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4 Powerful alternatives to Metabase for embedded analytics in 2024

Written by
Rogan Sage,
last updated on
June 27, 2024

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You may already use Metabase (or are thinking about using it) for embedded analytics. But, since you’re reading this, it might not be the right solution for you.

As a business intelligence platform, Metabase is an interesting option because you can write custom queries and schedule alerts to get insights without having to open the app. This approach to data analysis gives your team insights without having to build dashboards or reports every time. 

However, as an embedded solution for user-facing analytics, it falls short in a few ways—starting with the fact that it embeds through an iframe. For this article, we’ve examined more than 10 Metabase alternatives. From all these options, we’ve chosen the best four that answer its limitations as a solution for embedded analytics.

Discover a developer-friendly toolkit that’s purpose built for creating remarkable customer-facing analytics in a fraction of the time. Learn more

Metabase Embedded Analytics

Metabase company-wide KPI dashboard showing metrics like MoM Revenue
Design interactive dashboards on Metabase, edit the colors, fonts, and size directly on the app

Metabase is a business intelligence and data analytics platform that claims to remove the SQL barrier. Anyone on your team can log into the tool and find data-based answers to their questions—without writing any code. It also has an ‘Interactive Embedding’ option which essentially gives your users access to the advanced functionality your internal team would have, like querying and drilldowns.

Once set up, this software is intuitive and user friendly. However, while you can come up with simple dashboards fast, users say you need to write code to process more complex queries or come up with custom calculations.

Unfortunately, Metabase only supports embedding through an iframe. With this approach, you’re only sharing a presentation layer in your website or app, and you can’t edit it in code to fit your design system. As a result, Metabase's iframe-embedded analytics experiences can be slow and clunky to load—and always feel foreign to your app.

Why you might look for an alternative to Metabase for embedded analytics

You’re most likely looking for an alternative to Metabase if you:

  • Don’t want to embed using an iframe. iframes are easy to set up. However, these make the app feel clunky, are slower than loading native web components, and need to be reloaded to update to global app settings like dark mode and languages. 
  • Need more visualizations and design freedom. One of the biggest downsides to Metabase is the very opinionated UX and UI. The dashboards always look like Metabase, not your app, and there are limited options for editing visualizations. “Metabase's data visualization features are a step or two below the top competitors on the market,” says Jared C., Business Data Analyst and Metabase user.
  • Need to combine multiple SQL data sources. Many users need to combine data from multiple data sources, Metabase requires you to have that information combined in a data warehouse before bringing it to the tool. 
  • Want a more performant tool. Users complain about Metabase taking too long to load real-time data, which is crucial in user-facing analytics, where customers expect to see data on-load. “Sometimes, Metabase can be slow when loading a lot of data, but you can work on that in the infrastructure side,” says Fernando P., Head of Customer Experience and Metabase user.
  • Want a truly no-code tool. You don’t need to know how to write SQL queries if you’re planning to build very basic dashboards. But, if you need to create custom formulas or add specific filters, someone from the data team will have to jump in—potentially causing bottlenecks. Setup is often more complicated than it seems as the plug-and-play connectors aren’t available for all data sources. 

In short, Metabase is a good choice for businesses that want to embed static or interactive dashboards but don’t need to have control over the UX. You could also benefit from using Metabase for beta testing. It’s an affordable product, so you can use it to gauge which metrics your users find valuable—not necessarily as the final version of your analytics experience. 

You can use the free self-hosted version, though this is limited vs. the paid tiers (they have to make money somehow!) and you may find it more complex and onerous to set up and manage. 

“It can be a real pain to set up if you’re self-hosting. The self-hosting guide, while very detailed, may not be ideal for everyone. We also had some challenges when connecting our data source as the documentation was not very clear.” —Software engineer and Metabase user.

4 best Metabase alternatives at a glance

In our shortlist, we’ve got business intelligence tools with embedding functionality, purpose-built embedded analytics platforms, and our very own toolkit: Embeddable. Here’s a quick overview:

Comparison chart displaying 4 alternatives to Metabase

Let’s review these platforms in more detail:

1. Embeddable

Embeddable no code builder illustration
Use Embeddable to gain full control over your frontend in code—and enable non-technical users with a powerful no-code builder.

Embeddable is a dedicated platform for building fast, interactive user-facing dashboards that blend perfectly with your existing platform.

It's used primarily by tech companies, from startups to scale-ups and enterprises.

Embeddable comes with:

  • A powerful no-code dashboard builder. Your customer facing team can use the charts and data models you’ve defined to build and iterate upon your dashboards without writing a single line of code. Instead, they use an easy-to-use interface with point-and-click functionality to come up with experiences that meet user needs—and align with your brand.
  • Next-gen embedding. Unlike other tools like Metabase, Embeddable loads your analytics directly in your DOM via a web component. This makes analytics load even faster because  there’s no slow, clunky iframe to load before the data can be requested from the data source. It also allows for bi-directional communication between the charts and your app, enabling you to seamlessly integrate your analytics into your app experience.
  • Row-level security and more, built-in: we handle row-level security, caching, performance, and interactions between components. Embeddable also integrates with most of the best databases for embedded analytics through a read-only transaction, so your data is secure and loads super fast. Plus, you can customize the cache for even better performance.
Curious to learn more? Visit Embeddable.

What users say about Embeddable

Users prefer Embeddable over other options because it helps them build remarkable user-facing analytics that look and feel native to the app. All in 10% of the time it would take them to build them from scratch. 

“Embeddable is the first tool I’ve seen where it’s so straightforward and simple to work with the data and build charts, where it feels like the heavy lifting is done once I finish modeling my data. The ability to then use some simple JavaScript and React to build my own combination of charts (rather than navigating the jungle of combo charts in existing BI tools) is simply amazing.”— Adeola Morren, founder of iBenjamen Studio
“Easy to use, clearly-written docs, super friendly team.” - Bart Lammers, CTO at Eyk
"What really excited me about Embeddable was what comes after [embedding analytics]. We're talking about building filters, letting our users manage the charts themselves, and letting the team beyond just me make changes. That's where it starts to get really lucrative." Nick Larson, Co-founder and CTO at AnyCreek.

Embeddable's headless architecture approach lets you bring data models together with fully-bespoke charting components. Your engineers have full control over your visualizations in code, and your non-technical team have the full power of a modern, intuitive no-code builder in which to craft the end-user experience.

Embeddable pricing

We work on a fixed embedded analytics pricing model. This means you pay the same bill every month with no hidden costs or extra fees per users, viewers, or dashboards. A fixed rate makes Embeddable an attractive solution for businesses with a large or growing user base. 

Embeddable vs Metabase Embedded Analytics

Embeddable is vastly different from Metabase, especially in these areas: 

  • Metabase is a traditional BI tool with embedding capabilities using an iframe. However, Embeddable was purpose-built for customer-facing analytics and so embeds them using a more-performant web component method.
  • Metabase is a plug-and-play product that requires technical knowledge but is limited in terms of what can be customized. Embeddable is an SDK that gives your engineers the freedom to tweak the code while making it easy for non-technical users to create dashboards.
  • Embeddable charges a fixed monthly rate. Metabase charges by active users. 
  • A limited, Metabase-branded version is available for free if you self-host it. Embeddable is cloud-hosted and fully white label.
  • Embeddable feels fully-native in your application, whereas Metabase has a very opinionated UI and UX when embedded in your application.
Pro tip: Metabase is an affordable choice for internal and simple BI such as analyzing sales trends, social media performance, or headcount. However, if you want to share data with your users, allow them to interact with it, make custom calculations, and present dashboards that follow your brand guidelines, Metabase might not be for you. For fast-loading, fully bespoke, and secure user-facing analytics, Embeddable could be the better option.

2. Preset (built on Apache Superset)

Preset dashboard showing multiple metrics and visuals for the World Bank
Preset has a wide visualization library to pick and choose from to create KPI dashboards.

Preset is built on top of Apache Superset, a popular open-source BI platform. As Superset’s fully-managed version, Preset gives you some of the benefits of open-source with the support of a SaaS solution.

Preset allows you to:

  • Embed dashboards with an iframe using the Preset API
  • A big chart and visualization library with multiple data visuals
  • Filtering and data exploration capabilities
  • Set permissions for user and role-based access
  • Query and explore data using the SQL Lab

However, like all open-source tools, you need to have coding experience to fully customize Preset—and even still, some users report a lack of flexibility. Your developers will need to set some time apart to make the most out of this tool. 

“It took a little learning curve to get colors customized but there are a few videos online,” says Reddit user on subreddit r/BusinessIntelligence. “There are lots of charts, but sometimes I wish I could customize little things in them, especially the fancy ones that need the data in a certain format to use.”

What users say about Preset

Users are drawn to Preset because of the ability to customize the charts and visualizations a bit further. However, the learning curve is steep and there are still limitations to how much you can edit the charts. 

“I like Preset’s rich feature set and that it’s open-source in nature (Apache Superset). Unlike its competitors, it's quite challenging to use, especially at the start. Some features, you can't really expect non-technical users to be able to use intuitively.” Data analytics manager and Preset user.

Preset pricing

Preset comes at three different prices: 

  • Free. Up to five users and unlimited dashboards and charts 
  • Professional. $20/user/month for unlimited users and 2 workspaces plus embedded  add-on for $500/month/50 viewers
  • Enterprise. Custom quote including API access and database integration + embedded add-on

Preset vs. Metabase Embedded Analytics

Here’s how they compare:

  • Metabase offers self-hosted and a cloud-hosted version of the product and like Preset, it’s built on top of an open-source tool 
  • Preset is more customizable than Metabase, especially in terms of design and visualizations
  • Metabase is easier to set up and use than Preset, although both can have a steep learning curve for handling complex queries
  • They both embed using an iframe 
  • Preset offers more granular security settings compared to Metabase
  • Preset can be more affordable than Metabase, especially for embedded analytics
Pro tip: If you want to build user-facing analytics experiences that feel similar to the rest of your app, Preset gives you more control over your dashboards. However, if you want an easy to setup and use app with basic reporting capabilities, then Metabase might be a better fit. 

3. Vizzly

Sample dashboard from Vizzly showing colorful graphs and charts
Create user-facing analytics dashboards with Vizzly pre designed charts and embed them into your app.

Vizzly, unlike Preset and Metabase, is a purpose-built, low-code tool for adding user-facing analytics to your app. This is a newer solution that’s closer to embedded analytics tools like Luzmo, or Explo, than to BI platforms. Key aspects of Vizzly include: 

  • Visualization library provided
  • Can be cloud or self-hosted 
  • Embeds through React or HTML components (no extract, transform, load (ETL) process for cleaning up data)
  • Setting up the cloud-hosted version requires less developer input than the self-hosted one. “Docs can be hard to follow at times but the general dev experience is solid,” says Naz M., Vizzly user.
  • It offers a no-code builder for non-technical users to create dashboards and reports

Whilst you get more freedom to customize the charts and visuals, you don’t have full control over the code or components. You can ‘theme’ your visuals and change the colors and fonts, but there are limitations to providing a complete native feel. 

What users say about Vizzly

Users choose Vizzly because it lets them embed dashboards and reports through web components. However, the tool requires developer’s input to set up. 

“Straightforward setup and powerful visualization layer. Really impressed by the quality of Vizzly’s charting; looks fantastic embedded in my application. Was also pleasantly surprised by the performance - the render time is much quicker than I expected!” Indy S., Vizzly user.
“We were thinking about building in-house instead of using an embedded analytics solution, but Vizzly offers the perfect middle ground. It does require some dev input to get setup though!”Guy S., Vizzly user.

Vizzly pricing

Vizzly offers a free version (Lite) that lets you upload a CSV and turn it into visualizations using Vizzly’s UI. However, this has no row-level-security or user access control. Prices for paid plans are only available upon request.

Vizzly vs Metabase Embedded

Here’s how they compare:

  • Vizzly is purpose-built for embedding dashboards, while Metabase is primarily a BI platform with embedding functionality
  • Metabase is a mature tool but Vizzly is quite new to the market 
  • Metabase relies on iframes. Vizzly uses a web component for embedding
  • Neither of these solutions grant you control over the code to create a fully-native feeling experience
  • Both tools need developer input to get set up
Pro tip: If you’re happy with iframe embedding and prefer to go with a mature tool, that’s Metabase. But Vizzly uses a web component to embed analytics, so while you can't fully control the charts, the overall UX is probably preferable for a customer-facing use case.

4. Sigma

Sigma Computing sales analytics dashboard for embedded analytics
Sigma follows a similar logic to Excel and lets you create dashboards with custom formulas for better data analysis

Sigma Computing is a no-code self-service business intelligence platform for mid to large companies. It’s a good alternative to Metabase for running more complex queries. “The things I like the most about Sigma are: the amount of powerful Excel-like formulas at your fingertips and the ability to write data back to the EDW without needing a DBA to create tables,” says a Sigma user in the IT industry.

Key aspects of Sigma:

  • Integrates with many data warehouses and almost all SQL databases
  • Embeds reports or dashboard into other apps using an iframe
  • Sigma is fully cloud-based and has a visualization library with multiple chart types
  • Users say it’s easy to use from the get-go for building simple dashboards
  • Supports RLS and SSO options for data protection

However, like many other BI tools, Sigma has an opinionated UI. You can only access a default menu of predefined charting options that you can’t edit much. This, and embedding through iframes, makes your dashboards look and feel foreign to the rest of your app. 

What users say about Sigma 

Users value Sigma’s ease of use and performance. However, they would like to be able to edit visualizations easily without having to look for workarounds.  

“Performance is outstanding. It lacks a lot of visualization types, but they have added new features that improved visualization and dashboard creation.” Sigma user on the real estate market.
“Sigma helps you join datasets and transform them within the platform from different sources. But, it has no in-depth documentation and you need to find workarounds for many use cases, such as: heatmaps.”Aayushi P., Sigma user

Sigma pricing 

Pricing for Sigma isn’t available on its website. However, some users online pay around $1,000 per creator per year. This can add up to $25,000-$35,000 per year. 

Sigma vs Metabase Embedded

Sigma and Metabase are both business intelligence platforms, but this is how they compare:

  • Metabase and Sigma both embed using iframes
  • Metabase is more affordable than Sigma due to it’s open-source option
  • Sigma is cloud-based only while Metabase can be hosted on the cloud or on-premise
  • Sigma is easier to use and makes it easier to process complex queries
  • Both Metabase and  Sigma provide limited customization options and won’t feel native when embedded in your app
Pro tip: If you don’t mind sacrificing customization options and want a cheaper solution, stick with Metabase. However, Sigma is easier to use and overall slightly more customizable than Metabase, so it’s worth considering if you have the budget.

What about custom-built embedded analytics?

If you have the capacity to put together a team of developers, or you need to build a quick static dashboard, building custom user-facing analytics internally can be a good option. Doing so gives you total autonomy over the user experience, security, design, and performance. 

In fact, the best examples of user-facing analytics that you can find in the apps you use, all stem from custom development. No BI tool will offer the same levels of customization and a native feel. But we know how costly and time consuming it can be to develop analytics experiences from scratch. 

The build vs buy dilemma is real—which is precisely why we built Embeddable: to ensure you don't compromise on user experience and native feel due to resource limitations.

With Embeddable's three-part SDK, your engineers define data models and charts, while we manage backend complexities. This gives you fast-loading analytics and full control over user experience at the price of a SaaS tool—allowing you to build and buy at the same time.

Curious to learn more? Request the developer docs

How to choose your embedded analytics solution

If you’re not fully convinced by Metabase for embedded user-facing analytics, here’s a quick guide to make a decision based on our shortlist: 

  • You want fully bespoke user-facing analytics but don’t have the time or budget to start from square one, consider Embeddable. It's the only embedded analytics platform on this list that gives you complete control over the user experience through code. It’s also accessible for any team member to build analytics experiences without coding, using a straightforward point-and-click interface.
  • You don’t like iframes and prefer low-code: While it doesn’t give you full customization freedom, Vizzly’s purpose-built, embedded analytics platform allows you to embed through web components. So, it’ll offer a more native feel than most BI solutions.
  • You have developer capacity and want an open-source solution: Preset has a steep learning curve but since it’s built on top open-source tools, it allows more customization than traditional BI solutions.
  • You’d be happy with Metabase but need custom formulas and complex queries: Metabase and Sigma are similar products, but Sigma is better performing, especially for complex analysis. Keep in mind that Sigma comes at a higher price.

Before developing Embeddable, we had hundreds of conversations with Trevor.io users. As a result, we understand the complexities of building remarkable analytics experiences from scratch and the frustrations of having to deal with unfit tools.

Embeddable offers the best of both worlds: the customizability of custom-built data analytics and the simplicity of a plug-and-play tool. Plus, we use next-generation embedding so your code can sit right in your DOM—all at a flat monthly price.

Discover a developer-friendly toolkit that’s purpose built for creating remarkable customer-facing analytics in a fraction of the time. Learn more

Frequently asked questions about Metabase Embedded Analytics alternatives

What are the top alternatives to Metabase for embedded analytics?

The top alternatives to Metabase for embedded analytics include:

  • Embeddable (a three-part SDK for building native-feel user-facing analytics)
  • Preset (fully-managed version of Apache Superset)
  • Vizzly (a purpose-built embedded analytics solution)
  • Sigma Computing (a BI Tool with embedded capabilities)

Is Metabase better than Tableau for embedded analytics? 

Metabase is better than Tableau in terms of ease of use and pricing. However, Tableau offers a bigger visualization library and makes it easier to process highly complex queries. If your goal is user-facing analytics, there are other, even better Tableau alternatives available such as Embeddable, Power BI Embedded, or Luzmo.

Embeddable is registered in England as TMD Technology Limited (no. 13856879), at International House, 142 Cromwell Road, London, SW7 4EF.