monday.com vs Asana: Managing Workflow in 2020

Monday.com and Asana are two of the most popular project management tools around, but which of the two is better? Keep reading this monday.com vs Asana comparison and see which comes out as the winner.

Fergus O'Sullivan
By Fergus O'Sullivan (Editor-at-Large)
— Last Updated: 2020-11-25T09:56:28+00:00 Facts checked by: Andrea Babic

If you’re deciding on the best project management software for you or your company, you’ve come across the names Asana or monday.com, two powerhouses of the industry. In this monday.com vs Asana piece, we’re going to compare the two in a five-round battle and hopefully determine not just which one is better, but which one is better for you.

The short of it is that monday.com comes out on top, even if only by a little bit in each round. While Asana is definitely one of the greats, it just misses the mark a little in places where monday.com hits it spot on.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Asana’s free plan is great, but it seems aimed mostly at freelancers. Most people running a small or medium business will find that they need to pay for Asana to get the most out of it; this is where monday.com may become interesting.
  2. While Asana offers more management features than monday.com, its pricing is a lot higher, too, especially on the higher-end plans. Shoppers may want to keep this in mind and decide which features are essential for them.
  3. Both services have a fantastic knowledgebase and tutorials, meaning people just starting out with project management software are in good hands using Asana or monday.com. However, monday.com also has live support, which may tip the scales in your case. 

Of course, you could always decide that experience is the best teacher and try Asana or monday.com out for yourself. In that case, you’ll be happy to know that both offer generous free trials. Head to either monday.com or the Asana homepage to sign up (note that you will need to give your credit card details to participate in Asana’s trial.)

  • Asana is a task management tool that helps you and your coworkers track what work you should be doing when. We like it for its ease of use and many different ways of organizing tasks.

  • Monday.com is a project management program that helps you and your team keep track of what you need to be doing. We really like it for its price, and the fact that it’s easy to use and has a lot of task management features.

  • Monday.com has a generous two-week free trial, but after that you need to pay. Asana, however, has a free plan that’s one of the best on the market.

  • That depends on what you’re going to use it for, but no, generally speaking monday.com is better. For example, if you’re a freelancer, Asana may be worth looking into, while small to medium businesses are better served by monday.com

Asana vs Monday.com Project Management Matchup

With pleasantries out of the way, let’s get to our battle. We’ll be comparing our two roosters over five rounds, corresponding to the criteria we set for our project management reviews. We’ll be looking at how they handle task management in real time, as well as other aspects of wrangling projects such as ease of use and security. Let’s get to it.

If you’d like to know more about these two services outside the ring and with a bit more detail, we recommend you check out our monday.com review and Asana review. Both give you a lot of information on how they operate in isolation.

1. Features

Both our contenders are flexible tools that offer a ton of features for users — veterans and newbies alike. To pick one that’s better is tricky, but Asana wins here by a hair, thanks to simply offering more, and spreading it out a little bit better over its plans.

Both project management tools come with four plans, with their features divided among them. The first thing you’ll notice when comparing feature lists is that Asana’s division makes more sense. Advanced features are all grouped together in the higher tier plan. Monday.com’s division seems more haphazard.

This difference is the most glaring when it comes to views, ways in which you can see your daily tasks and progress. For example, monday.com only offers a list and kanban view in its Basic plan. You need to upgrade to the Standard plan for a timeline or calendar view, and getting charts or workloads requires yet another plan upgrade.

asana vs monday pricing
Monday.com’s features are spread out a little unevenly over its plans.

Asana, in contrast, offers a list, calendar, kanban and an overview board in the Basic (free) plan, making you pay only for the timeline feature, which comes with the Premium plan. Though the workload view is restricted to the Business plan tier, there’s a lot more included before you get there.

monday vs asana cost
Asana’s pricing is structured a lot more logically than monday.com’s.

Bells and Whistles

We also like that Asana offers more bells and whistles than monday.com does. While there’s nothing wrong at all with monday.com’s features, it feels like they could be expanded on a bit when compared to Asana’s.

For example, we really like the way the time-tracking app was implemented in Asana, and the features surrounding milestones and goals are great for managers who need a big-picture view. Also, the timeline and kanban views work a smidge better, so if you need a kanban board or Gantt chart, Asana is definitely worth looking into.

Round: Features
Point for Asana
Visit monday.com0
Visit Asana1

2. Pricing

With one round in favor of Asana down, let’s move on to our discussion of pricing, where monday.com scores an equalizing point. While Asana has a better buildup between its pricing plans, as we discussed, monday.com is just a better value for money. Before we get into that, though, let’s first look at the numbers.

Monday.com Pricing

Basic
  • Unlimited users, forms, mobile apps
Standard
  • Timeline & calendar view, integrations, automations, guest accounts, advanced search, 24/7 customer support
Pro
  • Chart & time tracking views, private boards, formula column, unlimited guests
Enterprise
  • Audit log, advanced account permissions, session management, HIPAA compliance. Contact monday.com for pricing

Asana Pricing

Free
  • Up to 15 users
Premium
  • Price is per user. unlimited users, expanded features
1-year plan $ 10.99/ month
$131.88 billed every year
Save 19 %
Business
  • Price is per user. unlimited users, even more features
1-year plan $ 24.99/ month
$299.88 billed every year
Save 18 %
Enterprise
  • Custom pricing, advanced security features

Breaking Down the Costs

As you can see, Asana is more expensive per user, no matter if you pay per month or per year. However, there’s more to value than just a dollar sign, so let’s look a little closer.

Asana’s Basic plan is free (and the reason Asana is as high as it is on our list of the best free project management software) and is a much better deal than monday.com’s Basic plan at $8. However, most small businesses will most likely need to sign up to the intermediate plan regardless of which solution they end up going with, so let’s start our comparison there.

Asana’s Premium plan is a dollar more per user per month than monday.com’s when paying annually, and you could claim that it’s a buck well spent if you need some of the specific features Asana offers. If you don’t, though, going with monday.com means some serious savings, especially for teams with a larger number of users.

However, the biggest change comes with the top tier for each service, Asana Business and monday.com Pro — we’ll leave the Enterprise plans out of the discussion, as few of our readers are likely to be interested. With this plan, Asana users are paying $9 more per user per month on annual billing, and you really have to wonder if it’s worth it.

While some of Asana’s Business features are very handy — like the Salesforce integration or the goals view — others like the portfolio view are just tweaks of what monday.com already has. Also, monday has a lot of other options when it comes to integrations — especially with collaboration tools — so it’s debatable whether you even need the special Salesforce options.

Overall, it’s a difficult round to call. Asana’s free plan gives it an edge and, as such, is a better deal for freelancers and the like. SMBs, who are more likely to need paid features, are most likely better off using monday.com as it will definitely help with that ever-threatening bottom line. That said, we much prefer the simpler pricing of a service like Basecamp, if we’re honest.

Round: Pricing
Point for monday.com
Visit monday.com1
Visit Asana1

3. User-Friendliness

With one point each, we get to our third round, where not much happens to move the slider one way or the other. Both our project management tools offer a great user experience and, despite each having their own way of doing things, there’s not much difference in ease of use to call this anything but a draw.

One thing the two management tools have in common is that they use lists as their baseline user interface. You create tasks and organize them into sections before assigning a team member to them. You also add a due date, priority, status and a few other information points. It’s a bit confusing at first, but the end result is a board that’s just a riot of color, which makes things easy to find later on.

monday tutorial main board first look
Monday.com’s list view is comprehensive and offers slightly more overview than Asana’s.

Lists are great for task management, but offer precious little overview. For that, you need to go to another view, depending on what you need. One of our favorites at Cloudwards is the kanban board, which makes for good viewing and easy card movement.

asana and monday kanban tasks view
We like Asana’s kanban board a little better than monday.com’s, as it feels slightly less cluttered.

If you’d like to know more than just the what and move on to the when, both offer a timeline and a calendar view and are pretty much the same. The timeline has some features you can find in Gantt charts — though nothing as comprehensive as, say, TeamGantt — and the calendar is a great way to see due dates in time, allowing you to manipulate them as suits you.

asana and monday calendar view due dates
Monday.com’s calendar view, as seen above, is almost identical to Asana’s.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

Managing multiple projects is also pretty easy with both services. Asana offers its portfolio view, which lets you manage as many projects as you want and allows you to link information between them, while monday.com offers much the same with its dashboards.

asana and monday resource management dashboard
Monday.com’s dashboard lets you visualize data from several boards simultaneously.

Workflow management is achieved using either service’s workload view, which lets you see what each team member is doing and, maybe, who is doing too much. If certain team members are up against their due dates too often, this is where you’ll see that, which makes this view essential for any project management professional working with large teams.

asana monday com workflow projects
Asana’s workload view lets you keep an eye on what team members have on their plates.

When it comes to other features, such as content management or document management, Asana and monday.com are also pretty much tied, as they are when we compare the iOS and Android apps. So, rather than split hairs, we’ll just chalk any difference between the two in this round up to preference.

Round: User-Friendliness
No clear winner, points for both
Visit monday.com2
Visit Asana2

4. Security & Privacy

We go into our penultimate round with our two contenders neck and neck, but monday.com will break the tie here as it has a much better track record when it comes to security and privacy. It’s not that Asana is bad in this regard, it’s just that monday.com is better. Let us explain.

When it comes to the security of project management software, there are two key factors. First, not just anybody should be able to wander onto your boards. Second, any files you keep on your tool’s servers (as attachments to tasks, usually) should be safe from interference. Both Asana and monday.com tick all the right boxes here.

However, Asana makes us a little uneasy. As you can read in its statement on security, it, like monday.com, is regularly audited and holds certificates for SOC 2 Type I and II. It also encrypts data in transit using TLS — same as monday.com — so thus far it’s all good. However, Asana hosts its data on Amazon servers, while monday.com uses its own.

The difference here is that monday.com, by keeping file storage in-house, is taking responsibility for its safety by implementing high-grade encryption (read about it here), while Asana farms it out to Amazon Web Services — which has a less-than-stellar reputation.

While this alone shouldn’t be a reason not to use Asana, we do recommend you keep sensitive files with a secure cloud storage service instead of with Asana. It also means it loses this part of the round to monday.com. Let’s see if it keeps that advantage in the next bit.

Privacy

Looking at the privacy policies of both Asana and monday.com, we won’t be popping any champagne corks on either’s handling of customer data. It could be a lot worse, of course (*cough* Astrill VPN *cough*), but then again, it could be so much better, too.

Both services collect data on their users, including some device fingerprinting. The claim is that it’s used to improve the way they work, and we’re willing to give both the benefit of the doubt, but it’s still a bit suspect. Both also expressly state that all data is anonymized and used only by them as well as select third parties.

The short of it is that neither company is doing anything hundreds of others aren’t doing as well, and there seems to be no evidence of malfeasance. However, that’s a pretty weak defense and we still wish they wouldn’t. Either way, this round goes to monday.com, thanks to its better security.

Round: Security & Privacy
Point for monday.com
Visit monday.com3
Visit Asana2

5. Service & Support

Monday.com is in the lead as we go into the last round, and there’s no last-ditch rally by Asana as monday.com handily wins the customer service flag from its competitor. While both have ace tutorials and knowledgebases, monday.com takes the ring simply by having a support team that will answer your emails.

Asana has fully embraced the twenty-first century and now does without customer support staff: the only operators it employs are salespeople who, to their credit, reply very quickly but don’t help with technical issues.

That’s not to say you’re left floundering — the support page is a fantastic resource. There are beginner guides, special academy courses and, if all else fails, you can head to the forum where both experienced users and Asana staff can help you if you can’t figure it all out on your own. The system is unconventional, but it works.

asana monday.com support page
Asana’s support page is the portal to a massive amount of well-ordered information.

Monday.com is much the same when it comes to the knowledgebase. It’s a pleasure to use and has a great advanced search function. We were never stuck for long using monday.com, and, much like Asana, you probably won’t need help from a human. Still, it’s nice to have the option, especially considering we’re paying customers.

monday-overlay
Monday.com has an equally good support portal, with the added benefit of live staff ready to help out.

In our experience, monday.com’s support staff are knowledgeable and answer questions at a pretty decent clip. As such, monday.com easily wins this round.

Round: Service & Support
Point for monday.com
Visit monday.com4
Visit Asana2

The Verdict

There you have it: a hard-fought battle between two excellent contenders. While Asana put up a decent fight, it just doesn’t quite hit the high notes like monday.com does, making it the natural winner.

Winner: monday.com

That’s not to say you should ignore Asana completely: for a freelancer or a small business, it could very well be the perfect match. We recommend you try out the free version before making any final decisions (we also have a step-by-step guide on how to use Asana).

What do you think of monday.com or Asana? Did we get it about right, or did we entirely miss the point? Do you think one is more user friendly than the other? Are team management and team collaboration better with monday.com? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.