Skool vs Circle: The 2023 Honest Comparison – Which is Best? 

 Updated: March 28, 2024

skool vs circle

What Are Skool And Circle?

Skool and Circle are both primarily online community platforms.

And they’re used by content creators to bring their people together as well as creating learning experiences.

It’s essentially a way of creating a better version of a Facebook group that you actually own and can customize.

Each member will have their own login and profile to build for an opportunity to network with their fellow community members.

But both platforms have different ways of allowing you to build this, and that’s what we’re reviewing today to help you make a decision.

Here is a quick overview of Skool and Circle features:

Skool

  • Course creation (no video hosting)
  • Community creation with user created content
  • Native Payment System
  • Members’ profile, direct messaging and chat
  • A leader board for gamification and reward
  • A visual calendar to organize online/offline events
  • Mobile App

Circle

  • Fully customizable community
  • Events
  • Online courses
  • Live stream video
  • Mobile app
  • Payment system
  • Single SSO with specific apps

Pricing - Skool Vs Circle

Starting with the respective cost of both platforms.

First, Skool and Circle have the same 14-day free trial for you to get started and play around.

After that, Skool’s pricing is very straightforward - you’ll pay a flat subscription $99/mo to get full access to the platform and all of its features.

Skool's Pricing

Note that this is the price per group - which can have an unlimited number of students.

Circle on the other hand has multiple plans with different features.

The most comparable plan to Skool will probably be the Professional plan.

Circle Pricing

Which costs more or less the same as Skool.

Further plans will allow for further customization and advanced features.

Overall both platforms have a relatively similar cost to feature value.

Community Feature - Skool Vs Circle

The community feature is the core of what most people looking at these platforms want.

Skool presents a simplified yet effective community interface that resembles a Facebook group feed.

It allows admins and users to create diverse posts, including text, videos, polls, links, and GIFs. Its structure mirrors a conventional social media feed, making it familiar and easy to navigate.

Skool Community

A notable aspect of Skool's community is its gamification elements.

The platform awards points and levels to users based on their engagement, fostering healthy interactions.

The leaderboard showcases active contributors, promoting healthy competition and rewarding valuable participation.

Skool Leaderboard Feature

Circle's versatility shines through its Space Groups and Spaces setup, enabling diverse conversation channels, similar to Slack.

It allows for various space types like Posts, Events, Chat, and Member directories, providing an adaptable environment for different community needs.

Circle's Community

Circle elevates engagement with its Live video feature, enabling direct streaming within the platform.

This feature, coupled with private messaging options and customizable user profiles, fosters a sense of personalized interaction within the community.

The differences for this feature for these platforms are mild.

Online Programs - Skool Vs Circle

Both platforms built their feature stack around their community experience.

And a lot of creators running online communities often are membership or online course creators!

Which means they also needed a place to host their programs and paid content.

And this is something that both Skool and Circle now offer.

Skool’s course builder is very basic but will allow you to build text and video based modules.

Skool Course Builder

Note that video hosting is not included in the platform so you’ll have to use a 3rd party platform for that.

There are also no learning tools such as quizzes, assessments,etc.

Circle’s course builder is a little more advanced with video hosting included (depending on your plan).

Circle Course Builder

You also have progress report tools to learn a bit more about student’s drop off.

Overall both platforms’ course builder is fairly limited compared to a specialist platform, but Circle does have a leg up here.

As a side note, both platforms make both their community and online programs accessible on a mobile app for your students.

These are on both iOS and Android and at no extra cost for you.

Checkout & Payments - Skool Vs Circle

To be able to sell your online programs or private community, it’s convenient to have an integrated checkout to the platform.

Skool went their own way here and built their own payment processor to offer a processing fee of 2.9% + 30c.

Skool Payments

You’ll only be able to charge on a subscription basis (no one-time payments).

This is limited but also rather straightforward.

On the other hand, Circle will simply let you connect Stripe and charge on a subscription basis or one-time payments.

Neither platforms allow for upsells or order bumps.

The payment terms of Skool make it a bit limiting at the moment but it’s probably a matter of time before they also allow for different payment plans.

Skool Vs Circle: The Bottom Line

Skool would be a better choice if

  • You prefer a Facebook-style community
  • Gamification is very important to you
  • You don’t want to have to think about members number cap

Circle would be a better choice if

  • You prefer a Slack-style community
  • You need to charge for one-time purchases
  • You would prefer to have live video

Joey Mazars

Online Course Platform Expert

Hi, there! I've literally spent thousands of hours helping clients build their online courses on these platforms through my marketing services.

I've become obsessed with helping them find the right fit for their needs and decided to guide other creators through their decision process with these detailed reviews.

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