Discord vs. Slack: The Battle of the Bests [Detailed Comparison]

Edited by Ben Jacklin
16 176

Whether you prefer Discord vs. Slack, users are heralding these two widely used communication platforms. But are they right for your business or personal needs? Read on for a detailed comparison in this battle of the bests!

What is Slack?

Slack is a business communication platform that offers an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) style system for group communication. Think of it as a chat room for your entire company that teams can use as a replacement for email in most situations – including file sharing.

Admins can organize the interface by channels, but users can still communicate via private messaging all from the same window. The program integrates with excellent services and productivity tools, such as Asana, Google Drive, and Trello. And it also integrates with more technical tools like Jira, GitHub, and Zendesk. As you read on, you’ll find that the integrations are the key selling point for this program.

Users can customize notifications, so they don’t miss out on important information. And it works well for companies that hire freelancers, as one account can access multiple Slack Workspaces – their term for company accounts.

Pricing

  • Free: for freelancers and personal use

  • Pro: for small teams; $7.25 per user per month – paid annually

  • Business+: for scaling businesses; $12.50 per user, per month – paid annually

  • Enterprise grid: for enterprises; custom pricing

Key features

  • Channels: these are conversation threads for individual projects, topics, or teams. Channels can be public or private.

  • Integrations: Slack allows you to integrate with a vast range of other business applications, enhancing its functionality. It currently supports over 2,400 unique apps, including Google Calendar, Zoom, Trello, Salesforce, and others.

  • File sharing and collaboration: Slack users can share files directly in the conversation threads and collaborate on them in real time.

  • Voice and video calls: users can start a voice or video call directly from any conversation.

  • Searchable history: Slack archives all conversations and files, and makes them searchable, making it easy to find past discussions and decisions.

Pros:

  • Easy communication: Slack allows easy communication between team members with the option to create channels based on projects or topics.

  • Integration capabilities: its ability to integrate with a wide range of other productivity apps is a major advantage.

  • Accessibility: users can access Slack via desktop apps (Windows, macOS, Linux), mobile apps (iOS, Android), and a website version.

  • Security: Slack places a high emphasis on security with features like two-factor authentication and encryption.

Cons:

  • Cost: while there is a free version of Slack, it has limitations. For access to premium features and unlimited integrations, a paid subscription is required.

  • Overload of information: the ease of communication can sometimes lead to an overload of messages and notifications, which can be overwhelming.

  • Learning curve: for new users, particularly those not accustomed to such platforms, Slack can take some time to learn.

  • Limited video conferencing: the free version of Slack only supports one-to-one video calls. Group video calls are available but only in paid versions.

What is Discord?

Back in the early 2010s, Jason Citron and Stan Vishnevskiy’s game development team needed a rapid and efficient means of communication during gaming sessions. And from that need, Discord launched in 2015.

Created with user-friendly and performance-efficient qualities in mind, Discord quickly gained popularity within the gaming community, becoming their preferred tool for team communication.

It has an interface that prioritizes friends and situates servers along the left margin – much like Slack’s ‘Channels’. And although initial marketing efforts were modest, gaming communities rapidly adopted Discord for its voice and video communication capabilities.

Currently, Discord is much like a social networking platform, but it’s also an excellent place for users to connect with new people and virtually interact with friends worldwide. It’s also a viable means for businesses to interact with the customers and drive niche marketing campaigns on a widely-used platform.

The platform comprises spaces known as Discord Servers, each typically dedicated to a specific topic with its own set of rules. Needless to say, the app knows how to cultivate gaming communities effectively. Discord Nitro, the premium tier of the platform, further enhances the user experience by providing additional features like extra storage space.

Pricing

  • Free: excellent tool for small teams communication with minimal uploading

  • Nitro Basic: for those who need to upload small files; $2.99/month

  • Nitro: for those who need to upload large files (up to 500 MB); $9.99/month

Key features

  • Servers: Discord allows users to create or join servers, which are large group chat rooms. Each server can contain multiple channels, each dedicated to a different topic or type of content. This structure allows for well-organized and targeted communication among large groups of people.

  • Text, voice, and video communication: Discord supports text messaging, voice calls, and video calls, which users can use in both public server channels and private one-on-one or group chats.

  • Bots: Discord servers can incorporate bots, which are automated programs designed to perform a range of tasks, from moderating chat content to providing entertainment or utility.

  • Integration with other services: Discord can integrate with other popular services, such as Spotify and Twitch. For example, users can display what music they're currently listening to on Spotify, or they can sync their Twitch account to share when they're livestreaming.

  • Screen sharing and livestreaming: users can share their screens with others, which is especially useful for gamers or those conducting live tutorials. Additionally, the 'Go Live' feature lets users broadcast what they're doing on their screen to others in their server.

  • Security: Discord provides robust privacy and security options, including two-factor authentication, role-based permissions, and various moderation tools.


Pros:

  • Total package: offers a comprehensive suite of communication options, including text, voice, and video.

  • High volume: supports large communities with its server-based structure.

  • API customization: high level of customizability with bots and integrations.

  • Multi-platform functionality: available on various platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and web browsers – allows cross-platform usage.

  • Automation: AI chatbots support for automation of repetitive tasks such as chat moderation or onboarding.

Cons:

  • Overwhelming: the user interface can be overwhelming for new users, particularly those not familiar with server-based platforms.

  • Security: although Discord has taken steps to combat harassment and inappropriate content, these issues can still occur, particularly in public servers – and some users report insufficient safety controls.

  • Compressed audio: the free version of Discord compresses audio, which can lower call quality compared to some other alternative platforms.

  • Pay wall: some features, like server video calls and higher quality screen sharing, are locked behind the paid Nitro subscription.

  • Branding issues: limited customization options to align the platform with brand guidelines.

Comparing Slack vs. Discord

Interface

For communication apps, the interface is everything. It’s the basis for every communication and interaction. Therefore, it’s essential to compare what Slack vs. Discord offer in this respect before making a choice.

Slack

Slack’s interface is minimalist yet effective. Developers designed it around the primary chat window, so everything is in plain sight. From there, users can open private or group chats, threads, or additional channels on the left side of the screen. And under the "Details" tab, users can search messages, find files, initiate calls, and add individuals to chats.

Keeping things simple makes Slack stand out. The interface is user-friendly and clean, so anyone from any background can use it. And it comes with loads of customization options, including customized themes.

Discord

Discord’s layout has more intricacies than Slack. It’s also built around the primary chat window, with contacts on the right and servers on the left.

Users can toggle between dark and light themes. And Discord bots can be downloaded for further customization of the platform with different themes, colors, and fonts.

However, its key strength is the on-screen features. Everything you need is all in one convenient place – active chats, new message alerts, who’s online, and more. It’s all visible for easy access.

Winner: Slack

Discord has a ton of detail on-screen, but users can customize Slack in any way it works best for their needs. And it’s incredibly easy to use. That’s an enormous advantage for business users, so it’s the clear winner.

Integrations

Integrations help to enhance the cohesion of your team's instant messaging. They enable you to link various business applications to your chat, thus improving the functionality of both Discord and Slack.

Slack

Slack calls integrations "apps” and allows users to incorporate their preferred tools. Developers primarily design their apps to facilitate productivity and work. And as of this writing, there are over 2,600 apps available in the Slack App Directory, including:

  • Google Drive

  • One Drive

  • Google Calendar

  • Asana

  • Monday.com

  • Loom

  • Dropbox

  • ClickUp

  • Giphy

  • Zoom

  • Zendesk

  • Github

  • Hubspot

  • Salesforce

  • Trello

You can incorporate up to 10 apps with the free version of Slack and an unlimited number of apps with Slack's paid versions. Some apps may require an additional subscription fee, but they give a solid warning.

For businesses, integrations are huge as operating with your own custom ‘tech-stack’ requires interoperability.

Discord

Whereas Slack has “apps”, Discord has ‘bots’. These integrations offer enhanced features, and any third-party can design one to cater to specific needs. For instance, some Discord bots are tailored for gaming, while others amplify Discord's voice and video call features.

Here are some of the most sought-after Discord bots:

  • Announce

  • Statbot

  • Sesh

  • ProBot

  • PollBot

  • Giveaway Boat

Winner: Slack

Slack emerges as the clear victor in this comparison. It offers a wider variety of integration options. And it integrates seamlessly with productivity software, making it the perfect choice for business teams.

File sharing

Dynamic teams need a chat tool that facilitates file sharing. This allows users to distribute a document in seconds and ensure secure handling of files.

Slack

Slack enables users to share files up to 1 GB at a time from either Google Drive or a local hard drive. However, the storage capacity depends on your plan. The free tier cuts you at 5 GB of storage, but you can upgrade to plans with 10 GB per user.

Discord

Discord enables users to share files from their device via text channels or direct messaging. And every user has unlimited file storage. However, there are severe limitations on the size of the files you can share. The free tier allows file sharing up to 25 MB. With Discord Nitro Basic, you can share files up to 50 MB. And Discord Nitro extends the limit to 500 MB.

Winner: Slack

Business teams need to share files on the regular. And so, Discord’s limitations put it behind Slack – especially if your teams need to share large video and audio files. Plus, it integrates with Google Drive.

Audio calls

If your organization leverages internal or external audio calling, then it’s essential to evaluate the capabilities of any potential messaging application. Let’s examine both of our messaging platform ‘best’ candidates.

Slack

The Slack ‘Huddle’ feature allows users to connect on a voice call by flipping a switch at the bottom of the interface. From here, users can speak and share their screen with ease.

Voice call features in Slack depend on your plan. The Slack free plan enables 1-to-1 calling, and paid plans increase that number to 50. You can definitely have a large conference call if needed.

Discord

For Discord, audio calls are a core function. The Discord free plan allows you to add up to 10 users to a direct message group where you can connect via audio or video. But with Nitro, you can create a server and with an audio channel to speak to an unlimited number of people – some sources say up to 5,000, but the Discord Help Center is unclear about the actual number. Regardless, it’s a lot of people!

Alternatively, there’s also a ‘Push-to-Talk’ function that mutes participants to avoid conversation overlap and confusion.

Winner: Discord

Discord is the premiere place to go if you need to host calls with large groups. And with its PTT functionality, you can keep things organized and less chaotic. If you need to make a lot of voice calls, Discord is the way to go.

Video calls

Remote work has been on the rise for the past decade, so video calls have become a key asset to companies regardless of their size or location. Discord and Slack support video calling, but have distinct feature sets.

Slack

Again, functionality all depends on your plan. The free plan allows you to video chat with one other person, but you up this to 50 with a paid plan.

The video functionality is basic, but users can use the Zoom integration to gain access to more advanced features. Plus, you can always share your screen in a video or audio call, so it’s really useful for team meetings.

Discord

Discord also has some differences between their paid and free tiers. The free plan allows you to video call with up to eight people. But with a Nitro server, you can video call up to 25 people at once.

And with Discord video calling, you won’t need to use an external app or integration to increase functionality. The feature layout is straightforward and packed with a ton of features like push-to-talk, echo cancellation, noise suppression, and screen sharing.

Winner: Discord

Discord has a broader feature set in this category and doesn’t require you to work with an integration like Zoom to increase functionality. You can contact between 8-25 people based on your plan, and all the features are there and ready to go. Discord wins with ease here.

Text communication

Video and audio are key, but text communication is the core function of any messaging platform. Let's assess the text communication functionality of both Slack and Discord.

Slack

Slack has three different paths for text communication: direct messages, channels, or threads. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Direct messages: self-explanatory; direct text communication between you and another person or a small group.

  • Channels: teams can create multiple channels to focus conversations on specific topics – like #status, #sales, #hr, #general, or anything that fits your needs.

  • Threads: because messages stack up quickly with multiple users in a channel, the developers created the ‘threads’ feature. This allows users to respond to a comment directly in a side window that separates it from the main channel feed.

Discord

Discord has more authority with video and voice communication, but it also supports text-based messaging. Like Slack, server admins create channels centered on a theme like #priorityproject. And direct messages work basically the same way by clicking on a user profile to start a chat.

However, Discord servers allow up to 250K people. So if you’re adding a lot of users to one server, it gets challenging to keep up with all the new messages. You can click ‘See New Messages’ to help, but it’s sometimes still a lot to process. And they only allow up to 2,000 characters per message – 4,000 with Nitro.

Winner: Slack

With its focus on video and voice chatting, Discord is a little more challenging to use for text conversations. Slack has a straightforward, intuitive texting system that makes it the winner in this category.

Pricing

Slack and Discord have freemium pricing models, so users can explore functionality and stick to a plan that suits their needs. We reviewed the pricing of each platform briefly above, but this segment presents a detailed look at both platforms' pricing structures.

Slack

Slack has four pricing tiers; here’s a full breakdown:

  • Free: this option enables you to search the last 90 days of message history, link up to 10 apps, share files, and use Slack for individual voice and video calls.

  • Pro: Slack Pro costs $7.25 per user per month on an annual plan or $8.75 per month per user on a monthly plan. You can use all the features from the Free tier along with full messaging history, unlimited integrations, audio and video calls with up to 50 people, and more.

  • Business+: the Business+ plan runs $12.50 per user, per month when paid annually, and $15 per user per month on a monthly plan. You have all the functionality of the previous tiers plus advanced identity management, messaging export compliance requirements met, and 24/7 support.

  • Enterprise grid: the Enterprise level offers custom pricing and encompasses all of Slack’s additional features, including HIPAA-compliant messaging, data loss prevention mechanisms, and unlimited workspaces.

Discord

Discord has three pricing tiers; here’s the breakdown:

  • Free: the Discord Free option gives you video conferencing for up to eight individuals, 25 MB file uploads, and unlimited messaging. Most of Discord’s users opt for the Discord Free plan.

  • Nitro Basic: Basic runs $2.99/month and provides 50 MB file uploads, and 2 super reactions per week. You also gain access to unlimited custom emojis, stickers, and video backgrounds.

  • Nitro: Nitro is $9.99/month and gives you access to 500 MB uploads, five server boosts HD streaming up to 4K and 60 FPS, 5 super reactions per week, custom server profiles, 4,000 character messages, and the ability to join up to 200 servers.

Winner: Discord

When comparing Discord Free to Slack Free, the former offers more functionalities. And for smaller teams, Discord is a more budget-friendly choice.

Slack vs. Discord final verdict

Comparison parameter

Slack

Discord

Interface

Minimalist with a variety of customization and set up options

Complex, but has lots of on-screen functionality

Integrations

Offers over 2,600 applications

Offers many bots, but pales compared to Slack

File sharing

Share files up to 1 GB

Share files up to 500 MB on their Nitro plan

Show more

Slack: strengths and weaknesses

Slack is a superb option for business teams that need a high-quality communication tool for professional needs. With over 2,600 integrations with common workplace apps like Google Drive and OneDrive, file sharing up to 1 GB, and a customizable interface, it’s a superb tool for businesses of any size. Plus, Slack offers customer support in multiple languages, and the free plan retains messages for up to 90 days.

The only real downside is in the Free tier, which restricts users to 10 integrations and only 1-to-1 calling. Even with limited video and audio call capabilities, it's easy to leverage an app like Zoom to get things up to speed.

Discord: strengths and weaknesses

Discord is an excellent tool for voice and video call functionality. The application allows you to have conference calls through its channel function with a nearly unlimited amount of people. Plus, it has bot integrations and PTT functionality to make for a better experience.

However, the platform is not the ideal choice for professional environments or correspondence. It has limited file sharing capabilities at 25 MB for free users and 500 MB for Nitro. And the bots on the platform cater mainly to the gaming community. It’s just not ideal for integration with existing workplace systems.

Final verdict

It all depends on what you’re using it for. These two competitors are not as similar as you think. For internal businesses communication, project management, and organizing teams, Slack is superior and worth the extra cost.

But if your business is in the public space, it’s highly useful to leverage a Discord server to communicate with your user base and for marketing.

Summary

With that, you’ve got everything you need to make an informed decision on whether Slack or Discord would be the better messaging tool for your needs. And if you need a top-tier tool to edit videos, check out Movavi Video Editor. It has everything you need for anyone at any skill level to create professional-quality videos.

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