Best Project Management Software 2021: Getting It Done in Style

Need to find the best project management software for you or your team? Join us as we go over our seven favorite project management programs that include everything from Gantt charts, kanban boards, calendars and more.

Fergus O'Sullivan
By Fergus O'Sullivan (Editor-at-Large, Writer)
— Last Updated: 2021-11-19T19:46:58+00:00 Facts checked by Elisabeth Ivey

If you’ve ever decided to manage a project, you most likely found out very quickly that it is hard to keep track of everything. Thankfully, there are plenty of cloud-based solutions out there that can help, and we’ve rounded up our favorite seven in this overview of the best project management software.

Our overall favorite is monday.com, thanks to its full feature set and friendly pricing, though Asana is a very close second because of its excellent free plan. That said, if you’re not a fan of either, there’s plenty more to choose from: we picked seven favorites out of 30 project management software reviews in total.

Key Takeaways:

  • The best overall project management software is monday.com. Though it’s not without its flaws, it has a great feature set and decent pricing.
  • If monday.com doesn’t scratch your itch, there are plenty of monday.com alternatives: Asana offers roughly the same features, but also has a great free plan, while nTask is dirt cheap.
  • More focused tools like Trello for kanban boards or TeamGantt for Gantt charts may be worth looking into if your business has specific needs. 
  • Many of our favorite project management solutions have a free plan, meaning that if you’re a small business you could be using great programs without it costing you a penny.

So, without further ado, let’s delve into our list. We’ll start with a short recap of our providers, explaining why we picked them, before going into some more detail on each. Hopefully in just a few minutes you’ll have decided which is the best project management software for you and you can get to work.

  • For small teams, the best pick is probably monday.com, with Asana hot on its heels. Both have great packages for small-to-medium companies.

  • Overall, all our picks are easy to use, but if you want to get off to a roaring start without reading any tutorials, Trello is a great option.

  • If all you need is Gantt charts, we recommend checking out TeamGantt — it’s a great tool. If you need Gantt charts as part of a suite of tools, though, either Airtable or Asana is your better bet.

Compare the Best Project Management Tools

Quick Guide: The 7 Best Project Management Software

  1. monday.com — Our favorite jack-of-all-trades project management solution
  2. Asana — Great feature set, and an even better free plan
  3. nTask — The best inexpensive project management software option
  4. Wrike — A little drab, but has great reporting features
  5. Jira — A tool built for Agile project management
  6. Trello — The best kanban app on the market
  7. TeamGantt — The best Gantt tool out there, bar none

What Makes the Best Project Management Tool?

When choosing the best project management software, we kept a few key criteria in mind. The first was the feature set on offer — what the project management program can do. Our top four project management picks all offer a very well-rounded set of features, including kanban boards, calendars, Gantt charts and other forms of task management.

Also, see our guide for the difference between task management vs project management.

Our bottom three project management providers are all focused tools, picking one feature and building the rest of the program around it. We chose this approach because we felt that while most people are probably very well served by all-rounders, using a tool that does just one thing extremely well can be exactly what some businesses need. For example, for an editorial calendar, Trello could be all you need.

Our next project management software criterion is user-friendliness, or how easy it is to use a program. No matter how great the feature set, if you’re tearing your hair out at every turn, it’s no good. All our picks are very easy to use.

We’ll also discuss the price of each project management software option. With most plans, pricing can get a little confusing, so we always recommend checking out our full review for each project management provider to find out how long the free trial is, especially if cost is a sticking point for you. In the end, though, we’re confident you’ll find the right project management software at the right price point.

1. monday.com 

The Best Project Management Software Solution

monday-review-slider-5
Monday.com offers all kinds of handy project management software features and functions.

More details about monday.com:

  • Pricing: Free, or $10 per user per month for the Standard plan
  • Website: www.monday.com

Pros:

  • Great user interface
  • Chock-a-block with features
  • Standard plan is solid

Cons:

  • Free plan isn’t good
  • Basic plan is useless

Monday.com is our favorite project management app overall, thanks to its many features and great interface. It has all you need to keep track of projects and tasks, all for a decent price. Though it won’t be perfect for every single company out there, for most teams, most of the time, it’ll be a fine project management choice. It’s our top project management tool for small business for a reason.

As you can read in our monday.com review, this is due not only to the extensive feature set, but also how well everything works. Your main view is the list, and everything added there automatically populates the kanban board and other views. Thanks to this system and some great interface tweaks, the learning curve is pretty much nonexistent.

The only real downside can be found when taking a closer look at monday.com’s pricing: the recently added free plan isn’t too impressive, for one, and the Basic plan, which costs $8 per user per month, isn’t very useful, either. This makes the Standard plan the default at $10 per user per month. Though that’s a good price for what you get, we do wish there were more intermediate steps.

Individual
  • : Maximum users: 2, Kanban Board, & list
Standard
  • : Minimum users: 3, Price per user, Expanded features
Enterprise
  • : Enterprise-level features.

2. Asana

A Great Jack of All (Project Management) Trades

asana colors
Asana has one of the best project management interfaces out there.

More details about Asana:

  • Pricing: Free, or $10.99 per user per month for the Premium plan
  • Website: www.asana.com

Pros:

  • Tons of advanced features
  • Easy to use
  • Stellar free plan

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Needs two upgrades to get the most out of it

Our runner-up is Asana, which is a great project management tool — even better than monday.com in certain areas — but falls a little behind overall, as you can read in our full monday.com vs Asana comparison. Still though, thanks to its excellent free plan and some impressive features, it still bears looking at. Check out our Asana review for all the details.

Besides a very smooth user experience, its main strength is its advanced features, which make it the best choice for large businesses out of all others on this list. While the free and Premium plans will keep most small-to-medium businesses going, the Business and Enterprise plans have long-term planning and resource management that will help you keep track of dozens of projects at once.

However, these features come with a big price tag. Despite winning our best free project management software roundup, Asana is also one of the most expensive project management tools out there. Though there is a lot to like about it, the cost of the Premium plan is a little on the high side, as is the Business plan. Check out the pricing table below or read our article on Asana pricing.

Free
  • : Up to 15 users
Premium
  • : Price is per user. unlimited users, expanded features
Business
  • : Price is per user. unlimited users, even more features
Enterprise
  • : Custom pricing, advanced security features

3. nTask

Great Project Management Features, With a Free Plan to Match

best kanban ntask
nTask offers plenty of project management features at bargain-bin prices.

More details about nTask:

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Great feature set
  • Easy to use

Cons:

  • Not the best privacy policy
  • Weird navigation issues

If the Achilles’ heel of monday.com and Asana is their pricing, nTask makes it its main strength: it’s downright cheap. However, it’s only the price tag that’s been cut — its functionality is top notch and offers everything a small or medium business needs. For a full overview, check out our nTask review.

Besides the usual list and board that pretty much every other project management software tool has, nTask offers some less common views and functions, such as a grid view, time tracking and a very handy meeting planner. It also has built-in agile functionality, though not enough to unseat Jira as the best scrum software. We also like it as one of the best project management software for freelancers.

nTask’s biggest attraction isn’t its functionality — even though it’s well above average — it’s its insanely low pricing. At just under $36 per user per year (and the first three team members count as one), there’s literally no service of equal usefulness that comes even close to how cheap nTask is. Check out the details in the table below.

Free
  • : Maximum 5 team members.
Premium
  • : Minimum 3 team members. First three users are only $36 per year for all three.
Enterprise
  • : Self-hosted option. 50 team members minimum.

4. Wrike

The Best Cheap Project Management Tool

wrike custom workflows custom fields
The Wrike project management software looks a bit drab, but has some of the best reporting features we’ve seen.

More details about Wrike:

  • Pricing: Free, or $9.80 per user per month on the Professional plan
  • Website: www.wrike.com

Pros:

  • Fantastic reporting features
  • Great free plan
  • Top-notch security

Cons:

  • Drab interface
  • Navigation is not intuitive at times

Wrike has some great project management features — its reports and time tracking are especially good — though it falls behind when it comes to ease of use. It’s also pretty ugly, but we’ve talked about that enough in our Wrike review, so no need to go on about it here.

What stands out about Wrike’s features is its excellent reports and its solid Gantt chart. Though others on this list have one, too (we compare it in our Asana vs Wrike article, for example), Wrike’s is better than most except that of dedicated tools like TeamGantt. Combine these outstanding features with a solid roster of other ones, and you have a project management tool worth looking into.

Wrike’s pricing further contributes to that. At less than $10 per user per month for the Professional plan, it’s a smidge cheaper than other options (barring nTask, obviously) and you get good bang for your buck. We’re less impressed with the Business plan, which is equivalent in cost to Asana, but nowhere near as useful.

Free
  • : Maximum of 5 users. Basic features.
Professional
  • : Price is per user. Plans for 5, 10 and 15 users.
Business
  • : Price is per user. No monthly option. Plans for 5 to 200 users.
Enterprise
  • : Plans for 5 to an unlimited number of users.

5. Jira

The Most Thorough Reports on the Market

jira-review-slider-3
Jira is one of the more streamlined project management options out there, making it perfect for scrum fans.

More details about Jira:

Pros:

  • Tailored to scrum users
  • Clean interface
  • Cheap

Cons:

  • Really only good for agile
  • Tough to use because of jargon

With our first four all-rounders out of the way, it’s time to look at some specific project management tools. First up is Jira — probably the best scrum software around. It’s completely geared toward teams using the agile methodology to get things done and as such is perfect for them; anybody else, though, may want to look elsewhere.

If you’re not using scrum in your company — though it’s still useful in companies that aren’t writing software, it’s mostly developers that are on agile — all Jira has to offer is a kanban board, and even that’s not great. If you are, though, you’ll love Jira for its clean interface and fantastic tutorials. Read our Jira review for the details on that.

One thing that’s great about Jira is that it’s priced well: unlike many competitors, it knows it’s a limited tool, so the pricing is equally limited. Starting at $7 per user per month, only nTask is cheaper. This can go down even further depending on the size of your team; check out our Jira pricing article for details. There’s also a great free plan for small teams.

Free
  • : Max. 10 users
Standard
  • : Annual price is for 10 users; with more than 10, annual pricing changes based on the number of users. Monthly pricing changes with teams over 100.
Premium
  • : Annual price is for 10 users; with more than 10, annual pricing changes based on the number of users. Monthly pricing changes with teams over 100.

6. Trello

If Scrum Is the Name of the Project Management Game

trello-review-slider-2
Trello has the best kanban board on the project management market.

More details about Trello:

  • Pricing: Free, or $10 per user per month for the Business Class plan
  • Website: www.trello.com

Pros:

  • Great kanban board
  • Easy to use
  • Great free plan

Cons:

  • A little overpriced
  • Limited add-ons on free plan

In sixth place, we find the best kanban app on the market: Trello. It comes up a lot in many of our articles, mostly because we like it so much. It’s easy to use, gives you a great overview of what you need to do, and really is the best single-use project management tool out there, or at least among the free ones.

Note that we say “single use.” Though its parent company Atlassian is trying to get more and more out of Trello, if you’re using it for anything except a kanban board, you’re just ramming a square peg down a round hole. Though its integrations, called power-ups, are pretty good, they don’t always play nice with Trello, and free users only get one (read the details in our Trello review.)

If you want more, you can get unlimited power-ups by upgrading, but that will set you back $10 per user per month. As you can see on this list, that will get you a comprehensive project management solution like monday.com or Wrike that has the same functionality built in. We break the costs and advantages of the different plans down even further in our article on Trello pricing, though for most people, the free plan should do just fine.

Free
  • : 10 boards, Unlimited users, 1 power-up
Trello Gold
  • : Unlimited personal boards, 1 user, 3 power-ups
Business Class
  • : Unlimited boards, Unlimited users, Unlimited power-ups, Added views
Enterprise
  • : Enhanced security options

7. TeamGantt

A Great Kanban Board Without a Penny Spent

teamgantt slider 2
TeamGantt is geared entirely toward Gantt charts, and it works really well.

More details about TeamGantt:

  • Pricing: Free, or $19.95 user per month for the first on the Standard plan
  • Website: www.teamgantt.com

Pros:

  • Great Gantt charts
  • Great support
  • Free plan

Cons:

  • Limited features
  • Pricing is iffy

We finish our project management software list with TeamGantt, one of the best Gantt charts on the market now. We really like TeamGantt’s approach, as it’s geared all its features toward the chart, with even the kanban board following the lead of the colored bars. It’s a novel approach and will likely win it a lot of fans.

If you need Gantt charts to run your business and little else, TeamGantt should be your first stop without a doubt. If you don’t, though, or at least they’re not as important, then you might want to consider another entry on this list. As we explain in our TeamGantt review, it’s a bit pointless to use this piece of software unless your entire approach is Gantt-centric.

Another problem we have with TeamGantt is its pricing. While it’s decent enough, it bills on a sliding scale that charges less for each successive person you add on the team. This means it’s more expensive per person for smaller teams, so more attractive for larger ones.

Free
  • : 3 users only
Standard
  • : First person is $24.95 on the monthly plan, and $19.90 on the yearly plan
Advanced
  • : First person is $29.95 on the monthly plan, and $24.45 on the yearly plan

Honorable Mention: Project Management Software 

Besides our top seven project management tools, there were two other programs we wanted to mention. Both are good at what they do, but lack the oomph to make it on the big project management list.

Airtable

First up is Airtable, which has a great feature set (we especially like the Gantt chart) and decent pricing, but is hampered by its approach to task management. Like the project management of old, it’s based around spreadsheets, which gives you a great overview, but also limits its usability in places. Read our full Airtable review for more details.

Notion

Another honorable mention is the best task management tool for freelancers, Notion. While we really like it, especially for small teams, it just can’t hang with the top contenders on the market. Still, though, as you can read in our Notion review, this program combines the best of note-taking apps with task planning, and even has a time-tracking function.

Best Free Project Management Solutions

All the above project management services have a free tier, meaning you can check out a limited feature set at no cost, though there’s usually a cap on the number of team members you can sign up. This means that small companies may be able to use some top-of-the-line tools for free; for larger firms, it may work out as an extended trial instead.

The best free project management solution is Asana, followed closely by nTask. However, it bears mentioning that focused tools like Trello, Jira and TeamGantt usually have their center attraction on the free plan, meaning you can cobble together a decent patchwork project management tool completely free of charge, as long as the team stays small.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best project management software for you and your business can be tricky; hopefully our list has helped you narrow down your choices a little. Our top choice is monday.com, though all the other entries have some strong merits as well. They also all offer a free trial of their paid plans, usually around 14 to 30 days, so we recommend you check them all out.

Which is your favorite project management software? Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.