Document management software includes features like admin consoles, cloud storage, file management, collaboration, and workflow automation. In today’s digital world, small businesses without a technology-enabled approach to document management are falling behind.
This article will discuss the differences between two of the largest players in this space: Dropbox Business and Box. We’ll discuss the notable strengths and weaknesses of each tool, and provide recommendations for who each tool will suit best.
All of our recommendations are based on research, product demos with the software companies, and dozens of hours spent hand-testing document management tools. More details regarding our research process can be found on our document management category page.
Dropbox Business & Box Comparison Summary
Dropbox Business was rated slightly higher because its admin console is more flexible for entry level users and its collaboration tools are stronger than they are in Box. Box received a lower rating because its collaboration tools are limited, it is more expensive than Dropbox Business, and its workflow automations are weaker than Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.
Here’s a breakdown of our review criteria and how Dropbox Business and Box performed in each category.
|Criteria||Analyst Rating||Features||Usability||Pricing||Customer Support|
In terms of pricing, Dropbox Business begins at $15 per month per user. Box’s pricing starts at $7 per month per user. Both solutions are in the more expensive range of document management software.
Both solutions offer the standard features found across document management tools. These include admin consoles, cloud storage, file management, and collaboration. Dropbox Business does not have workflow automations like Box does. Dropbox Business’s strongest features are its admin console and collaboration tools. Box, however, has workflow automations which Dropbox Business does not support.
Overall, Dropbox Business is best for businesses in need of a document management tool built specifically for storing and transferring files with basic collaboration features. Although Box is powerful for businesses in need of workflow automation, Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 offer stronger workflow automation for a more affordable price, as well as robust document creation capabilities.
Here’s a quick breakdown of who will prefer each option:
- You leverage document management for file storage and transfers
- You do not need automations to streamline your workflow
- You need robust admin console settings at an affordable price
- You want to extensively automate complex team workflows
- You want to be able to recover deleted files after any period of time
- You do not need advanced communications tools to facilitate collaboration
Table of Contents
- Dropbox Business & Box Comparison Summary
- Dropbox Business & Box Price Comparison
- Dropbox Business & Box Top Feature Comparison
- Dropbox Business & Box Integrations
- Bottom Line
Dropbox Business & Box Price Comparison
Overall, Dropbox Business is more affordable than Box. Both solutions’ prices are based on user count. Box’s pricing is additionally based on single file upload sizes.
Dropbox Business Pricing Details
Dropbox Business pricing begins at $7 per month per user. All plans come with a single file upload size of 50 GB.
|Plan||Price per User||Single File Upload||Storage|
|Starter||$15||50 GB||5 TB|
|Enterprise||Contact support||50 GB||Custom|
Box Pricing Details
Box pricing starts at $7 dollars per month per user. More expensive plans come with unlimited storage and more single file upload sizes.
|Plan||Price per User||Single File Upload||Storage|
|Starter||$7||2 GB||100 GB|
|Business Plus||$33||15 GB||Unlimited|
Dropbox Business & Box Feature Comparison
Dropbox Business and Box are similar in the features that they offer. Box has slightly more advanced features. This is because Box has workflow automations which are not available in Dropbox Business. Dropbox Business, however, offers stronger collaboration tools.
Dropbox Business offers a more flexible admin console than Box. Box only allows you to change your security settings with its most expensive plan. Consider Dropbox Business if affordability and flexible security are priorities for your business.
Customizing settings in both applications is similar. Below is an example of the team member dashboard in Dropbox Business.
In both applications, you can sort through your members using various filters, manage their individual licenses, and import as well as export members using CSV files.
Both applications also show you outside connections that your team members have been working with. This provides a top-level view of the individuals involved in your company’s work. It is also a convenient way to set permissions for clients and outside collaborators.
Above is an example of setting individual permissions in Box. Permissions are also fairly similar in setup in both applications. Here are some standard permissions to consider when using a document management solution:
- Password control
- Storage amounts
- Account status
- Device approvals
- Deletion permissions
The primary difference between the admin consoles in Dropbox Business and Box is security. Advanced security settings such as two-factor authentication or global password resets are not available in Box’s more affordable plans.
Contrast this with Dropbox Business, which allows you to set up two-factor authentication and single sign-on, watermark your documents, and perform remote device wipes in its entry level plan.
Cloud storage options in Dropbox Business and Box are similar. However, Dropbox Business supports larger individual file upload sizes. Meanwhile, Box offers an unlimited cutoff date for recovering deleted files.
If robust file version histories are important for your business, we recommend either Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 for your business.
In both applications, exact differences between versions are not highlighted like they are in Workspace and Microsoft 365. This means that visualizing your edits in both applications is challenging. This will especially be a concern for your business if your team is constantly uploading documents and going through many edit cycles.
Offline access in both applications is easy to set up and can be accessed on the following devices:
Dropbox Business offers additional support for Linux and Windows phones, while Box offers additional support for Blackberry phones.
File management is stronger in Dropbox Business than it is in Box because its file organization is more user friendly. Both applications, however, are weaker than Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 because they do not support document creation. Consider those alternatives if having a single system to create and manage documents is important to you.
Dropbox Business organizes files through a hierarchical structure. This makes visualizing your company’s files from a top-level easier than any other document management software we’ve analyzed. In both Dropbox Business and Box, you can sort files by type, name, owner, and date modified.
Dropbox Business and Box do not offer robust document creation capabilities. You can create basic documents in Dropbox Paper and Box Notes, which are each software’s proprietary note creation tool. We will discuss these in more detail in the Collaboration section.
Both solutions offer native integrations with Workspace and Microsoft 365 to create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations and automatically save those files in your team account. However, we believe that most small businesses can operate more efficiently by simply using Workspace or Microsoft 365 for document creation and management.
Collaboration features are stronger in Dropbox Business than in Box. This is because Dropbox Business offers two feature-rich tools that streamline team projects and large file transfers: Dropbox Paper and Dropbox Transfer. Additional collaboration tools in both solutions include attaching electronic signatures to your documents and commenting on files.
Seen above is a document created in Dropbox Paper. This is a hub where your team can set project deadlines and collaborate on various files already stored in your Dropbox account. You have access to a number of features to coordinate on projects, including tables, checklists, and project schedules.
Contrast this with Box Notes, which is Box’s standout collaboration feature. An example is seen below.
As you can see, Box Notes is similar in structure and in features to Dropbox Paper. However, we find that Dropbox Paper comes with more features such as adding media from native integrations and directly accessing your team’s files from its sidebar.
Both tools come with a variety of templates depending on your team’s use cases:
Transferring large files is a more streamlined process in Dropbox Business than it is in Box. Size limits for individual files start at 50 GB and 2 GB for Dropbox Business and Box respectively. However, you can group files in folders to send large packages of individual files.
Dropbox Transfer, seen above, is Dropbox Business’ dedicated tool for packaging and sending files up to 100 GB. Recipients do not need a Dropbox account, which means you can send files to clients and outside collaborators.
Additionally, you can use Dropbox Business to design your transfer’s landing page to have a custom background and company logo. This is particularly helpful for companies that want to communicate their branding and style guide to clients. This is a feature that is not available in any other document management software.
Dropbox Business and Box offer native integrations with electronic signature software including HelloSign and DocuSign. This means your company can easily attach electronic signatures to your documents. If you want the full capabilities of both integrations, you must purchase their respective paid plans.
Finally, both solutions offer weak commenting capabilities. Commenting in Box can be seen below.
Comments in Box are better than Dropbox Business because users can directly comment on text instead of highlighting sections. However, we find that Workspace and Microsoft 365 are stronger because you can see exact changes and edit text directly.
Comments and documents in general are not dynamic in both solutions. This means that an entirely new document must be uploaded once changes are made. This is a hindrance to your workflow and one of the weakest points of both Dropbox Business and Box.
Workflow automations are rules you can set to automate repetitive tasks for your team. Some examples in document management software include automatically sending new hires onboarding documents or sending alerts when a user’s password changes. Unlike Dropbox Business, Box offers workflow automations.
However, we recommend choosing Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 if workflow automations are a priority for your business. This is because both solutions offer more robust automations at a more affordable price.
Box’s workflow automation tool, Box Relay, can be seen above. Relay has a user-friendly interface which allows you to create automations using triggers and outcomes. These are events that start your workflow and actions that follow. You can select the following triggers and outcomes for your workflows:
Box Relay is strong but only available in Box’s second most expensive plan. It is more so designed for enterprise businesses. Compare this with Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 which offer their workflow automation tools in their entry level plans.
Google Workspace’s workflow automations are powerful but come with the steepest learning curve we’ve analyzed in the document management software category. Microsoft 365, however, uses visual flows that are more intuitive for beginners and small businesses. This is why we recommend Microsoft 365 for any business in need of an affordable solution that supports workflow automation.
Dropbox Business and Box both offer a number of popular integrations found in standard document management software. Here are some of the most popular native integrations both solutions offer:
Overall, Dropbox Business is best for businesses in need of a document management tool built specifically for storing and transferring files with basic collaboration features. Dropbox Business’ primary advantage over Box is its stronger collaboration tools. Although Box offers workflow automation and Dropbox Business does not, small businesses in particular will find Microsoft 365’s workflow automation more affordable and helpful for their needs.