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Best Free Project Management Software

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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 β€” sometimes it means a sacrifice in quality or quantity, or that something 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 seven of the best free project management software apps out there.

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, 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 hope 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 and 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 each software’s value based on my own experience.

Let’s get started!

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For

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Best for managing small projects and teams.
Best for managing small projects and teams.

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Best for mid-sized businesses that need time tracking.
Best for mid-sized businesses that need time tracking.

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Best for individuals or teams of two.
Best for individuals or teams of two.

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

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Best for small teams that love Kanban project management tools.
Best for small teams that love Kanban project management tools.

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Other Featured Options:

  • Teamwork Projects: Best for teams of five or fewer that need advanced project management features.
  • Basecamp: Best for individuals, students, and families.

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

The 7 Best Free Project Management Software For Small Businesses

With free project management software for small businesses, you don’t have to pay a fortune to keep your projects on track. You can track time, communicate with your team, and keep an eye on your budget with these free project management tools, including SquidHub, ClickUp, Redbooth, Asana, Trello, Teamwork, and Basecamp.

1. SquidHub: Best For Small Projects

SquidHub



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SquidHub is remarkable in that it was initially 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).

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 (such as 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • No reporting
  • No budget tools
  • No Gantt charts

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.

When To Use SquidHub

SquidHub is incredibly simple but 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.

Read our in-depth review

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2. ClickUp: Best For Time Tracking

ClickUp Project Management



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Launched just two years ago, ClickUp is one of the newer programs on this list, and it is surprisingly feature-rich. ClickUp developers have added new features to the software since its creation, 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 forever-free 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.

Pros

  • New features added regularly
  • Unlimited users
  • Time tracking

Cons

  • No budgeting feature
  • No Gantt charts
  • No integrations

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.

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

When To Use ClickUp

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

Read our in-depth review

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3. Redbooth: Best For Small Teams

Redbooth



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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 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, GanttΒ charts, basic reporting, conversations, and email support. Wrap it all up in Redbooth’s gorgeous UI, and you end up with a pretty picture.

Pros

  • Intuitive
  • Reporting features
  • Gantt charts

Cons

  • A limited number of users
  • A limited number of projects

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.

When To Use Redbooth

Redbooth is difficult to adapt to larger teams or even 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.

Read our in-depth review

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4. Asana: Best For Task Management

Asana



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Asana is a 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, a Kanban board, or on a monthly calendar. Asana encourages communication, collaboration, and productivity within organizations.

Like many of the software options 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 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • No Gantt charts
  • No resource management
  • Limited reporting

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.

When To Use Asana

Only small businesses of up to 15 users can use the free version of Asana, which we find best fits with the available features. The limitations on users under the free plan β€” as well as limited reporting and a lack of advanced features, such as resource management β€” may make Asana’s free version unsuited for larger businesses. But for smaller businesses, there are plenty of features available that you won’t find with other free project management software plans.

Read our in-depth review

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5. Trello: Best For Kanban Boards

Trello



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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. Trello also brings a sense of humor into its 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.

Pros

  • Simple Kanban design
  • Unlimited users
  • Automation

Cons

  • No Gantt charts
  • No resource management
  • No time tracking

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.

When To Use Trello

If you have a small team and prefer Kanban-style project management tools, Trello may be the right software for you. The free version doesn’t put limitations on users or the number of boards like other software. However, a few important advanced features are noticeably missing, such as resource management and time tracking. This could be a deal-breaker if you need these features to manage your projects.

Read our in-depth review

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6. Teamwork: Best For Advanced Features

Teamwork Projects



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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 2007.Β  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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • A limited number of users
  • A limited number of projects

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 $12.50/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. You can also purchase the Premium or Enterprise plans for additional users, projects, and features.

When To Use Teamwork

Teamwork Projects has a number of advanced project management features that are even available on its free plan. For smaller teams that need time tracking, workload management, and other tools, Teamwork may be a great fit. On the other hand, a limitation on the number of projects and users that can access the software under the free plan may pose limitations for larger businesses that juggle many projects at once or have more than five users.

Get Started with Teamwork Projects

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7. Basecamp: Best For Personal Use

Basecamp



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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 team members. 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 and 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.

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.

Pros

  • Intuitive design
  • Task management
  • Communication features

Cons

  • Not for business use
  • No advanced features

The Free Version Includes

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

Basecamp’s free plan is not meant to be used by businesses. The company recommends that businesses instead sign up for the 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; its VIP support speed is even faster).

When To Use Basecamp

Basecamp free plan offers a good number of project management features best suited for individual use. It is also a good choice for students and families. However, to get the most out of Basecamp, businesses will need to upgrade to the Business plan.

Read our in-depth review

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Choosing The Best Free Project Management Software For Your Business

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.

What should you consider before making your choice? First, look at the number of team members that will be using the software. If you have 15 and a free plan limits you to just five users, explore other options.

Next, consider the number of projects you typically work on at once. Many free plans limit the number of projects you have going at the same time, so make sure you pick software that best fits your own needs.

Finally, consider the features that are most important to your projects. For example, if team members need to track their time, free plans that lack a time-tracking feature can be crossed off your list.

For many businesses, there is free project management software that checks all of the boxes. For others, it may make more sense to explore paid options. Whatever you decide, make sure to sign up for free versions or free trials of paid plans to explore all options and determine which is best for you. After all, you have nothing to lose! Good luck!

FAQs About Free Project Management Software For Your Business

Which is the best free project management software?

Each of the free software options on this list comes with its own set of benefits. What works for you may not work for another business, so “best” is subjective. However, in terms of features, Teamwork comes out on top.

How do I choose the best project management software?

To choose the best project management software, consider your business’s needs. What features do you need? How many users will be using the software? How many projects do you have ongoing at once? Determine your business’s needs, then test out software that best fits these needs to find the right fit for your business.

Which is the easiest project management software to use?

The free project management software options on this list are all quite easy to use with a little practice. However, Asana is one of the easiest options for users with little or no prior experience using project management software. Since these options are free, give a few (or all!) a try to find which is easiest for you.

When should I upgrade to paid project management software?

If you need advanced project management features, require more users, need additional storage space, or have a lot of projects, it may be time to upgrade to paid project management software. Fortunately, there are a number of affordable options available that offer additional user seats, unlimited projects, and the advanced features you need to manage your projects effectively.

How can I tell if a free project management software is legit or a scam?

Stick with reputable software, such as the options on this list, to avoid getting scammed. Do your research and read reviews. Truly free software should never require a credit card or other payment information. Finally, read the fine print. Some “free” options may simply be a free trial that converts to a paid subscription after a specific amount of time has passed.

In Summary: The 7 Best Free Project Management Software For Small Businesses

  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 project management features.
  7. Basecamp: Best for individuals, students, and families.
Erica Seppala

Erica Seppala

Erica is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. She is a graduate of Limestone College. Initially determined to be an accountant, she put away the calculator and picked up a laptop to pursue her dream of being a writer. Erica has spent the past 10 years writing blogs and articles for hundreds of private clients, and she loves sharing her love of research and the written word with everyone around her.
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    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.

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