Advertiser Disclosure

Best Free Project Management Software

  • 1 comment
  • Updated on:
Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

I have to admit it: Free is one of my favorite words.

I love FREE samples, FREE events, buy-one-get-one FREE shoes, and gluten-FREE cookies! But free isn’t always a good thing — sometimes it means a sacrifice in quality or quantity, or is a straight-up scam. Here at Merchant Maverick, we’re always looking for high-quality free software to recommend! In this article, we’ll be covering six of the best free project management software apps out there.

All of these software options can help you organize your team, track projects, and become more productive. They can help you schedule events, communicate with team members, and sometimes even track billable time, and all for free!

All of the options on this list are the free plans of a paid software program. Many of the free plans offer all of the same functionality as the paid plans. However, there are often limitations on the number of user seats or projects you can create with the free software. Nevertheless, each plan is different, and we’re hoping you’ll find one on this list that fits your small business’s needs!

For each app included in this list, we will cover what the free version brings to the table as well as how it differs from the paid version in terms of users, storage, management tools, and more. I’ll also throw in a few other observations about ease of use and the value of each software based on my own experience.

So, let’s get started!

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext Steps
Managing small projects and teams

Read More

Mid-sized businesses that need time tracking

Read More

Individuals or teams of two

Visit Site

Read More

Teams of 15 or fewer that need task management

Read More

Small teams that love Kanban project management tools

Read More

Other Featured Options:

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

1. SquidHub

SquidHub



Read our Review

Best for managing small projects and teams.

SquidHub is remarkable in that it originally released as a free option with the premium features added on just last year. SquidHub focuses on simplicity above all else, resulting in a feature set that is definitely on the lighter side. SquidHub primarily works best for task management, file storage, and communication. There are no reporting tools, budgeting tools, or timeline views (aka Gantt charts). What you see in the screenshot above is 90% of the features that make up SquidHub.

SquidHub is organized by Groups. Once added to a Group, you can see that team’s workspace. Each workspace has three sections: To-Dos, Files and Links, and Messages. In the To-Dos section, you can assign tasks, create subtasks, and set due dates. File storage allows you to import documents from your computer or online data storage solutions (like Box or Google Drive). Finally, the messaging section enables you to communicate with everyone in the group in a chat-style messenger or via direct message.

While SquidHub is incredibly simple, it is also extremely limited in its capabilities. For that reason, I’d recommend SquidHub’s free version only to small teams that need to manage small projects. Teams this size will benefit most from SquidHub’s simplicity, and they are less likely to be burdened by the software’s limitations.

The Free Version Includes:

  • Two groups
  • 100MB storage
  • Unlimited search

If you choose to upgrade to the paid plan, you can expect to pay $4.99/user/month, which is a very low price for project management software. Upgrading to the Premium plan gives you access to unlimited groups, storage, and searches. You can also copy groups, access the organizational view, disable message boards, and control user permissions. Users on the Premium plan get access to priority phone and email support. There’s also an Enterprise plan available at a custom price.

Pros

  • Intuitive
  • Task management features
  • Messaging and file storage in-app

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

2. ClickUp

ClickUp Project Management



Read our Review

Best for mid-sized businesses that need time tracking.

Launched just two years ago, ClickUp is one of the newer programs on this list, and it is surprisingly feature-rich. Since its creation, ClickUp developers have been working on adding new features to the software, such as time tracking, Gantt charts, and time estimates. While Gantt charts are reserved for paying users, you can access the time tracking and estimate features, even if you’re on the free plan! On top of that, I find that ClickUp’s usability and interface design are on par with the best.

However, ClickUp is not perfect. Like most free-forever project management software, ClickUp lacks advanced features, such as financial documentation and budgeting. This is an important factor in the decision-making process; if you need budgeting features, ClickUp may not be right for you. Having said that, you will struggle to find software examples out there that do have budgeting features on their free version.

ClickUp should be on your shortlist of free project management apps, especially if you don’t need the financial features I mentioned above. ClickUp is an ever-growing and changing software, and it would be a good fit for small and mid-sized businesses alike.

The Free Version Includes:

  • 100MB storage
  • Unlimited tasks
  • Unlimited users

Upgrading to ClickUp’s Unlimited plan gives you access to even more. The Unlimited plan is available for $9/user/month, and the plan is true to its name, as it provides you with Gantt charts and unlimited storage, views, integrations, and reporting. You can also create users as guests and set permissions. Also, this plan unlocks goals, portfolios, and custom fields features.

ClickUp offers a Business level plan (at $19/user/month) and an Enterprise plan (custom pricing available) as well. Both open the door to more advanced features and support, such as single sign-on and a dedicated success manager.

Pros

  • New features added regularly
  • Unlimited users
  • Time tracking

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

3. Redbooth

Redbooth



Visit Site

Read our Review

Best for individuals or teams of two.

Redbooth is one of our favorite project management apps here at Merchant Maverick (in fact, it’s the one we use). We love it for its slick, modern interface and excellent, easy to use features. But how much of that awesomeness overflows into the free version? Let’s find out.

At first glance, the free version of Redbooth might come across as a little underwhelming. With a two-user maximum threshold, you have to be operating on a very small scale for this project management tool to meet your needs. The strict limit of two workspaces may leave you feeling that Redbooth’s benefits do not balance out the free version’s downsides.

However, if you keep looking, you will find that many of our favorite features are still accessible in the free version. You still get unlimited tasks and subtasks, Gantt charts, basic reporting, conversations, and email support. Wrap it all up in Redbooth’s gorgeous UI, and you end up with a pretty picture.

Are there issues with the free plan? Yes. Like I mentioned above, this is a difficult free app to adapt to larger teams, or even for small groups that handle many kinds of projects. But if your company is a one-trick-pony, has just two team members, or you only work on one or two major projects at a time, Redbooth’s no-cost plan might work out for you.

The Free Version Includes:

  • Assign users and due dates
  • 2GB storage
  • Two workspaces
  • Two users
  • Exportable Gantt charts
  • Task overview
  • Calendar
  • Conversations
  • Community forums
  • Email support
  • User recommendations

Upgrading to the Pro plan, which costs $12/user/month, gives you access to more tools, users, storage space, and workspaces. You get time tracking features, multiple task assignees, 5GB of storage, and unlimited workspaces. You can also add an unlimited number of users (but remember, each user raises the cost), and you can add guest users for free. There’s also a Business plan ($18.75/user/month) and an Enterprise plan (custom pricing) for those who want even more storage and functionality.

Pros

  • Intuitive
  • Reporting features
  • Gantt charts

Get Started with Redbooth

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

4. Asana

Asana



Read our Review

Best for teams of 15 or fewer that need task management.

Asana is sleek and affordable task management software designed for small to mid-sized businesses. Asana lets businesses easily plan, organize, and assign tasks and projects. Multiple communication tools (such as the ability to comment and message) help discussions take place within specific projects and tasks. Asana lets users look at tasks in various views: as a list, as a Kanban board, or on a monthly calendar. Asana encourages communication, collaboration, and productivity within organizations.

However, like many of the software in this list, Asana has limitations when it comes to advanced features. Asana has a Gantt chart view, but it is only available on paid plans. Furthermore, there are no time tracking, risk register, or resource management features available (even for paying users), and reporting abilities are limited.  Most large and enterprise-level businesses require these features, so we do not recommend Asana to all users.

Only small businesses of up to 15 users can use the free version, which we find best fits with the available features. See what the free version includes below.

The Free Version Includes:

  • 15 users
  • Tasks
  • Multiple views (list, board, and calendar)
  • Assignees and due dates
  • Integrations

If you need reporting features, Gantt charts, task dependencies, and more, sign up for Asana’s Premium plan at the slightly higher cost of $10.99/user/month (when billed annually). On the Premium plan, users get priority support and academy training.

Asana also has a Business plan at $24.99/user/month and an Enterprise plan that is available at a custom price.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • List view, board view, calendar view
  • Task management

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

5. Trello

Trello



Read our Review

Best for small teams that love Kanban project management tools.

Trello is a cloud-based project management app that I recommend to many businesses. The fact that there is an excellent free version is a big part of that. Trello popularized the increasingly common Kanban board view that is now ubiquitous in the project management world. They also bring a sense of humor into their app with stickers, “power-ups,” and other silly tools for users to enjoy.

I like Trello, particularly for its playful aesthetic and focus on Kanban board views. But my affinity for this program comes with the knowledge that larger teams may find the free version limiting. Like many other software solutions in this list, Trello is missing many of the advanced features that large teams need from a project management software. Trello does not have Gantt charts or features for resource management, time tracking, or payroll.

That said, if you need an app for a small team, and you don’t need any of those features, Trello might be the perfect fit! Take a look at what the free version includes below.

The Free Version Includes:

  • Unlimited users
  • Unlimited personal boards
  • Unlimited cards
  • Unlimited lists
  • One power-up (integration) per board
  • 10MB per file attachment
  • Ten team boards
  • Simple automation
  • Limited commands
  • Ten command runs per month
  • Two-factor authentication

Trello’s paid plans begin at $12.50/user/month. Signing up for a paid plan allows you to add unlimited integrations and raises the storage capacity for a file attachment to 250MG. Additionally, users on paid plans get access to priority support, unlimited team boards, email notifications, advanced admin permissions, and more. There’s also an Enterprise-level plan (pricing depends on your number of users) which offers even more.

Pros

  • Simple Kanban design
  • Unlimited users
  • Automation

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

6. Teamwork

Teamwork Projects



Visit Site

Read our Review

Best for teams of five or fewer that need advanced features.

Teamwork Projects is another longstanding favorite at Merchant Maverick, and we aren’t the only ones who like it. Teamwork Projects has been winning hearts since back in 2007. And happily, there is a free version of this project management software program. Signing up and entering your email address and a password gives you access to this app’s user-friendly interface and solid integrations.

Part of the appeal of the Teamwork Projects software is that it is an advanced project management app. Teamwork Projects truly delivers robust features (such as Gantt chart exports, advanced project management templates, workload features, and time tracking). Even the free plan includes these features! If none of the other options on this list work for you, Teamwork Projects could be just the solution.

As far as I can tell, there are only two limiting factors to Teamwork Project’s free version. First, only five users or fewer can use the software. Second, you can only have two active projects at a time. These limitations make the free version an option only for very small teams that don’t have a lot of projects to track at a time. For these types of businesses, I think Teamwork Projects is an excellent option. Take a look at what the free version includes below.

The Free Version Includes:

  • Five users
  • 100MB storage
  • Two active projects
  • Limited boards
  • Basic project management
  • Subtasks
  • Color themes

If you have more than five users, you’ll need to consider the Pro plan, which costs $11.25/user/month. This plan grants you access to more projects, storage, and users. You will have 100GB file space, 300 projects, and up to 50 users. You’ll also get tools such as instant file editing and integrations with key resources such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and Slack.

Pros

  • Advanced features (time tracking, workload, risk register, etc.)
  • Gantt charts and board view
  • Clean design

Get Started with Teamwork Projects

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

7. Honorable Mention: Basecamp

Basecamp



Read our Review

Best for individuals, students, and families.

Like Asana, Basecamp is a simple project management tool that focuses primarily on tasks. Basecamp differs from Asana in its organizational methodology. While Asana organizes projects in a sidebar to the left of the screen, Basecamp uses a post-it style board to hold all your projects. Some users find this layout to be more intuitive, and it gives users an easy at-a-glance overview of everything they are working on. Basecamp is available in all three of its past and current versions (Basecamp Classic, Basecamp 2, and Basecamp 3). In this overview, we are focusing on the most recent version of Basecamp: Basecamp 3.

One of Basecamp 3’s most notable strengths is the multiple ways you can communicate with other members of the team. Each project has a message board where users can share project-related information, and users can also leave comments on specific tasks and events. The software also has built-in direct messaging as well as a company-wide “Campfire” message board where team members can discuss topics that aren’t project-specific.

As task management software, Basecamp lacks many of the advanced features that we have already discussed in this article. There are no Gantt chart capabilities, no risk register, no job costing, and no resource management. Basecamp’s built-in reporting features are also rudimentary.

We include Basecamp in this list as an honorable mention because Basecamp’s free version is not intended for business use. Labeled as a “Personal plan,” the free version is best suited for individuals, students, and families.

The Free Version Includes:

  • Three projects
  • 20 users
  • 1GB storage
  • Customer support

Basecamp’s free plan is not meant to be used by businesses. They recommend that businesses instead sign up for their Basecamp Business plan, which is sold at the flat rate of $99/month, no matter how many users you add. This paid plan includes unlimited projects, unlimited clients and contractors, and 500GB of storage space. This plan also comes with features such as a company intranet, project templates, and advanced client access. You’ll also get VIP support (Basecamp’s regular support speed is fast; their VIP support speed is even faster!).

Pros

  • Intuitive design
  • Task management
  • Communication features

Read our in-depth review

Jump back to comparison chart

A Full List Of Free Project Management Apps

  • SquidHub: Best for managing small projects and teams.
  • ClickUp: Best for mid-sized businesses that need time tracking.
  • Redbooth: Best for individuals or teams of two.
  • Trello: Best for small teams that love Kanban.
  • Teamwork Projects: Best for teams of five or fewer that need advanced features.
  • Basecamp: Best for individuals, students, and families.
  • Wrike: Best for teams of five or fewer that prefer a spreadsheet view.
  • Asana: Best for teams of fifteen or fewer that only need task management.
  • TSheets: Best for individuals who just need time tracking.
  • Zoho Projects: Best for small teams with only one project at a time.
  • Harvest: Best for individuals who need estimates, expense tracking, reports, and time tracking.
  • Pivotal Tracker: Best for teams of three or fewer that only need two projects at a time.
  • Streamtime: Best for small teams with five or fewer simultaneous projects that need timesheets, quoting, and invoicing.
  • Podio: Best for teams of five that need highly customizable software.
  • AND CO: Best for freelancers who need proposals and contracts, expense tracking, reports, and time tracking.

Which Project Management Software Is Right For You?

All of the apps we’ve discussed have their strengths and weaknesses, and your choice of software will depend upon your business’s specific needs.

SquidHub is all about simple organization, while ClickUp’s design is suited for an unlimited number of users who need access to time tracking. Redbooth’s free version is for teams of two who are looking for a Kanban task management tool that also provides some basic reporting and a timeline view. And for those who want to lean fully into the Kanban-style of project management, there’s Trello, which allows unlimited users to access up to 10 team boards. Teamwork Projects offers robust functionality for teams of five users who only need to list two projects at a time. Asana is a simple task management tool for teams of up to 15. There’s something for everyone!

As you choose software for your business, you should consider a few factors. How many users will need access? Which features do you need to have to manage your business? And how much do you have to spend on software? We advise that you make a quick list answering these three questions and then tour through a few of the options we’ve listed in this article.

When it comes down to it, the three free project management software tools I recommend most highly are Teamwork Projects for its advanced features and ClickUp and Trello for their unlimited users. But don’t just take my word for it. As always, the final decision is up to you. So go out and give some of these options a try! At the low price of $0, you’ve got nothing to lose.

A Last Look At Our Top Picks

  1. SquidHub
    Best For - Managing small projects and teams
  2. ClickUp Project Management
    Best For - Mid-sized businesses that need time tracking
  3. Redbooth
    Best For - Individuals or teams of two
  4. Asana
    Best For - Teams of 15 or fewer that need task management
  5. Trello
    Best For - Small teams that love Kanban project management tools
  6. Teamwork Projects
    Best For - Teams of five or fewer that need advanced features
  7. Basecamp
    Best For - Individuals, students, and families
Liz Hull

Liz Hull

Liz Hull is a writer for Merchant Maverick. In her three years with Merchant Maverick, she has tested and reviewed over 40 eCommerce platforms and published two ebooks on the topic of online selling. Liz has also been published in Startup Nation and Home Business Magazine Online. Liz has a BA in English and Spanish from George Fox University.
Leave a comment

1 Comment

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the vendor or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the vendor or bank advertiser. It is not the vendor or bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    Jack

    Thanks for providing a good list of project management software

      This comment refers to an earlier version of this post and may be outdated.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Your Review

    Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.
    Please read the "User Review and Comment Policy" before posting.

    Share

    Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.