Dropbox vs Google Drive: Which cloud storage tool is best?

/ 9 min read
Kat Boogaard

Gone are the days when you’d keep all of your important information in a file cabinet (or, you know, in unruly stacks on your desk). These days, most of us need a digital solution to easily organise, store, and access our files from any device.

And in the world of cloud storage services, you’re bound to come across two major players: Dropbox and Google Drive.

Both of them do what you’d expect them to do—they provide ample storage space for all of your digital stuff, make it easy to search and find what you need, and enable painless file sharing if you need to send something to another person.

But when the two solutions have so much in common, how can you possibly choose between them? In an attempt to figure it out, I did what any self-respecting millennial would do: I took to Twitter.

I posed a straightforward question: Which of these two cloud storage platforms do you like better and why? Well, Twitter is nothing if not full of hot takes and strong opinions. So let’s dig deeper into the Dropbox vs. Google Drive matchup so you can choose the right cloud storage provider for you.

Summary

This blog post compares two major cloud storage services: Dropbox and Google Drive. It highlights the features, advantages, and drawbacks of each platform to help you make an informed decision.

Dropbox:

  • Offers a free plan with 2GB storage, alongside paid plans with added features and storage
  • Integrates with tools like Slack, Zoom, Canva, Paperform, and Google Workspace
  • Offers full set of products for online tasks like eSignatures, file backups, password storage, and collaborative documents
  • Users appreciate Dropbox for large file storage, fast file syncing, and perceived security advantages

Google Drive:

  • Part of Google Workspace, integrating with Gmail, Google Meet, Google Docs, Sheets, Calendar, etc.
  • Offers a free plan with 15GB storage shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos
  • Users appreciate Google Drive for its accessibility, convenience, ease of use, and affordability

Both Dropbox and Google Drive have their strengths, and the choice between them largely depends on your individual preferences and requirements. This post suggests using Dropbox for large file storage and Google Drive for general use, but some users may find it beneficial to use a combination of both platforms for different purposes.

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Dropbox overview: The go-to solution for larger files

screenshot of dropbox in action(Image Source)

Let’s start with Dropbox. Much like any other cloud file storage solution, Dropbox allows you to upload, save, organise, search, and access all of your files in one centralised place.

Within Dropbox, you can create folders to sort things into categories and use the search function to quickly find what you need. There are also easy file sharing capabilities. It has all of the basic cloud storage functionality you’re likely already familiar and comfortable with (unless you’ve been using a stone tablet and chisel for the past few years).

Watch: How to send files and submissions to Dropbox

While Dropbox has a free plan (called Dropbox Basic) that will get you 2GB of storage space, there are also a variety of paid plans that provide extra features for different teams and use cases:

  • Dropbox Plus for individuals who want more storage
  • Dropbox Family for your whole family to store files on one bill
  • Dropbox Professional plan for freelancers
  • Dropbox Standard plan for small teams
  • Dropbox Advanced plan for larger teams
  • Dropbox Enterprise for organizations

Different plans will give you different storage limits as well as access to additional features like large file delivery, advanced sharing controls, or enterprise-grade security and visibility.

Since you need file storage to fit into your broader processes and workflows, Dropbox offers plenty of integrations with beloved tools like Slack, Zoom, Canva, Paperform, and even major competitor Google Workspace.

Speaking of Google Workspace, Dropbox has kept pace with the industry giant by creating a full set of products for online tasks, like collecting esignatures, backing up important files, storing passwords, transferring files, creating collaborative documents with Dropbox Paper, and more.

Why people love Dropbox

What did Twitter have to say about choosing Dropbox over Google Drive? While the vast majority of respondents opted for Google Drive, the people who stand behind Dropbox are passionate about their stance for several reasons:

  • Large file storage: Many people cited Dropbox as the best solution for storing and sharing photos, videos, and other large file formats—with claims that Google Drive automatically compresses those files. It doesn’t appear that’s true (Google lets you select your backup quality and doesn’t seem to automatically compress anything). But even so, most people point to Dropbox as the go-to platform for big files.
  • Fast file syncing: We’ll spare you the tech talk, but what you need to know is that Dropbox doesn’t sync files the same way that Google Drive does. That gives Dropbox a competitive edge when it comes to sync speed.
  • Security: Several other respondents said that Dropbox was the best for people who work with a lot of confidential files or sensitive information because it offers better security and encryption for files. However, it seems like the two solutions are more evenly matched when it comes to security measures than Twitter likes to believe. Both offer two-factor authentication and both use AES 256-bit encryption (here’s Dropbox and here’s Google talking about security), which is the industry standard.

Even if several of the “selling points” of Dropbox have been debunked (hey, it’s hard to keep up with Google), it’s still a solid, reliable, and highly-praised cloud storage solution.

Other nitty-gritty Dropbox details

  • Storage limits: Limits depend on the plan you choose. The free plan (Dropbox Basic) provides 2GB of storage space. Upgrading to the smallest paid plan (Dropbox Plus) allows for one user and 2 TB of storage. The largest plans (Advanced and Enterprise) offer unlimited storage.
  • File upload limits: Files must be 2 TB or smaller when uploaded through the Dropbox app and 50 GB or smaller when uploaded to dropbox.com.
  • Pricing: 30-day free trial. Paid plans for individuals start at $9.99 USD per month, while paid plans for teams start at $15 per month per user when billed annually.

Google Drive overview: The beloved behemoth amongst Google users

screenshot of google drive product on mobile and laptop(Image source)

Well, if Twitter has anything to say about it, Google Drive’s the clear and undeniable winner in the great Dropbox vs. Google Drive debate. Out of 595 respondents to the Twitter poll, a whopping 85.7% of people said that Google Drive is the better cloud file storage option.

(Image Source)

Google Drive is part of Google Workspace, Google’s suite of well-known productivity and collaboration apps like Gmail, Google Meet, Google Docs, Sheets, Calendar, and more.

And while it obviously swept the Twitter popularity contest, the truth is that you’ll find a lot of the same things you’d find with Dropbox—or really any other cloud file storage platform. You have the ability to store all different file types, create folders, set file permissions, get shareable links, and more. It’s also easy to search for the files you need by typing words into the search box.

Google is one of the biggest names in tech, so it makes sense that you’ll also find all types of third-party app add-ons—from Trello to Evernote to DocuSign.

Why people love Google Drive

So how exactly did Google Drive run away with the vote? There are a few compelling reasons why people chose Google Drive as their clear winner:

  • Accessibility and convenience: This was one of the most prominent justifications. Respondents said that almost everybody is already using Gmail, Google Docs, and other Google solutions, so it’s the most natural choice that doesn’t cause any friction with existing workflows or relationships.
  • Ease of use: Many also said that they find the Google Drive interface to be way more intuitive and easy to use than Dropbox.
  • Affordability: When looking at paid plans, Google Drive has a lower price tag than Dropbox.

To put it simply, when so many of the actual features and capabilities between Dropbox and Google Drive match up, of course more people will go with the option that’s easier, cheaper, and more prominent.

Read: How to create an automatic download link with Google Drive

Other nitty-gritty Google Drive details

  • Storage limits: Limits depend on the plan you choose. Every free account gets 15 GB of storage shared across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos. You can upgrade to Google One to get increased storage (all the way up to 2 TB).
  • File size limits: There’s a 5 TB maximum file size for individual files. However, individual users can only upload 750 GB each day between My Drive and all shared drives. So, if your file is above 750 GB, it’ll upload—but it’s the only thing you’ll upload that day.
  • Pricing: Free plan gives you 15 GB of storage. Paid plans (known as Google One) start at $1.99 per month. You can get a discount by paying annually, which starts at $19.99 for the year.

Dropbox vs. Google Drive: Which one is better?

As Twitter will quickly tell you, figuring out which one is “better” is completely subjective—and honestly, the two solutions have more similarities than differences.

If you need a little more clarity as you weigh your options, here’s a quick table to compare some of the basic facts about Dropbox and Google Drive:

FeatureDropboxGoogle Drive
PricePaid plans start at $9.99 USD per month when billed annuallyPaid plans start at $1.99 USD per month
Free trial30-day free trial14-day free trial of Google Workspace
Storage limitUnlimited storage space (for Advanced and Enterprise plans)2 TB (on highest tier plan)
File upload limit2 TB (app or desktop version)5TB maximum upload file size
50 GB (dropbox.com)Individual users can only upload 750 GB each day between My Drive and all shared drives
AppAndroid, iOS, and desktopAndroid, iOS, and desktop

Still stuck? If I had to make your decision for you, here’s what I’d say: use Dropbox if you have particularly large files to upload, store, and organise. If you don’t? Go with Google Drive.

In fact, some people on Twitter mentioned that they refused to play favorites and instead use a combination of both options—like using Google Drive for work stuff and Dropbox for personal use. Or using Dropbox to store and organise all of their photos but Google Drive for documents.

At the end of the day, there really isn’t a wrong choice. And hey, whichever one you go with for online storage is sure to be a heck of a lot better than that rusty ol’ file cabinet, right?


Paperform integrates with Dropbox and Google Drive. You an convert submissions into files, or store your file uploads automatically in your cloud drive. Get started today.


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About the author
Kat Boogaard
Paperform Contributor
Kat is a freelance writer focused on our working world. When she’s not at her computer, you’ll find her spending time with her family—which includes two adorable sons and two rebellious rescue mutts.

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