Both Airtable and Notion offer a unique combination of productivity features, which is why neither of them has competitors that can exactly replicate what they do. Airtable and Notion also don’t overlap with each other as much as you might think, although they can both be used for project management. In this guide, we will compare and contrast both Airtable and Notion to help you figure out which one might be a fit for your business.

What is Airtable?

The Airtable logo.
Image: Airtable

Airtable is a cloud-based collaboration tool that allows teams to build their own custom low-code apps and to create and share relational databases. Airtable can be accessed via your web browser, desktop apps for Windows and Mac or mobile apps for iOS and Android.

What is Notion?

The Notion logo.
Image: Notion

Notion is a productivity app that lets you track projects and create and organize notes. It can be accessed via a web browser, desktop apps for Windows and Mac or mobile apps for iOS and Android. A Notion widget is available for both iPhone and Android, so you can access it right from your home screen.

Airtable vs. Notion: Comparison table

Features
Airtable logo.
Notion logo.
Multiple project views
Project templates
20+
560+
Team collaboration
Native time tracking
Forever free plan
Pricing plan
Starts at $10 per user per month
Starts at $8 per user per month
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Airtable and Notion pricing

Airtable pricing

Airtable offers four different pricing plans to suit a variety of budgets, from individual users to large businesses:

  • Free: This forever free plan covers up to five editors or creators and offers unlimited bases (a.k.a. projects).
  • Plus: This plan costs $10 per seat per month, billed annually, and offers six-month revision and snapshot history and automatic table syncing.
  • Pro: This plan costs $25 per seat per month, billed annually, and offers Gantt and Timeline views and granular interface permissions.
  • Enterprise: This plan requires a custom pricing quote from Airtable and includes extra features, such as unlimited workspaces and unlimited extensions.

In addition to the forever Free plan, Airtable also offers a 14-day free trial of the Pro plan, so you can try it before you buy. For more information, see our full Airtable review.

Notion pricing

Notion also offers four different pricing tiers. They are:

  • Free: This forever free plan allows you to invite up to 10 guests and upload files up to 5 MB.
  • Plus: This plan costs $8 per user per month, billed annually. It allows you to invite up to 100 guests and features unlimited blocks and file uploads.
  • Business: This plan costs $15 per user per month, billed annually. It allows you to invite up to 250 guests and features SAML single sign-on and advanced page analytics.
  • Enterprise: This plan requires a custom pricing quote from Notion and includes extra features, such as unlimited workspaces and unlimited extensions.

You can also choose to add the optional Notion AI to any paid plan for $8 per user per month, billed annually. Notion AI can be used to generate summaries, rewrite documents and brainstorm ideas.

You can request a trial of the Business plan and a demo or trial of the Enterprise plan, but you’ll need to contact the sales team to do both — you can’t sign up for either directly. For more information, read our full Notion review.

Feature comparison: Airtable vs. Notion

Data and notes management

Like we said earlier, Airtable is a relational database management app, which means that it offers a flexible solution for creating and storing data. In Airtable, you can create a base (short for database) and a table and then fill the table with records (a.k.a. records). After that, organize the data in fields, create custom views of the data and connect linked records to your data. Use the Interface Designer and the templates to customize the look and functionality of your base.

If you’re looking for a big upgrade from Excel or Google Sheets, Airtable might be the solution you’ve been looking for. Airtable can be used for just notes management, but that app is meant to do much more than that, which is why we named it one of our best project management software for small businesses. However, you might get frustrated by its complexity if you want a simpler project and notes management tool.

Notion started as a notes app, and as such, it’s an excellent solution for creating and organizing text-based documents. In Notion, you can choose from more than 50 types of content blocks and assemble them into a well-organized page. You can then centralize the documents into either a personal or team wiki (Figure A) to keep them organized in a sensible hierarchy.

Figure A

Notion wiki example with sidebar.

These note management features are why you might see Notion compared to apps like Evernote, although Notion lets you do much more than just create notes. While Notion is a great solution for this kind of document creation and management, it does lack the more sophisticated data management capabilities of Airtablem, so it’s not a direct comparison.

Project templates and views

By selecting the default project tracker template (Figure B), Airtable will automatically create a base and fill it with sample data to help get you started. There are also 20 additional project management templates that you can choose from if the default one doesn’t fit your needs, which is significantly fewer than both Notion and other competitors. Free accounts come with grid, calendar, form and Kanban views. You’ll need to upgrade to a Pro account if you want Gantt chart or timeline views, which is a bit of a drawback.

Figure B

Airtable project tracker template.

Meanwhile, Notion offers 560 project management templates that you can take advantage of, so you’ll have to build much less from scratch. Project views include Kanban, calendar, timelines (a.k.a. Gantt charts, see Figure C) and table (a.k.a. a grid view). If you have used Trello or Asana, the Notion interface will be familiar to you, although it’s more minimalist and features less color and more whitespace than these alternatives.

Figure C

Notion Timeline View.

Project management features

Airtable and Notion offer most of the fundamental task management features you would expect, but they aren’t as fully featured as powerhouse PM tools like monday and ClickUp. Both Airtable and Notion allow you to share a project with teammates, assign a task to yourself or someone else and set deadlines for tasks. You can also upload files in each tool, though it’s easier to do this in Notion, which allows for direct uploads. In Airtable, you have to create an attachment field before uploading your desired document, which adds an extra step to the process.

Airtable does offer native time-tracking abilities (Figure D), so you don’t need a separate platform, but it considers time tracking an extension (or extra feature), and lower-tier plans are limited in how many extensions they can use per base. For example, the free plan only gets one extension per base. For more information, see our article about how to use Airtable as a project management tool.

Figure D

Airtable time tracker extension.

Since it’s less complex, Notion has a smaller learning curve than Airtable, which is why we included it on our list of the best project management software for startups. Unfortunately, Notion doesn’t offer some critical project management features that major competitors do, even on its higher-tier paid plans. Native time tracking is the most glaring omission, although the platform does offer pre-built time tracking templates as a workaround. Some users also report that the software can become tedious to use if you are managing multiple projects or really complex projects, so it’s not necessarily the best choice for power users or enterprises.

Team collaboration

Both Airtable and Notion allow you to comment on items (Figure E), tag colleagues in messages and reply to comments directly within the tool. However, Airtable does not allow users to react to comments with an emoji such as a thumbs up or smiley face, which is a feature that most other enterprise project management software provides. This means that you will need to leave a reply every time you want to acknowledge a coworker’s comment, which users say can be annoying. Notion does provide emoji reactions, which is a big plus.

Figure E

Airtable comments.

Furthermore, neither platform offers direct messaging like Asana or a native video chat option like Teamwork. While these additional features aren’t as standard as emoji reactions, they are still helpful if you are looking for an all-in-one project management tool. You’ll need to move to a different software like Slack or Zoom if you want to have an extended discussion, especially one that isn’t tied directly to a particular task.

Airtable pros and cons

Pros of Airtable

  • Highly customizable and flexible platform that goes beyond project management.
  • Interface designed tool is very granular.
  • Real-time data updates allow for team collaboration.
  • Integrates with many different apps.

Cons of Airtable

  • Must pay for a Pro plan to get Gantt charts and timeline views.
  • Steep learning curve due to all the features.
  • Not as powerful as dedicated spreadsheet software.
  • Complex interface can make it unnecessarily complicated to add information.

Notion pros and cons

Pros of Notion

  • Excellent note taking capabilities.
  • Highly customizable layout.
  • Small learning curve, especially compared to Airtable.
  • Less expensive than some competitors.

Cons of Notion

  • No Gantt charts are available.
  • Can become unwieldy as you create more projects.
  • Can’t match Airtable’s database management capabilities.
  • Could use more security features.

Review methodology

To compare Notion and Airtable, we signed up for free accounts and consulted demo videos, product documentation, user reviews, and community resource forums. We considered factors such as pricing, interface design, ease of use and integrations, as well as features such as project views, task management, team collaboration and project templates.

Should your organization use Airtable or Notion?

If you are mostly looking to manage data and build low-code team apps in a single system, Airtable is the right choice for you. While its databases are formatted like spreadsheets, you can use the tool to do much more than run formulas or plan projects, such as gathering customer feedback and tracking sales. In fact, some teams choose to use Airtable for their data management needs and a different app for their project management needs since Airtable doesn’t offer as many project management templates.

On the other hand, Notion is better suited to notes management and creating wikis for both internal and external use. It also offers more project management features and templates than Airtable does, though it falls short of more robust PM tools such as monday work management. This combination of notes and project management makes it especially well-suited for content creators, marketing departments and other teams that work largely with text. You can actually integrate Notion and Airtable using Zapier, so if both of them sound useful to you for different reasons, then you don’t have to choose between them.

Still not sure if either Airtable or Notion is the right productivity tool for your team? Check out our list of the 10 best project management software and tools for 2023 to see what other platforms we rate highly.


Featured Partners: Project Management Software

1 monday.com

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monday.com Work OS is the project management software that helps you and your team plan, execute, and track projects and workflows in one collaborative space. Manage everything from simple to complex projects more efficiently with the help of visual boards, 200+ ready-made templates, clever no-code automations, and easy integrations. In addition, custom dashboards simplify reporting, so you can evaluate your progress and make data-driven decisions.

Learn more about monday.com

2 Wrike

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Wrike’s top-notch workflow management software allows you to easily visualize priorities, boost collaboration, and maintain control of your projects. Bonus: you can move seamlessly between apps, without logging in or out. Wrike has more than 400+ integrations with popular platforms such as Google, Dropbox, Microsoft Office, and many more. Automation and AI features strip away time-consuming admin tasks so you can do the best work of your life.

Learn more about Wrike

3 Quickbase

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Big ideas aren’t simple to execute. So we’re here to help you tackle any project, no matter how complex. We’re Quickbase.

Quickbase helps customers see, connect and control complex projects that reshape our world. Whether it’s raising a skyscraper or coordinating vaccine rollouts, the no-code software platform allows business users to custom fit solutions to the way they work – using information from across the systems they already have.

Learn more about Quickbase

4 Smartsheet

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Smartsheet is an online work execution platform empowering organizations of all sizes to plan, manage, automate, and report on work. Over 80,000 brands rely on Smartsheet for project and work management.

Learn more about Smartsheet

5 Workzone

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With 20+ years of real-world use, Workzone is built for teams who manage a large volume of projects. Gain greater visibility with a portfolio-to-task level project dashboard. Access easy-to-use features for collaboration, resource management, requests, reporting, & more. Difficulty adopting a tool in the past? Get high-touch, unlimited support with experienced trainers who will help you create systems & manage projects successfully. Working with teams of 10+, pricing starts at $24/user/mth.

Learn more about Workzone

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Subscribe to Project Management Insider for best practices, reviews and resources. From project scheduling software to project planning apps, stay up to date with the latest in project management tools. Delivered Wednesdays