Smartsheet and Airtable are both cloud-based project management software that can be used for project management and take their design cues from spreadsheets. While they may look similar at first glance, there are fundamental underlying differences that impact how each tool operates.

Smartsheet is a workflow and project management tool that mimics the look of a spreadsheet. This cloud-based tool can be accessed via your web browser, desktop apps for Windows and Mac or mobile apps for iOS and Android.

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.

In this guide, I compare Smartsheet and Airtable to help you figure out if one of them is right for your business.

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: Comparison

Multiple project views
(forms, grid, gantt, calendar and card views)
(11 views including kanban, gallery and list views)
Project templates
Project and task management
Dedicated PM solution
Is a relational database
AI formula creation tools
Generative AI and AI-powered workflows
Forever free plan
Free for up to 1,000 records per base, up to five editors per workspace
No cost for up to 1 user and up to 2 editors
Starting price (per user per month, billed annually)
Starting price (per user per month, billed monthly)

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: Pricing

Smartsheet and Airtable offer tiered pricing structures based on the number of users and features needed. They both offer a free plan — Smartsheet’s free plan is available to one user and two editors, while Airtable’s free plan offers unlimited bases of up to 1,000 records per base and up to five editors. They both offer three paid plans, respectively.

Airtable is more expensive than Smartsheet on their comparable plans. For example, Airtable’s Team plan is $20 per user per month when billed monthly, while Smartsheet’s Pro plan is $9 per user per month when billed monthly.

Smartsheet pricing

The Smartsheet logo.
Image: Smartsheet

In addition to the Forever Free plan, Smartsheet offers a 30-day free trial of the Business plan, so you can try it before you buy.

  • Free: 1 user and up to 2 editors.
  • Pro: $7 per user per month, billed annually, or $9 per user per month, billed monthly. Max 10 users with unlimited viewers
  • Business: $25 per user per month, billed annually, or $32 per user per month, billed monthly. Min one user with unlimited editors.
  • Enterprise: Custom pricing.

For more details, read our Smartsheet review.

Airtable pricing

The Airtable logo.
Image: Airtable

In addition to the Forever Free plan, Airtable offers a 14-day free trial of the Pro plan, so you can try it before you buy.

  • Free: 5 editors and unlimited bases.
  • Team: $20 per user per month, billed annually, or $24 per user per month, billed monthly.
  • Business: $45 per user per month, billed annually, or $54 per user per month, billed monthly.
  • Enterprise Scale: Custom pricing.

For more details, read our Airtable review.

Smartsheet vs. Airtable: Feature comparison

Project views and templates

Smartsheet combines project management tools with a familiar spreadsheet-like interface, a.k.a. the grid view. You can also switch to Gantt chart view, calendar view or card view, the latter of which is a kanban-style interface. Smartsheet offers over 350 templates to speed up the setup process, or you can build a project from scratch. Some template examples include individual task tracking, an email campaign plan and a cost tracking template.

Figure A

Smartsheet grid view.
Smartsheet grid view. Image: Smartsheet

Airtable offers plenty of templates to quickly get you started. For example, by selecting the default project tracker template, Airtable will automatically create a base and fill it with sample data. Or you can choose from 20 additional project management templates if the default one doesn’t fit your needs. Free accounts come with grid, calendar, form and kanban views — but 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’s project tracker template.
Airtable’s project tracker template. Image: Airtable

Task management

Smartsheet and Airtable offer all the fundamental task management features you would expect. However, they use slightly different language to describe things, which can make it confusing for potential users who are unfamiliar with either platform. For instance, Smartsheet calls a project a “sheet,” while Airtable calls it a “base” (short for database). Smartsheet sometimes refers to a task as a “row,” while Airtable occasionally calls tasks “records” (however, you can change this if you prefer something else).

Both systems allow you to share a project with teammates, assign a task to yourself or someone else, and set deadlines for tasks. Both also offer native time tracking abilities, so you don’t need a separate platform. However, Airtable considers time tracking an extension (or extra feature), and lower-tier plans are limited in how many extensions you can use per base. For example, the free plan only gets one extension per base.

You can upload attachments and files in each tool, albeit in a slightly different way. Smartsheet lets you upload files to both the entire sheet and a specific row, depending on your needs. In Airtable, you must create an attachment field before uploading the desired document, which adds an extra step to the process.

Team collaboration

Both Smartsheet and Airtable allow you to comment on items, tag colleagues in messages and reply to comments directly within the tool. However, neither service allows you 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 you’ll need to leave a reply every time you want to acknowledge a coworker’s comment, which users say can be annoying.

Figure C

Airtable comments.
Airtable comments. Image: Airtable

Furthermore, neither platform offers direct messages like Asana or a native video chat option like Teamwork. While these additional features aren’t as standard as emoji reactions, they’re still helpful. You’ll need to move to a different software — such as Slack or Zoom — if you want to have an extended discussion, especially one that isn’t tied directly to a particular task.

Figure D

Smartsheet attachments.
Smartsheet attachments. Image: Smartsheet


Currently, Smartsheet offers 85+ integrations, while Airtable offers 35. Both connect with popular email and calendar clients such as Outlook and Gmail, document management services like Box and Dropbox, and CRMs such as HubSpot and Salesforce.

However, their integrations don’t overlap as much as you might expect. For instance, Airtable has native integration with project management apps such as Asana and Trello, while Smartsheet syncs with a lot of data visualization tools such as Power BI and Qlik. You can also connect each software to thousands more apps through Zapier.

Ease of use

Smartsheet is generally viewed as easier to use compared to Airtable, especially for users who are looking for a more structured and out-of-the-box solution. Smartsheet provides a user-friendly interface that is intuitive and familiar to those accustomed to spreadsheets.

While Airtable is also user-friendly, its unique hybrid of spreadsheet and database functionality may require a bit more time for users to fully grasp. Its more robust customization options may also require a slightly steeper learning curve for users who are not as familiar with databases or those who prefer a more structured approach.

Smartsheet pros and cons

Pros of Smartsheet

  • Spreadsheet-based design will be familiar to many.
  • Over 350 project templates are available.
  • Excellent security protocols.
  • Comprehensive reporting and analytics.

Cons of Airtable

  • Occasionally pages don’t update in real time and autosave can glitch.
  • Some features like resource management are extra paid add-ons.
  • Doesn’t replicate all Excel features.
  • Spreadsheet-based design feels outdated compared to other kanban-style apps.

Airtable pros and cons

Pros of Airtable

  • Highly customizable and flexible platform that goes beyond project management.
  • Interface design 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.
  • Has a bit of a learning curve due to all the features.
  • Not as powerful as dedicated spreadsheet software.
  • Complex interface can make it unnecessarily complicated to add information.

Should your organization use Smartsheet or Airtable?

Smartsheet is more of a “true” project management tool, with all the features you would expect for that. On the other hand, Airtable is more of a database management tool with some project management features. As such, each can be a good fit for different use cases.

If you live in Excel, then you’ll probably enjoy Smartsheet’s spreadsheet-based design. However, it can feel somewhat outdated compared to other Smartsheet alternatives, such as monday.com, Wrike and ClickUp. Smartsheet does offer a solid selection of project management features, but its traditional design is what sets it apart. If you’re not committed to the spreadsheet-like interface, then it might be worth looking into some other competitors that offer similar (or better) functionality in a more updated design.

On the other hand, if you’re mostly looking to manage data and build low-code team apps on 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 (such as Smartsheet) for their project management needs. You could potentially use both together and integrate them using Zapier.

Not sure if either Smartsheet or Airtable is right for your needs? Check out our list of the best project management software for 2024.

Review methodology

To compare Smartsheet and Airtable, I consulted demo videos, product documentation, user reviews and community resource forums. I considered factors such as pricing, interface design, ease of use and integration, as well as features such as project views, task management, team collaboration and project templates.


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