Instagram Reels vs. TikTok Detailed Comparison: Which One is Better?

Instagram Reels vs TikTok: Detailed Comparison to Find Out Which One is Better

If lip-syncing vertical videos have become a rage these days, TikTok deserves a pat on the back. From being a tiny app with a handful of creators to becoming the most downloaded app with a massive community of creators, the ByteDance-owned platform has come a long way. Not for nothing, most tech titans from silicon valley have shown an ardent desire to buy TikTok.

Despite coming a lot late to the party, Instagram Reels has grabbed the lion’s share of the market. Thanks to the seamless integration with Instagram and Facebook, Reels has inherited an already established user base. Without undermining Reels’ meteoric rise, the massive support base has probably played a key role in making the Meta-owned platform a competent challenger to TikTok that has been ruling the roost for several years. 

Whether you are a vlogger or a lover of eye-catching clips, you would appreciate having both these platforms at your disposal. But what if we told you to choose one between the two? Worry not. We’ve set Instagram Reels vs. TikTok for a direct faceoff to figure out which one is better than the other. To derive a fair conclusion, we’ve compared these two leading short video-sharing platforms across seven different categories, including user interface, sound effects, editing tools, and more. So, let’s jump right in to see which one comes out on top!

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: User Interface

There is very little to choose between TikTok and Instagram Reels on the user interface front. Both show the number of hearts and comments on the right side, while the username along with the hashtags appears at the bottom left.

Instagram Reels user interface

However, unlike Instagram Reels, TikTok has opted for a more eye-catching look. The icons for hearts, comments, and shares are bigger and easily catch attention. Though both Reels and TikTok feel snappier, the former is a little better optimized for iOS. Being part of Instagram, Reels offers a host of settings to fine-tune most essential aspects, including camera settings. 

TikTok user interface

Not that TikTok doesn’t seem fluid on iOS, I find Reels a bit more intuitive. Again, it’s pretty subjective and may vary from person to person. Hence, I’m going to call the comparison on the user-interface front a tie.

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: Editing Tools

Easy to use and handy editing tools become a must when you want to edit your clips faster and efficiently. Reels and TikTok are equipped to live up to the task in this segment. Tools like video alignment, playback speed adjustment, and the ability to set a timer enable you to fine-tune your video with ease. 

Instagram Reels editing tools

While I have found both TikTok and Reels pretty easy to use in terms of video editing, Reels has looked a touch better to me. The video alignment tool in Reels is more consistent, while it’s not so reliable in TikTok. Besides, the slider to adjust the playback speed is also a bit convenient to use.

Use Beauty effect in TikTok
Image credit: Best of TikTok

However, if you are fond of adding a bit of glow to the skin tone, TikTok’s Beauty tool won’t take much time to win you over. That’s not all. The China-based video-sharing platform also boasts an ever-growing collection of filters, including “Life,” “Portrait,” “Vibe,” and more. If you love to play with a variety of filters, TikTok has got enough firepower to impress you.

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: Audio/Video Effects

When you want your video to arrest attention with very little effort, video effects have a role to play. If it’s time to look in sync with the trend, attractive effects are there for you. If you wish to go offbeat, crazy effects are there to spice up the game. 

I still remember how limited Instagram’s roster of video effects was when it first launched. The library was below par, not just in terms of numbers but also in quality. However, things have changed a lot since then.

So, if you are someone who prefers to have a ton of video effects at your disposal to design your short videos, Reels won’t disappoint you. 

Talking about TikTok’s video effects, they have always been top-notch. TikTok keeps introducing new effects regularly so that you always have something out of the box to try. As to which one is better on this front, it comes down to personal preference. Some folks might find Reels’ effects more attractive, and others may prefer to go with the ones that TikTok provides. So, the battle is even-steven on this front. 

With some really cool audio effects at your disposal, Reels offers you the flexibility to tweak the audio. When you want to make your audio sound creepy or softer, the audio effects can come into the picture.

Instagram Reels video effects

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: Soundtracks 

A variety of soundtracks becomes a must when you wish to create funky and trendy videos. Luckily, in this department, both Instagram Reels and TikTok are up to the mark.

When Reels launched, it didn’t boast a massive library of soundtracks. However, the Meta-own short video-sharing platform has slowly but steadily compiled an impressive music roster. From classic songs to hip hop to rock, it’s got the collection to keep you guessing. 

However, if I put TikTok and Instagram for a faceoff on the soundtracks front, the former edges out the latter due to sheer variety. If you are fond of offbeat and country soundtracks, chances are pretty high that TikTok would win you over. 

Reels and TikTok soundtracks

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: Security and Privacy 

Gone are the times where security and privacy used to be non-starters for most. These days, many (if not most) users look into security aspects seriously and try to make the most of the tools to safeguard personal information from being exploited. Sadly, TikTok doesn’t have a great reputation for safeguarding the personal information of its users.

The ByteDance-owned video-sharing platform reportedly has an intimate relationship with the Chinese government and has also been accused of spying. Due to these accusations, TikTok has been permanently/temporarily banned in several countries.

Not that Instagram has an excellent track record of shielding the private data of a person, the social networking service is comparatively better than its Chinese counterpart. So, even though the battle may seem quite even-steven on this front, Instagram edges out TikTok.

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: Possibility to Earn Money 

First things first, the prospect of earning money through videos on TikTok and Instagram Reels ultimately boils down to your skill-set and how popular you are as a creator. Having been around for several years, the China-based video-sharing platform is slightly better placed in this regard.

Though TikTok doesn’t pay its creators for advertisements, creators with 1 million or more followers can get paid $1,000 to $5,000+ months. If you happen to become a massive TikTok star, you might even end up earning up to $1M per post.

Earn money on Reels and TikTok

According to reports, Meta is planning to invest over $1 billion in programs that provide creators new ways to earn money for the content they post on Instagram and Facebook. Creators will be able to earn money based on the number of views their videos garner. While Reels Summer Bonus (set to launch in 2022) is quite exciting, it will be rolled out only in the US.

As of September 2021, TikTok is available in 154 countries as compared to 54 countries for Instagram. Though it may not take a long time for Instagram to bridge the gap, you shouldn’t go by the promise of tomorrow.

Instagram Reels vs. TikTok: Creator Support

What makes a video-sharing platform so exciting is the solid community of creators, for it is they who produce the variety of awesome videos. The richness of a platform lies not just in the popularity but also in how well they take care of the creators. In this regard, TikTok and Reels are decent. 

My biggest gripe with these platforms is that they don’t offer substantial support to the emerging creators. It’s only when you are able to get a ton of followers to the tune of tens of thousands, they take notice and start offering the needed support. That badly hurts the newbies.

It would be better if it goes YouTube’s way of (1000 subscribers and 4000 watch hours in the last 12 hours) bringing newbies into the fold. While it may not be a dealbreaker for many, it’s something that these leading short video-sharing platforms must take into account as a long-term strategy to support creators.

Instagram Reels Summer Bonus

Verdict: TikTok Eventually Triumphs Over Reels 

Even though there is stiff competition between TikTok and Reels, the China-based short video-sharing platform comes out on top. Apart from checking off all the essential boxes, TikTok also provides a more compelling opportunity for creators to earn money.

Not that Instagram is not pushing for impressive monetization for Reels, time will tell how lucrative it proves to be. Comparatively, TikTok’s monetization has been up and running for several years now and even proved to be a gamechanger for established and emerging stars.


So, if you are all set to jumpstart your career by producing stunning short video clips, TikTok appears to be better placed to live up to your expectation. Even if you are a normal joe, ByteDance’s platform has enough variety to cater to your taste for a ton of trending videos which you will never get tired of scrolling through!