Trello vs Asana

Picking a project management tool is a very particular choice. You have to consider the size of your team, your budget and what features you might want. You’ll also be putting your business’ information into the tool, so you need to look into its security as well.

If you’re torn between Asana and Trello, we’ve compared them in a series of rounds in all the most important ways. We’ll tell you which one is the most secure and even take a look at the price. The winner of each section will receive a point, and at the end we’ll tell you which one is the overall victor in this Trello vs Asana matchup.

Check out our stand-alone Asana and Trello reviews for more information on each of these project management tools and how they work. Of course, these aren’t the only options, and neither of these programs top our list of best project management software; that honor goes to monday.com.

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      1

      Features

      Both Trello and Asana want to help you organize your projects and tasks in the most efficient way possible. However, the two companies come at it from different directions. The project management that Asana offers has a huge range of features, showing you all its options and integrating them into its views.

      Trello gives you a very narrow range of features to work with at the start, and each extra feature has to be added. If you’re asking yourself what Trello is, check out our Trello beginner’s guide for more information.

      The large number of features Asana offers rivals even our favorite project management tool, monday.com. Check out our Asana vs monday.com article for a head-to-head analysis of these two powerhouses.

      Asana’s default views are varied for different applications. You can view your tasks in a list, in a board, in a Gantt chart and even in a calendar. There are a few more project views that allow you to present progress updates and manage conversations and files.

      avt-gantt

      Trello can do much of this, but not right out of the box. All you receive by default with Trello is a kanban board for all your tasks, much like LeanKit (read our LeanKit review). However, almost all of these project views can be emulated via a series of third-party power-ups.

      Although it’s frustrating that there’s only one view to use at first, Trello’s power-ups are far more than just integrations. There are also ones that create complex task management and visual effects on the cards, such as changing a card’s color as its due date approaches.

      Asana’s apps — its version of integrations — are all focused on combining your project with another service. Plenty of Trello’s power-ups are just improvements on the tasks, which is interesting as a concept.

      Progress and Conversations

      Asana’s quest to fulfill every business-project need led it to add two features that Trello lacks: progress reports and conversations. The “progress” view on Asana is a unique project view that lets the administrator announce to team members or guests how the project is coming along.


      In comparison, everything in Trello must be linked to one of its tasks. That means there’s no room for pages like this, where the progress is linked to the overall project instead. 

      The Asana app also pulls ahead in the “conversations” view for its projects. This view is simply a list of conversations and status updates posted to a single project. It’s nothing fancy and far from a Slack channel, but in a field that tends to shun the communication side of project management, it’s better than nothing.


      Trello doesn’t have any method for communicating with a project’s team members or admins. The only way to leave a message is to comment on one of the tasks; you can imagine the lack of threading and messiness that this entails.

      Both Trello and Asana do integrate with Slack, though, so you have that as an alternative. With how common Slack is today, this almost makes up for Trello’s lack of default communication options.

      Automation

      Both of these programs delve into automation of projects, and they are very similar, but Trello edges a bit ahead. It’s also worth noting that Asana’s automations are limited unless you use its business subscription. 


      Asana and Trello both allow you to have multiple triggers and actions within one rule, meaning actions will fire on any number of criteria you set. Trello goes more in depth, though. One of the more interesting rules we saw was adding a named checklist to new tasks in a certain section, or assigning it to a team member.

      Trello also offers buttons, which will trigger a rule to run. This isn’t offered by the Asana project management tool, so it’s a great addition.

      Other Features

      Each program has a few things that make it stand out in this Trello vs Asana throwdown, but lacking them wouldn’t be dealbreakers. Trello allows your team to set custom backgrounds, from a huge variety of options. We’ve spent more time than we care to admit changing the backgrounds of our projects.

      These backgrounds apply to everyone, which is in contrast to some competitors, such as Wrike. If the idea of personal customization appeals to you, read our Wrike review for more.


      Trello also has the option to email new tasks to an official email address for a project. This isn’t advertised and instead is buried in an advanced settings menu, but it was a nice touch for convenience. 

      Both programs do offer a forms feature that you can use to add tasks to your project, although Trello’s forms are a third-party power-up.

      Asana also falls behind when it comes to organization. It offers deletion but no archiving, so all the tasks must remain visible until the project is done. Meanwhile, Trello allows you to archive your cards, as well as delete them if you don’t need them anymore. 

      However, Asana’s “files” view blows Trello’s file management out of the water. You can attach files to Trello’s tasks, but the only way to see that file is to open that task. Asana, on the other hand, has a convenient way to track every attachment in the project.

      If your project is very file-heavy, though, you may want to consider our list of the best cloud storage. Many of these integrate with project management tools, making its own organization irrelevant.

      Round: Features Point for Asana
      2

      Usability

      When it comes to usability, Trello and Asana begin to pull away from each other more as both work toward different goals. Trello’s goal is to be easy to use out of the box with minimal clutter, while Asana’s goal is to be an all-in-one solution for a team or business. Its choices when it comes to usability reflect that.

      Trello starts with exactly one view: cards on a kanban board, like sticky notes. This is great for keeping projects simple and teams small, but it limits your options if you need more complex task management for your projects, like a timeline or a list. All of these are hidden in power-ups and must be added manually.

      It’s so simple that it’s almost a task management program, but see our guide on task management vs project management for the difference.

      Because these power-ups are not created by Trello, they often don’t shine in the usability or style departments. For example, if your team needs to see the tasks in a list, the only option is to use Trello Tree View, a power-up that is — to put it bluntly — ugly when compared to the website.


      Because Trello is owned by Atlassian — a large development and collaboration software company based in Australia — there’s also an extra unnecessary menu to link all of Atlassian’s products together. If you use Jira or Bitbucket, this could be useful, but we doubt that the majority of users ever use this menu.

      Asana throws a lot of project functionality at you from the start. You can look at your tasks as a list, as a kanban board, as a Gantt chart and more, as soon as you start work on a blank project. 

      Asana does a good job of making projects as simple as possible, but with so many more options, it will inevitably be a bit more complicated at first for a team working with tasks.


      We did find adding apps — or integrations — to Asana to be a very well-hidden feature. We had to look up how to do it to our projects more than once. Asana’s usability would be greatly improved if it kept its settings and menus in one place.

      Mobile Apps

      Both of these programs offer mobile apps so you can work on your tasks while on the go. Trello also has a mobile website, but Asana simply redirects you to its mobile app if you try to use its website from a phone or tablet.

      Asana’s mobile app is actually very well designed. Project management software apps often work as clones of the desktop app, ignoring how people use their phones. However, Asana invested in a fully mobile platform, taking into account mobile app design patterns and ease of use.


      You can’t do everything on the app that you can on the desktop, such as deleting tasks. However, you can do almost everything for your projects in an easy-to-use way. Rather than trying to give you every option, Asana offers just what you need to manage your team and your tasks on the go.

      Trello didn’t take that route. Instead, it mirrors the desktop Trello app almost identically. You can see only up to three categories at once, as the entire app scrolls sideways just like the website. This wouldn’t be such an issue on a tablet in landscape mode, though.


      The most common way to work with Trello cards is dragging them between columns. This is a bit harder on the mobile app, but it’s still possible. You can long-press on the card and drag it to where it needs to be, or you can move it in its own menu.

      One standout feature of the Trello app is its help menu. This actually links to a Trello board that the company uses to show you what’s been updated, what’s in the works and how its features work. It even includes FAQ and a card where users can provide feedback on the project to the team.

      Usability comes down to how your team intends to use the service. Asana is very usable but complicated due to its abundance of built-in work features. By design, it has a steeper learning curve for its projects.

      As much as we love the Asana mobile app, when it comes to Trello vs Asana on usability, Trello gets the point. If you just need to whip up a list of tasks with some sticky notes and nothing more, your team will be up and running way faster with Trello.

      Round: Usability Point for Trello
      3

      Price

      Trello and Asana are both priced based on how many team members you have, making it more expensive as your team grows. This is quite common for project management software, although some competitors don’t work that way; check out our Basecamp review for an example.

      Asana offers three pricing tiers: a free version, Asana Premium and Asana Business. The Premium plan costs $13.49 per user per month, and it gives you access to custom fields and dependencies for your projects.

      Asana’s Business class is the only plan that gives you access to custom automation rules, and it comes in at a whopping $30.49 per user per month. It also comes with manager-approval abilities for your team and a “portfolios” feature, which is similar to Trello’s board collections.

      For Trello, pricing is split into three tiers: Free, Gold and Business. Its free tier is a good option for those who need a very simple, straightforward way to put tasks in categories. It’s limited to only one power-up per project, which is its biggest drawback.

      Its free tier is a strong competitor to our favorite project management tool, monday.com. Read our monday.com vs Trello head-to-head comparison to see why we think monday.com still pulls ahead.

      Power-ups hold almost all of the functionality outside of Trello’s card view. This heavy power-up use makes the free level very unappealing for in-depth work. For some free alternatives, read our roundup of the best free project management tools. Otherwise, if you’re in love with the kanban theme, check out the best kanban tools.

      Trello Business offers the full functionality of the program, including unlimited power-ups, for $12.50 per user per month, which is similar in price to Asana Premium. You also get some features that are useful for a larger team, such as collections of boards, advanced project automation and increased security.

      Trello Gold

      Trello Gold sits between the Free and Business tiers. For $5 per month or $45 per year, a single user can upgrade and get some of the benefits of the paid tier. This includes three power-ups per project, which bridges the gap with an affordable option.

      This is an especially great option because the power-ups apply to the board, not the user. This means that if one user upgrades and makes a board, other free users can also take advantage of those power-ups.

      Discounts and Free Trials

      It’s uncommon for users to pay the full monthly price of a project management tool. If you bill annually instead of monthly, you get a significant discount. Both of these programs offer similar discounts of about 20-percent off when billed annually.

      Both also offer free trials, but Trello’s free trial is for only 14 days, while Asana offers a free trial for a full 30 days. This gives you more time to check out the features and decide if you want to continue using it.

      Asana does require that you enter your credit card details, though. It also defaults to billing annually, which we found a bit shady. If you go over your 30-day free trial by a single day, you will be automatically billed for a full year of usage. In comparison, Trello needs only an email address.

      We found Trello’s tiers to be cheaper and more useful than Asana’s. Having to enter a credit card to get a free trial also leaves a bad taste in our mouths. The point goes to Trello for this section.

      Round: Price Point for Trello
      4

      Security

      When you’re choosing a project management tool, it’s important that you can trust the safety of your data. Not only do you want your work to be safe from malicious hackers, but you should feel secure that your data isn’t being sold to advertisers. Staying safe online is a complicated practice nowadays, but we’ve written a guide to help you protect your privacy.

      Both Trello and Asana pass a few basic security checks. Both of them are SOC 2 Type 2 compliant, which means a third party has independently verified both the security controls and the way the controls are implemented. This is a common certification for project management software to have, but it’s still good to keep in mind.

      Both programs also feature two-factor authentication, which is less common. Two-factor authentication increases the security of your account by forcing you to enter both a password and a temporary code sent to your device.

      Atlassian Account Merging

      Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of these company’s privacy policies, we need to talk about the software company that owns Trello: Atlassian. Its products include Jira, an issue-tracking tool, as well as Bitbucket, a Git repository management system and collaborative workspace.

      Atlassian acquired Trello in 2017, which was exciting for the company, but this has also changed a lot when it comes to Trello’s security and privacy. 

      For example, Atlassian began to merge Trello and Atlassian accounts in February 2020. If your Atlassian account includes a “managed email address” — any organization or company email address — it means that organization now has full control over the work on that account and you become a team member.

      Even if it’s simply a secondary email address, you may lose complete control of the account, including any private boards you may have made for yourself or another team. This is an ongoing process at the time of writing, but it will soon be completed by forcing all users to merge with Atlassian accounts by June 1, 2020.

      Privacy Policies and Your Data

      These services differ vastly in privacy policies. Asana’s privacy policy is complete legalese, making it really difficult to understand for the layperson. It doesn’t help that there are three tiers of users, each with their own set of rights under this policy.

      We combed through the legal speak and determined that the information Asana collects is pretty minimal, other than your location. It’s strange that Asana would ever need your location, though, because none of the features or integrations include mapping.

      Trello abides by Atlassian’s privacy policy, which is a little more accessible than Asana’s policy but leaves a lot of opportunities for Atlassian to use your work and data in ways you may not want.

      Atlassian uses cookies to track what sites you visit across the internet and to make your advertising more targeted, and it also stores unnecessary information about you. This data is “shared with advertisers,” which likely means that it’s sold.

      There is also a clause in the policy that allows Atlassian to scour the web for any public social media profiles you may have and to link them to your accounts for the purpose of targeted advertising. 

      According to the policy, the information Atlassian searches for includes “physical mail addresses, job titles, email addresses, phone numbers, intent data or user behavior data, IP addresses and social media profiles.”

      Atlassian’s policy gives the company the ability to collect an absurd amount of information about you and use it in almost any way it wants. It’s not very reassuring. For a more secure alternative, read our Airtable review.

      Breaches

      Of course, the number-one piece of evidence for security standards is the history of breaches. Considering all the sensitive business information stored on project management software, if a tool hasn’t been breached, its security must work.

      We could find no evidence of any breaches of Asana. This is a testament to its security controls and instills a lot of confidence in its security standards.

      Trello, on the other hand, suffers greatly from being linked to Atlassian. We found breaches of Atlassian products in 2010, 2017 and twice in 2019. One of them was a zero-day vulnerability that was publicly announced on Twitter, and one of them was an exploit that was being actively used by hackers for months.

      Before Atlassian bought it, Trello’s largest security issue was public boards. When you make a board public, this also means that Google can index it. Although Trello could have predicted that public boards would have this effect, in the end this problem is mostly user error.

      If Trello was a stand-alone company, this section may have gone better for it. However, Asana’s squeaky-clean breach history and handling of user information propels it ahead in this section.

      Round: Security Point for Asana
      5

      Support

      Asana and Trello are pretty similar when it comes to support options. Both companies have a ticket system, a forum and a knowledgebase, if you need help using the services.

      Asana’s system makes it incredibly difficult to submit a ticket to its team, though. To get to the ticket submission page, you have to navigate through the knowledgebase, answering automated questions until the end. If you picked the wrong route to navigate through, you will only be allowed to ask on the forums.


      We understand that the purpose of this system is to guide users to the forums when they don’t need one-on-one support, but we’re not fans of hiding the ticket system until Asana determines that you need it.

      On the other hand, Trello’s ticket system is simple and very easy to reach. You don’t even have to leave the board you need help with to contact support. You can use the dropdown menu to submit a ticket while looking directly at your work, all in one place.


      Forums: The Power of the Crowd

      To be fair to Asana’s ticket system, its forum is really great. There are dozens of posts per day, all quickly resolved by both users and support staff. One upside of using a forum instead of a ticketing system is that users can search for previous solutions to problems.

      Trello’s forums aren’t quite as active, but they’re active enough to get an answer within a day or two. Unlike Asana, its community is set up as a list of questions with tags, rather than a series of categories with threads within them.

      Additionally, Trello has the occasional video scattered in its help articles, but nothing as wide-ranging as the Asana Academy, which include video tutorials and interactive courses to help users learn the software.


      Asana offers nearly a dozen different categories in its “academy,” each with multiple courses or webinars to work through.

      Tickets

      Neither of these project management tools offer 24/7 support, although in a Trello vs Asana showdown, Trello did answer a ticket faster. We sent in tickets on a Friday evening to test the response time. Asana didn’t respond until Wednesday, while Trello responded first thing Monday morning.

      These results are pretty standard for project management tools. Most of these programs assume that the tools are in use mostly during common U.S. work hours, and their support team adjusts ticket responses accordingly.

      Asana’s in-depth webinars and interactive courses inch it ahead in this category. Although we appreciate Trello’s speed of the response and the ease of use of its help menu, Asana’s highly active forums and variety of support options make it the winner here.

      Round: Support Point for Asana
      6

      The Verdict

      This was a close fight between two very popular project management tools. Both Asana and Trello have their benefits for work, but the winner here is Asana. Its security chops leave Atlassian in the dust, and its support system is clearly built to work with people in a large variety of ways. With Asana’s glut of features, you’ll be able to do everything Trello offers and more.

      However, Trello isn’t vying to be the most feature-rich platform for business management. Its goal is to be simple and easy to use, so anyone can make a board for any reason. If you need just a few lists of tasks split up into sections, it isn’t a bad choice at all.

      If neither of these options sound great for you, check out our project management reviews. We’ve taken a deep look at all the options and found the best of the best to share with you.

      Winner: Asana

      What do you think of Trello vs Asana? Do you agree about Asana’s wide feature set and strong security? Or would you still rather spin up a quick Trello board rather than deal with the complexities of Asana? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading.


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      8 thoughts on “Trello vs Asana: Managing Tasks and Projects in 2020”

      1. Really in-depth and interesting read. I use both Trello and Asana depending on the nature of project at hand. Asana is really good for projects or tasks that are time-sensitive and Trello on the other gives you much more flexibility on getting things done. Since both provide Kanban, IMHO Trello is a lot easier and more flexible.

      2. I’m an avid Asana user and have been for a couple of years. I run a graphic design agency and a high volume of work on fast-paced deadlines. Asana’s been integral to the management of these, so definitely a good solution for a more intense workflow.

      3. I tried both and actually it seems Asana is a little bit more big-companies-related while Trello is more startup-friendly. Anyway, with the free account Asana is pretty the same of Trello but with some differences on the UI. Looking forward to decide which is the best.

      4. It may be worth noting that Asana does not allow single-user upgrades to Premium. The $9.99 is per user, but the minimum number of users you must pay for is 5 as of May 2019. There is a request in their user forum to provide a single-user Premium option with quite a few votes of support, however per their customer service, there is no plan to add this in the future. This supports Salvatore’s comment that Asana is more for companies. This is a shame because a start-up or solopreneur can have work that is just as complicated without a team in place that could benefit from the Premium features. I have worked in corporate project management for many years and within two days of using free Asana, I needed the Premium features and have no team. So I’m in search of another platform. It’s a shame too – when my business takes off and I’m hiring staff to support it, I will have moved on to another platform and they will have lost my business! I do think Asana is the winner, though, if you have a team. Great platform!

      5. Excellent review. Thank you for providing it. I looked at both briefly. I like the calendar feature of Asana, but Asana has a 30 day trial then begins charging. Trello seems to be set up as free until you upgrade. So as an individual user, I’m going with Trello.

        1. Cloudwards.net - Chief Editor

          That sounds about right. The paid features of Trello don’t seem to be that great if you’re just on your own. Thanks for your comment!

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