When talking about project management and collaboration tools, it’s hard not to mention two of the strongest contenders in the field: Monday.com and Trello. In the age of “digital everything,” an online platform that can help teams from different regions—even countries—work together in real-time can mean the difference between drowning in a sea of startups and being the next big thing.
How does one decide who wins in a usability and practicality face-off?
I have been using both platforms for quite some time now, and I have come to a crossroads. I find myself trying to decide which is better from a practical and usability standpoint.
In this blow-by-blow comparison, we decide who the clear winner is by weighing both platforms on features, ease of use, and pricing.
Round 1: Features
Versatility is the name of the game with Monday.com’s multiple view options. You can view tasks or projects as a chart, see everything in a time-tracking view, use the popular Kanban view, or see everything in timeline or calendar view to manage deadlines.
The unique thing about Monday.com is its aversion to subtasks, which it eliminates completely from the app—together with all of its dependencies. This may sound a bit extreme unless one considers the objective of eliminating the “evil of subtasks,” which is to avoid the possibility of forgetting about “tasks within tasks.” The whole point of using task or project management platforms is to provide teams an overview of what needs to be done; hiding tasks under other ones is counter-intuitive to this and defeats the purpose of simplification.
Monday.com provides 5GB of storage for the Basic plan, with the option to go unlimited at the Pro tier. Unfortunately, one has to pay a subscription fee to use Monday.com; although, with what you’re getting, there’s arguably more valuable than using a free tool.
Trello makes use of the Kanban principles to make project management, either individually or within teams, streamlined and simple. Following the 4 basic principles of Kanban closely, Trello helps in visualizing the workflow, limiting work in progress, focusing on flow, and ensuring continuous improvement. Using Trello can be as simple as creating activity cards and categorizing them under three columns simply named To Do, Doing, and Done. Of course, there’s the option of adding more columns as necessary, but if you want to keep things simple, sticking to the platform’s default three-column system works.
What makes Trello powerful is the ability to create multiple boards for each project, inside each you can create multiple columns depending on your needs. There is also the option to attach files to boards, with file size limits that depend on the type of plan. Cards created for each task can be categorized, sorted, and as .signed to team members. The platform also has a default notification for cards that have deadlines to help ensure that projects stay on track.
One of Trello’s strong points is the platform’s “power-ups,” which allow for additional features and integration with other platforms. This alone provides tons of personalization, but fully utilizing power-ups requires a paid subscription, as the free version only allows one per board.
Round 1 Winner: Monday.com
Although Trello works with the freemium business model, Monday.com is the clear winner due to its multiple view options and more built-in features. You’ll have to pay to even use Monday.com, but given the value and usability, simplicity has worked against Trello and handed a point to the competition.
Round 2: Ease of Use
Although Monday.com is more complicated compared to Trello, it makes sure that users are guided at every step. Practical use of color, ample spacing, and subtle animations combine to make the whole experience intuitive. It manages to present a magnitude of information onto the screen so you can get an overview of a project at any given time. With over 70 templates to choose from, Monday.com provides options for different types of projects—and it even helps you choose the template you need so you won’t need to go back and choose another one in the middle of a project.
Trello is an excellent choice if you want to get set up immediately and start managing projects. With little to no learning curve, all you have to do is create cards, add the relevant information, and sort them into columns according to task status or category. Managing projects and tasks is as simple as dragging cards from column to column and updating their information as necessary. There’s also a list of helpful shortcuts that can make you work even faster, and if you want to automate workflows, Trello has something for that, too. Featuring a “butler” feature, even non-savvy users can get up and running in no time.
Round 2 Winner: Monday.com
Although Trello seems more user-friendly due to its simple interface and intuitive menus, Monday.com takes the cake here due to its more sophisticated approach and focus on providing more view options and features that can help an individual or team accomplish its goals. If you’re making the shift from pen and paper, it’s a good option to avoid information—or task—overload, and Monday.com helps you do just that.
Round 3: Pricing
Monday.com offers great value but does not offer a free plan. In order to use the platform, you’ll have to pay a minimum of $39/ month, which is the price of the Basic plan for a team of 5 users. This provides access to the Kanban view and 5GB of storage, with the option to get more at the higher-tiered plans. Monday.com’s pricing plans increase per 5 additional team members instead of per user, which is actually cheaper in the long run. There’s also a 14-day trial so you can take the platform for a test run before making an investment.
One of Trello’s main draws is its free offering, which doesn’t push you to upgrade to make the platform usable. In fact, the free tier even comes with one power-up of your choice so you can see how useful these power-ups can be. Simply put, Trello’s free version works well and is a productivity booster for teams regardless of their size. There are many good reasons to upgrade to the paid plans, though, such as unlimited power-ups, an increase in the file-size attachment limit, advanced admin permissions, data export, and more. Trello’s pricing plans charge per user so it’s a good option for startups and smaller teams.
Round 3 Winner: Trello
Monday.com offers a multitude of features at a great price. For a minimum of $25 per month, you get unlimited boards, embedded forms, and 5GB of storage for 5 users. Upgrading to the Standard, Pro, or Enterprise plans will depend on your personal or team requirements. It’s hard to beat Trello, though, due to its free tier, which offers great value for both personal users and teams, and for that Trello is the clear winner when it comes to pricing.
Monday.com takes the lead here, inching away from the competition because of its bang-for-buck and ease of use. This is no reason to disregard the simplicity and free tier Trello offers, though. If you’re looking for something simple or just want to try out the platform for free, Trello is an excellent option, especially for personal use.
For me, though, I believe Monday.com is the clear winner in managing team tasks and deadlines. “Solopreneurs” might enjoy Trello and find it sufficient for personal goals, but managing medium to large teams means plotting and organizing tasks so deadlines aren’t missed. For this, Monday.com is the best option.