Fivetran Review: Pros, Cons, Pricing, Features, and What Users Think

Our Verdict

Fivetran is among the most popular cloud-based ETL platforms on the whole of planet Earth, and TopETL finally knows why! It's fast, flexible, and does pretty much everything it claims it does.

Well, almost.

Here's what happened: We used Fivetran to stream data to our warehouse for data analysis with very little code and built relatively complex pipelines without so much as a trickle of sweat. (We can't say the same for all ETL tools out there.) So if you have little data engineering knowledge, you'll find Fivetran a God-send.

With over 100 connectors, we moved data from all kinds of sources to our warehouse (you can use a lake if you prefer), transformed the data to the correct format, and then explored some incredible insights at lightning speed.

So far, so good.

But where Fivetran falls is price. It charges users for the amount of data they use — Fivetran calls it a "consumption-based" model — so moving lots of data to a cloud warehouse such as Snowflake or Redshift, as most data-driven companies do, gets pretty expensive pretty quickly. If you're anything like us, you'd prefer a platform that charges you for each connector. It makes much more sense.

We should also mention that Fivetran isn't HIPAA-compliant. So if you work for a doctor, dentist, or another healthcare provider, stop reading here and check out one of the other reviews on TopETL.

Let's take a deep dive into this ETL tool. Here's our Fivetran review.

Fivetran Features
Trial length 14 days
User ratings on Capterra / G2 4.6/5 / 4.2/5
Data transformation ETL
Data source connectors 100+
Customization? Yes, custom data connections
Connects to data warehouses? Data lakes? Yes / Yes
Support SLAs? Yes
Developer tools REST API at enterprise pricing tier
Compliance/security certifications GDPR, SOC 2
Fivetran: What You Need to Know

Fivetran pulls data from data sources with minimal effort, and there's little lag. It's not the fastest ETL tool we've ever had, but we encountered no problems using several connectors. Here's how it worked: We authenticated the data sources we wanted to use for metrics, and Fivetran did the rest. Unlike most other platforms we review, there wasn't a single error message. User reviews claim some connectors are better than others, but the ones we used all worked perfectly. Perhaps we just got lucky.

Then there's the cloud aspect to the data replication side of things. Fivetran automatically created backups of all our new data in real-time, so there was no messing around in the workflow. We're confident the platform would protect our data if an incident ever occurred. So kudos to Fivetran for that. It's easy to use this platform for data replication no matter your company size.

What we didn't like: The fact you need SQL to set up data transformations. Not everyone knows SQL, so this outdated requirement might hold a few people back from investing in this platform. If you're only extracting and loading data, this won't be a problem, but note many other ETL platforms automate transformations because it's not 2015 anymore.

Fivetran: Data Source Connectors

Fivetran comes with over 100 connectors out-of-the-box, which is mighty impressive. Sure, other platforms like Xplenty and Talend offer more, but that's pretty good going. There are far too many connectors to list there, but some of our favorites include:

  • HubSpot
  • Recurly
  • MailChimp
  • Braintree Payments
  • Snapchat
  • Google Ads
  • Google Analytics

The list goes on.

As you'd expect, there are several data integration tools for Amazon and Google, and obviously Salesforce, but nothing you won't find elsewhere. Overall, there's a pretty excellent selection made up of CRMs, ERPs, social media platforms, business intelligence tools, and various databases. We like how Fivetran offers to create new connectors if enough customers request a particular data source, so bonus points for that.

Again, we wish Fivetran charged for each connector used rather than data volume as this would be so much cheaper for most users. However, the pricing structure is what it is.

Of course, you won't care about any of Fivetran's connectors if you only have custom applications and databases for ETL. If this is the case, you'd have to build custom pipelines that require code. Luckily, Fivetran supports Python, Node.js, Java, Go, C#, and F#; lets you host code on Google, AWS Lambda, or Azure; and handles all the incremental updating from your custom source. Thankfully, it's pretty good at doing all of that.

Fivetran: Support and Training

When writing our ETL reviews, we notice more and more platforms have limited customer support responsibilities. Or they don't offer support at all, which sucks. However, we're pleased to report unlimited support for customers on all pricing models on Fivetran, which is a definite plus.

Hold on. There's a catch.

Premium users (those on the Standard and Enterprise models) get faster responses from data engineers than those on the cheapest tier. So, yes, unlimited support for customers on all pricing models, but not fast unlimited support for customers on all pricing models.

The consensus is that the quality of support on Fivetran is good, and unlike some other platforms, engineers won't just point you to the troubleshooting pages on their website.

Fivetran: Pricing

OK, so back to price, and this is where things get complicated. We mentioned Fivetran's consumption-based model earlier, but there are so many elements to it, you'll need a Master's in Economics to know what you're paying.

Take a deep breath. There are three price models — Starter, Standard, and Enterprise — and all three scale as your ETL requirements do, or so Fivetran says. Then there are "credits," which users buy to access services on the platform. The price of these credits depends on the pricing model, and the value of the credits depends on the MAR threshold, "as set forth on the Service Consumption Table, and the actual number of MARs used by the customer in a given billing period." Those are Fivetran's words, not ours. If you can understand this complex pricing system, leave us a note in the comments below.

With such a wonderful selection of connectors and an intuitive data pipeline builder for data warehousing, we wish the prices were simple like some Fivetran alternatives.

We give Fivetran extra points for its 14-day free trial — a rarity in the ETL world nowadays. You can experiment with all the connectors for a couple of weeks before making a final decision.

What Fivetran Says

"Fivetran is the smartest way to replicate data into your warehouse. We've built the only zero-maintenance pipeline, turning months of ongoing development into a 5-minute setup. Our connectors bring data from applications and databases into one central location so that analysts can unlock profound insights about their business."

Fivetran Reviews: What Users Think

The Good

"Absolute game-changer." — Hil L.

The Bad

"Fivetran is good at its very limited functionality." — Corrina C.

The Ugly

"Some quality data sources hampered by subpar communication, outdated connectors, and bad support." — Jonathan T.

Fivetran Review: The Bottom Line

There are far worse ETL tools on the market than Fivetran, and we love loads of things about the platform, such as its speed, ease of use, customer service, data management features, and excellent selection of connectors. Our major bugbear is the overly complicated pricing model that charges users for the data they consume and not the number of connectors they use. The fact that Fivetran isn't HIPAA-compliant, especially in 2021, is something else we struggle with.

We don't think Fivetran is the best ETL tool out there, far from it. However, it's a reliable, speedy, and pretty solid platform with many redeeming features. With the overall quality of ETL tools on the market declining (in our humble opinion), Fivetran doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it remains a dependable choice for a small business exploring data integration for the first time. It deserves a round of applause for that.