Notion vs Obsidian: Which is Best?

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By Ewen Finser

Last Updated on July 2, 2023 by Ewen Finser

In a world where the digital workspace is increasingly integrated into our daily lives, finding the right productivity tool can make a significant difference.

Today, we explore two leading note-taking applications: Notion and Obsidian.

Both are powerful tools that offer unique features, but which one is the best fit for you?

Let’s dive in and explore.

Notion vs Obsidian at a Glance

Here’s a high level of my take on Notion versus Obsidian:

Pricing Plans
Notion offers a free plan with limited features and paid plans ($4/month)
Obsidian is free for personal use, with optional paid plans for additional features like sync and publish, starting at $4/month
Platform Support
Notion is cross-platform, with apps for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and a Web version
Obsidian offers apps for Windows, Mac, Linux, and also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android
Data Storage Options
Notion stores data on its own cloud servers
Obsidian stores data locally on your device, giving you full control over your notes
Collaboration Tools
Notion excels in collaborative work. Multiple users can edit a document simultaneously.
Obsidian is more geared towards personal use and doesn’t support real-time collaboration
Note Types
Notion supports text, images, videos, checkboxes, and various other block types. It’s also known for its database and project management features
Obsidian supports text and images, with a focus on markdown. It’s recognized for its linking and graph view features
Privacy Controls
Notion encrypts data at rest and in transit. However, since data is stored on their servers, total privacy depends on Notion’s policies
Obsidian’s local storage approach ensures high privacy, as you’re in total control of your data
Offline Access
Notion requires internet access for full functionality, although it does offer some offline capabilities
Obsidian, due to its local storage, offers full offline access
Notion offers a good level of customization in terms of layout, color, and content arrangement
Obsidian offers advanced customization options, including custom CSS and community plugins

Notion Summary View

Notion is a multi-functional platform designed to cater to the diverse needs of businesses and individuals. The application serves as an all-in-one workspace where you can manage projects, take notes, create databases, and even incorporate Kanban boards for task management.

Standout Features of Notion

Notion stands out with its flexibility and array of features. Here are some key highlights:

  • Rich Integration: Notion integrates seamlessly with various tools, including Google Drive and Slack, expanding its utility and functionality.
  • Embedding Web Content: This feature allows you to incorporate content from services like Google Calendar and Google Sheets.
  • Central Information Hub: Notion can be used as a centralized location to share files, documents, and folders across team members.

Strengths of Notion

The main strengths of Notion rest in its flexibility and its rich API for third-party integrations. Notion’s API allows users to connect with automation services like Zapier and IFTTT, making it a powerful tool for those who use various other productivity apps.

Here’s an example of how we use it in our company

Obsidian Summary View

Obsidian is a markdown note-taking application that offers simplicity and straightforwardness. Designed to deliver minimal distractions, it helps users focus on the task at hand.

Standout Features of Obsidian

Here are some key elements of Obsidian:

  • Markdown Support: Obsidian supports markdown, a widely used markup language that allows users to format text easily.
  • Multi-platform Support: Obsidian is usable across multiple platforms such as Windows, iOS, and Android, ensuring easy access to your notes from anywhere.
  • Knowledge Graph: This unique feature visually represents relationships between various notes, enabling users to navigate through interconnected concepts efficiently.

Strengths of Obsidian

Obsidian’s core strengths lie in its lightweight interface, minimalism, simplicity, and its unique knowledge graph feature. The application provides a distraction-free environment and offers a knowledge graph to visually map relationships between notes.

Notion vs Obsidian: Feature Comparison

To understand how these applications stack up against each other, let’s compare their features side-by-side:

Top Notion Use Cases

Notion’s flexibility and vast array of features make it suitable for various use-cases:

  • Note-taking
  • Calendaring
  • Project Management
  • Task Management
  • Database Management
  • Hosting Web Content
  • Generative AI
  • Job boards
We use Notion as a job board for our business portfolio

A NEW Feature of Notion: Notion AI

Notion AI recently launched as a module within Notion instances. While it’s still early, the tech seems promising, particularly as it integrates fully within the platform (so no context switching).

Some of the core use cases of Notion AI are:

  • Summarize your Notion notes or knowledge base (e.g. ask it questions)
  • Finish sentences / paragraph editor
  • Create summaries of meeting notes
  • Ask AI for key takeaways from large reference materials
  • Condense writing, make simpler
  • Easy in-app translations
  • Brainstorm ideas

As this is a new feature, Obsidian does not offer something similar as of this writing. That said, Notion AI is also a stand-alone tool, so you could still theoretically achieve similar functionality with Obsidian plugins like these.

Top Obsidian Use Cases

On the other hand, Obsidian’s minimalistic interface and focus on note-taking make it ideal for:

  • Blog writing
  • Note taking
  • Viewing relationships between notes
  • Publishing content to web via Obsidian Publish
  • Task Management
  • Idea management
  • Mind mapping

Obsidian vs Notion Pricing Structures Compared

Here’s a bit more detail on the pricing structures of the two respective platforms:

Free Version
Yes, with limitations (can create up to 1000 blocks, limited sharing)
Yes, fully functional current version
Personal Plan
$4/month, unlimited blocks and sharing, version history
Team Plan
$8/user/month, includes collaborative workspace
Enterprise Plan
Custom pricing, includes advanced security and admin tools
One-time Purchase
$25, $50, $100 for different levels of insider builds and future updates
Lifetime License
$500 for lifetime updates

Notion’s pricing model is subscription-based, with a free version for basic use and various paid plans for more features and larger teams.

Obsidian, on the other hand, offers a fully functional free version, with optional one-time purchase plans for insider builds and future updates, and a lifetime license for those who wish to support the development and ensure lifetime updates.

Wiki's and SOPs
When to Go with Notion?

While Notion CAN be made to do almost anything, I personally prefer it as a company (or personal) Wiki or SOP guide. A sort of dynamic handbook for processes and standards.

Try Notion for Free
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Which Application is Best for Your Needs?

The choice between Notion and Obsidian ultimately depends on your specific needs. If you require a comprehensive information hub that can easily share files, documents, and folders with team members across devices, Notion is your go-to application.

However, if you prefer a simple, distraction-free note-taking solution that lets you focus on your task at hand, Obsidian might be the better choice.

Managing tasks, projects, and notes in one place can be challenging. That’s where Notion shines. It provides an overview of all your tasks, making it easier to see what needs attention next. For those who prefer a more straightforward note-taking solution, Obsidian is the perfect tool for organizing thoughts, linking related ideas across documents, and staying focused on your tasks.

Final Thoughts on Notion vs Obsidian

Both Notion and Obsidian are powerful tools, each with its unique strengths and weaknesses. Your choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

If you’re a business professional looking for a comprehensive productivity tool, Notion might be the best fit. However, if you’re a student, writer, or researcher who values simplicity and focus, Obsidian could be the better option.

Remember, the best productivity tool is the one that works for you. Take the time to explore both Notion and Obsidian before making your choice. You may find that one suits your work style better than the other.

Other Notion Alternatives Compared

Our editorial team has also compared a variety of other Notion competitors head-t0-head. Check these out if you are still looking to finalize your decision:







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