Slack vs WhatsApp: Which app is better for work?

Dunja Jovanovic

Last updated on: July 8, 2022

In the age of remote work, most teams communicate asynchronously.

If you want that kind of communication to be effective, you need to choose the right tools. 

Picking the right tool is easier said than done — there are so many team and instant messaging apps out there. And, looking at all the lists of the most popular apps can get overwhelming pretty fast. 

If you managed to narrow down the choice to two or three apps, we’ll come to help you out. 

In this article, we’ll do a comparison of the two of the most popular communication apps — Slack and WhatsApp.

We’ll compare Slack and WhatsApp in the following categories:

  • Pricing
  • User interface 
  • Communication
  • Notifications
  • Search
  • File sharing and storage 
  • Video calls
  • Support
  • Security

After that, you’ll (hopefully) be able to figure out which one suits your needs better.

But first — let’s do an overview of both apps.

Slack vs WhatsApp: Which app is better for work?
Slack vs WhatsApp: Which app is better for work?

Slack vs WhatsApp overview

Both Slack and WhatsApp are among the most popular communication apps. 

What’s the difference between the two?

Slack is a team messaging app. Businesses mainly use it for internal communication, but it can also be used to communicate with third parties. 

Since it has a user-friendly interface and offers a wide range of features — from file sharing to video calls — it comes as no surprise that it’s one of the most used collaboration tools.

Slack
Slack

WhatsApp is also an instant messaging app. While it can be used for business, people mainly use it to keep in touch with their family and friends. It can also be used for communication within a team.

It supports sending and receiving a variety of media, as well as making voice and video calls.

WhatsApp also released software for businesses:

  • For small businesses, there is a WhatsApp Business App — so people can:
    • Communicate with customers,
    • Build relationships with them, and 
    • Showcase their products.
  • WhatsApp Business API is made for medium and large businesses to:
    • Manage high volumes of conversations, 
    • Strengthen purchase consideration, and 
    • Deepen customer relationships.
WhatsApp
WhatsApp

Here’s a side-by-side overview of the apps’ main features. 

FeaturesSlackWhatsApp
Pricing– Free
– Pro ($6.67 per user per month)
– Business+ ($12.50 per user per month)
– Enterprise Grid
– Free
– WhatsApp Business API is paid
User InterfaceSimple and user-friendlyIntuitive and easy to use
Communication– Instant messaging
– Audio calls 
– Video calls
– Instant messaging
– Audio calls
– Video calls
NotificationsAdvanced notification configurationBasic notification configuration
SearchAdvanced filtered search optionsMedium filtered search options
File sharing and storageOptimum file sharing and 5 GB per workspace with the free planOptimum file sharing, uses phone/cloud storage
Video callsMax 15 participants, advanced call optionsMax 8 participants, on mobile devices only
Support– Email/Help Desk
– FAQs/Forum
– Knowledge Base
– Help Center/FAQ
– Email Support
SecurityStandard security– Standard security
– End-to-end encryption

Now, let’s get into a more detailed comparison of each feature. 

💵 Slack vs WhatsApp pricing 0:1

Slack has a free plan, as well as Pro, Business+, and Enterprise plans.

The free plan doesn’t offer a lot of features, so if you’re a remote team that relies on instant messaging apps for effective communication, you’ll have to opt for a paid version.

The cheapest paid option starts at $6.67 per user per month — which can get pricey.

Slack’s pricing
Slack’s pricing

On the other hand, WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business App are completely free.

WhatsApp Business API is not free, and there are a few different costs to take into account.

First, you pay per conversation. The first 1,000 conversations each month are free (conversation being all messages delivered in a 24-hour session). 

After that, you are charged depending on where in the world you and your customers are. 

Each region has its own rate card.

For instance, rates for the USA range from $0.0066to $0.1432 per business-initiated conversation and $0.0030-0.0859 per user-initiated conversation. 

However, those are not the only fees you need to take care of — since Facebook delivers the WhatsApp Business API only through its messaging partners, you need to pay them hosting fees

The exact costs depend on the Facebook messaging partner you choose, but they typically start from $50/month.

Last but not least, you’ll have to pay solution provider fees, as you need to integrate WhatsApp Business API into your third-party solution. You need to make sure that your chosen provider has a contract with Facebook, to protect your data.

WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business App are free to download
WhatsApp and WhatsApp Business App are free to download

__

If you’re a small business, WhatsApp is a clear winner. 

However, if you’re a medium to large business, you’ll have to put everything on paper and see which one is more cost-effective for you. 

Still, we’ll give this point to WhatsApp.

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

If you’re searching for a collaboration tool that’s more affordable than Slack, check out Pumble:

PricingSlackWhatsapp
Free planYesYes
Cheapest paid plan$6.67/
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

📱 Slack vs WhatsApp user interface 1:1

Slack has a simple and user-friendly interface. 

Conversations take the majority of the screen, while on the sidebar you can see all your channels, threads, and people you’ve chatted with. 

You can also change the color of the sidebar, and the changes will automatically apply to the mobile app too.

Even if you’ve never used Slack before, you’d probably find what you need with no trouble.

Slack's interface
Slack’s interface

WhatsApp Business App has the same interface as the original WhatsApp app — a list of conversations that you click on to see the messages, with the addition of product catalogs.

You can pick your own chat background or use one of those offered in the app.

It’s elegant, as well as quite intuitive and easy to use.

WhatsApp Business App's interface
WhatsApp Business App’s interface

Both have a simple UI that’s easy to navigate and get used to — so both apps get a point.

User interfaceSlackWhatsApp
LayoutSimple and user-friendlyIntuitive and easy to use
CustomizationYesYes
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

💬 Slack vs WhatsApp communication 1:1

Slack has many useful features that facilitate team communication — such as:

  • Organizing conversations into channels
  • Sharing files
  • Scheduling messages
  • Creating polls
  • Search option
  • Editing and deleting messages
  • Emojis and GIFs
  • Formatting messages
Communication on Slack
Communication on Slack

WhatsApp has many features up its (metaphoric) sleeve too — for example:

  • File sharing
  • Location sharing
  • Voice messages
  • Temporary images and text messages
  • Group chats
  • Seeing if the other person has seen your message and when they were last active
  • Search option
  • Emojis and GIFs
  • Formatting messages
  • WhatsApp stories
Communication on WhatsApp
Communication on WhatsApp

As you can see, both apps have a plethora of options that will facilitate your daily communication.

So, there are some features that both apps have — but that’s not the case for all features.

For instance, you can schedule and edit messages only on Slack. 

And, you can share locations and check if your message is seen exclusively on WhatsApp.

Because of that, it’s up to you to decide what features are more valuable to you and your team — hence, both apps get a point.

CommunicationSlackWhatsApp
Chat history10,000 most recent messages for free planUnlimited, backed up daily
Mentions and reactionsYesYes
ThreadsYesNo
ChannelsYesNo
Message formattingYesYes
Emojis and GIFsYesYes
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔔 Slack vs WhatsApp notifications 1:0

Generally, you get notifications on Slack when:

  • You get a direct message from someone
  • Someone mentions you
  • You get a reply on a thread you’re following
  • You receive a message from Slackbot

But, this app has advanced notification options — it’s up to you whether you’ll receive all notifications, some of them, or none.

You can also pick a time frame in which you’ll receive notifications or choose to be notified on your mobile device if you’re inactive on the desktop.

Additionally, you can activate Do not disturb mode and work notifications-free for a time period of your choice.

Notifications  settings on Slack
Notifications settings on Slack

WhatsApp also has a couple of notification preferences — but they’re not nearly as customizable as Slack’s. 

In WhatsApp, you can choose whether or not you want to receive notifications for:

  • Individual chats
  • Group chats
  • Calls

You can also pick a notification tone or ringtone.

When you want to focus on work, you can mute chats for 8 hours, 1 week, or forever.

Notification settings on WhatsApp
Notification settings on WhatsApp

Since Slack has more sophisticated notification options, it’s the champion of this category.

NotificationsSlackWhatsApp
Notification configurationAdvancedBasic
DND modeYesNo
Mute YesYes
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔍 Slack vs WhatsApp search 1:0

Slack has quite advanced search options — you can search for:

  • Messages
  • Files
  • People
  • Channels

You can even pick a certain period or exclude some channels from your search, as well as search within documents.

However, it’s important to note that, if you’re on the free plan, you can access and search only the last 10,000 messages.

Search options on Slack
Search options on Slack

In WhatsApp, you can:

  • Search conversations with a keyword
  • Search media (photos, videos, links, GIFs, audio, and documents) by using filters
  • View media of choice — for instance, you can see all the photos shared in one conversation 
Searching media on WhatsApp
Searching media on WhatsApp

Again, more advanced options guaranteed Slack a win in this round.

SearchSlackWhatsApp
Message searchMessages and channel searchIndividual and group conversations search
File and people searchYesYes
FiltersYesNo
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

📹 Slack vs WhatsApp audio and video calls 1:0

The free version of Slack offers you 1-on-1 video and voice calls, while the paid version allows you to add up to 15 participants. You can also:

  • Share your screen
  • Let others draw on your screen
  • Share the mouse control
  • Record meetings
Sharing your screen on Slack video call
Sharing your screen on Slack video call

WhatsApp also has video and voice call options for up to 8 participants, all for free.

But, the kicker is — this option is only available on mobile devices and not on WhatsApp Web.

That won’t be a problem if your team is often on the go — but for more serious, sit-down meetings, WhatsApp is not the best solution.

Video and audio calls on WhatsApp
Video and audio calls on WhatsApp

Better options and more participants make Slack a winner once again. 

Audio and video callsSlackWhatsApp
Participant capacity158
Call optionsAdvancedBasic
AvailabilityAll devicesMobile only
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

📂 Slack vs WhatsApp file sharing and storage 1:0

Slack supports all kinds of files, from PDF documents to video and audio files. 

They can be uploaded from your device or via file-sharing apps, such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

When it comes to file storage, it depends on the plan you choose:

  • Free plan: 5GB for the entire workspace
  • Pro plan: 10GB per member
  • Business plan: 20GB per member
  • Enterprise Grid plan: 1TB per member

As always, the more you invest, the more you’ll get. 

Sharing files on Slack
Sharing files on Slack

On WhatsApp, you can share:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Audio files
  • Locations
  • Contacts
  • Documents

The only catch is — there is a limit of 100MB per file on Android and 128MB on iOS.

When it comes to storage, WhatsApp is not a storage medium — it uses up the space on your phone and cloud.

Sharing files on WhatsApp
Sharing files on WhatsApp

Again, Slack wins this round as it supports more types of files and ways to upload them. 

File sharing and storageSlackWhatsApp
Free file storage5GB per workspaceAs much storage as you have on your phone/cloud
Secure file sharingNoYes
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

ℹ️ Slack vs WhatsApp support 1:0

When it comes to support, Slack’s free plan includes:

  • Email/Help Desk
  • FAQs/Forum
  • Knowledge Base

If you purchased the Business+ plan, you also have 24/7 support with 4 hour response time and 99.99% guaranteed uptime at your disposal.

The Enterprise Grid plan additionally offers you tailored support with a designated account and customer success team.

Slack Help Center
Slack Help Center

That’s hard to beat — but let’s see what WhatsApp offers.

If you happen to have some trouble with the app, you can search for a solution via:

  • Help Center/FAQ
  • Email support
WhatsApp Help Center
WhatsApp Help Center

As you’ve already guessed — Slack wins.

SupportSlackWhatsApp
Customer supportEnhancedStandard
Knowledge baseYesYes
Customer success teamYesNo
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🔐 Slack vs WhatsApp security 1:1

Last, but definitely not least, we have to consider how protected your data is on these two apps. Data security should not be taken lightly, especially since business communication can contain confidential information.

Slack encrypts data at rest and data in transit. It also has many security certifications, such as:

  • ISO/IEC 27001
  • SOC 2
  • CSA
Slack's certifications
Slack’s certifications

However, Slack doesn’t have end-to-end encryption.

WhatsApp, on the other hand, has strong end-to-end encryption for both individual and group chats. Messages are also protected by Signal encryption. 

Unlike the majority of apps, data encryption is enabled on all chats by default — you don’t have to manually turn it on.

But, WhatsApp shares some information with its parent company, Meta.

WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption
WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption

Also, neither app has a data leakage-free past. 

Since both apps have their pros and cons in regards to security, we’ll go with 1:1 in this round.

SecuritySlackWhatsApp
Two-factor authenticationYesYes
Advanced securityYesYes
Data encryptionYesYes
Overall impression⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

🏆 Slack vs WhatsApp final verdict

At the end, let’s add all the numbers and see who the winner is.

FeaturesSlackWhatsApp
Pricing01
User interface11
Communication11
Notifications10
Search10
Video calls10
File sharing and storage10
Support10
Security11
Total score84

The answer is (drum roll) Slack.

However, that doesn’t mean that WhatsApp is not worth using. 

Both apps are popular for a reason and contain many features that will help your team communicate better and be more productive

It all boils down to what your team needs: 

  • Slack is better for internal communication.
  • WhatsApp is great for informal communication within your team.
  • WhatsApp Business App is optimal for communication with customers.

Then again — you’re under no obligation to choose either of them.

Looking for a Slack or WhatsApp alternative? Try Pumble 

If you’re still unsure if Slack or WhatsApp would be the right fit for your team, you can give other options a try. 

An alternative worth considering is the free team messaging app Pumble.

Among other things, Pumble offers:

  • Unlimited users and chat history for free
  • Customizable notifications
  • An intuitive, user-friendly interface
  • Guest access 
  • Audio and video calls 
  • 10GB of free storage space per workspace

So, if you want a tool that provides secure and effective communication both within and outside your company, sign up for a free Pumble account now and check it out yourself!

Author: DunjaJovanovic

Dunja Jovanovic is a writer and researcher passionate about communication and psychology, especially in a professional setting. As she's no stranger to working remotely, she likes helping others survive in a virtual work environment and communicate as effectively as possible. When she's not writing, she's probably trying out the communication improvement strategies she stumbled upon during her never-ending research.

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