This feels like an incredibly strange versus to be writing about, but we completely understand how someone might be looking at Notion and Airtable for different things. So which is better? Well, they each excel in totally different categories.
Let's jump right in ⤵
Airtable and Notion are both Databases at a core. Though calling Notion a database feels a bit like referring to a dog as an animal—while true, it's not very descriptive, because all software at the end of the day is ultimately a database at the core (yes, even a CRM is just an opinionated relational database).
Notion was built from the ground up as a team knowledge base, and has evolved over time more into the all-in-one/no-code category, which you can't truly be in the no-code category if you don't have an accessible database.
This one is quite obvious, as Airtable was built first-and-foremost as a database. And to that point, it does an exceptional job at being that. While more technical engineers would laugh at hearing Airtable be referred to as a database, it's the best no-code database on the market, hands-down.
The beautiful thing about having a powerful and user-friendly database, is you can use it as a building block, to build no-code functionality, by leveraging their interfaces functionality (essentially a UI and form functionality to display information from the database), or easily integrate it with different tools.
Where Airtable excels the most is honestly in its API and Airtable Zapier integration. It's one of the most powerful and flexible integrations available when used alongside the "updated record in view" functionality.
For just about every single customer of ours, we use Airtable as an intermediary database, to pass data to, manipulate, and pass to other tools—one of the main purposes for a database, and one that Airtable excels at.
When trying to use Notion as a proper database, you'll begin running into some of the same issues that we experienced with using Coda as a database, which is that it just feels like a note taking app, and having so much flexibility around the database/table functionality, to where you can add text blocks and images above and below, it just feels like you're not exactly using it for how it was intended. Unlike that of Airtable, where you go in, and you see it as a database—everything screams database (which is nice, when you're looking to have a database).
Motion is not trying to be a team knowledge base, they are clearly focused on the project management functionality more than anything. So while it has note taking and documentation functionality within projects and tasks (similar to that of Motion vs Asana), they aren't trying to be a team knowledge base, whereas Notion is (and we actually believe that this is where Notion specifically excels).
So if team notes is important to you, you're going to want to pick from the best knowledge base software. It's not uncommon to use that along with a proper project manager. Now if you're set on having your team knowledge base deeply intertwined with your project management tool, you're going to want to compare ClickUp vs Notion (although we don't recommend this path).
So point-blank, when comparing Motion and Notion for note taking functionality, you'd be better off using Notion.
If you've somehow stumbled upon Airtable vs Notion as your team's project management solution, we're here to tell you to look elsewhere.
Airtable and Notion both get confused as a flexible task management solution because they are at a core, databases, and they both have template functionality, so you'll see no shortage of Airtable and Notion templates for project management.
What actually makes for the best project management tool is far more involved than just being able to add tasks to a database.
This gets into the area of time blocking, calendar integration, task prioritization, dependencies, and AI scheduling, all of which you're going to completely miss when using Airtable or Notion.
We'd recommend you check out Motion if you're looking for a proper task and project management tool though. As much as we especially love Airtable for database functionality, and Notion not team knowledge base management, neither should even be considered when exploring project management solutions.
This is a tough one, because both tools actually have pretty solid underpinnings as a no-code builder. Though I will say, you're not going to fully accomplish what you'd need without also using top automation software like Zapier alongside them.
While we find ourselves running to Airtable more often than Notion when it comes to the building of no-code applications, we can also see where Notion can excel in this area.
So it really depends on what type of tool you're looking to build to determine which of the two excels in the no-code builder space. We believe the Airtable API is more powerful and flexible, making it the more obvious choice for us when using it alongside something like Zapier.
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