Slack is a cloud-based business messaging app designed to meet the needs of teams in fast-paced and dynamic work environments. In its early days, Slack was popular among startups. But today, thanks to its ease of use, thousands of integrations, and custom apps, it commands a solid 22.5% market share among collaborative software.
Even though Slack is a popular choice for most businesses, you may be better off with a different business messaging app based on the unique needs of your business. There are many Slack alternatives available today that either meet or exceed the functionality offered by Slack in different areas.
We did our research on several tools and have compiled a list of the best Slack alternatives we could find for different use cases. For example, in our analysis, Microsoft Teams came across as the most suitable tool for large teams with smaller sub-teams, Twist performed best for remote teams, and Google chat worked best for Google Workspace users.
Let’s dig in for a closer look at our findings.
The Best Slack Alternatives
We spent countless hours testing different business messaging apps to find the best ones for various use cases. Some of the factors we considered were suitability for teams of different sizes, remote work enhancement, file sharing options, voice chat add-ons, and self-hosting capabilities.
In our analysis, Microsoft Teams came across as the best app for large teams with smaller sub-teams. The tool provides options for managers to create multiple sub-groups for each of their teams, chat with them, and share files. These sub-teams or channels can be public to your organization or private with invite-only access. Furthermore, Microsoft Teams provides robust conference call capabilities and seamless integration with the Microsoft Office suite. This makes it a great choice for large organizations looking for a holistic solution for their collaboration needs. If this sounds like what you’re looking for, try Microsoft Teams for free.
When it comes to working remotely, we found Twist to be the best for remote teams. Unlike many other tools we tested, Twist makes virtual collaboration easy by organizing conversations by threads within channels. Users can tag their relevant colleagues in individual threads to ensure only they get notifications for new messages while the rest of the team can stay focused on their tasks. In each of the threads, you can choose a subject, format your messages, and attach files.
Furthermore, you can add threads to to-do lists, contribute to threads via email, and generate shareable links for individual threads. The user interface is simple yet intuitive and allows team members to drag and drop threads from one channel to another as conversations evolve. If you manage a remote team, try Twist to see if it’s the right match for you.
Google Chat is the best tool for Google Workspace users. The app is ideal for teams that organize their work using the G Suite due to its seamless integration with Google Drive, Maps, and the rest of the Google productivity apps. Chat with users individually, organize group conversations and tasks in Spaces, and connect with team members around the world through video calls in Meet. Fancy Google Chat for your team? Try the 14-day free trial to see if it’s what you’re looking for.
If your work involves sending and receiving files frequently, RingCentral Video is the best app for sharing documents. The easy-to-use interface makes sharing local documents a breeze. In addition, using RingCentral’s vast library of integrations, you can share files from a variety of different apps right into your conversations. You can also pin documents at the top of your threads for easy access.
The app brings messaging, video calling, and work phone features together to offer a solid business collaboration solution. With RingCentral Video, you can eliminate email clutter by organizing your conversations and files into folders and threads for every project, topic, and team. The app makes it easy to work with external stakeholders as well with the ability to invite them to conversations with a few clicks. If this sounds like the app you need, sign up now to save up to 33% on annual plans.
If your main concern is voice calling, we recommend Discord as the best tool for voice chat. The app started as a chat tool for gamers but has found its fan following among voice-focused business users as well. Discord stands out for the voice quality it provides. Team members who work together on documents and other projects would find Discord’s voice channels quite useful. Here, your audio is always-on by default and can be disabled when you’re not contributing to the discussion. Moreover, the app allows you to manage teams through a robust set of moderation tools, setting up private channels, and giving members special privileges. The best part? It’s completely free! If voice chat is your preferred work style, try Discord now.
For security-conscious organizations that would like to keep their internal chats private, Mattermost is the best app for self-hosting. This is an open-source tool that can be deployed to an organization’s server directly. Consequently, the communication taking place on the app never leaves the organization’s server, making Mattermost one of the most secure business messaging apps on the market. In addition, the app offers a user-friendly interface that can be customized, a robust search feature that can look up messages by date, channel, and user, and project management features to help you get your work done efficiently. If security and privacy are your organization’s top concerns, try Mattermost for 14 days for free.
More Top Business Messaging Apps
To give you a deep dive into each of the tools we’ve discussed here, we have prepared a more detailed guide on business messaging apps. Our analysis includes an in-depth discussion of the features, pricing, and suitability for different business use cases for each of the apps. If you’re serious about finding the best messaging app for your organization, see all of our top picks.
Our Take on Slack
Slack is a robust chat software designed to address the needs of dynamic workplaces. Designed by Slack Technologies and now owned by Salesforce, Slack started as an internal communications tool for a company called Tiny Speck. The tool was formally launched for public use in August 2013. Given the functionality of the software, Slack stands for “Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge”.
During its early years, Slack was the go-to choice for teams at startups. But it grew quickly due to its ease of use and massive support from the developer community that built tons of integrations for it. By the time Slack filed for an IPO in 2019, the app reported over 10 million daily active users from over 160,000 companies in more than 150 countries around the world.
Today, Slack remains the go-to business messaging app for most users. It allows users to communicate in topic-based channels, send each other direct messages in private, share files, send video and audio clips, or organize huddles to allow collaboration using voice chat.
Beyond its basic functionality, Slack offers slash commands to take advantage of thousands of integrations with other useful apps. Some of these seamless integrations include Google Drive, Zoom, and GitHub. Furthermore, a powerful search feature allows you to look up any required information from your past conversations.
Slack’s most prominent clients include:
Slack vs. Microsoft Teams
In a comparison between Slack and Microsoft Teams, it’s difficult to choose the right software without knowing your organization’s needs. Slack stands out for its ease of use, simplicity, and rich integration library. On the other hand, Microsoft Teams works better for large organizations and teams that need to organize sub-teams.
Due to Slack’s ability to integrate with a wide variety of apps, it’s the best tool for organizations that aren’t confined to a particular set of apps to get their work done. You can pull files from Google Drive to share with your team, join a conference via Zoom, and create a new issue on GitHub, all from within the Slack chat window.
On the other hand, if your organization has large teams that use the Office suite, Microsoft Teams is the optimum choice with its seamless integration with the Office productivity apps, smooth conference calling, and its ability to organize teams and sub-teams.
Slack vs. Twist
Unlike Slack, Twist allows you to create threads within channels and only tag relevant people in each thread to avoid sending notifications to the rest of the team. Twist’s ability to organize conversations to a granular level and better management of asynchronous messaging makes it a better tool than Slack for remote teams.
On the other hand, Slack would still be a better choice for groups that have lots of overlapping responsibilities and rely on the software’s integrations library for their tasks.
Slack vs. Google Chat
Even though Slack is the better option for most businesses, the ones that are using Google Workspace are better off with Google Chat. Slack does offer integrations with different Google apps but Google Chat, being a native Google product, is embedded seamlessly into Google Workspace. This makes sharing files, collaboration, and communication a breeze.
Slack vs. RingCentral Video
Compared to the all-purpose Slack app, RingCentral Video is great for sharing documents. This is not to say that Slack isn’t a great way to share files, but RingCentral Video’s cleaner interface, its ability to pin documents at the top of threads, and its integrations with cloud storage platforms make file-sharing a breeze.
In addition, RingCentral Video makes it easier to share documents and context with clients and customers by letting users invite them to conversations in a few easy steps.
Slack vs. Discord
Unlike Slack, Discord is a voice-chat-focused app. While Slack offers a broad range of uses in addition to basic chat features, Discord excels at enabling high-quality voice conversations between participants. Compared to Slack, Discord is more straightforward, allows better moderation of channels, and is completely free. However, it’s not the best app for integrations, especially if you’re looking for Slack’s slash command functionality here.
To sum it up, if your teams require constant voice communication while working together on projects, Discord is the right app for you. But if you’re looking for a more holistic messaging tool that provides a balanced combination of messaging, audio, voice chat, and extended functionality via integrations, Slack remains your best bet.
Slack vs. Mattermost
In any comparison between Mattermost and Slack, the former is always going to stand out for its security and privacy features. Being an open-source, self-hosted app, Mattermost is deployed directly to your organization’s server and keeps your internal messages internal. Since your messages never leave your organization’s server, no third party ever stores them and you get to decide who gets access.
On top of that, Mattermost also provides excellent project and task management features that Slack does not offer. Organize your tasks on Kanban-style boards that seamlessly work with chat features to enable channel-based collaboration. Like Slack, Mattermost also offers a rich library of integrations with the most popular apps on the market. However, Slack is still ahead in this department.
Overall, Mattermost is a clear winner when it comes to security, compliance, and customizability. On the other hand, Slack offers a more refined experience overall with better search and notification management.
Choosing a business messaging app for your organization is an important decision that can make a big impact on your team’s performance. Therefore, it is important to fully understand your business’s short and long-term objectives, the size and work style of your team, and the level of security and customizability you want.
While Slack remains the best app for most businesses due to its versatility and ease of use, organizations with larger teams that use the Office Suite are more likely to enjoy using Microsoft Teams.
Similarly, teams that like to use Google Workspace are going to appreciate how Google Chat is integrated with the tools they already use, while Twist gives you the ability to organize conversations on a deeper level, empowering remote teams.
Finally, RingCentral Video, Discord, and Mattermost are best-suited for organizations looking for file-sharing, voice chat, and improved security, respectively.