MATLAB vs R: Which One You Should Choose and Why?

The majority of students are having unclear doubts between MATLAB vs R. The reason is both of these languages are quite similar to each other. Some of the common factors of these languages are math functions and statistics. In this blog we will show you the best comparison between MATLAB vs R. Let’s start-


MATLAB is one of the most popular software for mathematical computation. It is specially designed for scientists and engineers. MATLAB stands for matrix laboratory. MATLAB was developed in the late 1970s by Mathworks. You can perform various functions with MATLAB, such functions plotting, matrix manipulation, algorithm implementations, user interface creation, and much more.

The best part of MATLAB is, you can use interfacing with other programs written in various languages such as Java, C, C++, and Python without any hassle. What makes MATLAB different from other tools? The MATLAB toolbox makes it different from others. With the help of these toolboxes, you can perform various functions in MATLAB.

Apart from that, you can also implement specialized technology with the toolbox. In MATLAB, you can find the M-file, which is a set of functions that are used to solve specific sets of problems. You can use the MATLAB toolbox in signal processing, control systems, neural network, simulations, etc.

Advantages of MATLAB:

  • The program can be utilized as a scratchpad to evaluate command-line expressions, or it can be utilized to execute large prewritten programs.
  • It is supported on various operating systems, providing a considerable measure of platform independence.
  • MATLAB includes a large library of predefined functions that provide tested and packaged solutions to many basic technical tasks.
  • It includes a tool that allows a programmer to design a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for his program interactively.


R is an open-source programming language and software environment. It is used to perform statistical computation. R supports numerous graphics for statistical computation. Apart from that, R is also playing a significant role in machine learning with its graphical and statistical techniques.

R is not a limited language like other programming languages. You can create user-created packages to extend the features of R with the help of C, C++, Java, or R itself. R is only available as the command-line tool. But if you want to access it as a graphical user interface. You can use its one of the most popular IDE i.e., R studio.

Apart from that, R programs can be easily edited with the help of eclipse, Notepad++, etc. You can access its functionality in other scripting languages i.e., Ruby, Python, Perl, etc. R is one of the dominant programming languages that allow you to run the program that is stored in script files.

Advantages of R:

  • R is a free and open-source programming language.
  • It is a platform-independent programming language, which means that its code can run on any operating system.
  • It enables us to do different machine-learning operations, such as regression and classification.
  • R includes packages such as dplyr and readr that can transform unstructured data into structured data.

Comparison Table Between MATLAB vs R

The following table compares MATLAB and R programming languages:

Language TypeIt is a high-performance programming language.It is an interpretive programming language.
Ease of UseIt is simpler to learn because it includes a large number of tool kits for the majority of the functionalities.It follows the syntax of a programming language, making it difficult for a newcomer to understand.
Machine LearningIt includes statistics and a machine learning toolbox.R has a large number of machine-learning library sets.
UsageMatlab is also used for other mathematical factors such as calculus, graph design, matrix manipulation, signal processing, and so on.R is used to solve statistical problems and has many pre-packaged applications that aid in the resolution of analytical problems, so R is preferred over Matlab in the field of analytics.
PerformanceMatlab is faster than R when it comes to basic programming functions. As a result, it is employed in statistics and machine learning.R is slower than Matlab. However, a skilled R programmer can achieve results faster and more efficiently.
Open-sourceMatlab is not an open-source program. Because Matlab has a license fee, the amount of code available online is limited.R is an open-source programming language with a massive amount of open-source code available for free online.
Object-oriented ProgrammingA class in Matlab can be specified as a folder or function directory that will be used to work with objects of that class.R classes are available in package form.
VisualizationMatlab includes 2D and 3D plotting features for a graphical user interface.It provides four graphic implementations: Base graphics, Grid graphics, Lattice graphics, and Ggplot2.
Operating SystemMatlab cannot run the same licensed version on different operating systems unless different operating systems are installed on the same physical machine.R is compatible with all operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
Support and DocumentationMatlab is licensed. As a result, it has a closed community, and the documentation for MATLAB is unparalleled.The term “independent” refers to a person who does not work for the government.

Key Difference Between MATLAB vs R

Programming paradigms

In MATLAB, you will get the directory of functions that are used to work with objects. In other words, in MATLAB, you need not follow a well-defined programming syntax. You can perform a variety of operations in MATLAB with the help of its toolbox. It is offering a simple user interface for the users. 

On the other hand, In R, you need to follow the well-defined syntaxes. In R, you will find a variety of packages to perform any task. R is offering object-oriented programming paradigms. Its functions help the programming to develop various kinds of programs with ease. 


This is important difference in the comparison between matlab vs R.

MATLAB is licensed software. That’s why it is impossible to install the same licensed version of MATLAB on different operating systems. But you can run the same version of MATLAB on different operating systems if various is installed on the same physical system. Apart from that, if we talk about compatibility, then MATLAB is compatible with multiple operating systems. 

On the other hand, R is free to use programming language because of its open-source nature. There it is easy to run R on different operating systems without paying anything. You can run the same version of R programming on any number of operating systems. 


Matlab is specially designed for mathematics. Some of the significant usages of MATLAB are calculus, plotting graphs, etc. In other words, MATLAB is specially designed to solve mathematical computational. R is one of the most powerful languages for data analysis. Apart from that these days, universities are using MATLAB to teach their students. 

On the other hand, R is used to solve problems statistics problems, whereas R is offering a variety of prepackaged programs to solve analytical problems. If we talk about the analytics field, Then we should choose R over Matlab. Apart from that, R is widely used to perform data analysis by most of the industries. Whereas many Universities mostly use Matlab.

Learning Curve

MATLAB is quite easier to learn as compared with R programming. The toolbox of MATLAB makes it one of the easiest to learn tools for the users. Almost every functionality in MATLAB depends on the toolboxes. Thus anyone can learn it quickly all because of its toolbox. 

On the other hand, R is quite difficult as compared with MATLAB. Especially for beginners, R is sophisticated because of its programming syntax. But if you keep practicing the R language, then you can have a better command over it because R offers the massive amount of open source codes that are available for the users to get started with R programming. 

However, this is well-known difference in the comparison between matlab vs R.

Add-on Products: 

MATLAB is known for its add-on products. MATLAB offers you to add some of the products as Add-on products. It helps you to perform a variety of tasks with the help of these add on products. For modeling, simulating, and analyzing multi-domain systems in a graphical programming environment. Then we use Simulink in MATLAB. 

On the other hand, R doesn’t have any add-on products. But R offers a lot of packages that are used to perform various tasks in R programming. 


MATLAB is popular among the engineers around the world. You can perform various engineering applications using MATLAB i.e., image processing, signal processing, etc.

On the other hand, R is widely used for data processing and statistical analysis. 


MATLAB is a licensed product of Mathworks. You have to pay some amount of money to purchase the MATLAB licensed version. There are various types of MATLAB licenses available in the world. You can pick any MATLAB version as per your requirements. 

On the other hand, R is an open-source programming language. You need not pay any amount of money to anyone to access R. All you need to download it from its official source. 


If we talk about the performance between MATLAB vs R. Then MATLAB is a lot faster than R programming to perform technical computing tasks. Apart from that, it is also faster than R for statistics and machine learning. 

On the other hand, R is faster than MATLAB for proficient developers to achieve results faster and improve performance.

Support and Documentation

MATLAB has extensive documentation for the users. MathWorks provided the best and most effective documentation for MATLAB. You can search for the documentation online with the help of the MATLAB desktop. Here you will also find hundreds of code examples. Apart from that, MATLAB also has 200 dedicated technical support experts around the world.

On the other hand, R is an open-source programming language. It has the most robust community for developers. Here you will find the best support and documentation. If you face any problem with your R program, then you can take help from other developers in the R community.


MATLAB supports applications developed with the help of graphical user interface (GUI) features. It offers 2D and 3D plotting functions. You can create plots in interactive or programmatically ways. Simulink is a graphical tool provided by MATLAB.

On the other hand, R is also an excellent programming language for data visualization. R offers the four major graphics implementations. One of the most common visualization implementations for R is Base graphics. Apart from that Grid graphics, Lattice graphics, and Ggplot2 are other implementation of R. 

Matlab vs R: Which is Popular?

R has exceeded Matlab in popularity. According to Google Trends,R’s popularity exceeded Matlab in 2022:

In this graph, you see a graph that will make you clear which language is popular. In this graph, Matlab is denoted as blue, and R is denoted as red. It shows the Ups and downs of both programming languages in the form of a line.

Matlab vs R: Top-paying Technologies

Today’s technology has increased a lot, in which many programming languages ​​are used. In these programming languages, there is MatLab and R. These programming languages ​​are also used a lot in technology.

Now you will get confused about which programming language is mostly used in technology.

Don’t worry, we have shown the graph of stack flow below, which will make it clear to you because language is the most widely used in technology.


Now you have seen the significant difference between MATLAB vs R. Both of these software or tools have their pros and cons. When we talk about the data analysis, then MATLAB is the best among the best. But when we talk about image processing and other graphical works, then MATLAB is the best option.

On the other hand, R is widely used in the data analytics field. Now it’s up to you what you are going to choose between them. If you are looking for the best MATLAB online help and MATLAB help online, then we are here to provide you the best online MATLAB help


Q1. Is MATLAB better than R?

MATLAB library calls are optimized and code is compiled just in time, it is faster than R for common technical computing tasks, statistics, and machine learning, as described in the R benchmark 2.5 (also known as Urbanek).

Q2. Is MATLAB or R easier?

Matlab is easier to learn because it includes a large number of tool kits for the majority of the functionalities. R follows the syntax of a programming language, making it difficult for a newcomer to understand. Matlab is faster than R when it comes to basic programming functions. As a result, it is employed in statistics and machine learning.

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