Notion and Coda—the leading all-in-one docs tools—seem almost interchangeable at first sight. But a lot is going on beneath the surface.
The right tool depends on your use case and what features you prioritize. Do you need something simple to use? Or do you not mind a learning curve in exchange for a robust documentation system?
I spent hours testing and comparing Notion vs. Coda, and here’s how they stack up.
Notion’s pricing is better for small teams, and Coda’s cost is more scalable for larger organizations
At first glance, Notion seems more affordable than Coda. The team plan at Notion is $10/month, and the pro plan at Coda is $12/month. As you move up the ladder, the difference gets larger—Notion’s business plan is $18/month, and Coda’s team plan is $36/month (and potentially more if you need integrations).
(Note: You save a good percentage on both software if you pay annually.)
But the pricing battle has more nuance regarding Notion vs. Coda. Why? Because Notion charges per user while Coda charges per doc maker.
That means if you have five members in your team, all five of them will have to pay to use Notion—regardless of whether or not they created the document. But an infinite number of people can use (edit and view) your Coda document, and you’ll still only pay for the document creator.
When you take this into account, Coda’s pricing is way more scalable. Because while Notion charges for every seat on the table, Coda only charges the document creators. Notion is great when you have a small internal team, but as you grow into more members, Coda gets cheaper.
That said, if you’re an individual user, Notion might be the better choice for you.
Notion has a better free plan for individual users
Coda has a painfully restrictive free plan—with limitations on the document size and syncing multiple tables with each other, and other restraints. Even individual users soon find Coda’s free plan insufficient to fulfill their needs.
Notion’s free plan, on the other hand, has unlimited pages & blocks for individuals, allows 10 guest collaborators, and gives unlimited access to Notion’s public API.
Notion will undoubtedly give you the most bang for your buck if you're looking for a productivity tool for your use only.
But if you’re looking to replace your spreadsheets and create powerful no-code databases, Coda reigns supreme.
Coda creates superior databases and formulas
Tables and formulas are where Coda is unbeatable. Let’s first talk about tables.
(Side note: Notion calls them “databases” and Coda names them “tables” but it’s the same thing.)
Notion’s tables are easy, lightweight, and have multiple views, but they’re nowhere as strong as Coda.
Both Notion and Coda allow you to interlink databases, but Notion is limited compared to Coda. For example, if you want to embed a form on your website and enter its info in a database, you can do so in Coda automatically using their form feature. You can even put your branding in forms in the pro plans. Huge time-saver.
You’ll need to use a third-party tool to create forms in Notion and set up an automation to fill your database automatically (if that’s possible).
Next, let’s chat about formulas. The worst thing in Notion is the formulas are confined to the database.
For example, if you want to add a line “number of subscribers: X” where “X” updates as more people sign-up (AKA your sign-up database’s rows increase), you can’t do that in Notion. In Coda, it’s easy-peasy. And it can pull information from multiple databases. Yay.
Not to mention: the formulas are much easier to understand at Coda because they’re designed like a coding language.
For instance, if you’re creating a to-do list and want to see the number of items at the “pending” stage, you can simply type the formula:
(It’s a basic example, but you can create much more complex formulas using Coda.)
I was gritting my teeth trying to use the same formula on Notion—its language is just too complicated and time-consuming to understand. And even if you manage to learn it, Notion frequently runs into performance issues as storage data increases, while Coda’s speed stays the same with large databases.
Coda wins the database and formula round, but if you’re looking to create a knowledge hub or a note-taking system, Notion is a no-brainer choice.
Notion has a stronger note-taking and knowledge-base game
Notion calls it a “page” and Coda calls it a “document” but they’re synonyms for anything text-heavy.
Both the tools emulate Google Docs in the sense that you can open up a page, start typing, and collaborate with commentators/editors—but Notion is slightly better than Coda. It flows better, and the search functionality is stronger (necessary when creating a knowledge base).
Then it’s no surprise one of Notion’s most popular use cases is creating a company wiki. At Plus, we rely on Notion to make “employee user guides” and build a great remote-first culture.
I’ve personally worked with clients who use Notion in place of Google Docs for long-form content collaboration, and the replacement works top-notch.
Don’t get me wrong: Coda has similar formatting capabilities, but Notion’s roots are pages—which is why it works better for all things text-heavy.
Coda takes the cake in all things integrations, though.
Coda surpasses Notion in integrations (but with Plus, both get in a tie)
For any productivity tool to be your ultimate source of truth, it has to integrate and collate data from other software you use. For instance, you might want to pull tasks from your Google Calendar into Notion without typing them in manually.
This functionality is a necessity: The average company uses a whopping 72 apps, and this number shoots up to 187 for larger companies (2,000+ employees).
While Notion has plentiful helpful widgets, Coda comes out on top in integrations. It has “packs” which allow you to integrate with tons of apps and pull their data on Coda. For instance, you can directly embed your Google Calendar into Coda.
For many of these apps, Notion relies on Zapier for integration. But with their recent acquisition of automate.io (similar to Zapier), Notion is moving towards having comparable integrations.
But they don’t have to.
With Plus, you can embed data from any app you want—whether that’s Notion or Coda—in one place. A simple browser extension enables you to take and embed dynamic snapshots of everything—like your fancy Notion charts.
Despite dominating the integrations competition, Coda sorely loses when it comes to community.
Notion conquers community
Notion’s following is cult-like. Creators have built their entire business (and livelihood!) around teaching people how to optimize Notion. (Case in point: Marie Poulin and Notionery.)
The company truly nurtures its users, and the community acts like a built-in support system for Notion. They have webinars, consultants, local groups, and virtual hangout places to make their customers feel like they’re part of the club.
Coda has a forum where users share happy reviews and helpful templates, but it’s practically nothing compared to the raving Notion fans.
Another area where Notion is a clear champion: Ease of use and learning curve.
Notion is easier to use and beginner-friendly
In my experience of testing both apps, I found Notion to be way easier to use and understand than Coda. It’s easier and more intuitive to get started on Notion—without limiting your freedom. Coda has many powerful functionalities, but it takes some getting used to and can feel daunting in the beginning.
The learning curve is much shallower for Notion. Its templates are also more user-friendly and robust than Coda.
That said, for a power user of productivity tools, Coda will be much more rewarding. Once you get the hang of it, it can work better than Notion.
Notion vs. Coda: Which should you choose?
There’s no one “better” tool if you compare Notion and Coda—it depends on your use case and the functionalities you value.
Use Notion if:
- You’re an individual user or a small team
- You’re looking to create something text-heavy
- You want something easy to use and hassle-free
Use Coda if:
- Your needs are more database-driven than text-driven
- You want a powerful tool that’s scalable for all your needs
- You have a team of document users, not document creators
Remember: These aren’t the only tools in the market. Dip your toe into alternatives like Slite and Confluence to see if they meet your needs better.
And it doesn’t have to be one or the other. If you find Notion fulfills one of your needs while Coda satisfies another, integrate them (and any other software in your stack) using Plus. It'll supercharge your workspace and forever eliminate the cumbersome headache of switching from one app to another.