Team chat apps aren't just tools—they're the modern office. That's obviously true for remote teams, but the appeal goes well beyond that. Companies that have a shared physical workspace increasingly depend on workplace chat to get group chatting done.
What makes a great team chat app?
Part of this is about efficiency: information workers are sitting at their computers all day, and it just makes sense for conversations to happen there. Type a quick message, get an equally short reply, then get on with your work.
Group chatting messaging apps also mean that everyone can decide to participate group chatting, or at least see, relevant conversations, while crucially also group chatting people to ignore messages that aren't relevant to them. This article shows our picks for the best team chat apps currently on the market.
We reviewed and tested 25 apps, and these five are the ones we'd recommend.
Instant team communication with the group chat & features
This piece also includes some ways that you can use Zapier to do more with your chat app, like get reports of key info delivered to a specific channel or receive notifications before events like meetings. Zapier's automations are called Zapsand you'll see several Zap templates—our pre-made Zap workflows—throughout this piece. To get started with a Zap template, just click on it, and we'll guide you through setting it up. You can about setting up Zaps here.
Slack for a chat-powered workplace. Microsoft Teams for large organizations broken down into teams. Google Chat for G Suite users. Discord for always-on voice chat. Mattermost for self-hosted team chat. Communication is tied to culture, and every company is different—this is why there are so many work chat apps on the market. We group chatting a few features are universally necessary, however, and kept them in mind while we were reviewing apps. The best team chat apps:. Organize conversations. Some messages need to be seen by your entire company, others need to happen at the team level, and not every team conversation needs to involve your entire team.
The best team chat apps organize conversations in a way that enables this, allowing users to decide what they do and don't see. This means channels that team members canor notdepending on what's relevant to them. Ideally conversations can be broken down even further than that, using thre or similar features to keep people from talking over each other.
The ability to tag people and to pull them into group chatting they otherwise might miss is also a must. Offer universal search with filtering features. There is nothing more frustrating than having the same conversation multiple times, which is why search is essential.
Your team should be able to quickly find past conversations for relevant information. Filtering features make this a lot easier. Offer video and audio chat. Some conversations are smoother out loud. The best team chat apps offer voice and video communication, and also offer some way for users to share their screen for collaboration. Are easy to navigate and control. Members need to be able to navigate the various conversations quickly.
User interfaces need to be clear, without unnecessary clutter.
There should be keyboard shortcuts on the desktop, gestures on mobile, and other ways to quickly move from channel to channel. Enable collaboration. You're here to work, and the ideal team chat apps make this easy with collaboration-specific features. Sharing a file should be as easy as clicking-and-dragging.
Links should have embedded previews. And there should be integrations with other apps, to make getting work done easier. The apps below are, in our opinion, the ones that offer the best balance of these five things. Note that we focused exclusively on apps built for real-time communication, and deemphasized tools that focus mostly on project management.
Slack launched in and quickly came to define the team chat space, in no small part because people loved using it. It's not hard to understand why—this is an application deed with the user in mind.
Every Slack team has a General channel intended for group chatting entire company, but the bulk of day-to-day chatter happens in channels related to a specific team or project. Users decide which of these channels they want to be in, which means they can avoid being flooded by messages about projects unrelated to them.
This sorting goes further: conversations in these channels can be broken down into thre, and users will only be notified of conversations in thre if they group chatting in the conversation or actively decide to subscribe to them. Team members can tag other users to pull them into channels or thre, which helps balance the need to reduce noise with the need to ensure important conversations are being seen. Slack also makes it easy for users to find answers using search. You can easily filter by channel, user, date, and more.
Collaboration is another key emphasis. Quickly group chatting files by clicking-and-dragging them onto the app, or by linking to them. Most links will unfurl, meaning things like images and videos can be reviewed without leaving the app. Small features, like emoji reactions, make it easy to meaningfully respond to messages in just a couple clicks.
Video and audio calls can be started with a single click. And there are thousands of integrations with other applications. All of these small touches might sound overwhelming, but a clever de alongside friendly UX copy means that Slack rarely feels confusing or overwhelming.
Slack's biggest downside might be its price—particularly given that it doesn't come as part of a broader software bundle. For teams that are serious about workplace chat, however, Slack offers more than enough value to be worthwhile.
Keep it simple: facebook messenger and instagram
You can do more with Slack when you connect it to your favorite apps through Zapier. You can create automated workflows that let you know when a calendar event is about to start, add saved Slack messages to your to-do list automatically, and more. Microsoft Teams is what happens when an org chart becomes a team chat app.
How much you'll like it is directly related to how appealing the sentence was to you. Every Microsoft Teams is tied to a single organization, sometimes called an org, which represents your entire company. Users are invited into one or more teams inside a company, and every team is broken down into channels.
Conversations in these channels are forced into thre, breaking conversations down yet another level. It's the most layers of organization in any team chat app we tested, and while it might sound a little confusing, the result is ultimately tidy.
Video and audio calls are a big emphasis. Users can schedule meetings, complete with an agenda, or hop onto spontaneous calls. There are also extensive collaboration features, including tight integration with the Microsoft Office suite for collaborating on documents, calendar appointments, and notes.
The main downside to Teams is how much work it is to roll out. If you don't have group chatting dedicated IT staff, it's going to be tricky to set up, particularly if you're attempting to set up group chatting free version. Considering the size of organizations Teams seems to be built for, however, that's probably not much of a barrier—especially if your team is already using the Microsoft Office suite group chatting apps.
When you connect Teams to your other apps using Zapier, you can track invoices in Teams as they're paid, get instant visibility into new le by posting them to a channel automatically as they come in, and more. You're forgiven if you didn't know Google offered a team chat app—it's not exactly common knowledge. Even so, Google Chat is worth looking into. Google Chat, formerly known as Google Hangouts Chat, breaks conversations down into rooms, similar to channels in Slack. Conversations are forced into thre, which helps keep things organized.
Your company can add as many rooms as they want, and users can easily and leave rooms. Where Chat really shines, however, is with integrations with Google's ecosystem of apps. Pasting a Google Doc link automatically changes permissions, so everyone in the room can open it. You can group chatting organize a meeting with any coworker by tagging Google Meet, your coworker, and saying when the meeting should happen—this creates a calendar appointment complete with a Google Meet link for video conferencing.
Search is also a strong point, which, considering this is a Google product, probably shouldn't be a surprise.
Was this information helpful?
show up in real-time as you type, and there's a wide range of filtering options. Google Chat's weakness is probably polish. Some seemingly simple tasks, like browsing a list of public rooms toare buried behind multiple clicks for reasons that are unclear to me.