Trello is one of the most used task management apps out there — and our best kanban tool — thanks to its ease of use and excellent free plan, while monday.com leads our ranking of the best project management software (click those links for the full lists), hands down. However, is monday.com the best in all scenarios? In this monday.com vs Trello battle, our project management experts will compare the two to find out the answer to that question.
Key Takeaways: Trello vs monday.com
- As project management software solutions go, you can’t go wrong with either pick, the main difference between monday.com vs Trello is that Trello has boards at its foundation, while monday.com uses lists.
- Monday.com is a much more comprehensive tool than Trello straight out of the box. At the same time, Trello is more flexible thanks to its liberal use of add-ons.
- Both Trello and monday.com have free plans, but Trello’s is better by far as monday.com’s is a joke.
Your first instinct may be to think that monday.com, as our overall favorite, is the natural winner and you’d be right. However, for certain people in certain circumstances, it’s far too cumbersome to use: it’s a bit like performing surgery with a meat cleaver. In those cases, Trello can be the better option, especially for smaller businesses.
Because of that, we’ve split our ”features” round into two to properly showcase. As such, we generally recommend Trello for businesses with modest project management needs.
Meanwhile monday.com is the project management tool for larger businesses or those that need to track more complicated projects. Let’s see how we arrived at this conclusion by looking at the two in detail.
Added information about Trello’s new plans.
Well, it depends on what you’re going to use it for — but generally speaking, yes. While Trello is a better kanban board than monday.com, monday.com does every other thing better than Trello does.
Yes, it’s great, even. Monday.com offers a streamlined interface, tons of built-in automation and a whole bunch of features that make managing workflow a breeze. We definitely recommend you check it out using the trial.
Trello’s free plan is better than monday.com’s by a country mile, but its paid plan isn’t nearly as good. If you do decide to upgrade, both will set you back $10 per user per month for the most used tier, but monday.com offers a lot more features for that price.
Trello vs monday.com: Setting Up a Fight
Over the course of five rounds — each one mirroring the criteria in our reviews — we’ll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each contender before deciding a winner. We’ll be going through all this at a pretty fast clip, so any time you need more detail, we recommend you check out our individual Trello review or monday.com review.
We’ll kick off discussing features, or the way in which each piece of project management software handles tasks. Both monday.com and Trello do a great job, but they work very differently from each other. In the end, it’s monday.com’s approach that wins it the round.
We’ll go over the basics first, and we’ll start with Trello. In a way, it’s two programs: the free version, which offers a very nice kanban board and some extras, and the paid version which can do all kinds of stuff.
On the other hand, we have monday.com, which offers the whole enchilada, but costs moolah straight out the gate (the 14-day free trial doesn’t count, nor does the terrible free version).
If we use Trello’s free plan as a yardstick to determine basic features, it’s definitely the better bet for people who like simpler software. You get the kanban board as well as a whole bunch of scheduling and sorting options — it’s more than enough to run a small organization.
Trello probably has the best kanban board in the business — we’ve nominated it as our best kanban app for a reason — and we love the overview it offers. If all you need is a simple system that helps you keep track of what you need to do, then Trello is a great pick.
To use Trello, all you need to do is write tasks into cards, keep them in specific columns and move stuff around as it gets done. It’s really that simple and it works great. We go into more depth in our Trello tutorial, but in essence, this is how it works.
Monday.com handles the basics just as well, but a little differently. Unlike Trello, monday.com uses the list to handle tasks and uses kanban boards only for overview purposes. It’s an equally valid approach, but can be a little harder to start with, something we try to remedy in our monday.com tutorial.
As monday.com can get fairly complex, even just doing something simple can seem daunting. If you just want something that works without too much brain sweat poured in, Trello is the better project management software.
Of course, a more complex piece of software can also handle more complex projects. If you’re moving beyond the basics, monday.com is generally the better choice. It offers a number of features built-in, including advanced features like Gantt charts and resource management (though, as you can read in our Asana vs monday.com article, Asana does it better).
Trello has some more views beyond its boards, but it’s really just a calendar, a timeline and a map view. While we like the calendar and timeline — maybe even a little better than monday.com’s version — the map view seems like a badly thought-out doodad more than anything else. Once you play around with it for a bit, you realize it doesn’t add much.
We’re not sure what the reason is for the inclusion of a map in Trello. For example, Any.do and Todoist also offer maps, but they will send you a reminder when you’re near. Trello does nothing of the sort. It’s an odd thing to add if you’re not going to do much with it.
As meager as Trello’s built-in offering is, it makes up for it with one of the most generous add-on systems we’ve seen in the industry. Called Trello power-ups, the app lets you add as many as you’d like to each board, and you can choose from all kinds, both those made by Trello itself as well as third parties.
We can’t overstate exactly how many options you have: from adding full modules like Gantt charts to even just simple time-tracking functionality; it’s all there. Sure, monday.com’s integrations are pretty decent, but it’s like comparing a switchblade to a Swiss army knife.
Smart use of Trello’s integrations will let you more easily manage complex systems as well as multiple projects, the only real hurdle is your own ingenuity. We like Trello’s approach to this, especially since it allows you to build a whole project management suite without spending a penny.
However, there is a downside. As cool as it is to add different power-ups, you have no guarantee that everything will work well together, or even at all. Though each third-party app is supposed to be vetted, we’ve run into issues a few times getting stuff to work. As such, we recommend you make sure everything works as intended before creating any new strategies.
The upshot of all this is that monday.com is the more reliable piece of project management software that works pretty much out of the box. If, however, you want just a solid kanban board or don’t mind the trial and error of power-up management, then Trello is a solid choice. Of course, there is another consideration that will influence your choice, namely cost.
Our second round is a tricky one, as we compare our two providers’ pricing models. The thing is that, in some ways, Trello is the clear winner as it offers a free plan (it’s one of the best free project management tools, in fact), while in others, it’s a bit of a lemon when compared to monday.com.
We talked a bit about Trello’s pricing plans already in the features section, and really the free plan is where you get the most out of it. The Premium plan, which replaced the Business Class plan and is the only one worth mentioning, adds unlimited boards, the extra views and a few other doodads. All that’s very nice and all, but it doesn’t add as much value as may seem at first.
- Unlimited users, 10 boards, Unlimited power-ups, Unlimited storage
- Price is per user, Unlimited boards, Custom fields, Invite guests
- Price is per user, Several new views
The new views just don’t have the oomph that monday.com’s functions have, for one, and much of what makes Trello shine is already included in the free tier. The way the pricing plans are structured, we wonder why you’d pay for Trello at all; it has everything a small business needs.
- Maximum users: 2, Kanban Board, & list
- Minimum users: 3, Price per user, Basic features
- Minimum users: 3, Price per user, Expanded features
- Minimum users: 3, Price per user, Advanced features
- Enterprise-level features.
Monday.com is on the opposite side of the spectrum. It has no free plan to speak of — seriously, it’s no good — and the $8 Basic plan isn’t much better, However, for $10 you get a fully functional suite project managers will be delighted with. It can do more than Trello can for the same price, and you won;t have to rely on third-party apps to do it.
As such, comparing Trello and monday.com is a little odd: Trello is the much better free option, while people who don’t mind paying need to use monday.com. However, when you do pay, you get a much more powerful suite of features and they don;t need much tinkering.
With pricing behind us, let’s talk about something a bit more subjective than other topics, namely user-friendliness. This is one of those areas where it’s hard to exactly place the line between bad and good, but both contenders are definitely not bad most of the time. However, when looking at the whole picture, monday.com wins, even if just by a smidge.
This is mainly because although Trello is easy to use, this is by virtue of it not being able to do much. Monday.com, on the other hand, has a ton of bits and bobs that are easy to navigate and use despite being chock-a-block with features. So, while Trello makes it easier to move cards around than monday.com does, that’s just because that’s all it does.
Trello’s Simple UI
That said, if you just want an overview of what you’re doing, we definitely recommend Trello. You create lists (columns that indicate status, so whether a task is being worked on), populate those with cards (think of them as tasks) and then move the cards around when something changes. It’s a super simple system, but it works like a charm.
All of Trello is built to support this, so besides the board, there’s just a tiny settings tab at the right. The only thing that complicates matters is power-ups, but as those are optional, we’ll leave them out of this evaluation. Now, compare that to monday.com, and, well….
The first time you see the monday.com interface you may feel a slight panic rise up. It’s daunting, to say the least, but you don’t have to drill particularly deep before you figure out what’s going on. You see, monday.com is as complicated as you make it. At heart, it’s just a great big massive table, everything else is just different ways of looking at it.
Once you realize that your main input is in the screen above, monday.com becomes a lot easier to handle. You realize it’s actually very elegant in how it handles all the different views, and how well all of its add-ons integrate with each other.
That said, if it’s just a kanban board you want, Trello is the better option both in functionality and ease of use. However, if there’s more to your project than that, monday.com should be your first choice when it comes to everyday use, and thus it takes this round.
4. Service & Support
So far, monday.com is set to be the winner, but with two rounds to go, Trello still has some fight left in it. However, in this next round, it will have to once again bow to monday.com as Trello just doesn’t quite have the same panache when helping you out of a tight spot.
We realize “service and support” might be a bit vague, so this round is all about how each service helps you solve issues, but also how they get you started. Both have done a fantastic job here, with extensive documentation and other great resources in the knowledgebase, but the win goes to monday.com because it’s just that little bit better.
For example, when you start monday.com up, you’re immediately greeted with a whole bunch of pop-up tips that take you through the basics of using it. It shows you how to get started with table entries, where views are and all that. It manages to do so in a way that’s neither gratingly chipper nor tediously lecturing, for which we’re both grateful and appreciative.
This tone is continued in its many, many guides and online tutorials, which explain all the ins and outs of using monday.com and its different views and tables. If somehow you still get stuck, you can either go to the community forum or contact customer support, both of which are great options.
The monday.com community is very helpful and the forum is extensive, so you should find whatever you need there. If not, you can always reach out to monday.com’s help desk directly via email. Generally speaking, you should get a reply within a few hours that will give you both an answer as well as direct you to some further resources. It works well, no doubt about it.
Trello is a lot simpler than monday.com, so there’s less hand-holding. The support it gives is adequate, but a lot more bare-bones. For example, there are no tooltips when you get started, so you’ll have to get all the information you need from Trello’s guides. These are good — very good, even — but it can be a pain when you have a specific issue you’re dealing with.
For those instances, you need to hit up the forums because Trello’s customer service usually just returns a link or two to guides you’ve likely already worked through. It can be frustrating, but thankfully the community is helpful and friendly.
Also, Trello does offer priority support for those signed up to the Enterprise plan, so that may be interesting for those with money to burn.
Overall, Trello’s support and guides are good, but monday.com just puts in that little bit of extra effort to get you running. It also takes another round, putting it firmly in the lead as we go into our final bout.
5. Security & Privacy
Security and privacy are often underreported concerns when dealing with project management tools, but a hard look shows that neither service is a winner here. This is mainly based on both services’ dodgy privacy policies, which leave a little too much room for interpretation, if you ask us.
Atlassian, which owns Trello, admits to logging information and reserves the right to share it with third parties, for whatever reason. While we have no experience of any ads being targeted our way — or received reports from readers — the fact is that your movements on your board are being monitored. That’s the price of free.
So, neither service wins any prizes when it comes to how it protects your data from themselves, though both do a much better job of keeping outside attackers from your information.
They encrypt data in transit and at rest — when it’s being sent and when it’s stored, respectively — using AES ciphers, and you may want to check out our description of encryption to find out what that means. Both services can also have two-factor authentication enabled for extra security, which is a nice touch.
On top of that, monday.com is SOC II Type 2 certified, meaning it underwent an audit of its security practices by a third party — a security firm, usually — and passed muster. On the other hand, Trello disappoints a little as it uses Amazon Web Services and its leaky buckets for data storage, so we wouldn’t store our PIN on there.
That said, we’re still calling the round a tie as it feels off to declare a winner when both services play very fast and loose with customers’ data. It’s a pity they do so, as there’s no real need to.
If you want better privacy than either has to offer, check out Airtable for a service that treats your data with respect. You can read our monday.com vs Airtable to learn how the secure service compares to monday.com.
Well, there’s no two ways about it: monday.com trounces Trello in almost every regard and is the clear winner of this battle. Though people looking to go light on the micromanagement may want to opt for Trello, anybody looking to unleash some serious control over projects needs to check out monday.com, stat.
Which of the two services do you prefer? Did we miss any details you feel should have been included? Share your thoughts on these subjects and others in the comments below. As always, thank you for reading.