Goodbye, Trello! 5 Alternative Free Kanban Board Tools

Mihir Patkar 27-09-2016

Trello is an incredible app for project management A Guide to Trello for Life and Project Management Trello can help you get organized. It's a free tool to manage any kind of project. Read this guide to understand its basic structure, the navigation, and how Trello can be useful to you. Read More and organizing your tasks. It also makes working with teammates much easier. But not everyone likes it or wants to sign up for a new service. There are enough free kanban board apps to ditch Trello.


Trello’s interface can feel off-putting and old-fashioned. And the features are limited. You can get Trello Gold for free A Guide to Trello for Life and Project Management Trello can help you get organized. It's a free tool to manage any kind of project. Read this guide to understand its basic structure, the navigation, and how Trello can be useful to you. Read More for a limited time, which gives you advanced features, but you’ll eventually have to pay for those.

Of course, using Trello means that your data is being stored on yet another server. Safety of data aside, it means you have to connect it to other services that you or your team uses, to access your files and images.

There are alternative ways to do things, possibly better too.

1. KanbanFlow (Web): Simple Alternative With Built-In Pomodoro

Trello is based on a productivity technique called kanban, originally developed by Toyota. KanbanFlow is the simplest implementation of it. You can create boards, add cards to boards, and move things around in a simple drag-and-drop interface. It’s the most intuitive kanban app, even more so than Trello.

Trello Alternative KanbanFlow


KanbanFlow also adds one other popular productivity technique, the Pomodoro timer. This is all about working in short, focused bursts so your concentration levels remain high. Harry found that a Pomodoro timer changed his work life How a Simple Pomodoro Timer Made My Life Better The Pomodoro Technique is one of the simpler time management life hacks. Break through distractions with the help of 25-minute chunks and a timer. It could be a life-changing routine change if it suits you. Read More , so you can use KanbanFlow to incorporate it for all the tasks on your plate today.

One other thing to note about KanbanFlow is how well the mobile site works. You can fire up any browser, go to KanbanFlow, and you’ll be able to work with it flawlessly. That’s not something which can be said about most kanban apps.

2. GitHub Projects (Web): Trello for Developers

If you’re a developer, then you probably already have a GitHub account. Whether you use the free version or the paid one, you’ll be pleased to know that GitHub now has a Trello-like kanban board built into it. It’s under the Projects tab in your dashboard, and it’s marvelous.

Trello Alternative GitHub Projects

GitHub Projects lets you create as many columns or boards as you want, and add as many tasks or cards as you want. There are no limitations. Each card can be a simple note, or turned into a GitHub issue. You can assign cards to other GitHub users you are collaborating with, making it easier to distribute your work among the team.

GitHub Projects is so good that it’s reason enough to sign up for an account. It’s not just for developers, anyone can use GitHub for creative work Not Just for Coders: 9 Ways To Use GitHub For Creative Work GitHub is known for the great features it can offer programmers, but it's not only for them. There are plenty of other creative uses for GitHub. Here are nine you can explore. Read More .

3. Microsoft Planner (Web): A Trello Made for Microsoft Office

Under the new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has been focusing heavily on productivity tools. A project management tool was a natural step then. Microsoft Planner mimics the functions of Trello, but plugs deep into your Office Live account to access OneDrive storage, OneNote files, and all your Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files stored online.

Like Trello, you can create Cards and Boards for individual tasks and large projects, respectively. Each card can be colored individually, set a deadline, add attachments, and so on. Since Trello is integrated into Office 365, these attachments can be the Microsoft Office files you and your teammates are already working on. Planner also has an integrated chat to discuss all your plans.

If you have bought an Office 365 subscription How to Manage Your Office 365 Subscription Getting to grips with Office 365? Make sure you're in complete control of your account and subscription settings with this guide. Read More , then Planner is part of the suite now. It’s available for some Office 365 subscribers already. If you haven’t already got access, you should see it in a couple of weeks, according to Microsoft.

4. Sortd (Chrome): Trello for Your Gmail Inbox

So many of us use our email inbox as a makeshift task and project management tool. What we need to do is more often than not emailed to us, as are things we need to follow up on. So why would you want a separate app to organize all that? Just do it in your inbox with Sortd, a smart skin for Gmail.

Trello Alternative Sortd for Gmail

Sortd turns your Gmail into a Trello-like board Turn Gmail Into A Trello-Like Task Board With Sortd In the modern workforce, your email often turns into your task list. Well, now you can get Trello-style organisation right in Gmail with a new Chrome extension, Sortd. Read More , so you can arrange emails according to whatever “board” or column they should fall under. Emails, like any other task, have a simple flow: Discuss, take an action, follow up on the action, add it to the “finished” pile. That’s what Sortd brings to the table, in the simplest way possible.

In case you like it, get the Sortd app for your Android or iPhone to further push the possibilities of email-based project management.

DownloadSortd Smart Skin for Gmail for Google Chrome (Free)

Download — Sortd Mobile Companion for Android (Free) | for iOS (Free)

5. Essential Kanban Condensed (eBook): From the “Father” of the Kanban Method

While the kanban technique originated in Toyota, management guru David Anderson is credited with distilling it into a concise productivity method. Widely acknowledged as the “father” of the kanban method, Anderson has co-authored a book explaining the basics of kanban — and you can get it for free!

Trello Alternative Essential Kanban Condensed

To access Essential Kanban Condensed, you’ll need to sign up for a newsletter from LeanKanban. Give it your details, sign up with a temporary email 3 Ways to Instantly Create a New Email Address for Yourself Here's how you can instantly create a new email address, whether you need a temporary one or a separate one to the same inbox. Read More , and then filter out that email address once you’re done downloading the PDF.

The book is actually quite detailed, so don’t fall for the “condensed” in the name. Of course, it helps that Anderson himself is talking about the method since he arguably knows more about it than anyone else.

To Trello or Not to Trello?

I’ve tried to get into the Trello habit many times, but there’s something about the app that makes me fall out of love with it after a month or so of usage. Maybe it’s the interface, maybe it’s something else. But these other kanban apps are fantastic and I regularly use KanbanFlow and Sortd. Microsoft Planner seems like a really useful tool as well.

Want even more options? Check out these Trello alternatives for kanban productivity Love Trello? Try These 5 Alternative Kanban Productivity Tools Like the idea of Trello but not Trello itself? These alternative Kanban apps integrate with calendars, email, Slack, and more. Read More .

Related topics: Cool Web Apps, Productivity, Trello.

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  1. James Collett
    July 16, 2019 at 2:39 pm

    Regarding Microsoft Planner, the article says, "you should see it in a couple of weeks, according to Microsoft."

    But when was the article written? I can find no date assigned to it, which is quite ridiculous. The earliest comment appears to be from Sep 2016, so that's a clue, but not dating your articles is irresponsible.

    Oh - and the link to the Microsoft statement is dead now.

  2. GC
    May 3, 2018 at 8:20 am

    A lot of these comments are just trying to promote their freaking products/services!!!

  3. Bosun
    August 22, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Trello was good for working with a colleague on a project. But on logging back in just now I see they have changed everything round and made it confusing.

    So no more Trello for me!

  4. ndsk
    July 26, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    according to the Essential Kanban book referred to in the article, the Japanese word "kanban" means "signal card" or "large visual board." Why not give credit where credit's due. This is basically post-its on a large board. I personally prefer the post-it method. Not all of us work well digitally. or on these small screens. And computers take longer than jotting quick notes on post-its. I prefer the system of using columns on the wall or large board and putting items on post its. You can create whatever system for flowcharts, etc that works for you, color-code if you want. And move the post it cards around easily in any way you need. There are no spacial limitations on what you can do with a good old fashion post it and especially post it turned into calendar/to do chart. (Take a picture of it with your smartphone if you want to carry it around with you and if you need to make changes, just keep a list in Memos or in an email to self or try carrying post-its with you in your pocket.) Everyone's trying to create all these fancy apps and systems of doing things but I have never seen anything beat a paper and pencil method. It's time people realized the limits of technology. Technology can make you accompany your to do list more quickly but it may not make creating the list and charting your progress quicker. If it did, I wouldn't have time to waste reading these articles on productivity and writing comments to them.

  5. Alex.Go
    July 14, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Sorry, but the list is total BS. The two most popular free Trello alternatives (Bitrix24 and Asana) aren't even listed. Trello is losing users to Bitrix24 because they (Trello) don't have Gantt, time tracking, client management and they are losing users to Asana, because it's better at group projects. Trello isn't losing users to Sortd or MS Planner.

  6. Kevin Dillman
    July 11, 2017 at 7:33 pm

    For Android there are two good Kanban apps. Agile tasks - which is very basic, but works well.

    The second is Swipes App. Swipes is a very good app with subtasks, notes and labels.

  7. uffo
    May 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm is one of the best alternatives to Trello! It should be mentioned.

  8. Chris R
    March 14, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    Just a question. Is Trello integrated into Office 365? Or did you mean to say Planner? (Item 3, para 2)

  9. Eric Ebert
    January 10, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Hi Mihir,

    Did you hear about the Trello acquisition?
    We've seen quite a bit of interest in our Trello alternative, Zenkit.

    If the MUO community would like to test with us, please let me know. eric (at)

  10. Grainne Logue
    January 3, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    The Kanban approach really is fantastic, I actually wrote an article about its origins over on the Buckets blog too. We also utilize the Kanban over at and we're bringing in new features to support it too - it's an exciting time! Let me know if you get a chance to check it out :) All feedback that we get is SO useful to us right now. Gráinne

    • Wojtek
      September 13, 2018 at 7:47 am

      Hi Grainne,

      Looks good, but you hide price structure. for instance, I personally don`t fall into Start Free, because is a start into unknown. Could you please share some insights? I use Trello Free plan which is enough for me but look for an alternative.

      • Grainne Logue
        September 13, 2018 at 2:05 pm

        Hey there :) There actually isn't a pricing structure as Buckets is completely free to use.

  11. Jack Kingsley
    September 30, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    We ditched Trello and switched to!

  12. Joe
    September 28, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    Our company uses 4th office

  13. Mozimaker
    September 28, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    MeisterTask is another good one.

    • Taryn
      October 2, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      I second MeisterTask - by far the most intuitive and flexible PM, Calendar, Task Manager - Android app is amazing as well. I'm just a "me" but I can see this working for all sorts of needs. I tried to get into Todoist but I never could - and Trello was great for some things and not so much for others - if you are a company, using several apps to organize your workflow makes sense. But although I do use others some of the time, I keep my day-to-day tasks, projects, and appointments in Meistertask.

  14. Chris Mathews
    September 28, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Also check out - like the Github Projects option.