Power BI vs Tableau: Compare Top Data Visualization Tools

Power BI vs Tableau: Compare Top Data Visualization Tools-feature image
May 31, 2024 Reviewed By : Aditya Ghosh .10 Min read

Summary: Have you ever faced problems while dealing with data in bulk? Have you ever got stuck while trying to understand the intricacies or insights of the same? If “YES”, then read this article further for better understanding. This comprehensive article will help you strengthen your business intelligence with Power BI and Tableau. Discover key differences between them, from pricing to performance to find the perfect fit for your organization’s data analytics journey.

Are you in search of the perfect business intelligence (BI) software, or are you a developer or an analyst seeking opportunities in data analytics? If “Yes”, then understanding the ins and outs of Tableau & Power BI can prove to be helpful for you.

In this article, you can understand the intricacies of the two major data visualization tools available in the market and get to know how to utilize them for extracting detailed insights. This comprehensive article will help you compare them in terms of different parameters like pricing, performance, user interface, data sources, integrations, and more. Let’s dive in!

What is Power BI?

Power BI by Microsoft is a BI (business intelligence) and data visualization tool that has been thoughtfully developed to cater to the needs of large enterprises. It offers exceptional scalability and performance.

It is preferred by prominent companies that deal with extensive datasets frequently. Moreover, you can find Power BI on-premises, in cloud-based, and hybrid deployment versions.

One of the standout features of Power BI is its seamless integration with a wide range of data sources. This enables businesses to generate insightful charts, reports, tables, and interactive visualizations, drawing insightful summaries from their data.

Furthermore, Power BI seamlessly collaborates with various Microsoft systems, including MS Excel, MS SQL Server, Azure, and MS Access. Apart from that, PowerBI can also be integrated with other external systems outside the MS ecosystem. This helps enhance the applicability and flexibility.

What is Tableau?

Tableau by Salesforce functions as a powerful data visualization as well as a BI (business intelligence) tool that offers companies an on-premises and cloud-based version to meet their specific requirements.

This popular solution has gained major recognition for its strong reporting capabilities and exceptional visualization features. Being an integral unit of the Salesforce brand, it seamlessly accesses data stored in the Salesforce DataCloud. Moreover, it extracts data from a variety of other systems, enhancing its versatility and utility.

Tableau vs Power BI: Detailed Comparison

Microsoft Power BI Pro (CSP)

Microsoft Power BI


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1. Cost/Pricing

Comparison between Power BI and Tableau, the pricing for Tableau is notably higher. Its cost variance is influenced by factors like service type, user count, and other variables.

Power BI works on the per-user costs linked to service level. This means charging on a per-user basis or per capacity (or, per organization). The pricing includes:

  • PowerBI Pro: $10/user/month
  • PowerBI Premium: $20/user/month

On the other hand, Tableau’s pricing is diverse, based on different types of users.

For instance:

Tableau Viewer allows users to view dashboard visualizations, however, it lacks the capacity for analysis.

Tableau Explorer provides self-service analytics, including options for visualization and workbook editing, content management, and custom-view sharing.

Tableau Creator, being more comprehensive, offers features like deployment monitoring, server administration, and other management capabilities. The pricing of Tableau offerings is as follows:

  • Tableau Viewer: $15/user/month
  • Tableau Explorer: $42/user/month
  • Tableau Creator: $75/user/month

2. Performance

When comparing Power BI with Tableau, Tableau showcases superior performance while handling extensive datasets. Although both Power BI and Tableau use in-memory caching to fasten the data processing.

However, Power BI’s performance slows down while managing large data volumes. Power BI performs better than Tableau when dealing with relatively small datasets. However, for organizations majorly working with huge datasets, Tableau emerges as the preferred choice.

3. User Interface

Both Power BI and Tableau offer user-friendly interface designs to ensure the best experience. Moreover, they both offer code-free environments with drag & drop features, catering to non-technical individuals.

However, PowerBI holds an edge in this context as it offers more features that are directly accessible on dashboard compared to Tableau. Also, it offers a superior UX/UI, especially for individuals new to the field of data analytics.

Additionally, Power BI’s interface is somewhat similar to other MS products that enables users who have previously used Microsoft Excel to reduce the learning curve associated.

4. Data Sources

Selecting any business intelligence platform compatible with the data sources of your preference is important for seamless operations. If you’re confused between Tableau & Power BI, here’s a comparative glance at Power BI versus Tableau data sources:

The data sources of Power BI include Amazon Redshift, Adobe Analytics, Azure SQL, BigQuery, IBM DB2, Facebook, Excel, Google Analytics, and Hadoop. Apart from that JSON, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, R Script, Python Script, Salesforce Report, SQL Server, Spark, and Text File are also some other data sources that are supported by Power BI.

On the other hand, Tableau offers data connectivity with Excel, Alibaba Data Lake and Analytics, Amazon Redshift, Azure SQL, Google Ads, BigQuery, and Google Analytics. Apart from that, some others include Python Script, IBM DB2, Hadoop, JSON, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Salesforce Report, R Script, Spark, Text file, and SQL Server.

5. Dashboards/Data Visualization

Both Power BI and Tableau offer a variety of charts and graphs for visualization. However, the number of visualization types in Power BI is fewer compared to Tableau.

In short, Tableau stands out for its robust data modeling, providing a wide range of visualization options. These include classic line and bar charts, scatter plots, geographic maps, bubble charts, tree maps, and more. Furthermore, it also offers pixel-perfect precision which grants analysts greater control over their visualizations.

6. Customer Support

In terms of customer support, the community of Power BI is comparatively smaller than the Tableau community. Here, Tableau holds the upper hand in this case. This is because it offers a large and dynamic user community, continuously exchanging tips, offering insights, sharing resources, and actively engaging with others.

7. Integrations/Connections

When it comes to integration, each platform provides unique connectors that are exclusively native to their system. For instance, Power BI has been completely linked with Microsoft systems, facilitating seamless integration within the MS ecosystem.

On the other hand, Tableau is a Salesforce product, offering Salesforce users a smoother integration experience. While some connectors like Microsoft SQL Server, PostgreSQL, and Google Analytics are common between the two.

8. Products

Both Power BI and Tableau offer a variety of products. Here’s the list of Power BI product offerings:

  • PowerBI Desktop: Serves as a visualization tool with limited features.
  • PowerBI Service: This cloud-based offering allows dashboard creation.
  • PowerBI Pro: Offering similar to PowerBI Service but with an expanded feature set.
  • PowerBI Premium: Advanced cloud-based offering with AI functionalities.
  • PowerBI Mobile: A smart app enabling dashboard access via tablets and smartphones.
  • PowerBI Report Server: Enterprise-level reporting server accessible with enterprise or premium edition licenses.

On the other hand, here is the list of Tableau products:

  • Tableau Server: Enterprise-level platform designed for managing data.
  • Tableau Public: For creating reports and visualizations with a restricted set of features.
  • Tableau Cloud: Completely cloud-based platform for analytics.
  • Tableau Mobile: Smart app for tablet/smartphone connectivity to Tableau Server or Tableau Cloud.
  • Tableau Desktop: Self-service solution for analytics and data visualization.
  • Tableau Reader: Desktop application to interact and view data visualizations.

9. Security

For user authentication, Power BI uses AAD (Azure Active Directory) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) for data encryption. Moreover, it also facilitates the configuration of role-based restrictions for enhanced data protection.

On the other hand, Tableau provides administrators with straightforward security configuration and authentication options, offering a user-friendly approach to enhancing security measures.

10. Reporting

Power BI offers automatic as well as manual options for refresh to maintain reports with the latest data. Additionally, it provides instant reporting capabilities for generating instant reports with the latest data. Also, it facilitates intuitive report sharing for smoother collaboration with other users.

In contrast, Tableau excels in report generation but lacks automatic refreshing capabilities. This adds an extra step compared to Power BI to process and share reports.

Comparison Table of PowerBI and Tableau

Here is a comparison table that offers a detailed analysis of the different parameters of Power BI and Tableau, helping in the decision-making process for selecting the most suitable BI platform.

ParametersPower BITableau
Cost/PricingOffers per-user and capacity-based pricingDiverse pricing models for different users
PerformanceSuitable for limited to massive datasetsDemonstrates superior performance with extensive datasets
UX/UIProvides more features accessible on dashboardOffers intuitive interface design
Data SourcesSupports multiple data sourcesConnectivity with a similar range of data sources
Programming SupportWell-suited for non-tech usersApt for individuals with diverse technical skills
Dashboards/Data VisualizationSimplistic approach to data visualizationRobust data modeling and complex visualization options
Customer SupportResponsive customer supportAcknowledged for robust customer support and dynamic user community
Integrations/ConnectionsSeamless integration within the MS ecosystemTailored integration experience for Salesforce users
ProductsA diverse range of cloud-powered and on-premises solutionsMultiple products catering to different needs
SecurityLeverages Azure Active Directory and role-based restrictions to accessOffers straightforward security configuration and authentication options
ReportingAutomatic and manual options for refresh, instant reporting capabilitiesDetailed report creation but lacks automatic refreshing capabilities

Tableau vs Power BI: Pros & Cons

Pros & Cons of Tableau


  • Smooth integration with an entire Salesforce ecosystem
  • Diverse options for data sources
  • Extensive range of visualization choices
  • Precise control over visualizations
  • Support for Python and R
  • Large and active community of users
  • Exceptional customer support
  • Robust performance with extensive data sets


  • Steep learning curve
  • Lack of automatic refreshing capability
  • Relatively high cost
  • Absence of version control and change management features

Pros & Cons of Power BI


  • Seamless integration within the MS ecosystem
  • Automatic data refresh options
  • Outstanding reporting functionality
  • Support for Python and R
  • Report sharing to facilitate collaboration
  • Low learning curve compared to Tableau


  • Limited visualization options in comparison to Tableau
  • Slower performance while handling hue datasets
  • Smaller community support
  • Incompatibility of the desktop version with the macOS operating system

Key Differences Between Power BI and Tableau

When deciding between Power BI & Tableau, there are notable distinctions to consider. Here are some of the key differences between them. Let’s check them out one by one:

  • Firstly, Power BI stands out as an affordable option, particularly beneficial for businesses that are surviving under tight budgets.
  • Secondly, Power BI aligns with the Microsoft environment, whereas Tableau integrates with the complete Salesforce range.
  • Further, Tableau offers an extensive range of data visualization and precise control. In contrast, Power BI presents a modest range of simple visualizations.
  • Moreover, Power BI provides automatic data refresh functionalities to reduce the manual refresh burden and to ensure report data remains up to date. In contrast, Tableau lacks this capability.
  • Lastly, Power BI offers a shallow learning curve, due to its resemblance to other Microsoft applications. This makes it a favorable option for individuals with low technical proficiency. Conversely, experienced data analysts favor Tableau over Power BI.

Power BI or Tableau: Which Is Better?

The right business intelligence solution between Power BI and Tableau depends on individual preferences, needs, and system requirements. Understanding these key differences can help make an informed decision for organizational requirements and data analytics goals.

Power BI and Tableau, both emerge as robust data visualization and business intelligence platforms. However, the suitability of each tool varies based on specific organizational context.

For businesses relying on Microsoft products, Power BI is a solid fit whereas Tableau is more compatible with the entire Salesforce ecosystem. Additionally, Power BI offers simpler learning curve whereas Tableau provides a broader array of visualization choices.

Therefore, organizations need to assess their requirements beforehand to make an informed decision regarding the best solution for their operational needs.

FAQs: Power BI or Tableau

  1. Which is a better data visualization tool between Tableau and Power BI?

    For organizations with Microsoft ecosystem, Power BI is a cost-effective choice with seamless integration and a user-friendly interface. On the other hand, Tableau caters to a broader range of visualization options and offers precise control over data modeling and analysis. This makes it a preferred tool for advanced data analysts within the Salesforce environment.

  2. Why is Power BI chosen over Tableau?

    Power BI is often chosen over Tableau due to its seamless integration within the Microsoft ecosystem, cost-effectiveness, and a relatively user-friendly interface. Additionally, Power BI offers a low learning curve, making it a favorable option for individuals with lower technical proficiency.

  3. Why is Power BI considered to be better than other visualization tools?

    Power BI is considered superior to other visualization tools due to its seamless integration within the Microsoft ecosystem that reduces the learning curve for individuals familiar with Microsoft applications. Additionally, Power BI offers automatic data refresh functionalities and supports multiple data sources.

  4. Which is the best tool for data visualization?

    When considering the best tool for data visualization, the choice between Tableau and Power BI depends on individual organizational needs and technical proficiency. On one hand, Power BI is preferred for its seamless integration within the Microsoft ecosystem and user-friendly interface, while Tableau stands out for its extensive range of data visualization options and precise control over visualizations.

  5. Which tool is the biggest competitor of Tableau for data visualization?

    When it comes to data visualization, the biggest competitor of Tableau is Power BI. While Tableau offers precise control over visualizations with multiple visualization options, Power BI is cost-effective and offers seamless integration within the Microsoft ecosystem.

Written by Namrata Samal

Namrata is a skilled content writer with an expertise in writing marketing, tech, business-related topics, and more. She has been writing since 2021 and has written several write-ups. With her journey with Techjockey, she has worked on different genres of content like product descriptions, tech articles, alternate pages,... Read more

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