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Airtable vs. Knack
Information management at your company is essential to daily operations and long-term success. Your data such as client and customer information, sales data and invoices, or any other industry-specific data is key to past and future understanding of your company vision. No matter the industry you’re in, a proper information management system ensures better outcomes and helps you reach your goals.
Most industries have one or more software platforms specific to your field for managing data. Unfortunately, they often lack customization options and are proprietary. They lock your data into their established formats and make it difficult, expensive, and even impossible to customize or expand to your business requirements.
This is where an easy-to-use custom database solution can be a perfect fit. Airtable and Knack are two low-code database development platforms to help you run your business. Both are designed to store your essential data in a structured format helping you make informed decisions to guide your business.
In this article, we cover the features of Airtable and Knack and the pros and cons or each so you can make the best decision for your business.
About Airtable and Knack
Airtable and Knack are in a similar category of custom database software to store your critical information such as construction projects, residential and commercial properties, or sales data. Both products can provide a centralized location to quickly reference information, documents, and help you make decisions.
Both are considered ‘no-code/low-code’ platforms allowing non-programmers to create a custom database structure with only a few clicks. Low-code platforms are projected to have a 40% market growth by 2022. (1)
Airtable is an all-in-one online hybrid database and spreadsheet for managing business data and enhancing team and department collaboration. It was founded in 2012 and is used by over 80,000 companies. Their mission is to democratize software creation by enabling anyone to build the tools that meet their needs.
Knack is an online database for creating custom apps for your business information. It was founded in 2010 as the name, AppNowGo. Their goal is to make it easy to build applications that manage, share, and empower data. They want to help you build the database that builds your business.
Why Your Business Needs a Better Solution
As a company owner or manager, you oversee the achievements and health of your business. It’s imperative to have a software platform that helps you analyze your company information customized to your specific needs.
Airtable and Knack offer businesses a better solution to process vital company information. This is accomplished through better data visualization and an increased understanding of company data.
Why We Use Airtable
At BuiltOnAir, we are Airtable fanatics and use it to run our own businesses. Its customization features and flexibility make it a fantastic solution for companies in all different industries.
With Airtable, you can store any type of information in its original format. With an easy-to-use interface, you can create your own custom app in a short amount of time. You don’t have to know how to use databases or be a programmer to make Airtable work for your business.
With Airtable, you can create your own custom layout using the simplicity of drag and drop. Each custom app in Airtable is called a Base. Airtable bases contain Tables and Fields. Fields include a variety of options such as Text, Numbers, Data Relationship Links, Barcodes, Users, Checkboxes, Formulas, and many more.
It also has multiple views such as Grid (spreadsheet-view), Calendar, Gallery, Kanban, and Form, enabling you to transform your data any way you like.
Airtable has special app fields that live on top of your Airtable bases called Blocks. Blocks expand your data even further to manage and maintain a dashboard of what’s most important. Blocks include options such as Emailing and Texting directly from your base, Maps, Charts, Scripts (Custom Code), and several other helpful upgrades. Read all about Blocks on their site.
Airtable extends to almost any other software platform you use to run your company with On2Air: Actions. An advanced connector, On2Air: Actions, integrates your Airtable data with over 2,000 additional apps.
Create powerful business processes with almost 20 additional action options beyond the standard Airtable actions.
On2Air: Actions is the solution you need to optimize your systems and enhance the information flow between Airtable and other apps.
Features of Each Platform
Here are the most common features of Airtable and Knack.
Pros and Cons of Each
Both apps can transform your business. Here are several pros and cons of each.
Pros of Airtable
Airtable is a modern app-like platform allowing you to quickly organize and view your data structure your way. It has multiple field types and multiple views.
- Large variety of integrations to extend the platform – A variety of built-in integrations plus a community of third-party extensions
- Page designer to create any sort of template to export, print, or send – Create invoices, business cards, proposals, name tags, or any document in any size to send or print.
- Web Clipper through Google Chrome extension – Immediately add any relevant articles or information to your Airtable base when browsing the web with a couple of clicks.
- App database design and data in the same window – Generate your custom field types, layout type, and view your data all in from the same place.
Airtable “Order Invoicing”
Pros of Knack
Knack is a custom database builder for a variety of businesses. Create your app and allow other users to add relevant information such as service requests, sales calls, or properties.
- Style your app with CSS – Blend your app design and your company color palette and layout with Cascading Style Sheets.
- Create a customer portal – Add your client as a user at no extra charge and link to their customer record so they can view invoices and other information.
- Automation and workflows standard – Create business automations in your app when records are added, changed, or deleted to save time.
- Accept payments in the app – Allow your customers to pay invoices, orders, or donate all inside your custom app.
Knack “Property Manager”
Even though both are customizable solutions for your business, no software platform is perfect. Let’s look at the cons of each app.
Cons of Airtable
- No in-app automation
- Lacks the ability to create a customer portal
- Unable to schedule tasks
- Unable to accept payments from clients in-app
Cons of Knack
- No in-app integrations to other software platforms
- No kanban or gallery view
- Lacks a custom PDF size generator
- No native iPhone or Android app
Airtable is available as a web app so you can use it anywhere you have access to the internet. They also have a macOS app, Windows app, and it’s available on both iPhones and Androids. An extra feature is their Google Chrome extension, which allows you to grab anything from the web and add it to Airtable.
Knack is a web app so you can access it from most major browsers. It has no other platforms.
Let’s rate the most common functionalities a business looks at when searching for a reliable software platform. These include ease of use, extensions and add-ons, price and value, and support.
Ease of Use
Airtable’s modern interface feels like many other apps you already use. It’s easy to create and navigate, and with a few simple instructions to start, you can get your entire company on board quickly.
Adding a template base in Airtable
Knack has a more disjointed feel due to a ‘builder’ interface and the ‘live app’ page. You are unable to create your app and simultaneously add data. You must switch back and forth between pages, which is more time-consuming.
Extensions and Add-Ons
Airtable has a large ecosystem of available built-in apps and third-party apps to extend its functionality.
Airtable integrates with Slack, Google Drive, Miro, JotForm, and many more. JotForm’s integration with Airtable can be extended with additional features using On2Air: Forms. You can also extend your data with On2Air: Actions, an advanced connector to integrate your Airtable data with other software tools used in your business.
Knack has no native integrations, although it does connect to Zapier.
Price and Value
Airtable offers a free tier for individuals to use as long as they need with many of the great features included except Blocks. Because Airtable is an online database giving you the option to organize any department, business function, or data, including using it for project management, it has tremendous value.
Airtable has a $10 a month paid annually Plus plan, best used when you need to store more data. They have a Pro plan with upgraded features for $20 a month paid annually or $24 paid month-to-month. It includes features such as Blocks, advanced calendar options, custom colors, and branded forms. An Enterprise plan is available for organizations with a need for more administrative controls and dedicated support.
Knack has a 14-day free trial to try their database builder. The plan options include the Starter Plan at $39 a month for 3 apps, 20,000 records, 2GB storage, and basic support.
You have the option for an increased number of apps, more records, more storage, and priority support on the Pro plan at $79 a month. You can upgrade further for more apps, storage, records, and premiere support on the Corporate plan at $179 a month. They also have another tier of upper plans and also an enterprise plan.
Airtable support is available by chat or dedicated support on the Enterprise plan. Airtable replies within 1-2 days or quicker with priority support.
Depending on your plan, Knack offers support by email or chat. Their upper-tier plans include phone and video calls.
Airtable has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 on G2.
Frequent positive reviews state Airtable is excellent for project management, has a variety of templates, and the in-app integrations are instrumental in taking your data further.
Milan W., Web Developer, is able to coordinate projects and research with this team, “Using this platform I can organize our work in a very easy way. I like that platform because we can work more in cooperation for individual projects and groups of all styles. The very useful platform which helps us to use this product for coordinating launches, planning new features, settling research, and staying on the one page.”
Travis W., Electronic Media Specialist, embraces the endless possibilities and the simplicity yet complexity of the app, “Airtable feeds my compulsion for efficiency and organization. I constantly think of ways to use the system and ways to convince others to use it as well. I like that it’s simple enough for the average person to use and also allows complexity. The various templates are a great way to get ideas for creating new bases as well.”
Negative reviews requested more customized views, task dependencies, and a desire to be able to compose an email and send it directly into the app.
Knack doesn’t have many reviews on G2, but with multiple review platforms combined, such as G2, Capterra, and Software Advice, they have an average of 4.2 out of 5.
Several positive reviews were pleased to be able to convert their spreadsheets to databases, the ability to use formulas, and being able to rapidly prototype applications before implementing company-wide.
Bianca C., Web Analyst, likes being able to access data from anywhere, “I really like it because you can manage, share and analyze the information from anywhere in the world, keeping them safe in an online database. In addition to this, I can expand the data with special alternatives such as formulas and equations if required, otherwise, it is enough with the templates that it brings by default to create a simple but effective database. It is so simple but at the same time very complete and accessible with only one login for everyone involved.”
Mary B., Marketing Manager, prefers its simplicity, “Knack has been very easy to use, edit, and customize. Everyone on our team uses Knack to log information and prepare our products best for our customers. After having been trained on it, Knack is very easy to log, compare, and apply filters for data-analysis of our products and our customers.”
Negative reviews include the difficult navigation for customers in the client portal, a need for better server responsiveness, and more native integrations.
How to Migrate from Knack to Airtable
If you are ready to make the move and migrate from Knack to Airtable, it only takes a few steps.
Airtable has 2 import options for new data: CSV imports and table-style copy and paste imports.
Knack gives you the option to export each Object and corresponding data as a CSV file, TXT format, or JSON format. The best way to migrate your data into Airtable is to export each Object as a CSV.
First, navigate to your Object. In this example, we will use the Property Object.
Click Export > CSV.
Knack will export your Object as a CSV with data types as column headers and corresponding data. It will not export your file attachments, but instead, provide you with a link to the file in Knack. You will need to download the attachments manually.
In Airtable, click Add a base > Import a spreadsheet.
For your first table, you will select Import a spreadsheet > Choose a .CSV file.
Choose your CSV file and upload your data.
For the remaining Object CSV files, you need to copy and paste your data.
Copy the data from each of your CSV file’s independently.
For each file, open your current base and click the plus icon next to your current table. Then click Create empty table.
Next, click in the first top-left cell and paste your data.
You can then change the Column Types to fit your specific data needs, whether it’s a text field, multiple select, or number. You can also add your file attachments to their corresponding records.
It won’t be perfect at first and will take some data adjustments. (No software transition is completely seamless!) However, once you begin using Airtable, you will quickly see just how simple and awesome it is!
Additional Airtable Resources and Tools
BuiltOnAir is your resource for all things Airtable. We have a directory of the best Airtable Product Extensions and Tools, Communities, Consultants and Service Providers, and Scripts. If you want to read about specific industries using Airtable, check out our Ultimate Airtable Industry Guides. We also have a podcast featuring Airtable users from a variety of industries and companies.
If you want to stay up to date on all things Airtable, subscribe to the BuiltOnAir newsletter for a weekly update of all things Airtable and community-related. We never send promotions (other than the occasional note from our sponsor, Openside), and do our best to curate the most relevant content in the Airtable space.
On2Air | Openside
BuiltOnAir is proud to be sponsored by Openside, a talented consulting and development company that has built advanced integration and workflow tools for Airtable.
As the only provider of premium products and services for Airtable, Openside not only builds Airtable integration tools but supports them with a unique array of services and solutions for companies.
Two of the best tools for Airtable business professionals are:
On2Air Forms combines JotForm’s robust form-building capabilities to pull Airtable data into your forms and then push form responses back to Airtable.
- Pull any data from your Airtable databases into forms
- Search within databases for form options
- Auto-populate forms from pre-existing data
- View names or filters from Airtable in your forms
An advanced integration and automation tool perfect for workflows. With this tool, you can:
1) Integrate Airtable with a large variety of apps used in your workflows and reduce manual work
2) Gain access to advanced options (not possible with other Airtable connectors on the market) to make everything more simple and powerful
Key features of the On2Air: Actions tool:
- Trigger changes to your bases from a large variety of choices
- Update or delete fields and records according to desired criteria
- Find or create records according to ID, views, or other options
- Pull data from external systems into your Airtable schema automatically
When choosing an information management software, Airtable and Knack are both helpful tools for creating a cohesive, collaborative company information and storage platform.
Each has a variety of features to use, depending on your unique requirements and services. If you want a solution that is easier to set up and have a more modern interface, Airtable is the tool for you. If you want a client-facing, simple platform, Knack is the solution for you.
At BuiltOnAir, we are advanced Airtable users and businesses and have seen how versatile it can be for anyone. It’s an innovative online, relational database but practical enough to be extended throughout your entire company. We recommend Airtable as an easy-to-use solution for customizing your business needs.