The Best Canto Alternatives
for Digital Asset management
(2022 review, pricing & open demos)

By Guy Barner
29 Sep 2022
11 min read
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It looks like you’ve tried Canto, and it doesn’t meet your needs. Perhaps you’re looking for a tool that’s easier to use, that’s more affordable, or with better customer support.

Yes, Canto is a veteran of the Digital Asset Management market, and they do have some great features, but if they’re not cutting it for you anymore, here are a few alternatives you might want to consider:

✓ Tagbox
✓ Brandfolder
✓ Bynder
✓ Filecamp
✓ Playbook

First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. As you might have noticed, you’re in Tagbox’s blog, which makes this list partial. For example, look above, we’ve put ourselves first on the Canto alternatives list! But as DAM builders, it’s our job to know the ins-and-outs of all the other products out there. We have personally used all of the tools on the list, and the following is our experience with them, with points you should consider when choosing the best platform for your team. Now that that’s out of the way, lets start with a quick overview of Canto - the good and bad:

Canto - overview & pricing

Before we scrutinize the competition, let’s examine a few reasons why you might be looking for alternatives.

Founded in 1990, Canto is probably the oldest in the bunch. With this comes the good and the bad - on one hand, they’re a reliable company, with a mature product that has all the basics - they offer storage, searchability, they support advanced workflows, and have plenty of integrations. Oh, and we absolutely loved their facial recognition feature, which is really cool.

On the other hand, as a legacy product, there might be a few places where they forgot to grease the hinges. Here are some common drawback we hear:

Why You Need A Canto Alternative

❌ Onboarding

A complaint we hear a lot is that it takes ages to get started with Canto. Migrating from other systems is a manual process that often takes months, and while Canto’s general support is getting favorable reviews, it seems they’re not doing much to help new teams get started.

❌ Tagging and search

Canto, like most DAM systems, lets the users add meta-data in order to organize content. But as this process is done manually, this can be incredibly time consuming - manually tagging thousands of files can take weeks, and tagging by multiple individuals easily leads to discrepancies in terminology. In fact, in almost all cases, we found that customers ended up with duplicate, similar tags, such as “accessory” and “accessories”, or even “flag” and “Flag”, which leaves you wondering - is this really helping me stay organized? And AI? Well, while Canto technically has “Auto-tagging”, their application is highly lacking, and does not conform to the team’s taxonomy, leaving you with hundreds of unnecessary, unused tags.

❌ Pricing

While Canto doesn’t make its pricing transparent on their site, according to a number of online sources, their pricing starts at around $600/month for a single user with basic storage, and can easily climb to $5,000/month as teams grow in users and storage.

tagbox logo

Tagbox.io - a DAM with a touch of magic

In many ways, Tagbox is the mirror-image of Canto. The newest of the bunch, Tagbox prides itself on using AI to automate many of the tedious tasks that are required to maintain a DAM, saving DAM administrators hours of work, and making it easier for teams to stay consistent.

Tagging

T​ag-based organization is awesome, but it does run the risk of becoming cluttered once you go over a few hundreds or even thousands of files. While Canto lets you tag assets, only Tagbox helps you manage those tags to make sure things don't get messy as your content grows.

See Tagbox’s auto-tagging in action:

Search and filters

While tagging is important for staying organized, you can’t always predict how people will be looking for assets. This is where a powerful search comes into play.

Canto offers good general search, but it only searches for data that was imputed into the system, so if you’re looking for a “dog running on a beach”, you better hope that’s the name of the file.

Tagbox, on the other hand, actively searches within your content, so that you can find assets whether they’re tagged or not. Tagbox is also one of the only companies that offers text-in-image search, allowing, for example, to quickly find images of brands by their label.

Pricing

Tagbox’s pricing is transparent and available on its website. It has 3 different plans:

Studio Plan (free): up to 1,000 items with unlimited users.

Company Plan ($250/month): Up to 1,000 items with unlimited users

Enterprise Plan: (custom pricing) includes platform customizations, dedicated integrations, and more.

up and running in a week

Setting up a Digital Asset Management platformcan take months.

At Tagbox, we understand that a productivity tool is supposed to, well, help productivity, which is why our data migration team would love to help get organized within just one week of signing up.

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brandfolder

Canto vs. Brandfolder

In many ways, Canto and Brandfolder are similar. They’re both known brands that have been around for a long time, and they offer similar functionality, with lots of possible integrations. Similarly, in both cases, the That said, Brandfolders targets retail companies, and has additional functionality for specifically organizing brand guidelines such as fonts and colors. Canto. On the other hand, it is more suitable for Academic institutions and non-profits.Pricing is also relatively similar. Neither platform officially publishes its pricing policy, and according to online resources, you can expect a quote in the $2,500-$10,000 month, depending on your specific requirements. In terms of usability, we personally like Brandfolder’s design and user experience over that of Canto, which is a bit dated.


Brandfolder Demo

bynder

Canto vs. bynder

Bynder is another one of the veteran players in the DAM market, offering all the core functionality, as well as many integrations. Bynder is considered to be the more expensive of the group, and thus mostly suitable for very large organizations with high customization needs. In both cases, the platforms include very basic AI assistance, with auto-tagging that is rarely used, and no advanced search options such as text-in-image search. We’ve also noticed that Bynder’s platform tends to be a lot slower, which can be annoying if you use it often.As the features are largely similar, the decision will likely come down to pricing and personal interface preferences, as well as the skills of the salesperson you happened to get.

Bynder Demo

filecamp

Canto vs. filecamp

Filecamp is a low-cost DAM, going at a flat pricing of $59 for their 50GB plan. However, while they advertise the cover most expected DAM functionality, we’ve found that it is rarely the case. The good news is that, since it is one of the only self-service platforms out there, you can try and get disappointed yourself.In fact, even though it presents itself as a DAM, its main organization structure uses folders, so in our view, it’s more comparable to a low-cost Dropbox or Google Drive. With less-than-basic search and tagging, we would not recommend it, especially compared to other reasonably priced options such as Tagbox and Playbook.

Filecamp demo

playbook

Canto vs. playbook

Playbook is one of the newest players in the DAM market, and might be worth exploring if you’re a designer looking for a low-cost DAM with good basic functionality. Unlike Canto, Playbook has a good looking interface that’s fun to play with.However, Playbook lacks advanced features such as tag management and even basic filters, and they mostly rely on search for asset discovery. Similarly, there is no approval process or workflow management in Playbook.

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Frequently
Asked
Questions

Who should use Canto?

Canto is most suitable for Academic institutes, non-profits, and manufacturers, that are willing to pay high sums for a reliable tool that’s been around for a while.

How much does Canto cost?

While they don’t make their pricing public, we estimate their pricing at around $5,000 / month, depending on your specific storage requirements and number of users. Other competitors, such as Tagbox and Filecamp, are available for around $50 - $250 / month.

What are the top alternatives to Canto?

The top alternatives to Canto include Tagbox.io, Bynder, Brandfolder, Filecamp, and Playbook.

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