Best Trello Alternatives in 2021: When Kanban Can’t

James Konik
By James Konik (Writer)
— Last Updated: 2020-01-13T13:44:40+00:00

Trello is an excellent tool, straddling the line between project and task management. It lets you create and assign tasks quickly, making projects much easier to manage. It isn’t perfect, though, so we’re we’re going to take a look at what the competition has to offer, as we consider the best Trello alternatives.

Task and project management software have plenty in common. If you want to learn more about the differences, read our task management vs. project management article, where we discuss things in more detail.

We’re going to look at tools that are similar to Trello, along with some that are simpler and some that are more advanced. That’ll give you several options, letting you choose one that has the features you like.

If you only use Trello to make notes and reminders, take a look at the best note-taking apps for tools dedicated to doing that.

  1. Asana — Our favorite all around project management tool
  2. — A much more flexible and powerful alternative to Trello
  3. TickTick — A pretty good task management tool with some extra utilities
  4. Todoist — A great to-do list app, but that’s all it does
  5. LeanKit — A complex and versatile kanban board

Best Trello Alternatives of 2021

What Trello Does for You

Trello is a kanban-based app — and the best kanban tool around — that lets you create tasks and place them in columns. You then move the tasks between columns from left to right as you get things done.

It gives you lots of ways to customize it. You can change the backgrounds and get extra functionality through its “power-up” system. There are loads of power-ups, but Butler is worth special mention. It allows you to create buttons that perform jobs for you automatically.


Butler is a great tool for doing repetitive tasks, and it can save you a ton of time if you use it correctly. Read our Trello review to learn more about the software. 

If you aren’t familiar with the kanban approach, our how to use a kanban board guide goes over the basics. If you’re having trouble with Trello, check out our Trello beginner’s guide.

If it isn’t quite right for you, though, there are plenty of alternatives.

What Can Other Tools Improve On?

If you want an effective, simple kanban board, you can’t do much better than Trello, but there are things you might want from it that it doesn’t offer. 

Trello’s advanced features come at a premium, too. Its extensions require you to sign up for a paid plan if you use more than one per board. Its free plan is one of the best, though. Let’s see what to consider if you like it, but want something different.

In its basic form you only get a kanban view, so you’ll need to look elsewhere if you want more than that. If you want advanced features like dependency management, there are better choices, too. Read our how to use a Gantt chart article for more about how to use dependencies.

Trello is simple and easier to use, but with multiple columns, it’s more complex than most task management apps. If you want something really simple, one of those might suit you better. The following tools offer things Trello doesn’t.

1. Best Trello Alternative: Asana

Asana is one of our favorite project management tools and makes getting things done fun. Its design is attractive and it uses animation well, with colorful creatures occasionally appearing to liven things up. That generally happens when you tick tasks off and shows how effective cosmetic features can be at driving user engagement with a platform.

Aside from being fun to use, Asana delivers where it matters, too. It has more views than Trello, allowing you to assess your project status more effectively. 


Trello has extra views available as extensions, but you’ll need to set them up. It doesn’t have the celebrations, either. We compared the platforms directly in our Trello vs. Asana face off.

Asana has many integrations and can be used with the Zapier service to share data with other platforms. It can share data with Trello, too, so if you want to move existing projects from one to the other, you can.

Asana has a strong selection of security features. It uses TLS v1.1 encryption and complies with the EU-U.S. privacy shield framework and the General Data Protection Regulation.

Asana Cost

Like Trello, Asana has a free plan, but many of its best features require a subscription. We include Trello and Asana in our list of the best free project management software. Asana’s paid plans start at $9.99 per user per month, which is good value.

In addition to its browser version, it has apps for Android and iOS.

Asana is almost as easy to use as Trello, but if you get stuck, there’s a selection of tutorials, help pages and a contact form if you need direct support.

Asana is a good choice for users who want tighter control over their projects, with more ways to work with tasks, while keeping things simple. Get the details in our Asana review. Our Asana beginner’s guide explains more about using it.


  • Easy & fun to use
  • Cheap or free
  • Multiple integrations


  • Free plan not as good as Trello’s
  • Slow support
  • Animations won’t suit everyone


If you find Trello’s approach to tasks too restrictive, then allows you to take control of what each item contains. You can add all sorts of fields. Items in can have as much or as little detail as you like, making them highly customizable.

monday-board has a nice kanban view to manage your projects.

That makes it sound complicated, but is a joy to use and its interface does a great job of guiding you around the software. Our vs. Trello article discusses how they compare directly.

Setting up is the hardest part of using it, but it has a lot of templates, so you don’t have to do everything yourself. It also does a better job than most programs of guiding you to the correct template. That can be hit and miss elsewhere.

Though setting it up takes work, it keeps relationships between tasks simple. There are no subtasks or dependencies. That’s a deliberate design choice aimed at keeping things workable, but if you need those features, look for another service.

It keeps you safe from cybercrime, with TLS v1.2 and AES 256-bit encryption used to protect your data. There are plenty of good security features, such as two-factor authentication, domain-restricted sign-ups and audit logs, letting you keep track of things. Cost

Unfortunately, doesn’t offer a free plan, but its entry level tier is just $25 for five users each month, which is great value. There’s also a free 14-day trial, with no card required, so you can check it out for nothing.

We are big fans of and made it top of our list of the best project management software. If you want to go further than Trello and customize your data without leaving your comfort zone, is a great choice.

You can learn the basics of in our beginner’s guide and read more about what we thought of it in our review.


  • Outstanding interface
  • Highly customizable
  • Two-factor authentication


  • No free plan
  • No subtasks or dependencies
  • Need to sign up in blocks of 5 users

3. TickTick

If you like the task management side of Trello, but don’t need the multiple columns of a kanban board, take a look at task management software. Task management tools give you a basic list of tasks that can be sorted into lists and ticked off as you do them. They all have a few extra features, but their core functionalities are similar.


TickTick has multiple lists of tasks, which you can name and categorize. It also has a calendar and an activity log. It integrates with other platforms, such as Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar. You can import data from other tools, such as Wunderlist and Todoist, as well.

TickTick’s extras include an achievement system that allows you to level up as you complete tasks. There isn’t much to it, but having a way to track your progress can be fun.

On its free version, you get a basic task list, which works well, and that’s great if it’s all you need. If you want a few other features, such as TickTick’s views, you’ll need to sign up for its premium service. At $2.33 per month, though, it isn’t going to sting your wallet too much.

TickTick uses Amazon Web Services and keeps your data safe by encrypting it at rest. Read our description of encryption for more on that.

TickTick Support

TickTick has good support and help, but its help page is hard to find because links in the app go to its forum, which isn’t as good. You can contact its support directly by email. It responded to us in just under a day when we did.

TickTick runs on many devices, with desktop versions on Windows and macOS, apps for Android and iOS, browser extensions and a version for Apple Watch.

You can use TickTick as a basic task manager and dip into its advanced features when it suits you. Like Trello, it’s good for those who value simplicity, but it can do more when you need it to. Read more about it in our TickTick review.


  • Cheap premium plan
  • Strong interface
  • Good view selection


  • Free version has several nagging pop-ups
  • Small controls
  • Inconsistent help pages

4. Todoist

Todoist is another tool that keeps things simple. As a pure task list application, it’s more focused than TickTick, so it’s perfect for those who just want the basics, without compromising on quality. It has extra features, too, but it’s still based around creating tasks and ticking them off as you do them.


You can invite teammates to Todoist and assign things to them, so you can use it for shared projects in addition to your own jobs. It also has a karma system that lets you score points for hitting daily goals.

There are several templates, sorted into categories, that can give you a head start when setting up. It has a selection of color schemes, too.

You can upload files and attachments of up to 100MB. Take a look at our best cloud storage for personal use article if you need to share bigger files.

Todoist uses AWS to host your data, which is encrypted in transit and at rest. It also respects your privacy because it complies with the GDPR. Read our online privacy guide to learn what you can do to keep your data out of the wrong hands.

Todoist Support

Todoist has a helpful user guide and opens with a starter project that shows you how to use it. In the unlikely event you get stuck, there’s an FAQ and plenty of help articles. You can also get in touch directly via its contact form. It responded to us in less than one hour when we tried it.

That’s quick, but not as fast as Taskworld, which responded to us in just 19 minutes.

Todoist is another simple alternative to Trello that lets you focus even more on the basics of assigning and completing tasks. It is good for working with others and its karma system is a great way to nudge you into getting more done. Read more about it in our Todoist review.


  • Simple
  • Fast support
  • Cheap paid plans


  • Basic free version
  • Annual plans only
  • Card needed for free trial

5. LeanKit

We’re moving back in the other direction to LeanKit. Like Trello, LeanKit is a kanban-based tool, but it offers more complexity, allowing managers to view the project at different levels. It’s good at compartmentalizing work and letting people focus on what’s relevant to them.


LeanKit gives you a kanban view that’s similar to Trello’s, but it splits it into sections for different teams. It can look messy, but once you figure out what’s going on, it is easy to focus on whatever’s relevant to you or, if you’re the boss, the big picture.

In addition to focusing on your work, you can see what everyone else is doing, which can help everyone understand each other’s roles and where they fit into the project.

LeanKit includes subtasks and dependency management. You can create parent-child relationships between cards, showing what needs to be done before a particular task can be completed. That’s a good way to prevent your work from getting delayed.

LeanKit Templates

LeanKit has templates to help you get started, which is useful because it’s harder to set up than the other tools in this list. It also has an excellent introductory project that you should check out carefully because completing the actions on its cards works as a tutorial and will help you get the hang of things.

In addition to its strong introduction, LeanKit does well on support. There’s a free e-book to help you learn about the platform. It’s easily missed, but it’s worth looking for. There’s an FAQ and there are plenty of ways to get in touch with the service. Its website isn’t presented especially well, and we found a few typos, but there’s lots of material there to help you.

It’s a mixed bag on security. Admins have useful security settings to play with, but it doesn’t encrypt uploaded attachments, which some may find concerning. 

LeanKit starts at $19 per user per month, so it isn’t cheap, but it does a good job of pushing the kanban board to its limits and making it suitable for large, complex projects. We included it in our lists of the best project management software for construction companies and the best project management software for small business.

LeanKit is one of the most complex tools here, but offers plenty of features to those serious about project planning. Read more about it in our LeanKit review.


  • Great for dividing work among groups
  • Helpful tutorial project
  • Excellent support


  • Unattractive design
  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t encrypt attachments

Honorable Mentions

We’ve listed our favorite alternatives, but there are several other tools worth looking at. They may not be a perfect fit for Trello users, but they all have something to offer.


If you want to escape from easy mode and throw yourself headlong into the hard-nosed business of project management, Wrike is the tool for you. It’s full of features to help manage your projects and includes dependency management to let you spot bottlenecks before they occur.


Wrike has top-quality security and support. It also integrates with many platforms. It isn’t hard to use, either, but there’s a learning curve.

Despite being an advanced tool, Wrike has a free plan, but it limits you to five users. Beyond that, its paid plans start at $9.80 per user per month, so it’s great value.

Read our Wrike review for more details. Our Wrike vs. Trello comparison shows how they shape up against each other.


If Trello’s “butler” automation feature appeals to you, Airtable’s “blocks” might also be of interest. They allow you to automatically do all sorts of things, such as image processing or translation.

Its kanban view will let Trello users stay in their comfort zone, but its default view is closer to a spreadsheet. There’s also a calendar to help you plan things.


The Airtable universe lets you see what other users have done with the tool and is similar in that respect to Trello’s inspirations page. If you’re stuck for ideas, it’s a great place to look.

Airtable gives you plenty of support, with many articles and an active community. It is also one of the most secure platforms, with 256-bit encryption used for data in transit and at rest, along with multiple certifications and two-factor authentication.

Airtable has a free plan, and its paid versions start at $12 per month. If it appeals to you, read more about it in our Airtable review.


Like Trello, Basecamp takes a friendly approach. Its design is appealing and it’s easy to use.

It’s geared toward teams and has excellent communication features, such as its “campfires” and message board. It’s easy to create tasks and assign them to teammates and you can share files with one another.


It takes a tough stance on privacy, with 256-bit encryption, and it complies with the EU-U.S. privacy shield. Our how to protect your privacy guide is worth reading if you’re concerned about who is snooping on your data.

In addition to having good tutorials and help pages, Basecamp’s support is excellent, responding to us in an impressive three minutes.

Basecamp charges a flat monthly fee of $99, regardless of the number of users. If your team is large, that could save you a fortune over platforms that charge on a per-user basis. Basecamp is free for educators and students, and it offers discounts for nonprofits. Read more in our Basecamp review.

Final Thoughts

Trello is an excellent tool, but there are many alternatives to it. There are simpler options among task management software and more sophisticated choices.

If you just want something basic, TickTick and Todoist are great choices. Asana is a similar, fun project management application that’s less centered on kanban, while and LeanKit offer more complexity without being too difficult to use.

If you’ve tried any of these tools, or have others to recommend, please let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.