Trello is one of the best-known Kanban project management tools available today, and, because it offers a free version, it’s often the go-to Kanban tool. However, when you need a little more oomph from your Kanban tools, such as the extra functionality or integrations that don’t come with Trello’s free version, you’re going to need to pay for those “Power-Ups”.
Before you sign up for something that doesn’t quite serve your needs, it pays to look at alternatives to Trello—and there are plenty of Trello competitors on the market.
Here’s what you’ll find in this review of the best Kanban apps:
- What is Trello?
- What is Trello used for?
- How much does Trello cost?
- Is there a Trello Windows app?
- Is Trello open source?
- Is Trello based on Kanban?
- What is Kanban?
- What’s the best Kanban software?
- What makes a great Kanban tool?
- List of free Trello alternatives
Let’s take a closer look at Trello, the Kanban method that it’s based on, and the best Trello alternative Kanban apps on the market (paid and free).
What is Kanban? Kanban Definition
Kanban is a project management and workflow method based on a work management system developed in Toyota manufacturing plants in the 1960s. The Kanban method allows you to minimize multitasking, streamline your work in progress efficiency, and improve the speed and quality of the work your collaborative and self-managing team produces.
For an in-depth discussion on what Kanban is, check out my detailed breakdown of this workflow methodology here.
What Makes A Great Kanban Tool?
With the right Kanban board software, you can focus on your priorities, keep your team in the loop about what’s current and what’s coming up, and you can control a steady flow of work, especially in output-heavy environments like production, agencies, support and maintenance.
Kanban software is often used to manage agile development, thanks to swimlanes, activity streams, charts, cards and a range of features that help you visualize and manage your workflow.
Everyone’s needs are unique, but when I evaluated the best alternatives to Trello for this review, I used this basic Kanban tool criteria to score each software:
- User Interface: Most apps like Trello look like Trello with a clean, easy-to-understand interface. However, I give higher scores to tools that offer the most beautiful UI.
- Usability: I looked a how easy the software is to learn and master. To be honest, the competition is pretty fierce with simple workflow apps like these. The Kanban method is inherently simple and intuitive—and luckily, most of the software is, too. Therefore, I give priority to tools that go the extra mile in terms of usability: do they offer training resources, templates, and videos that help you easily implement and find new use cases for the tool?
- Features & Functionality:
- Kanban board: organize your cards with work-in-progress limits, swimlanes, sub-columns, “to-do”, “in progress” and “done” column categories, tasks with checklists, attachments, multiple members and time tracking.
- Kanban cards: assign tasks with checklists and attachments, offers different views, the ability to link tasks, add task hierarchy to help define cards within cards and assign to resources, and provides Kanban card templates.
- Analytics and reports: pull and create reports.
- Automation, business rules, and IFTTT: customize the workflow to suit your environment.
- Integrations: if you’re using Trello for project management and you’re looking for an alternative, you’ll probably want something that integrates with Google apps (Calendar, Google Drive) and/or a time tracking software if you’re using it. I factor in the most commonly needed integrations like these when evaluating the tools.
- Value for $: I use the Trello cost at $9.99/user/month as a yardstick by which to measure other tools. Do they offer more value or less value for the same price? I also give higher scores to tools with transparent, clear, and flexible pricing.
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10 Top Kanban Tools (The Best Trello Alternatives 2020)
Here are a few of the best Kanban tools:
1. monday.com – Award-winning, intuitive planning tool with kanban boards and tracking, collaboration, and workflow automation features.
monday.com, an award winning platform, is one of the few tools that prides itself in ‘not being a project management tool’! They’ve done away with a lot of the trimmings of typical tools and focused on simple structures that help clarify the sequence of work that needs to be done.
This tool is a great Trello alternative that can actually offer quite a bit more than Trello can. monday.com features include multiple views of work—view as a list, on a map, on a Kanban board, in a spreadsheet, and other views. Users can upload and attach files to cards, make comments, mention teammates, and more. It also offers a great project reporting dashboard that can collect data from multiple boards, allowing better tracking abilities of progress.
Some standout features of this tool include tools to automate certain processes, as well as customizable task boards that lets users manage tasks by cards, assignees, due dates, hours spent, etc. Overall, it’s a highly customizable tool that lets you work in whatever methodology—kanban or otherwise—that fits your project and team.
monday.com’s integrations include project management apps like Slack, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform and many more, accessible via Zapier.
monday.com costs from $17/month for two users. The company’s customer support is available 24/7 by phone or email.
2. Clarizen Go – Fully-featured, flexible PM tool easily configured to support kanban and agile methodologies.
Clarizen Go is an enterprise-grade professional services automation software solution. Although it’s not purely a Kanban board, I mention this tool because it’s a good choice if the reason you’re looking for a Trello alternative is because you want something more robust. Using Clarizen Go could eliminate the need for a handful of tools, and it can help manage a wider range of your business processes better than Trello can.
Clarizen Go’s real focus is making projects happen faster with timesaving workflows. It’s a great project management tool if you have lots of repeatable projects that require repeatable processes as the workflow automation is pretty flexible and powerful.
It covers off the PPM basics of task lists, schedules, docs and files, communications and reporting without breaking a sweat. Clarizen Go’s project planning tools are a powerful mix of functionality across the planning, executing and controlling of a project. Within planning are project workflows, a full-featured resource, schedule and task planning tools, with project and portfolio optimization so that you can easily and quickly align projects to business objectives.
For project execution, Clarizen Go enables everyone on the team to be aligned with a dashboard that enables teams to work better together and see how their contribution fits into the bigger picture – from the project timeline and milestones, to budget, project discussions, and sharing documents.
Instead of being obligated to make educated guesses, project managers can make accurate data-based decisions that align project selection and investment with big picture priorities. Changing tasks and schedules takes a few clicks, and project managers can run hypothetical scenarios to proactively see the impact of resource changes before they go live, and alert end users via their personal dashboard of any changes to their workload. Because resource scheduling is built-in, Clarizen Go delivers real-time insights into all available resources, schedules and tasks.
Clarizen Go has some really powerful integration options out the box that are worth considering if you’re have other business-critical systems already in place. You can combine the power of Clarizen Go with other enterprise tools including Jira, SharePoint, Tableau, Salesforce and Intaact, among others with a subscription to an App integration so you don’t have to play around with the API’s yourself. As well as the enterprise tool integrations possible, Clarizen Go has an App marketplace to add additional functionality into the system including helpful add-ons like active directory sync, Excel reporting integration and priority automation – many of which are free.
Clarizen Go costs from $60/user/month and offers a free trial.
3. MeisterTask – Powerful Kanban tool whose focus on simplicity and design makes it an absolute joy to use.
MeisterTask is a beautifully designed and incredibly intuitive Kanban tool. Its Kanban boards can be customized to fit any workflow, from software sprints to sales funnels, and from editorial calendars to your company’s onboarding process. Teams can collaborate on one simple platform, where they can communicate, work together on tasks, and easily track the time they spend on them.
With MeisterTask, you can not only visualize processes but also automate them in various ways. Creating recurring tasks, adding predefined checklists, notifying stakeholders when a task is completed, or ensuring that tasks are assigned and tagged correctly when they are moved to a specific section — all of this can be done automatically. Larger teams will find MeisterTask’s sophisticated roles and permissions management as well as the insights gained through various statistics and reports particularly useful.
MeisterTask offers an extensive online help center, free webinars for new users, and fast email support in case you need to talk to a real person. However, thanks to MeisterTask’s focus on simplicity, even companies who are just getting started on their journey to digital organization are usually able to get productive within minutes after signing up.
MeisterTask integrates with the mind mapping app MindMeister where you can brainstorm and plan with a mind map and then export it onto a Kanban board. MeisterTask comes readily integrated with popular tools such as Slack, Microsoft Teams, GitHub, Zendesk, Harvest, and various email apps. In addition to these native integrations, you can use Zapier or IFTTT to connect your projects with hundreds of other tools.
MeisterTask costs from $8.25/user/month. They also offer a free plan with limited functionality.
4. Smartsheet – A work execution platform with multiple task views including Kanban boards with lots of ways to customize your viewing and field preferences.
Smartsheet is an entire online project management suite, but in the suite, they also offer some useful kanban tools. You start by setting up a pre-built Kanban sheet template, to which you can import any existing kanban board data from Trello, Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Project.
A useful feature of Smartsheet’s kanban tool is that you can switch between traditional, grid, Gantt, and calendar views, helping you to see tasks in different ways. It offers all the kanban essentials like attachments, custom fields, and searching for or filtering cards based on different criteria.
In many ways, Smartsheet’s kanban capabilities are comparable to Trello, but for the price, it does offer a few additional features like multiple views that are only available to Trello users through Trello’s paid powerups.
Smartsheet offers most of the integrations you’d need in a kanban tool: integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.
Smartsheet costs from $14/user/month and offers a 30-day trial.
5. ProjectManager – Well-rounded PM tool marketed as the “Ultimate Kanban Board Tool”.
Marketing itself as the “Ultimate Kanban Board Tool”, ProjectManager.com delivers just about everything you need in a Kanban board, along with real-time reporting, collaboration, and time and expense management features. If you’re looking only for a Kanban board, this software provides way more than you need. However, if you want a whole project management ecosystem around your Kanban board, ProjectManager.com is a great choice.
ProjectManager.com’s Kanban features the ability to attach files to cards, make comments, assign tasks, assign work-in-progress limits, and get an overview of your progress in the dashboard view.
The reporting feature is above average, letting you pull various types of pre-set reports with just a click or create your own custom reports. The only thing it doesn’t do as well as other tools is to build automated workflows. However, it does provide a really useful viewing feature which can help you visualize your workflow, as you can toggle easily between different task views (Gantt chart, list, board).
ProjectManager.com comes with integrations with GoogleApps (like Drive, Gmail, and Calendar), Microsoft Office and Microsoft Project. For other integrations, you can use Zapier.
ProjectManager.com pricing starts at $15/user/month, with their basic “Personal” plan requiring a minimum of 5 users. They offer a 30-day free trial (a credit card is required).
6. Kanbanize – Online portfolio Kanban software for agile project management to organize and manage your workflow.
Kanbanize is a Kanban software for agile project management. Kanbanize help companies visualize work, track projects, and optimize workflows to achieve organizational transparency increase efficiency.
To bring simplicity, productivity and efficiency to the way you work, their features include initiatives and timeline workflow for planning, customizable Kanban boards, business automation rules, a powerful analytics module and more.
Within the system, users can structure and visualize their daily work – plan initiatives and projects, break them down into manageable tasks, visualize dependencies and create multiple workflows for cross-functional teams.
Work and project progress is shown in real-time to eliminate the need for constant status updates and reporting. As a result, project delivery becomes transparent and more predictable and you can increase your efficiency by spending time on the work, that brings value.
Having the ability to integrate with multiple other systems such as Google Drive, Dropbox, GitHub, Jira, and other tools (and you can also connect through Zapier), Kanbanize brings more agility to your business processes.
Kanbanize costs from $99/month for 1-15 users (so, that’s anywhere between $99 to $6.60 per user per month).
7. Trello – Widely-used Kanban software offering both paid and free online Kanban boards.
As one of the best Kanban tools in the market, we couldn’t leave Trello out of this list. So even if you’re looking for a Trello alternative, you can use this review of Trello as a point of comparison as you scope out the options
This tool enjoys widespread use and has integrations with Salesforce, Slack, GitHub, Google Drive, Evernote, and many other apps and platforms, made available through upgrades called “Power-Ups”. You can configure your own automated flows by integrating Trello with IFTTT (for example, every time a new GitHub bug is detected, Trello automatically creates a card).
This configurable approach has the advantage of being lightweight and highly customizable. On the flipside, it does require you to have the ability to clearly think through and set up your automated process as opposed to choosing from a list of pre-configured business rules.
The only thing that we consider a downside of this tool is the lack of expenses and time tracking, although an integration can solve this shortcoming.
All around, this is a great tool and has the added advantage of popularity—onboarding Trello is that much simpler because many of your team members are probably familiar with it.
Trello costs from $9.99/user/month. There’s also a free version with limited functionality.
8. Blossom – Modern project tracking tool built specifically for distributed agile development teams.
Designed uniquely for software developers (and specifically with distributed work teams in mind), Blossom is a more specialized tool. It offers features that are especially useful for software development teams, but beyond software dev, it’s also a viable Trello alternative.
In fact, with its clean, simple interface, built-in integrations, and extra functionality (make work in progress limits, analyze performance, and more), it’s arguably better than Trello for only a slightly higher price.
The product is easily integrated with GitHub, and thanks to its automatic project status updates, you don’t need to leave your code base and can focus on getting projects completed. A bonus of using Blossom is that they offers full training, including online and in-person options, to make it easy to onboard your team.
Blossom costs from $19/month for teams of up to 5 users. Blossom goes the extra mile by offering free trial periods for all versions (Startup, Company, and Enterprise), so you can try the full product as opposed to a typical promo version that’s limited in features and functionality.
9. ZenHub – Great Trello alternative for development teams who want a tool buit to work directly within the GitHub environment.
What differentiates ZenHub is that it’s designed to work in a GitHub environment and as such it is promoted as a way for teams working in GitHub to manage tasks without disrupting their workflow. Overall, ZenHub is a user-friendly and workable alternative to Trello, with the functionality to migrate data, automate workflows, and integrate with other tools. If you are using GitHub, ZenHub is the sensible choice—not only is it likely to be familiar to your developers, it theoretically can save your team a lot of time by eliminating the need to jump in and out of GitHub to manage tasks in third party tools.
Zenhub costs from $5/user/month and is available in a free trial version for 14 days.
10. Breeze – Kanban project management software with a full suite of budget, time, expense, project, and portfolio management tools.
Breeze is one of the few Kanban boards online that offers a full suite of project management tools, including everything from budget management and time and expense tracking, to milestone tracking, project planning and portfolio management.
It has a simple interface, and, although it does provide a wider scope of tools than many platforms, Breeze makes a point of not being a “feature factory”, keeping only the features that are critical. For it’s simplicity, it’s a bit pricey, but if you want something clutter-free, lightweight, and streamlined, it’s worth the price.
Because Breeze wraps a kanban tool inside of a full management suite, the added functionality—and correspondingly higher price—isn’t a great fit for simpler projects.
On the other hand, the all-encompassing nature of this platform is a major advantage for some teams, as you may save time, resources, and headache by managing everything in one place.
Breeze does come with built-in Google Drive and Dropbox integrations, but compared to the integrations offered by other similar tools on the market, it could up its value by offering a few more.
Breeze costs from $29/user/month and offers a free trial version.
Summary Of The Best Kanban Tools:
Or Try Another Trello Alternative:
Here’s a list of a few more alternatives to Trello:
- Zenkit – Well-rounded management suite that works as a Kanban board, CRM, scheduling tool, collaboration tool, bug tracker, and more
- LeanKit – Kanban software made specifically for lean project management
- Wimi – Collaboration and management tool suite that offers free personal kanban software
- Taskworld – Long-standing tool with Kanban-based features for managing projects, time, files, communications, timelines, and more
- Hygger – Kanban tool with a beautiful, easy-to-understand interface
- Kanbanflow – Straightforward and affordable Trello alternative (no user limits on the free plan, and just $5/month for the premium plan)
- Pivotal Tracker – Simple tool for managing agile software development projects with 140+ prebuilt integrations
- Kanboard – This free Trello alternative is open source. No frills: self hosted and simple to install
- Restya – Polished, Trello-like Kanban board that’s open source, with the added perks of offline sync and a mobile app
- Ora – Highly customizable agile PM tool with a great user interface
- Proggio – Collaborative PM software offering numerous project views like Kanban boards, Gantt charts, task lists, and more
- Rindle – Software for growing teams designs to automate tasks and processes while consolidating project data in to useful reports
- Assembla – Enterprise software development platform with robust project and program management features that let you deliver projects using various methodologies including Kanban, Scrum, and SAFe
- Kantask – Simple kanban software designed to provide transparency, coordination, and alignment to multidisciplinary teams
- Nuvro – Easy to use project management software with enterprise-grade task management features
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How To choose The Right Kanban Tools For Your Team
As with anything involving project management, there are a few things to consider before making your selection among workflow apps. In your decision, account for these important considerations:
The Size Of Your Team
Which app is best going to suit your team, and will it scale properly to suit a growing team over time?
Which Tools It Should Integrate With
Maybe you’re using GitHub, Slack, Asana, or other team management tools, or maybe you need it to work across multiple devices, including mobile. Make sure the tool you choose covers all your needs—or is customizable enough that it can be upgraded later.
Not all tools can handle the volume of projects some businesses produce, so check how many projects you will easily be able to manage at once.
Set-up Time And Cost
How soon can it be installed, or is it immediately available on the cloud? What kind of ongoing support do they offer? Is it a hosted solution or will you have to maintain the infrastructure?
Ease Of Onboarding
How simple is the platform to start using right away, and how much training will be needed to get everyone up to speed?
What Do You Think?
What other considerations have you made when looking for a Trello alternative? Have any recommendations for good project management software? Let us know in the comments below.