When to use Zapier instead of Airtable

April 11, 2024

A northern mockingbird flew into our house this weekend. 

We all had different strategies for how to get the bird safely out. I opened all windows and doors. My children decided to run around, laugh, and scream. My sister grabbed a soft towel to “catch” the visitor. Our puppy Rosie tried biting all of us in excitement. 

We all at good ideas (well, maybe not Rosie). Eventually my sister caught the bird and safely let it outside. 

It was hard to know exactly what method to use, but the end goal was the most important: deliver the bird safely outside.

Like our feathery friend, you’ve got a ton of fun-flying systems that need to be delivered, but it’s not always clear what method to use: Zapier (Interfaces, Tables, etc.) or Airtable.

Today, I’ll give you the two questions that simplify the decision for you so you can deliver the most value from what you build to your team or clients. 

Hot tip: these questions go beyond just Airtable and include any other app you might use to build with.

Question 1: What are you delivering?

If your delivery is a single action, consider Zapier.

Last week, I talked about a lead routing app. It delivers a lead assignment. It ends in a single action: perfect for Zapier.

If you’re building a system that delivers an email or message, consider Zapier. 

If you’re building a system that delivers an updated field in your CRM, consider Zapier.

If you’re building a system that delivers a pizza… consider a car or a drone.  

Point is that Zapier is great for systems that deliver single actions.

Remember that, not the pizza.

You can still build things in Zapier that don’t end in a single action. In those cases, there’s another question to ask…

Question 2: Is consolidation an option?

If you can consolidate without losing necessary functionality, consider Zapier.

It’s still early at Zapier with Interfaces, Tables, Chatbots, etc.—we’re still trying to find product-market fit. But there’s one theme surfacing from customers:

If they can centralize a system in Zapier, it saves them money and time. 

Especially for agency owners who have to deliver software bills to clients, a centralized system in Zapier simplifies things. Think one bill instead of three.

So herein lies the question: can you work with existing Zapier functionality? If so, consolidating your system in Zapier gives you:

  • Stronger integrations
  • Simplified billing
  • Cost savings

Here’s to simplifying decisions. 

To recap:

  • Zapier and Airtable are both strong choices
  • Single action delivery? Consider Zapier. 
  • Consolidation possible? Consider Zapier.

That’s all for this week!

Happy Building,


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