Zoom Meeting vs. Zoom Webinar: Which Is Better?

Zoom offers two similar video conferencing products that should be used in different situations based on your needs and who is attending the conference. Zoom Meeting is more geared towards participant interaction with the host and each other, while Zoom Webinar is more for the host and panelists to talk to the participants.

Zoom Meeting is ideal for smaller meetings when people need to interact with each other, like team meetings or a family get-together. Zoom Webinar is better where participant interaction is not wanted like company townhalls or large education events where you just need to listen to the presenter provide information. 

In my job, I use both Zoom Meetings and Zoom Webinars for different purposes, so I’m going to take you through what each of them will be best for so you can decide which one you need.

What Can Zoom Meeting and Zoom Webinar Do For You?

Zoom is a video conferencing provider that connects people remotely via their laptops or phones and even allows people to dial into the conference for audio access only. It’s a great way to share information and interact with people that are not physically close to you.

Zoom is used personally for friends and families to connect remotely and talk, and many businesses use it as an option for internal and external meetings, conferences, and company updates. You’ll also find many schools using Zoom to run their remote classes, which is much more common these days.

Zoom MeetingZoom Webinar
ServiceFree & PaidAddon to Paid only
Audio SharingEveryoneHost Controls Access
Video SharingEveryoneHost and panelists
Max Participants100050,000
Participant ListEveryoneHost and Panelists
Email Reminders
Breakout Rooms
Payment Integration

Who Should Be Using Zoom Meeting?

Zoom Meeting is best for personal use, smaller team meetings within the same company, or sales meetings between companies. The lower cost on a reasonably high participant count with full interaction available between all participants makes it ideal for collaboration and a single presenter discussing a topic.

Small classrooms that require student interaction are best on Zoom Meeting as students may need a teacher to see their screen or for students to raise questions or even give their own presentations to the class.

Zoom Meeting Pros and Cons

Zoom Meeting Pros
  • Free version for life
  • Recording meetings locally or to the cloud for sharing
  • Integrates with many third-party products
Zoom Meeting Cons
  • Advanced features require higher-tiered plans, which have minimum license requirements.
  • No email reminders
  • Some companies have blocked Zoom meetings

Who Should Be Using Zoom Webinar?

Zoom Webinar is best for large full company meetings that don’t require participant interaction, outside of basic questions from the chat or through polls. It allows a much larger participant count for businesses with more than 1000 employees.

Zoom Webinar is also best for public events where you don’t want participation, and the presenter and a small group of panelists will be the only ones talking and providing information.

In addition, Zoom Webinar also allows tickets to be sold through integration with PayPal, so it is a good option for businesses selling services such as fitness studios or even paid educational events.

Zoom Webinar Pros and Cons

Zoom Webinar Pros
  • Huge participant limit
  • Payment options for events
  • License only required for host
Zoom Webinar Cons
  • Must have Zoom Meeting license
  • Cloud storage costs extra
  • Prices skyrocket for larger events

Zoom Meeting Pricing Plans

Zoom Meetings offer a free option that is great for personal use, and this is what I use when talking to my family in another country. The paid options allow more attendees and more features for managing the meeting, reporting, and even recording the meeting to the cloud, but the basic features are the same in all plans.

You do pay per user every month, but there are a minimum number of users you must purchase for each plan, so if you want the features from the Enterprise plan, you need to buy 50 licenses whether you use them or not.

For a minimum of $50 per month, you can increase your max participants to 500 – 1000, but this won’t be enough to cover a full company meeting for many businesses.

Minimum Licenses191050
Max Participants100100300500
RecordingLocalLocal / 1 GB CloudLocal / 1 GB CloudUnlimited
Includes Webinar 500

Zoom Webinar Pricing Plans

Zoom Webinar can only be purchased as an add-on to your Zoom Meeting license; at a minimum, you need a Pro account, and then you can buy a single Webinar license. Attendees in Webinars do not cost you a license, and only the host uses up the license.

The biggest difference between the different plans is how many attendees are available, and in the Event plans, you can charge attendees to join the Webinar, which is paid through PayPal by default.

Webinar 500Event 500Webinar 5000Event 5000
Paid Attendance
Event TypesSingle-sessionMulti-day, multi-track sessionSingle-sessionMulti-day, multi-track session

Zoom Meeting vs. Zoom Webinar: Pricing Comparison

As a reminder, you MUST have Zoom Meetings before you can purchase Zoom Webinar, and one of the biggest reasons you need Zoom Webinar is for the increased participant count. Zoom Meetings can increase their participant count up to 1000 with prices starting at $50 per month, so it can often be cheaper to pay for that addon rather than getting Zoom Webinar.

Your most significant advantage in paying for Zoom Webinar will be the event management features you get, such as payments and reminders to be sent out to participants, which Zoom Meeting can’t offer.

If you need to record your smaller sessions and that’s more important than participant control, then Zoom Meeting is the cheaper option. So it all depends on which features are the most important to you, as both Zoom Meeting and Zoom Webinar make use of upselling for additional features, and neither is a perfect option for everything you need.

Zoom MeetingZoom Webinar
PlanProWebinar 500
Pricing$134.91 / month$79 / month

Zoom: Reputation

Zoom has an excellent reputation with most people as it provides a free service that brings families together while they can’t be physically present, which has been a fantastic marketing tool for Zoom during the COVID pandemic.

Zoom’s reputation within the business world is not as good. Many businesses still block the use of Zoom on corporate networks and computers due to the initial security issues that were found with Zoom. Often when I try to book meetings with customers through Zoom, their corporate policies restrict its use, and something else needs to be used.

When I previously used Webex, this was not an issue, so in some cases, neither Zoom Meeting nor Zoom Webinar is an option for people, and this is due to Zoom’s reputation that is still present even after they’ve fixed the issues. So consider that before purchasing either option because some of your customers may just not connect with you.

Zoom Meeting vs. Zoom Webinar: Verdict

Based on my opinion, the overall winner and what I use most is Zoom Meetings. As a corporate and personal user, it meets all my needs without paying more for Zoom Webinar. The free option provides long meetings with a high participant count, and my day-to-day business usage is with smaller groups and often scheduled through Zendesk, and participation is required.

My company does have both, but Zoom Webinar is more used for our larger events where the entire company needs to get together. So this is monthly town halls or any time the executive team wants to discuss anything with the entire company, so my Zoom license doesn’t allow the use of Webinar, and I’m just a participant.

Zoom Meeting would be best for small meetings that require participation from everybody as it allows all users to be presenters, provides full interaction with minimal limitations between meeting participants, and will enable you to record meetings for review later.

Because Zoom Meetings is required for Zoom Webinar, if you decide that you want Zoom Webinar, you’re going to have to pay and get usage out of Zoom Meetings anyway.

Click here to sign up for Zoom Meetings.

Zoom Webinar would be best for larger companies that need to bring their entire company together for updates. With a much higher participant count, it allows up to 50,000 participants to join, though participants aren’t charged a license fee.

In addition, Zoom Webinar would be best for anybody that requires public events and wants to control participant interaction and even charge for access to the webinar. This could include businesses selling a service or just public events where you don’t want everybody to be able to interrupt or ask questions outside of the chat.

Click here to sign up for Zoom Webinars.