There are many things to consider when picking a project management tool. Usability is one of the biggest, and we’re going to look at two of the strongest tools in that area. In this Trello vs. monday.com comparison, we’ll decide which is the best option for those who want an easy life.
Trello is easy to use. We do so here at Cloudwards.net. Other companies that use it include National Geographic, Kickstarter and Google, so we’re in good company. It was snapped up by Australian software giant Atlassian for a cool $425 million a couple of years ago, so it’s a big player on the market. Read more about it in our Trello review.
monday.com is a rising star that has over 50,000 teams on its books, a big leap since we reviewed it a few months ago. It has clients such as Philips, Carlsberg and Discovery. We were impressed with it in our monday.com review and placed it first in our best project management software list.
Both tools are face-off veterans and have appeared in previous head-to-heads. Trello won our Trello vs. Jira comparison, but lost in our Wrike vs. Trello contest, while monday.com has scored victories in our monday.com vs. Jira and monday.com vs. Wrike battles.
Setting Up a Fight: Trello vs. monday.com
We’re going to compare these tools over four rounds. The best in each round wins and whichever competitor wins the most takes the contest. If it’s still tied at the end, we’ll think about which tool won its rounds more convincingly.
First, we’ll look at the range of features each platform provides. We’ll consider the basic structure of each tool, the different ways to view your projects and things such as storage space, applications offered and extensions.
In the price round, we’ll see which is the cheapest, as well as look at the plans and payment options. Flexibility and long free trials will score well. We’re considering value, not just going with the lowest price.
The ease of use round should be close, with both tools excelling in that area. It’s important to present features in an accessible way and with a clear, intuitive interface. Trello and monday.com do that. Whichever wins this round will have earned it.
Finally, we’ll look at security and privacy. Keeping your information out of the wrong hands is never more important than when using the cloud, and we’ll see which combatant keeps you safest. If you’re concerned about staying safe online, our cybercrime article will help.
We’re going to look at what each tool does. What it offers will decide whether it’s useful to you.
There’s a common set of features that most project management software have, such as tasks and different ways to view them. We’ll see how Trello and monday.com differentiate themselves by offering multiple ways to organize your projects, integrations with other platforms and anything else out of the ordinary.
Trello is a simple tool that’s almost entirely based around its kanban view. You create columns and add cards to them. The cards are dragged from column to column to show their status or who is assigned to them. Columns can be called what you want. A typical setup is “to-do,” “doing” and “done.” If that’s all you need, then great, but there’s more to Trello than that.
You can attach files to boards, with size limits of 10MB to 250MB depending on your plan. You can get around those limits by using an external service. Read our best cloud storage article for options.
Cards can be assigned to team members, categorized and given deadlines. They can include subtasks, but dependency management is not available by default. Trello also includes customizations, such as stickers and emoji.
It has many “power-ups” that allow you to add all kinds of features. You’re limited to one per board on the free plan, but that allows you to experiment and upgrade to a paid plan if you need more.
There are all sorts of power-ups, and they allow you to add the views and features found in other tools. You can also use data in other platforms via power-ups. For example, the Zapier power-up lets you access data in over 1,500 apps.
The “butler” plugin allows you to automate tasks, and despite that being a powerful feature, it isn’t much harder to use than the rest of Trello. You can create buttons with it that perform multiple actions on cards, letting you get things done more quickly.
With its browser version complemented by mobile and desktop apps, you can use Trello on almost any device.
monday.com projects have boards made of “pulses.” Pulses are individual items, equivalent to cards in Trello. You can customize the data they contain, adding fields for text, people or dates, and you can have multiple versions of each field type, making it a versatile tool.
monday.com has many views, which unlock as you move up through its plans. If you only need its kanban view, you might want to consider Trello because you have to pay for it with monday.com. Beyond that, though, monday.com has a wider selection of views to choose from.
In addition to the kanban view, there are time tracking and chart views, as well as a timeline and calendar. monday.com lets you keep tabs on who’s doing what with its activity log, which shows you what changes everyone has made.
There’s plenty of space for files, with 5GB of cloud storage to use on the Basic plan. Space becomes unlimited at the Pro tier.
monday.com has a simple structure, avoiding subtasks and dependencies by choice. It considers them evil, which might sound extreme, but we agree it’s possible for things to get forgotten if created inside tasks you don’t look at. With monday.com, there’s no chance of that happening.
If you disagree and want the evils of subtasks and dependency management, turn to the dark side in our Wrike review.
monday.com integrates with many services (read our piece about monday.com integrations). You can use Dropbox, Slack and even Trello. As with Trello, the Zapier integration lets you work with data in a lot of applications.
There are mobile apps for Android and iOS, but unlike Trello, it doesn’t have desktop apps.
Round One Thoughts
monday.com has many views and customizable items that let you tune it to your needs. Trello keeps things much simpler. Without power-ups, it’s arguably too simple to cross the line from task management to project management.
Both platforms have plenty of integrations and extensions, though. We particularly like Trello’s “butler” automation system. Trello also has desktop apps.
That said, monday.com wins here. It lets you do more and you can customize its boards. Trello has a lot of scope for expansion with its power-ups, but monday.com’s wider range of views and built-in features put it ahead.
Next, we’ll compare the contenders on price. Cheaper is better, but tools have to offer value for money too. Flexible options, payment methods and free trials are nice to see, as are discounts for educators and nonprofits.
If you’re looking for another cheap platform with a free plan, check out our ClickUp review.
Trello has a free tier that lets you use it as a simple kanban board with one power up. You can’t beat free and it works well. Some free offerings try to squeeze you into upgrading, but Trello’s is usable and will suit many people as it is.
There are plenty of reasons to use the paid plans though. The attachment size limit increases from 10MB to 250MB and you can use more power-ups per board. The “butler” plugin also gets better on the paid plan, with use limits easing and disappearing completely at the Enterprise level.
Paying users get additional customization features, too, such as more stickers and emoji. You can upload your background on paid plans, so you can make your boards feel like your own.
In addition to the team plans, individuals can get the added features with Trello Gold. It costs $3.75 per month, much less than the Business Class plan.
Billing is usually by credit card, but you can request other methods if you’re paying over $5000 per month.
|Tier:||Price per user per month:|
|Enterprise||$20.83 (but decreases with user count)|
You pay per group of five users with monday.com, which sounds fiddly but might save you time when new people join the team, and the prices work out cheaper than many tools, anyway. Unlike Trello, monday.com doesn’t offer a free plan. The cheapest option is $25 per month for a group of five users, which is still good value.
The Basic plan gives you the kanban view and 5GB of storage. At the Standard tier, you unlock the timeline, calendar and map views and get 50GB of space. The Pro plan adds time tracking, charts and formulas, along with giving you unlimited storage.
All users get two-factor authentication, but you’ll need the Pro plan to use Google authentication. Enterprise users get audit logs, session management and the ability to fine-tune user permissions, as well. They also get one-on-one training and a dedicated customer success manager.
monday.com offers a free 14-day trial, so you can test it without obligation (read our monday.com pricing guide).
Round Two Thoughts
If you don’t want to spend a thing, Trello wins not only this round, but the whole contest by default because it has a free tier, and it’s a good one. monday.com requires you to pry your wallet open, but it offers plenty for your cash. Its higher tiers aren’t that expensive either, so you can get its advanced features for a decent price.
Overall, though, because Trello has a free tier that’s good, it wins this round. You can read about another tool with a good free plan in our Freedcamp review.
3. Ease of Use
We’re looking at ease of use and accessibility here. All the features in the world are no good if you can’t work out how to take advantage of them. A strong, readable interface with plenty of guidance and support will score well.
Both tools are strong in this area. monday.com’s outstanding interface is its key strength, and Trello’s ease of use is, again, a big reason to use it. This round will be as brutal a contest as the friendly, colorful tools can muster.
Asana’s usability gives Trello and monday.com a run for their money, though, and you can read about in our Asana review. Our Asana beginner’s guide will help you get started with it, too.
We’ve covered the basics of Trello in our Trello beginner’s guide. That’s a great place to get started if you want to see what it can do for you.
It doesn’t take long to figure out, with a clear interface that shows columns filled with cards. You drag cards from column to column and click them to update the data they contain. It’s simple and easy.
The more advanced features are well-designed, too. Even the automation tool, “butler,” is as simple as can be, with self-explanatory controls that let you take advantage of its powerful functionality.
There’s a useful list of shortcuts to help you work faster. There are also many templates and examples to use as a starting point if you don’t want to begin from scratch.
Trello gives you plenty of support, with guides and a detailed knowledgebase that explains how its features work.
If you want to move your team onto the cloud but have less technical members with reservations about it, Trello is one of your best options. It’s easy and a great introduction to cloud-based tools.
monday.com has a layout that uses space and color well while getting a lot onto the screen. It’s simple to sign up to and you get your own subdomain for your team.
monday.com is a more complicated tool than Trello, but the interface goes the extra mile to make it easy to use. It’s the best interface we’ve seen in the project management category. It helps you at every turn. There are subtle animations that show you what to do next and what’ll happen if you click things.
monday.com includes a selection of over 70 templates to help you get started, and it gives you guidance on picking one, which helps you make a more informed choice than you would with most tools.
It also has a comprehensive knowledgebase and fast customer support that responded to our inquiry in just four minutes.
Read our Basecamp review to learn about another tool that responded to our support inquiry in double-quick time.
Round Three Thoughts
This is a tough one to call. Trello is probably the easiest to use in the project management category. monday.com is harder but more sophisticated. Its interface is outstanding, though, doing a great job of showing you what you should do next and what effect your actions will have.
This is an ease of use round though, not an interface round, so we’re handing it to Trello. If you can’t figure out how to use Trello, you should stick to pen and paper. monday.com is also fantastic at helping you, though, so there’s no reason to be put off using it by usability concerns.
4. Security and Privacy
Next, we’ll assess security and privacy to see if monday.com and Trello are as good at keeping you safe as they are at making themselves accessible. We’ll look at encryption, certifications and the options they give you to tune things to your needs.
Trello has a surprising amount of security features, offering all the standard things we expect to see. Read our online security article for more about the topic.
Trello uses strong encryption, with TLS 128-bit for data in transit and AES 256-bit for data in storage.
It offers bug bounties so the good guys can find issues before the bad guys spot them. It also has external certification with SOC2 Type 1 and PCI DSS certificates. Trello is covered by the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. privacy shield frameworks, too.
Its advanced options include account deactivation and domain-restricted sign-ups, so you can make sure access is limited to people working at your company. You can control permissions and choose how power-ups and attachments are used.
You can also request project data deletion, with Trello removing your personal data within 30 days of you closing your account.
Trello includes two-factor authentication, as well as SAML single sign-on and Google OAuth, so you’re protected against rogue logins.
monday.com matches Trello on encryption, with TLS v1.2 used for data in transit and AES 256-bit for data at rest. It’s compliant with the EU-U.S. and Swiss U.S. privacy shields, as well as the General Data Protection Regulation. It has SOC 2 Type 2 certification and a couple of ISO certificates.
It also has two-factor authentication, which you can read about in our what is two-factor authentication article.
There are more options for Enterprise users, who can view audit logs showing information about users logging in to their accounts. Read our ProWorkflow review for another tool that does auditing well.
You also get domain-restricted sign-ups and can improve login security with SAML and Google authentication. You can control your password policy, too.
Round Four Thoughts
Both tools offer a lot here, with strong encryption, a range of certifications and options to tune your security. They provide two factor authentication to all users, which is a plus, but it doesn’t help separate them. We prefer the selection of options monday.com has though and also appreciate how simple it is to make changes. monday.com takes this by a whisker.
5. The Verdict
monday.com taking the final round leaves things at two rounds apiece, giving us a tough decision to make. monday.com won clearly on features, but inched ahead on security. Trello won on price and ease of use. The ease of use round could’ve gone either way, though. Trello largely won it by being simpler, with monday.com featuring the stronger design.
It’s the round we thought hardest about and that means we hand the overall contest to monday.com. With its broader feature set and outstanding usability it would feel unfair to give the contest to Trello just because it’s simpler.
Don’t discount our runner-up though. As a simple, easy tool, it’s hard to beat, and it’s free if you don’t need its more advanced features.
Both tools are easy to use, scoring well on usability. monday.com offers more features and does a great job of making them usable, while Trello is a great choice for those new to working in the cloud.
If you have experience with Trello and monday.com, please share your opinions on how they compare in the comments. Thanks for reading.