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.
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.
10 Top Kanban Tools (The Best Trello Alternatives 2021)
Here are a few of the best Kanban tools:
1. monday.com – best for customization 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. ClickUp – best free plan for a Trello alternative
ClickUp is a project management software and Kanban tool with powerful features for managing and completing all your team’s projects in one platform. Users can plan projects, schedule tasks, and manage resources in a centralized workspace on Kanban boards, as well as calendars, Gantt charts, timelines, and more.
Task management features include task checklists, subtasks, and task templates, as well as the ability to filter, sort, search for, easily reorder, and view tasks in the manner most convenient for the team. Users can also create Gantt charts, calendars, and timelines to visualize tasks.
ClickUp also includes features for creating, sharing, and collaborative editing for Wikis and documents. Users can comment on documents and tasks, assign comments, and chat with other team members for increased communication and collaboration. Reporting features include the ability to create custom dashboards, as well as six built-in report types for team reporting.
ClickUp offers native integrations with Slack, G Suite, Dropbox, and many more tools, as well as over 1,000+ integrations through Zapier.
ClickUp’s free plan is robust and includes all primary features. The unlimited plan starts at $5 a month per user and offers additional functionality.
3. Smartsheet – best for multiple task views
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.
4. Kanban Zone – Best cross-portfolio Kanban board
Kanban Zone is designed to allow teams to visualize their entire agency and organization by connecting teams and processes. The tool offers a highly flexible Kanban board editor that does not constrain users to perfect grids and instead allows them to truly map their ideal flow of work.
The tool also includes a timeline view for increased planning capabilities, as well as templates and a Portfolio Kanban for traceability across projects. Also available are project and Kanban metrics, collaboration features such as comments and notifications, and workflow management capabilities.
Kanban Zone has a simple interface that helps teams focus on the work at hand, and a team of support experts to help with onboarding and ongoing questions.
Kanban Zone pricing starts at $5 per month for a personal plan and $7 per month for enterprise plans. A free 30 day trial is also available.
5. MeisterTask – best for automation capabilities
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.
6. ProjectManager – best Kanban board tool with reporting features
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 boards feature 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).
7. Zoho Projects – project management tool with Kanban, Gantt or list views you can easily switch between anytime you like
Zoho Projects is an award-winning project management and collaboration tool from Zoho. It offers flexibility and customizations to suit the needs of traditional project managers as well as agile teams.
Drag and drop kanban cards towards completion. The cards can be sorted as per status, priority, completion percentage or even across task lists.
The dashboard can be fully customized according to user preferences. And with Zoho’s Analytics integration, these capabilities can be extended – users can generate 50 plus charts and reports with this integration.
All aspects of the UI from theme colors to arrangement and visibility of the various modules can be changed to suit a user’s preferences. By converting projects into templates, users can reuse previously created timelines and assignees for future projects. Zoho projects also offers free onboarding for its customers, free support and a comprehensive online help guide for all users.
Being part of the Zoho’s ecosystem allows Projects to connect to several of Zoho’s own services such as Zoho Books, Zoho CRM and Zoho’s finance suite. The new Zoho marketplace allows 3rd party integrations as well. Integrations via Zapier and Zoho Flow are also supported.
Starts from $18 for 6 users. Free 10 day trial available. No credit card information required.
8. Kanbanize – best for agile project management
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 workflows 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 $149/15 users/month.
9. Wrike – best Trello alternative for team collaboration
Wrike is an award-winning, easy-to-use project management software trusted by 20,000+ organizations worldwide. The tool is suitable for teams with anywhere from five to an unlimited number of team members. Wrike includes Kanban board features and is highly configurable, allowing users to customize workflows, dashboards, reports, request forms, and more.
Wrike’s simple interface enables users to switch between customizable, shareable Kanban boards, one-click Gantt charts, and traditional workload views, allowing them to choose how to visualize their priorities. Wrike also features task lists, subtasks, calendars, shared workflows, file sharing, and real-time collaboration.
Wrike has an easy-to-use, intuitive interface and navigation with distinct spaces, folders, and tasks. Users can toggle between the home screen and timesheets, dashboards, calendars, reports, and the notification stream.
Wrike offers 400+ pre-built native integrations, including integrations with the most popular file management software from Microsoft, Google, and Dropbox, along with sales and marketing software from Salesforce and Marketo.
Pricing for Wrike starts at $9.80 per user per month. There are four different price points, including a free version and plans which offer the ability to invite free external collaborators to a paid account.
10. Trello – best for integration options
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.
Summary Of The Best Kanban Tools:
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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 going to best 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.