Data Analytics & Business Intelligence

Looker vs. Power BI: Which BI Tool is Best in 2024?

Looker vs. Power BI: Which BI Tool is Best in 2024?

The competition between Looker and Power BI for supremacy in data analytics is intensifying in the rapidly growing field of business intelligence. The decision between Looker and Power BI becomes crucial as businesses try to use data to inform decisions. 

This article will discuss these two powerful BI tools’ features, functionality, and performance. This comparison can help you decide what kind of analysis you need, whether it’s to determine whether you need to upgrade or to map out a route to data-driven success.

Looker vs. Power BI – A Competitive Analysis

Looker and Power BI are two strong data analytics and business intelligence tools by Google and Microsoft. By remaining up to date with developments in the data analytics field and making data mining, digital transformation, and big data management tasks – all crucial for contemporary enterprises – possible, these platforms have expanded their customer bases.


In particular, both these tools have invested in resources and tools that support AI-driven insights and data democratization. Because they are both excellent platforms for business intelligence, people often need help choosing between Looker vs. Power BI.

Power BI was released in 2014, and Microsoft gave a clear signal that it is here to leave a mark in the tech world. The platform is excellent and delivers everything as promised by Microsoft. Looker, on the other hand, was introduced in 2012. However, Google acquired it much later. With Google’s name added to Looker, its brand reputation and future look much brighter.

Let’s find out which is better – Looker or Power BI.

What is Business Intelligence?

Looker vs. Power BI is a discussion of choosing the best BI tool. Hence, it is imperative to understand business intelligence or BI. BI is an essential element for every industry, sector, and organization. There has never been a more important time to draw insightful conclusions from data, and BI technologies help.

As big data becomes increasingly common, businesses realize how important it is to use it. They must organize and analyze their data well since they can access information. The use of business intelligence technologies has increased in tandem with the ubiquity and complexity of data.

What are Business Intelligence Tools?

Companies use BI tools to efficiently collect, analyze, and visualize their data to make solid business decisions. They are software applications that help businesses shape their operations based on data-driven decisions. Companies use these tools to find trends and patterns in the data and study for insights. They help make future strategies and predictions.


Below are some functions of BI tools:

  • Data visualization
  • Reporting
  • Data mining
  • Predictive analysis
  • Text mining
  • Performance management

What is Power BI?

Power BI by Microsoft is a data analytical tool that helps in data mining, visualization, and reporting to provide business insights. Using its simple interface, you can connect with various data sources and create your reports and dashboards. Power BI has originally grown from Excel; however, today, it is a separate platform for BI and data analytics.

It can support small business owners and larger enterprises’ data needs. Power BI has three versions to choose from. The desktop version is good for individuals and is free to use. An upgraded pro-plan is offered at a monthly per-user price and a capacity-based premium option that offers enterprise-level insights with on-site deployment and dedicated cloud infrastructure.

Features of Power BI

Power BI is helping businesses reshape how they extract insights and make decisions. Here are some advantages of using Power BI as a BI tool.

1. Seamless Integration

Every company needs software or a solution that can easily integrate with other sources, and Power BI is excellent. Numerous data sources, including databases, cloud services, spreadsheets, and more, can be seamlessly integrated with it. Thus allowing its users to combine and connect data from different sources and transform it into valuable insights.

2. Data Prep

Power BI’s data preparation tool – Power Query, is often more accessible to people with different technical backgrounds. You can easily understand the quality and structure of data using its data profiling features. 

3. Visualization

Many data visualization possibilities are available in Power BI, as you can anticipate from a Microsoft application. It features both basic and sophisticated graphics. You can make unique visualizations with Power BI and submit them to the app source marketplace.

4. Data Transformation

One of Power BI’s components, Power Query, allows you to combine tables and create calculated columns in addition to cleaning, structuring, and transforming data.

Pros of Power BI

Below are some of the benefits of using this platform:

  • It perfectly integrates with Microsoft solutions.
  • It is easy to share with other partners and users.
  • It aids in creating professional and dynamic reports with great visuals.
  • It is simple to use and has an intuitive UI. 
  • People of all skill levels can manage it. 

Cons of Power BI

Even though Power BI is an excellent BI tool, it is still not suitable for everyone. There are some limitations or cons that make it less feasible. 

Some of them are:

  • Many people find it difficult to use and operate.
  • The platform introduced by Microsoft is expensive.
  • The platform is also not compatible with every type of operating system.
  • It is not an open-source solution provider.

What is Looker?

A Google Cloud Platform (GCP) component is Looker, a data visualization tool that works with many other related technologies, such as Cloud Storage, BigQuery, and CloudSQL. Companies use this platform to create reports and dashboards that help transform data into easy-to-understand charts and graphs. It is needed to gain insight and make valuable business decisions.

Looker Modeling Language (LookML), a proprietary dependency language built on Structured Query Language (SQL), is the tool used by Looker to develop semantic data models. Hence, people with SQL experience find it easy to learn LookML.  

Additionally, it enables technical users, such as data engineers, to design custom data models that function as user-friendly applications for the numerous non-technical users who need to access data regularly for their jobs.

Its pricing varies depending on the number of users, connected data sources, and deployment scale. However, it is not reasonable.

Features of Looker

Looker helps businesses use the data to communicate the bigger picture effectively. Here are some features of using this wonderful platform:

1. Version Control

Looker employs a semantic layer that is versioned using git, and its constituent parts, such as tables, columns, and aggregations, are arranged in LookML files. This version control system is essential for teamwork because it enables several developers to collaborate on changes and merge them while being informed of any conflicts. It also permits rolling back modifications made to queries or dashboards when necessary.

2. Easy to Use

One of the main benefits of going with Looker is its user-friendly platform. It uses the proprietary data modeling language and helps shorten the implementation period, thus making it very user-friendly and easy to use.

3. Google Cloud Console

Since Looker is a component of Google Cloud, developers can easily install and manage their Looker server within the Google Cloud setup because it is linked to the Google Cloud console.

4. Security

This platform has excellent security features, making it a reliable option. It has enterprise-grade security features, in-built connectivity support with Google BigQuery, and easily integrates with Google Cloud Identity Access Management.

5. Data Modelling and Governance

You can create a centralized data model with standardized relationships and definitions with the help of Looker’s LookML data dictionary and modeling language. It helps enable consistency, collaboration, and data governance within teams. It also excels in complex data environments where documentation and data modeling are critical for analysis and data integrity.

Pros of Looker

Here are the pros of working with Google’s Looker platform:

  • The platform offers real-time analysis, allowing teams to monitor their progress constantly.
  • It is a user-friendly platform that makes storing and presenting data from multiple sources easy.
  • The platform has many chart styles and ways of presenting data.

Cons of Looker

Listed below are a few of the cons associated with Looker:

  • It takes too much time for reports to load on the platform.
  • The platform configuration can take time.

Comparison Between Power BI and Looker

Let’s look at the below table to understand a simple comparison between the two BI tools that can help decide between Looker and Power BI.

ParametersPower BILooker
PricingIt has a per-user model that starts from $10 a month, with a free version also available.To get the price, you will need to get in touch with the sales team.
Version ControlIt announced its version control application, which lets users view version history and edit comments. However, an analyst may overwrite many versions of the report if the company has multiple concurrent users working on the same report.It controls and manages ecosystem modifications using Git. It, therefore, has the complete version history, changelog, and approval workflow needed to guarantee that every report update is conflict-free.
VisualizationIt has many visualization options and supports more than 3500 data points. You can also personalize the visualization by removing or adding any Power BI visuals.Here, you can create customized visualizations with real-time analysis.
DashboardIt has a drag-and-drop feature with an intuitive interface that helps you to customize dashboards, data tools, and visuals.It has an interactive dashboard with an in-depth analysis feature. You can use dashboards with data and data tools to create customized reports and beautiful visuals.
Preferred audienceSmall, medium, and large-scale companies.Software, retail, entertainment, media, financial services, and telecom companies.
Data source connectionIt can also work with various data sources, such as blank queries, flat files, and SQL databases. It can link to multiple data sources, including its reliable data model. It makes it easier to extract data using its simple configuration.   
Operating systemIt is web-based and also supports Android and iPhone applications.It is a web-based application that eliminates the need for desktop clients.
Query LimitWith the capacity to handle up to 10 GB of data per user, it enables users to retrieve a plethora of data directly from the database.It has a max limit of 5000 rows created by exploring the page.
IntegrationIt integrates with Microsoft tools.It can integrate with applications such as Excel and Google.
A/B testingIt does not have an A/B testing and activity tracker.It has an activity tracker and A/B testing feature.
Data ModelingIt works on DAX and star schema and works well if your requirements are simple.It brings the best practices of software engineering and combines them with business intelligence. You can use concepts such as DRY and measure and dimensions.

How to Choose Between Looker vs. Power BI?


It can be overwhelming for people to choose between Looker and Power BI as both tools have similar features. One of the main differences is that Power BI offers a free version, and no free version is available in Looker. Additionally, if you are looking for deployment, Looker can be a good fit, and if you want the best hosting output, consider Power BI.

Final Thoughts

As we approach the end of our investigation into Looker and Power BI, it is clear that your organization’s unique requirements and goals will determine which of these two powerful business intelligence tools you should choose. 

The path to data-driven excellence demands careful thought, regardless of your priorities: user-friendly interfaces, powerful analytics, or seamless integration. Follow our continuing updates as we make our way through the constantly changing world of business intelligence tools, ensuring you have access to the most recent knowledge to lead your company to unmatched success in the fast-paced world of data analytics. Enrolling in one of our data analytics courses will make it easy to enter this area.