Project management software comes in many varieties, but if you want a welcoming, friendly tool, you can’t do much better than Asana or Basecamp. You may be wondering which of the two is most suitable for your team, though, which is why we’ve put together this Asana vs Basecamp comparison.
Asana has a strong set of clients that includes Sony, NASA and Google. It boasts over 50,000 paying customers and was recently valued at a cool $1.5 billion.
Basecamp has an impressive 3 million signups. It has a host of positive user testimonials on its website, but chooses not to boast about its highest profile clients, which we think says something about its approach. It’s made by the developers of Ruby on Rails, formerly known as 37signals.
Asana and Basecamp aim to be user friendly and accessible. Despite their easygoing attitudes, though, they both have plenty of features and offer managers several ways to make their work easier.
You can read more about what we thought of the services in our Asana review and Basecamp review. For now, let’s see how they compare. Under those pastel colors and smiles, we think we’ll find glimpses of tooth and claw.
Setting Up a Fight: Asana vs. Basecamp
We’re going to look at these tools over four rounds and see which is the strongest in each area. At the end, we’ll tally up the points to find our overall winner. In the event of a tie, we’ll see which won its rounds more clearly to decide the victor.
To start, we’ll focus on features because they’re why you’re using the software in the first place. Next, we’ll move on to price, to see which will make the smallest dent on your budget and which offers the best value.
We’re going to see which is the easiest to use in what should be a closely contested round because both competitors are particularly strong in the area. Finally, we’ll look at security and privacy to find out which platform does the most to protect your data from cybercrime.
First, we’re going to look at features and see whether Asana or Basecamp provides more functionality. We’re looking for strong core task management features, as well as storage, communication features and any special sauce the contenders offer.
Asana has a friendly, well-designed exterior, as well as a strong basic structure with subtasks and dependency management. The latter’s useful if you want to make sure nothing is going to hold your project up and juggle your schedule so people aren’t waiting for each other.
In addition to its default list and kanban views, you can work with tasks on its calendar and timeline. You can generate reports based on the tasks and set an overall project status to alert teammates if things are going off track.
There are plenty of integrations, including Zapier, which allows you to access data from a huge range of tools. You can also import .csv files, which is useful if you work with spreadsheets.
If you prefer to work with a spreadsheet-like interface, read our Smartsheet review to learn about a tool that’ll suit you.
Asana allows you to add attachments of up to 100MB to tasks, with no total storage space limit. That’s not too shabby, but you’ll probably need more if you’re working with video. If that’s the case, read our best cloud storage for video guide.
You can use Asana anywhere because it has apps for Android and iOS.
Basecamp bills itself as a replacement for a host of apps, such as Slack, Dropbox, G Suite and Asana. It’s an interesting comparison, but it isn’t the only tool that offers chat, file sharing and document creation, so how well it does in each area will be key to its chances in this round.
Its “Campfire” group chats allow you to share sounds and video, but we had issues with that when we tried it. There’s also a team message board, so you get plenty of ways to communicate.
It offers 500GB of storage space, with a maximum file size of 2GB, which is generous and will be more than enough for many teams. That said, if you’re in a business that needs more space than usual, have a look at our best cloud storage for large files article.
Basecamp has a to-do list that allows you to create tasks, as well as a calendar where you can make events. Tasks can be assigned to people and you can add notes and deadlines.
It doesn’t have subtasks or dependency management, which keeps thing simple. If you need those features, though, take a look at one of our favorite tools in our Wrike review.
Like Asana, Basecamp has mobile versions for Android and iOS, but also has desktop apps for Windows and macOS.
It has a good selection of integrations too. You can share data with hundreds of apps via Zapier. Other integrations allow you to connect it to alternative project management apps, including Asana, so if you can’t choose between the two, you can use them together.
Basecamp also works with several time tracking and invoicing platforms. If you need financial and accounting features, though, it’s worth looking at our Mavenlink review for for more information about a tool that’s strong in that area.
Round 1 Thoughts
Things are tight here. Asana has unlimited storage space, but Basecamp allows much bigger files, which we prefer. Basecamp has desktop apps, which is a nice extra. We like its communication tools, too.
Asana has a more advanced structure, though, with subtasks and dependency management allowing for detailed project planning. When it comes to the business of planning and assigning tasks, we prefer its tools and selection of views. It wins the first round.
Keeping your budget under control is important, so we’ll see which tool wins on price. If they’re as friendly on your wallet as they are on your eyes, this could be a competitive round. They scored 90 percent on price in their respective reviews, so it should be close.
Let’s look at Asana and Basecamp to see which offers the best value.
Asana has a free tier that’s great for planning simple projects and using as a to-do list for yourself or your office. The 15-person team limit there isn’t too restrictive, but on the paid plans you get lots more features. The free plan is surprisingly functional, though, and a great way to check out the service.
There’s a free trial, too. We were asked to enter card details when signing up, but there’s an option to skip that if you look. The trial’s a great way to try Asana’s more advanced features to decide which plan is right for you.
The paid plans remove the team size limit and offer more features as you go up the levels. Task dependencies and milestones unlock at the Premium level, along with custom fields and the timeline view.
At the Business level, you get proofing and forms, and on the Enterprise plan, you get custom branding, priority support and more security and privacy features.
All of its plans are on the average to cheap side compared to competitors’ equivalent plans. We don’t think many of you will be put off using it by the cost. Whether it’s as good value as Basecamp is a different story.
Basecamp has a simple pricing scheme. It costs $99 per month, regardless of how many users you have. That’s fantastic value if you have a large team. Even if there are just a few of you, it’s still cheaper than the most expensive plans many services offer.
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There’s also a 30-day free trial, which gives you much longer to try it than many others. Nonprofits can get discounts, too.
Though it doesn’t have a free version for most people, it is free for schools, so if you want to get your students doing something useful with their screen time, Basecamp is a brilliant choice and you won’t need the bursar’s permission to set it up.
Round 2 Thoughts
Basecamp’s one-size-fits-all pricing system is great value. Compared to Asana, Basecamp’s rate is equivalent to a team of 10 on the Premium plan or five Business users. Obviously Asana’s free plan is cheaper, but if you have a decent-sized team and want the best features, Basecamp is much better value. It’s also free for educators and has a generous trial.
Educators might also be interested in our best cloud storage for schools, colleges and universities guide.
We’re giving this round to Basecamp because the potential savings at the top end of the pricing scale are much bigger than the more limited savings at the bottom. Basecamp has made efforts to help various groups with its free offering, too, which seals the round.
The defeat is harsh on Asana, though, because it’s also one of the best value tools out there and has a usable free version. That said, we prefer Basecamp’s system.
Ease of Use
In this round, we’re going to look at how user-friendly the tools are, what they do to make themselves accessible and how much help they offer if you get stuck. This is a strong area for both platforms. They’re tools we enjoy using and they take a less serious approach to project management than some of their competitors.
That isn’t to say they’re lightweight, but rather that they’re built to facilitate engagement and prevent work from becoming a chore.
Asana is one of the easiest project management tools to learn. When you first use it, it welcomes you with a tour of its features and you get explanations when you look around the views and controls.
The interface is attractive and readable. Controls are easy to identify and it has a layout that makes things simple to figure out.
A little entertainment is always welcome. One of Asana’s most fun and popular features is its celebrations. The animated marvels happen when you tick tasks off, but not every time. They’re sure to get the office talking and can inspire friendly office competition, too.
Asana has a selection of templates that you can use to get up and running quickly, as well as serve as examples of how to set things up yourself.
There are also plenty of tutorials and help pages to read through if you do need to figure something out. If you want extra help getting started, read our Asana beginner’s guide.
Basecamp uses soft colors and gentle imagery, which gives it a warm, welcoming feel. It’s the sort of application that people are happy to spend time using. That matters when you’re trying to get large teams of people to engage with a new platform.
Its sections are well designed and intuitive. It has a chunky, tablet-friendly design that’s easy to understand. Its main screen feels dated and compact, though.
If you want to see an example of one of the best designed project management tools, take a look at our monday.com review.
Basecamp has plenty of useful help features, with pop-ups giving you advice and tips. It even has some boilerplate messages for contacting your team.
We saw a few issues in the interface during our time with it. For example, videos didn’t close and elements didn’t accept input. Those are just minor things, but they do count against Basecamp when it comes to usability.
Round 3 Thoughts
In the battle for usability, both tools have plenty to offer. They’re accessible platforms with broad appeal. They may even put the odd smile on users’ faces.
Compared directly, Asana has the edge. Basecamp has a few minor flaws, and we can’t help but love Asana’s celebrations. It stands out among the best project management software as one of the most enjoyable products to use, and that makes it a big winner in round three.
Security and Privacy
Next, we’ll look at security and privacy. Keeping your data out of the wrong hands is a major concern when working online. Wanting a user-friendly tool doesn’t mean you can neglect this area. In fact, if you have a team of less technical users, you’ll need to take extra care to keep them out of harm’s way.
Fortunately, Asana and Basecamp are solid under the hood and offer plenty to keep your team out of trouble. Let’s see what they offer and which is better.
Asana complies with the General Data Protection Regulation and the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield. Enterprise users get full data deletion, as well as those of you in the EU. It has SOC Type 1 certification, too. Clearly it takes website security seriously.
TLS 1.2 encryption is used to keep your data safe in transit, so if anyone eavesdrops on your connection, they won’t be able to decrypt the data they get. Encryption at rest is available on Asana’s Enterprise plan, but we’d prefer if it was standard.
That encryption helps keep your data private. Our how to protect your privacy guide offers more tips for protecting your data.
Asana takes part in bug bounty programs. Read our penetration testing article to learn more about those.
Enterprise users get several additional security and privacy features. You get SAML-based login and can force users to use it, or a Google account, if you don’t feel Asana’s regular password-based login is secure enough. Our how to set a strong password article might also help you there.
Basecamp respects your privacy, promising to keep your data hidden unless compelled by a warrant to hand it over. If legally able, it’ll inform you if that happens, too, which is something it has in common with the best VPN providers.
Your data is stored using AES-256/SHA-256 encryption, making it all but impossible to access by hackers. Read our description of encryption article to learn more about the topic.
It makes hourly backups to ensure data loss isn’t permanent and also has a bug bounty program, so white-hat hackers (the good guys) can help keep it protected from the latest threats. Read our five things you need to know about cybercrime guide to learn more about the dangers online.
It complies with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield and promises not to read users’ chats, despite having the capacity to do so. Your data will be deleted within 30 days of closing your account, too.
You can get two-factor authentication via Google, which is better than not having it. Read our best 2FA apps guide for more help setting up the feature.
Round 4 Thoughts
With strong showings in this round, Asana and Basecamp have again shown they have plenty of quality beneath their smiling exteriors.
We don’t think there’s much to choose between them on security features, but Basecamp offers things on its one size fits all plan that require an Enterprise subscription with Asana. For that reason, it narrowly takes this round.
That was a close contest. At two rounds apiece, we’re going to have to look more closely at the contenders to declare a winner. With most rounds being close, Asana’s big win in round three puts it in front.
Basecamp’s wins in the price and security rounds were close calls, with the features round narrowly going in Asana’s favor. We didn’t hesitate to make Asana the winner in round three, and that wins it the contest overall.
Asana is a worthy winner. It’s one of our long-time favorites at Cloudwards.net and backs up its nice design with strong tools to help you organize your projects. Everyone loves its celebrations, and in addition to making project management fun, it’s a powerful tool.
Basecamp is good, though. It’s a great choice if you want to keep team communication in one place and share information and files on a common platform. As long as your project structure is simple, it’s a great way to keep everyone in the loop. It is also excellent value for large teams.
If you’re considering these tools, we hope we’ve helped you make an informed choice. To see how Asana fares against one of the other strong players in the field, take a look at our Wrike vs. Asana comparison.
Asana and Basecamp have a lot in common. Both are great choices if you want something user-friendly and accessible. They’re enjoyable to use. On top of that, they have plenty of useful features and are good places for your team to hang out and share information.
We prefer Asana overall, but you can check them out through their free trials to see what you think.
If you’ve tried Asana or Basecamp, please let us know what you thought in the comments below. Thanks for reading.