CrashPlan vs Carbonite: head-to-head review

CrashPlan vs CarboniteCrashPlan and Carbonite are two of the biggest online backup services out there.  They both provide unlimited cloud storage to backup and protect your computer files.  They also have similar pricing and features.

So which one should you choose?  I’ll take a look at them both in this head-to-head comparison.

Ease of Use

Winner: CrashPlan

Both Carbonite and CrashPlan are very easy to use.  With each of them, you install the software, and it immediately starts backing up your data to the cloud.  The backups are automatic, so you don’t have to schedule them.  Restoring files is also easy.  You can restore files from the desktop software or from the web interface provided by either of these services.

However, I thought CrashPlan was slightly easier.  It doesn’t limit the files that are backed up, whereas Carbonite won’t automatically backup files over 4GB, or video files (unless you sign up for the Prime plan).  These files must be manually selected for Carbonite to back them up.  CrashPlan requires less work in that sense.


Winner: Tie

CrashPlan and Carbonite share many of the same features, but they also have a few differences.  They are two of the few online backup services let you make local backups.  This means your backups can be stored not only in the cloud, but also on an external hard drive.

Both CrashPlan and Carbonite have the following features:

  • Unlimited cloud backups
  • Backup to local destinations
  • Bandwidth controls
  • File versioning

Features specific to Carbonite are:

  • Mirror image backup; backup your entire hard drive, including OS
  • File syncing and sharing

While features specific to CrashPlan are:

  • Backup to a friend’s computer
  • Backup external drives (Carbonite can do this, but only with the Prime plan)

As you can see, they’re very similar with a few minor differences.


Winner: CrashPlan (barely)

CrashPlan and Carbonite have similar pricing.  Carbonite’s most basic plan is $59.99/year per computer, whereas CrashPlan is $59.99/year per computer, with a monthly plan also available.

You can get discounts if you choose a 2-year or 3-year plan with Carbonite, or a 2-year or 4-year plan with CrashPlan.  Carbonite does not offer any family plans, while CrashPlan’s family plan offers savings for 2-10 computers.

So if you’re looking to backup many computers, CrashPlan can save you a lot of money.


Winner: CrashPlan

CrashPlan soars past Carbonite in my most recent speed tests.

CrashPlan backed up my data at 8 megabits per second (Mbps), maxing out my internet connection in the process.  Carbonite backed up data at only 3.1 Mbps.

When restoring my files, CrashPlan clocked in at 14 Mbps versus Carbonite’s 4.7 Mbps.

Operating Systems

Winner: CrashPlan

CrashPlan supports more operating systems, with desktop software available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Carbonite only supports Windows and Mac.  Also, only the Basic plan supports Mac.  The Plus and Prime plans will only work on Windows.

Mobile Apps

Winner: Tie

Both services have mobile apps that let you access your backed up files on-the-go.  CrashPlan’s app supports more platforms, while Carbonite’s app has slightly more features.  So this one is a tie.

CrashPlan supports Android, iOS, Windows phone, and Kindle.  Carbonite only supports Android and iOS.

However, Carbonite has the ability to locate your lost phone, sound the ringer, and remotely wipe data.  Carbonite can also backup photos and videos on your phone, whereas CrashPlan cannot.


Winner: Tie

Both online backup services are very secure.

CrashPlan and Carbonite encrypt your files before, during, and after transfer to their servers.  You can also use a personal encryption key with either service, ensuring that your files can only be decrypted by you.

There are some slight differences in the types of encryption used.  CrashPlan uses 448-bit encryption while Carbonite uses 128-bit encryption.  But for practical purposes, both of these encryption methods are equally secure.


Winner: Tie

Both CrashPlan and Carbonite have fantastic tech support.  They offer phone, email, and live chat support 7 days per week.  Their websites also have searchable knowledgebases, so you can easily find answers to common questions.

CrashPlan vs Carbonite: Which should you choose?

CrashPlan is the clear winner, in my opinion.  It’s easier to use and has less restrictions on the types of files that are backed up.  CrashPlan can also backup your USB drives, without paying extra.

Get CrashPlan at

Get Carbonite at

Update Dec. 2014: Added new CrashPlan speed tests.

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund

Geoff Akerlund is the founder and editor-in-chief of He enjoys attending music festivals, whitewater kayaking on the American River, and board game nights in his free time.

Geoff Akerlund