Comparing PostgreSQL Clients – SQLPro vs. Postico vs. TablePlus

By Meredith Lind

When development relies on database interaction, few things are more frustrating than a database client that gets in the way.

On my current project, we’re constantly investigating data, switching from table to table, and writing queries with our PostgreSQL database. After experimenting with a few database clients (SQLPro, Postico, and TablePlus), we quickly noticed that some are better for our needs than others.

To save you the trouble of downloading and testing them for yourself, I’m going to walk through of a few of the best.

My Criteria

  1. Navigation: Easy to switch between tables and queries.
  2. Content and structure: Shows me what I need to know.
  3. Support for multiple database management systems: I just want one client for all of my projects.

SQLPro for Postgres

If you are mostly looking to write queries, SQLPro for Postgres could be a great fit. I found it to be less of a database viewer and more of a query building tool. For example, navigating to a table generates a query for the first 1,000 items by default. You’ll have syntax highlighting and autocompletion of table and column names, making it easy to crank out queries. One downside of this client is that it is specific to PostgreSQL, making it less likely to be useful on the next project.

Overall, the organization is straightforward. However, working with multiple schemas can be confusing, as they are not separated. You can try it out with a seven-day free trial before deciding to buy the Pro version.

My rating

  1. Navigation: 👍
  2. Content and Structure: 👎
  3. Support: 👎

For my purposes, the query-centric design was inconvenient, so this was not my client of choice.

Postico

I recently started using Postico after a teammate recommended it, and I have found it simple and easy to use. There is a free version that offers a solid set of features–with the exception of multiple tabs for database connections or tables. However, with Postico’s quick view into referenced tables, I rarely find this limiting.

Similarly, the buttons in the footer allow for seamless navigation between Content, Structure, and DDL (Data Definition Language). Like SQLPro for Postgres, Postico only supports PostgreSQL databases, making it less portable.

My rating

  1. Navigation: 👍
  2. Content and Structure: 👍
  3. Support: 👎

Postico is a great choice for its ease of navigation and simple design. The visual design is not quite as tidy as other clients. However, the ease of navigation and viewing content makes it a go-to PostgreSQL client.

TablePlus

TablePlus is a great multipurpose database client that’s not limited to PostgreSQL. This is one that I like to keep around. The organization is easy to understand, making it easy to switch between database connections, schemas, table structure, and data.

Users of the free version will quickly find that there is a limit to the number of tabs you can have open at once. I would highly recommend upgrading to the Pro version to avoid the impervious tab limit warning and to support the project!

The design of TablePlus is more visually appealing than the average database client, and it does a good job of supplying rich features without overloading the user.

My rating

  1. Navigation: 👍
  2. Content and Structure: 👍
  3. Support: 👍

TablePlus is my choice client for its support of many databases, clean design, and ease of use. After nearly eight months of near-daily use, I still like it, and that is saying something for database clients.

So, Which Should you Choose?

  • If you are someone who needs to interact with a database using SQL queries and want something that is tailored to PostgreSQL, SQLPro for Postgres could be a great option.
  • If you plan to work primarily with PostgreSQL databases, you’ll find Postico highly useable. Even if you are not ready to buy the Pro version, you’ll find it fully featured and quick to learn.
  • TablePlus is a well-designed client that I would recommend for anyone who interacts with a relational database. Its extensive support means that you will not have to install a different client with your next project.

There are many clients out there and they are always improving. TablePlus, Postico, and SQLPro for Postgres are just a few solid options for helpful database tooling.