Here’s the truth: there are hardly any ‘chat apps’ left on the market. Today’s corporate messengers are not just about communication anymore. As business demands have risen, chat apps have turned into powerful collaboration tools.
They mix chats, audio/video calls, file sharing and integrations with third-party apps, becoming a kind of ‘work hubs’ to satisfy all business needs. As a result, both startups and well-established companies use the services of a web application companies to get a corporate messenger tailored to their specific needs and requirements.
Back in 2013, Slack pioneered this approach to chat apps. Today, with more than 10+ million people using it daily, the tool definitely has momentum in the business collaboration world. But chances are Slack will not stay on top forever or even for too long.
Over the last couple of years, many brand new tools have arrived and they are doing great catching up with the market leaders.
At Chanty, we love to explore team chat tools. Learning about different features from our colleagues-slash-competitors helps us improve our app. We have already given comprehensive feedback on the most popular Slack alternatives. Here’s a slightly more extensive review of business communication tools.
We’ll list chat apps, focus on their key features, and share our opinion on the pros and cons of every app. Each description contains a ‘Will this tool serve me?’ section to help you make a more reasonable decision on the particular app that best suits your business needs.
In case the freemium plan is all you are looking for, take a closer look at the table we’ve made for you.
What are the best chat apps?
It wouldn’t be our blog if we didn’t put the Chanty team chat app as #1 on this list. We’ve designed a team collaboration tool with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Chats are neatly organized in public, private, one to one conversations.
Unlike some of our competitors, we decided not to limit the searchable message history, creating a seamless and stress-free experience for all our users. Links, files and pinned messages of every conversation are neatly organized making it easy to instantly find what you need.
One of the handy features in Chanty is the built-in Task Manager which is a breeze to use so you can turn any message into an assignment. Moreover, we’ve recently launched voice, video calls, and voice messages.
Now Chanty is a go-to app not only for office workers but for remote workers as well. If you are tired of switching between the tabs at work, connect any app out of the 1500+ available in Zapier to Chanty and turn your workplace chat into a single notification center. We have recently rolled out even more numerous features for you to enjoy super fast and easy communication in Chanty.
Feel free to join our community of Chanty users!
Chanty’s free plan is limited to 5 people on a team. The paid plans start at $3 per user, per month.
iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and web
‘Is Chanty a good fit for me?’
If you need an app with intuitive user experience, organized communication, seamless collaboration, powerful search, audio & video calls, voice messages, integrations, adjustable notifications and many more features to come, you are definitely on the right track.
Brosix IM is an enterprise IM service specializing in team communication solutions. While there is a free Brosix app similar to other IM apps, their main focus is on business communication services. This is done through their private team networks that provide organizations with their very own internal network.
These networks come with a range of collaboration features including p2p file transfer, screen sharing, audio and video calls and persistent chat rooms. The networks are also fully administrable, meaning businesses can control who uses them and how.
Brosix pays special attention to security, with all communication channels fully encrypted. Its user interface will seem familiar to those used to using older instant messengers like AIM.
|Free||$4 per user per month when paid annually ||$6 per user per month when paid annually |
Brosix has apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android and Web.
Is Brosix right for me?
If you’re looking for a private, secure network for your team, then Brosix IM could be a good choice. It allows you to administer your team communication as you see fit, meaning it’s a solid choice for those who are looking for a more hands on approach.
Slack, a team chat tool released in 2013, is ahead of the curve when it comes to apps for chat. It’s been often praised for having 2400+ integrations, friendly UX and a powerful search.
At the same time, some users describe their interaction with Slack as a love-hate relationship – primarily because notifications are not so easy to handle. In the Freemium version, file storage is limited to 5GB, and only recent 90 days of messaging history.
And yes – Slack is pricey, which is pointed out by many of its competitors. However, Slack keeps growing – in 2018 it acquired a couple of major competitors – Atlassian Stride and HipChat.
Slack for Teams has 3 plans as well as Slack Enterprise Grid available on request:
$7.25 per user, per month
$12.50 per user, per month
|Limited with 90 days of your team’s most recent messages, 5 GB storage space per team, 10 third-party apps or integrations and 1-to-1 calls only.||Unlocks screen sharing, 10 GB storage per member and group calls up to 50 participants, among other things.||Adds extra security features, SSO, compliance exports, 24/7 support and 99.99% guaranteed uptime SLA.|
iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Linux, and web
‘Is Slack a good fit for me?’
Slack is not the cheapest tool on the market, especially for a rather big team. But if you are ready to pay a pretty penny for unlimited 2400+ integrations among other advantages, Slack can be your choice.
4. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft was one of the first tech giants that saw a great potential in the team communication apps niche. In 2010 it designed Lync, then – Skype for Business. Later on, in November 2016 the chat-based workspace Microsoft Teams made its official launch. After releasing the Freemium version, the tool strengthened positions in the pursuits to dethrone Slack. Of course, Microsoft Teams has deep integrations with Office 365 tools. E.g. you can share any Office or OneDrive document – access it and edit it together with your team without leaving the app. However, Microsoft Teams is not easy to deploy and manage, which we described in-depth by sharing our experience while comparing the tool to Slack.
Microsoft Teams offers 4 price tiers:
|Freemium||Microsoft Teams Essentials|
$4 per user/month (billed annually)
|Office 365 Business Basic|
$6 per user/month (billed annually)
|Office 365 Business Standard|
12.50 per user/month (billed annually)
|For those who don’t have commercial Office 365 subscriptions. Unlimited messages and search, audio and video calls for up to 300 people.||Enables scheduled meetings and meeting recording, among other features.||Enables phone calls and audio conferencing, integrations.||Premium features,|
iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and web
‘Is Microsoft Teams a good fit for me?’
If you already purchased Microsoft Business Essentials or Business Premium package, using MS Teams seems like a reasonable choice. The same is true if deep integrations with Office 365 tools are critically important to you. However, be ready to face challenges with tool deployment and administration.
An all-in-one team collaboration and project management tool, ProofHub fulfills the needs of modern day teams that are looking for a solution to manage projects, and collaborate with clients and colleagues in one place. ProofHub has been designed for teams to discuss ideas, assign tasks, plan projects, set timelines and milestones, track progress, manage issues, and do much more.
It replaces email, instant messaging, calls, file storage tools and multiple other productivity apps with just one tool to accomplish all your tasks effortlessly. With its advanced features, it enables users to manage the entire life-cycle of the project using a single online application. This powerful tool is everything you need for on-time delivery of projects and happy clients.
The main features and benefits of ProofHub are: Real-time updates, status on projects, interactive discussion threads, private proofing and comments, Asana import into ProofHub, and multi-team project management.
($45 /month billed annually)
| Ultimate Control Plan |
($89 /month billed annually)
|40 projects |
|Unlimited projects |
iOS, Android, and Web
‘Is ProofHub a good fit for me?’
With ProofHub, everyone from the CEO to junior designers is on the same page. The tool is meant for teams of all sizes. This tool will help you stay on top of your projects and tasks, streamline communication and collaborate better with your clients and coworkers
6. Meta Workplace
If you can’t live without Facebook, it’s likely that you may consider the Workplace platform as your chat app. Introduced in October 2016, it has quite an unusual layout and features for a collaboration tool. How about live streaming your meeting? Starting a day with reading posts from your colleagues in the News Feed?
Unlike Facebook social media, you’ll encounter no ads in the Workplace platform, as Workplace charges you with subscription fees. For those having security concerns, Workplace is about to use the new domain to protect customers’ data.
|StandardFree||Core Plan$4 per active user, per month|
|Voice and video calls (desktop and mobile) are available among other features.||Group communication, live video, palls, surverys|
iOS, Android, Windows, macOS
‘Is Meta Workplace a good fit for me?’
If you are a Facebook ecosystem fan, Workplace can be your choice. Diving into a familiar interface can reduce the learning curve. But be ready for a different workplace collaboration experience compared with using other chat apps.
7. Google Workspace
Here’s Google’s take on creating a world-class chat app. Google Chat and Meet were made publically available in February 2018. It comes in Google Workplace subscription plans – so expect no Freemium version. The app has deep integrations with Google Workplace tools, such as Calendar and Drive. Online meetings are available via Google Meet. The multiple languages support works well for multinational teams.
Having been released just recently, the tool is constantly adding new features. Since August, Google Chat has added notification snoozing features and some emoji reactions.
$6 per user, per month
$12 per user, per month
$18 per user, per month
|Professional office suite with 30GB storage space||Enhanced office suite with unlimited storage and archiving||Premium office suite with advanced controls and capabilities|
They also offer an Enterprise plan which offers: Custom and secure business email + eDiscovery, retention, S/MIME encryption, 500 participant video meetings + recording, attendance tracking, noise cancellation, in-domain live streaming and unlimited storage.
iOS, Android, macOS, and web
‘Is Google Workplace a good fit for me?’
If you already have some Google Workplace apps incorporated in your work, feel free to explore Google Chat and Meet. However, the tool may lack some important features as it was just recently released.
Rocket.Chat is a Brazil-based tool released in 2015. Unlike Slack, this is an open source app, which means you can customize, extend, or add new functionalities to the tool according to your needs.
Also, Rocket.Chat has a generous Freemium tier for those who choose a self-hosted version: the unlimited search history and dozens of integrations including Zapier. Customizable UI and threading add up to its list of features. The tool also has its automatic real-time message translation feature which might be convenient for co-workers and partners who speak different languages.
However, as some reviews suggest, the tool is not great for technologically challenged users.
Here is the pricing for the self-managed version of the tool:
$3 per user, per month
The price is available upon request
|Unlimited users, search history, integrations||Dedicated conferencing, onboarding assistance||Audio to text conversion and high scalability cluster|
iOS, Android, Windows, macOS and Linux
‘Is Rocket.Chat a good fit for me?’
In case you need an open-source tool – Rocket.Chat can be your best option. Be sure to give yourself a considerable amount of time to explore it and get familiar in case you are not tech-savvy.
Let’s move away from Brazil – right to Indian Mumbai, where Flock is based. The tool clearly positions as a Slack alternative, trying to dethrone a red-hot player and surpass Microsoft Teams. In the comparison reviews, the lower price is mentioned as an advantage of Flock over Slack. Indeed, Flock’s most affordable paid version is $2 cheaper than Slack. However, Flock’s Freemium plan has the same drawback – 10K message history limit.
When our team tested Flock, we noticed the tool has high-quality video calls, but its interface is rather overloaded.
As of November 2018, Flock will provide you with 3 tiers:
$4.5 per user, per month billed annually
The price is available upon request
|Search up to 10K messages, 10GB file storage for your team.||Search unlimited messages,|
10GB file storage per licensed user.
|20GB file storage per licensed user and dedicated support.|
iOS, Android, macOS, Linux and web
"50 Surefire Ways to Improve Your
Communication issues at work?
"50 Surefire Ways to Improve Your
‘Is Flock a good fit for me?’
Flock was designed to suit many use cases. Its pros and cons are better assessed when tested personally.
In conclusion, let’s move to the US-based apps. Ryver launched in 2015 in order to ‘solve the world’s email problem’ and replace ‘the outdated way many teams collaborate’. Two years later the tool came up with its top feature – the built-in Trello-like task manager. As for a native solution for calls, Ryver doesn’t provide it, at least, yet.
The audio and video conferencing is available via integration with the FreeConference app. Since 2018 Ryver is not a free tool anymore. As Ryver CEO Pat Sullivan explained, the company started charging its users because the app became ‘mission-critical for most customers’. Unlike many (I would even say most) team chat tools, it charges for a team – not per user.
$69 per team, per month
$129 per team, per month
Starting at $4.67 per user, per month for 30+ users
|Up to 12 users, unlimited chat and file sharing||Up to 12 users, unlimited users, custom invite links||Workflow automation,premium support|
iOS, Android, macOS, and web
‘Is Ryver a good fit for me?’
Basically, Ryver is like putting Slack and Trello into a single tool. Explore it if you like the idea of combining team communication and task management in one app.
Pumble is a free business messaging platform for team communication and collaboration.
Pumble enables you to communicate with your teammates in public or private channels, as well as in one-on-one conversations.
What distinguishes Pumble from other apps, among other things, are free unlimited users and chat history. You don’t have to worry about storage either — Pumble offers you 10GB of free storage space per workspace.
If you need peace and quiet to focus on your work, you can easily set DND mode, and you won’t receive notifications in the time slot you choose.
Not everything can be solved with an email or a message on your business messaging platform — sometimes, video calls are the best solution. Pumble’s video call feature lets you share your screen with your teammates, thereby improving your workflow and productivity.
$1.99 per user, per month
Unlimited message history
1:1 voice and video calls
Share files and links
10GB storage per workspace
|Everything in FREE|
10GB storage per user
Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, Web
‘Is Pumble a good fit for me?’
If you value relaxed and secure communication with your team and clients, you should choose Pumble as your communication and collaboration platform. Free unlimited users and chat history, and an intuitive user interface are also the reasons you should give this app a chance.
For now, we’ve explored the best chat apps:
- Chanty is a simple team chat with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface and unlimited message history in a free plan. Give it a try if you want to make your team communication simple and effective.
- Brosix IM is an enterprise IM service specializing in team communication solutions.
- Slack is the safe bet for those who are ready to part with a round sum of money for unlimited 2400+ integrations and other popular features.
- Microsoft Teams is a solid, but not the simplest tool on this list. Explore it if you are not afraid of challenges in deployment and team administration.
- Embrace Meta Workplace if you like the world-known social media platform ecosystem. But be prepared for some differences in its functionality compared to other chat apps.
- Adopt ProofHub if your business team is mainly interested in a project management tool along with a communication app.
- Explore Google Chat in case you are interested in deep integrations with Google Workplace tools. This is a recently released team chat tool with many features to come.
- Rocket. Chat is an open-source tool, which tech-savvy users may find quite beneficial.
- Flock seems like a well-maid Slack alternative, however, its Freemium version is quite restricted with a 10K message history limit.
- Ryver is suitable for bigger teams, as it charges per team, not per user. Try it if you like the idea of putting Slack and Trello into a single tool.
- Pumble enables you to communicate with your teammates in public or private channels, as well as in one-on-one conversations.
Did we help you pick the best chat app?
These first tools are just the beginning. The list of chat apps can be endless and we’re looking forward to introducing you to some other cool apps. Stay in touch.
Have I missed anything? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.