Tools

12 Best Free & Paid Kanban Board Tools [2021]

list of free and paid kanban tools

Kanban is one of the most popular frameworks for getting work done and delivering projects. With its roots in lean manufacturing, many companies use Kanban to improve their productivity and deliver optimal customer value.

In this article, we’re going to roundup the 12 best Kanban tools on the market. We’ll compare both free and paid tools on their design, functionality, ease-of-use, and price as well as looking more generally at what makes a great Kanban tool.

Specifically, we’ll run through:

Let’s begin!

What is a Kanban Tool?

Kanban tool functionality centralizes around a Kanban board. A Kanban board helps agile and DevOps teams visualize their work to easily understand what needs doing. Kanban boards are typically made up of the following key components:

  • Columns – Each column will denote the stage/phase an item of work is at. Whilst these are fairly standard, most tools will enable you to customize your columns to fit your team’s process.
  • Cards – The cards sit within the columns and denote the details of individual work items. These cards may also include further information such as assignee, due-date, and tags.
  • Delivery Point – The delivery point is the areas of a Kanban board cards are moved to when they are delivered and the work is complete. This is essentially another column but with a particular status.

What Makes a Good Kanban Tool?

Given Kanban is based on lean principles, the perfect tool should help make your business as streamlined as possible. Here’s what to look out for when choosing a Kanban tool:

  • Design – Kanban boards are designed to be easy visualizations of work. As such, pick a tool with a clean design that’s easy to work with day-to-day.
  • Functionality – Whilst the key components of a Kanban board are fairly simple, look out for additional functionality, such as automation, to bring even more speed to your delivery.
  • Customization – Small pieces of customization go a long way. Look for this in column statuses, colour schemes, tags and custom fields to ensure the tool suits the way you work.

Top 12 Free and Paid Kanban Tools

Toggl Plan

From $8 per user, per month
Free plan available ✅

Toggl Plan is a beautifully simple project management software. One of its key features is Boards, a clean and intuitive Kanban feature built for teams of all shapes and sizes.

toggl plan

It combines customization, simple drag-and-drop functionality and additional features, such as comments, @mentions, tags and more to offer the perfect solution for managing your team’s work.

Toggl Plan Kanban Board 1024x663

Key Kanban Features

  • Clean and simple design to easily visualize workload
  • Intuitive drag-and-drop functionality for ease of use
  • Customize statuses to suit how you work
  • Assign tasks to multiple team members
  • Team collaboration with in-task comments
  • Update tasks with rich information and attachments
  • Native integration with Toggl Track for time tracking
  • Data import to get started quickly

Pricing

The free plan is great for freelancers and solo users, complete with all the features for planning simple Kanban projects.

Team plans start at $8 per user, per month (billed annually) or $9 when billed monthly. For those teams with advanced privacy or reporting needs, the Business Plan is billed at $13.50 per user per month (billed annually) or $15 when billed monthly.

See Toggl Plan features

Monday

From $8 per user per month
No free plan available ❌

Monday.com is one of the most popular all-round task management tools on the market. They have their own unique take on Kanban boards, doing away with the drag-and-drop functionality we’ve seen already for something more detailed.

monday.com

Additional features such as task emailing, Q&A and automation give a fresh perspective on Kanban whilst integrating into the wider toolset Monday offer for getting work done.

Key Kanban Features

  • Kanban view for seeing work at a glance
  • Slot Monday into your business with customizations
  • Collaborate on tasks with comments, chat, and email
  • Automate task updates and team notifications
  • Integrates with a wide range of tools such as Mailchimp

Pricing

Monday do not have a free plan, with their ‘Basic’ subscriptions starting at $8 per user, month with a 3 user minimum. ‘Standard’ and ‘Pro’ packages add additional features for an increased per user price.

Trello

From $12.50 per user, per month
Free plan available ✅

Trello is a pure Kanban task management tool. As one of the original Kanban tools, Trello keeps things simple with its design making it very popular with teams across the globe.

trello

Functionality wise, Trello offers some great additional features such as task automation and custom fields alongside integration to the likes of Slack and Google Drive.

Key Kanban Features

  • Great visualization thanks to a clean design
  • Customize statuses to fit business process
  • Automate tasks with Trello’s Butler
  • Capture bespoke task information with custom fields
  • Mobile app integration to get work done on the go

Pricing

The free plan comes with unlimited personal Kanban boards and up to 10 team Kanban boards. Paid plans start at $12.50 per user, per month allowing for more users and premium features.

Asana

From $10.99 per user, per month
Free plan available ✅

Asana’s Kanban boards compliment their larger project and task management feature set very well. Combining clean design with simple functionality, as a Kanban tool, Asana ticks many of the boxes.

asana

As an overall package, Asana offers options for customization and automation as well as integrating with the likes of Zoom, Teams, and Slack.

Key Kanban Features

  • Clean and stylish design are easy on the eye
  • Drag-and-drop to easily update task status
  • Streamline workflows with automations
  • Rich task information such as due date and file attachments
  • Assign tasks to multiple team members for optimal collaboration

Pricing

The free plan offers the chance to collaborate with up to 15 teammates. Paid plans start at $10.99 per user, per month and unlock access to dashboards and integrations with the likes of Tableau & Power BI.

Wrike

From $9.80 per user, per month
Free plan available ✅

Wrike is another all-in-one project and task management tool which incorporates a solid Kanban offering. The board’s design is simple and fresh making it easy to see exactly what your team has on for the day.

wrike

Simple drag-and-drop makes it easy to progress tasks, with further information such as assignee and due-date able to be updated within the task card.  

Key Kanban Features

  • Fresh design in line with Wrike’s overall style
  • Simple drag-and-drop functionality to keep tasks moving
  • Add further information to cards such as assignee
  • Custom statuses and widgets adapt to your process
  • Easy to setup templates mean you can get started instantly

Pricing

The free plan gives simple board functionality for up to 5 users. Paid plans start at $9.80 per user, per month with each plan adding more detailed and powerful functionality as you progress upwards.

Kanban Tool

From $5 per user, per month
Free plan available ✅

We’re back to a pure Kanban offering with the perfectly named, Kanban Tool. With simplicity and core Kanban functionality at its centre, Kanban Tool is great for small teams who want to simply keep track of tasks.

kanbantool

Despite the front end simplicity, there’s also more detailed back-end functionality including the ability to monitor time tracking and create detailed productivity reporting.

Key Kanban Features

  • Clean and simple design makes visualization easy
  • Intuitive User Interface to process tasks at speed
  • Swimlanes to separate multiple work streams
  • Track time spent on tasks and overall projects
  • Get detailed insights thanks to reporting and analytics monitoring

Pricing

The free plan gives two users access to up to two boards. Paid plans start at $5 per user, per month offering unlimited users and unlimited file storage.

Agilean

$5 per user, per month
No free plan available ❌

Agilean specializes in agile delivery and aims to make remote working simple and easy. Part of the way it does this is through Kanban boards that are clean in design and powerful in functionality.

agilean

By bringing together additional features for automating daily standups and board customization, Agilean works alongside teams of all shapes and sizes to boost their productivity.

Key Kanban Features

  • Colour-coded design to easily visualize stages
  • Drag-and-drop functionality to speed up work
  • Aligned against agile ways of working
  • Additional features for release management and daily standups
  • Collaborate on tasks with comments and rich information

Pricing

Agilean does not have a free plan, but has a simple, single-tiered pricing structure of $5 per user, per month. For this price, you get the full feature set which rivals agile competitors such as Jira and Trello.

ClickUp

From $5 per user, per month
Free plan available ✅

ClickUp is an all-in-one workflow tool to help deliver projects fast. Given that they’re in this roundup, one of the key ways they do this is through their ‘Agile Boards’. Simple drag-and-drop runs over a clean design to make ClickUp’s Kanban offering one of the best we’ve seen.

clickup

Add in customization, collaborative chat, and widget embed and ClickUp isn’t just great in its design but packs a punch with its functionality too!

Key Kanban Features

  • Clean and fresh design makes long work days manageable
  • Simple functionality to progress tasks with ease
  • Customizable statuses and tasks to match how you work
  • Collaborate instantly with built-in Docs and team chat
  • Mobile app to keep you working on the move

Pricing

The free plan comes with unlimited users and tasks. Paid plans start at $5 per user, per month and offer a range of features including integrations and dashboards.

Samepage

From $7.50 per user, per month
Free plan available ✅

Samepage works to bring everyone together on a simple, one-page view to boost project collaboration. In true lean style, this is achieved through Task Boards that mix clean design and classic Kanban functionality.

clickup

Create custom statuses, collaborate through in-task chat and set reminders to ensure all your tasks stay on track and deliver successfully.

Key Kanban Features

  • Customize statuses and task information to suit your team/project
  • Drag-and-drop tasks as they progress
  • Clean and simple design makes it easy to visualize work
  • Collaborate with chat, docs, and sheets
  • Bring guests into the tool to work together on tasks and projects

Pricing

The free plan is perfect for small groups and personal use. Paid plans start at $7.50 per user, per month and include features that help with task management, event management, and communication.

Taskworld

From $10 per user, per month
No free plan available ❌

Taskworld prides themselves on offering the perfect blend of design and functionality to get things done. Focused around a range of Kanban board templates, Taskworld delivers great flexibility that will especially appeal to larger teams.

taskworld

Collaboration is easy within Taskworld too, with in-tool direct messenger, task comments, email-to-task creation and task followers.

Key Kanban Features

  • Simple design helps see which tasks are outstanding
  • Feature-rich task and communications capabilities
  • Customize statuses, tasks, and views to match your business
  • Utilize pre-built templates to get started quickly
  • Invite guests into Taskworld to collaborate

Pricing

There is no free plan with Taskworld, instead prices start at $13 per user, per month ($10 when billed annually) with further tiers for additional functionality available.

Kanban Flow

From $5 per user, per month
Free plan available ✅

Kanban Flow is another core Kanban tool, opting for pure Kanban functionality with a simple design rather than a complicated feature set. Those operating pure Kanban will love the addition of WIP limits and swimlanes to keep workflows balanced.

kanbanflow

Kanban flow also packs in time tracking, integrations and powerful reporting to ensure that you’re tracking the value you deliver all year round.

Key Kanban Features

  • Core Kanban functionality is easy to implement and use
  • Basic design styles allow for practical work visualization
  • Customize statuses to match your processes
  • Keep control with WIP limits and swimlanes
  • Integrate with the other tools you use such as Outlook and Zapier

Pricing

The free forever plan offers unlimited boards and tasks. The Premium plan costs $5 per user, per month and adds in advanced reporting, integrations and collaboration features.

Kanbanchi

From $9.95 per use, per month
Free plan available ✅

If your technology stack sits within Google, Kanbanchi offers a great task manager which aligns with Google Workspace. Kanbanchi delivers a clean design you’ll be familiar with from the likes of Gmail alongside standard Kanban features.

kanbanchi

Card templates and recurring tasks minimize Kanbanchi’s setup time with features for customization and integration with G-Suite helping it align to your existing business processes.

Key Kanban Features

  • Familiar design style for those who use Gmail
  • Easy drag-and-drop functionality to update tasks
  • Integrates into the Google Workspace suite
  • Customize tasks and cards to fit your business
  • Time tracking and reporting to monitor team performance

Pricing

Kanbanchi offers a free plan to corporate users but limits you to 10 cards on a board. Paid plans start at $9.95 per user, per month ranging up to $24.50 for time tracking and detailed reporting.

That’s all for our roundup of the best free and paid-for Kanban tools on the market. Wanting something more powerful? Check out our look at the best all-round Project Management tools on the market, many of which include all of the Kanban features we’ve seen today!

How To Choose The Right Kanban Tool For You

Now that you’re armed with 12 options for Kanban tools on the market, it’s time to understand the next steps in selecting the right one. Here are three key things you need to think about before choosing your tool! 

Step #1: Holistic Project Management vs Dedicated Kanban

Whilst all of the tools we’ve seen above offer great Kanban functionality, many of them also deliver projects in other ways. As an example, Toggl Plan also includes a timeline if you need to map your work out in a gantt-style format. 

Understand whether your team would benefit from any other project views such as a timeline, or if Kanban alone is the framework for you. 

Step #2: Shortlist Tools on Requirements & Budget

Once you’ve made that decision, start to look at the tools in more detail. Consider your requirements and the individual features you need, especially in areas such as customization and integration.

Whilst you do this, it’s also worth having a top-level budget in mind. Some of the tools we’ve featured can be pricey, especially for bigger teams, so ensure you’re only considering those that fit within your budget. 

At the end of this step, you should be down to 2-3 contenders!

Step #3: Take Them For a Spin

You never truly know if a tool is right for you until you’ve used it in action. Many of the 12 tools we’ve featured today will allow for a free trial. Take the opportunity to get to grips with the tool to ensure it’s the perfect fit for your team.

Finally, it’s time to make your decision! Pick the tool that ticks all the boxes for you and get started with delivering some great projects. 

That’s all for our roundup of the best free and paid-for Kanban tools on the market. Wanting something more comprehensive? Check out our look at the best project management tools available, many of which include all of the Kanban features we’ve seen today.


January 12, 2021