ClickUp and Airtable are two effective tools designed to help project managers streamline their processes and ensure the successful completion of project work. Each tool enables users to track progress, collaborate with their teams, and manage resources on the cloud. Extensive integrations with other software and powerful features make both ClickUp and Airtable excellent tools for their respective users.
ClickUp is an all-in-one PM platform that helps teams collaborate and stay organized, even if they’re mostly remote workers. Get tools for task management (including the key feature of setting task dependencies), resource planning, time tracking, goal setting, and more. ClickUp is always free to sign up for and costs as little as $7 per user on its paid plans.
Airtable is a low-code platform for building fully-customized applications and databases, going beyond basic project management. Create and share relational databases that can pull data from anywhere, integrate custom forms and dashboards, and display exactly what your team needs to see in real-time about project work, resources, financials, or just about anything else. You can get started with Airtable by trying any plan on a 14-day free trial.
ClickUp and Airtable Compared to the Best Project Management Tools
We’ve tried out a lot of different PM tools and relayed a lot of our findings in our full post on the best project management software. While ClickUp and Airtable represent two sides of the coin in this category—the former a user-friendly, project-first platform and the latter a robust piece of software with near-limitless possibilities—they’re hardly alone as quality options. Take a look at our Golden Eggs below, three alternatives that can fit a wide range of user needs.
Smartsheet brings spreadsheets into the modern age, supporting a sheet-and-cell interface with Gantt charts, Kanban boards, and a generous dose of automation. Smartsheet offers a 30-day free trial for first-time users.
Teamwork is ideal for agencies and service-based businesses with its built-in capabilities for managing clients and looping them in on work progress. You can use Teamwork for free for up to five users.
ClickUp Compared to Airtable
ClickUp and Airtable are both useful tools for managing projects, and each is more than capable in some specific facets of project management and overall workflows. The primary difference between the two is that ClickUp is a more user-friendly platform that is focused on collaborative project work, while Airtable can be used to build a dizzying array of applications, databases, workflows, boards, charts, and repositories of information.
When the ClickUp team decided that the traditional ways of managing projects were outdated and cumbersome, a star was born. This app allows you to bring all of your work into one convenient place, even when it’s happening among far-flung remote workers, and features a secure infrastructure to boot.
With an aesthetically pleasing UI and hundreds of flexible options that can be tailored to meet any need, ClickUp can work well for a lot of different organizations. Use one of over 15 different workflow and project views, from Gantt charts to lists, boards, and calendars. Alternatively, you can try the newer box or workload views to manage resource allocation and work capacity.
It doesn’t stop there. Tap into fields, task statuses, and dashboards that can all be customized. And the in-app communication and automated notifications are the icing on the cake for remote teams when it comes to getting work done and meeting deadlines.
Your first step to building a comprehensive workflow is building a database, which is why Airtable is such a great tool. It’s an incredibly robust cloud-based platform that gives you the freedom to create custom databases and applications from scratch, enabling you to organize your data, workflows, or processes however you’d like.
Build relational databases with linked records, making it easier to sync data across a wide array of departments or teams in a more efficient way. Once you build new workflows for project management, content marketing, or anything else, you can test them with powerful dependency management and automated notifications that will let you know of any conflicts.
For those who are more tech-savvy, Airtable’s robust API makes it possible to integrate the platform with almost any other tech you’re using, enhancing what they all can do together. Go beyond simply syncing with your email platform or CRM and have Airtable automatically create, read, update, or delete records based on the external triggers or actions you set.
ClickUp vs. Airtable: Pros and Cons
Like every tool we’ve tried, there are things we love about ClickUp and Airtable and things we think they could have done better. Let’s take a look at where each platform shines and where it falls short.
Where ClickUp Shines
User experience: A truly pleasing UX is what makes ClickUp stand apart from its competitors. It’s really easy to navigate and use, despite all of its features. Each project gets its own section, and you can build as many of these as you want, making it easy to segment a portfolio into individual projects or break up complex endeavors into easy-to-digest sprints. Within each section, assignees and due dates show up clearly, so admins can track progress and team members know exactly what they’re responsible for.
Team communication: ClickUp revolutionizes team collaboration and communication for any kind of working situation. Small-scale and large teams alike can take advantage, whether they’re in one office, several offices, or working entirely remotely from many different locations. Chat internally, tag and mention team members, create assignments, and embed and attach assets within the chat interface to effectively replace Slack and streamline all conversations on one platform.
Custom dashboards: In line with its pleasing interface, ClickUp’s dashboards are beautiful visualizations of everything happening in your projects. Over 50 widget types can be added to create a custom interface showing all the data and updates project leaders and workers could need, from approvals and work capacity to urgent tasks and overall status. You can set up individual custom dashboards for each project or even unique sprints within a single project.
Integrations: ClickUp integrates with over 300 apps, which is a good deal more than a lot of its peers in the PM software category. Sync it with Google Calendar, GitHub, and Slack, or take advantage of unique connections with platforms like Twilio, n8n, Marker.io, Hubstaff, and more. Essentially, any organization should be able to fit ClickUp into their existing tech stack and, by doing so, enhance all of the applications you use.
Free guest access: ClickUp offers a great way for agencies to bring their clients or other external stakeholders into any project. Bring in clients to show off progress, invite freelancers so they can access your assignments for them (but not edit anything that could derail your project work), or allow vendors or partners to gather the information they need from your platform without getting in the way. And the best part is that you get unlimited read-only guest accounts on any paid ClickUp plan.
Where ClickUp Needs Improvement
Occasional lag: Although ClickUp has numerous features that are sure to streamline your workflow, some users have experienced difficulties with delays in syncing and navigating to and from some specific sections of their ClickUp interface. We saw a few reviews noting lag while using the importing and timeline functions in the software. Despite the overall great performance of this platform, these lags may cause frustration for end-users in larger or fast-moving teams.
Quality support will cost you: While customer support isn’t always a top-of-mind concern for users of PM software, teams that lean hard on ClickUp may want easy access to resolving issues or answering questions regarding the software. Unfortunately, anything better than getting support via live chat is locked away on the higher-priced plans. You’ll have to pony up for the Business plan ($12 per user per month) just to get priority support and access to admin training webinars. And the custom-priced Enterprise plan is the only way to get a dedicated ClickUp rep for your account or managed onboarding.
Complicated onboarding: Speaking of onboarding, ClickUp offers some helpful onboarding resources, yet it’s an area where many users report that they’ve become overwhelmed. The platform doesn’t seem to be very clear on how best to get acquainted with the software, and we noticed that some reviewers just flat-out didn’t think that the onboarding resources they accessed were effective. That might require extra time devoted to creating your own onboarding program for your team, making for a more protracted implementation period.
Where Airtable Shines
Deep customization: Compared to most other PM tools out there, Airtable is massively more flexible and customizable. Design your interfaces in almost any way you can dream of to handle a wide array of processes, workflows, databases, and projects. You can create ways to track campaigns, content development, product development, bug reporting, and so much more.
Granular role-based features: Because it’s so versatile and customizable, your Airtable interface can get quite complex quickly. All the more so if you’re creating unique sections for discrete teams or several departments. Smartly, Airtable features a lot of ways for individual users to filter information to just what they need, utilize views that pull together mentions or connected data into one view, and more ways to get crucial information without affecting how the interfaces work and look for others. Admins can also set specific access permissions for users at large or specific areas of their Airtable instance.
Powerful integrations: Airtable integrates with all your regular business tools: Slack, Google Drive, Dropbox, Gmail, and much more. But its advanced integrations let you do so much more. For example, you can build your business with Webflow, use Airtable as the backend, and create powerful data-driven workflows spanning multiple departments and applications—all while gathering and storing customer data. That’s just one example of how powerful this software is, both on its own and in combination with others.
Templates to get you started: It can be difficult to know how to start building on Airtable because of the wide breadth of what it can accomplish. Fortunately, you can tap into many templates for common and unique use cases, then customize from there to fit your organization. Try a product development roadmap to quickly set up sections to assist your dev, product, and sales teams with scoping strategies, timelines, and more. Or, try one of the various other Airtable templates within categories ranging from PR, content production, and software development to local business, nonprofit, and real estate.
Where Airtable Needs Improvement
Steep learning curve: Airtable isn’t exactly what we’d call a beginner-friendly platform. It can honestly be intimidating to use at first, and its vast array of capabilities and configurations can be overwhelming for new or inexperienced users. it can be difficult to find efficient ways to incorporate them into an existing workflow. Unless your team works with data, web development, or databases regularly, it may take a while for everyone to figure out how the whole system works and what exactly you can use it for. Prepare for a long onboarding period before you can really hit the ground running.
Useful features stuck on pricey plans: Airtable isn’t terribly pricey on the whole. In fact, there’s even a free-forever version that supports up to five users. But you might find yourself hitting some important limitations if you want to use Airtable for all it’s worth. Key features like syncing from multiple sources, user edit permissions, and even Gantt and timeline views are locked away on Airtable’s most expensive plans. On top of that, the cheaper plans restrict you to 5,000 or fewer records, making it tough for ambitious or busy teams to save on their monthly rate.
Time tracking: Airtable doesn’t focus much on its time-tracking functionality, and users who have tried to make it work on Airtable have found the process and execution confusing. Overall, user reviews report that using this feature to accurately track their team’s time in meaningful ways is hard, if not impossible. It is often easier to just use another piece of software, which may or may not be able to be synced with Airtable.
The Last Word on ClickUp Compared to Airtable
ClickUp and Airtable are two popular business tools, with the former an effective and straightforward project management platform while the latter is a powerful piece of software that can handle databases and processes of nearly any kind.
ClickUp is purpose-built for project management, and it shows. It’s smartly constructed to foster visibility, collaboration, and progress, with intuitive features for assigning tasks, tracking time, and much more. Additionally, it offers a wide array of ways to view projects and portfolios, from Gantt charts to custom dashboards and a whole lot in between.
On the other hand, Airtable is well-suited for data-driven operations in a wide array of use cases, like software development, content production, and user research. Its versatility and customization options let you build interfaces within it that perfectly match your organizational processes, goals, and priorities. While it sports a steep learning curve, the payoff can be massive.
Both ClickUp and Airtable are solid choices if they fit your needs and expectations, but they’re not alone as quality options. If you want a view into what their top competitors can offer that ClickUp and Airtable cannot, check out our full post on the best project management software right here on Crazy Egg.