Trello and Asana are probably the first names you encounter when looking up the best project management software. The former is a visually appealing Kanban-style solution ideal for individuals and smaller teams, and the latter is a powerhouse tool packed with advanced functionalities and robust automation features to cater to large teams and organizations.
Trello Compared to Asana
If you want to get started with project management right away, Trello is your best bet.
Not only is the tool easy to set up, but you can also start using it without any training. All you need to do is complete a short task checklist that covers creating your first board, connecting other business tools, configuring basic settings, and inviting team members. Create rule-based triggers and desired actions, plus set the innovative Butler service to work on your behalf.
If you’re looking for out-of-the-box reporting and analytics and a solution that can handle more complex projects, Asana is hands down the better fit.
Despite its generous free plan that’s suitable for individuals juggling many tasks, Asana is mainly aimed at businesses. From organizing tasks to creating dependencies to managing workflows, it can do it all—and do it well. Expect robust templates, multiple project views, and handy automations to wipe out any difficulties when handling projects. You can also break down projects into more manageable chunks by creating tasks and sub-tasks.
More Top Project Management Software Tools
Trello and Asana are arguably the most popular project management tools used across the world. But they are hardly your only options.
After testing some of the most highly-rated software tools on the market and putting in over 50+ hours, we narrowed our list down to six excellent software that strikes the right balance between functionality, simplicity, and affordability.
Where Trello Shines
Easy Usability: One of the main reasons users prefer Trello is because of its simplicity and user-friendliness. The tool is intuitive enough for non-technical users and still offers many powerful functionalities to streamline project management for veterans. Whether it’s starting a new project or onboarding new hires, there’s virtually no learning curve to worry about. Pre-made task templates help you get started with just a click. The fact that team members can select between 21 languages further enhances Trello’s versatility.
Excellent Collaboration Features: You get a wide range of collaboration tools, including document sharing, comments, mentions, and notifications in Trello. Assign cards to the appropriate team members so that everyone stays on top of their agenda. Users can leave comments on cards and tag other members, among other activities to centralize all task-related conversations in one place. You can also integrate Jupiter with other popular platforms like Slack, Jira, Tick Time Tracking, and Evernote to boost productivity.
Butler Automation Bot: Thanks to Trello’s automation bot, Butler, you no longer have to worry about tagging the next person in the pipeline. By just answering a few questions, you can set up rule-based triggers and desired actions, after which Butler will take over. It can send due-date commands, move cards from one column to the next, notify team members, and do several other admin tasks, to help you save time and focus on more important work.
Tons of Upgrades and Third-Party Customizations: Trello is a kanban board by default, but you can always configure the system according to your preferences. If you have a higher budget, take an upgraded subscription; if you don’t, opt for third-party customizations like browser plug-in. While these take additional time to set up, making these small changes can significantly personalize your project management experience and help improve productivity.
Where Trello Falls Short
Unsuitable for Larger Projects: Trello is an excellent tool for many things, but not so much for large and comprehensive projects. Such projects typically involve more lists on one board, which means more cards on each list and more users to execute the tasks. This ultimately creates an overwhelming interface that may make it harder for your team to manage. It’s best to use the tool for small projects that involve a few users and a few cards.
Limited Project Views: Project views are another aspect where Trello falls short compared to Asana. Aside from Kanban, the former platform offers very limited project views. While this won’t be an issue if you handle small, linear projects, managing larger projects with team members who need more granular insight generally find Kanban more challenging. You can choose dashboard, timeline, workspace table, map, and calendar views for greater control over each project’s and board’s visual layout, but you’ll have to upgrade to the premium plans.
Lack of Reporting Capabilities: If you want streamlined reporting and analytics from your project management tool, you might want to look elsewhere. Trello doesn’t let you monitor team performance or get actionable project-related insights at a high level. And while you can add reporting tools using a Trello Power-Up, the capabilities aren’t the same as having a project management tool with built-in reports like Asana.
Where Asana Shines
Generous Free Plan: While Asana caters better to the needs of large teams and businesses, it offers a feature-rich and honestly one of the best free plans in the niche to entice individuals and small teams. Expect unlimited teams, projects, messaging, storage, activity logs, and multiple project views, among several other features that aren’t exactly the norm for project management software free plans. What’s more, you can stay on the free plan forever if you have less than 15 users and only handle basic-level projects. Integrations with time tracking tools and other popular platforms are also possible—all without paying a penny.
Excellent User Experience: A lot of thought has been put into developing Asana’s UX, and it shows. Easy to use and complicated, the interface is intuitive to allow users to find what they want in just a few clicks. Color-code projects and sees a bird’s eye view to stay on top of deadlines.
Multiple Project Views: This is one of Asana’s biggest USPs. You can view projects and manage tasks in a variety of ways, be it Kanban, calendars, lists, portfolios, timelines, or workload. Popular Asana alternatives generally offer one or two views, so the fact that Asana gives you every option you would need to view and manage projects in a way that works best for you is certainly a plus. Switching between views is possible, plus you can create a customizable project dashboard that updates in real-time.
Workflow Management Automation: Asana makes automating repetitive tasks, processes, and workflows seriously easy. Set up custom rules, triggers, and actions using the graphical workflow builder. Or build basic automations to automate routine tasks like assigning a task to the next person in the flow, cascading due dates, checking a box, or sending alerts. Implementing process management automation will remove the burden of doing repetitive tasks from your team members, freeing up their time for more important activities.
Collaboration-Focused: Asana combines task management and collaboration features to significantly boost collaboration. It lets you invite other stakeholders to your digital workspace and alerts collaborators in the event of task changes and revisions. The tool also promotes transparency and accountability across the organization. You can see who’s working on what tasks and when.
Where Asana Falls Short
Too Many Features: Having options is great, but not always—and Asana’s (very) comprehensive features sometimes make even simple tasks feel overwhelming. This also creates a small learning curve, with non-technical users needing additional training and onboarding.
No Time Tracking: Despite the rich feature set, Asana surprisingly doesn’t offer time tracking. You can’t track how much time a person spends on a particular task, making it mandatory for you to integrate the tool with a third-party application if you want time-tracking features.
Limited Mobile App: More and more users are using their smartphones to carry out official work, which is why Asana’s limited mobile app is an inconvenience. Using the platform on the mobile device simply doesn’t do Asana justice, with the tool working much better on a full computer screen. If you plan to use the mobile app to simply check task status, you’ll be fine. But if you want to do anything productive via the app, you may be disappointed.
The Final Verdict on Trello Compared to Asana
Trello is certainly one of the most affordable project management software you can get your hands on.
Currently, you can choose from the following plans:
The Free plan is suitable for individuals or teams looking to organize workflows. You get unlimited cards, up to 10 boards per workspace, unlimited storage (up to 10 MB per file), and over 250 monthly workspace command runs. Unlimited Power-Ups per board lets you use Trello to its full extent to boost productivity.
Trello Standard — $5 per user, per month
The Standard plan is Trello’s entry-level plan that‘s suitable for 10, 20, or 30+ team members looking to manage more work and scale collaboration.
You get unlimited boards, advanced checklists, unlimited storage (250 MB per file), and custom fields. Command runs increased to 1,000 per month, too.
Trello Premium — $10 per user, per month
If the Standard plan feels too limited and the Enterprise solution an overkill, Trello Premium would be perfect for you. It’s best for teams with up to 100 members that want to track multiple projects and visualize workflows in different ways.
In addition to Standard plan features, you get multiple project views, unlimited workspace command runs to make the most of Trello automation, and enhanced admin and security features. Priority support and workspace-level templates are other perks.
Trello Enterprise — $17.50 per user, per month
The Enterprise plan is Trello’s offer to organizations that want to connect work across teams with more security and controls.
Besides Premium plan features, you get unlimited workspaces, organization-wide and attachment permissions, public board management, and multi-board guests. Free SSO and user provisioning with Atlassian Access and Power-Up administration help enhance security.
Clearly, the price point isn’t too steep but what we like most is how the premium plans deliver tremendous value for what you’re charged. In comparison, Asana’s pricing is more expensive, but it also offers way more features.
Currently, you can choose from the following plans from Asana:
Asana Basic — Free
As mentioned, Asana has one of the most generous free plans in the project management software niche. It’s an excellent option for individuals or teams with up to 15 members getting started with project management.
Expect unlimited essentials like tasks, storage, projects, and comments, as well as multiple project views. You can also integrate with over 100 apps and get basic reporting features.
Asana Premium — $10.99 per month, per user
Asana Premium is designed for teams that create extensive project plans.
Besides everything in the Basic plan, you get a workflow builder, unlimited dashboards, and a Timeline view. Unlimited free guests, advanced search, rules, and custom fields come in handy to facilitate seamless collaboration and automation.
Asana Business — $24.99 per month, per user
The Business plan is Asana‘s most expensive paid plan and, therefore, suitable for teams and companies that manage work across initiatives and have a larger budget.
In addition to the premium plan features, you get advanced integrations, portfolios, goals, and a custom builder. Ensure your workflows run smoothly with forms branching, customization, approvals, and proofing.
Asana Enterprise — Custom pricing
The Enterprise plan is for organizations that require centralized visibility, support, and control. Paying the scaled pricing will give you access to several advanced admin and security features to meet your more specific needs.
Note: Asana offers a 50% discount on pricing to eligible non-profit organizations.
Let’s take a final review:
- Trello is the perfect productivity and collaboration tool that lets you track professional and personal projects—all present in one of the best Kanban-based software tools. The pricing is comparatively cheaper, but you also have limited functionalities. That’s why the tool is recommended for individuals and smaller teams.
- Asana is a powerful project management software that is easy to use, feature-packed, and collaboration-focused to prioritize both team and the project manager. It has a steeper price point, which makes it more suitable for larger teams and enterprises.
If you want to explore the market further, read our in-depth review of the best project management software.
Here are our six best project management software tools:
- ClickUp – Best project management software for most
- Asana – Best balance of power and simplicity
- Trello – Lowest cost for setting up your PM software today
- Teamwork – Best for client and service-based businesses
- Monday.com – Best for partnering sales with project management
- Smartsheet – Best for turning spreadsheets into project management gold