Communication within the workplace isn't just board meetings anymore. It extends to conference calls, virtual meetings, and discussion threads. Teams today need the right platform for seamless business communication compared to slower alternatives such as email.
Introduced in 2013, Slack provided a solution for workforces across the globe. It offered real-time communication, adding and editing files, and tagging co-workers in work threads and discussions. Regardless of where the employee worked, there was no lag in communication. Over time, it became one of the most well-known instant messaging platforms.
Even today, Slack is a beloved and preferred solution by many business teams. But as teams diversified, they realized that Slack was no ‘one-glove-fits-all’ solution. By then, Slack competitors and open-source Slack alternatives had gained prominence in the field. They offered cheaper plans, new customized features, or ones that Slack lacked.
12 best Slack competitors leading the way in 2023
Although Slack has quite the buzz in the industry, it’s not the perfect choice for every organization. For instance, Slack does not offer end-to-end encryption for all messages, and the free edition also supports a limited number of messages.
For companies in highly regulated industries, this might pose a challenge. We’ve reviewed the most popular chat apps on the market. These apps are just like Slack in many regards, but they also offer additional functionalities or reduced pricing.
Rocket.Chat is the most popular open source alternative to Slack.
Deemed as one of the most secure instant messaging apps, Rocket.Chat can be hosted on-prem and customized to fit privacy and security standards in highly regulated industries. Its recent integration with Pexip widens the possibilities of secure on-premise collaboration by combining chat and video conferencing.
Rocket.Chat goes beyond Slack with its federation possibilities, i.e. the ability to interact with users from other platforms via Rocket.Chat.
How does Rocket.Chat differ from Slack?
1. High customization possibilities
2. On-prem hosting
3. Open source code
4. Real-time translation to over 50+ languages
5. End-to-end encryption on all messages
6. Omnichannel features to boost customer experience
7. Matrix federation protocol allows Rocket.Chat users to communicate with users on other platforms
2. MS Teams
Microsoft Teams serves mostly enterprise companies. Recently, it replaced a retired on-prem version of Skype for business. Its unique feature is that it is a collaboration and communication app, compared to a primary chat application like Slack.
The freemium version of MS Teams contains basic features and more, such as 250+ integrations. It includes in-built audio, video calls, and integrations.
How does MS Teams differ from Slack?
1. Supports robust video conferencing with over 250+ users on a call
2. Works best with an Office 365 environment
3. Task app inbuilt for project management
4. Sharing of in-chat files up to 1 TB using Microsoft OneDrive
5. Unlimited chat messages, message searches
6. Ability to record and review video meetings
However, MS Teams comes with its own set of challenges. The number of features may be excessive for smaller teams, and the pricing may be expensive. MS Teams also cannot be hosted on-premise.
Chanty's unique AI-powered replies and messaging fuel its collaboration and chat features. Chanty offers unlimited chat history search, voice chat and calling, and screen sharing. Integration of third-party apps such as Google Drive, Jira, MailChimp, and others is supported.
How does Chanty differ from Slack?
1. Chanty allows users to control the roles of other team members and their access to replying or interacting with a conversation.
2. Built-in task manager to turn any message into a task
3. Has a unique Team book interface for tasks, calls, conversations, and to-do lists
4. Kanban board view for prioritizing and organizing tasks
5. Assigning team roles and permissions for chats
Chanty offers integrations with Asana, Zapier, MailChimp, Trello, and others for a smoother workflow. Compared to Slack, Chanty is faster, affordable, and offers twice as much storage.
Some Slack competitors seem to grasp the need for customization. And brands such as Rocket.Chat and Mattermost offer open-source platforms that allow private cloud hosting or a self-managed server.
Mattermost supports over 600 integrations with plugins, bots, extensions, and others. This tool allows businesses to customize it according to their requirements. It’s mostly aimed at developers as an audience.
How does Mattermost differ from Slack?
1. The application’s UI, font, on-screen texts, and other features are customizable
2. Suited for a global team, as it supports 12 languages, audio/video calling options with screen sharing
3. Enhanced privacy and security with multi-factor authentication, single sign-on
4. Compliance with consumer data protection laws
5. Pricing is minimal compared to Slack
If you're an existing Office 365 user, Yammer is a great option to look into. As one of Slack's competitors, Yammer has many in-built features such as external collaboration, discovery feed, and search options.
How does Yammer differ from Slack?
1. Yammer provides email, phone, tracking, and live support compared to Slack's ticket and mail support
2. Has a social networking touch to the application
3. Multi-factor authentication for security
4. Can be used to send company-wide messages and announcements
5. It has an Office 365 integration, compared to Slack’s Google Drive integration
Yammer takes workplace communication beyond threads and channels. It encourages cross-team communication and work announcements.
6. Google Chat
Evolving from its predecessor, Google Hangouts, Google Chat is now a Slack integration and standalone application. It allows users to communicate with anyone who has a Gmail account. Video and audio calls are accessible through Google Meet.
How does Google Chat differ from Slack?
1. Allows messages and search within chat history
2. Files greater than 1GB can be shared as a Google Drive file. Slack does not allow sharing files that are beyond 1GB.
3. Google has an enterprise plan that provides unlimited storage. Slack provides 1TB storage with its enterprise plan.
Google Chat is a useful alternative for companies that extensively use Google Suite. It allows easy integration with Gsuite and has collaboration tools. Google Chat supports audio and video calls through Google Meet. The software allows for unlimited users and dedicated virtual rooms that support up to 8000 users per room.
Facebook Workplace was unveiled in 2016. Designed similar to the social networking site, users can create posts, and updates, watch live broadcasts and chat in teams for projects.
How does Facebook Workplace differ from Slack?
1. Voice and video calls with support for up to 50 people in one call
2. About 60 integrations with Google Drive, Zoom, HubSpot, and others
3. It is free for nonprofit organizations
4. Tailor notifications for specific groups and conversations
However, Workplace isn’t ideal for every organization. Searching chat history across conversations is not possible. Integrations are only offered with a paid plan. The maximum file size is 100MB for uploads and 25MB within chats.
Troop Messenger has specific features tailored to corporate workspaces. This Slack competitor has unique features in its premium version, along with superior security and privacy.
How does Troop messenger differ from Slack?
1. Has a recall (unsend) tool and enables full conversation message copying
2. Has a burnout feature that deletes private chats within a set period
3. A ‘Forkout’ tool helps messages to be sent across specific channels at the same time
4. External clients can be designed as 'orange members' for better recognition
5. Chat history search by videos, images, and files. Supports audio and video calls
6. Set 'respond later ' on certain messages
Troop offers paid plans that are quite expensive compared to Slack. However, the features offered may be best for teams constantly interacting with external clients. Teams who have higher security/privacy concerns can switch to Troop as well.
One of Slack's competitors is Fleep, which is known for its unique features. Fleep organizes conversation histories by the user, rather than the channel. A pinboard tool on the side contains key pinned conversations, channels, users, and frequently used information.
How does Fleep differ from Slack?
1. Clients and users on Fleep can be added to the workspace, without the need to switch between workspaces
2. In-built task sharing to create, manage and assign tasks easily
3. Ability to view conversation history with a specific person in one channel
4. Pinboard tool as a virtual notepad tool
5. File drawer to view any file shared/uploaded in a conversation
Fleep is among the best team chat apps that prioritize task management within conversations. It includes integrations with Zapier, Jira, and Trello, among others.
10. Cisco WebEx
It was in 2018 that Cisco Spark rebranded itself as Cisco WebEx. Spaces/teams are created for messaging, along with filters in the chat, to attend to unread or important messages.
How does Cisco Spark differ from Slack?
1. Over 100 third-party integrations
2. A host of video calling options such as video conferencing, training management, cloud calling
3. Quote response feature to quote a previous message and respond, rather than scrolling up to find the original message
4. Admin or moderator designation for spaces and teams
5. In-application calendar and scheduling
6. Meeting recording and storage options
7. Screen sharing options and integrations with One drive or SharePoint within video calls
Cisco WebEx hosts many features that may be best for larger teams. The moderator function can work best for managers. It allows announcements, and the flexibility to add/ remove members from a project/team. WebEx has security coverage with end-to-end encryption and device and browser protection.
Pumble is one of Slack's competitors that provides a feature-packed solution for an affordable price. The user-friendly UI works best for small teams that need a feature-filled platform and meets their specific requirements for half the cost of Slack.
How does Pumble differ from Slack?
1. Unlimited message history for free, allows teams to access any message sent
2. Pumble provides twice the storage space, at 10GB
3. The pro plan is less than half the price of Slack's monthly pro plan
With Pumble, an annual payment plan includes two months of free usage. The integrations are only with Google Drive and Trello, with in-built audio/video calling.
For a team that is dependent on collaboration, Flock may be a great Slack alternative. It focuses on providing a wide range of collaboration features that most instant messaging apps do not include. Its freemium version is limited to 10,000 searchable messages. Flock offers additional features under its paid plans.
How does Flock differ from Slack?
1. Turn messages into to-do lists, check off completed tasks, and assign tasks to users
2. Set due dates for tasks
3. File sharing of up to 100MB within the chat
4. Channel admins and options to mute channels
5. In-app shareable notes
6. Dark code, code snippet sharing
7. Integrations with OneDrive, Dropbox, and Google Drive
8. Unlimited message search
Flock is best for teams that need automation tools such as to-do lists and task management within the application. Unique options such as in-messaging polls, reminder messages, and voice notes are present. Flock is focused on providing features that boost an organization's productivity.
What are the benefits of switching to a Slack alternative?
Essentially, many tools differ from Slack by compensating for some of its weaker or non-existing features. Some competitors provide increased storage, task management, and other in-built management tools.
A portion of Slack competitors is doubling down on security features.
Self-managed hosting, not available with Slack that’s a cloud-based product, is an important feature for many businesses that care about its privacy. Open source code is another important feature for businesses in highly-regulated industries that want a higher level of customization and transparency in how their data is handled.
Another way in which Slack competitors differ from Slack is going beyond team-based comms, and offering communication with clients on their platforms.
Slack is still a very powerful solution with a broad audience, but it’s not a perfect solution for every company. Since instant messaging platforms are prerequisites in business today, organizations should carefully pick the tool they use.
Here's where you can learn in details where Rocket.Chat excels in comparison to Slack.
Need help switching to Rocket.Chat? Reach out to us here!
Frequently asked questions about <anything>
- Digital sovereignty
- Federation capabilities
- Scalable and white-labeled
- Highly scalable and secure
- Full patient conversation history
- Digital sovereignty
- Trusted by National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the US Army, the US Navy, and the US Air Force
- Matrix federation capabilities
- Open source code
- Highly secure and scalable
- Unmatched flexibility
- End-to-end encryption
- Cloud or on-prem deployment
- Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
- Supports compliance with HIPAA, GDPR, FINRA, and more
- Highly secure and flexible
- On-prem or cloud deployment