Choosing the right database for your Flutter application

Choosing the right database for your Flutter application


6 min read

Data is an essential aspect of your application. Choosing the right database for your application according to your requirements is very important. The success of the application relies on how millions of queries handle efficiently and flawlessly in real-time by the database.

If you are looking for the right database for your app then you are reading the right articles. Flutter which is a UI software development kit created by Google has a wide variety of databases available to choose from. The selection of a database depends on your requirement and its ease of use.

What we will cover

What is a database?

A database is an organized collection of data that can be stored and accessed the data efficiently and easily. CRUD operations create, read, update and delete operations can be performed on data, the information is safely stored and available until it is deleted.

Modern apps demand real-time data delivery every time it is requested by the end users. It is also important to maintain the integrity of data while meeting the real-time delivery of data on user requests.

In general, databases are of two types, Relational and Non-Relational databases.

Relational Database

A relational database is a type of database where data is stored in one or more tables (or "relations") of columns and rows, it is easy to visualize and understand how tables are related to each other.

In a relational database, each table has a column known as the primary key that can be used to identify each row uniquely, and these keys are used to establish relations between different tables.

The popular relational database is SQLite and MySQL.

Non-Relational Database

Non-relational databases (often called NoSQL databases) are different from traditional relational databases, non-relational database stores data in non-tabular form, unlike relational database.

One way non-relational database store data is in the form of documents. Where the documents are similar to JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) objects. Each document contains a list of pairs of fields and values. The values can be of type strings, numbers, booleans, arrays, or objects.

The popular Non-relational database is firebase firestore and MongoDB.

What is an ORM?

Object Relational Mapping is a technique that is used to create a bridge between the database and object-oriented programing language.

Put another way, ORM gives us the power to query and manipulate (CRUD operations ) data using an object-oriented programing language.

Using ORM we communicate with the database using programming languages.

Relational database option for flutter


For Flutter SQLite is used to implement SQflite. It gives you complete control over your app database, queries, and relationships in your hands.


  • You have total control over the database.

  • Automatic version management during the opening.

  • database operations are performed on a background thread in Android and IOS.

  • have support for transactions and batches.


  • It does not support web applications.

  • writing all the queries on you can be time-consuming and error-prone.

  • It is hard to migrate the database.

When to use sqflite:

sqflite is a good database that gives you total control, it is best suited if you want to be comfortable writing queries by yourself.


moor which is known as Drift know is a reactive persistence library built on top of SQLite for Flutter and Dart.

A fun fact is a moor is the reverse of the room, which is the former name of Drift.

Drift is a wrapper/abstraction layer of SQLite database that generates most of the boilerplate and provides you the same functionality and tools that you will require to write a relational database.


  • Drift lets you write queries in both SQL and Dart, providing fluent APIs for both languages. Filter your queries using joins on multiple tables and use complex SQL features like WITH and WINDOW clauses.

  • modulate as drift has built-in support for doa's.

  • Typesafe code is generated based on your table and queries. Drift shows lint if the error is found at compile time if any error is found in your queries.

  • Drift be used alongside build_runner.


  • Drift generates all the boilerplate for you which leads to less flexibility.

When to use Drift:

Drift handles most of the heavy lifting involved in writing our queries for you. It produces strong types of results that reduce the chances of runtime errors. Drift is feature rich library and is supported on many platforms. Good to go if you don't want to write all queries manually or new with databases.


The floor is inspired by the Room persistence library android and it provides an abstraction layer over SQLite. Floor automatically maps in-memory objects and database rows while providing full control over the database.


  • The floor is typesafe, null-safe, and reactive

  • lightweight framework

  • support iOS, Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows.


  • need to run the code generator again for any changes in the database

When to use the Floor:

When you want a relational database or have some experience using a room persistence library. If you do not want to write all the queries manually or are not comfortable writing them.

Non-Relational database option for flutter


Firebase saves your data on the cloud, this synchronizes all your data in multiple devices.

Firebase provides more than one option to store data: Firebase Storage, Firebase Firestore, and the Realtime Database. The database can be chosen based on your use case and the type of data you want to store. For simple document storage, the Firebase Firestore works very well in most of cases.

Firebase has one of the best documentation which is easy to understand and you will find out them useful in most of your problems.

Firebase provides a free tier plan that provides most of the services available with a generous amount of usage.


  • Consise documentation.

  • Wide range of services and features at a low cost.

  • A generous free tier plan.

  • Tools available to automate the integration process in Flutter ( Flutterfire ).


  • Limited querying capabilities.

  • Reply on third-party plugins for the search features in the database (Algolia ).

  • Limited data migration.

  • Platform dependent.

When to use Firebase?

If data is needed to synchronize between many devices. Need an online database with less or no fee then Firebase

then it is a good choice.


Hive is a lightweight and fast key-value database written in pure Dart. Inspired by Bitcask. Hive is an offline non-SQL option available for Flutter.


  • Great performance (see benchmark)

  • Strong encryption built in.

  • Simple, powerful, & intuitive API

  • support mobile, desktop, and browser


  • Not recommended for complex data model

  • The efficiency of Hive is relatively low

When to use Hive?

If you are just after a simple non-SQL database to store data offline on the device and do not need the data synchronization across all the devices like firebase and if you want something that works anywhere, Hive is for you.

Now you must a clear idea of all the popular database options available for the Flutter application, and their pros, and cons. I hope this will help you to choose the right database for your application.

After all, which database is good for you boils down to your requirements.=

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