Zapier and Make are easily the two most popular automation platforms in 2023. But while both allow you to connect different tools, they offer slightly different user experience and features.
In this in-depth Make (Integromat) vs Zapier comparison, I’ll look at which one is a better choice for you to automate your personal tasks, work, and even your entire business.
But before we start comparing features, let’s look at why choose one of those two tools in the first place.
Why Choose Zapier or Make (Integromat)?
Even though Make and Zapier are hardly the only automation platforms out there, they are (and have been for the past few years) the most popular choices. So why choose them over the others if the market is full of automation tools?
First, both Zapier and Make have been around for quite some time (Zapier was founded in 2011 and Make in 2012). As a result, their developers had plenty of time to improve the tools, fix common issues, and integrate them with the most popular apps.
Moreover, one of the reasons they’re so popular is because of their reliability. Let’s face it – if they weren’t reliable, they probably wouldn’t be around anymore. When it comes to automation, you need the tools to work 100% of the time. Each workflow failure can cost you a lot. Especially if, due to that failure you miss out on an important deal or make decisions based on incomplete data.
Lastly, thanks to said popularity, finding answers to many basic questions is quick and easy. Both offer huge amounts of documentation, as well as the most popular integrations. Moreover, it’s not uncommon to find answers to the most common questions in communities dedicated to developers (such as Stack Overflow).
Speaking of communities, both tools have their own community platforms too! And while Make’s community isn’t really active, Zapier’s community is thriving!
Of course, if you don’t want to do the setup yourself, hiring a Zapier consultant is also much easier than trying to find one for a less popular platform.
That’s not to say there are no other decent options. But, unless you have very specific needs, either Zapier or Make should help you meet them. In fact, the two tools are an excellent choice for the majority of individuals and small and medium businesses that plan to start automating their workflows.
However, because of some big differences between the two, one may be a better choice over the other. So, let’s jump right into the comparison – starting with Zapier!
Zapier – A Brief Overview
For many people, Zapier is “the” automation platform. It’s the most popular and commonly used tool to create automation workflows.
Even if you’ve never heard about “workflow automation” or low code, you most likely know Zapier. And, considering how intuitive it is, you may have even used it to automate simple stuff like automating LinkedIn with Zapier!
But, if you’ve never heard about Zapier – here’s a 1-minute explanation:
Of course, it allows you to do a lot more than merely connect two apps together – let’s take a quick look at its most popular features.
Zapier Key Zapier Features
Over the years, developers added dozens of great features that allow you to build even better automation workflows. But, at its core, the most important feature is a Zap (this is what they call an automation scenario).
A typical Zap is made up of a trigger (the event that triggers the workflow) and actions. A Zap can have one action or many different actions. A typical Zap looks like this:
As you can see, it’s pretty linear, allowing you to view exactly what’s going on with your data. The first step is the trigger and the others are Zapier actions.
While this UI type has its pros, there’s also a big disadvantage in that it’s hard to add complicated logic – but, we’ll get to that later.
Interestingly, Zaps can connect with different scenarios (called sub-zaps) – you can call them directly in the workflow.
Sub-zaps are like reusable Zaps which you can call from different Zaps, allowing you to avoid repetitive steps in your Zaps. Now, that’s the basics – let’s look at some of the other built-in Zapier apps.
It also gives you a set of extra tools called “Zapier Formatter Utilities” such as lookup tables, allowing you to pair different values depending on the data received:
Of course, you can “process” a single data piece multiple times and nothing is stopping you from creating consecutive Zapier Formatter steps. This, in turn, gives you lots of control over the data that you use in your automation workflows.
The next app – Zapier filter – is one of the core “flow control” apps inside Zapier. At first glance, it may look simple – compared to said Formatter, there are no different “sub-apps” and the number of options is smaller. But, it’s still one of the most powerful apps you’ll use. Often, you’ll use filters to decide whether you even want the Zap to run!
Not only that – thanks to almost 20 conditions (text, numeric, boolean, and date/time), you can filter any type of data you want. And, with the ability to create multiple AND/OR rules in one filter, you can get very granular with data filtering.
The biggest drawback of a Zapier filter is that it’s a Yes or No kind of step. This means that if your data doesn’t pass the filter, the entire Zap stops. As a result, they can’t be used to build complex Zap logic. But, that’s where Paths come into play.
The next app can be thought of as advanced Zapier filters. In fact, the setup of each path is the same as the one of a filter. The difference is that paths allow you to set different sets of filters and use that to control which “path” the Zap should take.
This allows you to build complex, multi-step Zaps with advanced logic that can achieve different outcomes depending on the rules and conditions that you set. And while there are some drawbacks to using Zapier Paths, I’ll get to them later in the article.
Delay by Zapier
The Delay by Zapier is yet another flow control app – but it’s the simplest of them all. It allows you to delay the execution of a Zap for a pre-set amount of time (you can delay a Zap for minutes, hours, days, or weeks) or until a specified time.
There’s also an option to delay the Zap until after a previous delay in the queue. This allows you to deal with race conditions and rate-limiting.
Other Built-in Zapier Features
The above are not the only built-in Zapier features. Apart from the core functionality such as creating triggers, actions, or re-ordering your steps, there are over 20 built-in apps that let you achieve a variety of different things.
Beyond Automation – Zapier Interfaces & Tables
Recently, Zapier started unveiling features that go beyond workflow setup, management, and automation. A popular such feature is Zapier Interfaces.
With Zapier Interfaces, you can build custom opt-in or feedback forms, simple web pages, and even apps. You can then connect them straight to Zapier’s very own database (Zapier Tables) or one of thousands of apps that integrate with Zapier. Interestingly, you can even manage users of your Interfaces right in the workflow.
At the same time, Zapier Tables is the answer to the users’ need to better manage data. At its core, it’s similar to Airtable. But. similar doesn’t mean it can compete with it.
To be honest, neither Tables nor Interfaces can compare with purpose-built apps that they’re designed to substitute. As a result, I won’t really be focusing on them in this Zapier and Make (Integromat) comparison – especially since they don’t really give the former any significant advantage. But, they’re a neat addition if you’re looking to create something very simple.
Of course, there’s still more to Zapier. But, in this comparison, my goal is to focus on the automation side of the two tools. Now that we’ve briefly reviewed Zapier, let’s head over to Make (Integromat).
Make (Integromat) – A Brief Overview
Make (formerly Integromat – rebranded in 2022) is as of today Zapier’s main competitor. At its core, the platform helps you achieve the same thing – connect different apps and build automation workflows.
However, compared to Zapier, the platform allows you to build much more complex and advanced workflows which don’t just power your day-to-day productivity but can be used as entire backends for business systems and apps. In fact, here’s a quick, 1-minute overview of what is Make (Integromat):
Considering the focus on Make is much broader, let’s look at the platform’s key features.
Key Make (Integromat) Features
Just like in the case of Zapier, each Make (Integromat) workflow is made of two key elements – triggers and actions, here called “modules”. But, compared to Zapier, the entire setup looks a little bit different:
This feeling gets even stronger as you start browsing through the available options:
While in this Make (Integromat) vs Zapier comparison I won’t dive into all of them, let’s look at the key Make features you can use to build automation workflows:
The editor in Make is completely different from the action editor known in Zapier. When editing each module in the scenario, you get access to several different sets of functions you can use to format data “on the go”:
These function categories are:
- General functions, which include “get”, “if”, “ifempty”, “switch”, “omit” and “pick”. They allow you to add logic to the configuration of a specific module.
- Math functions, which allow you to perform certain mathematical operations right inside a select module. They include “ceil”, “floor”, “formatNumber”, “max” and “min” (for working with arrays), “sum”, “round” and “parseNumber”. Most of these functions can be found in Zapier Formatter Numbers event.
- String (text) functions, which let you format the text, change its capitalization, split it, or change its encoding. You can also turn any incoming value into a string. They’re similar (though not as robust) as text formatting in Zapier Formatter. But, as you’ll see later in the article, that doesn’t mean that Make lacks any text formatting options – they’re just put in different areas of the text.
- Date & Time functions. These allow you to manipulate date and time values, add or remove days or months, perform calculations, format dates, and set time zones. At their core, they’re similar to date & time formatting with Zapier Formatter.
- Array functions. Used for manipulating arrays, they let you add or remove elements, join arrays, sort them, slice, flatten, and check if they contain specific values.
Some of the array functions are similar to what you can find in Zapier Formatter Utilities. But, there are some significant differences between the two and Make’s array functions are more advanced.
As you can see, many of those functions are the same as the ones you’d find in popular programming languages. In fact, that’s exactly the goal – to allow you to manipulate the data just as if you were programming – but without writing any code!
Make (Integromat) Tools
The tools category contains a set of different modules that allow you to enhance your scenario, better manipulate data, and control the flow. The modules inside it are split into several different groups – let’s take a quick look at each of them.
Compared with Zapier, where an action is just a consecutive step in the workflow (a module in Make), Make’s action is a set of tools to manipulate variables.
More specifically, actions allow you to create or call variables, delay (sleep) the workflow, or increment a function (ideal if you need to count the number of runs):
The option to create custom variables is very convenient, especially if you want to merge and format different values together.
The aggregators inside the tools section allow you to aggregate different values. You can choose to aggregate values into a table, multiple strings into one text, or aggregate numbers.
The latter allows you to apply a function (such as, for example, SUM) to the numbers that you aggregate, performing a math operation.
- Text Transformers
Next, we get to text transformers. These allow you to compose strings, convert the encoding of text, or switch the output based on the input. The latter tries to find a match for the input value and returns the output based on the expected result.
Interestingly, these transformers are not the only ones that are built into Make. In fact, there’s a whole separate section of tools called “transformers” – let’s take a quick look at it.
Make (Integromat) Transformers
The modules available in the Transformers section allow you to perform more advanced transform operations on the data in your Make scenarios. Most of the above are similar to what you can do when formatting text with Zapier Formatter.
The core transformers modules in Make (Integromat) include: matching a pattern (with a regular expression), searching and replacing a value in a string, or matching string elements. You can also transform HTML to text, get content from an HTML table or get elements from HTML.
Make (Integromat) Flow Explainer
Before we get to comparing other areas of Make and Zapier, let’s look at one neat feature that’s nowhere to be found in Zapier – flow explainer.
While it doesn’t affect the functioning of your workflow automations in any way, it comes in handy if you need to understand how exactly the scenario is handling data.
It’s especially helpful if you’re unsure if all the iterators and aggregators are set up correctly – and what’s the order of operations in your scenario.
Of course, the above barely touches the surface of everything you can do with Make Integromat. I’ll get to some of the other modules, such as those found in the flow control group, later in the article.
Zapier Vs Make – Interface and Ease of Use
If you worked with both of the tools, you know that their interfaces and user experience are vastly different. Zapier offers a linear, step-by-step interface, clearly explaining each consecutive step. In fact, that’s what the app was designed for – creating simple, linear workflows.
The problem with that approach is that this approach is very user-friendly – it almost feels as if someone was guiding your hand – as you’ll see, it makes building more advanced workflows quite hard.
On the other hand, if you’re building exactly that – a simple, linear workflow – it’s hard to beat the ease of setup. Simply pick a trigger, add an action, and hit the “+” sign to add another app if you need to:
On the other hand, Make’s editor feels more like setting up an actual workflow. However, even though its UI is in my opinion a lot more user-friendly, it may also feel overwhelming – especially as you’re starting out. If you’re new to automation, you’ll quickly notice that, compared to Zapier, nothing is as straightforward. This is what the interface looks like in a brand-new scenario:
As you’re getting started with Make, everything feels hard. It’s harder to test, set everything up, and even connect the different apps.
The app doesn’t guide you step-by-step and you may feel left in the dark. On the upside, Make’s documentation is quite robust.
Workflow Complexity in Make and Zapier
Now that we’ve established that Zapier is just easier to get started with, let’s look at how both tools handle complex workflows.
In theory, both allow you to add paths made up of different paths with filters. The problem is that compared to Make, Zapier makes it unbelievably hard to do that.
If you try to add different logical paths into your workflow, you need to use the “Paths” Zapier feature. From there, you need to edit each path in a separate linear view – the same as that of your core automation:
What’s more, each Zapier Path can have up to five different paths. Then, each of those paths can have up to three nested paths.
On the upside, Zapier allows you to call different Zaps (called sub-zaps) from within a Zap. This means you can move the most repetitive automations out of a single Zap and reuse it across different Zaps. However, if you need to use Paths inside the Sub-Zap, you’re still going to deal with jumping between the linear views of each separate Path:
That’s why, if you get to building workflows that are made up of several nested paths, you might want to consider switching to Make (Integromat). Why?
First, it’s easy to add and remove paths thanks to a module called “router”. Once you add a router, you then just link (or unlink) any consecutive modules to it.
What’s more, you can view the most complex Make automations in one window: To edit the below, you’d need to jump between seven different linear views in Zapier!
Zapier vs Make (Integromat): Flow Control
Now, let’s look at flow control. I’ve briefly discussed most of the tools you can use to control the flow in Zapier while reviewing its features. These include filters, delays, paths, and loops.
While Make (Integromat) has almost all the same features, its sleep function is not as convenient as Zapier’s delay feature. Thanks to delays, you can create Zaps that can wait even several days before executing the next step:
But, while Make’s sleep function is not as powerful (it can delay the execution for up to 5 minutes only), the tool offers several flow control features that are not available in Zapier. They can be found in the “flow control” group and feature 9 different modules:
These modules are as follows:
- A repeater allows you to repeat a task a given number of times.
- An iterator converts an array into a series of bundles. The following modules then trigger separately for each of those bundles.
- Array aggregator allows you to “aggregate” select pieces of data from several bundles into a single array.
- Router, similarly to Paths in Zapier, allows you to create different paths based on filters that you set.
- The directives are useful in handling errors – which is something I’ll compare in one of the following sections.
Of course, just like Zapier, Make (Integromat) allows you to create conditions using filters. But while in Zapier a filter is a separate step that you add just like all the other apps, in Make the filter gets added between two modules:
Now, let’s get to handling the one thing nobody likes to see in their automation workflows – errors.
Unfortunately, in Zapier, any error handling is entirely automated and all you can do is review the results.
Thankfully, depending on the error, you can often replay the steps that didn’t run. In some cases, Zapier will hold the Zap runs for you for later:
Note that while it’s a very handy option, it may do more harm than good. Especially if you have a Zap that has to run in strict order.
If it gets executed while one of its runs is held, it can cause issues with your entire automation setup.
And how does Make (Integromat) error handling compare to Zapier? The biggest difference is that you can set up error handlers right inside the scenario:
What are they? An error handler allows you to decide what Make should do in case there’s an error. There are several different types of directives you can use:
- Resume. To set it up, specify a substitute output for the selected module. The scenario is then marked as a success.
- Ignore. This will ignore the error and mark the scenario as a success.
- Break. This directive stores the input of the incomplete executions in a separate list. It then marks the execution with a warning and allows you to re-run the scenario.
As you can see, the above directives don’t stop the scenario. In case you need to do t hat, you can use one of two other directives:
- Rollback. This stops the execution immediately and marks its status as an error.
- Commit. Same as above just that it marks the status of the run as a success.
On top of the directives, each scenario comes with its own run history. It allows you to easily audit previous runs and quickly figure out what needs to be changed or improved. You can view which runs caused an error, which were marked with a warning, and which ended successfully:
Hopefully, the above shows you a clear winner – while Make’s setup is way more complicated than that of Zapier, it’s just better (and more advanced) in handling errors. It also gives you the freedom to decide how you want to handle them, which is critical as you build more advanced workflows.
Data Management: Make vs Zapier
Now, let’s look at what you can do with data in each of the tools. When it comes to Zapier, two main “data-related” features immediately come to mind: tables and transfers. The former allows you to store data in simple databases similar to those you can create with Airtable.
Transfers let you perform bulk data transfer of data from one app to another. This comes in handy especially if you need to update data inside an app but don’t want to run a workflow for dozens or even hundreds of times.
Make takes data storing and management one step further, allowing you to create entire data stores. You can then use modules associated with those data stores to retrieve the data, update it, or delete it:
On top of that, the platform gives you control over how you process and store the data inside your scenarios. You can choose to keep the data confidential or prevent storing of incomplete executions:
Of course, these features are slightly different from those available in Zapier. And, unless you need to build advanced workflows or have very specific data protection requirements, you probably won’t need them.
Testing Your Automation Workflows
Now, let’s take a quick look at the testing capabilities of both platforms. In general, testing inside Zapier is much more convenient. In fact, the app will encourage you to test each step that you add to it by asking you to do so at the end of the setup. When testing the trigger, Zapier will also pull for you several different pieces of data to choose from (as long as there’s more than one available):
Compared to that, Make (Integromat) makes testing a little bit more complex. On the other hand, it also gives you a lot more freedom as to what (and how) you want to test your scenario).
For example, for some triggers, you get a very convenient way to choose what data you want to pull in for the test.
The drawback is that not all apps offer this capability. As a result, you then have to wait for the app to collect fresh data to be able to test the scenario.
Of course, just like in the case of Zapier, you can test each module in a scenario separately:
Once you run a module of your choice, you can review the output in a separate window that pop-ups:
The drawback is that to run a module for a test, you need to input the data manually (that’s unless you run the entire scenario). This makes running certain very problematic or barely possible:
That’s why, it’s often better to test entire Make scenarios – and just optimize them as you go. Another downside of testing inside Make is that, unlike Zapier, the platform charges you operations (similar to tasks in Zapier) the same as if the test was a live scenario run. But, we’ll get to pricing in a second. First, let’s quickly compare integration capabilities.
Zapier vs Make (Integromat): Available Apps
If you’ve ever taken a closer look at Zapier, you know that one of their main selling points is the sheer number of integrations that they offer. As of now, that number is well above 5,000 – and keeps growing.
This means that, if you choose Zapier, you should be able to connect even many of the less popular apps. Not to mention that you can still leverage webhooks to send data to and from Zapier.
If we look at just the numbers, Make looks pale in comparison. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider choosing it. To be honest, if the platform offers all the apps that you need, it may be a better choice – especially considering that most integrations are more robust, or at least equal, compared to those available on Zapier.
On the other hand, Zapier makes it quite easy to add custom integrations. These are the integrations that are not publicly available but allow you to use specific apps (or their features that are not publically available) in your workflows.
But, considering that the majority of the popular apps are available on both platforms, make sure that you choose the platform that best meets your needs (and is most affordable for your setup). Speaking of which – let’s compare the cost of the two platforms.
Make vs Zapier – Pricing Comparison
Before we get to the summary, let’s take a quick look at pricing. One of the common reasons why people leave Zapier is the platform’s high cost of operations.
In theory, the platform offers a free plan. However, with single-step Zaps, you can’t build real workflows and can only automate very simple tasks. What’s more, if you want to use custom logic, you need to pay at least $49 per month (in an annual subscription) for just 2000 tasks.
On the upside, Zapier doesn’t charge you for the trigger. This means that if you add a filter immediately after the trigger (and want to execute the Zap in very specific cases), the run doesn’t cost you anything.
Compared with Zapier, Make’s pricing looks a lot more enticing. The platform allows you to build even very complex workflows in its free plan which comes with a very generous allowance of 1,000 operations. The most affordable paid plan starts at $9,00 per month and gives you as many as 10,000 operations!
However, the operations are not counted the same way as Zapier tasks are.
In general, you’ll use a lot more operations than you’ll use in Zapier.
For example, you get charged an operation for every trigger run. And, considering you can schedule a trigger to watch a specific app every 5 or 10 minutes, those operations used can quickly add up.
Still, if you optimize your Make setup correctly (either on your own or with the help of a Make (Integromat) consulting service), you won’t use that many more operations.
This means that, in 99% of cases, Make is a more affordable tool to build your automation workflows with. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other “less known” things that you get with Zapier’s high fee.
For example, they’re probably the most reliable platform out of all workflow automation tools and offer stellar customer service and support. And, as you know by now, it’s not the only advantage Zapier has over Make (Integromat).
Advantages of Zapier over Make
Now that you’re almost at the end of this Zapier vs Make comparison article, let’s quickly recap key advantages the former has over the latter:
- Zapier is much simpler to get started with. While creating advanced workflows can be just as tricky, the platform makes it super easy to get started with. In fact, it goes as far as literally “guiding you” between the different steps of setting up your automation workflow.
- It’s an amazing tool for building linear workflows.
- It makes testing workflows a breeze – as long as you’re fine testing them the way you’re expected to.
- The platform has plenty of features that allow you to build even complex automation workflows.
- With over 5,000+ integrations, you’ll likely be able to connect your entire tech stack to Zapier.
- It’s considered to be the most reliable automation platform in the market.
- Zapier’s support is very quick and helpful. Unfortunately, even though Make offers excellent documentation online, their support response rate is very slow.
Advantage of Make (Integromat) over Zapier
At the same time, Make (Integromat) beats Zapier in the following:
- Its UI is very clean and easy to navigate. It’s what an actual workflow should look like.
- Make gives you a lot more control over the data that you use.
- It’s more affordable compared to Zapier – especially when set up correctly. This makes it a much better choice for scaling.
- You get more control over ways in which you can handle errors (and what happens to your automation workflows when an error occurs).
- You get more control over how you handle the data processed in the automation scenario.
- There’s more room for robust workflows or customizations.
- Testing is harder but you get a lot more control over what data you use in testing.
- It’s just easier to set up and browse complex workflows made up of multiple logic paths.
Choose the Right Automation Platform for Your Needs
Choosing the right platform is one of the first decisions you’ll make when automating your business processes. And, because moving workflows between platforms is hard (you have to recreate them manually), migrating is tricky – especially as you build complex automation scenarios. So, which one to choose?
Frankly, both platforms have their pros and cons. But if you’re looking to automate “standard” workflows and don’t mind the slight differences in ease of use or pricing, you can’t go wrong with either platform.
But, if you’re just getting started or are setting up workflows that don’t need advanced logic, Zapier might be a better choice. It’s easier to get started with, offers more integrations, and is easier to maintain.
The latter is important especially if you hire a Zapier consulting service to set things up but will decide to maintain the automation yourself.
On the other hand, if you want to build advanced, scalable workflows, and want to get more freedom and control over whatever it is you’re building, Make (Integromat) is the better choice. Sure, it’s harder to get started with – but if you’re scaling things up, you probably won’t be doing all the work yourself and will hire a Make (Integromat) expert instead.
Of course, if you’re still not sure which platform is the better choice – don’t forget you can always schedule a discovery session to discuss your needs. During the 20-minute call, we’ll talk about your automation goals and pick the right setup for you.
Hey, I’m Jacek. I’m the founder and Chief Automator at Clickleo.com
I’m on a mission to help you use automation to reclaim your time and achieve more in your business.
You can find out more about me – and why I started Clickleo – over on this page