Do you want to learn which automation software to use? If you do, then you have come to the right place as we compare two of the popular automation software Zapier and Airflow.

Automation is at the core of our new generation services and solutions. It is also best suited for individuals who do not want to waste time doing trivial things.

If you are in a hurry, then check out the quick comparison table between Zapier vs Airflow.

Software Price Trial Availability Apps Support
Zapier Starts at $20/month Yes 2000+ apps supported
Apache Free Not applicable Supports tons of apps
  1. Airflow Introduction
  2. Zapier Introduction
  3. Zapier vs Airflow
  4. Conclusion

Zapier vs Airflow

Airflow Introduction

Apache Airflow is a community-driven platform that lets users use their programming skills to create, manage, and monitor workflows. It comes under the Apache 2.0 license.

Airflow also comes with a modular architecture which makes it scalable. Moreover, it is dynamic and configurable to the core thanks to the use of the Python programming language. With it, you can create a dynamic pipeline using code.

It has four key principles:

  • Scalable
  • Dynamic
  • Extensible
  • Elegant

Getting started with Airflow is easy. You can install Airflow locally. In case you want to be more flexible, you can also run Airflow on Docker. Their official site has proper documentation on how to run Airflow both locally or on Docker. In fact, their documentation is vital to the use Airflow effectively. They have covered everything in detail, and you will not find yourself at home when using it. They also have a good community which means that you can find solutions to most of the problems.

In short, you get access to scheduling, workflows, and orchestration from one platform. The support for Warehouse and Data lakes also means that you can customize it as per your requirement. The only thing that you need to be wary of is that it doesn’t support service-level agreements (SLA).

Zapier Introduction

Zapier offers an automation platform where users can connect apps and assign actions to create a workflow. It is easy to use and is aimed at small and medium businesses, developers, designers, and freelancers.

Out of the box, it supports 2000+ apps. It also comes with a three-step implementation process:

  • Integrate
  • Automate
  • Innovate

Zapier provides an overall complete platform for businesses and individuals. You can create simple or complex workflows known as Zaps. By using Zaps, you can control every aspect of your productivity routine.

But, how easy or hard it is to create your zap?

We tried it out and found it to be easy. To get started, you need to have a basic understanding of automation. Once you are comfortable with that, you can create your very first Zap.

Zapier is free to start. This means you can try out their service before committing to it. The goal of using Zapier is to automate and that’s why you need to have a clear knowledge of what you need to be done. Zapier provides good documentation on how to create amazing zaps. Do check out their documentation to know more.

Zapier vs Airflow

With Airflow and Zapier introduced, it is now time to check out their key differences.

Installation and Getting Started

Installing Apache Airflow is easy. However, it is not as simple as getting started with Zapier.

To install Airflow, you need to run the following commands.

$ pip install apache-airflow
$ airflow initdb
$ airflow webserver -p 8080
$ airflow scheduler

Once done, you can visit localhost:8080 to access it.

Airflow can also be installed on Docker if you want to have more flexibility in your workflows.

Zapier, on the other hand, utilizes a web app to provide its features and functionality. To get started, you need to register a new account using your email. Once done, you will be redirected to their home page where you can choose the apps you want to connect.

Zapier vs Airflow Review
Caption: Getting Started with Zapier

Open Source and Community Driven

This point is solely for Airflow. It is licensed under the Apache License 2.0 which enables anyone to use the software free of cost and also helps in community-driven development.

In contrast, Zapier has a closed ecosystem. As a user, you cannot contribute to what Zapier has to offer as they work behind the doors to make the software amazing! However, you can surely provide them feedback if you feel their solution can be improved.

Ease of Use

Zapier provides a straightforward approach when it comes to using their software. To get started, you need to select the apps you want to connect with and take action accordingly. It has an easy-to-follow wizard-based process where the user can get useful information to complete your action.

For Airflow, things are a little different. First of all, you need some programming skills to get started with it. However, the finer controls can be very useful for creating complex workflows with full customizability.


When it comes to documentation, both Airflow and Zapier excel. Zapier being more inclined towards business have more detailed documentation curated towards them. It also caters well to individuals who want to get the most out of Zapier.

Airflow, on the other hand, also provides excellent documentation. You will have an easy time using the platform.

Features and Functionality

Both Zapier and Airflow are feature-rich. To get a glimpse of what they have to offer, let’s look at each one of them.

Airflow key features:

  • Scalable, dynamic, elegant, and extensible
  • Workflows can be created in pure Python
  • Offers useful UI
  • Easy to use if you know Python
  • Offers plenty of integrations
  • Open-source

Zapier key features:

  • Easy workflow creation
  • Comes with an interactive dashboard
  • 2000+ apps supported
  • Web services supported
  • Flexible plans


Apache Airflow comes with tons of integrations. With its extensible principle, you can easily define your own executors and operators and then use them to extend the library. For example, you can integrate solutions such as webHDFS, AutoML, Cloud Speech-to-Text, Amazon EC2, Dataflow, and so on!

Zapier, on the other hand, is also integration-friendly. You can connect more than 2000+ apps together and create interesting workflows using it.


When it comes to pricing, it is hard to beat Airflow.

Airflow is a community-driven project and hence it is free-to-use. Yes, there is no cost associated with it.

For Zapier, you can choose to use their free version with limited functionality or upgrade to any of their premium plans that start from $20 per month.

  • Free → 100 tasks/mo., 5 Zaps, 15 min update time
  • Starter → 750 tasks/mo., 20 Zaps, 15 min update time
  • Professional → 2000 tasks/mo., unlimited zaps, 2 min update time

Their last two plans include teams and companies which offer better features for teams and large groups. Check out their pricing page here.


This leads us to the end of our Zapier vs Airflow comparison. There is no doubt that both are good for their respective target audience. If you are looking for a free alternative to Zapier, then Airflow can be a great choice!

Airflow’s ability to get installed on Docker gives it the necessary flexibility for individuals or businesses who are on the move. In case you are not sure, it is always a good idea to give both of them a try before setting up your automation.

So, which one are you going to use? Comment below and let us know.