DronaHQ vs Retool: a battle of low-code platforms

Streamlining internal processes through low-code platforms has become a necessity for businesses looking to increase efficiency and save time. Two such popular providers in the market are DronaHQ and Retool.

While both have their own unique set of capabilities, certain factors differentiate them from each other.

One thrives on custom-building complex internal tools, and the other prides itself on rapid prototyping and easy-to-use features.

In this comparison article, we will delve into a technical analysis of DronaHQ's offerings against Retool's to determine which platform suits different business needs.

What is DronaHQ


Being one of the top low-code platforms, DronaHQ offers an efficient solution for custom software development. They are popular for their secure platform with role-based access, extensive integration capabilities, and debugging tools.

DronaHQ's low-code app development platform offers a drag-and-drop interface with over 150 UI components including rich table UI components, form fields, and native UI elements. This means users can easily build both web and mobile apps.

The platform supports enterprise-grade features such as SSO configuration, role-based access permissions, custom domains, app white labeling, environments, that ensure the end product is a true enterprise-grade app.

Additionally, the platform supports front-end logic with actions and custom JavaScript capabilities for customization and data transformation.

For businesses looking to streamline their internal operations, DronaHQ scales efficiently and offers 24/7 engineering support. Their platform is trusted by brands ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies.

With value-driven pricing plans catering to different needs, DronaHQ enables the building of a variety of applications such as forms, dashboards, AI-powered apps, and more. It is also recognized as a top low-code platform globally and offers a free signup option for exploration.

What is Retool


On the other side is Retool, a versatile platform for the fast and efficient building of web apps, workflows, and mobile apps with fully customized dashboards through a drag-and-drop interface similar to DronaHQ. Its code integration supports IDEs and Git version control, too.

As far as deployment goes, Retool has environment management, while its integration capabilities span across databases, APIs, and external apps. Their core API functionality includes portals, embeddable apps, and self-hosting options.

Retool boasts fast development through its drag-and-drop feature and code integration support with debugging tools. Flexibility is another key aspect of the platform, as it caters to various development needs with its code editing, integrations, and self-hosting abilities.

For enterprise purposes, Retool offers sophisticated security features, including SSO for authentication, audit logs for tracking changes, and more.

Comparison Features: DronaHQ vs Retool

Rapid application development requires efficient and robust tools. Both DronaHQ and Retool offer such tools. There are key differences between them worth considering.

Mobile App

For mobile app development, DronaHQ's technical focus on utilizing native SDKs for iOS and Android is a clear advantage over Retool's use of WebView containers within native shells.

This approach allows DronaHQ to generate platform-specific code for optimal performance and user experience, giving their apps an edge in speed and responsiveness.

The development process on DronaHQ is primarily confined to their platform environment. While this may limit integration with external tools, it also ensures that the final product follows strict quality standards set by the platform.

But the biggest win here is the pricing. DronaHQ includes mobile app development in all of their paid plans, at no extra cost, making it a cost-effective option for businesses with basic needs.

With Retool, users need to rebuild the app for mobile access. Retool's separate paid add-on for mobile app development may increase the initial cost significantly.

Multi-Screen Apps

If you want to build a complex and interconnected multi-screen application, DronaHQ is the ideal platform for you. It provides native support for developing apps with multiple screens that are seamlessly connected and offer a cohesive user experience.

Retool, on the other hand, primarily focuses on single-screen applications and requires workarounds to achieve multi-screen functionality through logical navigation from one app to another.


While many providers offer single sign-on capabilities, the SSO feature offered by DronaHQ stands out for its availability, protocol support, and advanced features. With a Business plan or higher, users can access SSO functionality at no additional cost.

DronaHQ supports multiple protocols, such as SAML and OpenID Connect (OIDC), ensuring compatibility with a wide range of identity providers (IdPs).

The affordability and flexibility of DronaHQ's SSO make it a more attractive option for businesses looking to streamline their login process while also ensuring optimum security.

Retool supports SSO configuration but only in its Enterprise pricing tier. This can become a blocker for some teams trying to build apps on Retool.

Automation Builder

Both platforms offer automation workflow capabilities, allowing users to create automated processes using a combination of triggers and actions.

DronaHQ stands out with its robust automation builder that supports cron jobs, webhooks, and API calls. These diverse trigger options provide greater flexibility for scheduling tasks and responding to specific events.

When it comes to building workflows, DronaHQ offers a visually intuitive point-and-click interface with an extensive library of elements. This allows users to easily create complex workflows with branching logic and custom scripting. One can also use a JS code block for advanced logic.

In comparison, Retool also offers a visual builder but is limited to blocks representing queries, JavaScript code, or API calls.

DronaHQ's automation builder includes advanced features such as multi-step branching logic and parallel flows, which are not available in Retool. These features enable more sophisticated automation processes and increase productivity by reducing the number of steps required.

PDF Creator

DronaHQ and Retool both provide PDF creation features. However, if you want a user-friendly and customizable tool, DronaHQ is the ideal choice. Simply put, DronaHQ's PDF Creator is an intuitive drag-and-drop visual template editor, allowing users to design their PDFs from scratch and also save PDF templates to match their guidelines.

In contrast to Retool's basic PDF exporter and limited options, DronaHQ offers a wide range of elements such as text, tables, images, and branding to make the PDF more visually appealing.


Regarding price, DronaHQ offers a versatile range of plans to cater to the varying needs of different business use cases. The platform's focus on cost-efficiency and transparency is evident in its user-based and task-based plans.

The user-based plan starts at $10 per user per month, making it an ideal choice for fixed user sets. This allows organizations to clearly understand their monthly expenditure based on the number of users needed.

For those with fluctuating or unpredictable usage, DronaHQ also offers a task-based plan starting at $100 per month. This plan accounts for metrics like API calls and tasks, providing businesses with a more transparent and predictable cost structure.

Furthermore, for enterprises looking for self-hosted plans, DronaHQ has custom pricing options, including developer-only plans, available upon contacting their sales team. This allows organizations to tailor their plans to specific needs and maximize their return on investment (ROI).

In comparison, Retool's pricing model may not be as clear-cut. While they offer options such as a free plan for exploration purposes and volume-based discounts for larger organizations, they lack flexibility in catering to different types of users with separate pricing structures.

App Performance

While both DronaHQ and Retool offer robust platforms for building applications, DronaHQ has a significant edge in terms of app performance. With DronaHQ, developers have greater control over when database queries and API calls are fired, allowing for more efficient and optimized processes.

This level of control is achieved through DronaHQ's microservices architecture, which allows for modular design and implementation of backend services. Developers can easily manage the timing and sequence of database queries and API calls, reducing load times and improving overall app performance.

Furthermore, DronaHQ offers advanced caching mechanisms such as Redis cache integration, further enhancing the speed and efficiency of database operations. This allows apps built on DronaHQ to handle large amounts of data without compromising on performance.

Premium Support

Last but not least, one major advantage of choosing DronaHQ over Retool is its premium support services. With 24 x 7 engineering support, DronaHQ ensures that their customers receive timely assistance and troubleshooting for any technical issues they may face.

This level of dedicated support sets DronaHQ apart from Retool, which only offers basic email support during business hours.

Bottom Line

While both DronaHQ and Retool are popular low-code platforms with their unique strengths, DronaHQ offers a more comprehensive and feature-rich solution for businesses of all sizes.

From its efficient mobile app development capabilities to its affordable and flexible pricing plans, DronaHQ excels in various areas when compared to Retool.

For organizations looking for a powerful yet user-friendly platform that can handle complex processes and deliver top-notch performance, DronaHQ emerges as the clear choice between these two providers.