top data visualization tools for 2021

Top data visualization tools for 2021: Free/Paid with key features

In this data era, it’s inevitable that we use data visualization tools to utilize the readily available information optimally. Data visualization software aid in comprehending data through visuals like trends, patterns, Gantt charts, scatterplots, etc.

Earlier we have already elaborated on data visualization’s importance. But, this time around we’ll discuss the top data visualization tools that will aid in your data analysis journey.

Unfortunately, there’s no one size fit all option when it comes to selecting the right data visualization tool. Thus, deciding on the visualization tool depends on your business requirements, budget, and BI tools’ features.

Our top 6 picks for 2021

For small and medium enterprises, investing in data visualization tools is not always feasible, so we have divided our article into two main parts –

  1. The first part deals with the most popular free tools – that offer enhanced features when you decide to pay.
  2. The second part focuses on the most popular paid tools – for those who want to take their business to greater heights with some extra investments.

Top 3 Free data visualization software

Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft has been the undisputed leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for analytics and business intelligence platforms for the last 13 years. With Power BI, which can be used to assimilate, evaluate, and share data in a meaningful manner, it has widened the horizon of data analytics, making it more feasible for non-IT consumers, too.

microsoft power bi logo gif

Key Features of Power BI

  • Access to real-time dashboards.
  • Link information from various sources for comparative analysis and comprehensive representation.
  • Connect to data from a wide range of databases, including MS Access, Oracle, SQL, PostgreSQL, and Sybase. In addition, you can also connect it to cloud applications and flat files like Excel, CSV, etc.
  • Select and customize visuals from the many graphs and charts available in the custom library.
  • Get access to different support systems such as assertive community, FAQs, and live chat support with the Microsoft team. They are also active on social media portals like Twitter and address concerns promptly.  
  • Being updated with fresh features every month, Power BI is the robust data visualization tool available in the market.
  • The desktop version for developing the dashboard is free. It can also be shared with users, but without any control over access rights. However, it’s ideal for SMEs to start with data analysis.
  • For publishing a dashboard on the cloud, you need to purchase Microsoft Power BI Pro for $9.99 monthly/user.


According to Gartner, Tableau is the next leader after Microsoft in analytics and business intelligence platforms. Because of its beneficial features, it has been in the leader quadrant for eight consecutive years and is sure to be one of the top data visualization tools in 2021, too.  Data analysts, statisticians, etc. use this tool to quickly visualize data and perform critical analytical calculations.

tableau is one of the best data visualization tools

Key Features of Tableau

  • The drag and drop feature makes it easy to develop interactive dashboards by non-technical users.
  • Connect to databases like SQL and MS Access, cloud apps, and flat files like CSV.
  • The intuitive user interface is device-friendly and can be accessed from mobiles, also.
  • It offers extensive online support – you can either raise tickets via their web form or customer portal or access their comprehensive knowledge base. 
  • Tableau’s Reader for viewing dashboards is free.
  • Tableau Public, the full version of Tableau to create an interactive dashboard, is free. However, note that the dashboards are made available on the web through Tableau’s visualization gallery.
  • It has a desktop, server, and online hosted model. The basic plan starts at $70/user/monthly. For detailed pricing, visit the link. It also offers a 14 days trial.

Google Data Studio

Google data studio is one of the most popular data visualization tools, available for free. You can connect your dashboard to over 220 connectors and present a live dashboard to your clients without the hassle of periodic data refresh.

free top data visualization tool - Google data studio

Key Features of Google Data Studio

  • A complete web-based BI tool to develop personalized dashboards with ease.
  • Particularly designed for small businesses.
  • Sharing a Google data studio dashboard is as simple as sharing a Google doc.
  • You can also extract data from Google Analytics, Facebook, LinkedIn Ads, YouTube, Stack Overflow, and Github along with other Google connectors.
  • Data needs to be cleansed before being imported into Google data studio.
  • This tool is available absolutely for free, forever!

Top 3 Paid data visualization software


Looker is an intuitive and easy-to-use data visualization platform that facilitates exploring, analyzing, and sharing analytics. Irrespective of the data size, you can use it to get real-time answers to your data-related queries.

looker - paid data visualization software

Key Features of Looker

  • It’s one of the top data visualization tools, perfectly tailored for large organizations dealing with Big Data.
  • You can connect it with any SQL database or data warehouses, including Amazon Athena, Greenplum, and Microsoft Azure.
  • Since Looker has its proprietary modeling language called LookML, it’s convenient to write SQL and define queries on this platform.
  • Being browser-based, deployment time is faster than of the other visualization tools.
  • Looker has an exhaustive resources center, where you will get information in the form of videos and documents. You can also chat with their support team for any technical help required.
  • There’s no straightforward pricing plan; reach out to them for customized pricing and a free trial.


The launch of QlikView changed the face of the analytics solution. It revolutionized the way organizations used data by shifting the market away from IT-driven, stack-based expertise to agile data discovery approaches. It made analytics a dream come true for non-ITICS customers.  In 2014, the company launched Qlik Sense, a self-service analytics podium.

Qlikview - Top paid data viz tool

Key Features of QlikView

  • More suitable for large organizations.
  • Very suitable for in-depth analysis and visualization.
  • Qlik GeoAnalytics offers advanced mapping visualization and analysis options. 
  • You can conveniently share reports and dashboards within the team and with firms using Qlik Sense.
  • Reports generated in Qlik Sense can be saved and exported as Access, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
  • The QlikView personal edition is free. However, Qlik Sense’s basic edition starts at $30/user/month. For detailed pricing, visit the website.


ThoughtSpot comes with loads of intuitive features, making it easily accessible for all. It claims to be the Holy Grail of self-service data analytics, where business users can ask questions to get answers. For developing meaningful dashboards, all you need to know is your data.

ThoughtSpot logo new

Key Features of ThoughtSpot

  • Build your Pinboards on your mobile device.
  • Using the Ask an Expert feature, users can get clarifications from other ThoughtSpot users.
  • Customized cloud infrastructure enables you to select the cloud provider, depending on the amount of memory and storage you require and your budget.
  • Strong support from their customer service team.
  • Free access for 30 days’ trial period, post which their plans vary depending on consumption or capacity. You can contact them for pricing details.


With the massive variety of data visualization tools available, it becomes difficult for companies to decide which one to adopt and use. So, before finalizing one, keep in mind things like ease of use and whether the BI tool has the primary features you need.

The best part is most of the top data visualization tools mentioned above offer a free trial period, so try out at least two data visualization software before zeroing down on one solution.

For small or mid-sized business, venturing into data visualization can become complex. Knowing the need, importance, reasons, tools, and how to work around with data visualization is vital. To gain some much-needed clarity on the above, we highly recommend you read the following guide –

The practical guide for SME business owners: What is data visualization?

And finally, if you are on the lookout for an analytics consultant to guide and assist you in data analytics then drop us a message using the form below: