When looking for the best project management software, there’s a good chance you’ll run into ClickUp. It has a devoted following of users that praise it for its versatility, large number of options and, of course, its price. In this full review of ClickUp, we’ll go over all these points and more to see whether it’s a good pick for you.
- ClickUp has a lot going for it, but coming to grips with it can be tough due to an unnecessarily steep learning curve.
- ClickUp offers some of the best pricing out there, especially considering its many features.
- The free offering is one of the better project management options, limiting you only in how much you use it, otherwise giving you an almost full suite of features.
Overall, there’s a lot to like about ClickUp, but compared to market leaders like monday.com and Asana, it falls a little short in a few key areas. For one, we’re not crazy about how ClickUp handles, and also find that while it offers many different functions, they often lack the depth of more specialized tools.
That said, ClickUp is definitely a contender for your attention, thanks to its great pricing: among the better project management tools, only nTask is cheaper (and not by much, either: read our nTask review for more on this). It’s also earned a spot on our best free project management software list, thanks to its excellent free version.
ClickUp is a project management tool that can help you keep track of tasks and projects. It also has time-tracking abilities and a host of other handy features.
ClickUp is a pretty decent piece of project management software, though it isn’t able to beat our top contenders as they generally have more worked-out features.
That depends on what you need it for: as a stand-alone kanban board, Trello beats ClickUp by a country mile. As a full suite, however, you could argue a strong case for ClickUp being the better option.
ClickUp is definitely a secure project management service. Data is encrypted, stored with AWS and the service has no history of breaches or other issues.
Top Alternatives for ClickUp
Strengths & Weaknesses
- Great free plan
- Many different, useful features
- Unlimited file storage on paid plans
- A little annoying to use
- Documentation is hit & miss
- Some lag when moving tasks
- Lacks depth in some important areas
ClickUp has one of the most extensive lists of features that we’ve seen, beating many of its competitors — even powerhouses like monday.com and Wrike. However, quantity isn’t the same as quality, and some of ClickUp’s features lack the depth and polish we see in other tools. Let’s break down what ClickUp offers plan by plan.
ClickUp Free Version
One thing we like about ClickUp is how the majority of its features are available to free users. Most project management solutions use their free version as a teaser, offering only a few views and functions and locking the rest behind a paywall (read our Asana review for one example). ClickUp, on the other hand, offers a full task-tracking suite, but limits how much you can use it.
As such, most of ClickUp’s features are available in the free tier. We’ll go over the most important ones here, then describe what the paid plans add below. Note that in the name of saving space, we won’t go over every single doodad available. For the full list, please check out ClickUp’s pricing page.
We’ll start with the views ClickUp has on offer. These run the gamut, from lists like monday.com has (read our monday.com review) to kanban boards. The board view is pretty good; ClickUp made it onto our list of the best kanban apps for a reason.
Advanced Free Features
Besides these pedestrian options, there are plenty of other task management views, ranging from Gantt charts to timelines to calendars, as well as some really exotic stuff like maps and boxes and, uniquely, mind maps. It’s all really cool and few other project management software have quite this many options.
However, at the same time we get the feeling that many things were added to ClickUp because they were cool, with little thought put behind their utility. The mind map is one example: while it’s nice that you can brainstorm your ideas and immediately put them into a kanban board, the way it’s set up is little more than a different take on Gantt charts.
Speaking of which, ClickUp’s Gantt chart is pretty good, but again can’t do what a dedicated tool like TeamGantt can (read our TeamGantt review). Overall, while we like the number of views ClickUp offers, we wish it offered fewer, but with more depth.
ClickUp Paid Version
As we mentioned earlier, the features in the paid plans are almost identical to those for free users, only free users are often capped at 100 uses. For instance, the map, timeline and Gantt chart can be used 100 times when not paying for ClickUp, after which you’re shut down till the next month rolls around. The only way to remove these limitations is by paying up — you can find pricing information in the next section.
Besides removing limitations, paying for ClickUp unlocks some extra features. A few examples include the option to invite guests to view the board (handy if you’re working with freelancers), the addition of the box view and a host of smaller, quality-of-life improvements, including advanced integrations with cloud storage providers like Dropbox and Google Drive.
Higher tiers also unlock some advanced security options that most smaller businesses likely won’t need, but larger ones will. These include deciding who can invite guests and who can’t, SSO options and restricting users permissions.
ClickUp Features Overview
- Kanban board
- Spreadsheet view
- Gantt charts
- Workload planning
- Long-term planning: No
- Multiple project management
- Dependency management
- Native scrum management: No
- Set user permissions
- File storage
- Built-in integrations
- Reporting features
- Free plan
- Free Trial: No
- Web app
- Ticket-based support
- Live chat
- Phone support: No
ClickUp is one of the cheaper options out there, beating out many of the other best project management options out there except for nTask. Its low price makes ClickUp a serious contender despite some of the flaws we outlined earlier, especially for businesses looking to use the more advanced functions of the Unlimited and Business plans.
- Basic functionality with some limitations
- All prices per user; most limitations removed
- All prices per user; extra features added, especially security
- Even more features added
Compared to Asana’s pricing or monday.com’s pricing, ClickUp is a steal as long as you pay per year: the month-to-month price is almost double and not really worth it. Paying monthly, however, means that you’re spending little to nothing for a pretty good service that gets a lot done. If you’re on a budget, ClickUp is definitely worth a look.
Is ClickUp Really Free?
ClickUp’s free offering is its main draw. The limits it does impose are pretty light, meaning you get an almost fully functional piece of project management software for the price of nothing. Unlike many of the other free providers we like, such as Trello or Wrike, there’s no limit in functionality or how many team members you can invite.
If you need a free task management solution, ClickUp should definitely be on the higher reaches of your list. Give it a spin by signing up here: all you need is a working email address.
ClickUp is very user friendly in many ways, offering a nice user interface with a lot of negative space. However, its ease of use suffers, thanks to its many options and steep learning curve. It’s pretty tricky to offer a lot of features in such a way as to make them easy to navigate, and ClickUp is an object study in why.
How to Use ClickUp Project Management
Signing up for ClickUp is pretty easy: just enter your email address on the website at clickup.com and that’s pretty much it. The only noteworthy part of the setup process is deciding which ClickApps (extensions) you want included. The choice might seem overwhelming, but you can always change this later.
From here you’re transported to the main screen, where you can get to work. This is also where your confusion might start. ClickUp makes a lot of distinctions between different aspects of the program, but it’s a little unclear at times what exactly is so different about it. The similar naming can get confusing, too.
For example, at the core of ClickUp is its hierarchy. At the top are “workspaces,” which is equivalent to the company-wide level. Below that are “spaces,” which ClickUp recommends you use as the different departments within your company, like HR, marketing and advertising. It reminds us a little of how Basecamp divvies things up (read our Basecamp review).
Below that are “folders,” supposedly, but all we could see were the different views for our tasks. You add views by going to the bar at the top and adding them as you please. This is very easy, and we like how ClickUp implemented it.
There’s also the dashboard, where you can add widgets like in monday.com (read our monday.com review) that will help you keep track of multiple projects, but honestly we’re confused whether ClickUp means projects or spaces in this case. After messing around in the documentation for a few hours, we’re not sure if we care anymore.
Thankfully, the basics of ClickUp work well enough. You can assign tasks to team members, set due dates and share task details with a single button click. As a task management system, it’s pretty solid.
However, one major issue remains: ClickUp’s documentation. ClickUp is doing something different, which is good, but the most important thing you need to do when you’re going into new territory is make sure that users can follow your path. ClickUp misses a few beats here.
It’s unclear whether video tutorials or writing guides are the preferred way to learn about using ClickUp; after trying both, we can conclude that the team behind the software wasn’t sure either. There are tons of videos and they are long and detailed, but in a bad way: they treat much of ClickUp’s terminology as a given, but go into excruciating detail on basics like clicking.
Also, the sound quality is poor, which makes watching the videos an annoying experience.
On top of that, the videos are organized rather haphazardly, with basic and advanced topics presented willy-nilly in a list. This carries over into the written guides, too, with articles about very specific issues placed above beginners’ guides. Also, the guides vary wildly in quality and tone, which can get annoying quickly.
Overall, while ClickUp clearly has a lot of heart, we wish it all was implemented a lot better. As it stands, there are a lot of competitors out there that make general day-to-day use and getting started whole lot more pleasant.
Security & Privacy
Is ClickUp Secure?
Your data is also safe from outside interference. ClickUp has no known history of breaches and the like, and stores your data through AWS. Though AWS (read our AWS guide) has had some security issues in the past, overall we would trust it with your data: it’s fully compliant with a long list of safety protocols.
The few things ClickUp does handle in-house, like transfers to AWS and in-app chats, are all up to snuff as well. Your data should be safe as houses with ClickUp.
Service & Support
As with most of the best project management software, service and support with ClickUp hinges on its documentation. As we discussed in our user-friendliness section, however, there are some issues there, so overall we’re not blown away by the service ClickUp users get.
Getting started with it means navigating the jungle of video and written guides and, while this is in no way impossible, it’s made harder than it needs to be. This is a shame, really, as some simple tweaks here would lift ClickUp well above the crowd.
However, if you’re stuck, you can reach out to ClickUp’s support team via live chat, which should get you a link to the relevant tutorial. This doesn’t always help for the aforementioned reasons, but it’s better than nothing. You can also contact ClickUp by phone or email, but that’s only for sales inquiries.
Overall, we find it hard to recommend ClickUp, but we don’t want to warn people away, either. It has a lot going for it in theory, and we have seen glimmers of greatness while using it.
However, the interface and documentation is just a bit rough around the edges, meaning you’ll need patience to really get going with it. Still, the free plan is pretty good, so take it out for a spin and see how it goes.
Have you used ClickUp? Let us know in the comments below what you thought of it and whether or not we got our verdict right. As always, thank you for reading.