Top 5 ReTool Alternatives & Competitors [Complete Analysis]

Top 5 ReTool Alternatives & Competitors 
[Complete Analysis]

ReTool is an incredible tool for building internal tools fast without needing to know a lot of code to operate it. But, that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect tool for your business.

Every business requires an understanding of the subtle obstacles they are currently facing, compared to another organization. For that reason, we’ve prepared a list of 5 best ReTool alternatives and competitors for you to choose from, so you can tackle those obstacles in a worthy manner.

After reading through, you’ll not only understand the differences between these software solutions but also know which one is the best option for your current situation — so let’s begin.

The ReTool alternatives/replacements we’ve tested and analyzed were:

  1. Jet Admin
  2. Bubble
  3. Internal.io
  4. Appsmith
  5. ForestAdmin

Without a doubt, many companies offer excellent solutions to building internal tools that are both easy to use and provide a great variety of potential applications. We believe this list most resembles the features and possibilities available on ReTool, with a significant number of additional features and use cases you might want to consider.

Overview of ReTool’s platform

As they state on their website, with Retool, you can build internal tools remarkably fast.

They are a low-code platform that helps startups and Fortune 500 companies create internal tools for their teams. Within the platform’s editor, you can combine:

  • Tables
  • Lists
  • Charts
  • Forms
  • Wizards
  • Maps

And more out of the box.

ReTool's Interface

They enable you to connect with many databases or pretty much anything with a REST, GraphQL, or gRPC API.

Retool is best for IT departments and engineers, developers with a strong understanding of crucial databases such as SQL but also for Excel.

With a focus on the financial services industry, retail, media, and many well-known brands such as Amazon, they cover a vast number of industries.

Once the internal engineers/IT team develops the internal tool, they simply launch it and share it with their non-technical colleagues, usually project managers, customer support teams, operations managers, and others, where they use the tool in “user mode.”

Retool’s advantages

  • Their UI is intuitive
  • Many pre-made templates
  • Many integrations with both databases but also APIs
  • Plenty of documentation
  • They offer a free plan
  • They have an engaging community of users who are supportive and offer help and suggestions.
  • They provide a live demo on their website

Retool’s shortcomings and problems

  • Since they’re low-code, in all cases, you will need someone that codes on your team in order to fully utilize ReTool’s potential and create the tools you need
  • They have a limited free plan compared to our alternatives on this list. They allow you to play around with their editor toolkit but restrict you in sharing your designs or going public with your internal tools.
  • Some users have reported that it’s not always reliable and sometimes the dashboards don't load or will not upload
  • Others report that the platform is just too slow, having to open multiple tabs just to speed up their workflows
  • The deployment options are also strictly limited to web apps, cloud-based, SaaS solutions. So your internal apps won’t be suitable for Iphones, Androids, Macs and Windows operating systems.
  • Business intelligence wise, Retool is not the most suitable option. If you’re reading only from your database and are looking for aggregate statistics you should probably be using Periscope, Looker, or Metabase
  • If you are building very complicated front-ends, Retool probably isn't for you. For example, if you need an autocomplete that activates on specific character sequence (eg. the @ sign in Twitter), your best bet would probably be to build it from scratch

ReTool’s pricing plans

Updated in September 2020.

ReTool’s pricing plan scales with your organization's needs.

Free plan:

Those who choose the free plan will particularly be limited in their options and capabilities, which allow you to get a feel for things but not any more than that.

Meaning, most anything outside of testing purposes will require a paid subscription depending on your needs.

Startup plan:

With the startup plan, you can test and share your application with your colleagues (particularly useful when you have a PRO plan because it enables you to create groups of users and assign each group particular to particular apps).

PRO plan:

It’s a must if you have to create groups and assign special permissions. Also, PRO plan is needed in order to be able to connect with Salesforce, Oracle and other SQL Servers/API endpoints. Just keep in mind that at $50 per user per month, you could easily ramp up your monthly costs with a bigger team.

Enterprise plan:

Aimed particularly at enterprises where security, management, deployment and priority support are needed to operate at such larger scale.

If you absolutely need version controls, integrations with Okta, Active Directory, etc., or even custom connectors built just for you, then go for it, but we wouldn’t recommend it if you’re just starting out or aren’t at that stage.
ReTool is a great product, but as it aims at developers to build the tools for your team. But what happens if your team lacks developers or development resources, budget? Can your non-tech team figure out a solution? Is Retool suitable for those teams? It all depends on you and your needs. At the end of the day, we think that ReTool is not the right solution for you if you lack engineers, a developed IT department, or, really, people who have knowledge of JavaScript and Database management to be able to use this platform to its capabilities.

JetAdmin - ReTool No-code alternative truly focused on speed and ease of use

JetAdmin is a no-code internal tool builder that allows teams to build internal tools without engineering efforts.

It enables you to build anything from a simple CRM to a complex refund tool with ease. A simple drag-and-drop interface similar to that of ReTool allows you to connect blocks and build custom-tailored yet powerful apps, intuitively.

Jet Admin - FlexView, UI design

With a massive focus on managing all of your data from multiple sources in one place, JetAdmin offers plenty of data integration options from PostgreSQL, MySQL, FireBase to Google Sheets, Sendgrid, Slack and Intercom, Hubspot, entirely depending on your requirements.

You can learn more about all the JetAdmin’s integration capabilities here.

They can also help you automate your workflow with tasks like sending an email to a user when their order status changes or when a payment goes through.

Advantages for JetAdmin

  • UI that is intuitive and straightforward to use
  • Plenty of pre-made templates (including Stripe Refund Tool and Customer Support tools)
  • Many integrations with both databases but also APIs
  • All of the documentation you need
  • Useful free plan with a 14-day tailored onboarding program
  • Engaging community of users who are supportive and offer help and suggestions.
  • 24/7 customer support
  • There’s a live demo on the website to play around and get a feel for things

JetAdmin’s shortcomings and problems

  • Frontend business logic (Javascript code) currently lacks. Either use the default logic library or implement component from scratch in HTML/CSS
  • There’s no MongoDB integration (But it will be released in the future)
  • There’s no way to sync your SQL code with Git

JetAdmin’s pricing

Updated in September 2020

Free plan:

Features:

  • 1 user
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Self-serve knowledge base
  • Tailored onboarding program
  • A set of in-built widgets
  • Unlimited integration options with databases and APIs

Essentially allowing you to experience the platform with all the basics to get started.

PRO plan:

Everything in the free plan plus…

Premium features:

  • Team-based permissions
  • Activity log
  • Custom automation
  • Custom Widgets
  • Alert Center
  • Tasks and comments

Mainly created for rapidly growing teams that want advanced functionality of the platform without the additional enterprise-grade security required of large businesses.

With team-based permissions that allow group-access segmentation, activity logs for tracking changes, and automation capabilities to increase your team’s workflow efficiency, there’s simply no excuse for your team not to be data-driven and as efficient as they can be.

Enterprise plan:

Pricing depends on your needs

Everything in the PRO plan plus…

Advanced features:

  • Custom domain & branding
  • On-premise setup
  • SSO (SAML, Okta)
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Incident recovery
  • 99.9% uptime SLA
  • Personal Account Manager for your team

Created for large businesses that require all the extra steps of authentication, security, recovery, custom setups, and a personal account manager assigned just to them.

JetAdmin stands more affordable as compared to ReTool, yet offers all the package features ReTool has, in addition to the tailored program you get or personal account manager in the enterprise package.

Similarities between JetAdmin and ReTool

  • Drag-and-drop interface for building your internal tool
  • Both have free plans
  • Both have pre-made templates
  • Both have version control and allow builders to revert changes
  • Both have plenty of Integrations

Key differences between JetAdmin and ReTool

  • JetAdmin is a no-code solution built for not-techy people - ReTool is primarily built for developers by developers. It enables high customization and doesn’t restrict you with visual abstractions or domain-specific languages by allowing developers to write JavaScript almost anywhere on the platform. In comparison, JetAdmin focuses on a complete no-code solution, meaning that it isn’t necessary to know code to enjoy the capabilities JetAdmin offers. While JetAdmin provides you with an option to code for additional tailored solutions, it’s primarily focused on keeping the platform completely no-code, allowing non-tech people to build internal tools without developer resources.
  • JetAdmin also offers workflow automation compared to ReTool, allowing operations managers (or any manager) to automate their team’s, or their own workflow to boost productivity. Seamlessly select triggers and link them with one or a series of actions.

Final Conclusion

If you’ve used ReTool before and loved the capabilities but found you still rely too much on your tech-savvy colleagues in order to make quick changes, then JetAdmin could be a perfect switch for you. Not only will you stop relying on engineers and developers to assist you, but you’ll be able to automate your team’s workflow and boost your overall workplace productivity.

Bubble - ReTool No-code alternative for building web applications, tools, or websites

With Bubble being one of the no-code industry leaders with over 400,000 users, it’s hard not to mention all of the incredible capabilities their platform has to offer. Offering a powerful drag-and-drop web editor and cloud hosting that allows users to build web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more.

Bubble lets you create interactive applications for desktop and mobile browsers, including all the features to create sites like Facebook and Airbnb while internally creating a fully custom backend database with front-end building capabilities.

Bubble's editor UI design

Bubble also handles deployment and hosting while also having no hard limits on the number of users, traffic volume, or data storage.

Advantages of using Bubble

  • A sea of building capabilities
  • Bubble handles deployment and hosting
  • No hard limits
  • A large community of builders active both on Youtube and their Forums
  • No-code; thus, no need for engineers or developers
  • Great for building prototypes and later launching complete versions
  • Every plan includes a robust backend database and workflow system, rapid API publisher, connections to hundreds of third-party services, the ability to add custom Javascript plugins, and secure payment processing and e-commerce.
  • Hundreds of templates for free and for purchase by third party creators.

Bubble’s shortcomings

  • Lacks the simplicity that ReTool offers
  • Takes time to master
  • Lacks various database integrations that ReTool offers
  • Isn’t suitable for creating internal tools, with its focus being on creating web apps and prototypes for end-users outside of your organization.

Bubble’s pricing model

Updated in September 2020

Every plan includes all of the core platform features required to create and host a fully functional web app. All paid plans include email support, white labeling, real-time analytics, and more.

Hobby plan (free plan):

Essentially with the “Hobby plan” you’re allowed to test the platform with limited functionality, with only the editor mode enabled, thus any sort of sharing with the end-user would not be possible. In addition, you can’t contact the support via email and you’re stuck with Bubble’s branding.

Personal plan:

Personal plan is where the fun starts. You’re allowed to white label the web apps and have custom domains, there’s only one editor account allowed (meaning only one user in your team will be able to make changes) and you gain access to 10GB of storage (which is plenty for starters), email support and few other interesting features.

Professional plan:

Professional plan really aims at medium to large teams that wish to create more than a single app. Two application editors, as compared to previously one, more storage, more days of data back-up and restoring and scheduled workflows that run daily now.

Production plan:

Production plan is made for larger clients that have huge teams with multiple departments needing their own application editors, 2-factor authentication, 365 days of data back-ups and restoring, more apps, more storage and obviously, priority support.

Similarities between Bubble and ReTool

  • Both are drag-and-drop tools for building your app
  • Both offer tutorials and how-to videos and documentation
  • Both offer a free plan
  • Both allow for version control and allow for restoring past changes

Core differences between Bubble and ReTool

  • ReTool is built for developers; thus, someone on your team needs to know code to utilize its capabilities and develop the internal tool. Bubble is more robust in its use but requires no coding skills.
  • Bubble is also fully extensible via JavaScript plugins; you can access all of your data through a RESTful JSON API, even allowing for exportation of the logic and visual design of your Bubble app to a JSON file.
  • ReTool allows you to build internal tools with a big emphasis on connecting your databases and APIs all in one place to visualize it, assuming you know the basics of SQL, general database knowledge, Excel, and other tools. On the other hand, if you need a powerful hosted backend for your project, Bubble lets you connect and launch your app without touching code. With Bubble, you’re able to design your own data models, add authentication, and create access control rules similar to that of ReTool.
  • They offer more templates, but these templates are also different in nature than that of ReTool, so keep that in mind.

Final Conclusion

Suppose you are looking for a ReTool alternative that doesn’t focus mainly on database and API integrations to create a GUI of your data. In that case, Bubble might be an excellent solution to jump-start your idea as a prototype without the need to know how to write code.

Internal.io - ReTool No-code alternative for creating GUI out of existing databases

With yet another tool similar in functionality to ReTool and JetAdmin, and core focus on visualizing and making sense of your databases, Internal.io enables your team to create internal tools without involving much of your engineering/development team.

It unites everything in a single, powerful interface with built-in CRUD capabilities.

Some of its use cases are building or managing your:

  • Approval queues
  • Viewing and organizing customers’ orders with ease
  • Client onboarding
  • Data Mapping
  • User Management
  • Content Management
  • Product Development
  • Keeping track with your compliance tasks

Advantages of using Internal.io

  • Simple to use, drag-and-drop style similar to that of ReTool and JetAdmin
  • Plenty of integrations, but not as many as its two close competitors
  • Ability to add multiple sources of data into a single tool.
  • Helpful documentation for developers
  • Allows you to automate workflows similar to that of JetAdmin
  • Cool micro features like:
  • Roles and Permissions
  • Audit logs
  • Redacted Fields
  • 2-step Verification

Internal.io’s shortcomings

  • Less functionality and smaller pool of integrations as compared to ReTool.
  • Poor Visual Builder. Meaning you can only create one page or Space. It’s impossible to create a custom logic behind it.
  • You might still need engineering help, since Internal.io doesn’t provide the right no-code experience and self-service as JetAdmin’s intuitive UI does.
  • You can’t create your own custom components, like in JetAdmin or ReTool, for example.
  • It requires knowledge of Javascript to build API and SQL queries.
  • For true security for both cloud or local hosting, you’ll need to buy the Enterprise plan.
  • Poor documentation, with a big focus on devs and not no-code people.

Internal.io’s pricing model

Free plan:

With the Free plan you’ll be able to have up to 5 users (both editors and end-users combined), unlimited number of spaces (tools), permission management, email support and a few integration options right from the start. Essentially, providing a great but limited offer right from the start.

Essentials plan:

This plan provides you everything the basic plan does plus

  • 2 business application integrations (e.g., Salesforce, Hubspot, Stripe, Zendesk)
  • Unlimited number of users (though you pay for each one’s use, monthly)

Making it a good option after you get a better understanding of the platform using a free plan.

Growth Plan:

Everything in Essentials plan plus…

  • More general data sources and more business application data sources available to integrate at the same time
  • Access to Audit logs
  • Access to 2FA

Enterprise plan:


The Enterprise plan aims at teams that don’t want to be limited in any sense or way.

Built with unlimited data sources in mind, as well as business applications, a priority support, onboarding and training for your team and an SSO.

Similarities between Internal.io and ReTool

  • Drag-and-drop interface for building your internal tool
  • Both have free plans
  • Both have templates you can choose from
  • Both allow for many database and API integrations into a single point

Core differences between Internal.io and ReTool

  • ReTool allows for more customization because it relies more on developer code, thus opening up less natural limitations.
  • On the other hand, Internal.io doesn’t rely on engineers and developers for an operations manager, customer support manager, representative, etc., to build their internal tools from scratch, saving engineering costs and saving time.

Final Conclusion:

If you’re looking for a similar tool builder to ReTool, Internal.io offers more or less the same functionality. Having a bit smaller number of integrations available than ReTool, Internal.io makes it up by providing a no-code platform for non-tech builders to build and manage internal tools with ease.

Appsmith.com - ReTool alternative if you’re looking for an open-source internal tool builder, built for developers

Open source admin panel, CRUD, and workflow builder

Appsmith is an open-source framework to build internal tools. The low code project comes with UI widgets like tables, charts, forms, map viewer, and more. Easily connect to REST APIs, Postgres, Mongo, and MySQL. Invite users and allow login with Google accounts.

While AppSmith is not as good as ReTool feature-wise but it makes up to be an attractive alternative if you are looking for an open-source solution, currently free to use.

While the core purpose is similar to that of Internal.io and JetAdmin.io, it remains a low-code solution similar to ReTool, requiring you or someone in your team to know code.

Appsmith's Builder UI design

Advantages of using Appsmith

  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • Open Source
  • Currently free
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Customer data views for sales & support teams
  • Configuration managers for client-visible UI used by technical and non-technical people
  • Multi-step data workflows which involve multiple participants(like content moderation tools or customer KYC at fintech startups)
  • Unlimited number of users
  • They offer documentation
  • You can self-host Appsmith in your private cloud

Appsmith shortcomings:

  • Requires developers (though it’s built for them)
  • Currently, there is no option to move apps from a cloud-hosted version to a self-hosted version. But If you contact them, they should be able to do it manually.
  • Interface not intuitive for non-tech people

Appsmith’s pricing model

They don’t have a pricing model yet. They are only charging for enterprise-grade features like:

  • SSO
  • Audit logs
  • Custom theming
  • Custom domain
  • And other features

Similarities between Appsmith and ReTool:

  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Customer data views for sales & support teams
  • Integration of multiple data sources in one place
  • Both are low-code solutions

Core Differences between Appsmith and ReTool

  • ReTool is more robust, offers more up-front features and templates, database, and API integrations, compared to Appsmith.
  • On the other hand, Appsmith is free, provides a lot of core functionality that ReTool has, it’s the only open-source solution on the market, and it allows for self-hosting in a private cloud.
  • Appsmith also offers automation options, which are certainly helpful if you take advantage of it.

Final conclusion

If you were using ReTool and had a pleasant experience while assuming coding knowledge wasn’t an issue. In that case, you might want to switch to Appsmith to further reduce cost, enjoy the open-source benefits, and not be limited to any number of internal tool builders and end-users.

ForestAdmin - The low code framework Retool alternative to building internal tools

Launched in 2016, French startup ForestAdmin started as part of eFounders’ startup studio with a mission to unify all these administration interfaces into a single platform so that you don’t have to switch back and forth between all the different products.

Think about Forest as a sort of Squarespace for admin interfaces.

It’s an all-in-one visual platform used by teams to perform the most common tasks without technical knowledge.

Focusing solely on building fully-secure Admin Panels using hybrid deployment, ForestAdmin is mainly used by developers and not no-code individuals, per se.

ForestAdmin’s advantages

  • Fully Secure on all packages
  • Installation time: Up to 10 minutes
  • They provide you with dev documentation and a community that you can reach out to
  • A program that scales very well with remote teams
  • The Forest support team is very responsive
  • The ability to create a CMS in minutes as opposed to months

ForestAdmin’s shortcomings and problems

  • ForestAdmin isn’t a no-code solution, so the platform requires knowledge of JavaScript and Node.js, but also a framework installation to implement a custom action, unlike with JetAdmin, for example, that uses a no-code drag-and-drop approach to implement your use case. JetAdmin provides pre-built widgets to build this backend logic.
  • They give no templates, which is not ideal compared to other solutions on the list
  • When building Custom Pages, they don’t provide you with a powerful visual builder as JetAdmin or Bubble do
  • When doing integrations, they require coding skills: Use of Foret Liana (Node.js framework)
  • There’s no built-in Database editor
  • No mobile view
  • No tagging of objects (a feature many need)
  • Collaboration/Activity is elementary
  • The new UI lacks color contrast
  • They offer a rigid interface structure, limited functionality, and lack the 3rd party service integrations that JetAdmin offers by default, saving you time and money to implement.

ForestAdmin’s pricing model

When looking at ForestAdmin’s pricing model, you’ll notice they are in the middle in terms of costs compared to JetAdmin, which is the most affordable and ReTool, which is the most expensive option.

Community plan:

With up to five users, a small dev team can get a tiny peek into their community features like:

  • Layout editor
  • CRUD
  • Search & filters
  • Segments
  • Few of the smart features
  • Dashboard
  • Exporting as CSV
  • Multiple environments (e.g., dev, staging, prod)

Start plan:

At the Start plan, you get access to both email support but not the private slack group. Besides the basic community features, you also get access to many premium features like:

  • Built-in 3rd party integrations
  • Team-based permissions
  • Activity log
  • Multiple dashboards
  • And a few more

Plus plan:

The Plus plan offers everything in the Start plan, including access to the private slack group but also features like:

  • Enforced 2FA
  • Custom domain & White labeling
  • Approval workflows
  • And a few more

Enterprise plan:

The Enterprise plan delivers everything that all the previous plans include, as well as additional security with features like:

  • Service level agreement
  • Custom invoicing
  • Incident recovery
  • Solutions engineer

You can read everything more in detail on their pricing page.

In terms of pricing comparison, ForestAdmin is way more affordable than ReTool, so if you’re on a budget and like the features that ForestAdmin offer, we recommend you go for it as a worthy ReTool alternative.

ForestAdmin UI

Similarities

  • Both ForestAdmin and ReTool are low-code solutions, meaning they are aimed at developers and require attention and resources to operate.
  • Both require knowledge of Javascript
  • Installation time is reasonably fast for both of them
  • Both offer good documentation and community to reach out to
  • Both provide a simple SQL builder for custom SQL requests

Core differences:

  • Product-wise, ForestAdmin focuses solely on Admin Panels while with ReTool you can create Customer Support tools, Admin Panel, Dashboards, Portals, etc.
  • ForestAdmin is fully secure on all packages while Retool introduces tighter security in on-premise/Enterprise levels
  • ForestAdmin has hybrid deployment while Retool offers cloud and on-premise deployment options
  • ForestAdmin requires Javascript + Node.js, while ReTool, focuses on JavaScript + SQL when building internal tools
  • Forest Admin offers no templates, while ReTool offers 20+ to choose from
  • ReTool offers a powerful visual builder to create a custom page, while ForestAdmin doesn’t
  • ReTool is more expensive than ForestAdmin

Final Conclusion

ForestAdmin is a cool dev framework for Node.js developers that want to start focusing on bringing results as opposed to wasting time building their admin panel, maintaining it, managing permissions and never-ending optimization.

Thank you for reading!

We hope you enjoyed this article and got useful information to help you on your journey of building internal tools for your team without being bottle-necked. It’s worth noting that despite some tools offering more features, capabilities or possibilities upfront, it’s crucial for you and your team to get a strong grasp on platform’s use, so you will be able to move fast and build fast to enjoy the benefits these platforms can provide.

Until next time.

Thank you for reading! Jet Admin is a ready-to-run admin panel designed to fit the operational needs of your business. Integrate our API with your web application's database and enjoy!

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