Box vs Dropbox: Which Will Suit Your Company Best in 2021?

Box and Dropbox are two of our highest-rated business cloud storage services, but how do they match up? In this Box vs Dropbox comparison, we throw the two into the ring to find out.

Jacob Roach
By Jacob Roach (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2021-09-01T12:53:22+00:00

Dropbox and Box are two of the best business cloud storage options on the market, both earning a spot in our best EFSS roundup for their enterprise-focused business plans. Choosing between them is tough, though, which is why we’re throwing both in the ring in this Box vs Dropbox comparison.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dropbox has some of the best sharing and syncing features we’ve seen, outclassing Box by a decent margin.
  • Box is more expensive overall, but with unlimited storage as a standard, it may end up being cheaper in the long run. 
  • When it comes to Dropbox vs Box, there are a few differences, and it’s hard to make a wrong choice. 

We’ve pitted the two head-to-head in multiple rounds, corresponding to the criteria in our full reviews. Although we’ll cover the highlights here, we recommend reading our Box Business review and Dropbox Business review for the full details.

If you want the short answer, Box Business is the better option. However, it’s only slightly better, with small edges over Dropbox in a number of areas. As we’ll detail in this comparison, the two services are a close match. 

3 TB - Unlimited GB
$ 1250
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Dropbox Business ReviewBox Review
Sync
Sync Folder
Block-Level Sync
Selective Sync
Bandwidth Throttling
Sync Any Folder
Max File Size 50 GB 5 GB
Network Drive
File Sharing
File Link Sharing
Link Passwords
Link Expiry Dates
Folder Sharing
Folder Permissions
Link Download Limits
Upload Links
User Management
User Groups
Set User Roles
Monitor User Activity
Restrict User Storage
Remote Device Wipe
Productivity
File Previews
Edit Files
In-App Collaboration
Office Integrations
Notes App
Media Playback
Mobile Apps
Deleted File Retention
Versioning
WebDAV
Security
At-Rest Encryption
In-Transit Encryption
Two-Factor Authentication
Client-Side Encryption
Data Residency
SSO Integration
Custom Password Requirements
Support
24/7 Support
Live Chat Support
Telephone Support
Email Support
User Forum
Knowledgebase
Misc
Free Plan
  • Box and Dropbox are similar in a lot of ways. However, Box comes with unlimited storage and a few advanced security features, making Box the better option overall.

  • Box offers Box KeySafe, which allows users to manage their own encryption keys. Outside of that, Box and Dropbox both use AES-256 file encryption, making them equal in terms of security.

  • Dropbox is a great cloud storage service, but there are better options. Egnyte Connect is the best option for businesses, while Sync.com tops the pile for personal users.

Box vs Dropbox: Which Is Better for Your Business?

Our Dropbox vs Box battle consists of six rounds, covering features, security, usability and more. In every round, we’ll talk a little bit about each service, and how they compare to one another before declaring a winner. The service with the most wins will be our champion.

Although we’ll declare a winner each round, that doesn’t say much about how close the two services are. For example, usability is basically equal between the two. Because of that, we recommend reading each round to get an idea about how we made our decision. With that out of the way, let’s see who wins in this Box vs Dropbox matchup.

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1. Features

As the poster child of cloud storage solutions, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Dropbox is packed with features. It has a massive list of native integrations, allowing you to connect apps — like Slack, Trello and Zoom — to seamlessly work with your cloud storage. 

Dropbox is the gold standard when it comes to integrations, and it even makes its core API available, allowing you to use basically any third-party application.

box vs dropbox business apps
Dropbox has an integration for just about any service your business needs.

Box has an excellent list of integrations, too, matching Dropbox on nearly every front. For Box, the two standout integrations are Office 365 and Google Workspace. You usually see one or the other, but rarely both (read our Egnyte review for another service that supports both, and see how it compares in our Egnyte vs Dropbox and Egnyte vs Box pieces).

Our competitors are equal when it comes to integrations, with a possible edge to Box if you need Office 365 and Google Workspace for some reason. They start to deviate when it comes to first-party features. 

Productivity Tools

Box includes a few basic productivity tools. You get a note-taking app in the form of Box Notes, as well as a basic task manager. As you can see in our Box Notes review, it’s definitely not the best note-taking app, but it gets the job done.

box vs dropbox box notes newsletter
Box Notes is a solid note-taking app and a welcome feature for subscribers.

Although it’s not the best, Box Notes is still better than Dropbox Paper. Dropbox Paper is a rather bland note-taking app, (as you can read in our Dropbox Paper review), but it’s cloud-based and has upsides of its own. However, Dropbox Paper still lags behind Box Notes and competing apps like Microsoft’s OneNote.

Box and Dropbox both come with the collaboration tools businesses need: Dropbox offers a massive list of integrations, while Box users enjoy slightly better first-party apps. That said, we’re giving the win to Box this round. It offers Google Workspace and Office 365 integrations (along with a list of others), and its note-taking and task management tools are slightly better.

2. Pricing

Between Dropbox and Box, there’s a clear winner when it comes to pricing. Although Dropbox isn’t the most expensive service out there, it’s still more expensive than Box.

Box Business Pricing

That’s not to say Box is cheap. The Starter plan is decent for small teams, offering 100GB of storage for three users up to 10 users for only $5 per month.

Above that, Box gets expensive. You’ll pay anywhere from $15 to $47 per user per month, depending on your plan and billing schedule. For context, Sync.com for Teams is only $5 per user per month for 1TB of storage (read our Sync.com for Teams review to learn more).

The kicker is that Box offers unlimited storage across its plans. There aren’t many other cloud storage providers that offer unlimited storage, much less offer it cheaper than Box. The only one we’ve reviewed is MEGA, which offers a form of unlimited storage (read our MEGA review for the full details).

Instead of restricting storage, Box’s plans restrict features. For example, HIPAA compliance and document watermarking are only available on the Enterprise plan. Still, all plans have access to a standard list of features, including native integration with Office 365 and Google Workspace. 

Dropbox Business Pricing

Professional
  • : Total Storage: 3TB, Price per user, 1 user
  • : 3000 GB
Standard
  • : Total Storage: 5TB, Price per user, 3+ users
  • : 5000 GB
Advanced
  • : Total Storage: unlimited, Price per user, 3+ users
  • : Unlimited GB

Dropbox splits its plans up based on storage: $12.50 per month gets you 5TB of shared storage for three or more users, while $20 per month gets you unlimited storage. It also offers a personal business plan called Professional, which costs around $15 per month for 3TB of storage. 

Value

Comparing prices directly, Box actually looks more expensive, but there’s a little more going on because Dropbox’s Standard plan is restricted in a number of ways. For example, it has a 2GB transfer limit and doesn’t support single sign-on (SSO) services. Additionally, it lacks tiered admin roles and audit logs.

The real issue, though, is that the 5TB of storage on Standard is shared. It depends on the size of your team, but 5TB may not be enough. What is clear from the prices is that Dropbox wants new customers to buy into the Advanced plan. After all, it’s only slightly more expensive, and it comes with a lot more features.

Box, on the other hand, doesn’t guide users toward a particular plan. Plus, unlimited storage is the norm, allowing you to choose a plan with features that work for your business. 

3. Usability

Box and Dropbox are market leaders and a big reason why is because they’re both easy to use. We’re still going to dig into the differences this round, but it’s hard to make a wrong decision between the two when it comes to the user experience. 

Setting the Standard

Starting with Dropbox, it basically defined the user experience that countless other cloud storage solutions have mimicked since. You can see your files in a folder hierarchy like you can with Google Drive and OneDrive, and browse different categories using the left-side menu. 

box vs dropbox web app
Dropbox’s web app is second to none, making it easy to manage your storage and account.

However, as we noted in our review, Dropbox stands out with its maturity. Quality-of-life features make the difference, like the fact that going to dropbox.com takes you directly to your account if you’re already logged in. Dropbox has a user-first design, and that shows in basically every aspect of the service. 

Quality-of-Life Features

Box adopts a similar web app and has quality-of-life features of its own. For example, selecting the “new” button will allow you to create a Google Workspace or Office 365 document directly in your account. Although Box is easy to use across the board, it has more functionality beyond the standard web app. 

Box’s admin center is packed with features, allowing you to connect new apps, choose which Box app versions users have access to, configure how users see collaborators and much more. You can even set up document associations, allowing you to do things like automatically open .DOCX files in Google Drive.

box vs dropbox admin center
Box’s admin center is stuffed with useful settings for running your business.

There isn’t a bad choice this round. If you’ve narrowed your choices to Box and Dropbox, there are much more important areas than usability. Though if our backs are against the wall, we’re giving the win to Box. While Box isn’t any easier to use, the admin center offers a few more useful options. It’s a small edge but an edge nonetheless. 

4. File Syncing and Sharing

File syncing and sharing is Dropbox’s wheelhouse, and even after countless competitors and many years of service, it remains a benchmark. For sharing, Dropbox supports links with expiration dates, as well as direct sharing with other company team members. 

box vs dropbox sharing
Dropbox remains a market leader when it comes to syncing and sharing.

Dropbox also supports external sharing. With its list of integrations, you can automatically share files to a wide range of other platforms, including Slack, Trello and more. Dropbox has a 100GB transfer limit on its Professional and Advanced plans, too, earning it a spot in our best cloud storage for large files roundup. 

Sharing is simple with Box, as well. It supports link sharing with password protection, limited downloads and more, plus includes a file request tool. That allows collaborators outside of your network to upload a file directly to your Box account, no credential swapping required.

box vs dropbox link sharing
Box comes with excellent sharing tools, including link sharing and a file request option.

Company Collaboration & Syncing

Collaboration stands out with Box. With Google Workspace and Office 365 integration, you can create and edit documents in real-time with collaborators, all without leaving your Box account — which makes it great for content management. Box doesn’t go as deep as Huddle when it comes to collaboration, though as you can see in our Huddle review, few services do.

Syncing shows some large differences between our competitors. Box can sync your files without issue, but it doesn’t support block-level sync. Each time you edit a file, you’ll have to upload the entire file to your account again.

Box has low file size limits, too. The Starter plan only supports 2GB files, while the Business plan supports 5GB. That limit goes up to 15GB on Business Plus and Enterprise, which is still very low considering how expensive those two plans are.

Contrast all that with Dropbox — which has some of the best syncing features we’ve seen — and the difference is clear. Dropbox supports block-level sync and comes with the Smart Sync feature. This feature allows you to open and edit files stored in your Dropbox account on your desktop, all without actually taking up space on your hard drive.

Sharing is slightly better with Dropbox, and syncing is much better. Box also provides great sharing options, but the limited upload size and lack of block-level sync push it behind this round.

Round: File Syncing and Sharing
Point for Dropbox Business
Visit Dropbox Business1
Visit Box3

5. Speed

While both services are relatively fast, Dropbox has a slight lead. Using the same 1GB test folder for each service, we ran a couple of trials uploading and downloading the folder on a wired connection.

Box Speeds

For Box, we tested with a download speed of 450 Mbps and an upload speed of 21 Mbps. Given those times, we’d expect an average download time of 19 seconds and an average upload time of six minutes and 49 seconds, ignoring any network overhead.

First Attempt:Second Attempt:Average:
Upload7:448:157:59
Download0:550:540:55

We expect services to perform worse than our averages, but Box was more than a little off the mark. Both download trials took nearly a minute, and our upload average was more than a minute off our expected time. There was also a 30-second difference between our upload trials.

Box isn’t slow, but it’s not fast, either. Without block-level sync, uploads take the most time, as you have to fully reupload a file whenever you make changes to it.

Dropbox Speeds

Dropbox stuck much closer to our expected times. Before running the tests, we noted an upload speed of 22 Mbps and a download speed of 460 Mbps. That gives us an expected download time of 18 seconds and an upload time of six minutes and 30 seconds.

First Attempt:Second Attempt:Average:
Upload7:176:336:55
Download0:170:200:18

There isn’t much to report for download times. Dropbox stuck around our expected time, even going below it in the first trial. Our upload times were decent, though a slow first trial brought the average download time up by nearly 30 seconds.

Dropbox is faster than Box, but more importantly, it supports block-level sync. By only uploading the changes you make to a file after the initial upload, it speeds up the process of editing and syncing files dramatically.

6. Security and Privacy

Dropbox and Box are focused on usability, not security and privacy. Neither offers a zero-knowledge security model but instead uses server-side encryption. Though client-side encryption is better — as our best zero-knowledge cloud storage roundup shows — server-side opens up the integrations offered by both.

Each one also offers a similar security structure. An SSL/TLS layer protects your data in transit, and AES-256 is used to encrypt your data once it reaches the servers (read our description of encryption for more). Additionally, both support two-factor authentication with the best 2FA apps.

Advanced Security Features

Box offers some advanced security features, though. The most important is KeySafe, which allows you to manage your encryption keys. It also offers Zones (a data residency feature) and Shield, which automatically protects your storage against external threats and provides security controls for different classifications.

These features are extra, but at least Box offers them. Dropbox doesn’t offer any sort of private key management, and it has a nasty data breach on record. However, Dropbox has overhauled its security structure since, now using a separate server for encryption before moving files to long-term storage. Still, it’s clear Box has the edge.

Privacy

Things normalize when it comes to privacy. Dropbox Business and Box Business collect a decent amount of data, including your name, email address and device information. Unfortunately, that’s the norm for enterprise file sharing and syncing services.

However, Box offers a private key management option, bypassing any data collection tied to the content in your account. Dropbox, on the other hand, has some strange ties to former officials, which has caused concern in the privacy community for nearly a decade. We’ll let our full review do the talking on that point.

Our competitors are close in this round. Still, Box offers enough security features to edge out a win. That said, Dropbox and Box both offer solid server-side encryption, which should be enough for all but the most sensitive files and folders.

Round: Security and Privacy
Point for Box Business
Visit Dropbox Business2
Visit Box4

The Verdict

Out of all of our business cloud storage reviews, Box and Dropbox are two of the better options. Box offers more storage space, though it can be slightly more expensive, while Dropbox offers better sharing and syncing features but falls behind when it comes to first-party features.

Based on the winners of each round, Box is our ultimate victor. Still, the battle was closer than the round winners suggest. Nevertheless, Box has a few slight edges, including Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace integration, which was enough to push it to the lead.

Winner: Box

That doesn’t mean Dropbox is a bad option, though. It may actually be cheaper for companies, depending on the plan you purchase, and it comes with some of the best integrations we’ve seen.

Which service is best for your business? Let us know which one you picked, and why you picked it, in the comments below. As always, thanks for reading.