Building software that is simultaneously easy to use and extremely functional is a delicate balancing act. Many simple software options leave lots of features behind, while other, more complex tools require endless hours of training and support to understand.

After reviewing Fishbowl and Fiddle, it’s clear that these tools are heavy hitters in their markets, and if you’re looking for a new inventory management software, you might be wondering which one is right for you.

Both inventory management tools are efficient, and full of useful functionality, but after comparing the two, it looks like one might have more to offer.


An overview: Fishbowl vs. Fiddle

Who is Fishbowl for?

Fishbowl is an enterprise solution that has been available on the market for over 20 years.  It has a well seasoned, very old system that has stood the test of time.

However, age generally comes with a caveat.  This software feels OLD.  It requires a huge installation process, on-site trainings, and an in-house server just to run the thing!  And the UI looks like it was born 20 years ago and never grew up.  That being said, the functions do work.  But it is quite a hassle to get going.  If you want an old fashioned, Windows only, server based software that requires no internet connection Fishbowl is the perfect solution.

Who is Fiddle for?

Fiddle is a newcomer to the inventory space.  It isn’t as big as Fishbowl is.  Trying to stay lean and offer the most important features instead of offering every possible feature is the name of Fiddle’s game.

The UI of Fiddle is really good.  It offers some unique views which I really liked, especially the Kanban view for Work Orders and Sales Orders.  Fiddle fits in perfect with any modern tech stack.  Fiddle is software for modern inventory management, and you’ll find it very easy to use.  If you are small or mid-size, this is definitely the best option.


Fishbowl  vs. Fiddle: Features

This is one area where these tools differ the most. One option is more collaboration focused, while the other gives users a more enterprise management feel.

What Fishbowl offers

At first glance, Fishbowl seems old and clunky, but if you invest the time you’ll find many incredible features.  

Fishbowl has been used for years and has an old fashioned look that hearkens back to the new age of software.

Fishbowl has four different “products” that need to be purchased separately.  Fishbowl Time & Labor, Fishbowl Warehouse, Fishbowl Manufacturing, and Fishbowl Go (Mobile App).  Once you’ve received a paid onsite training, used their paid support, and visited their forms, you’ll begin to find many features offered by the software.

Some of their most popular features are:

  • Custom work orders
  • Batch work orders
  • Repair work orders
  • Automated work orders
  • Lot tracking and serial number tracking in work orders
  • Work order instructions
  • Multilevel bill of materials
  • Bill of material costs
  • Available-to-build calculations
  • Manufacture order to purchase order functionality

What Fiddle offers

Since Fiddle focused heavily on the organization and collaboration side, the UI pulls you in right away.

Fiddle’s immediate feel is user friendly and collaberative.

Fiddle’s main feature that blew me away was it’s work order, sales order management.  It’s crisp and quick, and offers a variety of views not available elsewhere.  

Where Fiddle really sets itself apart from other tools is by providing worker-focused features, such as real-time collaboration with Purchase Orders.  Suppliers are able to comment on a shared page, instead of going back and forth via email.


Fishbowl is loaded with features, that once taught can be very powerful.  Fiddle is a jump in and go software with less features, but have maintained the core features that are needed to grow in the space.


Fiddle vs. Fishbowl: Support

Support availability is sometimes overlooked by software buyers. Not to worry, though: I’ve compared the customer support options offered by both platforms so you can factor this element into your decision.

What Fishbowl offers

Fishbowl has a large library of options for Support.  Years of YouTube videos, a wiki, and a full training course are all offered.  You can become a certified Fishbowl specialist!

What made me a little unhappy was that support was only available via the phone if I paid for it.  This is a very old approach, and indicated that the phones are overloaded with support requests.  If a software functions smoothly phone support is easy to offer.  They are very friendly over the phone however, and are kind to direct you where you need to find help.

What Fiddle offers

Fiddle seems to be in earlier phases.  I was able to get ahold of someone quickly over the phone, and via chat.  They were very fast to respond.  But due to their size it seems their team is much smaller.

That being said, I didn’t actually need Fiddle’s support.  The software guides you enough on it’s own, and the few support videos and documents available were plenty to get going with Fiddle.


Fishbowl is the clear winner in this category but their shining star needs to be paid for.  While Fiddle offers free support that is limited, but the software generally doesn’t need it.

Ease of Use

Fishbowl vs. Fiddle: Ease of use

I have already alluded to my thoughts on this topic, and won’t hold back any critiques when it comes to usability. 

What Fishbowl offers

Fishbowl is an old software, and it looks that way.  Fitting in with software experience comparable to the first software’s available on Microsoft, Fishbowl is a big slow moving machine.  

You have to install a server to operate.  You absolutely need to pay to fly out one of their on-site trainers to get this going.  You need constant support to find very simple features.  It feels like software that was made years ago and slowly patched over time.  It’s features are rich and vast but it is a monster to use.

What Fiddle offers

This is Fiddle’s clear strong suit.  Made today, Fiddle fits in perfectly with other modern software.  The UI is easy to use.  You can find every feature on your own.  Each step follows a logical process.  


There’s no denying that ease of use goes to Fiddle on this one.  It takes a couple of seconds to understand a process on the software, verses hours of training on Fishbowl.


Fishbowl vs. Fiddle: Pricing

Both software’s are vastly different in this category.  I thoroughly examined both options.

What Fishbowl offers

Fishbowl’s pricing is a little more complex than most inventory management software.  Instead of offering a few tiers they offer a very hidden feature based yearly pricing.

I could not find every detail I needed online, but what I was able to find was as follows:

  • Basic: The base software costs $4395 per year.
  • Standard: Each “product” called “Manufacturing”, “Warehouse”, “Time & Labor”, and “Fishbowl Go” cost at least a few thousand according to online reviews.
  • On-site: You will absolutely need training, which will cost about $2000-$4000 depending on your location (cost varies depending on travel costs for their trainer.)
  • Average Cost: Based on online reviews the average total cost for an average manufacturer is between $15k-$20k per year.  This includes software, support, and training.

Fishbowl is expensive.  The one benefit their pricing page shares is that you can choose after the first year to ditch the support and keep the software without any updates for life.

What Fiddle offers

Fiddle’s pricing is a classic freemium structure.  It is easily compared to other software on the market.

  • Starter — Free: 1 seat included, Free forever, 1 location, 25 items, 100 transactions
  • Essential — $99.99/user per month: includes all previous features plus 1 seat included,  $19 each additional seat, Unlimited locations,  Unlimited items, Unlimited transactions
  • Professional — $259.99/user per: includes all previous features plus 1 seat included, $39 each additional seat,  Lot tracking,  BOM costing, User roles.
  • Enterprise — Pricing negotiated with the client: includes all previous features plus Bill annually. Min. 25 seats, Customizable solution, Dedicated account manager, Managed data import,  Advanced user permissions


While Fishbowl has a lot of features, Fiddle cannot be beat on pricing.  They have a fair grow with you price, no extra charge for support, and a consistent planned price.

Integration with Software

Fiddle vs. Fishbowl: Integration with other software

Sometimes it isn’t what your software can do, it’s how many programs it can do it with. We all use multiple tools to complete our work on a day-to-day basis, and the easier it is to streamline those tools, the better. So, which software plays better with others?

What Fishbowl offers

Fishbowl offers tons of useful integrations to help you perform and track your daily tasks with your team, including:

  • Avalara
  • Quickbooks
  • Reckon
  • Xero
  • Amazon
  • BigComerce
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • And many others

What Fiddle offers

Fiddle also offers plenty of different app integrations that’ll help you manage any aspect of your tasks. They have less than Fishbowl, but include:

  • Outlook
  • Gmail
  • Quickbooks
  • ShipCaddie
  • Open and Custom API


Both tools offer lots of integration, but Fishbowl gets the nod thanks to its ability to integrate with other popular. It seems as though Fishbowl not only wants to make integrations easy, it also wants to make your experiences with other project management software a breeze if you plan on using more than one platform.

Getting Started

Fishbowl vs. Fiddle: Getting started

The softwares are not created equal when it comes to getting started.

What Fishbowl offers

With Fishbowl, you will need to schedule a demo.  The demo will run through your needs and the software over the phone and using a screensharing software for you to see the software.  Then you will be need to let a specialist help build you a custom quote.  Once the quote is built, you will need to pay one of their specialists to come to your location, set up the software, set up the server, and train you on using the software.  Expect at the very least six weeks or more to be fully operational.

What Fiddle offers

Fiddle will let you start for Free right now.  You will click on their “start now” button and you will be automatically put in the software.  You can reach out for free support, or even for paid data input.  It takes a couple of seconds to access the software.


Fiddle is the winner for this category.  It is quick and easy to get started, and doesn’t require a few weeks before you can use the software.

How They Compare: Fishbowl vs Fiddle

Ease of Use
Getting Started

Which software is better?

The winner of this comparison couldn’t be more clear. Both of these platforms are high-quality inventory management products, but when it comes to support, ease of use, pricing, and getting started, Fiddle has a clear edge over Fishbowl.

It’s hard for an old software to adapt and catch up with some of these new players.  Functions and overly large feature lists are not going to give Fishbowl an edge over Fiddle.  And the best part, in my opinion, is that you don’t have to take my word for it, because you can actually try Fiddle today. Click here to start your free trial, no credit card required.