Backblaze vs Carbonite: head-to-head review

Backblaze vs CarboniteBackblaze and Carbonite are two of the leading online backup services.  They both offer unlimited cloud storage, affordable pricing, and similar features.  Carbonite has been in business a couple years longer, and is a $300 million publicly traded company.  Backblaze on the other hand has taken the online backup industry by storm, and is now storing over 100 petabytes of customer data.

So which should you choose to backup your files?  I’ll take a look at how both of these services perform in this in-depth comparison.

If you want more info, you can also check out my Backblaze review and my Carbonite review.

Ease of Use

Winner: Tie

Both Backblaze and Carbonite are among the easiest online backup services.  The Backblaze software installs on your computer and begins backing up your data immediately, just like Carbonite.  Files are automatically selected for backup, and there’s no lengthy setup process with either service.

Files can be easily restored from the web interface.  One thing I liked about Carbonite is that files can also be restored from the desktop software.  From the Restore tab, you can search and restore, browse your backup, or restore all files.  Backblaze only lets you restore files from the web interface, by downloading a ZIP.

Price

Winner: Backblaze

Backblaze is less expensive, overall.

Backblaze charges $5/month per computer, with the same features on all their plans.  You can save 15% by paying for 1 year in advance, at $50/year.  Or save 20% by paying $95 for 2 years.

Carbonite offers 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year subscription lengths.  The Basic plan is $59.99/year per computer, which includes unlimited data.  The Plus plan is $99.99/year, which adds external hard drive and mirror image backups.  The Prime plan is $149.99/year and adds automatic video backup and a courier recovery service. You can save 5% by paying for 2 years in advance, or 10% by paying for 3 years in advance.

Features

Winner: Backblaze

Although Carbonite has a couple unique features, Backblaze places less restrictions on the types of files it backs up.  Backblaze can also backup external hard drives, while Carbonite charges extra for this.

Both services feature:

  • Unlimited cloud storage space
  • Secure encryption
  • Automatic throttling
  • Easy restores

Features specific to Backblaze include:

  • Automatic backup of files over 4GB
  • Automatic video backup
  • External hard drive backup (Carbonite: Plus plan only)

Features specific to Carbonite are:

  • Sync and share files
  • Public file sharing
  • Mirror image backup – create a local backup of your entire hard drive (Plus plan only)

Both services let you restore files to a USB hard drive and have it shipped to you.  This can be faster than restoring files over the internet.  Backblaze charges $189 for a 4TB hard drive.  Carbonite charges a $9.99 service fee, and it’s available only to Personal Prime customers.

Operating Systems

Winner: Tie

Both Backblaze and Carbonite support Windows and Mac for their desktop software.  Linux is not supported with either service.

Carbonite also has a “Sync and Share” app for Windows and Mac, which lets you synchronize files across devices.

Mobile Apps

Winner: Carbonite (barely)

Both Carbonite and Backblaze have apps for Android and iOS.

With the apps you can access your backed up files, although you can’t upload files like Dropbox and other cloud storage services (however, Carbonite’s separate “Sync and Share” app can do this).

The Carbonite app can automatically backup your Android phone’s data, such as photos and videos, which I liked.  Protecting the files on my phone is just as important as protecting the files on my computer, so I’m giving a slight edge to Carbonite.

Speed

Winner: Backblaze

Backblaze is much faster, according to my speed tests.

Backblaze maxed out my internet connection when uploading files, at 8 megabits per second (Mbps).  Download speeds were equally impressive at 31 Mbps, which also maxed out my bandwidth.

Carbonite uploaded files at 3.1 Mbps (about 33 gigabytes per day), and downloaded files at 4.7 Mbps.  The restore speed is particularly concerning, since it would take almost a week to restore a 250GB hard drive from the cloud.  I tested the speed multiple times on different days, to avoid random traffic congestion, and the end result was about the same.

Security

Winner: Tie

Both Backblaze and Carbonite encrypt your files on their servers, and further encrypt your files while they’re being transferred over the internet (using SSL).  This is the same level of security used for online banking.

Both services give you the option to use a personal encryption passphrase, if you’re worried about NSA spy programs and such.  This increases security, by putting you in control of the encryption key.  However, there is no “forgot passphrase” reset mechanism, so it becomes your responsibility to safeguard the passphrase.

Support

Winner: Carbonite

Both services have knowledgeable, U.S.-based support.  However, Carbonite offers phone support while Backblaze does not.

With Backblaze you can get tech support via email 7 days a week, and they will respond within 24 hours.  They also recently added a live chat box, which is available 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST.

Carbonite support is available 7 days a week, 8:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. EST (excluding U.S. holidays) via phone, live chat, or email.

Backblaze vs Carbonite: Which should you choose?

Personally, I think Backblaze is the clear winner.

Backblaze is faster, less expensive, and doesn’t restrict the files that are backed up on any of their plans.  The cost is just $5/month per computer for unlimited backups, and it will backup all the files you want.  Speeds to Backblaze were almost double what I got with Carbonite, so you’ll be able to backup and restore files faster.

With that being said, there are a couple advantages to Carbonite.  Only Carbonite can perform local (aka mirror image) backups, in addition to the cloud.  Also, the “Sync and Share” feature can be used to collaborate on files.  Backblaze doesn’t let you sync or share files – it’s backup only.

Get Backblaze at www.backblaze.com

Get Carbonite at www.carbonite.com

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of BackupReview.com. He is a cloud fanatic and regularly reviews online backup services. He believes backups should be easy, affordable, and automatic.

Geoff Akerlund

@backupsoftware

Reviews and ratings of the most popular backup solutions

@FabacusSuite Just noticed your tweet! I’m not aware of any cloud storage needs specific to manufacturing. I’m open to insight/suggestions. – 1 year ago

 
  • Vaino Paivarinta

    Great review. I haven’t used Carbonite, but I’m really happy with Backblaze. Both in backing up and restoring is easy, fast and reliable (They don’t pay me, by the way, I’m just a big fan 🙂

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  • areunuts

    they both suck….

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    • Any particular reason why? And what would you recommend instead?

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    • Vaino Paivarinta

      That’s a thorough review, thanks!

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  • Carolina

    I loved your review, and I think I’m ready to purchase. I am a retired person who knows just enough about computers to get myself in trouble. I travel between Mexico and the US every 6 months. No, not a snow bird, just running from humidity) I just lost a 2T EHD with all my photos (100+GB) and scrapbooking files (150+GB), due to automobile travel vibration. I had never heard the “click of death” before. Quite painful! My question is will support teams of any cloud service generally walk you through setup or are you pretty much on your own? And what is a good EHD. I promise not to take it across the border with me next time.

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    • Yes, I’ve heard that click of death before and it’s never good! All the cloud services I’ve reviewed have great support (except for some of the free ones), and will be happy to walk you through the setup process.

      All hard drives I’ve used have had equal failure rates, so I generally just go for the best price and rating, rather than choose a particular manufacturer. Here are the best sellers on Amazon. If ruggedness is a concern you may want to consider something like the Silicon Power Shockproof drive.

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      • Carolina

        Checked out the Silicon Power Shockproof drive, Looks good, it should make the trips just fine. Thanks Geoff!

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      • Ricardo Cobos

        After experiencing two EHD ‘click of death’ within just 6 months of each other I’ve used Carbonite now for about three years. But I am switching to BB today because the cost to back up an EHD is twice the cost at Carbonite. I will however say this about Carbonite, if you need phone support, you will love their personal service. But since I have only called them once or twice in three years, I think I will move on to BB at 1/2 the cost for unlimited EHD backups.

        One last note about EHD, with the rapidly falling prices of SSD EHD’s you may want to consider replacing your SATA drives with the new SSD. They are nearly indestructible, impervious to shock, water, and dust! As long as you don’t burn them, your SSD’s should last the rest off your life!

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        • Thanks for the comment Ricardo. I like using a SSD for the system drive, where faster speeds make the biggest difference, but not so much for external drives. The prices are still too expensive, with a 1TB SSD costing 4x as much as a 2TB HDD. But for the ultimate in durability, absolutely spring for the SSD. I would still keep online backups, just to be safe.

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          • Ricardo Cobos

            I think this will be the year of the SSD….only a little over a year ago the host per GB was 10x the cost of the spinning platter drives. I’ve been really close to pulling the trigger on a few internal SSD drives for my laptop that is too good to replace. Thanks too for th great review. I’ll check back in a few weeks when my BB online backup is complete and let you know what I think.

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          • I hope so. I’d love to replace my magnetic drives. Thanks!

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  • sgarcata

    I started using Carbonite about 5 months ago and I guess they are o.k. if you either don’t have a lot of installed software or sign up for their image option which (per their tech) requires a dedicated drive with 3x the size of your primary drive. They exclude 133 file types so you are in trouble if you have a lot of downloaded apps which is the standard way to distribute software these days. Although they claim you can one by one force these to be included, it is an impossible task… I have over 500K of files that are “excluded”. They also claim that you can go through the 133 types and hold down a key to “include” these, but that claim was refuted by the last tech I spoke with less than a month ago. In any case I am setting up my own backup / restore situation with local software with the confidence that I am in control of what is available to restore in case of a breakdown. The only thing I’ll forgo by dropping Carbonite is the ongoing backup service as opposed to a once a day backup and the challenge of getting this all set up and tested. So great for the casual user, not so much for a power user. On the positive side, they have very good tech support, however the details of their service dribbles out over time depending on who you speak to. It is not all documented in a way that makes it clear.

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    • Leah

      I have lots of videos of my child that I’d have to go into each folder and request them to be backed up, only to find a week or month later that they’d been deselected again. I was constantly having to go and make sure they were all selected, which is annoying when they aren’t all in the same folder. This was the thing I disliked most about Carbonite. I’ll be trying Backblaze now.

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      • sgarcata

        I’m done with Carbonite… in fact done with all online backup services… I’ll use Evernote for my organization type info and iCloud or ?? for music… the rest is under my control on my servers and drives.

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    • Chris D

      You could have gone to the properties page and then the carbonite tab and said “back up all files of this type”.
      However, if they were like dll files or exe files then it’s no good to back them up in the first place unless you’re making a System State backup as well, which the software doesn’t do unless you’re using Mirror Image. If you want to backup and transfer software from one computer to another, you NEED system state, or backing up like the program files folder is completely useless and a waste of your time.

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      • sgarcata

        I was told specifically by a Carbonite representative that it wasn’t meant to back up a lot of installables and they didn’t want me to use it in that way.

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  • landmark3

    I recently signed up for Backblaze and have had a bad experience. The service does NOT backup iTunes podcasts. It turns out this exception is mentioned deep in the copy on their website, but on the control panel of exclusions, this folder is not listed as excluded After some podcasts went missing, I found this out the hard way. Backblaze support has been slow and lackadaisical when responding to my problem. They told me just to redownload the missing podcasts from iTunes, but of course, this doesn’t work when some shows only keep the latest podcasts live and other feeds have completely gone dark. Overall, I found the customer service experience to be quite poor and after a month, I’m still trying to get them to respond to me. They close tickets when they shouldn’t be closed. Because they don’t back up all my files and because the customer service is so poor, I’m going to give Carbonite a try.

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    • You know…I’ve noticed how iTunes doesn’t keep earlier podcasts, when I’ve wanted to download them. So I can understand how you’d want to back those up! Thanks for the comment and info.

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    • Chris D

      I was not aware that iTunes did that. That’s not cool :

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  • Jeff

    TERRIBLE SERVICE!!! Lack Integrity as well. Most Amazon Reviews reflect this.
    Used the Free Trial to test their system. Excluded all files except for two folders on an external drive to make the test very simple and straightforward. Backblaze still failed. Multiple issues required using their Chat Customer Support twice. Second time involved needing to recover files due to a failing hard drive, which is what prompted me to test their service in the first place. On both occasions, had to fight them for almost 30 minutes to get anything more than a “wait for 24 hours for the system to update.” Based on my setup, I knew it was a Backblaze issue, not a “system update” issue. When they finally provided me with actually troubleshooting assistance, it turned out to be Backblaze at fault both times. When called out on their poor support, all they did was defend their poor practices, all the way up to the Director of Support, so they clearly have no intention of improving. Also, the record of our Chat, that was supposed to be emailed to me automatically, mysteriously never showed up. That’s how they cover their stupidity!

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  • Chris D

    Your review has a few points of contention. Carbonite does offer multi year discounts like Backblaze.
    The reason Carbonite can’t backup on the iOS is really because of apple not letting apps run in the background, and they can’t possibly expect you to leave your phone open and running the app in the foreground to backup. Maybe this has changed, I don’t use iOS devices.
    As for the download/upload speed, not sure what’s up with that.

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    • Hi Chris. Thanks for the correction about the multi year discounts. Yes, there is no automatic backup for Carbonite on iOS (or any other service except iCloud). It has to be started manually by the user. It’s a shame Apple doesn’t open this up more, because it really hinders third party services.

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