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Airtable vs Google Sheets

What is Google Sheets?

Google sheets
Google sheets

Proposed by Google in 2006, Google Sheets wants to bring to users all the power of the Excel spreadsheet online. It is a real progress for companies and their teams, especially in terms of data synchronization between different devices and in terms of collaboration.

Google Sheets is probably one of the most used tools in companies today. In particular because it allows you to perform many analyses and calculations simply and quickly.

It is important to note that Google Sheets is used (or should be used) as a spreadsheet, not as a database.

So yes, both environments have columns, rows and cells. But the functionalities and uses are quite different.

What is Airtable?

Sales CRM Airtable

Created in 2013, Airtable appears at first glance to be an alternative to Google Sheets - with a more modern user interface (UI).

Indeed, there are columns, rows and cells. But still, Airtable acts like a database, while offering the advantages of aspreadsheet. We'll see the advantages and disadvantages of each later in the article.

Beyond being a database, Airtable adds a more pleasant graphical interface and features that allow its users to automate a large number of tasks. All in Nocode.

Today, Airtable has over 300,000 customers - of all sizes. Among them are Shopify, Netflix and Spotify, just to name a few!

Airtable is also a valuation of over 11 billion. The company has raised more than 1 billion over the year 2021 and is now one of the strongest organizations in the Nocode ecosystem.

Google Sheets vs. Airtable: Pros and Cons

Benefits of Google Sheets

Google Sheets is nowadays a very well known tool that has inherited a massive use from Excel. One could say that it is its improved version and has many advantages:

  • Google Sheets is a 100% free tool for personal use.
  • Very common tool in companies.
  • Very quick to learn - especially to perform basic operations such as filtering or sorting data, making calculations or creating graphs.
  • Collaborative tool. It is possible to work with several people on the same file. Data is synchronized in real time on all devices.
  • Naturally well connected with the Google suite.
  • Google Sheets is also well connected with third-party tools via automation tools such as Zapier, Make (ex-Integromat) or n8n.

Disadvantages of Google Sheets

While Google Sheets is very accessible, the tool can quickly run out of features - especially for more massive and complex datasets:

  • Google Sheets is not designed to store large amounts of data.
  • Data types are very limited compared to database tools. It can be very complicated to process some data with Google Sheets like dates or images.
  • It is not possible to control the input data. For example, you can only enter text in a column intended for text.

Google Sheets - Use cases

Data storage

Google Sheets is so popular because the solution allows you to store and organize your data very simply and quickly when it is a simple table of data. The tool does not require advanced technical skills in this case.

Accounting and finance

Google Sheets is particularly used by business and finance teams to manage their accounts or financial forecasts: creating a budget for the coming year or managing cash flow for example.


Often forgotten, but training organizations such as schools or universities are often the first users of spreadsheets. Google Sheets can be used by both teachers and students.

Marketing & Sales Ops

It's very common to see marketing and sales teams using Google Sheets for lead management and enrichment - before integrating them into business tools like HubSpot.

We have taken a few examples, but we could go on forever on this part as the list is so long.

Airtable vs Google Sheets: Advantages and disadvantages

Benefits of Airtable

Since its creation, Airtable has been positioned as a hybrid solution between spreadsheet and database. Little by little, improvements have been made around the automation aspect of the tasks. Here are the notable advantages:

  • Possibility to build relationships between the different tables and thus avoid filling in the same information twice.
  • Good data control. Airtable allows you to control the arrival of data in the database - in particular through the definition of a data model.
  • It can accommodate a significant amount of data.
  • More accessible tool than a traditional database. It is not necessary to know SQL for example.
  • Ability to create dashboards quickly with Interface Designer
  • Ability to create logic and automation; and thus create a solid back-end for applications by interfacing with tools like Softr, WeWeb or Stacker.
  • Collaboration is very advanced - especially with the ability to create private or collaborative views.

Disadvantages of Airtable

Although Airtable seems to fit into the category of more modern and versatile tools, it still has some drawbacks:

  • Although it is a Nocode tool, you still need some database knowledge to build a solid and scalable model.
  • As with any SaaS, one can quickly get left hungry with the free plan. It can be quite frustrating to have to pay for a data processing tool when you are alone or in a small team.
  • It may seem less intuitive to perform simple and quick data analysis and visualization than with spreadsheets like Google Sheets.

Airtable - Use cases

Project management

It is possible to list all your projects in Airtable and to split them into several tasks in order to be as organized and productive as possible.

Project management on Airtable
Project management on Airtable

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

With its database and relationship system, Airtable is ideal for building a CRM customized to your business model. When we look at the prices of HubSpot or Salesforce, this option can be very economical if the data model is well thought out from the beginning.

Building CRM with Airtable
Building CRM with Airtable

Human Resources

Airtable can be used as an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and save a lot of money compared to specialized tools.

ATS with Airtable
ATS with Airtable

Inventory management

Airtable allows you to follow the evolution of your stocks of goods from Airtable and to create automations in order to be alerted at the right time to restock for example.

Inventory management with Airtable
Inventory management with Airtable

Content management

Create tasks, assign responsibilities and follow deadlines for each content in order to keep the pace of the strategy in place.

Content management with Airtable
Content management with Airtable

Airtable vs Google Sheets: Comparison Chart

Airtable vs Google Sheets



Google Sheets


The learning curve is a bit longer but still very accessible vs. a classic database.

Very short learning curve


> Various "views" available (Kanban, Gallery, Calendar)
> On-board notification system

> Easier construction of in-house apps.

More data types available.

Not very flexible. Practical for simple operations.


We find the notion of automation with Airtable and many extensions are published on the marketplace.

Connected to many third-party plug-ins or can easily integrate with third-party applications via Zapier or Make for example.


More control over data

Largest data volumes

More stable thanks to possible relationships.

Not very scalable for large amounts of data.

Collaboration & Security

Access Creator, Editor, Commenter, Read only.

Ability to limit sharing to a single domain name

Personal or collaborative views can be created - a very practical feature.

Access Owner, Editor, Commentor, Viewer

Ability to limit sharing to a single domain name


One free plan then 3 paid plans from $10/month per user.

Free for personal use


Conclusion: When to use Airtable vs Google Sheets?

After a bit of an overview of these two tools, here is a brief summary of when you should use Google Sheets instead of Airtable.

When to use Google Sheets?

  • For simple calculations and visualizations, it may be better to stay with Google Sheets.
  • If you want to stay on a free solution
  • If you want to format your data the way you want. Google Sheets provides much more flexibility in this area.

When to use Airtable?

  • If you need to create relationships between different tables. So if you need to handle more complex data sets.
  • If you are dealing with larger volumes of data.
  • If you want to build applications. Airtable can serve as your back-end.
  • If you want to trigger many actions from your Airtable data: like sending emails or creating tasks for your teams. Airtable offers many automations which makes it a very powerful tool.

Is Airtable better than Google Sheets?

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It all depends on how you want to use it. Google Sheets may be more suitable if you want to deal with data on an ad hoc basis and with simple data sets. Otherwise, Airtable will often be more suitable as it offers the advantages of a database with an interface and usage similar to a spreadsheet.

What is the difference between Google Sheets and Airtable?

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Google Sheets is referred to as a spreadsheet and Airtable as a database - although the latter offers a hybrid version between the two. A database allows users to create relationships between multiple tables and provide logic for building applications. A spreadsheet allows the user to manage simple data sets to perform low complexity operations.

Is Airtable free?

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Airtable offers a free plan from which you can create an unlimited number of bases, invite up to 5 designers or editors, upload up to 2GB of files per base and add up to 1200 lines per base. This plan is suitable for small teams or individuals/freelancers

What are the benefits of Airtable over Google Sheets?

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1. Airtable is more scalable. That is, you can handle larger volumes of data and have more control over your data. 2. Because Airtable is a database, you can build complete applications relatively easily and quickly. The tool interfaces very well with Nocode tools such as Softr, WeWeb or Stacker - to build the front end.3. Airtable is more suitable if you want to realize automations from your data like sending e-mails or creating tasks.

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