Airtable vs Google Sheets: what to know before you choose
Airtable often gets the spotlight in the no-code community but how does it compare to Google Sheets when building no-code projects? Which one do you choose for your no-code database? There are a few differences that are important to keep in mind when choosing one for your next no-code project.
Airtable vs Google Sheets
 

Airtable vs Google Sheets: here are the 5 major differences to know:

 
Airtable Logo

Airtable

  1. Interactive Database+
  2. Visual
  3. Complex
  4. Limited Zapier Integration
  5. Free and Paid
 
Google Sheets Logo

Google Sheets

  1. Database centric
  2. Functional
  3. Simple
  4. Robust Zapier Integration
  5. Free
For me, I tend to use Zapier a whole lot to piece things together. Because of that, Google Sheets is a go-to to hold my data since it works so well with Zapier. Airtable, on the other hand, reminds me a lot of all-in-one tools like Coda and Notion. While Airtable is centered around the tried-and-true spreadsheet table, they’ve packed a whole lot more in.
 

Airtable is more than just a Database – Google Sheets is Database Centric

 
Airtable uses a basic spreadsheet layout called Tables. Tables have Rows/Records, Cells, and Columns. 
 

But, with Airtable, you can easily switch the view of each Table to show things like a Calendar or a Kanban board like Trello.

Airtable Calendar View Airtable Kanban View

Google Sheets is focused on the spreadsheet. When thinking about your no-code project, if you need to interact with your data in different ways, go with Airtable. If you just need a database to store your data, go with Google Sheets.

Some people swear by Airtable (like Ben Tossell of Makerpad) because interacting with the data on Airtable is more flexible. This makes sense if you’re building something complex because you need to make sure your data is easily viewed and manipulated.

 

Airtable’s Visual. Google Sheets is Functional.

 

If you have a team of people who get scared by rows of data, Airtable may be the safer bet. Buit if you need to get the job done, Google Sheets is the better option.

Look, I realize visual and functional are broad terms to categorize these two no-code tools. But, I know there’s a lot of you out there who just need things to look pretty. I get it. You’re probably better off exploring Airtable if you’re visual.

 

Airtable is Complex and Google Sheets is Simple

 

Because Airtable has so many different views, options, colors, built-in automations, etc., it’s naturally more complex than Google Sheets. There’s a steep learning curve.

Here’s a fantastic and free Airtable tutorial from Aron Korenblit I recommend.

And Airtable makes it easy to have relational linking. This means having a column that points to some other table. Google Sheets is all about the formulas which makes it more difficult to link data.

 

Airtable vs Google Sheets: Zapier Integrations

 

Google Sheets is the clear winner here. With Zapier, you can do a whole lot more with Google Sheets than you can with Airtable.

If you haven’t used Zapier, you can learn more about what all Zapier can do in my free Zapier course here.

And as of today, Google Sheets has 18 different triggers, actions, or searches you can use in Zaps to automate your workflows with other apps. There’s little you can’t automate with Google Sheets.

Google Sheets Zapier Integration

With Airtable, you are limited in Zapier. A big reason why this is the case is because Airtable has its own native integrations that often compete with Zapier. Another reason is because Airtable’s API is not as flexible as Google Sheets.

At the moment, Airtable only has 6 triggers, actions, or searches in Zapier.

Airtable Zapier Integration

 

Price

 

Google Sheets is free with a gmail account. Pretty awesome.

Airtable has a free account, but limits things like Blocks (which are native integrations with other apps), visual customization, team features and more to paid plans.

If you’re on a budget, try using Google Sheets, first.

Airtable-vs-Google-Sheets-Comparison
 

Every no-code project will have different needs. Airtable is best if you need to interact with the data behind your app in visual ways. Google Sheets is best if you need a simple and free solution that has a robust integration with Zapier. But try both! See what you like best and stay flexible.

You can check out a few other comparisons I’ve done that might also be helpful: Webflow vs Bubble, and Adalo vs Glide.

 
 
Happy building,
Bryce
 

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