Retool is a popular low-code platform for building custom internal applications - such as admin panels, frontends for databases and APIs, and customer support dashboards - more efficiently than custom development.
Retool's standard pricing model is per-user, with prices ranging from $5-$65 per-user per-month on the Team and Business tiers, depending on user type and selected billing cycle. Getting a rate for Retool's Enterprise tier requires speaking to their sales team.
Retool may not be the most cost-effective option for all teams, especially when considering the total cost of ownership. Businesses evaluating Retool should understand the per-user pricing, tier limitations by user count, on-premise fees, self-hosting costs, and ad-hoc additional feature charges. We’ve done the research to help you understand Retool’s pricing as of November 2023, how it would scale across your organization, and where unforeseen costs could bloat your bill.
To gain a broader understanding of the internal tooling market, including an analysis of offerings which may be more cost-effective, check out the 5 best Retool alternatives and see how Superblocks compares to Retool.
When evaluating an internal tooling platform such as Retool, it’s important to understand the total cost of ownership (TCO), rather than only considering the software costs.
Total cost of ownership can be calculated using the following formula:
Let’s break down the individual components of this formula.
Software subscription: The fees paid to the vendor, typically monthly or annually. These fees include any add-ons or platform fees.
Self-hosted costs: These are the costs associated with self-hosting a service within a business’s virtual private network. These costs can be broken down into:
Many enterprises choose to self-host Retool, as strict data security policies necessitate that sensitive data does not leave their network. Given that self-hosting costs can exceed the software subscription fees, they should be priced into any procurement evaluation for businesses needing to self-host.
This article will first cover Retool’s software costs, and then discuss the cost of self-hosting Retool in greater detail.
Retool’s pricing model, as of the update in May 2023, is per-user, segmented across a few different axes:
Retool users are broken into three segments with different per-user costs.
Use the calculator below to estimate your Retool bill based on Retool's publicly available pricing information.
Superblocks may be more cost-effective and better suited to your use case than Retool due to lower pricing for occasional users, additional functionality such as streaming and observability, and a more performant architecture. Estimate your Superblocks costs below or learn more about how Superblocks compares to Retool.
To obtain a quote for Retool’s Enterprise tier, prospects are required to talk to a sales representative. Thus, it can be difficult to get an accurate estimate of Retool’s enterprise pricing without engaging in a sales cycle.
However, Retool's enterprise tier may only be available to self-host at a fixed platform fee with a set number of users, rather than with usage-based pricing. Additionally, some features may be only available to purchase as add-ons to the Enterprise package.
Businesses considering self-hosted Retool should evaluate the infrastructure, DevOps, and downtime costs in order to estimate total cost of ownership.
Specifically, buyers should understand the following costs:
Additionally, businesses self-hosting Retool are required to purchase the Enterprise tier to support more than 25 users, increasing software subscription costs.
In summary, self-hosting Retool can result in increased software and operational costs, resulting in a substantially higher total cost of ownership than a business’s feature requirements might otherwise indicate.
Using Retool to build internal apps is often more cost-efficient than building from scratch via custom development. Teams can benefit from faster, more efficient development, lower maintenance costs, and empower backend engineers to build full-stack apps. However, for enterprise use cases, Retool may not be the most cost-effective solution.
Retool’s Enterprise plan may be less cost-effective for many businesses. For most enterprises, source control, SSO, and dedicated support are typically must-have features, requiring them to purchase the Enterprise tier. However, these businesses may see their per-user cost rise due to platform and feature add-on fees.
Additionally, Retool may not be as cost-effective when self-hosting. Businesses with strict data security requirements typically must self-host Retool, since sensitive data cannot leave their network. Self-hosting Retool increases total cost of ownership due to:
See what Retool users are saying about pricing across sites like G2, Gartner, and Hacker News.
Compared to Retool, Superblocks offers friendlier pricing, lower total cost of ownership when self-hosting, additional functionality such as streaming and production observability, greater extensibility with code, and wider access to top-tier support.
Superblocks On-Premise Agent is stateless and lightweight, so it is easier to deploy and maintain than the legacy on-premise deployment required to self-host Retool. The On-Premise Agent does not require any dedicated infrastructure, nor is scheduled downtime recommended for upgrades. As a result, businesses with stringent data security requirements can save on infrastructure and DevOps costs while preserving productivity by self-hosting Superblocks as compared to Retool.
Learn more about the Superblocks On-Premise Agent.
"Previously we were using Retool but found the self-hosted version challenging to deploy and expensive to maintain, as it required running 6 RDS databases in clusters across three VPCs. The pricing model was also limiting for our scale. Moving to the Superblocks On-Premise Agent made it much simpler to deploy the data plane as a stateless container, and build apps for multiple VPCs with Profiles. In addition, the pricing flexibility enabled us to roll out Superblocks to hundreds of Support agents in a cost effective way."
While Superblocks and Retool solve similar business problems, their feature sets and architectures are not one-to-one. Compared to Retool, Superblocks offers a more scalable and performant architecture, greater extensibility with code, deeper AI functionality, production monitoring and observability, and support for real-time streaming apps.
Learn more about how Superblocks compares to Retool.
"Prior to Superblocks, I used Retool where our team constantly ran into major performance issues with large queries and intensive processing logic on large-scale ad data. After migrating to Superblocks, we confidently build mission-critical apps using Python & NodeJS to process & manipulate large datasets with excellent performance, since all APIs run on the server-side & scale elastically for us."
With Superblocks, organizations purchase the tier that matches their functional requirements, regardless of hosting requirements. Superblocks Pro tier is available regardless of user count, ensuring that tools can be distributed across organizations without any requirement to upgrade to the Enterprise tier.
When distributing internal tools across organizations, usage varies. Developers will build apps and workflows on a regular basis, and many users will operate day-to-day out of these tools. However, many users will interact with tools less frequently; for example, executives and leaders may only view a dashboard once a week and defer the daily monitoring to their reports.
Superblocks’ pricing accounts for less frequent users with a dedicated rate for light users, which is a third of the rate for standard users. This pricing ensures that tools built with Superblocks can be distributed across organizations without the risk of billing explosions.
Superblocks’ pricing is transparent, with feature offerings clearly segmented by tier and price scaling based on usage. Superblocks does not upcharge for access to a specific feature, so it’s easy to predict your cost based on your business requirements.
Superblocks’ support team is exceptional, as mentioned consistently in customer reviews and testimonials. Any Superblocks customer can connect directly with a Superblocks engineer via the chatbot on the Superblocks website or within the product, providing top-tier customer service to any and all customers.
Superblocks’ free tier comes with staging and production integration profiles and version control with commits and previews, neither of which are offered with Retool’s free tier.
Retool natively offers functionality like role-based access control, version and source control, SSO, and audit logging, making it simple to build and distribute internal tools without the overhead of fully custom software development.
According to Retool’s Terms of Service. “Payment obligations are non-cancelable and, except as expressly stated in the Contract, fees paid are non-refundable."
Additionally, Retool states on their Billing page that “[Annual billing] is an annual commitment and canceling will not result in a prorated refund.”
According to Retool's Pricing and billing FAQ, monthly plans can be modified in your organization’s Billing settings. Annual plans cannot be downgraded while the contract is active.
According to Retool's Billing and usage docs, Usage is calculated on a monthly basis. For customers on annual plans, any additional users are charged at the corresponding monthly rate at the end of each month.
Superblocks and Retool are both low-code platforms for building custom internal tools. Superblocks outperforms Retool with its more scalable and performant architecture, greater extensibility with code, deeper AI functionality, production monitoring and observability, support for real-time streaming apps, lighter-weight self-hosting model, and superior customer support.
Learn more about how Superblocks compares to Retool.