Review: SendBird vs. Stream

Chat and messaging are critical components for application success. When searching for a provider to enable in-app messaging, you might compare Stream Chat with SendBird. SendBird is a highly funded, feature-rich chat application that is priced as if they are the only provider in the market. As you'll see in our review below, although Stream Chat is a newer product, it provides an even richer complete messaging experience, providing more advanced features out of the box.


  • Stream has years of experience building highly scalable, high performing infrastructure powering activity and news feeds for over 500 million end users.
  • Stream’s solution is feature rich, providing capabilities like AI moderation, @mentions, banning/muting users, custom objects, threads, reaction, slash commands, and built-in search.
  • Stream provides an extensive portfolio of front end components and a beautiful UI kit to make integration more straightforward than any other product on the market.

High-Level Overview

Stream Chat is the most complete chat solution available. It supports five use cases out of the box, providing a beautiful UI kit for each in both light and dark modes. The UI kit can be handed off to your designer, and they’ll have all the assets at their fingertips, making it a breeze to swap out what they need to. The five use cases are:

  • Social Messenger
  • Livestream
  • Commerce
  • Team
  • Gaming

Selecting the use case will modify your chat settings for that usage – for example, a Livestream will turn off typing indicators and read status since the volume will be so high.

Built on top of Go, Raft, and RocksDB, Stream Chat leverages many of the same components our market leading Feed solution is built upon. Over the years our team has learned how to scale feeds to support billions of updates a month in real time, and we’ve used that experience to create one of the fastest and most scalable chat solutions possible. We are trusted by Under Armour, Crunchbase, NBC Sports, eToro and many others. We are GDPR compliant, HIPAA ready, EU and Swiss Privacy Shield complaint as well as CCPA.

Stream’s Strengths over SendBird

  • Component libraries for React, React Native, iOS and Android
  • Features: Reactions, Threads, Slash Commands, Rich Messaging, and Chat bots
  • AI moderation
  • Highly scalable, stable and high performing infrastructure
  • 2x to 4x more cost effective
  • Simple Migration

But don't take our word for it, the reviews of Sendbird on Product Hunt (or lack there of) speak for themselves versus our 5-star rating.

Front End Components

Stream provides component libraries for React, React Native, iOS and Android. This vastly reduces the time your team needs to spend building the chat frontend. Integrating with Stream typically takes days, integrating with SendBird, on the other hand, can take months. The component libraries are fully customizable so you are in control over your chat and messaging’s user experience. Customers have told us when doing a Sendbird review this was a very important piece.

Stream’s frontend components also include built-in support for unread counts, connection recovery, message states and read events. There is no out of the box SendBird UI. You can build those features on top of SendBird\'s API yourself but it’s easy to make mistakes, especially if you’re under a tight deadline. Ask for a SendBird demo of these features.

It should also be noted that SendBird limits your ability to debug. Sendbird SDKs are obfuscated (Sendbird Javascript SDK, Sendbird iOS SDK, SendBird Android SDK). What this means is if you\'re trying to debug unexpected behavior, determine if you\'re writing good code to the SDK, etc, your life just became much more difficult.

Premium Features

Out of the box, Stream provides advanced features for your one to one, group, or open channel messaging experiences. Features like slash commands, on-prem option, reactions, and threads. We also provide developers with a clean API and webhooks, allowing them to build custom features like chatbots, user polls, and anything else they dream up. SendBird advertises built-in language translation capability, but they’re simply calling out to 3rd party services as we explain in our blog.

A review of Sendbird's messaging features

AI Moderation

Stream provides admins the ability to mute and ban users, mute channels, and send system-wide notifications to help keep your conversations civil. Our tools allow you to ensure user safety within your app. Activating our AI based moderation will automatically protect your users from spam, profanity, and explicit content. We even have a partner that can take your AI moderation to the next level, detecting advanced concepts like self-harm, grooming and many others.

SendBird doesn’t provide any AI moderation.

Highly Scalable, Stable and High Performing Infrastructure

Stream Chat is built upon the same Go, Raft, and RocksDB infrastructure that powers the activity and notification feeds for over 500 million end users. With the ability to support millions of concurrent connections for a single app, thousands in group chat and channels, Stream’s ability to scale is second to none.

SendBird limits group participants to 100.

Comparing Sendbird's scalability

Stream’s feed infrastructure has had 99.99% uptime over the past 12 months, showcasing the kind of stability customers can rely on. We’re confident enough in our uptime that we offer a 99.999% uptime SLA. Oh, and our status page is public, unlike SendBird that requires a customer login to see their status and average response times. Did I mention they have scheduled downtime as well that doesn’t count as downtime in their SLA? Be sure to keep these in mind when doing your own SendBird review.

Reviewing Sendbird's enterprise features vs Stream

From proposals we’ve received from customers, SendBird is between 2x and 4x higher on price than Stream. This increase doesn’t even account for the fact that SendBird isn’t multi-tenant. Their pricing is based per app. You can also check out our 5/5 star rating on Product Hunt here.

Simple Migration

Stream can work with you to make your Sendbird migration a snap. With our import tools and customizable interfaces, we can help get you off SendBird and into Stream Chat in no time. Companies have been switching to Stream because of our:

  • Scalability
  • Performance
  • Stability
  • Advanced Features
  • Customer Support

Try Us Out

Want to jump right into the code? No problem. We have an interactive API tour available here.

Want to see how easy it is to move from SendBird to Stream Chat? Reach out via our contact form, and we’ll be happy to help you run a test yourself. Still not sure? Check us our compared to all these Sendbird competitors and alternatives.

Happy chatting!

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