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Discord vs Slack: to Chat or Not to Chat

by Kaushal

In the world of professional messaging software, Slack stands tall but there is a distinct overlap of its users with Discord. On the surface, Slack and Discord look different but share many similarities and features such as channels, file sharing, audio and video calls, and bots. So if you’re confused between these two group messaging apps, I’ve broken down the two messengers so that we’d get a clearer picture. Here’s a Discord vs Slack comparison. Let’s check it out.

Share of Audience

Most people have heard of Discord around the gaming community as it’s their app of choice and offers a ton of free features. However, Discord is also used by schools, study groups, artists and creators, the local community, and subreddits to drive the conversation effectively. On the other hand, Slack is perceived as a business tool intended for strict office use only. But, it’s used by students, colleges, freelancers, etc. which make it pretty versatile in itself.

As there is a clear overlap of the audience, it’s premature to declare one communication app suitable for one type of user. That’s why in the points below, we shall explore the similarities and differences between Discord and Slack.

Availability

Both Discord and Slack apps are available on Windows, Android, iOS, macOS, Linux, and the web.

Server and Workspace

Discord calls it a server which is basically a collection of your channels and unlike Slack, your private messages are not a part of the server. Slack, on the other hand, uses a workspace where only authorized members can work and take part in channel conversations.

Server and Workspace on Discord and Slack respectively

Discord has a limit of 250 channels in one server but a Slack workspace can have unlimited channels. However, this doesn’t have any major impact on usability and I’d explain more in the chat history point below. It’s a tie as 250 channels is more than enough.

Score

  • Discord: 1
  • Slack: 1

Text Chats and Channels

Text is the primary mode of conversation in Slack and Discord and both have a similar structure. You can send private messages to users, create topic-specific channels, make the channels public or private, and add bots. However, Discord has an advantage over Slack here because you get more controls that allow you to assign roles, moderate channels, and even kick people off automatically.

discord with advanced controls for channel members. slack has none.

Slack doesn’t allow you to invite people from outside your workspace on the free plan but Discord does, they just need a Discord account. Slack just doesn’t compete in terms of user controls offered.

Score

  • Discord: 2
  • Slack: 1

Chat History

Discord offers unlimited message history in the free version but Slack only lets you view the last 10,000 messages in the free plan. These 10,000 messages are counted across the entire workspace so if you have more channels, you’d run up your messages quickly even if a single channel has most of the conversations.

Upgrade option on Slack for Chat history

This can be an absolute dealbreaker for some people who can’t afford paid plans yet. Older messages in Slack are then archived. If you’re someone who needs to revisit old chats frequently, Discord is a better choice.

Score

  • Discord: 3
  • Slack: 1

Audio Chats

Discord undoubtedly wins the audio chats round when compared with Slack. You can communicate with multiple users and there is no upper limit to how many people can join an audio channel. However, Slack only allows one-to-one voice calls on the free plan and the paid plan increases that limit to 15 just users.

audio chats on Discord

Additionally, Discord natively integrates with Krisp to remove background noise. It also has a Push-to-Talk feature which allows users to drop in on a conversation and then leave without interrupting others. It can really come in handy when you work on a huge collaborative project and need to give inputs.

Score

  • Discord: 4
  • Slack: 1

Video Chats

Again, Video calls are integral to any collaborative messaging app and Discord offers a group video chat with up to 10 users on the free plan. On the other hand, Slack only offers one-to-one video chat on the free plan but you can increase it up to 15 users with the standard subscription. Not to mention Slack doesn’t let you share your screen on the free plan.

video chats on Discord

Score

  • Discord: 5
  • Slack: 1

File Transfer and Storage

I’ll admit Discord doesn’t offer a huge value here even though it boasts of unlimited file storage on the free plan. It limits the maximum file size to 8MB while Slack offers a maximum file size of 1GB in the free plan. Slack has a 5GB file storage limit which you can increase by getting a paid subscription.

File size limit on Discord

While unlimited storage on Discord sounds great, I’d rather prefer higher file sizes and low file storage offered by Slack.

Score

  • Discord: 5
  • Slack: 2

Integrations

Up until this point, Discord had the upper hand but if you use either of the two software in a professional space, you should focus on integrations. Slack has a plethora of third-party apps that you can integrate with your workspace and optimize your workflow. For instance, you can connect Trello to update your cards, use Google Drive to share files, makes changes to your Github, and much more.

app integration on Slack

Even though Discord has app integrations, it is limited to basic stuff such as adding webhooks, connecting YouTube and Twitch, etc. Slack is more deeply integrated with productivity tools.

Score

  • Discord: 5
  • Slack: 3

8. Price

Both Discord and Slack offer additional features with a paid subscription. Discord adds a few valuable additions such as Server boosts, HD Screen-sharing and live streaming, and a 100MB file size limit. However, Slack unlocks a lot of features when you go the subscription route. For instance, you get 10GB file storage per person, unlimited apps integration, channel guests, multi-user voice and video calls, screen sharing, etc.

Discord subscription begins at Nitro at $9.99/mo and Slack subscription starts at $2.67/user/mo.

Final Verdict: Discord vs Slack

Discord is arguably a better messaging app because of how many features it offers over Slack in the free plan. However, Slack has an intended audience, growing organizations, and startups that would eventually pay for the services.

It totally depends on you how you look at this. If your workflow is dependent on productivity features such as third-party apps and larger file uploads, you’d find Slack more suitable for your work. Otherwise, Discord makes more sense. What do you think? Let me know on Twitter.

Also Read: Slack vs. Teams: Which Communication and Collaboration Tool to Use