DropBox and Google Drive provide cloud storage service for your files in their cloud systems, allowing you to access your files from anywhere and on almost any device.
The main difference between the two systems is that Dropbox is primarily a storage system that requires other applications for you to open and use your files. Google Drive is automatically connected to Google workspace of products which you can use to access, view, and modify many of your files.
Both Dropbox and Google Drive provide free storage space for you to test out their services before purchasing. Read through the information provided below to see which service best meets your needs.
Dropbox vs Google Drive Comparison
|Free storage space||2 GB (up to 16 GB via recommendations)||15 GB|
|Premium storage||2 – 5 TB (unlimited amount for business subscriptions)||100 GB – 30 TB|
|Premium rates||starting at $9.99 per month||starting at $1.99 per month|
|File size limits||Unlimited file size when uploaded via Dropbox app.||750 GB daily upload limits. The maximum file size is 5 TB.|
|File Recovery||Limited based on plan from 30 – 180 days||Unlimited recovery time|
|Encryption||AES (256 bit for idle files/128 bit for files in transmission)||AES (128 bit for idle files/256 bit for files in transmission)|
|Direct collaboration||Dropbox Paper||Google Products|
|API for external software applications||Yes||Yes|
|Desktop software application||Windows, macOS, Linux||Windows, macOS|
|Mobile app||Android, iOS||Android, iOS|
Who is Dropbox For?
Dropbox is best suited for users that want fast backups and easy access to their files across an extensive range of different devices. You’ll also find that Dropbox does not have any size limitations or restrictions when it comes to storage space, uploads, or file sharing.
The supported operating systems, devices, and versions of them all are much greater with Dropbox. So if you’re a Linux user, for example, Dropbox is your best option for native support.
Dropbox utilizes a method of backing up your files so that only changes are backed up. This backup method makes things a lot faster when editing large files and storing them back on Dropbox.
Finally, if you’re constantly sharing or working with massive files, you’ll find that Dropbox does not have any size limits or quotas you can hit, aside from how much space you have available in your drive.
Who is Google Drive For?
Google Drive is best suited for people that want cloud storage space and access to Google workspace products like Google docs. It is seamlessly integrated with all the other products, which means you can open, view, and edit files with Google services rather than purchasing separate programs.
If you’re already a heavy user of Google docs and other suite products, then Google Drive storage is instantly included with them all. This gives you more cloud storage for Gmail, Google Photos, and all the other products you could be using, and there is no configuration you need to do.
You can still use Google Drive as a simple cloud storage service and connect it to many other services to access your files as needed. However, if you’re not explicitly looking to use it with Google’s products, then it may not be the best option for you.
|Basic Plan||$0 per month – 2GB||$1.99 per month – 100GB|
|Standard Plan||$9.99 per month – 2TB||$2.99 per month – 200GB|
|Premium Plan||16.99 per month – 2TB||$9.99 per month – 2TB|
Both Google Drive and Dropbox offer a free account for you to use, with no requirement to upgrade. Dropbox will give you 2 GB of free storage per user, whereas Google Drive gives you 15 GB per user. As free options go, Google Drive is the winner.
The cost of each account can change and will depend on the currency your account is set up with. Google Drive offers cheaper plans at lower cloud storage capacity and maxes out at 2 TB per user. Dropbox is more expensive, but you can get more cloud storage space on personal accounts with no transfer limits.
If you just need a small amount of additional storage, especially with Google products, then Google Drive will be a cheaper and better option.
If you need a lot more cloud storage and transfer and share large files often, then Dropbox is a more expensive but better option with higher limits on cloud storage and transfer.
Integration & Setup
Google Drive is built into most Android devices and is the default method for saving and sharing files in Google’s various apps. Its apps are also available on various platforms.
Although Dropbox is widely available, its integration is not as seamless on mobile and Chrome OS. There are a few key differences between the two.
Both Dropbox and Google Drive can work seamlessly with other apps that are commonly used by users. Some of these include Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud.
Both are comparable products with very similar features. The primary difference is that Google Drive is optimized for Google products, and Dropbox integrates easier with other products.
- Both offer automatic syncing of files and folders from multiple devices. Dropbox has better support for devices and versions of systems. As well as having native Linux support.
- Speed of syncing is comparable between the systems until you reach large storage space requirements and Dropbox becomes faster.
- Security is higher with Google Drive, so any sensitive data is best stored there.
- Both file browsing and searching are available, but Google is the clear winner for searching through files. Dropbox has inferior search capabilities.
- To view or access your files and folders, Google is absolutely the winner. You have access to Google’s suite of products so that you can view and edit almost any type of file. Dropbox requires other products to do almost anything.
- You can share files from both products, but Dropbox has easier and better file sharing capabilities. Specifically around who you can share with and what they can do with the files. Google has some issues where files can be reshared, and you have no control over that.
- File recovery can be done with both products. However, Google Drive will store deleted files until you empty your trash. Dropbox will remove deleted files between 30 – 180 days after you delete them, depending on your plan.
There is nothing that either product does that’s special, they just do things differently, and you can decide what specific version of the feature works best for you and pick that product.
Syncing & Sharing Comparison
Both Google Drive and Dropbox take different approaches to sync and file sharing. Dropbox will sync changes to files, whereas Google Drive reuploads the entire file. Syncing is an automatic process that happens as long as you have internet access.
DropBox is the winner when it comes to filing sharing. You have control over who has access, with clear permissions, you can set on sharable folders. Google Drive allows you to share files via links, but anybody can access those links, and you have confused control over other people resharing the links.
Speed & Performance Comparison
Google Drive and Dropbox are comparable in speed; accessing your files between the two systems has no real difference that you’ll notice. If you deal with huge files and update often, you will find that Dropbox is faster to upload.
As we mentioned earlier, the syncing of files from Dropbox only sends changes to files, so small changes to large files will be updated quickly. Whereas Google Drive will upload the entire file again. This will be most noticeable on slower connections or huge files.
When it comes to performance, both have created a clean and simple UI across various platforms. Dropbox has a feature called LAN sync, which allows you to send files over local networks. This feature works seamlessly by copying files from the cloud to a desktop or laptop without requiring an additional hardware connection.
I typically hit my storage hard and frequently, and Dropbox has the advantage in terms of performance when it comes to transferring large amounts of data.
Dropbox has updated its desktop app to take advantage of its own design. Although it’s not too hard to use, it may take some time to get used to.
Google Drive has a more streamlined UI, letting users drag and drop files directly into a folder. It also syncs the files to allow them to be shared across various devices.
Dropbox has been the victim of multiple security breaches over the years, with several high-profile breaches sharing sensitive information. The system is quickly patched, but with numerous breaches, there may be more in the future.
Google Drive has never had a security breach due to software failure. Any unauthorized access has been due to user error.
Both systems provide encryption while transferring files and while your files are being stored. They both say they cannot access your data and only authorized applications can, but law enforcement can request access with a subpoena, so it’s clearly not true that your information is entirely private.
Both services have plenty of support options, including live chat, email, and telephone support. However, Google Drive’s support team is typically slower.
When calling Dropbox, we waited for a live chat representative to answer our questions, and then received a response quickly.
Both Dropbox and Google Drive have an efficient support system, but Dropbox is far easier to use.
Dropbox vs Google Drive: User Experience
Both are straightforward to set up, and they provide web browser access, mobile apps, and apps for your desktop.
There is also easy integration with different other products to use your storage with, but DropBox has more available. There are two key differences between the products.
Google Drive instantly provides your storage across their suite of products, but direct access to the file storage can be confusing. Navigating and searching files from each of their different products is easy, especially if you’re familiar with google navigation and products.
Dropbox makes it quick and easy to access your file storage, install the app and start dropping files in. Using your storage for anything other than storing files will require additional setup, and you’ll need other apps to view or use your files. In addition, searching is difficult with a large number of files.
Google Drive vs Dropbox: Which is Better?
From personal experience as a user of both tools, I would recommend a paid Google Drive account and a free Dropbox account. Both have benefits and can be used in different ways, so your requirements for cloud storage should dictate which option you pick.
Google Drive should be considered more secure and a better option for users who want easy access to view and edit their files without many other products being involved.
Click here to sign up for your free Google Drive account.
Dropbox is the better option for efficiently storing and transferring files between different devices. It’s also a much better option for file sharing with other people and with more third-party products if you don’t use the Google suite of products.
Click here to get your free Dropbox account.
Decide what you want storage for, and then pick your options based on that. You get a free account with both, so if the free storage limits are all you need, you may not need to pay for either option.
Benjamin is a certified financial advisor, with over 10 years of experience in the industry. He is knowledgeable about various business and financial topics, such as retirement planning and investment management. Ben has been recognized for his work in the financial planning industry. He has also been featured in various publications.