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If you want a chat and collaboration app for your team, Slack is probably the first tool that pops into your head. However, it’s not the only option. Since launching in August 2013, Slack’s success has prompted many copycat services to appear.
One such service is Twist. But is Twist better than Slack? How do the features in Slack and Twist compare against each other? And which chat app is right for your team? Keep reading to learn more.
Slack vs. Twist: Cost
Both Slack and Twist offer a free tier. If you’re involved in a small team—for example, a hobby group, crypto enthusiasts, or a start-up company—the free tier should suffice.
Of the two free plans, the Slack option is more extensive.
It provides 10,000 searchable messages, 10 app integrations (more on those shortly), one-to-one video calls, and two-factor authentication. In contrast, the free Twist plan only offers one month of searchable messages and five app integrations. It does, however, offer unlimited guest accounts. To give you some context, our team of about 50 users at MakeUseOf sends around 6,000 messages per month.
The paid Slack plans start at $6.67 per user, per month. Paid plans remove the 10,000-message limit and add video calls and guest accounts. Twist only has one paid plan. It costs $5 per user, per month and provides access to your complete message history and unlimited integrations.
Lastly, Slack offers a free trial; Twist does not.
Slack vs. Twist: App Integrations
Both Slack and Twist aim to be a one-stop shop for all your chat and collaborative needs. A big part of that is making sure you can do as much as possible from within the respective apps. Continually jumping between apps to access other services slows you down and harms productivity.
As such, both chat tools provide app integrations. Of the two, Slack offers a broader selection.
Indeed, there are hundreds of Slack app integrations available. They are divided across a range of categories such as Sales, Productivity, Design, File Management, and Project Management. Most of the services you’ll use every day have an integration, including Google Drive, Trello, Outlook Calendar, Salesforce, HubSpot, GitHub, Dropbox, Twitter, Zapier, and more.
At the time of writing, only 13 integrations are available on Twist. The most notable are Todoist, Zapier, and GitHub. Twist is owned by the same company as Todoist, so the two services interact seamlessly.
Slack vs. Twist: Conversation Structure
Slack and Twist structure conversations in a slightly different way. Both use broad workspaces consisting of channels to organize content, but whereas Slack channels are a stream of real-time messages, Twist focuses on threads.
The Twist app looks a bit like an email inbox; channels are on the left, the threads in the center panel, and individual messages on the right-hand side of the screen. It’s best to think of it as an email inbox that has the conversation view turned on.
It’s impossible to claim that one approach is definitively better than the other. If you have a massive team with hundreds of members, you could argue that Twist makes it easier to stay abreast of dozens of individual conversations at the same time. You won’t feel pressured to monitor channels constantly out of the fear of missing something important. Smaller teams with just a few users in each channel might find the focus on threads to be unnecessary.
Slack does offer threads—users can respond to single messages and choose whether to publish their response on the main channel conversation, but it wasn’t one of Slack’s original core features and, in truth, still feels a little cumbersome to use.
Slack vs. Twist: Ada Bot vs. Slackbot
Slack and Twist both have a native bot that you can call upon at any time. Twist’s bot is called Ada Bot; Slack’s is called Slackbot. Of the two, we think Slackbot is more useful; it can do more tasks.
Ada Bot is mainly limited to answering help questions (for example, “what is a thread?” or “how do I start a video call?”). It can also let you see a preview of your message before you hit send. That’s useful if you’ve included lots of rich media and want to ensure the formatting will look right.
Slackbot can do a lot more. Like Ada Bot, it will put help articles at your fingertips. However, you can also use it to store personal notes, create reminders (both for yourself and for other users), schedule meetings, and even create customized responses to certain actions. Slack also lets you install third-party bots.
Both bots will keep you abreast of meta information such as when channels have been archived or if you’ve been added to a new group.
Slack vs. Twist: Suitability for Enterprises
Slack offers a subscription specifically for large enterprises or for companies that work in a very tightly regulated sector.
The plan offers unlimited workspaces, data loss prevention tools, e-discovery (for people in the legal profession), offline backup providers, and the ability to share channels between different workspaces.
Twist does not have any such plan, meaning that if your team needs any of those features, Slack is your only feasible option.
Slack vs. Twist: Availability
Slack and Twist are straightforward to use on any of your devices.
Both tools offer a standalone app for Windows, macOS, and Linux. There are also Android and iOS apps available for the two services.
In the worst case, you can use the two services’ web apps, meaning you can definitely catch up with your latest messages as long as you have a web connection.
All the apps for both tools are free to download.
Do Other Slack Alternatives Exist?
Twist has become one of the most popular Slack alternatives, but it is far from being the only worthwhile option. Microsoft Teams now offers a free version, Google Hangouts has become a business-focused app, and there are plenty of other third-party solutions. Each has different features and specialties, and will thus appeal to a different type of team.
If you would like to learn more about Slack and its various alternatives, make sure you read our comparison of Microsoft Teams and Slack and our comparison of Flock and Slack before you make a long-term decision.