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Last updated May 12, 2021

The Ultimate No-Code Tool Guide in 2021

Choosing the right no-code tools is overwhelming. In this guide, we break down each tool's benefits, drawbacks, and give our ultimate recommendation on the best tool for what you want to build.
This guide covers the following areas in the no-code space:

Websites

Building websites is a fantastic use-case for no-code. In almost all cases, building basic websites with no-code is a better solution than using code.

Quick overview

Webflow
  • Most powerful, best for complex websites that have many pages, a CMS (content management system), and design interactions.
Squarespace
  • A nice balance between easy to use and customizable, but less powerful than Webflow
Carrd
  • Best for simple landing pages and websites you can customize. Most affordable website builer.
Umso
  • Best for building well-designed websites without customization
Used for creating websites

Pricing

  • Free to build with a Webflow domain and limited CMS functionality
  • $12/month - $36/month for custom domains and additional monthly visits and data storage, and additional features like e-commerce

Benefits of Webflow

  • Complete control over all aspects of web design
  • Can build professional-level websites
  • Can export code (CSS/HTML) to host website on your own
  • Great integrations with other no-code tools like Jetboost (advanced search, filtering and more of Webflow site data) and Memberstack (create memberships and hide premium content).
  • The Webflow CMS lets you dynamically create pages or insert content stored in a database of content. A CMS is like a database that holds information about content for your website. Still a bit confused? Learn more about what a CMS is here.
  • Fantastic community
  • Best designer / responsive builder
  • Lots of templates

Drawbacks

  • Slightly higher learning curve
  • Slightly higher cost

What you can build with Webflow

  • Business websites with dynamically created pages via the Webflow CMS
  • Landing pages
  • Membership apps with accounts (a site like No Code MBA)
  • Content sites (like Startup Stash)
  • Custom blogs
  • E-commerce sites
  • Marketplaces where you charge a subscription to access all content

What you can't build with Webflow

  • Web apps with complex logic (check out Glide or Bubble)
  • Marketplaces like Fiverr (check out ShareTribe)
  • Mobile apps (check out Glide or Adalo)

Recommendation / Alternatives

Webflow is a versatile tool, which makes it a great option for many types of projects.

For general websites, it's my top pick because it can be fully customized and has a built-in CMS to dynamically create pages (for example, you could create a page for every project in your portfolio automatically). Squarespace is the most similar for general websites - it's easier to use but less powerful.

For basic landing pages, tools like Umso and Carrd are easier to use but also less customizable.

For web apps, Webflow integrates with Memberstack to build paid membership apps. This is great for sites with premium hidden content such as No Code MBA.

For marketplaces, Webflow is great if you charge a subscription to access all content. If you need to handle payments directly to vendors, I'd suggest ShareTribe.

For e-commerce stores, Webflow is a great option if you want to prioritize design over more complex e-commerce functionality. In almost all other cases I'd suggest Shopify as it's easier to use and has a larger app ecosystem and community for e-commerce.

For web apps with more complex logic, I'd recommend Glide or Bubble.

Used for creating websites

Pricing

  • Free trial, but no free version
  • $12/month - $40/month for custom domains and additional features such as e-commerce and subscriptions

Benefits of Squarespace

  • Easy to create beautiful designs 
  • Can build multi-page websites
  • Responsive design 
  • E-commerce functionality, but more limited than Shopify or Webflow
  • Lots of templates

Drawbacks

  • Don’t have full control over design
  • No CMS, can’t automatically create pages or dynamically insert content the way that Webflow does. 

What you can build with Squarespace

  • Business websites
  • Landing pages
  • Custom blogs
  • E-commerce sites

What you can't build with Squarespace

  • Websites with a CMS that dynamically creates pages (check out Webflow)
  • Websites with full control over the design (check out Webflow)
  • Web apps with complex logic (check out Glide or Bubble)

Recommendation / Alternatives

Squarespace is a good option for simple business websites (imagine a 5 page website for a doctor's office). It's a nice sweet spot between easy to use and functional website.

For higher quality websites with more customization and a CMS, I'd go for Webflow. The benefit of Squarespace over Webflow is Squarespace is easier to use.

For simpler websites and landing pages I'd go with Umso or Carrd because they are even easier to use.

Used for creating websites

Pricing

  • Free basic plan with the carrd.co domain and up to 3 sites
  • $9/year - $49/year for custom domains and no branding, additional published sites, more data storage and features

Benefits of Carrd

  • Simple to use
  • Great for one page websites
  • Can integrate with Stripe for payments (limited e-commerce functionality)
  • Integrates with platforms like Mailchimp to collect emails
  • Responsive
  • Most affordable website builder (as low as $9/year)

Drawbacks

  • Can’t export code
  • Not as customizable as Webflow
  • No CMS - have to hard code in content or embed an Airtable CMS

What you can build with Carrd

  • Simple websites with full control over design
  • Landing pages
  • Simple e-commerce sites

What you can't build with Carrd

  • Websites with a CMS that dynamically creates pages (check out Webflow)
  • Multi-page websites (check out Webflow or Squarespace)
  • Web apps with complex logic (check out Glide or Bubble)

Recommendation / Alternatives

Carrd is best for simple one-page websites. It combines an easy learning curve with high customization. It's perfect for testing out an idea.

Another great option for this use-case is Umso.

You can also use tools like Webflow and Squarespace, but for simple sites those tools may be overkill.

Used for creating websites

Pricing

  • Free basic plan for 1 site with an Umso domain
  • $29/month - $99/month for custom domains and no branding, additional published sites, custom code, stripe checkout, and additional features

Benefits of Umso

  • Simple to use
  • Great for one page websites
  • Lots of templates, so your site looks great with little effort

Drawbacks

  • Design isn't very customizable

What you can build with Umso

  • Simple, beautiful websites without full control over design
  • Landing pages

What you can't build with Umso

  • A simple website with full control over design (check out Carrd)
  • Websites with a CMS that dynamically creates pages (check out Webflow)
  • Multi-page websites (check out Webflow or Squarespace)
  • Web apps with complex logic (check out Glide or Bubble)

Recommendation / Alternatives

Umso is great for building a good-looking site quickly, even if you have no design sense. It's perfect for creating a landing page or simple website for your business.

Another great options for this use-case is Carrd, but Carrd has a higher learning curve and requires more design talent to make your site look good.

Tools like Webflow and Squarespace can also be used, but I wouldn't recommend them for very simple sites in most cases.

Stay updated on future guide updates, no-code tutorials, interviews, and more.

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Apps

Using no-code is a great way to build your app's MVP. You'll save $20k+ in developer costs, iterate more quickly, and build in days, not months.

Quick overview

Glide
  • Simple but powerful. Use a google sheet to build apps
  • Best for building MVPs and internal apps
Adalo
  • Most powerful mobile app builder, but higher learning curve
  • Use if you need to publish to an app store
Bubble
  • Most powerful general app builder, best for desktop web apps
ShareTribe
  • Best for building marketplaces
Softr
  • Best for building simple web apps with less customization
Webflow
  • Combine with Memberstack and Airtable to create simple web apps
Used for creating mobile apps

Pricing

  • Free basic plan with the glideapp.io domain, Glide branding, public sign in, and limited data storage
  • $32/month - $40/month (+$2/private user) for custom domains, up to 25,000 data rows, no Glide branding, lower transaction fees, private apps, and more features

Benefits of Glide

  • Simple/magical app building experience
  • Build using a Google Sheet, so it’s easy to pick up
  • Constantly improving the product
  • Active community
  • Can build just about any type of app
  • Strong security features

Drawbacks

  • Progressive web app only (can’t be downloaded in app store)
  • Can’t offer in-app purchases 
  • Somewhat limited in design 
  • Users can use your app in desktop mode, but Glide app's user interface works better on mobile than desktop currently
  • No push notifications (can get around this with Zapier for email/texts)

What you can build with Glide

  • MVP versions of mobile apps like Tinder and Zillow
  • Apps with user accounts and complex logic

What you can't build with Glide

  • Desktop web apps (check out Bubble)
  • Publish your app to the app store (check out Adalo)
  • Apps that require connection to an API

Recommendation / Alternatives

Glide is best for building MVPs for your business, or for building internal apps.

You can create user accounts, store and display data from a database, and build complex logic. You can build apps like Tinder, Zillow, Headspace and more using Glide.

For more apps that need to be in an app store or connect with APIs I'd use Adalo.

If you want to build a web app with more customizable design and API access, I'd recommend Bubble.

In all other cases, I love Glide and think it's a great option for your no-code app.

Used for creating mobile apps

Pricing

  • Free plan with unlimited apps, an Adalo domain and Adalo branding, with up to 50 rows of data
  • $50/month - $200/month for custom domains, publishing to Apple and Google Stores, connecting to external data collections, custom actions, and additional data storage

Benefits of Adalo

  • Can build native apps that can be downloaded in app store 
  • Can also build desktop apps
  • In-app purchases 
  • Can build just about any app experience 
  • Can connect to APIs

Drawbacks

  • Higher learning curve 
  • Seems to be going through some growing pains. I’ve noticed published apps run a bit slower than I’d like.

What you can build with Adalo

  • MVP versions of mobile apps like Tinder and Zillow
  • Desktop apps
  • Apps with user accounts and complex logic
  • Complex apps that require API connections
  • Publish apps to the app store

Recommendation / Alternatives

Adalo is best for building mobile apps that require one of the following: being published in an app store, in-app purchases, or connection with APIs.

In most other cases, I'd suggest Glide as it's easier to use and runs faster for end-users.

Used for creating websites and mobile apps

Pricing

  • Free basic plan with unlimited apps, 1 custom domain, Softr branding, and limited data (200 records from Airtable)
  • $24/month for marketing websites or directory websites with no branding
  • $65/month - $165/month for applications with logins, no branding, more custom domains, memberships, and additional data storage

Benefits of Softr

  • Can build websites and basic web apps (job boards or membership sites) using Airtable as the backend to store your data
  • Easy to use: use responsive building blocks
  • Accept payments
  • Collect data with forms
  • Add your own custom code if needed
  • Integrate with other no-code tools like Zapier and Integromat
  • Many templates

Drawbacks

  • Limited to building blocks (can't customize everything about your site)
  • Can't build more complex logic into web apps (check out Bubble or Glide for more complex logic

What you can build with Softr

  • Static websites
  • Job boards
  • Membership sites with payment
  • Booking platforms (coming soon)

What you can't build with Softr

  • More complex web apps

Recommendation / Alternatives

Softr is best for building simple membership sites and websites that work well out-of-the box. You don't want to customize everything about how your site works, but you want it to work right away.

If you want more control over the design and more complexity, I'd recommend Webflow connected to Memberstack for a membership site, but that also comes with a higher learning curve.

If you're looking to build a web app with more complex logic I'd recommend checking out Bubble or Glide.

Used for creating web apps

Pricing

  • Free basic plan with the bubble.io domain, Bubble branding, limited data storage
  • $25/month - $115/month for custom domains and no branding, scheduled workflows, dev versions, and additional data storage

Benefits of Bubble

  • Powerful web app builder
  • Can build just about any type of web app
  • Can integrate APIs
  • Lots of templates 
  • Active community

Drawbacks

  • The designer isn’t great for actual design. Especially responsive design. I’ve heard this is going to be updated soon, which is going to make a big difference
  • Published apps can be slightly slow

Recommendation / Alternatives

Bubble is best for more complex web app MVPs and for building scalable web apps.

It's a really powerful tool that can build just about any web app, but also comes with a higher leraning curve.

I’d use Bubble in cases where your use-case is too complex for Glide or Webflow.

Once Bubble updates their designer to improve responsive design I’ll be more likely to recommend Bubble in more cases.

Used for creating marketplace apps

Pricing

  • Free 30 day trial, but no free plan
  • $79/month with up to 100 users, a ShareTribe domain, and ShareTribe branding
  • $119/month - $239/month for more users, no ShareTribe branding, and a custom domain

Benefits of ShareTribe

  • Great out-of-the-box marketplace software with ShareTribe Go
  • Includes much of what you want in a marketplace (payments, reviews, listings, etc)
  • Offers ShareTribe Flex - a low-code version. You need a developer, but can build a complex marketplace with anything you want at a much lower cost than starting from scratch.

Drawbacks

  • ShareTribe Go is a bit limited in design flexibility and checkout options
  • A bit expensive

What you can build with ShareTribe

  • Marketplaces like Airbnb and Fiverr with profiles, listings, payment, search, filtering, and reviews

What you can't build with ShareTribe

  • Custom user experience (check out ShareTribe Flex, which requires a developer, for more custom marketplaces)
  • A mobile app (Check out ShareTribe Flex, Glide, or Adalo)

Recommendation / Alternatives

If ShareTribe Go fits your use-case, it’s the absolute best way to get your marketplace off the ground.

For marketplaces where you have more complex needs, I'd suggest building a custom marketplace in Glide, Bubble or ShareTribe Flex (based on your needs).

E-commerce

Like building a basic website, for e-commerce I'd always recommend using a no-code tool. Shopify is the gold standard here, used by small entrepreneurs as well as large brands like GymShark, Heinz, and Lady Gaga.

Quick overview

Shopify
  • Most powerful and easy to use, would recommend in almost all e-commerce cases
Webflow
  • Would use over Shopify only if design is a main focus for your site, because Shopify has more e-commerce tools
Carrd
  • Can use for very simple use cases by integrating Stripe
ShareTribe
  • Best for marketplaces
Gumroad
  • Best for selling digital products
Used for creating e-commerce stores

Pricing

  • Free 14 day trial, but no free plan
  • $29/month - $299/month for all basic e-commerce features, site hosting, custom domain, and no branding. More expensive plans have lower processing fees, more reporting, and more staff accounts

Benefits of Shopify

  • Market leader for e-commerce
  • Easy to use
  • Shopify app store has thousands of apps for just about any use-case
  • Conversion-optimized checkout 
  • Very active community

Drawbacks

  • A bit limited for custom design without development work

What you can build with Shopify

  • Robust e-commerce site with custom design
  • Dropship to sell without holding inventory

What you can't build with Shopify

  • A marketplace (check out ShareTribe)
  • A custom web app (check out Glide or Bubble)

Recommendation / Alternatives

Shopify is the absolute best option for e-commerce stores.

Gumroad, Squarespace and Webflow also have e-commerce functionality, but it’s more limited than Shopify. In almost all cases I'd recommend Shopify.

Used for creating e-commerce stores

Pricing

  • Free plan to list unlimited products has a 5% transaction fee with Gumroad branding
  • $10/month - $250/month based on number of customers ($10 plan includes up to 1,000 customers) to remove Gumroad branding, add your own CSS, use your own domain, HD streaming, and a lower fee (3.5% + 30 cents per transaction).

Benefits of Gumroad

  • Extremely easy to get started and use
  • Low fees
  • Active community

Drawbacks

  • Less features and complexity than Shopify offers for e-commerce

What you can build with Gumroad

  • A simple landing page to collect emails
  • Sell digital products online, with lots of customization in how you can sell
  • Sell a membership
  • Sell physical products

What you can't build with Gumroad

  • A marketplace (check out ShareTribe)
  • A custom web app (check out Glide or Bubble)

Recommendation / Alternatives

Gumroad is the best option for selling digital products online.

For selling physical products, Gumroad is a great simple option, but if you want a scalable e-commerce solution for physical products I'd recommend Shopify.

Squarespace and Webflow also have e-commerce functionality, but it’s more limited than Shopify.

Automations

Using no-code for automations is a superpower. You can create internal apps, connect data from different apps together, and much more.

Quick overview

Airtable
  • Useful for many internal automations. Better than a Google Sheet for internal productivity apps
  • Integrates well with other no-code tools like Webflow by using Integromat or Zapier
  • Some automations can be done directly in Airtable without another tool
Integromat
  • More powerful and less expensive than Zapier, but higher learning curve
Zapier
  • More expensive and less powerful than Integromat, but easier to use
Retool
  • Best for building internal apps that connect to a live database
Coda
  • Best for replacing Google docs and Google Sheets with collaborative and interactive web pages.
  • Can build lightweight automations between integrated apps
Used for storing data

Pricing

  • Free plan with limited data storage
  • $10/month - $20/month per seat for more data storage, automatic table syncing, editing permissions, and more features

Benefits of Airtable

  • Similar to a spreadsheet, but more user-friendly and structured as a relational database
  • Includes add-on apps and automations
  • Templates
  • Many view options (grid, calendar, etc)
  • Collaborative
  • Integrates well with Zapier
  • Great community

Drawbacks

  • Takes time to set up your database
  • Some formulas can be tricky compared to Google Sheets

What you can build with Airtable

  • Internal apps like a CRM or project management tool
  • A database that connects to Webflow
  • Basic automations like posting to Twitter from Airtable

What you can't build with Airtable

  • Customer facing apps or websites (check out Glide or Bubble)

Recommendation / Alternatives

Airtable is similar to using Google Sheets, but more structured and includes lots of features to help with productivity.

Some examples of use-cases areas a CRM for leads, a content planning tool, and a project management tool.

Another great use is as a database for a complex Webflow site. You can use Airtable as the database for your site, and use Zapier or PowerImporter to sync your Airtable database to your Webflow database.

Used for automations

Pricing

  • Free plan with up to 1,000 operations per month
  • $9/month for 10,000 operations per month
  • $29/month - $299/month for additional operations and data transfer limits

Benefits of Integromat

  • Run automations to connect thousands of apps
  • Can easily run apps on a trigger or as one-time workflows
  • Visual editor
  • Can create very complex workflows
  • Can make API calls
  • Build error handling into workflows
  • More affordable than Zapier

Drawbacks

  • Higher learning curve than Zapier
  • Less app integrations than Zapier

What you can build with Integromat

  • Automations that connect different apps together
  • Complex workflows with API calls and error handling

What you can't build with Integromat

  • May not be able to connect to the tool you need (Zapier has more connections)

Recommendation / Alternatives

Integromat's biggest competitor is Zapier, and vice-versa. Both are great tools, and I use both depending on the use-case.

I find Zapier easier to use, so for simple automations I tend to use Zapier.

Zapier also has more integrations, so I'll use Zapier if the app I'm looking for isn't integrated with Integromat. One example is Memberstack, which is only on Zapier.

In general, Integromat is more powerful and less expensive, so I recommend people start with Zapier, and move over to Integromat when they are ready for something more powerful but with a higher learning curve.

Used for automations

Pricing

  • Free plan with 100 tasks/month and 5 zaps
  • $19.99/month for 750 tasks/month and 20 zaps, plus multi-step zaps
  • $49/month - $299/month for unlimited zaps and additional advanced features

Benefits of Zapier

  • Easily build automations with thousands of apps
  • Easier to use than Integromat
  • More integrations than Integromat
  • Run automations on triggers

Drawbacks

  • More expensive than Integromat
  • More limited in complexity versus Integromat

What you can build with Zapier

  • Automations that connect different apps together

What you can't build with Zapier

  • May not be able to connect to the tool you need (though Zapier has more connections than Integromat)

Recommendation / Alternatives

Since Zapier and Integromat are so similar, all the recommendations from Integromat's section apply here! 

In general, Zapier is easier to use and has more integrations, but is more expensive.

Integromat is more powerful, has less integrations and is less expensive.

I recommend people start with Zapier, and move over to Integromat when they are ready for something more powerful but with a higher learning curve.

Used for automations and internal dashboards

Pricing

  • Free plan with editor mode only and up to 5 modules
  • $10/month - $50/month per user enables user mode (people can use your app without the ability to edit your set up), version history, more modules, and more advanced features

Benefits of Retool

  • Build internal apps connected to your company's data
  • Supports data from just about every database and data source
  • Lots of templates and components
  • Display, filter, and edit your company's data directly from retool
  • Allows businesses to create custom dashboards without developer resources

Drawbacks

  • Somewhat high learning curve

What you can build with Retool

  • Internal dashboards
  • Internal apps for your business such as a refund management system, data visualization, inventory management, content scheduler, promo code manager and more

What you can't build with Retool

  • Customer-facing apps (Retool apps are meant to be used internally)

Recommendation / Alternatives

Retool is a fantastic tool for building internal apps at your business.

Where Retool really shines is allowing non-technical people to build apps that interact with a live database without needing to use developers.

Retool is the best tool for this use-case.

Used for team documentation, consolidating data that’s scattered across docs and spreadsheets, and creating/automating customized workflows

Pricing

  • Free plan with limited document size and limited integrations (called "packs" in Coda)
  • Pro - $10/month per doc maker, free editors/viewers
  • Team - $30/month per doc maker, free editors/viewers
  • Enterprise – Details on request

Benefits of Coda

  • Bring structured and unstructured data together in one web page.
  • Lots of templates
  • Bring in data from popular apps like Gmail, Github, Slack, etc
  • Build automations between apps (for example, send a Slack message when you receive an email)
  • Can replace both simple Google docs as well as more complex internal processes

Drawbacks

  • Can't publish as a website or app without Coda branding

What you can build with Coda

  • App-like, published webpages with varying levels of interactivity and a sleek interface
  • Customized workflows for everything from a design sprint to a CRM
  • A database or wiki to house team knowledge, pulling information from other docs or other tools (e.g. Jira)
  • Automations like sharing team notes to Gmail or sending time-based Slack reminders to teammate

What you can't build with Coda

  • A standalone app that can be published to an app store
  • A published app or website without Coda branding

Recommendation / Alternatives

Coda is a great tool for working collaboratively with your team, as well as for building automations for internal processes.

It has a much easier learning curve than something like Retool, but is less powerful and connects to less data sources.

It also has somewhat similar functionality to Airtable, but is less optimized for large data sets (10K+ rows).

Where I'd recommend Coda is to replace Google Sheets and Google Docs as much as possible, and build lightweight automation for internal processes.

Stay updated on future guide updates, no-code tutorials, interviews, and more.

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