In this article we’re comparing two project management tools: Wrike and Trello. Both are among our favorites. Wrike always does well in our pieces, and we use Trello behind the scenes here at Cloudwards.net. We’ll see which comes out on top in this Wrike vs. Trello comparison.
Trello is a big player, and it got snapped up by Atlassian a couple of years ago for a cool $425 million. It sits on the boundary of task and project management, with its simple feature set and ease of use being major pluses (read our Trello review).
Wrike is a sophisticated tool that offers managers a lot of features and is designed for more detailed planning. It claims over 18,000 happy customers, which includes high-profile brands such as Mars, L’Oreal and Tiffany, as well as formerly non-evil supergiant Google (read our State of the Cloud column to see how evil Google has become).
Wrike and Trello take different approaches, with Wrike being more business-focused and Trello being simple and straightforward.
Setting Up a Fight: Wrike vs. Trello
We’re going to compare Wrike and Trello over several rounds, with each one looking at a different area. Whichever wins the most rounds will be awarded the fight. If it’s even at the end, it’ll be a points decision based on which won its rounds by wider margins.
We’ll compare features first by looking at what the tools do because that’s kind of important. From there, we’ll compare them on price to see which is easier on your wallet. If you don’t want to spend a lot, read our Freedcamp review for another good choice.
We’ll consider ease of use after that because that’ll have a big impact on how useful the tool is for you in practice. Lastly, we’ll look at security and privacy, which are major considerations when working in the cloud.
Trello is an easy tool to use, so we’re expecting it to have a strong round three, but we’re looking forward to seeing what happens elsewhere. Wrike is technically strong, but that doesn’t make the features or security and privacy rounds foregone conclusions.
Features is where we talk about what the software does and what it can bring to your project. Most project management software is based around tasks, but beyond that, things can be very different, with all sorts of ways to organize and view the items you have to do.
In addition to the structure of your project and the ways you can view your data, we’ll look at communication options, the platforms supported and extras, such as time tracking or automation features.
For a good example of a tool with uncommon features, take a look at our Airtable review. For now, though, let’s look at Wrike in more detail.
Wrike allows you to create tasks and subtasks. You can assign them to people and create dependencies to make sure your project is completed on time. Dependencies are a useful way to keep your project on track and enable you to solve schedule-related problems easily.
It has a custom report generation system and a proofing feature that allows you to comment on files, including at specific points in videos. If you’re doing a lot of video work, our best cloud storage for video guide will be useful.
You can make task creation easier by setting up forms, which is useful if you want your staff to create tasks with a set structure. Once a task is created, everyone can see what needs to be done and who is assigned to it, as well as relevant information you choose to include. That’s all done without the need for anyone to call a meeting or send a message manually.
Storage space starts at 2GB and climbs to 100GB on its top plan, with a hefty 4GB attachment size limit. That should be plenty, but if you need more, take a look at our best online storage for teams guide.
Wrike offers integrations in various categories. They include communication options, such as Microsoft Outlook, Gmail and Slack, along with many others.
Wrike also has desktop and mobile apps, so you aren’t limited to working in the browser.
Trello is a kanban board. It allows you to create tasks and sort them into columns. The columns can be given different titles to define your workflow. For example, a simple setup might have “to do,” “doing” and “done.”
You can make columns represent team members to see who is dealing with a particular task. That way, everyone on your team can see who is assigned to do what, what needs to be done and what’s finished. It’s a great way of keeping everyone aware of what’s happening.
In addition to being useful to managers, it gives the whole team a big picture view of what everyone is doing.
Tasks can include a checklist of subtasks, but there’s no dependency management. Not everyone needs that, though. Tasks can be labeled with different color categories and stickers that you can customize.
Though it does it well, that’s about all there is to Trello. That said, there are a few bells and whistles.
You can upload files and attach them to tasks, but on the free plan these can only be 10MB in size. That’s quite limiting, but the cap increases to 250MB when you pay for the service. There’s no limit to how many attachments you can have, though, so you get unlimited total storage.
Trello can integrate with other platforms through its “power-ups.” There are lots of them, and they come in categories, such as file management and developer tools. Developers can also take advantage of Trello’s API to extend the platform.
Aside from its browser version, Trello has dedicated apps for major desktop and mobile platforms. Sorry, Linux fans.
Round One Thoughts
Wrike started this round with a bang, landing a flurry of punches and leaving Trello struggling. Trello is great at what it does, but it doesn’t do much else, and Wrike’s broad feature set puts it in a different league.
Trello has unlimited storage, but Wrike’s larger attachment size is better if you’re working with large files and you can upgrade your storage. Our best cloud storage article will be helpful if you plan to do so.
This round sees Wrike make a comfortable start and take an early lead.
Next, we’ll look at pricing. You’ll want to know that the benefits of your software outweigh the costs. Fortunately, both platforms have free offerings, so you can test them before committing. Neither is too expensive, but Wrike costs more on its higher tiers.
Wrike has a free tier for up to five users. Its paid plans start at $9.80 per user per month and increase from there. It also has a lifetime plan, which might be worth using if you have a large organization and plan to integrate it throughout.
Many of Wrike’s views and more advanced features unlock as you move up the pricing scale, so it’s worth looking carefully to see what you need and picking a plan accordingly. For example, you’ll need at least the Professional plan to get subtasks, and you’ll need the Business tier or above to use Wrike’s time tracking features.
Lifetime plan $ 246.89/ month
$8888.00 one time payment,
Monthly price for 3 years of use
Trello has a usable free tier that allows you to access its basic functionality. Its business plan adds features and increases your attachment limit, and the Enterprise tier adds yet more features, including a wider selection of security options.
You only get one power-up on the free tier. There are no limits once you pay, though, so if you plan on extending Trello and integrating it with other online services, that’s the way to go.
|Tier:||Price per user per month:|
|Enterprise||$20.83 (but decreases with user count)|
Round Two Thoughts
Both platforms offer a free tier, but Wrike’s is quite limited, with major features being rolled out at each level. Trello gives you the basics for free, then gives you more of everything with its paid options, along with improved security and support.
You could turn that around, though, and point out that what you pay for with Wrike goes beyond what Trello offers.
We’d prefer Trello’s free offering, but Wrike is a far more sophisticated tool and offers more as you go up its tiers. Though Wrike gets more expensive, it does so while offering more than Trello. We’re not convinced Trello’s business tier is an improvement over Wrike’s similarly-priced Professional plan.
We’re declaring this round a tie. Those of you who don’t need advanced features should opt for Trello, though. If you’re willing to pay top dollar, take a look at our Aha review for another high-quality but expensive tool.
Ease of Use
We’ll look at ease of use next. All the features in the world won’t help you if you can’t figure out how to use them, so we’re going to see which software does the better job of making itself accessible and helping you work things out.
The best project management software doesn’t just offer power, it gives you assistance and helps you learn its more advanced features. Take a look at our LeanKit review for an example of a tool that helps you learn via an excellent sample project.
Wrike has a strong all-around reputation, but ease of use isn’t its strong point, so Trello, with its simple layout and drag-and-drop friendliness, is the favorite.
Getting started with Wrike is simple, with an easy sign-up process that’s followed by inviting your colleagues to join your team. After that, you can set up your workspace. You can start with a blank slate if you like, but we recommend using one of Wrike’s templates.
They enable you to use Wrike in all sorts of ways. They do a good job of showing you what can be done, so they’re worth looking through to get a few ideas when you’re first starting.
If you’re looking to use templates to speed your work up, read our Podio review to learn about a platform that lets you customize them for your needs.
Once you start using Wrike, you’ll find its interface is strong and intuitive, with plenty of information available to you. It’s possible to get lost when navigating, though. It has an excellent help system for when you get stuck, but you’ll find yourself needing to work things out at first.
Trello takes a few minutes to figure out and is so simple you may never need the documentation. If you can drag and drop things, you can use it.
Its design is intuitive and its menus and buttons are easy to find. Most are self-explanatory and many have text describing what they do. Crucially, it’s fast, with none of the interface delays we sometimes see in browser-based tools.
If you get into trouble, you’ll find Trello offers plenty of help and support. It has hundreds of articles in its knowledgebase, as well as a community page full of questions and answers from other users. If you need to ask for help, you can do so there or contact Trello’s support directly via the form provided.
Round Three Thoughts
Like the price round, this is a tough one to call because Wrike and Trello offer such different things. Trello is easier to use, but the comparison seems unfair when Wrike does so much more.
We have to hand this round to Trello, though. Wrike is a complex tool that has a learning curve. Trello doesn’t, and it’s hard to look past that here. It keeps things simple and is the kind of tool you can trust anyone to use without needing too much technical support.
That makes it one each going into the final round. Trello is holding its own and things couldn’t be closer.
If you value ease of use, but don’t want to compromise on power, have a look at our favorite project management tool in our monday.com review.
Security and Privacy
Now that we’ve gone through the easy stuff, we’re digging deeper and looking at security and privacy. We want to see a strong selection of user options, as well as certifications and solid technology used to deliver the services. Wrike scored well in our review, but let’s see if Trello can unsettle it and win the contest.
Both platforms do plenty to protect your online security. Which is the best remains to be seen, though. Let’s get started.
Wrike has a strong set of features and user options to help protect you from cybercrime. That said, many of them only become available on its Enterprise plan.
Two-factor authentication is offered at that level. You also get SAML 2.0 single sign-on, user controls and access permissions, custom password policies and audit reports.
Under the hood, Wrike is just as strong with TLS v1.2 used to encrypt data in-transit and AES 256-bit for data storage. If you’re not sure what those are, read our description of encryption article.
It complies with the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, as well as the General Data Protection Regulation. It also has ISO and SOC certifications.
As in most areas, Wrike has plenty to offer, but it varies between plans. That means you can pay for the more advanced features if you need them, but you need to take a close look at what is available at each level.
Trello gives you two-factor authentication as standard, even on its free plan. More features are on its paid plans, such as Google single sign-on, domain-restricted invites and permissions-related settings.
If you’re concerned someone has stolen your login information, you can view a list of sessions from Trello’s settings page. You can also download a file that contains the information Trello stores about you. Our how to protect your privacy article has ways to make sure you don’t leak more information than you intend.
Trello is SOC 2-certified and complies with the EU-U.S. and Swiss-U.S. privacy shields. It uses Amazon Web Services as a backbone, with TLS and AES 128-bit encryption for data in transit. Attachments are encrypted with AES 256-bit.
It has a rolling backup system and promises to restore access to your data quickly in the event of an outage. If you want to handle backup yourself, our best online backup services article has plenty of useful information.
Round Four Thoughts
We thought this round would be an easy one for Wrike, but on closer examination Trello offers more than we expected. Two-factor authentication is nice to have on its free offering, for example, even though Wrike offers the feature if you pay for it. Read our what is two-factor authentication article to learn more about it.
The stronger selection of options for users to control the way they use the service makes Wrike the better choice overall, though. It also has stronger encryption and useful auditing features for keeping an eye on what your team is up to.
Wrike takes the final round because it’s such a good choice for the security-conscious. Trello didn’t let itself down, though.
If you’re looking for alternatives that are also strong in security and privacy, take a look at our Smartsheet review.
With two rounds to Wrike and one to Trello, Wrike takes the win, right at the end of the contest. It was close, though, with Trello putting up a good fight. Wrike has better features and stronger security, which gets the win over Trello’s more user-friendly approach.
Both tools have their uses, with Wrike’s broad feature set being well-suited for advanced project management and teams that want to make a long-term investment in a tool. It can help with things such as time tracking and workflow improvement.
Trello is better for those who need a simple way to plan and assign tasks, as well as give everyone an overview of what the team is doing. It lets you see when things are ready, as well as keep track of what’s left to do.
Wrike and Trello have free plans, as well as trials of their paid features, so if you want to try them, there’s nothing stopping you from taking them for a spin to see what they offer.
If you’ve used either tool, we’re keen to hear what you thought. Let us know if you have anything to add to our assessment of how they compare. Thanks for reading.