Trello vs. Asana: Which is Best for Your Team?

When managing your tasks and projects, finding tools that deliver efficiency and ease is essential to keeping your team organized and productive. Trello and Asana are two of the most widely used project management tools today. And while they’re pretty similar in terms of functionality, which one suits your team, the best is still up for debate.

In this article, we’ll explore the key features of both project management software tools, what they can and can’t provide you help with, and the various factors that would make them a great fit for your squad. And, of course, we’ll answer whether Trello vs. Asana is better for your team or the other way around.

Let’s get started!

Trello vs Asana: Quick Comparison

Feature

Trello

Asana

Project management

Suitable for task pipelines with several progress stages Good for creating deeper categorization; organized structure

Layout

Focuses on Kanban layout but also features a project timeline view Allows multiple project views, including lists, boards, and a timeline view

Time tracking

No built-in time tracking feature; needs power-ups or additional apps to install or integrate Features a native time-tracking feature only available for Enterprise and Business users

Automation

Allows up to 250 automation setups for free accounts Requires you to upgrade to use automation features

Pricing

Basic account requires $5 per month, while a premium subscription needs $10 per month Premium account requires $10.99 a month

Ease of usage

Good for small-sized teams and projects due to its simple layout Better for more complex project management needs

Reporting

Requires power-ups to generate substantial reports Built-in and useful reporting capabilities for Asana Premium, and up

Templates

Most templates are no different from each other, offering the same Kanban layout Numerous templates available; also comes with recommended integrations and pre-built automation features

What Is Trello?

Trello board screenshot

Mapping out your existing tasks can be easier and much more intuitive when paired with visual cues. And Trello just seems to hit the right spot in this regard with its Kanban layout. Trello is a visual project management and collaboration software that officially launched in 2011 and has since grown into one of the most popular tools in various industries.

Teams can create boards inside Trello, which correspond to the various projects and work streams that they’re currently handling. An administrator or member can then add cards under several categories to represent their individual tasks. One can assign members to each card, together with a deadline and a few tracking tags.

Its simple and flexible user interface makes Trello a popular choice across various teams and businesses. For example, users can just drag and drop their task cards from one category to another to update their progress. It also allows members to easily send comments, attachments, labels, and the like to make team collaboration efficient.

On top of all that, Trello also integrates with a variety of other applications, including Google Sheets, Zapier, Slack, and more. Plus, it supports automation setups. Such features allow teams to streamline workflows and simplify their work.

What Is Asana?

Asana board screenshot

Officially set into the market in 2012, Asana is an advanced project management tool that aims to help teams manage and track their work. Its main selling point is its customizability, which allows various institutions to configure their digital management requirements organization-wide.

Organizations can create projects inside Asana and then populate them with various tasks and works. The tasks can be added by a team administrator, albeit all team members can add and assign tasks in general.  These tasks can further be made more detailed by adding descriptions, due dates, attachments, and similar aspects.

Two features that make Asana popular are its built-in communication system and its large number of integrations. The native messaging system allows users to easily collaborate and discuss tasks, while the supported app integrations make Asana more powerful and convenient.

In addition, this project management tool also supports different task views, including Kanban boards, lists, timeline views, calendar views, and more. It also allows you to easily import your spreadsheets from Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, which is handy if you’re previously managing your tasks on one.

Key Differences Between Asana vs. Trello

Both Asana and Trello have great features that provide you the opportunity to streamline and organize your working process. But while they’re both project management tools, they do differ in how they bring you the task control you need.

Let’s take a look at the difference between Asana and Trello:

Management

The Kanban style of Trello is often the sole reason many businesses go to the app, especially with the easy drag-and-drop feature of the task cards. There is also the new timeline view that allows for easy visuals of how much work is left for a certain project.

Trello is more suitable for creating an assignment pipeline that presents several stages in your project. For instance, one can make several categories for the team’s social media marketing campaign, such as Planning, Writing, Polishing, and Published. As you go through these steps, you can drag the task card from one group to another to track your progress.

Asana takes on a more advanced route starting from the creation of a project inside its environment. It allows for a deeper categorization of tasks and projects. For example, you can collect multiple related assignments into one category and assign them to a specific team.

Layout

Trello is on the simpler side, while Asana leans on a more organized arrangement when it comes to the visual layout of tasks and user interface. To be more specific, Trello primarily features a plain but intuitive Kanban layout where you can make task card lists you can modify based on your project progress.

Meanwhile, Asana features a cleaner and more structured look on its homepage than Trello, together with a summary of your project at the top. It also has a Kanban layout you can toggle, but it isn’t too phenomenal, given that the said style isn’t its main selling point. However, Asana does have a better interface for timeline and list views than Trello.

As with other management tools, Asana’s list view displays tasks in terms of deadlines and/or urgency. Its timeline view, on the other hand, provides an overview of a project’s whole life cycle.

Time Tracking

A time tracker is a staple when it comes to teams who have members that work from home. This allows for better work integrity and ensures that no time and money is spent for nothing. While there are several apps that they can use, having one that works directly on their project management tool makes things easier.

Trello doesn’t have a built-in time-tracking feature, which could have made for increased transparency and accuracy in measuring the total duration spent on a task. Of course, there’s a workaround for this — one can integrate a time-tracking app, such as Clockify, TimeCamp, and Everhour, with the platform.

Asana lets you use its native time tracker. And a clever feature that increases one’s integrity is the start and stop button for recording the actual time spent on a specific task. There is also the Estimated time field that lets users forecast their expected completion duration. This also lets them determine whether they’re staying within good productivity levels.

Automation

Both Trello and Asana deliver well when it comes to automating repetitive tasks and streamlining a team’s workflow. The main difference lies in whether they’re free to access or not. To be specific, Trello offers its automation commands to free users, while Asana requires you to have a paid account.

Free users on Trello can send up to 250 commands for automation monthly, which are triggered for each change or modification on the board. A good example of this is when you set rules for certain actions once a user drags a card between lists.

Using automation features on Asana needs you to be a paying customer. Even so, members of Asana Premium might also have access only to a limited number of commands. They’re also incapable of creating custom automation. However, you can register for a free Asana Business trial that will let you access these functionalities.

Price

The Premium tier subscriptions of Trello and Asana are almost similar in terms of fees. It’s worth noting that Trello’s account tiers are divided into four levels — with an additional tier above Basic but below Premium — while Asana only offers three. Here’s a brief cost comparison you can refer to.

Account Level

Trello

Asana

Basic

Free

Free

Standard

$5/user/month

(paid annually)

Premium

$10/user/month

(paid annually)

$10.99/user/month

(paid annually)

Business (Enterprise) $17.50/user/month

(paid annually)

$24.99/user/month

(paid annually)

Ease of Usage

Whether they’re easy to use or not is actually pretty subjective. But from an objective point of view, Trello is more practical when working on smaller projects and trickier to use when dealing with large-sized teams and work. The card lists are becoming harder to navigate as you add more task cards.

Meanwhile, Asana is the opposite of Trello. It’s practical and suitable for any large-sized team or project but might be overkill for small-sized ones.

Of course, it also requires you to use its features with skill if you don’t want it to become harder to use. For example, you want to set up your tasks on Asana appropriately and also remind your team to follow operational rules on your project tracking.

Reporting

Gaining insights into your data through reports is actually one of the reasons why project management tools are sought-after. Asana Premium does a good job in this aspect, especially with its project progress reports, time-tracking insights, and reports that you can customize as per your needs.

Reports on Asana are also generated in real-time and can be exported in a couple of formats like CSV and PDF.

Trello doesn’t perform quite as well as Asana. In fact, the reports that it generates might not be too substantial for your project requirements. These reports can be exported in CSV or JSON. Of course, you can solve this by using reporting-related power-ups in Trello.

Templates

Using templates on project management software gives you a good boost in exploring its functionalities. And there’s a huge template collection available for both Trello and Asana users, albeit they can also create one themselves.

Trello’s Kanban layout makes its templates no different from one another except for the labels and colors. Still, what you’re really after here is to get a premade layout that aligns with your industry or workflow. Commonly used options include blog writing progress boards and templates for order fulfillment.

Asana’s templates, on the other hand, provide more than just visuals. These templates come with recommended project views depending on the type. For example, the template may recommend using a calendar view for mapping out the deadlines for an entire quarter. Users from Asana Premium and up can access these templates.

Advantages of Using Trello

Aside from the general functionalities of Trello that we’ve discussed above, there are other points that make it beneficial to use. Here are some of them:

1. Highly Visual

As we’ve mentioned at the start, Trello is very visual. For example, it allows you to use colored labels to easily categorize your tasks. Cards also turn into different colors depending on the due dates that you set. For example, it will turn yellow when it’s almost due and red if you fail to complete the card on time.

2. Integrations and Automation

You can use Trello in tandem with your other productivity apps crucial to run your business. For example, you can link it with your Google Calendar to accurately keep your due dates and important events on both platforms. You can also create a lot of automated workflows in the software.

3. Mobile-friendly

Trello also works on mobile phones and tablets, whether Android-based or iOS. The best thing about its mobile app version is that it works almost no differently from its web-based counterpart.

Reasons To Avoid Trello

While Trello seems to be all great, it has some caveats that might make you veer away from using it. Here are three of the most noticeable downsides of using Trello.

1. Unsuitable for Big Projects

You can think of a Trello board as a direct version of a physical signboard you’ll use at an office. It will eventually get full the more post-it notes you attach to it. The situation is similar to a Trello board.

As you create more cards and have more boards, the more difficult it gets to manage. While this wouldn’t be that much of a problem for small-sized teams, this is a usual issue for huge projects that involve teams on a global scale.

2. Not Carved Out for Communication

Trello also offers a commenting feature, which you can use to communicate with other members related to a certain card. However, it might not be optimal for smoother communication and is considered a disadvantage, given that other related tools have native messaging structures.

3. Needs Numerous Power-ups

If you didn’t know already, power-ups refer to the third-party apps and extensions that you can integrate into Trello. Examples of this include time-tracking extensions and calendar applications. Indeed, Trello offers a lot of power-ups you can use, but this in itself is the problem.

The tool lacks many native features, including those used for reporting, time tracking, and even Gantt chart views. To access these functionalities, you need to install their corresponding power-ups.

Benefits of Using Asana

Asana is the go-to choice of many teams across the globe for a reason — it’s advanced enough to fit any size of business. Here are some of its most beneficial features.

1. Wide Number of Integrations

Asana offers more than one hundred integrations spanning not only communication software but also tools for reporting, security, storage, and similar applications. Some of the popular integrations include Google Drive, Slack, Gmail, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Office 365.

This improves a team’s collaboration, such as the convenience brought about by easy retrieval of shared documents from Google Drive. It also provides an easier workflow for team members since they can integrate Asana with the apps they’re more familiar with.

2. Automation for Streamlined Work

Repetitive tasks just consume time without producing something more substantial, and Asana lets you remove the need to do such menial jobs. Instead, a member can set up rules-based automation to make the work easier and with less error at that (given that the rules set are correct).

The automation features of Asana can be accessed either through the 30-day free trial of their Business offer. Under this, teams can create a maximum of fifty rules on each project, thereby saving time and rerouting the team’s effort focus.

3. Advanced Reporting Capabilities

A handy feature of Asana is the set of reporting visuals and data insights that it updates in real-time. These include various charts and graphs that you will usually see amidst dashboards, which can help you have a more visual way of understanding the progress of your projects.

While Asana provides native reports, users can also create custom reports to meet their specific insight needs. Teams can also combine data from multiple sources in using these reports, allowing for a more comprehensive outlook of their work.

Downsides of Using Asana

Although Asana packs a lot of good features, there are a few aspects where it can improve further. Here are two reasons why Asana might not be a good fit for you.

1. Takes Time To Explore

Asana is a feature-rich platform, especially when it comes to the number of customizations and functions you can do. However, this itself can be a problem if you’re only starting to use Asana, as it presents a steep learning curve. Clearly, you would need to spend time learning how to navigate its features and learn related terminology.

Of course, Asana would be one of the best platforms you can use if you’re willing to invest time and effort into studying its customization options, dynamic custom reports, workflow automation, and app integrations.

2. More Suitable for Large Teams

The advanced design of Asana makes it suitable for large teams, but the same isn’t true for smaller-sized ones. For one, smaller teams with fewer projects might need fewer tools to accomplish their work. So, using Asana can be overkill since they’re not able to fully maximize its complex functionalities.

Although it offers a free plan, Asana also takes money to access automation features and increases the user number limit. And the fees can be expensive, making it unsuitable for businesses and teams looking to scale down their budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Asana Have a Mobile App?

Yes, Asana is also accessible through its mobile application, either on smartphones or tablets. This lets you receive notifications even on the go, allowing you to respond to urgent tasks that need your input. You can download it either from Google Play Store or the Apple Store.

Why Do You Need Project Management Software?

When increasing efficiency and streamlining workflows are in mind, project management software becomes essential. This piece of technology helps in organizing and coordinating tasks across team members, as well as setting deadlines and tracking progress. Overall, this results in little to no jobs left undone.

What’s the Difference Between Asana and Trello?

Trello is primarily a Kanban-style project management tool, while Asana offers more advanced functionalities in multiple views like lists, timelines, and boards. Also, the former is more suitable for small teams and non-complex work due to its simplicity. Asana, on the other hand, suits bigger projects better, given its richness in terms of features.

What Are the Similarities Between Trello and Asana?

Both can help you create tasks, categorize them into different groups, and set due dates for each one. Trello and Asana can both be automated based on the rules you set, aside from integrating with other third-party software. Both tools are available in free and paid versions.

Choose Whichever Works Best for Your Team

Which is best for your team or business: Trello vs. Asana? If you are looking for something simple and dealing with a non-complex project, Trello might be a great fit. Otherwise, the broad set of features you can find on Asana might be just what you need.

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Emma Collins is a tech writer for Productivity Spot. She's been writing tech tutorials & how-to guides on Windows, Android, iOS, Social Media, Data Recovery, Cybersecurity, Gaming, and more as a tech writer for over 6 years. You can find her work on many established tech websites, including Hackr.io, MakeUseOf, Help Desk Geek, Online Tech Tips, Switching To Mac, HandyRecovery, Cleverfiles, and more.

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