When comparing SourceTree vs GitKraken, the Slant community recommends GitKraken for most people. In the question“What are the best Git clients for Windows?” GitKraken is ranked 1st while SourceTree is ranked 3rd. The most important reason people chose GitKraken is:
It's modern and beautiful, it looks clean and refined. It's simple: the most used features (pull, push, branch, stash, commit) are accessible in one click, and are the only buttons. The other features aren't in complicated menus nor in hundreds of buttons, but rather displayed when you right-click on something. It gives more space to the commits, i.e. the most important things. In fact, you can collapse or reduce the other menus/windows. It displays the current path (project, branch) on an horizontal (clickable) bar at the top. It's just a matter of taste but I prefer this to the traditional "tree" view. It has undo and redo buttons on the main window. It supports some drag-and-drop gestures (for example: drag-and-droping the local branch to the remote one pushes it).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Informative branch visualization
In addition to color-coded branches and icons that tell if a file has been added, removed or modified, SourceTree also displays the number of commits that are ahead and behind the remote branch.
Pro Comprehensive layout
SourceTree has three main repository views: file status, history, and search.
File status view shows status of currently selected repo. It's split into two areas - file list and diff-view.
History view tracks changes made to the currently selected repository. It's divided into three sections. The top section has a graph with progression of commits, branches, and merges. The bottom section shows commit details, files changed, and differences committed.
Search view allows looking up commit messages, users, files changes, branches, and commit SHA.
There's also a toolbar at the top that allows switching between the three views, as well as giving access to git commands (such as commit, checkout, reset, stash, add, remove, fetch, pull, push, branch, merge, and tag).
Pro Simple yet powerful
SourceTree allows you to do advanced Git operations while making them straight-forward for those who are still adjusting to Git.
Pro Built-in integration with Stash and Bitbucket
Sourcetree integrates with repositories hosted on Bitbucket, Stash, GitHub, and Kiln.
Pro Quick setup
Once installed, SourceTree will automatically try to look for and set up repos that are worked on. SourceTree will also detect if git-flow is used and what is the current development state as long as default git-flow branch names are used.
The software tracks all relevant repositories in the bookmark's window. Repositories can be added to the list by creating new ones, adding a local folder, supplying a clone URL or integrating with remote services such as Bitbucket or GitHub.
Pro Allows chunks and lines selection during commit
SourceTree automatically splits the changes to be committed into chunks allowing committing (or discarding) each chunk separately. Furthermore, the user can even select specific lines. This greatly increases the flexibility of the user in that matter.
Pro Built-in Git-flow and Hg-flow support
Git-flow and Hg-flow provide a consistent development process by defining a strict branching model that is great for managing large projects.
SourceTree allows setting up and integrating into repos that follow this model. Clicking the Git-flow / Hg-flow toolbar button will give you access to actions for starting or finishing features, releases or hotfixes depending on the current state of repository.
Pro Supports Git, Mercurial, and Subversion
Allows managing Git & Mercurial repos side by side. It even allows Subversion interoperability via git-svn or hgsubversion plugins which set up a bridge between either Git and SVN or Mercurial and SVN respectively.
Pro git terminal
Comes with own built-in git termnal independant from other git installations and updated regulary. It's especialy good for git beginners who would like to use advanced git functions, but are not ready yet.
Pro Supports Git LFS
Pro Beautiful user interface
It's modern and beautiful, it looks clean and refined.
It's simple: the most used features (pull, push, branch, stash, commit) are accessible in one click, and are the only buttons. The other features aren't in complicated menus nor in hundreds of buttons, but rather displayed when you right-click on something.
It gives more space to the commits, i.e. the most important things. In fact, you can collapse or reduce the other menus/windows.
It displays the current path (project, branch) on an horizontal (clickable) bar at the top. It's just a matter of taste but I prefer this to the traditional "tree" view.
It has undo and redo buttons on the main window.
It supports some drag-and-drop gestures (for example: drag-and-droping the local branch to the remote one pushes it).
Built on top of Electron, so it runs on Linux, Mac, and Windows.
Pro Free version available
There are both pro and free versions available. The free version is pretty complete feature-wise for day-to-day operations.
Pro Offers a simple way of undoing mistakes
GitKraken has simple undo/redo buttons that work the same way you'd expect in any other software.
Pro Extremely easy to use
A lot of care has gone into trying to make GitKraken as easy and intuitive as possible and it show. Every action is quick and painless with no more user interaction than necessary. For example, switching to another branch is as easy as a double-click on the sidebar.
Pro Some of the best integration with hosted version control services
GitKraken can be connected to Github, Gitlab, or Bitbucket accounts through OAuth. From that point onward most if not all actions that are related to these services can be done inside GitKraken. Things like: cloning or forking a repository, adding a remote, pushing to a remote repository hosted on these services can be done inside the app.
You can even manage pull requests inside GitKraken for example. All pull requests for a certain branch for example are shown on that branch's graph.
Pro Has a FuzzyFinder
GitKraken has a fuzzy finder to switch between repos / files.
Pro GitFlow support out of the box
Supports GitFlow out of the box.
Pro Under constant improvement
A quick glance at GitKraken's release notes shows how frequently it's updated. Updates are released on a 2-4 week cycle and each one brings new features and bug fixes.
Pro Good keyboard shortcuts
Pro Perfect for beginner developers
GitKraken is easy to use and is brilliant for the beginner developers
Con Requires an account to install and use
Need an Atlassian account to install.
Con Can sometimes be slow
Some operations can be slow. If you know what you want (e.g you want to touch a file, add it, commit it, and push it) you can do it much faster on the command line. However you're often not going to know what you want, so the visual diffs (for example) help massively.
Con Always slow
Con Does not allow offline installation
Upon installation, the splash screen prompts you to login. There used to be a workaround for you to manually deploy this application in an offline environment, but they've patched it as of 126.96.36.199. It now does a dial-home on each start-up. Since it cannot reach the server, it throws an error to the user, and raises alerts to compliance.
Atlassian's final decision was that they are not going to support this feature at all. Quoted from their staff:
"We’ve never officially supported any form of pre-installation on device management capabilities. [...] As you know, last year, we removed the notion licensing and asked our developers to register the product by creating an Atlassian account. That said, SourceTree has always been a tool for the individual (emphasis mine) developer."
Con Unstable and terrible UX
The Windows version of SourceTree is riddled with bugs, causing some users to find it unusable.
These include failing to refresh, frequent freezing, and slow performance. The recent redesign (February 2016) has made the UI difficult to navigate.
Con Not even possible to change the password
There are tickets about this issue sitting there for years and marked as medium priority. I experienced this since version 1.8. Up until now, there has been no fix. If your company's policy is going to enforce you to change your password, it means you need to remove all the repos and clone them again everytime you change the password. This is the worst ever experience.
Con The UI of version 2.0+ is so terrible
Tab looks good if you have no more than five repos. If you have a lot, you will know my pain. The source tree will not remember the order of the tab you drag. Everytime you restart the app, it will go back to whatever it likes.
Con Browsing folders is troublesome
Choosing files of specific folders for check-in is troublesome.
Con Chews CPU
Con No dark theme
No dark theme for Windows, however MacOS version does have a dark theme.
Con Requires users to be online when starting up
As of 2.3.5, it needs to dial home on every start-up, else it raises alerts to compliance.
Con Not always recognizes changed files
Seems to not always recognize changed files, which means that they will not be pushed to remote origin either. This means if you switch branches, the files will be overwritten and you lose your progress. Very annoying.
Con Information density can be a bit much
It's possible to become overwhelmed with the information density presented in SourceTree. This is especially the case in history view, as it includes a lot of data presented in various ways.
Though this is great for getting a comprehensive overview of everything that's happening in one place, it can take some getting used to.
Con Varied speeds across different versions
For example, the Windows version is quite slow is comparison to the Mac version.
Con Has trouble with Github's Yubikey integration
When your 2FA is a hardware key, it is difficult to find a way to bring up the ability to use anything but a pre-programmed password function on the Yubikey, which doesn't add much to security all things considered what a hardware key is supposed to do.
Con Crashes frequently
Stops responding every 5 minutes.
Con Blame MS Office's word correction dictionary to be the source of the slowness while it's not
It's so obvious that ever since 2.0, it will try refreshing each of the repo a few minutes. If you have a lot then it will drive you crazy. When you try to expand a branch node, it refreshes. Try again, OOPS, it refreshed again. Sometimes, it will take you five minutes to select the node you want.
Con Often rebuilds the graph visually noisy
E.g. after a reset command, the graph disappears and reappears after a few moments.
Con Must log into GitKraken servers to use the free version
All functionality is disabled unless you register for a free account and remain logged in.
There is the $79/user/yr Enterprise option. It allows you to deploy a Linux License Server in an air-gapped/offline environment.
Con Not open source
It is gratis (no cost) but is not open source. The community cannot fix problems in it, audit it for security, or trust it in general.
Con Has memory-related issues
Like most Electron apps, GitKraken has some memory-related issues. For starter, it requires more memory for an action than an equivalent non-Electron application. Although this should not be a problem most of the time for people who use machines with lots of RAM (after all, RAM is pretty cheap nowadays), it can have some issues when opening large repositories and there have been cases where GitKraken failed to open very large repositories or started lagging once they were opened.
Con Crashes once in a while
Under specific circumstances, like resetting 5000+ changes, the GUI will crash.
Con Not free for commercial use
The free version of GitKraken cannot be used in commercial projects.
Con Amending merge output is a pro feature
In most cases of Merge Conflicts, users are stuck with auto-merge or manually resolving it by hand. This is because in the Free Tier, users can only (1) Keep File (ver 1), (2) Keep File (ver 2), (3) Auto-merge, or (4) Use External Merge Tool.
In addition, using External Merge Tools is very limited because GitKraken (all tiers) restricts External Merge Tools to only those it managed to Auto-detect. It also does not support custom arguments for the External Tools.
Modifying the merge output directly, or Selecting lines to keep/discard, is a Paid Feature.
Con Has annoying popup reminders that ask you to upgrade to the Pro version
Understandable, since nobody is entitled to use work done by others for free, but annoying nonetheless.
Con Cannot multi-select files
No Ctrl-Click or Shift-Click for multi-selecting files. For example, if you have a few files you wish to delete, it is a slow process. You have to delete them individually; that is, right click a file then delete, right click another then delete, and so on.
Can take between 2 and 5 seconds to load a repository, if not crashing while loading
Con No tab support
Cannot access multiple repositories in the same session.
Con Ugly, looks like a web app
Con Missing some advanced features
Checkout & Hard Reset
Advanced or Interactive Rebase (aka history rewrite)
Progress bar indicator