualization.

While both tools help with task organization, you’ll still need to switch between other tools to collaborate on work effectively as a team.

Lark revolutionizes project management. Offering all the functionality of a task management tool, Lark also enables teams to communicate easily and work together effectively in one centralized place.

No more context switching, no more confusion.

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