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Power Automate vs. Zapier

Updated: 2 days ago


Chances are, before arriving at this article, you’ve pondered how automating some of your daily work could free up your time at the office. If that’s the case, you’ve most likely heard about services like Power Automate and Zapier—top contenders in the cloud automation field. But what’s the difference, and which one is most likely to meet your needs? 

In one corner, we have the amazing Power Automate, and in the other, we have Zapier. With these two in the ring, let’s see which will throw the knockout punch. Okay, okay, if you’ve read anything we write, you know that pitting one against the other or bashing another product just isn’t our style. Sure, we consult on Power Automate, so we naturally know that tool better, but we are all for you finding the best tool for your problem. 

In this article, we’re going to conduct a simple comparison of the two. Let’s dive in.


The Common Ground 

Let’s start with the similarities between the products: 

  1. Purpose: Both tools are designed to automate business processes (workflows) without a lot of code. 

  1. Triggers and Actions: To automate with these tools, you follow the principle of what starts the process (Trigger) and then what you want to happen (Action). 

  1. Integration with Other Applications: Both tools offer the ability to integrate with many applications (email, CRM, project management). However, the available integrations vary by tool, so be sure to check what applications each tool easily connects to and see if yours are there. Both tools also offer the ability to build custom integrations, but this will increase your costs in both cases. 

  1. User-Friendly Interfaces: The way you build your solution with either of these tools is through an easy-to-use, drag-and-drop interface. 

  1. Conditional Logic: Both tools work off conditional logic (if/then statements). To get your solution started, begin by mapping out what you need to happen as a series of if/then statements. For example, "If Buddy sits like a good boy and does not bark his head off during my call, then I will give him a treat." 


How Are They Different? 

If they are so similar, how do you decide? Well, let’s look at why one might be better for you and your organization. 


Platform Integration 

Power Automate is part of Microsoft, so if your organization is heavily invested in Microsoft, this is the natural choice (we’ll talk more about $$ later). You or your users are likely using many Microsoft applications (Word, Outlook, SharePoint, Dynamics, Azure, etc.), and building solutions with Power Automate is going to be a better fit. Power Automate also has over 1,000 connectors to tools outside of the Microsoft ecosystem. 

If you are not using Microsoft, then Zapier might be best. It is a standalone tool rather than being part of a whole ecosystem. Sometimes that’s all you need. 

While both tools integrate with many other applications, your first step in choosing a tool should be to look at what applications you need to connect with for your solutions and check each tool for compatibility. 


Advanced Stuff 

With the pace of change, this section may be outdated a week after this post is published, but we will include some thoughts anyway. 

Microsoft Power Automate, along with the integration with the Microsoft Power Platform, offers more advanced features—like RPA (Robotic Process Automation), which automates processes based on user clicks. This is for situations where connectors are not possible, like desktop apps, legacy (old) stuff, etc. 

Both tools have AI capabilities; again, it will be a scenario of what is right for you. In both cases, a lot of the “AI” functionality you see is through integrations with other tools, which may increase your cost. Hopefully, in both cases, the ROI will make it a net decrease in cost! 


Pricing 

And what everyone wants to know, how much does it cost? Look, we’re not going to lie; in both cases, it can get a bit complicated with add-ons depending on how much of the advanced stuff you are trying to do. So, as mentioned earlier, really try to think through the solutions you plan on implementing with the tool and determine if you are going to need any of the add-ons. For this post, we will just focus on the workflow and not all the other stuff. 

Most Microsoft 365 plans include some use rights for Power Automate. If you are connecting to other Microsoft tools and using the standard connectors, then check your license to see what is included for Power Automate.  You may already be paying for everything you need! If you look to do the RPA stuff, need premium connectors, or AI credits, then you will move up to an additional subscription. 

Zapier has a free plan and then multi-tier subscription plans based on how many Zaps (workflow runs) you need. Like Power Automate, certain connections are premium, and you will have to move from free to use them. 

This is a simple look at pricing. Both tools have other features that may make you move from free to paid, so definitely look at the feature comparisons for each tier provided on both company websites. At the end of the day, if you are using Microsoft already, check Power Automate first, you may already be paying for what you need.   


Wrap-Up 

If you and your team are already using Microsoft Office, it makes sense to start with Power Automate. On the other hand, if your organization is not heavily invested in Microsoft or Power Automate does not have the connection you need, check out Zapier and see if it meets your needs. Clearly, we are big Power Automate fans, but as a secret between us, we even used Zapier for some specific solutions a few years ago before Microsoft added the capability to Power Automate. 


Interested in learning more about Power Apps and Power Automate? Then you should check out our Power Apps and Power Automate 201 course. It's a great place to start learning, on your own time, at your own pace!


Or maybe you are interested in checking out our other service offerings, you can do that here.


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Jun 26

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