If you want help organizing your projects, there’s plenty of software out there to assist you. The many platforms have pros and cons, making it tough to choose between them. In this Trello vs. Jira comparison, we’ll look at two of them.
Trello and Jira are owned by Atlassian, so this is a contest between stablemates. We’ve looked at these tools individually before. If you want to see what we thought, check out our Trello review and Jira review.
They’ve also been featured in our comparison articles. See how Trello did in our Wrike vs. Trello and Trello vs. Asana battles. Jira has been in several head-to-heads, too, such as Asana vs. Jira and monday.com vs. Jira.
Trello’s ease of use and simplicity are different from the advanced features and bigger focus on developers rather than regular office users that Jira offers. This is a battle between apples and oranges, and we have no idea who will come out on top.
Jira and Trello aren’t the only choices available, though, so look at our list of the best project management software to see more.
Setting Up a Fight: Trello vs. Jira
We’ll compare Trello and Jira over four rounds. Whichever wins the most wins the contest. If it’s tied at the end, we’ll look at which landed the heavier punches and won its rounds more convincingly.
The first round will look at features and compare what each platform does for you in terms of its structure and the things it offers. Next, we’ll look at price and compare not only what they cost, but also how much value they provide.
In round three, we’ll look at ease of use because, in addition to offering features, software needs to be accessible and problem-free. Finally, we’ll assess security and privacy to make sure you can trust the platforms with your critical business data.
First, we’ll compare the contenders on features. We want to see a range of ways to view and control your data, as well as storage for files, communication options and integrations with other platforms. Original ideas will score points, too.
One platform that has an impressive set of extensions is Airtable. Check out its unusual extras in our Airtable review.
Trello is a kanban board, allowing you to create columns and drag items between them. Despite the simplicity, you can do a lot with it. A glance through its “inspiration” examples will give you all sorts of ideas.
You can invite other members and share your boards with them. Boards can be made public, so Trello is a great way to share information with customers.
It has many extensions, which it calls “power-ups.” They add different views, allow you to connect to other platforms and more.
The “butler” power-up enables you to automate tasks. Smart use of it can save you a lot of time, especially if you have tasks that need to be created or assigned on a regular basis. “Butler” can do a lot of the hard work for you.
You can attach files to cards. Attachments are limited to 10MB on the free plan, but that increases to 250MB for paying users. If you need more space, read our best cloud storage for large files article.
Cards can include checklists of subtasks, but there are no dependencies in the vanilla version. You can add these via power-ups though. A TeamGantt extension lets you add Gantt views and relationships. If that’s what you need though, check out the real thing in our TeamGantt review.
In addition to the browser version, Trello has desktop apps for Windows and macOS, as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS.
Jira is based around “issues” rather than tasks, but as with other project management software, they’re the building blocks of your projects.
Like Trello, it has a kanban board view. There’s also a “scrum” view that enables you to target issues to complete in “sprints”.
If you need to generate reports or charts, Jira has you covered. You can generate over 20 types, including pie charts, bar charts and time reports.
You can add subtasks, and it also includes dependencies, but we had trouble getting them working.
Communication is handled through Atlassian’s Confluence software. Jira has a habit of pushing you to other Atlassian services and the transition is often bumpy. Trello does it, too, such as with its support community, but not as often, so it feels less intrusive.
Jira has mobile apps for Android and iOS, so you can use it anywhere.
Round One Thoughts
Trello’s core feature set is basic. It has many power-ups and there are plenty of ways to extend it, but it’s quite limited in its standard form.
Jira has all sorts of bells and whistles and offers a lot of features. Not everything works perfectly, but you can set up and tune things to your heart’s content. Its report generator is also useful.
First blood goes to Jira, with its broader feature set winning out. Trello is simpler, but its power-ups offer plenty of extras. Jira does more in its default configuration, though.
If you’re looking for a feature-rich tool, read our Wrike review. Wrike is one of our favorite platforms. It takes a more business-focused approach than Trello and is a slicker product than Jira.
We’ll look at price next. Cheaper is better, but we also look for flexibility, value and a variety of payment options. Long free trials are good to have, as is some kind of free plan.
If you’re trying to control your budget, read about a wallet-friendly platform in our Freedcamp review.
Trello has a free plan that includes most of its core features and allows you to use one power-up per board. That’s plenty for those who want a quick task management system or only need something basic to share with their team.
Sign up for a paid plan and you’ll get more power-ups per board and your attachment size increases from 10MB to 250MB. There’s also priority support.
Individuals can get extra features by signing up for Trello Gold, which costs $3.75 per month per user with annual billing. It gives you enhanced customization options, such as stickers, as well as more power-ups and larger attachments.
If you sign up for the Enterprise plan, at $20.83 per user per month, you get all sorts of enhanced security and administration features.
Payment is by credit card, with other options available if your team is paying over $5,000 per month.
Jira has a split pricing system: one for those using it as a regular subscription-based service and one for people hosting it themselves.
Self-hosting is more complicated and you’ll need solid technical skills to do it. Instead of paying monthly, you pay a one-off fee to use the software. For small teams, it’s cheap — just $10 if there are 10 or less of you. Above that, it balloons to $2,500. That sounds expensive, but it’s a one-time cost and works out cheaper than paying $10 a month for 25 users in just one year.
If you’ll be self-hosting, you’ll need to pay your own server costs, as well as provide your own storage space. Our best cloud storage article will be helpful.
Round Two Thoughts
Trello is a great choice if you’re looking for a free tool. Other tools have free offerings, but Trello’s is one of the most functional, and if you’re happy with what it does, there’s no compulsion to upgrade.
There are plenty of reasons to do so, though, because its fun customizations and range of power-ups make it a much more powerful tool than it looks like at first glance.
Jira is also good value. Its subscription-based offering is inexpensive, but it doesn’t have a free tier. If you’re self-hosting, you need to pay upfront, but you should save money in the mid to long term.
Keep in mind the extra costs of self-hosting, though. A server of your own will cost you money, so take a look at our cheap web hosting article. Storage will also be down to you. If your server doesn’t have enough space, read our best online storage for teams article.
This round is a tough call because Trello is one of the best free tools, but Jira is fantastic value for large teams. We’re calling it a tie because both platforms have their advantages.
Ease of Use
Here, we’re going to look at ease of use and consider which platform is more accessible, letting you get things done without problems. If something is tricky to use, guidance and support is appreciated, too. Trello scored well in this category in our review, but let’s see how it compares directly with Jira. Read about a tool that does well in usability in our ClickUp review.
Trello is easy and intuitive to use, and it doesn’t take long to figure it out. Its interface is clean and most of its controls are self-explanatory. Its more advanced features and plugins typically have clear guidance on how to use them.
Most of the time, you’ll simply be dragging cards between columns to change their status. You can click cards to adjust the data on them, leave comments, assign them to users, give them labels and do other things.
Trello is so straightforward, it can lead you to underestimate just how many advanced features it has. Browse the power-ups and you can experiment with all kinds of extensions that bring its basic feature set closer to what more advanced platforms offer. Its “butler” power-up is particularly good for automating things and is easy to set up.
One great place to start when using it is our Trello beginner’s guide. It’ll help you learn the basics. It has a few useful keyboard shortcuts as well, to help you work faster once you’ve got the hang of things.
Another tool that does well in usability, but offers a broader set of views and features, is monday.com. Read about it in our monday.com review.
Jira is a complex tool with lots of options, screens and views. There are many ways to configure it and set things up the way you want. Not all of them are intuitive, though, and we found ourselves consulting support for issues where it wasn’t needed on other platforms.
Its navigation was confusing, with similarly named pages, and we experienced long delays when clicking around, sometimes waiting more than 10 seconds for it to load. That makes it difficult to explore and see what’s there.
We found several other minor issues, such as layout errors and things not appearing the first time we tried them.
Subtasks and dependencies gave us problems, too, unlike with most platforms that include them.
This round isn’t a strength for Jira. We found several issues during our review, but to be fair, they may have been teething problems with recently added features. We’ll be interested to see how it has improved next time we look at it.
Round Three Thoughts
There was only ever going to be one winner in this round. Trello is easy to use and Jira isn’t. Trello has accessibility nailed down. Its interface is clear and controls are intuitive. We use it ourselves here at Cloudwards.net and rarely have issues with it.
Jira has quite a few usability problems, but as we mentioned, they may be fixed as its recent changes get smoothed out. The developers that make up a big chunk of its audience will also be less bothered about ease of use than others.
Still, this is Trello’s round, and hats off to it for creating a platform that’s easy to use and highly functional.
Security & Privacy
Here, we’ll compare Trello and Jira on security and privacy. They have the same parent company, so we’re curious as to whether they share technical DNA. Both platforms, especially Jira, bounce you to Atlassian services, so we wonder what else they share under the hood.
Though Trello is accessible to users, it isn’t so accommodating to would-be criminals and includes many features to protect you from danger.
Even on its free plan, you can use two-factor authentication to keep your account safe if your password is compromised. Read our how to set up a strong password article to make it harder to guess in the first place.
Trello uses Amazon Web Services for its infrastructure and has strong encryption to keep your data out of the wrong hands. TLS 128-bit is used for data in transit and AES 256-bit is used for data stored on its servers.
The most advanced features are reserved for paid and Enterprise users. There are domain-restricted invites if you don’t want your team members inviting that guy they met on holiday to view your boards.
You can also deactivate team accounts while keeping their data, which is useful if someone leaves and you want to pass their work to someone else.
You can restrict the attachment types users can upload, limit the power-ups they can add and control what your team is allowed to do. That’s a great way to prevent problems from occurring and bring new users in safely.
Trello also has external certifications, including SOC 2 Type 1 and PCI DSS. It takes your privacy seriously, too, and is compliant with the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. privacy shields. It offers bug bounties, as well, enabling the community to find and fix problems.
Jira has a detailed website that’s open about its security and privacy practices. Like Trello, it complies with the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. privacy shields. It uses TLS v1.2 to encrypt data in transit. We couldn’t find information on how stored data is encrypted, though.
Two-factor authentication is available, but requires a paid extension that costs $10 per user. Read our what is two-factor authentication article for more about the feature.
Again, like Trello, it has SOC 2 Type 2 and PCI DSS certifications, as well as ISO 27001 and ISO 27018.
It matches Trello yet again in its support for bug bounty programs. It also reports past security breaches, though the last one was in 2010, which isn’t too concerning.
We caught its support staff looking at our project data when we asked them a routine question, which isn’t acceptable for a service that manages your private data. It’s unfortunate because, aside from that, we were happy with Jira in this area.
If you want to know more about keeping your data safe, read our how to protect your privacy article for advice.
Some of Jira’s security practices won’t necessarily carry over if you self-host, so it’ll be up to you manage those things.
Round Four Thoughts
Though we weren’t happy with Jira’s support incident, we’re not sure how relevant that is to a comparison between two tools owned by the same company. It’s possible they share support staff, after all.
Both platforms have strong encryption, certifications and plenty of options regarding how users can access your data.
Trello has two-factor authentication for everyone and makes its advanced features straightforward to use. When we factor in our support problem with Jira, Trello goes further in front and wins the final round.
Over four rounds, Jira won in features, and it’s packed with them. Trello is simpler, but has plenty of ways to extend it via its power-ups. Both are cheap, but offer different ways to pay.
Security and privacy is another close area, but Trello’s two-factor authentication is a big plus and Jira’s privacy issue rears its head again, so Trello wins there. On ease of use, though, Trello is streets ahead. That said, developers thinking about Jira won’t be bothered by the complexity and may even enjoy it.
That makes it two rounds to one, with one tie, and makes Trello the winner. As an easy-to-use tool, you can’t beat it, and it has a surprising amount under the hood quality. There are plenty of ways to expand it too, if you want to put in the effort. Once you’re familiar with the basics, it’s well worth looking through its power-ups to see what they can offer your team.
Though we’ve made Trello our winner, both tools are good at what they do and the one you pick will be determined more by your needs than anything else. If you want something simple, Trello is the best choice. If you need something more advanced, it’s Jira.
Jira is harder to use out of the box, but it includes many features that developers will love. It allows you to break projects into sections and manage information about project issues. Its self-hosting option will also suit technically capable teams. If you want to self-host, read our Redmine review for another option worth considering.
There are plenty of other options though. If you’re not keen on Trello or Jira, look at our other project management software reviews.
If you’ve tried Trello or Jira or have an opinion on how they compare, please tell us about it in the comments. Thanks for reading.