Compare

Retool Pricing: Understanding total cost of ownership

The Superblocks Team

The Superblocks Team

Updated January 17, 2024

7 min read

Copied

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 model, 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.

Understanding total cost of ownership

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:

  • Hosting: The infrastructure required to run the service, including databases and compute, typically with providers like AWS, GCP, or Microsoft Azure
  • DevOps: The people and time required to learn, deploy, and maintain a complex and often multi-instance deployment
  • Downtime: The loss in productivity and revenue resulting from the service being unavailable during upgrade and maintenance windows

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 pricing by tier

Retool’s pricing model, as of the update in May 2023, is per-user, segmented across a few different axes:

  1. User type: Users are broken down into end users, standard users, and external users and billed accordingly
  2. Product tier: Retool has tiered offerings with distinct feature sets at different prices per user
  3. Self-hosted vs. cloud: Retool’s offerings vary depending on whether a business is self-hosting Retool or using Retool’s cloud hosting
  4. Annual vs. monthly billing: Retool offers annual billing with a 20% discount on the monthly per-user price if businesses pay up-front for their usage
Screenshot of Retool Pricing (Annual Billing, Self-hosted)

User types

Retool users are broken into three segments with different per-user costs.

  • End users: Users that do not edit apps or workflows
  • Standard users: Users that make edits to apps or workflows
  • External users: Users that are not part of the organization (used for embedded apps such as external customer portals)

Note: External users are currently billed at the same rate as End users, as shown in the screenshot below.

Screenshot of Retool's Embed Docs

Estimate your Retool bill

Use the calculator below to estimate your Retool bill based on Retool's publicly available pricing information.

Team
Business
Enterprise

Standard Users

Users that make edits to apps or workflows

5

Standard Users

1

50+

End Users

Users that do not edit apps or workflows

10

End Users

1

500+

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
$445

per year

  • Unlimited users
  • 5,000 workflow runs/month
  • Staging environment
  • App versioning
  • Up to 25 users for self-hosted
  • Everything in Team, plus
  • Audit logging
  • App and Resource-level permissions
  • Portals and embedded apps
  • Unlimited environments
  • Modules
  • Up to 25 users for self-hosted
  • Everything in Business, plus
  • SAML/OIDC SSO
  • Source control
  • Custom branding
  • Dedicated support

Superblocks may be more cost-effective and better suited to your use case than Retool due to lower total cost of ownership, 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.

The hidden costs of Retool

Retool’s Enterprise pricing

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, some features may be only available to purchase as add-ons to the Enterprise package.

Self-hosting and the total cost of ownership

Businesses considering self-hosted Retool should evaluate the infrastructure, DevOps, and downtime costs in order to estimate total cost of ownership. 

Self-hosted Retool is a legacy on-premise deployment, and complexity and cost can rapidly rise with features like multi-instance deployments and self-hosted temporal clusters for workflows. 

Specifically, buyers should understand the following costs:

  1. Infrastructure: Self-hosting Retool requires spinning up dedicated infrastructure, such as databases, which comes with infrastructure cost for the required compute. 
  2. DevOps: Deploying, managing, and upgrading Retool requires specialized DevOps engineers. Thus, there is an additional human capital cost to self-host Retool. 
  3. Scheduled Downtime: In order to upgrade Retool, which is required to access new features and security fixes, Retool recommends scheduling downtime. During this downtime mission-critical tools are unavailable resulting in lost productivity and revenue
Screenshot of Retool's Upgrade Deployments Documentation

In summary, self-hosting Retool can result in increased operational costs, resulting in a substantially higher total cost of ownership than the software subscription fees paid to Retool.

Is Retool worth the cost for your use case?

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. 

Where Retool’s pricing makes sense

  • Retool’s Free plan is great for prototyping apps amongst very small teams (<5 users) or getting started before upgrading
  • The Team plan offers a low-cost option to expand adoption amongst teams, though it is limited by the lack of granular access controls, which might make distributing tools across your team difficult
  • Retool’s Business plan is a cost-efficient option for small teams without strict enterprise requirements, such as source control, enterprise support, and SAML/OIDC SSO

Where Retool may be less cost-effective

Retool may not be the most cost-effective option for businesses with stringent data security requirements, due to the high cost of self-hosting. Many enterprises must self-host Retool, since sensitive data cannot leave their network. Self-hosting Retool increases total cost of ownership due to hosting and maintenance costs, since self-hosted Retool is a legacy on-premise deployment, resulting in high infrastructure, DevOps, and downtime costs.

Additionally, 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.

Why Superblocks is a cost-effective alternative to Retool

Compared to Retool, Superblocks comes with a 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.

See how Superblocks compares to Retool

Lower total cost of ownership when self-hosting

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.

Nadeesha Cabral
VP of Engineering, Mr Yum

"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."

Enterprise-focused product offering

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

Nima Gardideh
Co-founder, President, CTO, Pearmill

"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."

Best-in-class support, available across tiers

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.

Source: https://www.g2.com/products/superblocks/reviews/superblocks-review-8732421
Superblocks vs Retool G2 Comparison (November 2023)

A more generous free tier

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. 

Estimate your Superblocks costs

Pro
Enterprise

Creators

Develop Apps, Workflows and Scheduled Jobs

5

Creators

1

50+

Standard Users

Unlimited access to consume Superblocks apps

10

Standard Users

1

500+

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
$445

per year

  • Unlimited users
  • Unlimited Custom Integration Profiles
  • Granular permissions and groups (RBAC)
  • Audit Logging (3 day retention)
  • Reusable Modules
  • Live Queries with Timers
  • Everything in pro, plus:
  • Single-Sign-On / SAML
  • Sync user groups with IdP (SCIM)
  • Git Sync via GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket
  • Audit Logging (custom retention)
  • Secrets Manager Integration
  • Custom Branding
  • User Analytics & Production Observability
  • Streaming APIs via Kafka, Flink, Kinesis
  • On-Premise Agent

Frequently asked questions

What is Retool?

Retool is a low-code app development platform for building custom internal tools. With Retool, developers drag-and-drop components onto a canvas to build their user interface, then query production data sources like databases via SQL and SaaS platforms or internal APIs via REST or GraphQL. Developers can also write custom front-end logic in JavaScript.

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.

Does Retool offer refunds?

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.”

Can you upgrade or downgrade your Retool account?

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. 

What happens if you go over your user limits on Retool?

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. 

How does Superblocks compare to Retool?

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

Speak to a Superblocks pricing expert

Book a demo

Meet with a Superblocks product expert to learn more about the platform and talk through your use case

Thank you for your interest!

A member of our team will be in touch soon to schedule a demo.