Retool vs Airplane: The Major Comparisons

Tanmay Sarkar
Posted by Tanmay SarkarPublished on Jun 28, 2023
8 min read
retool vs airplane


In today's world, technology has revolutionized the way we work and live. The emergence of new technologies and tools has shortened the time required for performing a task and has increased efficiency. Retool and Airplane are two such tools that have been creating a buzz in the tech market. Both tools help to expedite the development process and offer innovative solutions.

We will talk about Retool vs Airplane in this article where we will deep dive into this two innovative tools that offer unique solutions for building internal applications. There are several factors that one can consider while comparing them, some of which are Ease of use, Integrations, Security, Customization, Speed, and Collaboration. Let's take a more in-depth look at these factors to determine which platform might be suitable for your business.

Overview of Retool

Retool is a low-code development platform that allows users to build internal tools and applications with speed and ease. Its drag-and-drop interface enables developers to create UIs and connect them to various data sources and APIs. Retool excels at simplifying complex workflows, enabling teams to rapidly build and iterate on internal tools.

With Retool, developers gain access to a wide range of pre-built components and integrations, empowering them to connect with databases, REST APIs, and more. It provides multiple out of the box widgets so you can spend your time assembling your UI, not inventing it from scratch. Retool's versatility makes it suitable for a broad range of use cases, from internal dashboards to customer-facing applications.

Know more about some of the top Retool alternatives.

Overview of Airplane

Airplane is another noteworthy low-code platform that focuses on providing a comprehensive development environment. It offers an intuitive visual interface that simplifies the application building process, catering to both developers and business users. Airplane's mission is to empower non-technical teams to create applications and automate workflows with minimal coding knowledge.

With Airplane, users can leverage a range of pre-built templates and modules, speeding up development and reducing the time-to-market for their applications. The platform offers a visual workflow builder, allowing users to design complex automation sequences. Airplane's emphasis on collaboration and usability makes it an attractive choice for teams seeking to foster cross-functional collaboration and innovation.

User Interface and Design

When it comes to the user interface and design capabilities, both Retool and Airplane provide intuitive and visually appealing experiences. Retool offers a versatile drag-and-drop interface, enabling users to design pixel-perfect UIs effortlessly. The platform supports customization options, allowing developers to tailor the application's look and feel to their specific requirements.

Airplane, on the other hand, prioritizes simplicity and ease of use. Its visual interface is designed to accommodate both technical and non-technical users, making it accessible to a broader audience. While offering fewer customization options compared to Retool, Airplane focuses on delivering a seamless and intuitive experience.

Also read our another comparison article on Retool vs Bubble.

Functionality and Integration

Retool and Airplane excel in providing robust functionality and integration capabilities. Retool's strength lies in its ability to seamlessly connect with various data sources, including databases, REST APIs, and third-party services. Developers can leverage Retool's extensive library of pre-built components and integrations to accelerate development. The platform's flexibility enables users to build sophisticated applications that interact with multiple systems.

Airplane, on the other hand, emphasizes simplicity and ease of integration. It offers a range of pre-built modules and connectors that allow users to connect with popular services and APIs. While it may not offer the same level of customization as Retool, Airplane prioritizes quick and easy integration, making it ideal for rapid application development.

Workflow and Automation

Both Retool and Airplane provide capabilities for workflow management and automation. Retool offers a visual workflow builder, enabling users to create complex automation sequences. This feature allows teams to streamline processes, automate repetitive tasks, and improve efficiency. Retool's focus on enabling developers to build powerful internal tools with complex workflows sets it apart.

Airplane places a strong emphasis on workflow automation. Its visual interface allows users to design and automate workflows without the need for extensive coding. This empowers non-technical users to create custom applications and automate business processes with ease.

Collaboration and Teamwork

Collaboration and teamwork are crucial aspects of any low-code platform. Retool offers features that enable teams to collaborate effectively. Users can share projects, work simultaneously on applications, and provide real-time feedback. Retool's collaborative environment fosters effective cross-functional collaboration, making it an excellent choice for teams working on internal tools and applications.

Airplane, too, recognizes the importance of collaboration. The platform allows multiple users to work together on projects, facilitating joint application development and collaboration between technical and non-technical team members. Airplane's focus on fostering collaboration makes it well-suited for organizations that prioritize teamwork and collective innovation.

Scalability and Performance

When it comes to scalability and performance, both Retool and Airplane deliver reliable solutions. Retool is built to handle large datasets and high traffic volumes effectively. With optimized database connections and efficient caching mechanisms, Retool ensures optimal performance even with complex applications and extensive data processing requirements.

Airplane, while focusing on simplicity, still offers reliable performance. It provides scalable infrastructure and can handle moderate to high user loads efficiently. Airplane's architecture is designed to ensure smooth operations, providing users with a reliable and responsive application experience.


Retool offers a flexible pricing model that is based on the number of user accounts required. The pricing starts at $100 per user per month for up to 5 users and goes down to $90 per user per month for 10 or more users. The Enterprise pricing option is available for organizations with more than 100 users, and it is customizable based on their specific requirements.

Airplane is an open-source framework and, therefore, does not charge any upfront fees for using the platform. However, Airplane may require external services such as hosting, databases, and email services, and their costs may vary based on the selected provider.

Pricing Model



Pricing Tier

Free and based on the number of user accounts

Free and user based

Starting Price

$12 per user per month + $7 per end user

$10 per user per month

Number of Users

Starts with 5+ in the 'Team' pricing plan

Unlimited users in 'Team' pricing plan



Externally managed

Technical Support

Email and chat support

Community-driven support

Feature Upgrades


Community-driven upgrade


Available in Enterprise edition

Available in Enterprise edition

Roadmap Prioritization


Available in Enterprise edition

Security features



As you can see from the comparison chart, Retool offers more features and support out of the box, making it a more complete solution for businesses looking to build web applications. Airplane, on the other hand, is a great choice for companies with in-house developer skills looking for more customization and flexibility.

It's important to note that the pricing comparison between Retool and Airplane isn't entirely one-to-one since Retool is a more complete and all-in-one solution compared to Airplane, which is an open-source framework requiring external service providers for hosting and other necessary systems. Therefore, it's important that users carefully consider the costs associated beyond Airplane's free offering.

Appsmith: An Alternative to Retool and Airplane

Appsmith is another low-code platform for building web applications that can be considered as an alternative to Retool and Airplane. Appsmith's unique features include intuitive drag and drop interface, ready-to-use widgets, customizable templates, scalable architecture, and the ability to deploy code on any cloud hosting platform.

With Appsmith, developers can easily connect to APIs and databases, customize multiple layouts, and automate workflows without writing complex code. Appsmith offers a wider range of pre-built integrations than Airplane and is more affordable than Retool.

Here are some reasons why businesses should consider using Appsmith over Retool and Airplane:

  1. It is open-source. Open-source tools provide transparency by granting users access to the source code. This enables developers to understand how the tool works, verify its security, and customize or modify it to suit their specific needs.

  2. Open-source tools typically have active communities of developers and users who contribute to the tool's development, provide support, and share knowledge. The collaborative nature of open-source projects fosters innovation, encourages continuous improvement, and results in a diverse range of perspectives and expertise.

  3. Appsmith's web applications can be easily deployed on any cloud hosting platform, giving businesses more flexibility and control over their infrastructure.

  4. Open-source tools tend to have a strong community and developer base, which helps ensure their longevity. If a tool's development is discontinued by its original creators, the open-source community can often step in to maintain and enhance it. This provides reassurance for users that they can continue using and receiving updates for the tool in the long term.

  5. It has unique usage-based pricing model which starts with $0.40 per hour per user. Better pricing than both Retool and Airplane.

  6. Appsmith's architecture is built on top of microservices, making it a more scalable solution than Airplane's open-source framework and Retool also.


Retool and Airplane are both powerful low-code platforms that cater to different use cases and target audiences. Retool excels in providing flexibility, powerful integrations, and advanced workflow capabilities, making it ideal for teams building complex internal tools. Airplane, on the other hand, focuses on simplicity, collaboration, and empowering non-technical users to create applications and automate workflows.

Ultimately, the choice between Retool and Airplane depends on your specific requirements, the complexity of your applications, and the technical proficiency of your team. Consider your project's needs, desired functionality, and long-term scalability to make an informed decision. Both Retool and Airplane offer robust solutions that can help you accelerate application development and drive innovation within your organization.

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