December 22, 2023

Slack vs Teams: Best Collaboration Software in 2024

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Key takeaways

  • Choose Slack for quick onboarding, platform-agnostic integrations, and a powerful free version.
  • Choose Teams for better security, enhanced IT controls, compliance support, and the Microsoft-centric architecture.
  • If you have the flexibility to test-run a tool before a full rollout, use Slack for free, and see how it fits. 

Dec. 22, 2023: We revised the copy to reflect the most up-to-date information for Slack and Microsoft Teams. We also added a third recommendation, Hive, for buyers who are interested in a more advanced messaging solution that also includes project management capabilities.

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Slack vs. Microsoft Teams: Which is better?

Slack Microsoft Teams Hive
SPONSORED
Starting price $7.25/user/mo. $4/user/mo. $12/user/mo.
Free trial/version Yes Yes Yes
Mobile app Yes Yes Yes
Task tracking No No Yes
Real-time collaboration Yes Yes Yes
File management/sharing Yes Yes Yes
Time tracking No No Yes
Reporting No No Yes
Integrations Yes Yes Yes
AI integration No Yes Yes
Visit Slack Visit Microsoft Visit Hive

Slack: The people’s messaging app

The Slack logo.

If you were asked to find a professional in your network who had never heard the phrase “I’ll Slack it to you,” odds are you’d be on the hunt for quite a while. Slack hasn’t yet reached the level of ubiquity of Kleenex, Tupperware, or Post-It, but it’s pretty close.

There are good reasons why so many business pros have experience using Slack—it’s a solid app that offers nearly all of its features and functions to free users. So even if you have a sizable team that is constantly messaging back and forth, Slack can probably facilitate much of what you need from a collaboration and communication app. 

Pricing is straightforward for Slack, with the aforementioned free version, plus tiers for Pro, Business+, and Enterprise Grid users. For those willing to pay subscription fees, upgraded tiers add unlimited messaging history, workflows, app integrations, identity/access management, and stricter security features. 

Pros

  • Get first-class messaging functionality for free.
  • Intuitive UI.
  • Add external Slack users for collaboration.
  • Organize conversations into channels.
  • Native audio and video calls.
  • Workflow automation features.
  • Plentiful third-party integrations.

Cons

  • Full-fledge security requires highest subscription tier.
  • Paid tiers skew higher in cost than Teams.
  • Full messaging history and external user features unavailable to free users.

Microsoft Teams: Collaboration for the security-conscious

The Microsoft Teams logo.

Microsoft has long been a heavy-hitter in the software and business technology space. But as the numerous tech booms have led to a more crowded digital landscape, they’ve made some significant pivots in their efforts to stand apart from the crowd. Most notably, Microsoft’s suite of tools (Office, Teams, OneDrive, etc.) prioritize security, privacy, and access management.

Not every team is sending texts and files that contain sensitive information. Meeting reminders, questions about upcoming marketing campaigns, and discussions of event details aren’t typically regulated by governing bodies to ensure strict privacy compliance. Healthcare teams, financial organizations, and similar GRC-concerned industries, though, are a different story.

For reasons such as these, many security-conscious organizations use Teams, as well as the full complement of Microsoft tools to ensure maximum control over usage, access, identity, and privileges.

Pros

  • Industry-leading security and management features.
  • Complete cross-integration with all Microsoft apps and tools.
  • Enhanced visibility for teams working remotely across many device types.
  • Video calls, file sharing, VoIP, Hot Desking, and native workforce management.

Cons

  • Supports some third-party integrations, but less “agnostic” than Slack.
  • Supports real-time and live editing-style collaboration, but may take some adjusting for those more accustomed to GDrive and similar UIs.
  • Free version technically intended for home or personal use.

Hive: A third option that adds project management

The Hive logo.

Slack and Microsoft Teams are great for streamlining collaboration and simplifying processes, but they fall short of true project management software. If you need a solution that extends beyond communication and file sharing, consider Hive as an alternative. It offers the same native chat and video conferencing features plus tools for task management, time tracking, team resourcing, and other project management basics.

Hive doesn’t have as many advanced features as full-scale PM solutions like Asana and Wrike, but it’s a solid choice if you want to improve efficiency and collaboration without complicated integrations.

Slack vs. Teams: A closer comparison

Features

It goes without saying that, as messaging apps, communication serves as the core functionality of both Slack and Teams. Both apps offer text-based messaging, as well as audio and video calls. But that’s largely where the similarities end, with both how these features are implemented, and the bells and whistles that come with them, differing greatly.

With just the free version of Slack, users can get quite a bit of functionality:

  • Unlimited internal users.
  • Unlimited channels.
  • One-on-one voice/video calls.
  • File sharing.
  • Integration support for up to 10 apps.
  • 90-day message history.
  • Data encryption both at rest an in transit.

Paid users get access to more advanced features:

  • Full messaging history.
  • External user access.
  • Audio/video meetings up to 50 participants.
  • SAML-based sign-on.
  • Admin analytics.

Finally, enterprise users get access to premium features, such as:

  • HIPAA compliance support.
  • Native data loss prevention.
  • Full user, role, and permissions management.
  • Comprehensive user directory (Slack Atlas).
  • Audit logs.

Those looking to make use of a Teams free user account can expect reduced functionality, with the core features still intact:

  • Unlimited chat with friends and family.
  • Group audio/video calling for up to 100 participants, and up to 60 minutes.
  • 5 GB cloud storage.
  • Data encryption for all communications, meetings, and files.

Paid subscriptions get a more business-grade experience, with features like:

  • Unlimited group meetings for up to 300 participants and up to 30 hours.
  • As much as 1 TB of storage per user.
  • Business-class email.
  • Meeting recordings with transcripts.
  • Webinar hosting.
  • Webinar registration and reporting functions.
  • Complimentary Microsoft 365 licenses.

Integrations

App integrations are an interesting point of division between Teams and Slack, and it all comes down to the central design philosophy of the tool in question. Slack was designed to serve as the communication hub for your current workflows, while Teams is intended to be one branch of a more comprehensive, cohesive toolset. While both apps support some pretty robust third-party integrations, each leans in the direction of their intended design.

Slack is, as the tech kids say, a “platform agnostic” application. In other words, since the makers of slack don’t have their own apps for word processing, email, cloud storage, scheduling, task management, etc., they’ve gone to great lengths to enable as many helpful API plugins as possible. In fact, Slack supports over 2600 app integrations (though free users are capped after implementing any 10 of those).

Additionally, Slack supports “workflows”—automated tasks that run either natively in the app, or via connections to third-party tools. With a little setup, premium workflows can trigger sophisticated operations (akin to Zapier and similar tools).

Teams is a Microsoft product, and Microsoft (like many global brands with extensive product offerings) likes to keep everything in house. If you use a Windows PC and have been annoyed by the operating system trying to push you to use Edge as your default browser, you’ve run into this. But this design philosophy can be as much a benefit as it is a frustration.

While Teams does support over 250 different third-party integrations, the biggest advantage in this regard is how seamlessly other products in the suite work with each other. Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, Excel, and all of the other companion tools can pass information back and forth with the push of a button (or even automatically), as if they were all the same program.

Pricing

Surprisingly, there’s a fair amount of convergence in regard to pricing structure between Teams and Slack. Each has a simpler free version, and each has options for customized enterprise service. But the subscription tiers in between those two ends of the spectrum are actually fairly comparable. 

Slack has four pricing tiers—free, Pro, Business+, and Enterprise Grid. The free plan is especially compelling for businesses that aren’t ready to commit to one messaging app, though there are some restrictions like limited message histories that might create problems long-term.

Paying customers can choose to be billed monthly or annually, with annual billing reducing the per-month costs. When billed monthly, Slack users can expect to pay:

  • Pro: $8.75/user/mo.
  • Business+: $15/user/mo.
  • Enterprise Grid: Custom quote required.

Billed annually, Slack users will see slightly reduced monthly costs:

  • Pro: $7.25/user/mo.
  • Business+: $12.50/user/mo.
  • Enterprise Grid: Custom quote required.

Teams lists three subscription tiers for business users. The free version is limited to personal use, and enterprise-level service is typically a Microsoft365/Copilot/full-suite affair.

However, unlike Slack, Teams does not offer month-to-month billing, so subscriptions will have to be paid annually. That being said, below are the figures on each tier’s pricing:

  • Microsoft Teams Essentials: $4.00/user/mo.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $6.00/user/mo.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $12.50/user/mo.

Slack vs. Teams: Ready to choose?

Now that we’ve broken down some of the specifics, it’s time for the obligatory “which one should I pick?” discussion, with the equally obligatory “it depends” response.

Here’s the thing, though: there are at least a few broadly applicable guidelines we can set to help you decide “yea” or “nay” on the two solutions we’ve been comparing. 

When to choose Slack

Slack is better when you want to limit process disruption, and minimize onboarding complexity.

  • It’s a familiar UI that’s easy to learn and easy to master. 
  • It can be used for free in many contexts, and upgrading is relatively inexpensive for those who need the advanced features.
  • It can be paid for month-to-month if you want to test drive it without dropping a year’s-worth of budget on it.
  • It integrates with a host of third-party solutions, so you can plug it into your process and leave the rest of your tech stack as it is.

When what you’re looking for is a quick-and-dirty messaging solution, or you don’t want to endure the suffering of adopting multiple new apps just to make your processes work as desired, Slack is the better choice.

When to choose Microsoft Teams

Teams is the product of choice if you’re already running on Microsoft, need deeper security controls, or are looking to upgrade a significant portion of your tech stack.

  • Microsoft’s cohesive ecosystem can be incredibly powerful, as long as you’re actually using it as a complete unit.
  • It doesn’t cost much to upgrade from just Teams to a full Microsoft subscription.
  • Office apps are among the most robust and powerful in each of their categories, when in the hands of true power users. 
  • Teams (and the rest of the app family) comes compliance-ready out of the box (e.g. HIPAA, etc.).
  • These apps make remote access management a lot easier, especially when you suddenly need to pull the plug on someone.

The Microsoft “experience” is a double-edged sword, true; it can be frustrating for some users and certain implementations to have to use these apps instead of alternatives that prioritize convenience. But there are plenty of situations where flexibility and ease-of-use take a backseat to control and security. For these, Teams will likely serve you better.


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Featured collaboration partners

1 Wrike

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Wrike is an award-winning team collaboration software trusted by 20,000+ companies worldwide. Create a streamlined digital workplace using custom request forms, Kanban boards, Gantt charts, time tracking, real-time updates, and performance reports all in one place that can be shared company-wide. Integrate Wrike with 400+ applications to automate your everyday processes. Customize workflows and reduce the need for emails, meetings, status updates, and more. Work smarter, not harder with Wrike.

Learn more about Wrike

2 Visor

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Visor makes it easy to keep your stakeholders and team aligned. Create and share Gantt charts, roadmaps, and spreadsheet reports that stay in sync with apps like Jira and Salesforce. Add color-coding, Milestones, and more. Share accurate project plans with confidence. Visor is free to try. No credit card needed.

Learn more about Visor

3 Zoho Meeting

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Zoho Meeting is a secure online meeting platform that helps people to communicate, collaborate and work from anywhere efficiently.You can choose to share your entire screen or the window of an application or just PPT, PDF, and video files. The Standard edition, starting at just $1, is the ideal video conferencing software for Startups and SMBs.
Zoho Meeting is packed with enterprise level features like advanced meeting analytics, custom domain, collaborative whiteboard,etc. Start your trial now!

Learn more about Zoho Meeting

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