Metabase vs. Looker
Which is right for my team?

Metabase is the easy-to-use business intelligence tool with the friendly UX that lets everyone in your team to work with data.

Trusted by over 60,000 companies

What's the difference between Metabase and Looker?

TL;DR Lots of people who have worked with Looker in the past now choose Metabase because you get similar outcomes at a fraction of the price, without needing to know a proprietary modeling language. Metabase also has a lower learning curve and lets non-technical and less-data-savvy teammates query data with or without SQL.

What makes Metabase a good choice compared to Looker?

  • Easy for everyone to use. Intuitive tools like interactive dashboards with quick drill-through analyses, the query builder to write questions without SQL, and one-click-to-create charts.
  • Set up without any specialist skills or modeling languages. Query and visualize your data source as soon as you add it. You don’t have to model it first - but you can with intuitive model creation that doesn’t take 6+ weeks to learn.
  • Open source and affordable. Transparent pricing for startups through to advanced functionality and support for Enterprise.
  • Super fast to set up and integrate with your favorite data tools, like dbt for modeling. Go from install to creating your first dashboard in less than 5 minutes. No technical skills or data team required.
  • Interactive, customer-facing analytics in days, not sprints. Customizable embedded analytics that lets your customers explore their data with as much - or as little - flexibility as you want.
  • Help from our world-class Success team. Technical experts who help with everything from troubleshooting to advice on best practices. Looker’s once raved about Department of Customer Love is no longer (raved about, nor exists) since they were acquired.
  • Private and secure. We never look at or copy your data. And we prioritize privacy and security features to secure data access in your org, like SSO and fine-grained permissions.

When might Looker be a better fit than Metabase?*

  • You’re LookML certified (or have access to someone who is).
  • You need a lot of governance built into your business intelligence platform with advanced modeling for complex data relationships and calculations.
  • You need a modeling layer strictly in code
  • You only want some of your people querying your data.
  • You’ve always wanted to learn LookML and you’ve got a fair bit of time to pick it up (think 6 weeks).
  • You’re a technical team - or you’ve got access to technical people with a decent amount of time - who can help with configuration and set up.
  • You hang out exclusively in the Google Suite.

*For the record... Metabase also supports a number of happy enterprise-level customers for all their BI needs - and for some, just the self-service analytics part in addition to tools like Looker. Metabase also offers integration with a broad range of tools like dbt for semantic layering.
(We’re trying to present a somewhat balanced view here, but c’mon, it’s still our website 😏)

Frequently asked questions

When is Metabase a better choice than Looker?

Metabase is best suited for businesses that need a straightforward way for everyone in the team to self-serve analytics without having to rely too heavily on your data team. It's BI that your team will actually enjoy using, at the right price for your scale.

When is Looker a better choice than Metabase?

Credit where it’s due - Looker can be a good fit for very technical teams who need more extensive governance and modeling strictly in code, with a lower need for everyone in the org to be able to jump in and run their own reports. It’s got all the bells and whistles - and depending on the maturity of your org, your use case and needs, it may be more than you need.

Who uses Metabase over Looker?

Metabase is trusted by over 60,000 companies with their analytics, from startups who need their first business intelligence tool through to Enterprises. Metabase open source is the go-to choice for founders and solo-developers to let their teams get answers from data on their own so they’re not running the same reports once a month. Metabase Pro and Enterprise is generally chosen by CTOs, CPOs, Heads of Data who have been there, done that with every other BI tool on the market and need a way to make self-service analytics actually happen.

What use cases do Metabase and Looker cover?

Both Metabase and Looker cater to internal analytics, as well as interactive embedded analytics for customers.

Metabase is ideal for quick, intuitive data exploration that lets people in your company click around in interactive dashboard and visualizations to learn from data, or create queries with or without SQL.

Looker may be better suited for complex data analysis and putting detailed visualizations in front of customers.

What’s the difference in pricing between Metabase and Looker?

Metabase is open source with affordable plans available for additional security and governance features, cloud deployment, and fast, unlimited technical help from engineers.

Looker's pricing is generally higher with user-based licensing with various pricing tiers depending on the use case.

Do you need to know SQL to use Metabase and Looker?

Metabase and Looker both let data analysts work in SQL; and less technically savvy people ask questions without SQL. Metabase's intuitive Query Builder lets non-technical or data savvy people put together analyses with clicks - no SQL necessary. Analysts and data people who prefer to write SQL can fill their boots in the SQL editor.

How do Metabase and Looker compare in terms of visualization capabilities?

Metabase and Looker give people a way to visualize their data and make sense of the numbers. But Metabase is so much more than just a visualization tool. For people who feel like they’re seeing double when staring at columns, it’s an intuitive way to filter and summarize to uncover trends and get insights to make data-driven decisions.

Ok, give it to me straight though - what’s the best Business Intelligence tool?

There’s no right or wrong answers here. It will generally depend on your use case, how much you want people to be able to learn from data and run reports on their own without depending on your data team; your preferred data stack, how fast you need to get up and running, your budget, and more.

Again, there’s no “right” answer, but just sayin’ - Metabase will let everyone on your team work with data, integrates with your preferred data tools, gets up and running in 5 minutes flat, and suits all budgets (and you can try it for free).

Have more questions? We’d be happy to help.
Talk to a person

“I used Looker in a previous role and found it clunky, difficult to navigate, hard to collaborate on, and ultimately massively expensive. I evaluated Looker to see if it would be right to implement it as a solution in my current role, but Metabase was the clear winner - the ease of use, cost, functionality, and simple report exploration made it an easy decision.”

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Samuel Allen

Head of Data, Airtime Rewards