Trino vs. Presto: Unraveling the Key Differences for Data Professionals

Trino and Presto are both powerful distributed SQL query engines known for their ability to analyze data from various sources. However, in recent years, these two projects have diverged, leading to distinct features and capabilities. In this article, we will dissect the key differences between Trino and Presto, providing concrete examples and output comparisons to help data professionals make informed decisions. Trino and Presto are both formidable tools for data professionals, but their key differences in development community, naming conventions, SQL compatibility, connectors, and performance can significantly impact your choice.

Understanding Trino and Presto:

Before delving into the differences, let’s briefly understand what Trino and Presto are:

  • Trino: Trino, formerly known as PrestoSQL, is a fork of PrestoDB. It’s an open-source distributed SQL query engine designed for high-performance data querying and analytics. Trino offers numerous enhancements, including improved performance, new features, and an active community.
  • Presto: PrestoDB, also known as PrestoSQL, is an open-source distributed SQL query engine initially developed by Facebook. It was later forked into Trino and PrestoDB. PrestoDB is a distributed, fast, and scalable query engine that excels at querying data in data lakes and various data sources.

Key Differences:

  1. Development Community:
    • Trino: Trino has a more active and vibrant development community. It benefits from ongoing enhancements and bug fixes, ensuring better stability and performance.
    • Presto: PrestoDB’s development has been slower, with fewer recent updates and feature additions.
  2. Naming Conventions:
    • Trino: Trino has renamed several components to avoid trademark conflicts and confusion. For example, Trino uses “Trino Coordinator” instead of “Presto Coordinator.”
    • Presto: PrestoDB retains the original naming conventions used in its early development.
  3. SQL Compatibility:
    • Trino: Trino places a stronger emphasis on SQL compatibility and adheres closely to the SQL standard. It provides better support for complex queries and functions.
    • Presto: PrestoDB focuses on providing a rich set of built-in functions and extensions, sometimes deviating from strict SQL standards.
  4. Connectors and Integration:
    • Trino: Trino has an extensive list of connectors for various data sources, with active development for new integrations.
    • Presto: PrestoDB also offers connectors but may lag behind Trino in terms of connector updates.
  5. Performance:
    • Trino: Trino is known for its improved performance, especially in complex query scenarios. It benefits from ongoing optimizations.
    • Presto: PrestoDB offers good performance but might not match Trino’s performance improvements in recent releases.

Examples and Output Comparisons:

Let’s compare the execution of a complex query in both Trino and Presto, highlighting differences in performance and output.


SELECT department, AVG(salary)
FROM employee_data
GROUP BY department
HAVING AVG(salary) > 50000;


  • Trino:
    | department | avg(salary)  |
    | Sales      | 55000.0      |
    | Marketing  | 52000.0      |
| department | avg(salary)  |
| Sales      | 55000.0      |
| Marketing  | 52000.0      |
Author: user