Skip to main content

Google Drive vs. Dropbox: Which is the best file storage solution in 2022?

Google Drive
Google Drive (Image credit: Android Central)

Google Drive

Google Drive logo

(opens in new tab)

Google Drive includes access to the most essential programs like Docs and Gmail. Its free account gives you 15GB of shared storage space with options to increase storage to 30TB.

Google Drive

Best Overall

15 GB storage space
Access to Google One apps
Syncs with Google Hangouts Meets
Shared storage
Slower syncing

Dropbox

Dropbox icon

(opens in new tab)

Dropbox includes 2GB of space with its free account with options to increase storage to 3TB. It uses block-syncing to update changes quickly for you and collaborators.

Dropbox

Fast Syncing

Block syncing
Referral program
Syncs with Zoom
Less storage space
No native spreadsheet support

While Dropbox was the original online storage unit, Google Drive has quickly caught up, offering more space with its free accounts, access to file creation tools that Dropbox just doesn't have and more upgrade options for additional storage. Also, because Drive is part of your Google account, it's easy to collaborate and share files during video chats through Hangouts Meet. Dropbox does have block syncing, which makes saving file changes faster and more reliable than Google, and it will sync with Zoom for some additional collaboration and meeting tools. However, overall, Google Drive is still the better pick, especially for those working from home and need to share files and collaborate on projects.

Google DriveDropbox
Storage space15 GB2 GB
Cost of 2 TB upgrade$100$120
Syncs with video conference programsYY
Shared storageYN
Block syncingNY
Apps and services with free accountGmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Maps, YouTubePaper

Google Drive vs Dropbox: Storage & Pricing

Source: Nicole Johnston/Android Central (Image credit: Source: Nicole Johnston/Android Central)

The free account of Dropbox gives you 2GB of storage space. Google Drive gives you 15GB, but it is shared between all Google One programs. This means your saved files and Gmail inbox messages tap into the 15GB of space. However, 15GB is still a lot of space, even when shared. On average, this is enough space to save over 232,000 files.

Source: Nicole Johnston/ Android Central (Image credit: Source: Nicole Johnston/ Android Central)

You can upgrade to either a Dropbox Plus or a paid Google One account to get more storage space. A Dropbox Plus account is $120 per year for 2 TB of space. Google gives you this for a $100 yearly subscription. Google also has other plans, including mid-level ones with storage space between the 15 GB and 2TB marks, that are cheaper, but Dropbox only has the jump from the free account to the Dropbox Plus account. It does have an individual Professional package with 3TB of space for around $200 per year. Google's highest plan costs $300 per month for a total of 30 TB of storage space.

Dropbox does have a referral program to earn additional storage space. From the referral page, send email invites to friends and coworkers. For every person that signs up from your referral, Dropbox gives both you and the new signee 500MB of free storage space. Referrals are capped at 32 for a total of 16GB with a free account. You can use the referral program with a Dropbox Plus account, too, but referrals are still capped at 32 and you earn 1GB of space per accepted referral invitation.

Google Drive vs Dropbox: Syncing

This is one area where Google Drive and Dropbox really differ. When you open and work on a file, those changes are saved automatically. The files and documents are then synced within the program so they can be accessed from any device or browser.

Google Drive downloads and uploads the entire document to sync it. Sometimes you will see a delay when accessing a document from a device different than the one the changes were made from. For example, if changes were made from your desktop, opening the file from your cell phone may not show the changes right away. Often it required closing down the app and reopening it to see the changes. This allows Google Drive to catch up with itself and sync the changes properly so you can access them. It doesn't take too long, but depending on your device and its speed it can be frustrating to wait a bit or perform extra steps for syncing to happen. Also, if you lose Wi-Fi before Drive has a chance to sync, some of your work may be lost.

Dropbox uses a block-syncing method. Instead of downloading and uploading an entire file, Dropbox simply saves and syncs just the changes made to the document. This is much quicker than Google's way of syncing. If you are using the collaboration features within Dropbox, block syncing makes changes appear for everyone more quickly. It also means you don't have to wait as long to access changes yourself when logging into Dropbox from another browser or device.

Google Drive vs Dropbox: Additional Features

Both Google Drive and Dropbox are more than just a cloud-based file cabinet. Both have a word processor and project creation tools, though there are noticeable differences between the two.

Dropbox toolbar

Source: Nicole Johnston/ Android Central (Image credit: Source: Nicole Johnston/ Android Central)

Dropbox's basic document creation tool, called Paper, that lets you create word documents with embed images, calendars, media files, merge other Dropbox files or create a table. Lists can be bulleted or numbered and you can add a section or page break. It does have a spell checker though some words aren't recognized. It also doesn't pick up on grammatical errors as Google's programs do. Dropbox allows you to use some of the same keyboard shortcuts as Google Drive, like Ctrl + b for bolding text, and some of these functions are shown in a pop-up toolbar when you highlight the text. However, there isn't a taskbar with pinned shortcuts for any of these commonly used text formatting functions.

By default, when you first start typing in Dropbox it creates a large title or header at the top of the page. This then becomes the file name. It's a little bothersome when you want to create a document, like a letter, that doesn't need this bold text at the top. On the other hand, it is convenient in ensuring the document is named and easier to find later.

Dropbox has three templates within Paper, which are helpful when collaborating with teammates. These templates - meeting notes, project planning, and brainstorming - are designed to help walk you through the steps of creating each document. You can create or upload more templates, but it isn't clear exactly where to get these templates or how to add them within Dropbox itself without a little digging.