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Airtable vs Smartsheet

Smartsheet vs Airtable in 2024: Spreadsheet Project Management Tools Compared

Smartsheet’s and Airtable’s spreadsheet-style layouts may look similar, but there are key differences in their core functionality. Which software is better for project management? We will answer this question and provide you with a comprehensive analysis of Smartsheet vs Airtable.

Waricha MuensitAleksander HougenJasna Mishevska

Written by Waricha Muensit (Writer)

Reviewed by Aleksander Hougen (Managing Editor)

Facts checked by Jasna Mishevska (Lead Fact-Checking Editor)

Last Updated: 2024-01-06T12:00:00+00:00

All our content is written fully by humans; we do not publish AI writing. Learn more here.

4
4.1
  • Highly flexible workflows
  • Good for complex tasks
  • Great mobile apps
  • Free plan is fantastic
  • User-friendly interface
  • Multiple views
$7 / month(save 22%)(All Plans)
$20 / month(save 16%)(All Plans)

Key Takeaways: Smartsheet vs Airtable

  • The main differences between Smartsheet and Airtable are the core features and use cases. 
  • Both tools offer effective task management features, collaboration tools, automations and integrations.
  • Smartsheet focuses on collaboration and resource management, whereas Airtable is a flexible database tool for organizing data and customizing the work process.

Smartsheet vs Airtable is a battle between spreadsheet and database software. Both tools offer robust project management features for managing projects and organizing data. They also have a similar look with a familiar spreadsheet-like interface.

However, Smartsheet and Airtable have different strengths and use cases. Smartsheet is a spreadsheet-based app that excels at project management and team collaboration. Airtable has a database structure and is more flexible for various workflows. We’ll break down the comparison between these two project management tools in this article.

For a more detailed analysis and to decide which one fits better with your project needs, we recommend you check out our Smartsheet review and Airtable review.

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      Cloudwards Editor’s Choice

      We love both Smartsheet and Airtable. However, we find Airtable to be the better option overall and include it in our best project management software roundup. Airtable is a highly customizable project management tool that provides all the necessary features for project management and collaboration. Its versatility also aligns with today’s work environment, which often requires multiple functions.

      With Airtable’s rational databases, team members can centralize all information in one place. You can create no-code apps within the platform and share them with stakeholders. Airtable’s attractive interface is also a big plus. Customizing a workspace in Airtable may take some time and effort, but once it’s set up, Airtable can be an all-in-one tool for your business.

      Airtable vs Smartsheet: Comparison at a Glance

      $7 / month(All Plans)$20 / month(All Plans)
      ReviewReview
      Management Views
      Kanban board
      List
      Calendar
      Timeline
      Spreadsheet view
      Gantt charts
      Workload planning
      Long-term planning
      Management Features
      Multiple project management
      Dependency management
      Native scrum management
      Set user permissions
      File storage
      Time-tracking
      Built-in integrations
      Reporting features
      General Features
      Free plan
      Free Trial30 days14 days
      Web app
      Windows
      MacOS
      Android
      iOS
      Support
      Ticket-based support
      Tutorials
      Knowledgebase
      Forum
      Live chat
      Phone support

      Which Is Better: Smartsheet vs Airtable?

      Both Smartsheet and Airtable offer effective project management tools for tracking tasks and collaborating within teams. However, the ultimate choice depends on your use cases because they have different structures.

      Smartsheet features a spreadsheet structure, which is suitable for managing complex projects with multiple dependencies. It also offers more advanced task management features and automations. Moreover, it is designed to work with numbers and formulas. If your task focuses mainly on project management and calculations, you should consider using Smartsheet.

      On the other hand, Airtable features a flexible database structure. It is great for businesses that need to store and organize large amounts of information, such as client databases or inventory management. If you need both data and project management, Airtable is a solid choice.

      We Recommend Smartsheet if You Want…

      • Detailed reporting tools: Smartsheet offers robust reporting features for analyzing project data in depth.
      • Advanced task management features: Smartsheet is good for managing complex tasks, dependencies and timelines.
      • Content collaboration tools: Smartsheet makes it easy and efficient for team members to work together on documents, spreadsheets and other project-related content.

      We Recommend Airtable if You Want…

      • Data management: Airtable allows for easy and efficient data organization and building relationships between datasets.
      • Many customization options: You can customize your base to your needs with Airtable’s custom fields, multiple views and useful interface designer.
      • Attractive design: Airtable has an attractive and intuitive design that greatly enhances the user experience.

      If You Want to Consider Other Services, Check Out…

      If you don’t like spreadsheet-based project management software or if you want to try out other project management tools, here are a few alternatives you can consider:

      • monday.com is the best project management software and strikes a balance between functionality, cost-efficiency and user-friendliness. Its extensive list of features allows for workflow management, resource management and collaboration. Read more about the platform in our monday.com review.
      • ClickUp is a rich-feature project management solution for businesses of all sizes. It offers a wide range of features, customizable dashboards and reports to help teams stay organized and monitor progress. Check out our detailed ClickUp review to learn more about the app.
      • Trello is a simple project management tool that uses a kanban board and a card system for tracking tasks. Trello is ideal for individuals or small teams looking for a straightforward and visual approach to task management. Here’s our comprehensive Trello review.
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                                                                                                                      Smartsheet Pros & Cons

                                                                                                                      Pros:

                                                                                                                      • Flexible project workflows
                                                                                                                      • Suitable for complex projects
                                                                                                                      • Great collaboration features
                                                                                                                      • Detailed reporting tools

                                                                                                                      Cons:

                                                                                                                      • Additional fees for add-ons
                                                                                                                      • Limited project views
                                                                                                                      • Steeper learning curve

                                                                                                                      Airtable Pros & Cons

                                                                                                                      Pros:

                                                                                                                      • Great free plan
                                                                                                                      • Many customization options
                                                                                                                      • User-friendly interface
                                                                                                                      • Manages data with ease

                                                                                                                      Cons:

                                                                                                                      • Expensive for small teams
                                                                                                                      • Time-consuming to customize databases
                                                                                                                      • Limited scalability for larger companies

                                                                                                                      Smartsheet vs Airtable Features Comparison

                                                                                                                      Though both Smartsheet and Airtable offer robust project management capabilities, they shine in different areas. The user experience also sets both platforms apart. We tested Smartsheet and Airtable and compared each feature side by side to help you decide which platform is best for your organization.

                                                                                                                      Terminology

                                                                                                                      The first main difference is that Smartsheet and Airtable use different terms in their apps. Smartsheet, like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, uses familiar terms such as “sheets” for workspaces or spreadsheets, “rows” for project tasks, and “columns” for vertical lists.

                                                                                                                      terminology smartsheet
                                                                                                                      Smartsheet’s terminology is easy to understand for users who
                                                                                                                      are already familiar with spreadsheet software.

                                                                                                                      On the other hand, Airtable has its own jargon that might be confusing for new users. It refers to workspaces as “bases,” spreadsheets as “tables,” rows or individual items within a table as “records” and columns as “fields.”

                                                                                                                      terminology airtable
                                                                                                                      Airtable uses unique terminology, such as “bases,” “tables,” “records” and “fields.”

                                                                                                                      Task Management Features

                                                                                                                      Pre-built templates: Starting a project from a blank spreadsheet can be daunting. Airtable and Smartsheet make it easier with their wide range of pre-built templates for different project requirements. Some of Smartsheet’s templates include “project portfolio management,” “agile project,” “strategic planning” and so on.

                                                                                                                      template gallery smartsheet
                                                                                                                      Smartsheet’s template gallery is quite comprehensive,
                                                                                                                      with a wide variety of template options.

                                                                                                                      Airtable also offers templates for project tracking, event planning, bug tracking and more. Though Airtable offers fewer templates than Smartsheet, it does have a platform called Airtable Universe where users can browse through bases created by other users.

                                                                                                                      template gallery airtable
                                                                                                                      Airtable has a smaller selection of templates but makes up for it with the Airtable Universe.

                                                                                                                      Custom properties: Both Airtable and Smartsheet use the same method for setting due dates, assigning team members and configuring tasks: by adding columns or fields with custom properties. The column type (in Smartsheet) or field type (in Airtable) includes options such as date, duration, checkboxes and contact list or user. This allows users to customize their templates and track their projects in a way that is best for their workflows.

                                                                                                                      Airtable takes the lead in customization by offering more field types than Smartsheet. In addition to the options available in Smartsheet, Airtable offers fields for single or multiple selects, long texts, phone numbers, buttons and more. Airtable also has a snapshot history feature that lets users view and restore previous versions of their records.

                                                                                                                      custom field smartsheet airtable
                                                                                                                      You can set up your project tracking system in Smartsheet
                                                                                                                      and Airtable with different field types.

                                                                                                                      Project Views

                                                                                                                      Smartsheet offers four different views for managing multiple projects: grid (spreadsheet), Gantt chart, calendar and card. Though they may not be as eye-catching as Airtable’s, these views are clean and easy to use. The Gantt chart view is particularly useful for visualizing timelines and dependencies for complex projects (check out our article on other Gantt chart apps).

                                                                                                                      views smartsheet
                                                                                                                      Smartsheet offers grid, Gantt chart, calendar and card views for managing projects.

                                                                                                                      Additionally, you can create forms in Smartsheet to collect information from team members or external stakeholders. We also like that the four views and forms are available on all of Smartsheet’s plans.

                                                                                                                      Airtable offers similar views, including grid, kanban, calendar, Gantt chart and form. Plus, the platform has three additional views: gallery, timeline and list. Note that the Gantt and timeline views are only available on paid plans. These views are user-friendly and visually appealing, particularly the kanban view.

                                                                                                                      views airtable
                                                                                                                      There are three additional views in Airtable: gallery, list and timeline.

                                                                                                                      Another feature that makes Airtable stand out is custom views. You can create unique views by filtering and sorting data in different ways. This allows for greater customization when organizing information and tasks.

                                                                                                                      custom views airtable
                                                                                                                      Custom views in Airtable allow for more customization in managing information and tasks.

                                                                                                                      Team Collaboration

                                                                                                                      Sharing options: Both Smartsheet and Airtable offer sharing options to collaborate with team members. In Smartsheet, you can invite team members with different permissions to your workspaces or spreadsheets. You can also send specific rows to others via email.

                                                                                                                      sharing smartsheet
                                                                                                                      Smartsheet offers various options to share and work together on projects.

                                                                                                                      Similarly, Airtable allows you to share your bases, specific views and records with teams or even make them public. Airtable’s paid plans give users more control over the level of access and permissions, with features like field and table editing permissions and password and domain-restricted sharing.

                                                                                                                      sharing airtable
                                                                                                                      Airtable’s free plan provides basic sharing options, whereas its paid
                                                                                                                      plans offer more control over access and permissions.

                                                                                                                      Comments: You can communicate with team members in Smartsheet and Airtable by leaving comments and mentioning others in specific rows or records. However, we like how Smartsheet centralizes all comments within a sheet in the “conversations” section, making it easier to track and manage discussions.

                                                                                                                      comments smartsheet airtable
                                                                                                                      Smartsheet and Airtable both have collaboration features that allow
                                                                                                                      team members to communicate within the platforms.

                                                                                                                      Though Airtable and Smartsheet share many useful collaboration features, Smartsheet is superior at handling content management within teams. It also offers more advanced enterprise solutions, such as resource management and enterprise plan management.

                                                                                                                      Workflow Automation & Integrations

                                                                                                                      Automations: You can create automated workflows within Smartsheet and Airtable to streamline any process and save time. Setting up triggers and actions makes creating custom workflows on both platforms straightforward. Smartsheet also offers a workflow template library for easy workflow setup.

                                                                                                                      automations smartsheet
                                                                                                                      Smartsheet gives you the option to create workflows from a template library
                                                                                                                      or build your own custom workflow from scratch.
                                                                                                                      automations airtable
                                                                                                                      Creating a custom workflow on Airtable is a simple process that
                                                                                                                      involves setting up triggers and actions.

                                                                                                                      Integrations: Both platforms offer a wide range of integrations with popular third-party tools such as Google Drive, Dropbox and Slack. However, Smartsheet has a larger selection of integrations compared to Airtable. You can also connect Smartsheet and Airtable to other apps and services using Zapier or IFTTT.

                                                                                                                      User-Friendliness

                                                                                                                      Airtable wins over Smartsheet when it comes to user-friendliness. It offers an intuitive interface and easy-to-navigate features for users of all skill levels. The color scheme also makes it enjoyable to use. Airtable even lets you design your own workspace with the interface designer feature. Moreover, its in-app tutorial helps new users quickly get started on the platform.

                                                                                                                      user friendliness airtable
                                                                                                                      Airtable’s interface designer feature lets you customize the look and feel
                                                                                                                      of your workspace with drag-and-drop functionality.

                                                                                                                      In contrast, Smartsheet has a steeper learning curve and a less appealing interface compared to Airtable’s vibrant design. However, once you become familiar with the platform, you can take advantage of its structured and organized layout. Smartsheet’s tools and features are easily accessible. You can also access tutorials on the platform for guidance.

                                                                                                                      user friendliness smartsheet
                                                                                                                      Smartsheet has a structured and organized layout that may take some time to fully grasp.

                                                                                                                      Security & Privacy

                                                                                                                      Security: Airtable and Smartsheet use AES 256-bit encryption at rest and TLS 256-bit encryption during data transmission. Both services store their data on Amazon Web Services. Additionally, Airtable has ISO/IEC 27001 certification and is SOC 2 compliant. Airtable’s other security practices include two-factor authentication (2FA), encrypted backups, single-sign-on (SSO) and additional administration features for Business and Enterprise Scale plans.

                                                                                                                      security airtable
                                                                                                                      Airtable has implemented several security measures to protect user data.

                                                                                                                      Smartsheet also complies with security certifications, such as SOC 2 Type II and ISO 27001. Smartsheet provides more advanced security features for enterprise users, such as authentication methods, single sign-on (SSO) and multi-factor authentication (MFA).

                                                                                                                      security smartsheet
                                                                                                                      Smartsheet’s security features include data encryption, secure data centers and MFA.

                                                                                                                      Privacy: Airtable and Smartsheet both have privacy policies in place to protect user data. Their privacy policy pages state that they do not sell or share user data with third parties for advertising purposes. Additionally, both platforms align with global privacy regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

                                                                                                                      Customer Support

                                                                                                                      With both Airtable and Smartsheet, email is the main method to contact customer support. We found their support to be helpful and responsive. The support team for both services responded to us within 24 hours.

                                                                                                                      Keep in mind that Airtable doesn’t offer phone support and Smartsheet has 24/7 global phone support only for the Enterprise plan. Plus, neither service offers live chat on their website, but you can use a chatbot for simple issues.

                                                                                                                      We like that Airtable and Smartsheet have very useful knowledgebase articles and communities. Their help centers cover a wide range of topics and provide step-by-step instructions to help users navigate the platforms. You can also find pretty much any answer or solution you need by searching through their communities.

                                                                                                                      customer support smartsheet
                                                                                                                      Smartsheet mainly supports customers through email, knowledge
                                                                                                                      resources and the Smartsheet community.
                                                                                                                      customer support airtable
                                                                                                                      Airtable has comprehensive resources, such as video tutorials,
                                                                                                                      articles and the Airtable community.

                                                                                                                      Smartsheet vs Airtable Pricing Comparison

                                                                                                                      Airtable and Smartsheet offer free and paid plans. Their pricing structure is based on a per-user per-month subscription, with monthly and annual payment options. Airtable’s prices are more expensive at first glance. Smartsheet, however, requires users to pay extra for certain features and add-ons, so it can end up being pricier.

                                                                                                                      Both services are more expensive than other project management apps. For more budget-friendly solutions, we recommend checking out our list of cheap project management apps.

                                                                                                                      Free Plan

                                                                                                                      Airtable’s free plan is one of the best on the market. It offers a generous number of features, unlimited bases and 1GB of attachment storage space. You can invite up to five users, making it suitable for individuals and small teams.

                                                                                                                      On the other hand, Smartsheet’s free plan is quite limited and is more like a trial to entice users to upgrade to a paid plan. You can create only two sheets and invite two editors or viewers. The plan also includes 500MB of attachment storage.

                                                                                                                      Smartsheet Pricing

                                                                                                                      Smartsheet offers three paid plans: Pro, Business and Enterprise. The Pro plan starts at $7 per user per month, billed annually. However, it has a few features not included in the free plan, such as allowing up to 10 editors and offering unlimited sheets.

                                                                                                                      The Business plan, priced at $25 per user per month billed annually, offers more comprehensive and advanced features. The Business plan also has a 30-day free trial to test out its features. The Enterprise plan is suitable for larger companies — contact the sales team for pricing.

                                                                                                                      smartsheet pricing
                                                                                                                      Smartsheet has three paid plans starting at $7 per user per month.

                                                                                                                      Airtable Pricing

                                                                                                                      Airtable’s paid plans include Team, Business and Enterprise Scale. The Team plan comes with Gantt chart and timeline views and more customization options. The price is quite steep, starting at $20 per user per month, billed annually. The Business plan’s price jumps to $45 per user per month, billed annually. Contact Airtable’s sales team for Enterprise Scale plan pricing.

                                                                                                                      Airtable also offers a 14-day free trial to test out its Team plan.

                                                                                                                      airtable pricing
                                                                                                                      Airtable has a great free plan, but its paid plans are expensive,
                                                                                                                      starting at $20 per user per month.

                                                                                                                      Our Comparison Guidelines

                                                                                                                      To compare Airtable and Smartsheet fairly and thoroughly, we read their product documentation to gain a deep understanding of their capabilities. Additionally, we conducted hands-on testing of both apps to assess the user experience and performance. We also examined feedback from the user community. Check out our Smartsheet review and Airtable review for more in-depth details.

                                                                                                                      The Verdict: Why We Think Airtable Wins Overall

                                                                                                                      Airtable is a hybrid database and project management tool that offers the powerful capabilities of both worlds. Its customizable features let you manage tasks and track progress in the way that works best for you. At its core, Airtable is a relational database platform that allows for efficient organization and relationship-building between databases. The user-friendly interface is an added bonus that makes it pleasant to use.

                                                                                                                      Ultimately, Airtable is a top choice for teams that require a versatile tool. We recommend trying out its 14-day free trial to fully explore its functionality.

                                                                                                                      What are your thoughts on these tools? Which one do you prefer and why? Is there another spreadsheet-style software that you find better suited to your needs? We would love to hear about your experiences and opinions. Thank you for reading!

                                                                                                                      FAQ: Airtable vs Smartsheet

                                                                                                                      • Both platforms are powerful project management tools, but Airtable is the better option overall. It has a user-friendly and enjoyable interface, extensive customization options and high flexibility that make it suitable for any use case and process.

                                                                                                                      • Some popular alternatives to Airtable and Smartsheet include monday.com, ClickUp and Trello. monday.com is the best project management tool, whereas ClickUp offers a more comprehensive set of features and integrations. Trello is well known for its simplicity and visual appeal for managing tasks.

                                                                                                                      • Though Airtable has a spreadsheet-like interface similar to Google Sheets, it is not a direct replacement. Google Sheets is powerful spreadsheet software used for data analysis, complex calculations and collaborative editing. Airtable focuses more on flexible and visual project management and data management.

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