Notion vs Roam Research: Which Tool Is Best?
Roam has a cult-like following, with people sharing how they use it with the hashtag #RoamCult on Twitter. On the other hand, Notion has been in the game for about seven years now. That’s a lot of time to pack a punch!
But then, new blood is not always a bad thing. So, if you’re in a dilemma wondering about Notion vs. Roam, we’re here to clear the cobwebs. 😕
Today’s post helps you discover the differences, features, and best use cases when it comes to Notion vs. Roam. Gear up, and let’s get this face-off over and done with.
Notion vs. Roam at Glance
Both Notion and Roam are note-taking tools. That said, you can extend the capabilities of Notion as a project management tool and Roam as a task management tool.
Here’s a quick overview of the main differences between Notion vs. Roam.
|Use case||Team collaboration, documentation, and project management||Idea exploration, personal knowledge management, research documentation, and task management|
|Note taking||Structured||Unstructured and exploratory|
|Documentation (Wikis and knowledge hubs)||Moderate linkages and content connection with bi-directional linking||Advanced linkages and content connections with bi-directional linking|
|Platform support||iOS, Windows, web browser, MacOS||Android, iOS, Windows, Linux, MacOS|
|Views||Kanban, calendar, gallery, task view, timeline layout||Graph Overview, Kanban board, and list view|
|G2 rating||4.6/5 (491 reviews)||No rating|
Personal Pro: $4/mo/user
Professional Pro: $8/mo/user
Enterprise: (custom pricing)
|Professional plan: $15/mo|
Believer plan: $500/5 years
What Is Notion?
Notion is a note-taking app with project management and task management capabilities. As of late last year, this handy app had 20 million users on board. This was a 16 million growth in users from 2020. 😲
Here are the features you get with Notion:
Notion’s note-taking capability is one of the top reasons why this app is loved by most. Notion lets you create quick notes and organize them in hierarchies for easy access.
With Notion, you can jot down something as complex as team meetings or something as simple as a list of books to read. 📙
You can also collaborate on editing your notes with team members. Notion is big on in-line comments, letting you mention people so they can view and contribute to a document.
If you hate distractions when taking notes, Notion is a perfect fit. This app provides a brain-satisfying interface that’s free from clutter. The text editor is a handy drag-and-drop editor. This way, you can structure your notes to your heart’s liking.
What’s more, you can add images, tables, code snippets, and a boatload of other content with Notion notes. Add all these content blocks through useful keyboard shortcuts that make note-taking a breeze for you or your team!
Raise your hand if searching through hundreds of docs for the right information is not your ideal definition of a good workday.
See, none of us likes that.
Notion comes to the rescue with its bi-directional linking capabilities. And what exactly is bi-directional linking?
Bi-directional links establish a two-way connection. This means you can follow a link to its destination and browse all the links to that particular page. Simply put, bi-directional linking lets you make connections between information on different pages and documents.
With bi-directional linking in Notion, you can easily store and reference different documents and content. (No more waddling through hundreds of documents for the right information!)
Bi-directional linking is especially helpful when creating wikis and knowledge hubs.
Notion’s Wikis put your team’s memory in one spot. Different team members can be part of wiki-building, easing up the flow of pertinent information within a company. When you add in bi-directional linking, it’s a breeze to create a single source of truth for processes, guidelines, etc.
But it’s not all about work.
You can also create a personal wiki for your learning and self-discovery journey.
Like to have variety of ways to view your notes?
Notion makes it possible with Database Views.
You can view your content in various ways, including a calendar layout, kanban-like boards, task list view, gallery layout, and a timeline layout.
You can also apply filters and sort without affecting other people in a shared database. The database arrangement remains the same on other people’s end.
But it’s all undone when you save the filters and sorts… they apply to everyone now.
What Is Roam?
But don’t let that hold you back. Although created in 2019, Roam has quickly grown to develop a cult following on Twitter and other community spaces like Reddit.
Typically, Roam is a favorite among researchers, people in academia, software developers, and engineers. Roam is a blend of a note-taker, knowledge management tool (life wiki), and task management app.
The features of Roam are heavily embedded in note-taking. Here’s exactly what you get when using Roam:
With Roam, there’s no information hierarchy. Each page is autonomous, although there are linkages that create a complete knowledge graph.
You simply start with a bullet point and, from there, build content that’s interconnected but not stacked or linear. Roam also offers you different ways to present your ideas and content.
You can go visual with kanban boards. Or, you could opt for some organization and use tables. If you want to turn your notes into tasks, you can transform them into checkboxes to tick off later.
Finally, Roam lets you create notes quickly with a list of keyboard shortcuts and integrations at the bottom of every page.
Roam is all about building connections within your notes. Each time you link to an existing topic or theme, Roam creates a bi-directional link between your current page and the mentioned page.
If you link to a new topic, Roam automatically creates a new page for you. Then, the new page is connected to the current page you’re linking from.
A giant network of connected thoughts, ideas, and content.
Roam’s interface is pretty much bare, however, there’s a collapsible sidebar where all the action happens. You’ll find the sidebar on the left with quick access to three major menus:
- Daily Notes
- Graph Overview
- All Pages
Daily Notes page is the default dated page you see once you log into Roam. You can’t change the heading or date, so it’s more of a daily journaling page.
The Daily Notes feature is great for half-baked thoughts and daily musings. Once you’ve managed to form your ideas fully, you can have a dedicated page for each.
The All Pages feature showcases all your Roam pages at once. You can sort your pages by the latest tags, alphabets, and topics. Graph Overview needs its own section, so let’s see what you can do with this feature.
Everyone loves to see themselves make some progress over time. And that’s what the Graph Overview feature offers you. Graph Overview is presented as a 2-dimensional graph showing how your ideas are interconnected.
The more content you have on a certain topic, the bigger the graph nodes showing the connection get. Each time you click on a node, you see your ideas’ interconnectedness and flow.
Although Graph Overview doesn’t have any practical use, it’s a great way to see your idea flow and the progress you’re making.
Bonus: Compare Notion Vs. Coda!
Notion vs. Roam Features Compared
Notion and Roam do have a lot of similarities, especially when comparing their note-taking functionality. But since you came here wanting all the information to get the most get bang for your buck, let’s see how they differ in their features.
You don’t want any cap on how much data you can store in a note-taking app. Here’s how Notion vs. Roam measure up.
Notion gets it. They don’t have a storage limit, even for their free plans. However, there’s a limit on the amount of data you can upload per time.
You’re limited to 5 MB per file upload in the free version. If you want to remove the file upload limit, you’ll be forced to upgrade to a paid account.
Like Notion, Roam has not put a cap on how much data you can create and store. You can create as many notes and pages as you like without diminishing your storage.
Unlike Notion, Roam does not place a limit on file upload. You can import an MB-heavy file without any limits. That said, Roam advises against importing bulky files since it could slow down your app or cause clunkiness. So, there’s that to think about.
The interface is critical to the experience of note-taking. So in the battle of Notion vs. Roam, who wins?
Notion is a more structured note-taking app. It is hierarchical, and your notes will be organized into stacks and blocks. If you love structure, you’re better off with Notion than Roam.
Because of how structured it is, Notion is more rigid. The result is a more challenging process if you want to make changes since you have to rearrange blocks or undo stacks.
On the upside, Notion’s interface is easy to work with. It’s elegant and clutter-free.
Roam is for those who appreciate fluidity and exploration. Roam’s note-taking feature is decentralized, and pages are built to be autonomous but interconnected.
This note-taking app is better for those who value idea exploration and the connection of ideas.
This fluidity also makes it possible to make changes quickly and easily.
Pages are autonomous and self-updating so making changes is not as frustrating as Notion.
On the downside, Roam’s user interface may not inspire you as much.
It may work for some, but the bare minimum interface lacks the charm of Notion.
Notion vs. Roam pricing
You definitely don’t want to break the bank with your note-taking app. Between Notion and Roam, which app lets you get value for your money?
Notion has a free forever plan for personal use. With the free personal plan, you get unlimited pages and blocks, sharing with up to 5 guests, and syncing across devices.
The personal pro plan costs $4 a month, and in addition to the free features, you get unlimited guests and version history for 30 days.
Notion for teams costs $8/user per month. You get unlimited team members, a collaborative workspace, API integration, and advanced permission with this plan.
Roam is on the pricier side when compared to Notion. They don’t have a free plan, but they have a free-31-day trial.
The pro plan costs $15 per month and offers API access, unlimited collaborators, and unlimited public and private Roam Graphs.
The Believer plan costs $500 for five years. With this plan, you access priority support, community calls with the team, and first access to new features.
Notion Vs. Roam on Reddit
We took to Reddit to see where people land on the Notion Vs. Roam debate. When you search Notion vs Roam on Reddit, most users agree that if you are looking for a more structured note-taking style Notion is a great option:
“Notion is better for things that are well-structured or that need to be consistent and repeatable, where Roam is better for low/no-friction knowledge capture and brainstorming.”
Notion vs. Roam: Which One Should You Choose?
Notion offers a more structured approach to documentation and knowledge management, whereas Roam encourages exploration and knowledge connections.
Notion is for when you want structured knowledge management. Roam is for the exploration of your ideas and a record for your personal knowledge management.
Notion lets you collaborate better. You can set permissions and share your wiki or a project management dashboard.
On the other hand, Roam is not built for effective collaboration, at least not for larger teams. However, you can set access permission and make your notes database private or public.
If you share individual pages, some tech-savvy person might go nosing around your other private docs, putting your privacy at risk. Price-wise, Notion is easier on the pocket, while Roam might make you cry a little after seeing your credit card transactions.
The thing about Notion and Roam is that they are not an apple-to-apple situation. They both fit different users.
Notion is great at collaboration, project management, and documentation of processes, while Roam excels at creating knowledge links and documenting progress.
What if you want the best of both worlds?
ClickUp: A Better Alternative to Roam & Notion
ClickUp is more of your own magical genie ready to offer the best of note-taking, documentation, knowledge management, and task management, all wrapped into one.
ClickUp is also one of the best and most highly-rated project management tools.
You can use ClickUp to keep things more organized in your personal life, as well as your professional life, in a team. Let’s explore how ClickUp gives you genie-like capabilities to do more in less while saving time and moolah!
Note it all down with ClickUp
Notepad by ClickUp is your go-to tool when you want to jot anything down. It’s extremely flexible, and you can create as many notes as you like without limit. Use the rich text editor to quickly format notes the way you like them to be. And you can save time creating to-dos by simply converting your notes into trackable tasks. How cool?
ClickUp Docs for superior notes and knowledge connections
Want something more flexible and superior for your important notes? ClickUp Docs coming right through. ClickUp Docs enable you to create comprehensive Wikis and knowledge bases.
You can even nest pages to create interrelationships and dependencies between different pages and topics. And the best part about ClickUp Docs?
They come with bi-directional linking capabilities. Yes, you can now totally say goodbye to searching through hundreds of documents to find what you need!
ClickUp Docs gives you the superpower to decide who has access to a doc and who doesn’t. Set your Docs to private and share with a few select individuals when you want to keep the information confidential.
You don’t need to worry about anyone snooping around the Docs they shouldn’t be. Permission controls are tight and flexible at the same time to give you more peace of mind and ultimate privacy.
Give and deny access as you wish!
And, if you want to tell the whole world about it, make your Docs public and indexable by Google and other search engines. The possibilities are limitless with ClickUp Docs.
For instance, you can easily include tables, roadmaps, bookmarks, images, and all sorts of content types in your Docs. Then, easily find your docs by categorizing them for easy access and searchability.
Save time with ClickUp Doc Templates
ClickUp is always looking for ways to help you save time and optimize your workflow. With Docs, you can create your own templates by saving an existing Doc as a template. It’s as simple as clicking on save as a template, and you have a template for life!
You no longer have to start from scratch each time you’re documenting anything.
Integrations to make work easier
You never have to leave ClickUp Docs to get your work done. For instance, you can create Google Docs right from ClickUp by integrating your Docs with Google Drive.
Use Slack integration to create and manage ClickUp Tasks without leaving your Slack Conversations. Or, embed YouTube videos into comments or task descriptions and watch directly on ClickUp.
It’s a whole new world with ClickUp. You can use more than 1,000 ClickUp integrations, apps, and tools to get your work done faster and more efficiently.
Don’t Sacrifice a Single Feature
Both Notion and Roam have some nifty features up their sleeves. Yet, you can’t ignore the limitations, whether it’s the hefty price, limited search and filter functionality, or storage limits. These limitations can create gaps in your workflow.
And that’s where ClickUp comes in.
ClickUp fills the gaps, offering you the best of both worlds and a little more than you expected.
You can use ClickUp for project management, task management, note-taking, documentation, or as a collaboration tool. Like we said, it’s like having your own productivity genie to achieve what you set your eyes on!