The definitive guide to best project management tools

Any team or freelancer working with projects and clients needs a reliable project management app to keep all that work in order.

But, with a variety of project management apps with various features and project templates available, how do you know which one to choose? To help you with your choice, here’s a complete guide to 7 best project management tools, compared: TodoistTrelloAsana, JIRA, BasecampClickUp, and Teamwork.

Best for… Type Free plan Pricing starts at… What’s unique
Todoist Individuals, freelancers, and small teams Task management cross-platform app 5 users and 80 active projects $3/user/month The simplest and most popular task manager
Trello Freelancers and teams who need simplicity Kanban-based app with basic project management features Unlimited projects and users $10 /user/month Very simple yet robust
Asana Teams who need to track to-dos, progress, and deadlines Kanban-based and list-based project management 15 users $13/user/month Kanban, to-do list, and calendar layout
JIRA Software development teams Kanban/Scrum project management app No free plan $7/user/month Templates and issue tracking
Basecamp Agencies who work with clients Project management with client collaboration No free plan $99 per monthly (flat) Client access
ClickUp Teams who need lots of features and customization Customizable project management app Unlimited projects and users $5/user/month Lots of features and customization
Teamwork Mid-to-large teams Full featured project management app 2 active projects $9/user/month A large number of  features

 

Todoist

Todoist

Todoist is essentially a task management app with project and team features that make it perfect for collaboration and project management.

Key features?

  • Importing and exporting project templates
  • Sub-tasks
  • Reminders
  • To-do lists
  • Due dates
  • Converting emails into tasks
  • Recurring tasks
  • Labels and filters
  • Task priorities

Devices?

  • web app
  • mobile device (iOS, Android, Windows)
  • desktop device (Windows, macOS)
  • browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
  • email inbox (Outlook, Gmail)
  • watch (Apple Watch, Android Wear)

Free Plan?

  • The Basic plan is free, and it offers access to all available devices, for 5 users and 80 active projects, as well as SSL secured connection, recurring due dates, sub-tasks, sub-projects, and 4 levels of task priorities.

Priced plans?

  • The Premium plan, available at $3 per user, per month (billed annually), offers all features from the Basic plan for 25 users and 300 active projects, but also labels, reminders, adding tasks via email, productivity charts, project templates, iCal synchronization, and more.
  • The Business plan, available at $5 per user, per month, per user (billed annually), offers all features from the Basic and Premium plan for 50 users and 500 active projects, but also centralized team billing, easy team management, priority support, and log-in tracking.

Todoist pricing plans

Pros?

  • At $3 and $5, Todoist is the most affordable entry on the list
  • Easy and simple to use, but with a lot of useful features
  • The feature to email tasks and sub-tasks directly to your inbox
  • Available for a large number of devices
  • The feature to hide projects you haven’t started yet
  • Project templates
  • Adding due dates

Cons?

  • The free basic plan lacks certain notable features – reminders, comments, labels, and filters
  • Some syncing issues between devices may occur
  • Limited team segmentation options

In the end, who’s it for? Todoist is suitable for individuals teams of any size looking for an affordable app that places emphasis on handling tasks within project management.

Did you know?

You can easily track time in your Todoist to-dos by using Clockify extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Trello

trello

Trello is a Kanban-based project management app with a drag & drop interface, where you can track your progress, by moving cards (tasks) across columns that show the status of your task:

  • The “Backlog” column –  ideas
  • The “To-do” column – pending tasks
  • The “In Progress” column – tasks you’re currently working on
  • The “Done” column – finished tasks

Key features?

  • Kanban boards and cards
  • Access and permission controls
  • Editable fields
  • Labels and reminders
  • Due dates
  • Attachments
  • Checklists on cards
  • Comments
  • Assignees

Devices?

  • web app
  • mobile device (iOS, Android)
  • desktop device (Windows, macOS)
  • Browser extensions (Chrome, Firefox)

Free plan?

  • The Free plan offers unlimited boards (projects), cards (tasks), checklists, attachments up to 10MB, to unlimited users, as well as one power-up integration per board, and linking files from Google Drive, DropBox, and OneDrive.

Priced plans?

  • The Business class plan, available at $9,99 per user, per month (when billed annually), offers all the Free plan features, but also unlimited power-up integrations, team overviews, custom board backgrounds, priority support, file attachments up to 250MB, and more.
  • The Enterprise plan, available at $20,83 per user, per month (when billed annually), offers all the Free plan and Business class plan features, but also extra authentication and encryption to keep data secure, personalized assistance, and priority phone and email support.

Trello pricing plans

Pros?

  • All the basic project management features are free, for an unlimited number of users and boards (projects)
  • An efficient drag & drop system
  • The option to create cards from emails saves a lot of time
  • Adding due dates

Cons?

  • It’s more difficult to delete a card – to get the “Delete” option, you first have to “Archive” the task
  • Limited search options
  • Trello’s Kanban approach isn’t suitable for people who want to see their tasks updated automatically – you move cards across the “To-Do”, “Doing”, “Done” columns manually
  • You can’t use the labels you create for one board, across all other boards – you have to create the same labels for each board individually

In the end, who’s it for? Trello is suitable for freelancers and teams of any size who value an interactive drag & drop interface, with basic project management features.

Recommendation

If you’re looking to track time in Trello, check out our blog post and video on the subject of how to best track time in Trello:

Asana

Asana

Asana combines the list layout of Todoist and the board layout of Trello and offers you with both a drag & drop board layout and a to-do list layout, as well as a Calendar view that shows all your projects and tasks by days.

Key features?

  • Tasks and sub-tasks
  • Board and list project layout
  • Task assignees
  • Due dates
  • Custom fields
  • Timelines
  • Attachments
  • Recurring tasks in multiple projects
  • Portfolios

Devices?

  • web app
  • mobile device (iOS, Android)
  • browser extension (additional features for Asana available as Chrome and Firefox extensions)

Free Plan?

  • The Basic version of Asana for up to 15 users offers list, board, and calendar views of projects, due dates, assignees, and status updates.

Priced plans?

  • The Premium Plan, available at $9,99 per user, per month (when billed annually), offers all the Basic features, but also timelines, custom fields, task dependencies, and other features.
  • The Business Plan, available at $19,99 per user, per month (when billed annually) offers all the Basic and Business features, but also the option to create Portfolios, lock custom fields, and more.
  • The Enterprise Plan offers everything from the previous plans, as well as data exporting options, priority support from Asana’s team, customizations options, and more.

Asana pricing plans

Pros?

  • Easy to use, straightforward interface
  • You can choose between a List project layout and a Kanban Board project layout
  • Comprehensive calendar view for your tasks and projects
  • Status updates
  • Allows multiple users to manage projects simultaneously
  • Adding due dates

Cons?

  • No desktop apps
  • Deletion is only available in the Enterprise plan
  • Limited Reporting options
  • If you have a lot of projects, tasks, sub-tasks, subcategories, and users, Asana can get overwhelming
  • Sometimes it’s difficult to locate sub-tasks
  • No chat option

In the end, who’s it for? Asana is suitable for teams who prefer to keep their work on the go, keep track of their to-dos, track their progress with tasks and projects, as well as keep on eye on deadlines.

Recommendation

If you’re looking to track time in Asana, check out our blog post and video on the subject of how to best track time in Asana:

JIRA

Jira

JIRA is a robust Agile project management system with several Project Template boards and various issue tracking features.

Key features?

  • Business and software development Project Templates
  • Customizable workflows
  • Custom fields
  • Options for importing data
  • Various searching and filtering options
  • Various other project templates
  • Roadmaps
  • Agile reporting
  • Sprints

Devices?

  • the cloud version of the app
  • the server version of the app
  • mobile device (there’s a JIRA Cloud version for iOS and Android)
  • desktop device (Windows, macOS)
  • browser extension (Quick JIRA available for Chrome and Firefox)

Free Plan?

  • No strictly Free Plan is available, but there’s a free trial for the cloud version of the app where you can try out JIRA for free for 7 days. Another free trial is available for the server version of the app where you can try out JIRA’s cloud features (and additional server features) for free for 30 days.

Priced Plans?

  • Cloud: up to 10 users $10/month (flat), 11+ users $7/user/month.
  • Server: offers single server deployment, and complete control of the JIRA environment for a one-time payment of 10$ for 10 users, and the pricing goes progressively higher as the number of users grows ($2,500 for 25 users, $8,300 for 100 users, etc.) There’s also the self-managed Data Center plan, which also serves as an upgrade to the cloud plans, offers SAML 2.0 support, disaster recovery features, archived projects, and optimization for Azure deployment.

JIRA pricing plans

Pros?

  • You can choose between the cloud and server version of the app – the server version of the app offers more data control and privacy
  • As the number of users grows, the price per user decreases
  • A lot of available project templates – you can manage everything from the software development of a product to recruitment efforts for your company
  • Gantt chart
  • Advanced search queries
  • Suitable for complex technical projects

Cons?

  • No Free plan
  • Somewhat difficult to learn all the features and workflows
  • Too complex for users looking for a straightforward project management tool (some may get confused by the number, purpose, and use of some of the JIRA Project Templates and Boards)
  • By choosing JIRA’s Kanban boards, you won’t get the traditional Kanban approach you get with Asana and Trello

In the end, who’s it for? Teams who want an app where they’ll be able to tackle a number of different types of projects, and especially software development teams.

Recommendation

If you’re looking for the best way to track time with JIRA, check out our blog post and video on the subject of how to best track time in JIRA:

Basecamp

basecamp

Basecamp is a project management tool that offers an easy system to manage your departments, teams, and projects, as well as schedule and track your and other team member’s activities.

Key features?

  • To-do lists
  • Message boards
  • Schedules
  • Attachments and storage options
  • Group chats and direct messaging
  • Status updates
  • Hill charts
  • Search options for keywords and team members
  • Customizable projects
  • Client access

Devices?

  • web app
  • mobile device (iOS, Android)
  • desktop device (Windows, macOS)
  • email (reply to Basecamp emails directly from your inbox)

Free Plan?

  • If you’re a student or teacher, you can sign up for a free Basecamp account, and there are discounts for non-profit organizations, but no traditional Free Plan. You can, however, try out Basecamp for 30 days, for free.

Priced Plans?

  • Basecamp offers its features for a flat fee of $99 per month for your team, and you can then streamline your project management through messaging, real-time chats, to-do lists, schedules, and other options.

BaseCamp pricing plans

Pros?

  • User-friendly
  • The price of the paying plan is always fixed no matter the number of people and projects – which is great for large organizations and teams.
  • Great searchability options
  • Efficient communication features
  • The Activity Feed that shows you your progress
  • Group chat

Cons?

  • No traditional Free plan, only a free trial, and some discounts
  • Not a great option for small teams, as you pay $99 per month no matter whether you have 5 of 500 team members.
  • Two or more people can’t work simultaneously on a project
  • Limited in features, so not suitable for more complex tasks
  • No task dependencies option

In the end, who’s it for? Basecamp is suitable for large teams and organizations, who can benefit from its flat fee that doesn’t account for the number of users.  Also, teams who work with clients and need to consult with clients on a regular basis.

Did you know?

You can easily track time in your Basecamp to-dos by using Clockify extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Clickup

clickup

Clickup is a project management app with various customizable features, Kanban and List boards for your assignments, and team and singular Calendar views where you can track your projects and tasks by days.

Key features?

  • Multiple assignees
  • Recurring checklists and regular checklist templates
  • Sprints
  • Multitask toolbar
  • Customizable hierarchy
  • Due dates
  • Creating tasks via email
  • Scheduling features
  • Printing tasks
  • Save websites as tasks

Devices?

  • web app
  • mobile device (iOS, Android)
  • desktop device (Windows, macOS, Linux)
  • browser extension (Chrome)

Free Plan?

  • The Free Plan offers 100MB of free storage for unlimited users, projects, and spaces, but with limitations to a 100 uses of certain features, such as custom fields.

Priced Plans?

  • The unlimited plan, available at $5 per user, per month (when billed annually), offers unlimited storage and integrations, as well as unlimited use of features, cloud storage, advanced reporting features, and unlimited custom fields, among other features. You can also add 5 free guests and use Gantt charts.
  • The business plan, available at $9 per user, per month (when billed annually), offers Google SSO, authentication features, and add 10 free guests.

ClickUp pricing plans

Pros?

  • You can assign one task to more than one person, through the multiple assignees option
  • Efficient search filters and sorting options
  • You can reschedule your work in bulks
  • Calendar view and calendar syncs
  • There’s a keyboard shortcut that lets you easily switch between lists and spaces
  • When you mention certain tasks together they immediately get linked with one another
  • When you create a task via email, the email gets directly attached to that task in Clickup
  • The option to assign comments to team members
  • You can customize a lot of the features to fit your needs

Cons?

  • The guest-adding system takes some time getting used to
  • The dates often get mixed up in the List Templates
  • Not the most intuitive interface
  • A large number of customizable features is a two-edged sword – as teams expand the number of features they use, the app may start to feel overwhelming
  • You can use certain features only 100 times before having to switch to a paying plan

In the end, who’s it for? Clickup is suitable for teams who value customized and customizable project management features, and want to streamline a project management app to fit their needs to a T.

Did you know?

You can easily track time in your ClickUp tasks by using Clockify extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Teamwork

Teamwork

Teamwork Projects is a project management app with a large number of project management features, for both the team and the clients.

Key features?

  • To-do lists
  • Teamwork projects
  • Milestones
  • Project activities overview
  • Project Roles
  • Project observers
  • Document editor for attached files
  • Project charts

Devices?

  • web app
  • mobile device (iOS, Android)
  • Browser extensions (Chrome)

Free Plan?

  • The Free Forever plan offers 100MB space for files, 2 active projects, a limited selection for task boards, basic project management features, color themes, and subtasks.

Priced Plan?

  • The Pro plan for a minimum of 5 users, available at $9 per user, per month, offers everything you get in the free plan, but also 100GB space for files, 50 users, 300 active projects, webhooks, select integrations, and more.
  • The Premium Plan, for a minimum of 5 users, available at $15 per user, per month, offers everything you get in the Pro plan, but also 250GB space for files, 100 users, 600 active projects, project portfolio, SSO, authentication options, and select integrations, among other options.
  • The Enterprise Plan, available after contact with the Teamwork team and billed annually, offers everything you get in the Premium plan, but also more than 500 GB space for files, more than 100 users, unlimited projects, Premium support, HIPPA compliance, and extra security features.

Teamwork Projects pricing plans

Pros?

  • Conversation options within Tasks
  • Timely responses from the support team
  • Easy to assign tasks, responsibilities, and dates
  • Overdue tasks are highlighted
  • Variable project management features – tasks, messages, comments, risks, billing, milestones, and more
  • The keyboard shortcuts
  • Portfolio management options
  • Allows you to invite clients

Cons?

  • This app seems to have more frequent bugs that the others on the list
  • It can be difficult to define task dependencies
  • It can be difficult to plan project timelines
  • Not suitable for people just starting out and not yet familiar with project management tools and features
  • Limited Reporting features
  • Limited customization options
  • The Kanban approach is lacking – unless you’ve marked a task as “In progress”, it will appear that you have no tasks at all
  • Unless you have 5 users in your team, you cannot use the Pro and Premium plans
  • The Free plan offers only 2 active projects

In the end, who’s it for? Teamwork Projects is suitable for mid to large teams who value a wide variety of features and universal project templates, for variable types of projects.

Did you know?

You can easily track time in your Teamwork tasks by using Clockify extensions for Chrome and Firefox.

Which project management tools should you use?

Before making your pick, here’s a quick overview of all mentioned project management apps:

Todoist

Todoist offers project and task management features, with a list approach to your tasks. It’s the most affordable entry on the list, although it’s not the richest option in terms of features.

Trello

Trello offers all basic project management features for free, with a drag & drop Kanban approach meant to help you track your project progress. You may never need to switch to a paying plan, but you also may have some difficulties tracking down your tasks within the search options of the app.

Asana

Asana offers a larger number of project management features, as well as the pick between a Kanban and  List layout – so, if you’re not satisfied with Todoist having only a list layout, and Trello only having a Kanban layout, Asana is your pick. Asana also offers a Calendar view, but you won’t be able to enjoy these features in a desktop app.

JIRA

JIRA offers a robust agile project management system, with variable Project Templates you can choose from. You won’t get a classical Kanban approach with you kanban boards, but a Software development team will appreciate JIRA’s approach to issue tracking.

Basecamp

Basecamp offers basic, but effective project management features, though a fixed fee of $99 per month will probably discourage small teams. Larger teams, however, will appreciate the user-friendly interface and simple features that lets them easily manage projects.

ClickUp

ClickUp offers a generous free plan with unlimited projects and users, as well as many customizable features that will draw in teams of all sized. You’ll get the option to assign and track multiple users for one task, though the number of features will discourage users looking for a basic approach to project management.

Teamwork

Teamwork offers a universal project template fit for a number of different project types. You’ll get basic and simple project management features, though teams looking for more specific features will probably consider another solution.

In the end, your choice of a project management app depends on your needs – these factors include the size of your team, whether you want basic project management features, or a variety of features, the devices you use, the type of projects you’ll be working on, the task and team options you’ll need, as well as your expected price/features ratio.

Recommendation

If you found our comparison of the best project management tools useful, you can read about other types of software that can help your business run more efficiently:

By |2019-07-12T12:36:29+00:00February 4th, 2019|Categories: Apps & Tools|

About the Author:

Marija Kojic is a productivity writer who's always researching about various productivity techniques and time management tips in order to find the best ones to write about. She can often be found testing and writing about apps meant to enhance the workflow for freelancers, remote workers, and regular employees. Appeared in G2 Crowd Learning Hub, The Good Men Project, and Pick the Brain, among other places.