Retool Review: Features, Pricing, Comparison and Alternatives

Ambar on February 26, 2021
We are evaluating Retool, a low-code application development platform based on features & functionalities, pricing, and its alternatives.


As the global pandemic’s impact continues well into 2021, IT leaders will continue to rely on rapid, agile low-code application development platforms to roll out business-critical solutions and expand digital channels. Platforms that integrate holistic multi-experiences and easy enterprise data access will enable organizations to navigate continued economic uncertainty.

During this pandemic, people from all business segments — developers, IT, and business users — have seen what these platforms are capable of, making them a more viable option nowadays. Gartner predicts that by 2023, over 50% of medium to large enterprises will be using low code as a strategic application platform. As business users need a way to transform their manual, office-based processes into ones that could be accomplished online, many turned to low-code to help get that done.

This blog will help you evaluate between two low-code platforms which are serving millions of users.

What is Retool?

Retool is a low-code platform that makes it fast and easy to build internal tools.

Difference between DronaHQ and Retool 

User Persona (Target Audience)

Retool is a good choice for IT departments, developers, and engineers with a strong grasp of important database tools such as MongoDB, SQL, or React and Javascripts Here, the IT team launches an internal tool using Retool, and non-technical team members such as marketing, operations, and customer support can access the tool in “user-mode.”

DronaHQ is low-code platform that helps build Mobile & Web applications. It used by developers and engineering teams as well as citizen developers and business users can build a fully functional app.

Frontend Features

You can build internal tools on Retool by their drag-and-drop UI blocks and connect to databases and APIs. You can extend with JavaScript or build custom react components. It provides ready connectors for vast range of databases.

Skills and understanding of database and writing queries is essential. You have to write SQL queries, POST requests, or data transformers.

DronaHQ provides a huge range of UI controls, screens, layouts, templates. Its Control Designer allows you to make custom UI components in no-code way.

It supports many ready DB connectors, 3rd party connectors and option to connect using REST APIs. It offers cloud based columnar database- Sheets


Use Cases

Retool is a backend tool for engineers or developers for building admin panels, dashboards, customer support tools, Database GUI, CRUD apps, approval workflows.

DronaHQ is used by engineers and business users to build admin panel, dashboard, database GUI, CRUD apps as well as embeddable forms, field service apps, data collection apps, approval workflows, automation apps, multi-lingual apps, learning -training apps. 

Taking an example, Retool doesn’t allow you to build multilingual apps. Using DronaHQ, you can build localized apps with multilingual apps by displaying the right language, currency & formats.

Plans & Pricing

Retool offers user-based pricing model.Every plan comes with editor mode, which lets you write queries and design UI actions.

– Free Plan: This plan allows you to connect to any database or API, except Salesforce. This plan will enable you to use the query library to build, share, and resume queries for any database or API. Free subscribers receive 10 queries per app. 

– Startup Plan: It costs $10/user per month, with user mode, allowing the app outside of the editor interface. This option also provides versioned releases & revision history features so that you can revert your app. 

– Pro Plan: In addition to the previous plan, it costs $50/user per month, allowing you to create user groups and assign them to specific permissions within the app. It gives an audit logs feature that authorizes you to track every written query, including reading & writing, from API and databases. You can also integrate with Salesforce and other SQL servers. Pro subscribers can work with the Retool team to develop other customized features.While public links are only available from this plan.

– Enterprise plan:  This plan provides version control with Git. The Retool team will work together with the subscribers to build custom connectors. Each of these subscribers receives a dedicated success manager from the Retool team and a shared Slack channel.

DronaHQ offers usage-based pricing that is based on the number of tasks per month. All plans have unlimited users. It provides three variations in its pricing –

  – Starter Plan: It prices at $100 per month, provides 25000 tasks, 10 published applications, 5,000 records, 20GB storage, 2 admins, and 5 connectors. 

  – Business Plan: It gives 1,25,000 tasks, 20 published applications, 50,000 records, 40GB storage, 10 admins, and 25 connectors for $500 per month. 

  – Enterprise Plan: To get this plan, you need to provide DronaHQ with information about how many users you intend to have and what features you are looking to include in your app. They will help you in further processes.

Workflows, Automations, Additional Database storage, PDF generator are some compelling add-ons.

All the plans contain features like UI builder, workflow builder, sheets database, and analytics. Additionally, custom functions, code blocks, Designer, and customized controls are supported by the Business plan. Enterprise plan gives all the features mentioned above along with a few more options like SSO, environments, Cloud & on-prem deployment etc.

Alternatives for Retool

If you’re a large company/corporation looking for an alternative low-code platform with an enterprise focus, DronaHQ is a good alternative. 

Outsystems is a good alternative for engineers and developers who have a strong grasp of important scripting and database languages such as Javascript and SQL.

If you are looking for cloud based spreadshseet like database Airtable is a good option. The user interface is easy-to-use and allows you to spin up a database in minutes. You can store, organize, and collaborate data — like employee records, product inventories, etc.

Another alternative is Tableau. It is used to create interactive visual analytics in dashboards. These dashboards make it easier for non-technical analysts and end-users to convert data into understandable, interactive graphics. It focuses primarily on visualization and cannot work with uncleaned data. To efficiently use it, you need to do proper data cleaning in the underlying database first.


Evaluating any software is always a difficult task. There are so many options available with a ton of features. If you’re looking for an affordable no-code, low-code solution to create simple, automated business applications like database GUI, Admin panels, dashboards, custom internal tools, data collection apps, automation apps, Try Evaluation Tool by DronaHQ, which will consider various parameters important to you according to your requirement and resources. It will provide you with a clear picture and a way forward to choose the perfect platform for you.


Originally published at Medium.