Dropbox vs. Google Drive (Which is Better?)

DropBox and Google Drive provide storage 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’s suite of products which you can use to access, view, and modify many of your files.

Both Dropbox and Google Drive provide free plans 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

DropboxGoogle Drive
Free storage2 GB (up to 16 GB via recommendations)15 GB
Premium storage2 – 5 TB (unlimited amount for business subscriptions)100 GB – 30 TB
Premium ratesstarting at $9.99 per monthstarting at $1.99 per month
File size limitsUnlimited file size when uploaded via Dropbox app.750 GB daily upload limits. The maximum file size is 5 TB.
File RecoveryLimited based on plan from 30 – 180 daysUnlimited recovery time
EncryptionAES (256 bit for idle files/128 bit for files in transmission)AES (128 bit for idle files/256 bit for files in transmission)
Two-factor authenticationYesYes
Direct collaborationDropbox PaperGoogle Products
API for external software applicationsYesYes
Desktop software applicationWindows, macOS, LinuxWindows, macOS
Mobile appAndroid, iOSAndroid, iOS

Dropbox Pros and Cons

Dropbox Pros
  • Free version offering 2 GB of storage.
  • Automatic backup of files.
  • Easily restore deleted files or old versions of files.
  • Extensive integration with other SaaS products to extend your storage capabilities.
Dropbox Cons
  • Numerous security issues with unauthorized access to customers’ files.
  • Searching for files is limited, especially with a huge number of files and directories.
  • Limited native collaboration tools.
  • High prices with limited features.

Google Drive Pros and Cons

Google Drive Pro
  • Instantly integrated and usable with Google’s suite of products.
  • Free storage up to 15 GB.
  • Excellent search functionality, which is expected from Google.
Google Drive Cons
  • Sharing files provides a unique link, but anybody with the link can view the file.
  • There are file size upload limits and daily transfer limits.
  • Changes to files require a complete file upload, which increases time, especially on slow connections.

Who is Dropbox Best Suited 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, uploads, or sharing of files.

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 Best Suited For?

Google Drive is best suited for people that want storage space and access to Google’s suite of products. Google Drive 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 the Google suite of products, then Google Drive storage is instantly included with them all. This gives you more 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 option 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.

Dropbox vs. Google Drive: Features

Dropbox and Google Drive are comparable products with very similar features. The primary difference is that Google Drive is optimized for Google products, and Dropbox integrates easier with more third-party products.

  • Both offer automatic syncing of files 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 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, 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 third-party products to do almost anything.
  • You can share files from both products, but Dropbox has easier and better 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.

Dropbox vs. Google Drive: Pricing 

Both Dropbox and Google Drive offer a free account for you to use, with no requirement to upgrade. Dropbox will give you 2 GB of storage, whereas Google Drive gives you 15 GB. 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 storage capacity and maxes out at 2 TB for personal accounts. Dropbox is more expensive, but you can get more storage 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 storage and transfer and share large files often, then Dropbox is a more expensive but better option with higher limits on storage and transferring.

Dropbox vs. Google Drive: User Experience

Both DropBox and Google Drive 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 third-party 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 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 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 third-party apps to view or use your files. In addition, searching is difficult with a large number of files.

Dropbox vs. Google Drive: Syncing & Sharing

DropBox and Google Drive take different approaches to syncing and 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 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.

Dropbox vs. Google Drive: Speed

Dropbox and Google Drive 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.

Dropbox vs. Google Drive: Security

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.

Dropbox vs. Google Drive: Which is Better?

From personal experience as a user of both Dropbox and Google Drive, 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 sharing files 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 cloud storage for, and then pick your options based on that. You get a free account with both, so if the free limits are all you need, you may not need to pay for either option.