If you're looking for a content collaboration and project management tool, you may be wondering if Trello vs Airtable is the better option. If you’re like us, you probably love seeing things organized so you can get a pulse check on what’s the latest.
At Slam Media Lab, we’ve worked with both softwares to see what will work to handle so many projects for ourselves and for our partners – from small businesses, to nonprofits, startups, and Fortune 500 companies.
In this guide, we'll compare the two tools to help you decide which one is right for you.
Trello and Airtable 101
Both Trello and Airtable are SaaS (software as a service) tools used by nonprofits, tech companies, Fortune 500 companies, and small businesses. And while most people use them for task management, you can do a lot more than that including:
- Managing an editorial calendar
- Project management
- Project trackers
- Sales and business development
- Event marketing
Let’s break down what each of them are:
What is Trello?
Trello is a visual project management tool that uses Kanban boards to help teams visually organize projects and track progress. You can create boards to represent different projects, and then add lists to each board to represent different stages of the project. Within each list, you can add cards to represent individual tasks. Trello currently has over 50 million users, and has three main components:
- Boards — you can add project homes here
- Lists – you can describe your project here
- Card – you can add files, deadlines, chat with others
Trello Use Cases
With Trello, you can:
- Set goals for your projects and track progress
- Manage to-do lists
- Collaborate with teams
- Store and share files
- Track of events and deadlines
- Create notes that can sync with tasks
- Set reminders
- Integrate it to existing tools you use (Slack, Google Drive)
Trello has a free subscription that gives you access to:
- Unlimited cards
- Up to 10 boards per space
- Unlimited storage
- Custom backgrounds
- 2-Factor authentication
- Assignee and due dates
Then, they have three additional tiers:
- Standard: $5/user/month: Everything in free plus custom fields, saved searches, advanced checklists
- Premium: $10/user/month: Everything in standard plus different types of views, admin & security features, priority support, and simple data export
- Enterprise: $17.5/user/month for around 50 people: Everything in premium plus SSO, multi-board guests, attachment permissions, and more.
Overall, Trello’s pricing is cheaper and has a better user experience, but it has some limitations as it scales. We’ll talk more about it shortly.
What is Airtable?
Airtable is a spreadsheet-database hybrid that offers the flexibility of a spreadsheet with the power of a database. It's great for content collaboration and managing projects with complex data and information. We like to think about it as a smarter Google Sheets.
Airtable Use Cases
What’s special about Airtable is that it can be customized to fit a variety of needs, including:
- Content calendar
- Social media calendar
- Project management system
- Sales pipeline
- Recruiting pipeline
- New hire on-boarding
- Event management
- Bug tracker
- Marketing campaign tracker
- User research app
- Product catalog
- And more!
Airtable's pricing is based on the number of bases (workspaces) and blocks (apps) you need. There are three tiers:
- Free: Includes unlimited bases and blocks, up to 5 creators, unlimited commenter & read-only users, 1,200 records per base, 2GB of attachments per base.
- Plus: $12/seat/billed monthly. Everything in the free plan plus 3 extensions, 5,000 records per base, 5GB per base, custom branded forms, 6-month revision & snapshot history
- Pro: $20/seat/billed monthly. Everything in the plus plan plus 10 extensions, 20 GB per base, Gantt & Timeline Views, 1-year snapshot history, personal & locked views, 50,000 records, etc.
- Enterprise: Contact Airtable to find more information.
Airtable vs Trello Comparison
Now that we know what each tool is, let’s compare them side-by-side to see which one is the better option for content collaboration, project management, and task management. We’ll do our comparison on:
- Which teams should use it
- User experience
- Types of content
- Page layout
- Integrations to website
- Working with internal and external partners
Trello vs Airtable: Which Teams Should Use it?
Trello is better for small teams who need to manage simple projects and tasks. Airtable is better for businesses that need to track data, and need something beyond the traditional Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet, because it allows you to create relationships between databases.
Airtable is used by marketing, engineering, operations and design teams to:
- Manage their workflows and projects
- Manage tasks, deadlines
- Track customer information
- Share files
- Connect two, three different databases together
Trello is used by smaller teams. They usually don’t cross-collaborate with different teams. We suggest using Trello if you are working on smaller projects without many dependencies or collaborators.
Airtable vs Trello: User Experience
Trello has a simpler and user-friendly interface. It's more visually appealing and easy to understand for first-time users. Airtable's interface is also easy to use, but it takes time to get your view right compared to Trello, which only has the Kanban view.
However, if you’re looking for something that shows you different types of views by status, channel, owner, colors, then Airtable’s UX is neat once you get through the set-up. You can also organized it by Kanban view, timeline view, and list view. If you’re coming from a spreadsheet background, this is your heaven.
Trello vs Airtable : Types of Content
Trello's user experience is focused on helping users visually organize and track their work. Airtable's user experience is focused on helping users easily create and collaborate on content, data, and information.
If you’re looking to just have a simple to-do list, then Trello might be the place for you.
If you’re looking to track to-dos based on the type of project that has multiple connections to other databases and entries, then Airtable might be the right call.
As an example, if you’re creating an editorial calendar for social media, you probably would want:
- Different types of views by status (assigned, needs copy, ready for review, posted0
- Different types of views by channel (Social, Blog, PR)
Doing so on Trello would be hard because all you will see is a list. However, with Airtable, you can create customized views with filters and grouping that can sow you all those kinds of views.
The best part about it is that you can input information from other sources like Slack (using Zapier) or Airtable’s form link, which you can create from your base.
Airtable vs Trello: Page Layouts
Trello has a consistent look and feel throughout every section of their site, which makes it easier for users to navigate. However, there’s not much customization for the look and feel of your Trello workspace beyond Kanban, lists, and boards.
Airtable has a similar look and feel to Trello, but with more variation. Airtable’s views are where they have the most differentiation, and can be more complex to navigate than Trello’s. Airtable has 7 different types of page layouts:
In addition, there are three different ways to group data in each of the views:
Trello vs Airtable: Integration to Websites
Both Trello and Airtable offer great integration to websites.
Trello is part of the Atlassian suite, so it has integration between JIRA, Confluence, and Bamboo. It also connects with Slack, Mailchimp. You can see the full list here.
Airtable is similar, where you can connect it with many types of softwares given their robust API and partnerships. It also has the ability to integrate with Zapier, so if there’s a tool you want to integrated with that’s not on their list, you can probably find a way to do it using by connecting it with Zapier.
Airtable’s magic comes from its unique ability to integrate with popular web-based applications like Webflow and WordPress. This allows users to create databases that can be used on their website, without having to install any additional software.
For example, we’ve integrated Airtable as our form for websites to:
- Serve as a CRM
- Serve as an event management list
- Serve as a lead gen capture
And once it captures all this info, it’s all on your database!
Airtable vs Trello: Working with Internal and External Partners
The simple answer is that Airtable is a better choice for businesses that need to track data and collaborate with teams. Trello is a better choice for businesses that need to manage projects and tasks.
Why? With Airtable, you can see different types of views by role (copywriter, designer, project manager). And because you can filter it by status, you can share an external dashboard that your external partners can see and edit.
With Trello, you can only see what’s assigned to you, even if you’re assigned to a board. Trello also only gives you one way to filter it by status. If you share your Trello with external partners, they won’t be able to see any of the lists or projects except for their own. This can be limiting, depending on your business needs.
Trello vs Airtable: What’s Right for me?
Now that you’ve seen the differences between Trello vs Airtable, it’s time to make your call. There is no clear winner when it comes to Trello vs Airtable.
Both have their pros and cons, and it really depends on what you are looking for in a project management tool.
If you need something simple and straightforward, Trello might be the better option.
If you need something with more features and flexibility, Airtable might be a better choice.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. The good news is that both Airtable and Trello offer free plans, so you can try out both and see which one you prefer.
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