vs Airtable: A CRM & Project Management Review

Should you build your team’s next CRM or project management app in Airtable or Here’s what each database-powered app builder brings to the table.

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There are 439 different project management apps today. 878 CRMs, according to G2 Crowd. CRMs for vets and architects. Project management apps with a dozen different ways to view tasks.
Yet somehow, none of them work exactly the way you do. They’re good enough, but with a dozen features you don’t need and without that one thing you do.
You could build another. The 440th project management app will be the one that does it all, better. Except then you’ll have to maintain it, build out all the tiny extras like notifications and exports, and keep adding more features to suit every other team in your company.
Or you could use a no-code builder, have your cake, and eat it too. Airtable’s a popular database tool designed so you can build any data-driven app you want, with a form to enter data, customizable database tables to store details, and dashboards to make sense of the data. is a purpose-built project management app and CRM at first glance, but is built around a database that is far more customizable than the average competing tool. Both are built to create solutions to work the way you want.
But which is best for your work?

A brief overview looks like a colorful spreadsheet—one with sub-tasks and status updates looks like a colorful spreadsheet—one with sub-tasks and status updates is a project management app, CRM, and developer-focused issue tracking system—three apps under one virtual roof, tied together by its WorkOS database. And, it suggests, if it’s flexible enough to power three separate apps, it’s flexible for any task you need.
You’ll start by choosing the edition of you want to use, each with role-specific features. The original Work Management edition—the default option when you sign up—includes task-focused features like time tracking and task dependencies. The CRM includes email and calendar syncing. The Dev edition integrates with GitHub and has a tool to organize customer feedback. You could manage contacts in the project edition or add a tasks database to the CRM, so choose the edition based on the extra features your team needs most. automatically builds dashboards around the data most likely to be actionable automatically builds dashboards around the data most likely to be actionable
The customizable database—which calls Boards—works the same everywhere. At first glance it could be mistaken for a spreadsheet. Each task or contact lives in a row, with columns of data detailing when the task is due or where a lead works. It’s hard to miss’s Status column, its signature feature to show if a task is being worked on, stuck, or done (or, if a lead has been contacted, qualified, or unqualified in the CRM edition). Glance at the bottom of a table for quick visual summary of the data, with a color bar showing at-a-glance progress, a date range showing the timespan a project covers, or a number field adding up the total expected value of a set of tasks.
That’s where you can start customizing to build the app that your team needs. Add columns to gather data: Numbers, dates, timelines, drop-down menus, progress, labels, and over two dozen other specific fields like buttons, color pickers, and rich text notes. Bring disparate projects and contacts together with Mirror fields that link records across databases. Or get work done automatically with spreadsheet-style formula columns to calculate values, or automations to perform tasks automatically (say, to email a team member when a task is completed so they know to pick up the baton).’s automations are easy to understand with real-language descriptions’s automations are easy to understand with real-language descriptions
With all the data in place, you can start visualizing it the way that works best for your team. Click the + button along the top of your database to add a new view. Add a Gantt chart or calendar to organize work by time, or a Kanban or Gallery view to arrange tasks by category and type. will automatically build a form view with each of your fields for an easy way to input data. And with the chart view, you can visualize data or add apps to show workloads, countdown timers, maps, and more.
You likely won’t build an entirely new app in As much as you tweak, it’ll still feel like a project management tool or CRM. But it’ll be one with your fingerprints, customized to the way you work best.

A brief Airtable overview

Airtable’s a database that you can turn into any app you want
Airtable’s a database that you can turn into any app you want
Ever used Microsoft Access in the ’90’s? That’s Airtable, today.
Airtable is one of the easiest-to-use database apps. Create a new base, as Airtable calls its database instances, and it’ll open to a blank spreadsheet-style table. Jumpstart your database by importing a spreadsheet file, or use one of Airtable’s many templates for projects, content calendars, HR systems, and more. Or, build a new database from scratch with fields for everything you want to track.
Airtable includes a variety of core database-style fields for short and long text, attachments, dates, ratings, values, and more. It also includes more unique, app-specific fields to track who created a record and when it was created, barcodes to scan and lookup individual records, and buttons to open links, send emails or SMS messages, or run other integration-powered actions.
The most powerful fields, though, are those that link to other databases and records. The core Link field lets you select any record from tables in the same database. You could have a contact table and a task table, then link tasks to their related contacts. Airtable also has a Rollup field to summarize data from linked records, a Count field to show how many records one is linked to, and a Lookup field to find records based on data in other columns.
Build interfaces for your Airtable database with charts, summarized data, menus to select data entries, or buttons to run automations and scripts
Build interfaces for your Airtable database with charts, summarized data, menus to select data entries, or buttons to run automations and scripts
Those features let you build a detailed app to run everything about your business in a single database. You could create separate Airtable databases for contacts, tasks, inventory, and more. But you could build a much more powerful system by building it all in a single database, with tables for contacts, tasks, and inventory—or anything else you need to track—then connect it all with linked records.
With every detail in place, you can build forms to add data and views to showcase the data in Airtable. Airtable’s default grid view is good for sorting and filtering data. The List view is a bit closer to a traditional to-do list, while the Gantt and Timeline views are better for planning longer projects. The Gallery view is great for organizing visual items like content or inventory.
A kanban board with charts? A Gantt table with a list of data alongside? Anything’s possible in Airtable.
A kanban board with charts? A Gantt table with a list of data alongside? Anything’s possible in Airtable.
Along with the views, Airtable includes extensions to graph data, turn it into template PDF documents, or build no-code automations or JavaScript-powered scripts to do more with your data and add custom features to your apps. Its sync integrations can save files to Box or Google Drive, sync events with Google Calendar and Outlook, and sync issues and pull requests with GitHub. Airtable also includes an interface designer to pull widgets and tables together into custom dashboards where your team can see, say, the most important tasks of the day and how much work is left this month at a glance.
It’s a bit more work to set up, but Airtable gives you full control to build as customized of data-driven applications as you want. Airtable doesn’t have a pre-made CRM or project management app you can start using without tweaking, but it does include everything you need to build an Airtable CRM on your own. vs Airtable Pricing

Airtable includes more for free, but its base paid plan starts at $20/month per user
Airtable includes more for free, but its base paid plan starts at $20/month per user
Airtable is cheapest when you’re first starting out. Its free plan lets you build unlimited databases with up to 1,000 records each, and collaborate on them with 5 people.’s free plan is limited to its project management app. It lets you collaborate on 3 boards with one other person, with unlimited tasks and’s core features.
Beyond that, you’ll need a paid plan to use or Airtable with your full company.
Airtable’s core paid plan costs $24/month per user (or $20/month if paid annually), and includes 50k records per database, 25k automation runs, and all of Airtable’s core features including Gantt and timeline views, extensions, and formatting options. That covers most teams, as long as they don’t need larger databases or single sign-on.’s plans are cheaper than Airtable, but only sold in sets of users’s plans are cheaper than Airtable, but only sold in sets of users’s plans are priced based on the edition. For projects, the Standard plan at $12/month per user ($10/month paid annually) includes Timeline, Gantt, and Calendar views, while the Pro plan at $20/month per user ($16/month paid annually) adds charts, time tracking, formulas, and dependencies.
The CRM edition starts at $12.50/month per user for the Basic edition with unlimited contacts, $17/month per user for the Standard edition with email and calendar sync and invoices, and $30/month per user Pro edition with sales forecasting, bulk emails, analytics, and advanced automations and integrations (with an 18% discount for annual plans).
And on the Dev side, the $12/month per user Basic plan can track unlimited issues, the $14.50/month per user Standard plan adds Timeline and Gantt views and GitHub integration, while the $25/month per user Pro plan adds time tracking, customer feedback, agile reports, and advanced automations.
One thing to note with is that its plans come in 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 40 user sets. You can’t buy a plan for 2 or 13 users, but instead will need to buy the next largest set of seats. And for over 40 users, you’ll need to contact’s sales team to get a quote.
For teams focused on project or issue management with 40 or fewer users, will often work out to be cheaper than Airtable. The features included in’s Pro plans often aren’t included in Airtable, and the Standard editions work out cheaper than Airtable. If you need a CRM, though, or want to manage both contacts and projects, Airtable’s all-in plans might work out similarly priced.

Adding Data to and Airtable

Fillout forms sync database fields from Airtable and Monday to quickly build forms
Fillout forms sync database fields from Airtable and Monday to quickly build forms
The good thing is, no matter which app you choose, it’s equally easy to add data to and Airtable. Both include basic form builders to add new data to your database. Both also include built-in integrations and work with 3rd-party automation platforms like Zapier to add new tasks, contacts, and other data.
Or, you could build more advanced Airtable and forms with a tool like Fillout for more powerful and logic-driven forms. Fillout forms can include Stripe-powered checkout and Calendly meeting bookings, to add new contacts and customers to your CRM while they sign up for your events and buy your products. They can also include signatures for eSign-ready contracts right from an online form.
Fillout syncs with both and Airtable, so you can build forms with the fields you already added to your database. It can lookup data from Airtable fields, to pre-populate forms with the data already in your database. And if you want to gather details that aren’t related to your projects or CRM, Fillout can sync those to Google Sheets or other apps to keep your database streamlined with only the info you need most.
With Fillout forms, you can easily switch between the two if you ever decide to move from to Airtable or vice versa. Just de-link your Fillout form from the first app, connect it to the second, and re-map your form fields to the new database. vs Airtable: Which is the best to build custom apps?

All that’s left is to decide which tool is the best to build customized productivity apps for your team. Both tools include web and mobile apps, both integrate with a wide variety of other software, and both are customizable enough to build database-driven tools for your team.
Airtable is best if you want to build something fully custom, with more advanced features to build more custom apps. Its data linking tools and scripting options let you go far beyond the average no-code automations. You’ll find pre-built scripts to extract metadata from links, import YouTube analytics, optimize tables by splitting values into columns, create Markdown charts, and more.
That’s in addition to Airtable’s marketplace full of extensions that can build PDF files from data, generate QR and barcodes, validate and translate data, and more. It’s the best option to build databases that span multiple use-cases in a company, beyond core project and contact management. It’s also better if you want to organize raw data like product inventory, campaign statistics, and anything else better suited for a spreadsheet or database., on the other hand, is best if you want to customize a pre-built solution. It’s faster to start managing projects or tracking contacts in—and often cheaper.
For each use-case, includes non-database features that are not available in Airtable.’s projects include sub-tasks, along with time tracking in higher-tier plans, which require workarounds or extensions in Airtable. The CRM can sync emails with Gmail and Outlook, something that’d require a Zapier automation to accomplish in Airtable. The Dev edition has a tool where users can share bugs and feature requests—you could build a new table and form to accomplish that in Airtable, but in it’s built-in.
Either way, you’ll get a tool that can grow with your needs. Both and Airtable include enough out-of-the-box features and add-on extensions to build almost anything you need—with Fillout forms to help you gather data and build the workflows that help your team work together more efficiently.
Image Credit: Banner image includes photo from Ashkan Forouzani via Unsplash
Matthew Guay

Written by

Matthew Guay

Matthew Guay is a writer and co-founder of Pith and Pip. He previously was founding editor of Capiche and Zapier’s senior writer and editor.

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