Trello Review

Trello is a solid project management tool that’s used by companies big and small the world over, including Cloudwards. We like it a lot, but as you can read in this full Trello review, there are limits to its usefulness, despite the recent update.

Fergus O'Sullivan
By Fergus O'Sullivan (Writer, Former Chief Editor)
— Last Updated: 2022-01-04T13:16:39+00:00
Starts from $ 500 per month
Free plan available Save 17 % (All Plans)
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Trello is one of the most popular project management tools, and we’re huge fans of it at Cloudwards. It’s easy to use, has solid pricing and makes it easy to track tasks for beginners and veterans alike. We go over the reasons we like it so much in this full Trello review.

For how much we like it, you may find yourself wondering why we don’t feature Trello higher in our ranking of the best project management software. That’s because it relies heavily on its kanban boards, leaving other features underdeveloped. You can get a lot done with Trello, but not everything.

Key Takeaways:

  • Trello is the best kanban board, bar none, and it’s worth checking out for that alone.
  • The free plan is even more interesting than before as it now includes unlimited integrations, meaning you can turn Trello into a hub for all your project management strategies.
  • Trello can help you put together simple projects as well as complex ones, so it’s worth looking into, no matter what projects you’re working on.
  • Trello limits the size of the files you upload — 10MB for the free plan and 250MB for all others — but you can circumvent this restriction by using cloud storage like Google Drive, where the limits don’t apply.

Atlassian, Trello’s parent company, has realized this and made several updates to the software. In 2020, for example, a calendar and timeline were added to make it a more well-rounded contender. In 2021, it greatly expanded the features of the already-excellent free plan and slotted in a new paid plan.

Though it won’t be enough to dethrone the likes of monday.com or Asana as the top dogs, it has made Trello more viable than ever as a fully-featured piece of project management software. Give it a few more years, and there’s a chance it will lead our rankings.

Trello Video Review

  • 12/22/2021 Facts checked

    Rewrote most sections of the review in view of the recent large update to Trello’s features and pricing.

  • Trello is a project management tool that uses a kanban board to keep track of what needs to be done. It’s a great way to see an overview of a project’s progress, though keeping track of subtasks and dependencies is tricky.

  • Yes, Trello is good at what it does. You should keep in mind that its scope is limited, though, so it may not be the perfect fit for you. However, if you’re running a simple startup or something similar, you can’t beat Trello.

  • Yes, Trello is free. We’ve been using it for years and have never been asked to pay for it.

  • Trello is used to keep track of the progress of larger projects. You can’t see how different tasks are interconnected, but it’s perfect for an overview.

  • It depends on what you need. If you just need an overview, we like Trello more, but Asana is better if you need to dip into the details or need to keep an eye on multiple projects.

Top Alternatives for Trello

Strengths & Weaknesses

Pros:

  • Great kanban tool
  • Easy to use
  • Excellent free plan
  • Interesting updated features

Cons:

  • Relies heavily on integrations
  • Lacks some oomph on the paid plans

Features

85 % – Very Good

Trello is first and foremost a kanban tool, and it’s without a doubt the best kanban app. However, it relies heavily on the board, making it a one-dimensional tool, unless you spring for the Premium plan or use a lot of power-ups (Trello-speak for integrations). We’ll go over its features plan by plan so you can figure out which will work best for you.

Trello’s Free Version

The free plan is Trello’s most popular offering, with millions of users worldwide. Until recently, all you got was the kanban board and a single power-up, which wasn’t too great, but enough to land Trello on the list of the best free project management software. This was mainly because of the kanban board being so good.

trello cost kanban
Trello’s kanban board is second to none.

Trello’s board allows you to add all kinds of interesting stuff to each card — which represents a task — and lets you add as many columns as you like. Add to that a smooth user experience, which we’ll talk about more below, and you have a winning formula. Other project management software gets close, but none are quite as good as Trello in this department.

Other than the board, Trello’s free plan offers integrations with other apps, workflow automation and unlimited file storage. However, it’s unlimited with an asterisk as file size is capped at 10MB. That should be enough to add images and documents to cards, though. Check out our Asana review for one service with higher upload limits.

Trello’s Power-ups

Besides the board, Trello lets you integrate modules. Some of these power-ups were made by Trello, but the overwhelming majority were put together by third parties. Before the latest update, you were only allowed one power-up per board on the free plan, but now you can add as many as you like.

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There are a lot of power-ups to choose from.

This is a great option for anybody wanting to do more with Trello than just moving cards on a board, and we especially like the add-ons made by Trello as they’re free and guaranteed to work.

We’re less enthusiastic about the third-party add-ons, though. For one, many cost money to use — or at least need you to make a free account to use — and there isn’t the same guarantee they’ll work. While most integrate smoothly with Trello, some do not, leaving you to figure if the problem can be fixed and, if so, how.

Create Automations with Trello

The last big feature Trello offers are automations through its Butler app. The Butler is accessible through the main board and will allow you to set up automations by yourself or help you through the process. We like the way Trello handles this, which earns it a spot on our best workflow automation software ranking, but it’s no Zapier or Integromat.

workflow management software trello butler
Trello Butler makes automating processes easy.

The Butler can analyze your actions and recommend automations based on them, which is nifty. You can also automate third-party apps and power-ups, which will come in handy if you’re using a lot of different software. In the free plan, your automations can only fire up 250 times. Upgrading raises that cap.

Trello Standard Plan

Trello’s free plan offers a little bit of everything that Trello can do (well, almost), and the Standard plan builds on that. It mostly raises caps –up to 1,000 actions on your automations and 250MB for the file size limit — but it also provides the ability to add custom fields to cards. You can put nifty checklists on them, too.

trello cost custom fields
It seems like a small addition, but custom fields are handy.

As we’ll discuss in our pricing section below, the Standard plan is wedged between the free and Premium plans, and we’re not sure who it will appeal to. That said, it’s a good step for small teams that just need a few extras.

The Premium Plan

The Premium plan (formerly Trello Business Class) seems to be the zenith for Trello — the Trello Enterprise plan mostly offers high-end security permission for massive corporations and is beyond the scope of a Cloudwards review.

Premium removes the cap on automations and adds a lot of small but interesting doodads, like advanced templates and allowing observers. The biggest draw to sign on for the Premium plan are advanced views. These are a calendar, a timeline and a dashboard. It also adds a map feature like those offered by Any.do or Todoist, though you don’t get the location-based reminders.

trello cost map
While we like the idea of adding locations to tasks, the markers aren’t eye-catching on a busy map like Manhattan’s.

Interestingly, Trello’s first big shakeup in 2020 added views more in line with the rest of the industry, like a table and a list, not unlike what you’d see in our monday.com review. These views didn’t knock our socks off, and Atlassian has done away with them, leaving us with the views we mentioned.

Calendar, Timeline and Dashboard Views

We like the calendar a lot. It addresses one of our biggest criticisms of Trello, which had no built-in calendar before, except for a mediocre power-up. It’s still not as good as TickTick’s (read our TickTick review to see why), but few are.

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Trello’s revamped calendar is easy on the eyes.

We also like the timeline view because, unlike many competitors’, it’s a distinct alternative to the calendar, allowing you to manipulate ways of looking at your tasks. 

trello review timeline
You could use Trello’s new timeline as a Gantt chart in a pinch.

We like the dashboard view, too, which gives you a bird’s eye view of what you and your team are up to with simple, colorful graphs.

trello dashboard
Trello’s dashboard is a great way for a project manager to keep track of a team’s activities.

Overall, we like Trello’s new, enhanced feature set, though if you leave power-ups out, the full offering is meager. For example, monday.com and Asana offer more features for roughly the same price as the Premium plan, and nTask offers a massive package for about a third of the price (read our nTask review).

As much as we like Trello, and as much as we like its revamp, we’re still coming back to the same conclusion we always have with the paid plans, namely we’re not sure if they’re  worth the money. However, that’s something we’ll discuss in the next section of this Trello review.

Features Trello Overview

Management Views
Kanban board
List
Calendar
Timeline
Spreadsheet view
Gantt charts
Workload planning
Long-term planning
Management Features
Multiple project management
Dependency management
Native scrum management
Set user permissions
File storage
Time-tracking
Built-in integrations
Reporting features
General Features
Free plan
Free Trial14 days
Web app
Windows
MacOS
Android
iOS
Support
Ticket-based support
Tutorials
Knowledgebase
Forum
Live chat
Phone support

Pricing

85 % – Very Good

Free
  • : Unlimited users, 10 boards, Unlimited power-ups, Unlimited storage
Standard
  • : Price is per user, Unlimited boards, Custom fields, Invite guests
Enterprise
  • : Price is per user, Advanced admin & security settings

Trello’s pricing is a lot better than it used to be. Before, your options were the free plan with just one power-up or Premium, which removed that cap and added small extras. Now, though, there is a clear difference between the plans, one we delve into in detail in our article on Trello pricing.

Trello Pricing Table

Free
  • : Unlimited users, 10 boards, Unlimited power-ups, Unlimited storage
Standard
  • : Price is per user, Unlimited boards, Custom fields, Invite guests
Enterprise
  • : Price is per user, Advanced admin & security settings

Please note that the freelancer plan, Trello Gold, has gone the way of the dodo.

Is Trello Premium Worth It?

Bucking the industry trend, Trello made its free plan a lot more attractive than it was. With unlimited power-ups, the main reason to upgrade is gone. The draw of the Standard and Premium plans are their extras, but you can add those as power-ups. They won’t work as well as the built-in versions, maybe, but you’ll save a lot of money.

With monday.com’s pricing, $10 gets you a lot more than that same $10 at Trello. As much as we like Trello’s kanban board and calendar, monday.com gets you that and a few more features and views, as well. Much the same goes for Asana or Wrike, both of which offer a solid package for comparable prices, and are listed among the best Trello alternatives.

Overall, we’re not sure about Trello’s paid plans. While there’s been a lot of improvement, we still don’t understand who the upgrades are aimed at. That said, at $5 or $10 per user per month, the pricing does sit square in the middle of the market, so it may be worth it to the right company.

User-Friendliness

95 % – Excellent

Trello is an absolute pleasure to use. From moving cards around to setting up new boards, you’ll need to use little beyond common sense. The experience is much the same whether you’re on the web or using the desktop or mobile apps.

Using the Web Client

For this review, we mainly used the web app. It offers a larger screen, perfect for putting up boards, lists and cards for overview purposes. We like this view, with the board taking up roughly 80% of the main user interface.

trello project management board
Trello’s board makes it so there’s basically no learning curve.

Moving cards and lists is done through drag and drop, and you can scroll through lists with your mousewheel. Left-to-right navigation can only be done using the slider bar at the bottom, which can get annoying. We recommend not making your board too wide to avoid this problem (check out this and other tips in our full Trello tutorial).

Lists are simple: click “add another list” in the top part of the screen and one will pop out. Name it and it’s ready to use. Cards are equally simple: click “add a card,” name it and you’re ready to roll.

The fun starts when you click on the card to reveal the back of it. A pop-up will fill your screen with all kinds of options. You can add a label, a description and a due date. You can also assign tasks to team members, so both you and they can keep track of what they’re doing.

Trello review Card Back
Like other tools, you can add all kinds of detail to Trello cards.

There are basic task-management options built in, like a place to attach files and add a checklist, which will come in handy when dealing with larger projects. On the whole, though, we recommend dealing with subtasks by making separate lists and cards because Trello won’t let you easily track what’s on the back of cards.

Trello Mobile App

The experience is much the same with the Trello mobile app. It’s available for Android and iOS and can be downloaded via their respective stores. Once it’s downloaded, and you’re past the Trello login screen, you’re presented with a view similar to the main app’s, though scaled down and more basic.

Trello review Mobile
The app for iOS and Android lacks pizzazz compared to the web app.

There’s not much difference — the menu is even on the right under the three dots — but we’ll admit we felt the whole process of using Trello on mobile was more finicky than we’d like. This is likely due to boards being overviews that don’t translate well to a small smartphone screen.

Security & Privacy

70 % – Decent

Trello doesn’t disappoint when it comes to security, offering good, all-around protection of small businesses’ data. However, it does store your data using Amazon Web Services, which doesn’t have a flawless record. On the privacy end, though, there are issues, as you can read in the relevant subsection.

How Safe Is Trello?

Trello is owned by Atlassian (read our Jira review for another), giving it access to several advanced security features, including 128-bit AES TLS protocol while in transit and 256-bit AES encryption while at rest. It also undergoes regular audits by Atlassian on the client side and Amazon on the server side. Leaky buckets aside, you should be all right.

The biggest security risk when using Trello is, well, you. Many people foolishly make their boards public when creating them, meaning anybody can access them and they’re available to Google’s crawlers (so they pop up in searches). If you avoid this pitfall, Trello is safe to use.

Trello Privacy

As for privacy — which, in short, is how safe your data is from Trello — the news isn’t too good. The Atlassian privacy policy makes it clear the company logs what we do and the information we enter. It also shares this data with third parties who may use it for targeted ads.

At Cloudwards, we’ve been using Trello for around four years and have yet to be inundated by Trello-related spam. Atlassian seems to be respectful about it, but your data isn’t private with Trello.

Service & Support

90 % – Excellent

Much like its ease of use, Trello excels when it comes to helping you. It has plenty of guides for beginners and more experienced users, and it offers webinars for specific issues. It falls short in interactive support, but you likely won’t need it.

If your main concern is learning how to use Trello, it has you covered. Through the support portal, you can access a massive number of tutorials that will get you kanbaning like you’ve been doing it all your life within a few hours. At first startup, you’ll also be met with several interactive tutorials on screen to help you get started.

trello tutorial popup
We like Trello’s tutorial pop-ups a lot.

If you have a specific issue you need help with, it seems Atlassian would prefer you go to the forum — called the Trello Community — rather than use support. It looks active, with users and Trello team members pitching in, and its search function works well, so you’ll probably get the answer you need quickly.

If all the above fails, you can reach out to support through a contact form on the support page, though it seems geared toward people wanting to report bugs or subscribe to a specialist plan. Asking help questions will mainly get you redirected toward the relevant guide or forum page. That said, the answers come quickly, considering we’re using a free plan.

The Verdict

Trello is, and always has been, a solid project management app that can handle anything from simple task management to complex projects. We recommend it in our beginners’ guide to project management, but large teams of seasoned professionals will reap its benefits just as much.

The free plan is the jewel in Trello’s crown, as its basic features are what it does best. Whether you should pay for its advanced features is a trickier proposition, and it depends on what you’re trying to do. Our first instinct is to recommend a way around it, using Trello’s unlimited power-ups to add the functionality you need.

What do you think of Trello? Is it the best kanban board out there or are we missing a project management solution that does it better? What about Trello’s revamp? Is it any good? Let us know in the comments below and, as always, thank you for reading.

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