When you want an efficient means of making backup copies of your files, cloud storage is the best way to do this. When you subscribe to a cloud storage system, such as OneDrive or Dropbox, you can have your cloud storage system set up to automatically sync with your local storage, keeping your files backed up and up to date at all times.
Another advantage of cloud storage is that it simplifies sharing files among coworkers or others outside of your organization. You’ll gain some collaboration features when you use a cloud storage system, making it easier to move forward on a project, as participants can see the updated file and can share ideas and comments in real time.
When considering the OneDrive vs Dropbox comparison, these two cloud storage systems have quite a few similar features, but there are enough differences between the two that you should be able to drill down to exactly which service will meet your needs the best.
We’ll break down Dropbox vs OneDrive, explaining the various features that each one offers and helping you decide which one will deliver the best results for your organization.
Our Recommendation: OneDrive
Although we are recommending OneDrive over Dropbox, these two cloud storage systems are extremely similar. We believe OneDrive will serve the needs of the majority of small business users and individuals with advanced needs for cloud storage, but if there is a particular Dropbox tier that meets your needs well, you won’t go wrong selecting Dropbox.
For the majority of users, the OneDrive for Business cloud storage tiers will be the preferred choice. These business level tiers have the best value in cloud storage capacities, while also delivering numerous extra features that are helpful.
Ultimately, if you need the features that Microsoft 365 delivers, then there is not really a reason to subscribe to Dropbox too. OneDrive’s storage features offered within Microsoft 365 are going to give you nearly all of the same features you’d receive with a Dropbox subscription.
The popularity of Microsoft 365 also contributed to us giving OneDrive a slight edge, as using OneDrive has no extra cost for those who already subscribe to Microsoft 365.
When to Select Dropbox Instead
As we mentioned earlier, Dropbox is not a bad choice. Should you find a Dropbox tier that gives you the storage capacity you need from your cloud storage service at a price that fits nicely into your budget, we would not hesitate to suggest that you select Dropbox.
For those businesses that need more than 1 TB of cloud storage per user, Dropbox is nearly always going to be a better pick in the OneDrive vs Dropbox comparison. OneDrive doesn’t have many options for those who need more than 1 TB of storage.
The other area where we give Dropbox a significant edge is in its ability to allow you to revert to past versions of your files. Should you or someone else on your team make editing changes to a file that you do not want to keep, you can revert back to a previous version up to 180 days in the past with Dropbox. OneDrive can’t match Dropbox in this feature.
Key Features to Compare in OneDrive vs Dropbox
Here are the key features for these two cloud storage and document management products. We have picked a winner within each featured category between the two brands (or selected a tie). Our recommendations attempt to take into account the needs of the majority of customers.
For those primarily interested in obtaining a large amount of cloud storage without extra apps and features, these two cloud storage services have similar prices. Ultimately, you have to take a close look at what you need from your cloud storage capacity and then find the best matching tier from either OneDrive or Dropbox.
When you select OneDrive, you can choose to either subscribe to OneDrive alone, meaning all you need is the cloud storage, or you can subscribe to Microsoft 365, which includes OneDrive, along with numerous Microsoft Office apps, such as Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
To obtain large amounts of storage for OneDrive, you’ll have to subscribe to Microsoft 365 and its apps, which you may not need, or you’ll have to subscribe to a OneDrive for Business tier.
For cloud storage alone, our favorite tier is OneDrive for Business Plan 1. It costs $5 per month for 1 TB of storage. Because of its price, and because we believe OneDrive for Business Plan 1 will be a highly popular choice for the majority of small businesses needing cloud storage, we’ll give OneDrive the slight edge in this category because of this tier.
For those who primarily want more than 1 TB of cloud storage, Dropbox is tough to beat in the OneDrive vs Dropbox comparison. Its prices and storage capacities at the upper levels of storage far exceed what is available with OneDrive alone.
Here are the pricing options for Dropbox (based on a monthly purchase plan, but you can save 17% to 20% per year with an annual purchase plan).
- Basic (for individuals): Free with 2 GB of storage
- Plus (for individuals): $11.99 per user per month with 2 TB of storage
- Professional (for individuals): $19.99 per user per month with 3 TB of storage
- Standard (for business): $15 per user per month with 5 TB of storage
- Advanced (for business): $25 per user per month with unlimited storage
- Enterprise (for business): Must call for price quotes
The middle tiers provide a free trial period, if you’d like to try them out, but the Plus level does not have a free trial.
For the upper individual tiers and the lower business tiers, you’ll be paying about 3 to 6.5 cents per 10 GB of storage.
Let’s start our look at the OneDrive plans by focusing on ordering OneDrive as a standalone product without the other Office apps. Microsoft offers four plans for OneDrive by itself, including a free option.
- Basic: Free with 5 GB of storage
- Standalone: $1.99 per user per month for 100 GB of storage
- Business Plan 1: $5 per user per month for 1 TB of storage (must agree to annual commitment)
- Business Plan 2: $10 per user per month for unlimited storage (must agree to annual commitment and must have at least five individual subscribers on your team)
For the Standalone tier, you’ll be paying about 20 cents per 10 GB of storage, while Business Plan 1 costs about 5 cents per 10 GB of storage.
Business Plan 2 and its unlimited storage provides a very strong deal, as long as you have at least five people on your team who will subscribe. If you have fewer than five people, OneDrive Business Plan 2 limits you to 1 TB of storage per person, so you’d have to turn to Dropbox for an unlimited storage plan.
Microsoft 365 and OneDrive Pricing
If you need the traditional Office apps, you’ll want to order a subscription to Microsoft 365, and OneDrive storage comes along for the ride.
Here are the options for purchasing Microsoft 365 with OneDrive included.
- Microsoft 365 Personal: $6.99 per user per month (with 1 TB of cloud storage in OneDrive per user)
- Microsoft 365 Family: $9.99 per subscription per month (with 1 TB of cloud storage in OneDrive per user) with up to six users allowed per subscription
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $6 per user per month (with 1 TB of cloud storage in OneDrive per user)
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $15 per user per month (with 1 TB of cloud storage in OneDrive per user)
With the Family tier, you end up with a total OneDrive storage of 6 TB, split equally between up to six different users. Family also comes with a one-month free trial period, if you’d like to try it out before you subscribe.
In our pricing list for Microsoft 365, these prices involve a monthly purchase plan. You have the option of saving 15% to 20% per year with an annual purchase plan instead.
With a Microsoft 365 Personal or Business Basic subscription, you’ll pay about 6 to 7 cents per 10 GB of storage. With a Microsoft 365 Family subscription, you’ll pay 1.7 to 10 cents per 10 GB of storage, depending on the number of users you have.
Ease of Use
For those who are familiar with other Microsoft software and apps, OneDrive’s interface is extremely easy to use. You’ll pick it up in no time. In addition, if you subscribe to Microsoft 365, you have access to all of the traditional Office apps, and these integrate easily with OneDrive, simplifying the use of the overall package.
Dropbox’s interface is not difficult to use, but it’s not quite as easy as OneDrive.
When you want some strong features to go along with your cloud storage capacity, OneDrive’s integration with the traditional Office apps found in Microsoft 365 give it a clear advantage against Dropbox.
Should you need apps like Excel and Word, OneDrive is an excellent choice, as it will deliver a far greater value than Dropbox when you calculate what you are receiving from these extra features along with the cloud storage capacity.
Dropbox does offer features like Paper (which is a notes app) and Showcase (which simplifies file sharing), but these are not as feature-rich as the Microsoft 365 apps.
Dropbox and OneDrive have very similar features when it comes to file sharing. In fact, they almost work identically, so it’s tough to go wrong with either service in this area.
Both cloud services deliver the ability to set up expiration dates on file sharing links. The recipient will be unable to edit or view the file after the date passes.
You also have the ability to deny downloading of certain files, if desired, or you can give invited people a limited amount of time they can make comments inside the file.
Both services are extremely similar when it comes to the security features they offer, as long as you’re using OneDrive for Business and not the OneDrive Basic or OneDrive Standalone products.
Both the OneDrive and Dropbox services offer a maximum 256-bit AES encryption on files. However, unless you’re using a OneDrive for Business tier, your files will have no encryption once they’re stored on the OneDrive servers, which is disappointing.
You can enable two-factor authentication with either service as an added layer of security.
Reverting to Older Files
If you will need the ability to revert back to an older version of one of your files, discarding changes that have been made, the Dropbox cloud storage system is the better choice, as it allows revisions up to 180 days in the past.
OneDrive allows a reversion back to any of the past 500 edited changes with its Business tiers. Even though this sounds good, if you and your team make 20 saves per day in a particular file, you’d have only 25 days of revisions available. We prefer the way Dropbox handles file revisions.
Storage Space (Free)
Although we are not emphasizing this category heavily in our OneDrive vs Dropbox comparison, as we don’t believe the majority of users will have much use for the free tier alone, OneDrive does win this category. Its free tier has up to 5 GB of storage, while Dropbox only has 2 GB.
Storage Space (Premium)
Ultimately, the two services are about even in this category, although each one has strengths in a particular area of the category.
We will give Dropbox the edge here for those who need more than 1 TB of cloud storage. OneDrive only has one option for unlimited storage, but it requires five or more subscribed users on a team, and OneDrive has no other options available with more than 1 TB of storage. With Dropbox, you’ll have an unlimited storage option with no minimum user limitations, along with a few tiers between 1 TB and 5 TB.
However, if you need 1 TB or less of storage capacity, our favorite option is OneDrive for Business Plan 1.