Suffice it to say that, since 2020, many people have been doing more business from home. But that aside, technology has affected business as we know it in other ways. One of those ways is communication.
It may be easier to send someone an email, even if they’re in the same room. Programs such as Discord and Slack can make things even simpler.
But which program is right for someone’s life and/or work schedule? It depends on what one wants to do with these programs. While it’s easy to group them as “one for work, one for play,” if someone needs to send bigger files or video chat, one option may be better than the other.
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What Are Slack and Discord?
But what are these programs in the first place? Discord and Slack are both messenger programs with a focus on collaborative projects. From now on, this type of program will be referred to as “team chat.”
Discord is the best free “team chat” program so far. Although it was released in 2015, many users consider the 2019 rollout (and beyond) to be the best version of the program.
Slack is technically older than Discord. It was first created in 2013. True to its original intent, it remains the team chat of choice for major businesses.
Both programs are compatible across many different platforms (i.e., it doesn’t matter if someone is using a PC, Mac, or phone). But the lines between them are becoming blurrier; what’s a business to do when choosing? A lot of it boils down to what they are designed to do.
Slack vs Discord: Aesthetics/Branding
There are reasons that people judge books by their covers. While this is not the metric one should use to find the perfect program, it is worth covering and is the first thing people will see.
Discord is branded as an app for gamers. Most of the aesthetics are white on black (or vice-versa). The general atmosphere is casual from the web page on. Even the help pages have an easygoing tone.
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Slack, however, is characterized by being for work. Every advertisement for Slack is about how great it is for coordinating across business teams. Despite this, Slack beats Discord in one notable aesthetic area: colors. Slack lets users customize their interfaces beyond light and dark. Folders also keep one’s sidebar clean and organized.
Slack vs Discord: Text Chat
One of the most important features of a messenger is how well it does text chat. This is even more important when a business uses a team chat program to work on a project. The more people are involved, the messier chats can become. If someone needs to coordinate a small company, which team chat program has better text chat capabilities?
For those who have not touched a messenger since Skype, it is important to know that chat programs have evolved in leaps and bounds. Both Discord and Slack have handy features that simpler chat programs do not, including:
- Ways to organize replies to specific comments.
- Channels, such as one just for post-production.
Text chat is the main area where Slack wins. Several features make it easy to organize text chats on Slack. For example, it is possible to sort people and channels into folders—something that Discord only does on servers.
Slack vs Discord: Audio/Video
Meanwhile, Discord is designed for gaming. Voice chats and live streams are more popular in gaming than they were a few years ago. It should not surprise anybody that Discord has better audio-visual features than Slack.
Slack’s video chat capabilities are almost nonexistent. Businesses have two options when wanting to video chat: the app’s video chat (which is bad) or integration with Zoom (which is better). The only way to get a video chat with more than 2 participants in Slack is to pay; after that, up to 50 people can be in one video chat.
However, Slack has several app integrations which help with its shortcomings. One of those is Zoom. Zoom is designed for video conferencing. But if you want one app that can do it all, Slack is not quite it.
Slack vs Discord: Fees
Slack and Discord both start free, but have various paid upgrades. To future-proof this article, please check the pricing plans for Slack and Discord on their respective pages; any prices quoted will only be valid as of February 2023.
The best part about Discord is that 90% of its features are free. The only things someone needs to pay for on Discord are bigger file-sending limits, HD streaming, and custom emojis. The $9.99 per month isn’t bad if one thinks one will use that. An even cheaper version is available at $4.99 per month with fewer features.
The same cannot be said of Slack. Many of the features of Slack are hidden, or at least stifled, by a paywall. 2-person video chats probably are not worth it for a big company. A company that uses Slack will upgrade at least once.
Slack vs Discord: File Upload/Storage
Sending files through Discord can be a pain. The file-sending limit in (free) Discord is 8MB. This increases to 100MB for Nitro users.
Slack was designed for work, and it shows. It not only has bigger file-sending limits overall but also makes it more efficient to send files in general. Slack integrates with DropBox and can share projects from Google Drive easily. If a bunch of people must offer input on a project, Slack is the better choice.
Slack vs Discord: Comparison Table
For those who want a side-by-side comparison, here is a table of Slack VS Discord:
|Offers many different theme options; minimal emojis.
|Only light/dark themes are available; some server/profile customization.
|Very easy to organize and search texts, chats, and other data.
|Possible to make channels in servers, but nowhere else; slowly rolling out other features.
|Minimal video chat; limited to 2 people without paying.
|Up to 25 people; HD options available.
|Pro is $7.25 /month; business is $12.50/month; other tiers require contacting sales.
|Nitro is $9.99/month or $99.99/year. Nitro Classic is only $4.99.
|Allows for files up to 1GB. Integrates with Dropbox and very easy to send files from desktop/Google Docs.
|Minimal file sending limit without Nitro; even with Nitro, limited to 100MB.
|Lots of app integrations to compensate for shortcomings; special features for government workers et al.
|Acquiring more text improvements over time.
Slack and Discord are very similar programs. For people with zero money to spend, Discord is the better pick. But for businesses that can afford to get premium Slack, it might be the better option for collaboration.
Most people will be satisfied with Discord, but if a company wants similar features for a work-only text chat, Slack is better.