Metabase vs. Tableau: Which BI Tool is Right for You?

With several BI Tools available on the market today, it can be difficult selecting the right one for YOU. When making a selection it is important to not only consider cost but also capabilities and scalability. Below we’ve outlined a comparison between two very popular tools – Tableau and Metabase. If you’re exploring these two tools, hopefully this will help you make an informed decision! 

Advantages of using Metabase vs. Tableau: 

  1. It is fairly simple to use, and learn, compared to Tableau.
  • It as friendly overall user interface
  • it is very easy to join tables on keys 
  1. It has unique features: 

Share reports automatically. You can email reports or dashboards daily / monthly / or after any specified time period directly to an email list.

 Drag and drop visualizations. It is EASIER to drag and drop tables/ visualizations onto dashboards compared to Tableau. If the data is fed correctly through a database, visualizations can be created simply by dragging and dropping.

Creating dashboards is a breeze! A beginner with no experience can easily build dashboards to create visualizations. 

(The tool provides certain suggestions such as aggregates on which visualizations can be built – like calculating the mean of a particular column. For example, Metabase may suggest calculating the mean order amount by customer, and will calculate it for you.) 

Disadvantages of using Metabase vs. Tableau: 

  1. Lack of flexibility

Poor filtering. We tried to create a filter that can filter data based on orders in the last x days and could not accomplish that in Metabase. Instead, we had to create separate visualizations for each of: yesterday, last 90 days, last 60 days, last 30 days. 

No formatting flexibility. We could not add custom labels or change colors. 

  1. Lack of resources

Metabase has a lot fewer tutorials and community support at this point, making it even more unfriendly to beginners.

  1. Highly reliant on SQL

There were many duplicates in the dashboard that we created. It was impossible to filter the duplicates through Metabase. 

  1. Fewer collaboration options

There is no way to share dashboards other than through an email. 

Here’s an at-a-glance look at the pros and cons

Pros

TableauMetabase
Offers a free trialLower price point compared with similar tools
User friendly; easy-to-use UI; simple set up processGreat for beginners, user friendly; easy-to-use UI; 
Extensive analytics & reporting options availableOffers a 14-day free trial
Wide variety of deployment options
24/7 Support available 
Variety of training resources available 
Mobile friendly

Cons

TableauMetabase
Higher price pointLimited analytics; no benchmarking
Poor Versioning Limited deployment options
No customer support available 
Limited training resources
Limited Graphing capabilities
No Desktop version

If you’re looking for a free data visualization tool for some basic graphs and you want to do it yourself using SQL, then Metabase may be a great tool for you. On the other hand, Tableau desktop version costs $70 and will allow you to join data between databases and Excel, customize queries against data and build some very sophisticated graphs with filters – and much more. 

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