Best Free Project Management Software for Your Use Case

Harry Lees
February 5, 2021
Productivity

Best Free Project Management Software for Your Use Case

In looking for the best free project management software, it is all about finding the features from premium versions without the cost. For your use case, there will be a right balance between what is included and excluded, and the ease of use of the free option. This can go from needing simple to-do-lists, to full of collaboration organization.

With that said, there are a few things most users are looking for in free project management. Mobile support, some form of Gantt charts or Kanban boards, and a high trScore are features of each of these software. 

The following free project management software will be compared:

Before a detailed overview, here is a quick comparison of some of the features and ratings of the top five options.

 Teamwork Projects Wrike ToDoIstTrelloQuire
 Maximum Users5 Users
2 Projects
5 User
2 Projects
5 Users/Project
0 Projects
Unlimited30
trScore8.6/108.6/108.9/108.4/109.5/10
Tech Skills RequiredMinimal- ModerateModerateMinimalMinimalAdvanced
Gantt ChartsYesNoNoThrough Power-upYes
Biggest ProEasy-to-Use, Traditional PMFile StorageFantastic Mobile AppGreat Kanban VisualizationTons of Features for a Free Software
Biggest ConConfusing Set-up, Limited IntegrationsLearning CurveLimited FeaturesMax of 1 Free IntegrationLack of Polish, Beta Software
Storage100 MB2 GB010 MB per Attachment200 MB

What Best Describes Your Use Case?

I Have a Small team and Want Easy-to-Use Gantt Charts, Calendar Views, and Time-Tracking

Teamwork Projects: If you want premium visualization in a free tool, there are limited options. Teamwork Projects allows these features and more in an easy-to-use format. Some reviewers say that it can be tricky to set up but praise the intuitive UI and visualization features. This is where the free version of Teamworks Projects shines.  

Teamworks’ strong visualization starts with its Kanban boards. They will limit you to 3 columns and 10 cards per column in the free plan. Gantt charts are another sought-after visual tool and are also included. In Teamworks, Gantt charts are very well executed. Reviewers praise the design and ease of use. Combine these two features with the calendar view, and you begin to see why visualization is Teamworks’ strength.

With that said, there are limitations to Teamworks. This software offers up to 5 users and 2 projects for free, with a maximum of 100MB of storage space. If your team is bigger or needs more storage, then you will have to go for a different option or consider paying. The free version also only integrates with Zapier. (Though Zapier can be used to set up other simple integrations indirectly.)

Time tracking is also included in the base version, though billing and invoicing are not. Like higher storage, these are available in upgraded versions of Teamworks.

“If you’re looking for a robust project management software for your growing small business, my vote is for Teamwork Projects. It helps us manage our small business and our teams internally. If you need advanced features, like KANBAN boards, GANTT charts, time tracking, billing, etc. in your project management tool, Teamwork is a great option.”

Amber Callan │Inbound Marketing Strategist, Leap ClixxMarketing and Advertising, 1-10 employees

Bottom Line: If you need great project visualization and can work within the limits, this is a great option for you. Teamworks is also great if you have few employees now, but might need some of the premium features in the future. The upgrade costs are quite affordable, would allow you to scale with a familiar product without having to switch. Plans range from $10/user/mo to $18/user/mo. These include 300 and 600 projects, and 100GB and 250GB of storage, both respectively.

I Have Large File Storage Needs and Want Social Collaboration Tools

Wrike: Wrike is an interesting software in the project management sector. A strong option if you have a small team that collaborates on projects, one of their most notable features is their “Real-Time Activity Stream.” Wrike says that this is a social media-type tool to get see updates on others’ work. This is a pretty innovative idea, and it is clear how this feature could be really useful to some teams. The Activity Stream has the ability for users to comment on and open tasks up to a discussion format in real-time. This is also a quick way to see team availability.

Another major benefit to Wrike compared to other free tools is the storage size. Offering 2GB of storage space in a free version is a lot. If the data caps of other free options are holding you back, Wrike may be a great choice for you.

Wrike does offer Kanban board view in its free version but does not offer Gantt charts. Calendar view, time-tracking, and shareable dashboards are also not included until paid tiers. 

Users note that Wrike takes some getting used to. The UI and navigation are a bit complicated. Some less tech-savvy users will need the training to take advantage of Wrike’s features. This would be especially true if you upgraded and had access to the more complicated project management tools.

“Wrike is great for managing any project, no matter the size. Creating tasks, due dates, rearranging, and adding dependencies is super easy. Managing projects across one team or many teams, it doesn’t matter. Wrike makes it so easy to collaborate. Wrike is less suited for those who may experience resistance to learn how to use a new tool from users.”

Allison Stefaniuk │Director, Enterprise Transformation and Integration, Press GaneyHealth, Wellness and Fitness, 1001-5000 employees

Bottom Line: Wrike is great for collaborative teams with larger file sizes. It’s best if your users will have a little more tech skill than something like Teamworks. You will be limited to smaller groups, with a 5 user cap. Wrike could be a good option for an internal team, working on a project together. A small department that needs updates on what each other are doing would benefit greatly from this free tool.

I Need Scheduling, Workflow and Task Management for On-The-Go Individuals

Todoist: This software is an easy-to-use, very mobile-friendly option for those with specific needs. The primary use case for this tool is an individual with lots to keep track of, who is constantly on the move. The ability to switch between list view and board-view for your projects is intuitive and visually appealing. This carries over to both iOS and Android, allowing you to keep track of things while on the move. The UI will require very little if any training for a team with basic tech skills. With Todoist, sticking to project timelines will be a lot easier. 

Todoist is a fantastic option to help you manage and track projects if you do not need much else. The organizational structure and visual design will help you track your progress with ease. There is little else that comes in other project management software. There is no support for uploading files, and no time-tracking or calendar sync.

“Todoist is great for one person or collaboration with a very small group. The simplicity of the interface helps you create and assign tasks quickly, but it can become unwieldy if you are managing several collaborators within one project. Overall, Todoist is perfect for my needs as a company of one and I’d recommend it to other solopreneurs.”

Christy Price │Web Designer, Christy Price Web DesignDesign, 1-10 employees

Bottom Line: This is the perfect tool for an individual or team looking for, as the name suggests, to-do lists, and better stick to due dates. Todoist is a great software for managing your time and keeping track of what you have accomplished. With almost no learning curve right, you will be more organized immediately. The mobile project management app allows you to keep all these features in your pocket. If you want more features outside of task management, it is best to look elsewhere. 

I Love Simple Kanban Boards, and Want Them with Checklists and Notifications

Trello: This software bases its whole UI around Kanban Boards. If you like cards and boards and can stick to the team 10 board limit, Trello is going to be a great choice. Since there is a cap of 10 boards, you can have as many users as you want for those.

The free version of Trello does not include integration with most software, though their “power-ups” can be a workaround for this. The free version allows one power-up per board. Power-ups can be a Gantt chart, Google Drive, or voting extensions. These could even be Google Calendar or Slack, depending on your needs. The customization potential here is clear and adds to their easy-to-use software in a great way. Trello offers dozens of free project templates to help you get started.

The major limitations of Trello are pretty obvious upfront. Either you are looking for this Kanban view-style, in which case you will love it, or not. The small attachments, integration limitations, and small board limits could definitely get in the way for some teams.

If you love the system and want to try a paid tier, there are two base options. The $9.90/user/mo option allows for unlimited boards and power-ups. The Enterprise plan pricing scales with users. This plan includes premium security and data management.

“Trello is great for tracking the progress of projects that have specific completion dates or tasks that must be finished in specific orders. We’ve used it for fundraising projects and event planning, not to mention planning of specific work projects. Trello’s flexibility makes it so easy to set up and share new boards with interested parties.”

Jill Nimmer-Beres │Grant Writer, Berlin Conservation ClubNon-Profit Organization Management, 11-50 employees

Bottom Line: Trello is increasingly popular, and it is easy to see why. The fantastic UI, ease-of-use, and Kanban-centered approach are going to be attractive to a lot of agile teams. It will help you stick to deadlines, drag tasks around, and generally manage workloads much more efficiently. Trello is an app that either will clearly work for you, or clearly not. 

I Have a Tech-Savy Team, and Want a Whole Suite of Features for Free

Quire: This relatively new, interesting software is entirely free, and does not yet offer a premium version. Quire offers a whole host of features in a less polished, less easy-to-use interface. It offers up to 30 users per organization and up to 80 projects. This is about as good as it will get in free software. (If you want truly unlimited users and projects, you’ll have to go with a paid option.). In exchange for the less polished UI, you will get access to a full suite of features not included in many free options.

Quire supports both Kanban boards and Gantt charts, as well as Slack, Dropbox, Zapier, and other integrations. You will also have access to calendar view, fantastic import/export capabilities, and templates. 

Going above other options, Quire offers some good analytics tools in free software. From its dashboard, you can get the health status of how users are doing on projects. For organization, you can make lists and sublists, as well as smart folders and more. Real-time tracking and instant messaging will help with your collaboration and project planning.

There are also quality-of-life features that are often limited to paid versions in others. This includes notifications,  reminders, and recurring tasks. You can assign tasks to multiple people, as well as other conveniences.

Quire does include 200MB of cloud storage, which beats or matches all but Wrike on this list. You can also share files between Quire and other project management tools. Quire allows you to directly export from Wrike or Trello, if you already use them.

Quire is looking to launch a paid version eventually, and the software is considered in beta. They promise that all these features will be free to users who sign up now, indefinitely. You do not have to worry about a surprise bill. Quire is trying to build its product and customer base, before releasing a paid version. So now is a great time to take advantage.

“The software is just as ubiquitous in professional life. Quire is a top-notch project management tool that simplifies the task or project for my office, and used by our department of our company. Overall, the software helps my project for splitting out big ideas into small chunks, visualizing the project workflow, prioritize and focus on the simplified versions, rather than complex procedures.”

Praxant Pacific │ Senior Software Engineer, F1Soft International Pvt. Ltd.Computer Software, 51-200 employees

Bottom line: If you have the skill to make it work, Quire could be a real steal for you. As beta software, the UI and wealth of features may be overwhelming to a less experienced team member. With benefits you are unlikely to find in other free versions and for more users, this newer option is a good upstart. Quirealso allows for larger team sizes than any other option. If you really want a full suite of features for free, this is definitely worth considering. 

More resources for finding Project Management Software

It may be worth considering a premium plan if you need unlimited storage, unlimited projects, complicated analytics, or have strict security requirements. Check out our Project Management category page for tons more information about the paid options available. You can also read comprehensive user reviews and take a look at our Trust Map for a great. Quick visualization of how software compares in our reviewer ratings

About the Author

Harry Lees
I am a proud University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, with a Comprehensive Honors degree in Political Science and Journalism. Go Badgers! A dual-citizen with the U.S and U.K, in my free time I support Liverpool Football Club, obsessively follow politics and do extremely nerdy things with my friends.

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