Video chatting has become an essential part of our communication toolkit. From quick video calls with friends and family to online meetings and events, having a solid video chat app makes connecting virtually seamless.
Two of the most popular options for video chatting are Discord and Zoom. But with different features and target users, it can be tricky to decide which one is right for your needs.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll compare Discord vs Zoom to help you determine the best video chat app for you.
What is Discord?
Discord is a free voice, video, and text chat app. It was originally designed for gamers to communicate while playing together online.
Some key features of Discord include:
- Free voice and video calls
- Group text chats with supporters to unlimited members
- Organized into “servers” with different channels for text and voice
- Screen sharing capability
- Custom emojis and GIFs
- Wide range of integrations with other apps and services
- Desktop and mobile apps available
Over the years, Discord has expanded beyond gaming communities. These days it’s used by all types of groups and teams to socialize and collaborate in real-time. For more comparisons, you can read about how Discord compares to other platforms like Skype, WhatsApp, Telegram and Twitch.
Some popular uses of Discord include:
- Gaming communities
- Friend groups and online societies
- Remote work teams
- Clubs, groups, and communities
- Classrooms and study groups
Discord is free to use with some premium subscription options for enhanced features.
What is Zoom?
Zoom is a video conferencing app used primarily for business meetings and webinars. It provides video chat features for groups along with options for screen sharing, collaboration tools, and more.
Some key features of Zoom include:
- Group video conferences for up to 1,000 participants
- Screen sharing and co-annotation
- Private and group chat
- Virtual backgrounds and custom video layouts
- File sharing and cloud recording
- Integrates with business apps like Slack and Google Workspace
- Mobile and desktop apps
Zoom became hugely popular when the COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to adopt remote work. It’s designed specifically for business use cases like:
- Company meetings and events
- Webinars and virtual conferences
- Remote training and workshops
- Interviews and recruiting
- Classroom teaching
- Telehealth appointments
There is a free basic version of Zoom. Paid plans offer more features and fewer restrictions on meeting lengths.
Now let’s dive into a detailed feature comparison of Discord and Zoom.
Discord vs Zoom: Feature Comparison
A core function of any video chat app is the ability to communicate in real-time. Discord and Zoom take slightly different approaches when it comes to chat features.
- Text chat in servers/channels or direct messages
- Organized threads for conversations
- Voice chat in channels
- Video calling with screen share
- Unlimited chat history
- In-meeting group chat
- Private 1:1 messaging
- Voice only meetings
- Group video meetings with screen share
- Cloud recording transcripts (paid plans)
Discord offers persistent chat spaces while Zoom’s chats are temporary for each meeting. For casual chatting and conversational flow, Discord has more options. Zoom focuses more on live conversations during scheduled meetings.
Call quality is critical for video chat apps. Both Discord and Zoom use optimizing technologies for the best audio and video.
- Consistently clear voice quality
- Customizable audio sensitivity per chat
- Up to 4K video calling
- Enhanced Go Live streaming
- Screen share up to 1080p
- HD video and HD audio
- Automatic background noise suppression
- Adaptive to network conditions
- Gallery view for multi-person video
- Gallery or active speaker layouts
- Up to 1080p screen sharing
Discord and Zoom both offer excellent call quality for most use cases. Zoom has an advantage for business video conferences with more layout options. But for casual chatting Discord provides great quality.
Team Collaboration Tools
Effective collaboration makes video chats more productive. Here are some useful collaboration features in each app.
- Screen sharing
- File sharing up to 100MB
- Code snippet sharing
- Server boosts for extra perks
- Bots for automation and tools
- Screen sharing with annotation
- Integrated whiteboard
- File sharing up to 1GB
- Cloud recording and transcripts
- Breakout rooms
- Polls and hand-raising
For work teams, Zoom has more built-in options like breakout rooms and collaborative whiteboards. Discord offers some nice extras through bots and server boosts.
Ease of use and interface design impacts the user experience on these platforms.
- designed for informal community chat
- takes some learning to navigate servers
- lightweight mobile and desktop apps
- customizable themes and plugins
- built for business video meetings
- simple, intuitive interface
- easy to start and join meetings
- fewer personalization options
Discord has a steeper learning curve but more customizability. Zoom’s interface is streamlined for professional video meetings right out of the box.
Security is crucial for any communication platform handling sensitive data.
- End-to-end encryption for text chats
- Servers can be private invite-only
- Moderation tools to limit access
- End-to-end encryption available
- Waiting rooms and meeting passcodes
- File and screenshare permissions
- Access controls and lock meetings
- HIPAA and SOC2 compliance
Zoom offers robust security protections optimized for enterprise use. Discord provides more basic security suitable for casual use. For privacy in business settings, Zoom is preferable.
Having well-designed mobile apps expands accessibility and utility.
- iOS and Android apps
- Persistent friends list
- Voice channels and text chat
- Not quite as fully featured as desktop
- iOS and Android apps
- Schedule or join meetings
- Gallery view and chat
- Nearly identical experience to desktop
Both Discord and Zoom provide apps that make mobile video chatting possible. Zoom’s mobile experience mirrors desktop while Discord on mobile has some limitations.
Integrations and API
Integrations with other tools expand what you can do with these platforms.
- App directory with custom bots
- API available for custom integrations
- Built-in integrations limited
- App marketplace with 1000+ integrations
- Zapier integration options
- API available
- Integrates with business software
Zoom has far more integrations out of the box, especially tailored to business workflows. Discord enables integrations through its API but has fewer pre-packaged options.
Pricing and plans vary greatly between these two apps.
- Free version fully-featured
- Nitro plans add cosmetics and file uploads
- $9.99/month for premium features
- Free has 40-minute limit on group meetings
- Pro paid plans start at $14.99/month
- Business plans start at $19.99/month
- Enterprise plans fully customizable
For personal use, Discord has a clear pricing advantage. Zoom’s pricing reflects its focus as an enterprise tool. Limits on the free plan motivate upgrading for business use.
Discord vs Zoom: Key Differences
To recap the core differences:
- Purpose: Discord for casual communities, Zoom for business
- Features: Discord has persistent servers and channels, Zoom has meeting tools
- Pricing: Discord is free, Zoom has paid plans for business
- Use cases: Discord for gaming and friend groups, Zoom for company meetings
- Setup: Discord has more learning curve, Zoom is instantly usable
- Chat options: Discord allows ongoing chat, Zoom has in-meeting chat
- Collaboration: Zoom has built-in whiteboard and breakouts, Discord uses bots
- Security: Zoom enterprise-grade security, Discord basic security
Zoom caters to business teams and polished presentations. Discord is built for relaxed conversations with ongoing chat spaces.
Discord vs Zoom: Which Should You Choose?
So which video chat app is right for you — Discord or Zoom?
Here are a few key questions to consider:
Are you a business or personal user?
If you need video chatting for a company or work meetings, Zoom is likely the better fit. Its plans, features, and ui support business workflows.
For personal chatting with friends or gaming groups, Discord will probably suit you better. Especially if you want persistent chat spaces outside scheduled meetings.
What’s your budget?
Discord is 100% free for feature-rich video chatting. Zoom only has basic features available for free.
If budget is a concern, Discord allows full use at no cost. For access to advanced tools on Zoom you’ll need to pay.
What experience are you trying to create?
Think about the vibe you want your video chats to have.
Discord leans casual, fun, and conversational. Zoom skews more formal and polished for presentations.
Choose Discord for an informal, community feel. Pick Zoom when professionalism is key.
How large are your groups?
Discord caps video calls at 25 people. Zoom goes up to 100 for free, 500-1000 with paid plans.
For small groups, either option will work. For very large video calls of 50-100+, Zoom is likely better suited.
Do you need scheduling?
Zoom has robust meeting scheduling with calendar integration. Discord doesn’t offer scheduling natively.
If you’ll be planning video meetings in advance, Zoom makes coordination and scheduling simple.
How tech savvy are you?
Discord has more features to configure for the optimum experience. Zoom is designed to work well out of the box.
If you’re less tech savvy, Zoom will likely be easier to use at first. Discord rewards some learning investment.
Discord vs Zoom: Which Is More Popular?
In terms of active user base, Discord currently edges out Zoom.
Discord reached 140 million monthly active users in 2021. Zoom hit 300 million daily users at its pandemic peak but has around 200 million now.
Of course popularity doesn’t necessarily mean a tool is right for you and your needs. But knowing how widespread the adoption is can be helpful context.
- Discord built for casual communities, Zoom for business video calls
- Zoom has more meeting customization tools, Discord better ongoing chat
- Discord excels at informal video hangouts, Zoom at structured meetings
- Zoom has much more robust security protections than Discord
- Discord is free with unlimited use, Zoom limits free version
- Consider your use case, community, size needs when choosing
- For large enterprise video calls, Zoom is likely the better choice
Discord vs Zoom: FAQs
Can you schedule meetings on Discord?
No, Discord does not have native meeting scheduling features. You would need to schedule meetings externally and coordinate joining voice channels.
Does Zoom have persistent chat spaces?
No, Zoom’s group chats are temporary for each meeting. It does not offer ongoing server chat spaces like Discord.
Is Discord secure for business?
Discord’s security options are fairly limited, so most businesses opt for tools like Zoom that offer more controls. Discord can be appropriate for informal small team chats.
Can you use Zoom for free forever?
Yes, Zoom does offer a free tier, but it limits group meetings to 40 minutes max. The free plan works for shorter meetings or 1:1 calls.
Does Discord have video conferencing?
Yes, Discord’s video chat allows up to 25 people. However, it lacks some advanced meeting features that dedicated video conferencing platforms like Zoom provide.
Can you use virtual backgrounds on Discord?
Yes, Discord has an option to upload custom images as a virtual background for your video chats.
Is Zoom better than Skype?
Zoom generally outperforms Skype in video quality, call capacity, and ease of use. But Skype is also free and may serve basic video chat needs.
No, Discord’s mobile apps do not currently support screen sharing from your phone. You can view other’s shared screens though.
Does Zoom integrate with Slack?
Yes, Zoom offers a Slack integration that enables creating Zoom calls and screen sharing directly from Slack channels.
Discord and Zoom both facilitate easy video chats, but cater to different use cases.
For most personal connections, Discord is likely the more flexible and budget-friendly option. The community chat spaces and informal features fit casual conversations well.
Businesses and professional networking are better served by Zoom’s meeting-centric tools. Things like conference call capacity, enterprise security, integrations, make Zoom a great choice for work video calls.
Think critically about your own needs and priorities. Weigh up the key differences covered here based on how you’ll use video chatting.
With the context provided in this guide, you should have a clear sense of whether Discord or Zoom (or maybe even both!) is the right video chat platform for you.