Slack is certainly one of if not the most popular team chat and collaboration tools out there, offering real-time text, video, and voice chat, file-sharing, searchable message thread, and various third-party integrations with many popular apps.
However, Slack is certainly not for everyone: some might feel Slack’s premium plan is too expensive and some others might look for different sets of features.
Here, we will discuss six of the best Slack alternatives available. However, let us begin by discussing why Slack is so popular in the first place.
Brief Overview On Slack
Slack, as the benchmark for the other tools we’ll discuss above, is focused on two main features: real-time chat for your team members, and file sharing.
Obviously, those two features alone aren’t all that interesting. After all, technically Whatsapp which we all have on our phones for free, can do those features just as well.
However, there are several reasons why Slack is currently the market leader for collaboration tools. Here are some of them:
- It’s widely used by just about anyone. So, if you hire a new employee, you can easily integrate them. The same thing happens if you need to communicate or collaborate with a new client.
- Slack has a wide range of integrations with various software and tools (to date, more than 800 products). You can receive notifications from all these tools in Slack, and to some extent, can control them from Slack.
- You can easily search for messages and files, including DropBox files and Google Docs files with all the different instances. This is very useful in the long run, so you can easily search for documents from 3 years ago and any revisions for the document.
Pricing: There is a free version available for unlimited time, and the Standard plan is $6.67/month, unlocking features like message history context, integrations with Google Drive, group voice and video calls, etc. The Plus plan is $12.50/month, and there’s a customizable Enterprise plan to suit your needs.
Top Slack Alternatives in 2020
1. Rocket Chat
Rocket Chat is an open-source chat and collaboration tool, that completely free. As an open-source tool, you can customize Rocket Chat in various ways to suit your exact needs.
However, as with any open-source software,there are two downsides to Rocket Chat: the learning curve can be relatively steep, and second, there’s no customer service to help you. You can, however, ask for various things on the official forum.
- Free and open-source
- Screen sharing, audio and video call features
- Automatic translation (in real time) for more than 30 languages
- Versatility in any customizations you need
- App marketplace for additional features
- Live chat widget to put on your site
Pricing: Totally free
Conclusion: for power-users who wouldn’t mind tinkering with an open-source tool, Rocket Chat is probably the best, most versatile option available today. Even for beginners, the standard version of Rocket Chat is a great alternative for Slack, considering it is free.
Chanty is a minimalist, A.I.-based collaboration tool that according to themselves is designed as a Slack alternative. It is very easy to use with a very simple user interface, and can do basically anything Slack offers.
With that being said, some of Chanty’s features are better than Slack’s, for example, Chanty is faster than Slack, and offers a bigger storage space. Chanty also offers unlimited search history while Slack is limited at 10,000 messages. However, on other features, for example, integration, Slack is currently better.
With that being said, Chanty’s unique value lies in its A.I. based features like A.I. search, smart suggestions, and “key findings” automatically filtering your notifications so you only get what’s important.
- Simple, minimalist user interface that is very easy to use
- Seamless file sharing with huge storage
- Unlimited message history for the free plan
- A.I. powered features like smart replies, A.i.-assisted search, and smart notification
Pricing: Free version available for up to 10 team members,$3 per user/month.
Conclusion: Very reliable tool with some unique A.I.-driven features not offered by slack. The free plan offers more features than Slack, but only limited to 10 team members and 10 integrations. The pricing model, based on the number of users, might be a burden if you are a big organization.
Fleep is quite similar to Slack in many ways from chat functionalities (text, video, and voice call), task management, and wide range of integrations.
Unlike Slack (and Chanty), Flep has an open network protocol, meaning, you can chat with people outside your organization’s Fleep network, as long as you have their email address. This will also mean you only need one account on Fleep for all the different teams and projects.
If you don’t need team admin controls (to monitor conversations, etc.), Fleep is totally free, which makes it an interesting option for smaller businesses.
- Simple to use, lightweight task management
- Team chat functionalities (text, video, audio), screen sharing
- Third-party integrations with Google Drive and Dropbox, among other apps
- Open network, you can communicate with people outside you team/company
Pricing: Free version available with 10 GB storage, unlimited 1-on-1 chat, and 3 group conversations. The “business” plan will unlock the team admin functionality, and will cost you €5 per user/month.
Conclusion: Fleep’s unique highlight is how you can communicate and collaborate with people outside your team and even organization, as long as you have their email address. Since its basic plan is free (and will give you a lot of features), a great option for those looking for a free Slack alternative.Slightly more expensive than Chanty (which can pile up if you have a lot of team members)
Flock is an India-based communication and group collaboration tool offering some unique features as a Slack alternative, such as native to-do list and pools feature (so you don’t need to integrate Flock with a third-party to-do list app). It also supports multiple languages (in interface) apart from English, which can be useful for some companies.
Flock has a slightly different, 5-column interface compared to Slack and other alternatives in this list. This, depending on your preferences, can either be a good thing or too complex for your taste.
Also, Flock is very stable and reliable, faster than Slack in most functions, and slightly more affordable than slack with $4.5/user per month.
- Native polls and to-do list (no integration necessary)
- Faster and more reliable than Slack (at the moment)
- Unlimited message history and integrations with the free plan
- One-way announcement channel feature
Pricing: free plan for up to 10k messages in search, the “Pro” plan is $4.50 per user/month.
Conclusion: a cheaper alternative to Slack with very similar set of features and some unique ones. Very fast and stable.
5. Microsoft Teams
The name Microsoft is obviously no stranger to most of us, and Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s answer for a Slack Alternative.
Microsoft Teams used to be a part of the Office 360 suite (so it’s not a standalone app), but to compete more directly with Slack, Microsoft has changed Teams to be a standalone collaboration tool that comes with a free basic plan.
Obviously, the biggest unique value from Teams is the fact that it comes from, so you’ll get native integration to Microsoft’s products like Office 365 and OneDrive, among others. Has many similar features to Slack, and as expected from a Microsoft product: reliable with great customer service.
- Microsoft environment and customer service excellence, full integration with Office 365 and OneDrive
- 1-on-1 and group chat (text, voice, video)
- The ability to join multiple internal teams
- Smart meeting scheduler
- Cost-efficient where you’ll also get Office 365 with the premium plan (or the other way around)
Pricing: Free for 300 users, premium starts from $5 per user/month where you’ll also get Office 365 business essentials
6. Facebook Workplace
One of the more popular Slack alternatives from none other than Facebook, Workplace is relatively unique compared to other tools in this list,mainly due to the inclusion of Facebook’s social media features: personal pages for each user, groups, events, and other features we are all familiar with.
As a collaborative tool, there are some unique features offered, like unlimited storage for file, photo, and video sharing, screen sharing for the free version, and a free plan offering voice and video calls for up to 50 users.
Another advantage of Workplace is the fact that most of us have a Facebook account and familiar with the interface, so getting new team members onboard will be much easier.
- Coming from Facebook, unique social media features and native integration with Facebook’s features
- Free plan with unlimited chat and file storage
- Live stream videos
- News feed with posts from Facebook
Pricing: great free plan for unlimited users (video calls for up to 50 users), $4 per user/month
Conclusion: coming from Facebook, Workplace is not only a collaboration tool, but also a social network. Considering its affordable price (free in most cases), it’s a great Slack alternative for better community building within your organization.
It’s probably going to be a difficult task to choose just one out of so many Slack alternatives out there. Most of them offer similar core features, but each has different unique features than the other. It’s important to choose the right tool according to your current needs, and especially your available budget, and the key highlights of each tool we have discussed above will help you make a better informed decision.