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Choosing the right project management software is a Goldilocks problem. Too simple, too complex, too agile, too kanban — every business has a particular way of doing things, and not every project management utility can support each custom use case.

Basecamp and Trello are popular and sophisticated project management tools, offering a wide array of collaborative features and task management systems. Let’s compare both project management software solutions to determine which might be best for your business.

SEE: Feature comparison: Time tracking software and systems (TechRepublic Premium)

What is Basecamp?

Basecamp is an online collaboration and project management software suite. Through Basecamp, organizations can keep track of to-do lists, file sharing and team collaboration. Businesses of all sizes can use Basecamp, but it’s more helpful for mid-sized companies and large enterprises.

What is Trello?

Trello is an online project management app that uses the kanban methodology to help businesses keep track of their work. While Trello provides multiple views for projects including boards, cards, lists and calendars, the kanban board view is a significant selling point. Trello is best for independent contractors and small to mid-sized businesses, although it can scale up to large enterprises.

The best features of Basecamp

Basecamp provides comprehensive, polished project management tools. Some of Basecamp’s stand-out features include:

  • Centralized project management: To-do lists, files and discussions are all contained within Basecamp, making it easier for team members to find what they need and stay up to date on the progress of multiple projects.
  • Clean, easy-to-use interfaces: Though Basecamp has a complex set of functions and features, its interfaces are easy to learn. A tutorial system will walk users through most of the suite’s features.
  • A wide range of features: Basecamp is an all-in-one product that includes document collaboration, real-time chat, kanban, check-ins, task management and task scheduling.

Essentially, Basecamp provides many of the tools and utilities that most organizations would expect from a productivity and collaboration suite. Basecamp is an alternative to a Slack or Microsoft Teams deployment in addition to a project management suite.

The best features of Trello

While Basecamp provides a wide range of features, Trello’s core focus is on the kanban board view. Important Trello features include:

  • A simple, visual interface: The kanban board system is easy to understand and can be used for various tasks from product development to blog management.
  • Flexible workflows: Trello’s kanban boards can be customized to fit the needs of any business. Users can create as many boards as they need and invite as many team members as necessary.
  • Power-Ups: With an additional price, Trello offers a range of “Power-Ups” for boards, including Calendar, Voting, and Slack integration. These Power-Ups add extra functionality to Trello, making it even more flexible.

Basecamp and Trello couldn’t be more different in terms of complexity. Trello puts the projects and tasks at the forefront, and while it doesn’t have as many bells and whistles, it doesn’t need to. Trello is ideal for organizations that find they’re spending more time managing their time than utilizing it.

Head-to-head comparison: Basecamp vs. Trello

Ease of use

Both Basecamp and Trello are user-friendly and intuitive, but Basecamp is more complex. Users will hit the ground running much faster with Trello but may also run right into a wall — if they want any sophisticated or advanced features, they’ll have to pay for them.

Features

Basecamp has a much wider range of features than Trello; however, most of these features are only available to paying customers. Trello’s features are more limited, but they’re also free. You can get Power-Ups for additional features through Trello too.

Performance

Trello is faster and more responsive than Basecamp, which is likely due to the fact that Trello isn’t weighed down by as many features. Basecamp can be slow when there are a lot of projects going on simultaneously. As online apps, both Basecamp and Trello rely on your internet speed.

Support

Basecamp’s support is generally better than Trello’s. Basecamp has a knowledge base, email support and phone support for paying customers. Trello only offers email support. For those who want direct, easy access to support, Basecamp will be the better choice.

Pricing

Basecamp’s pricing is $99/month for an unlimited number of users. Trello is free for users who don’t require advanced features and $12.50/month per user for those who do. Basecamp’s flat-rate pricing means that it’s cheaper for companies of larger sizes.

 BasecampTrello
Price$99/month$12.50/month
SubtasksYesChecklists only
Task dependenciesNoYes (Power-Up)
Recurring tasksYesYes (Power-Up)
Custom fieldsYesYes (Power-Up)
CalendarYesYes (Power-Up)
TimelineNoYes (Power-Up)

Should your organization use Basecamp or Trello?

If you need a comprehensive suite of productivity and collaboration tools, choose Basecamp. Basecamp will provide you with project management and communication tools.

If you’re looking for a simple, visual way to track work progress, choose Trello. Trello is laser-focused on getting the job done, making it ideal for those who want to focus more on the task than on task management.

For most independent contractors and small business owners, Trello will provide everything they need. For mid-sized businesses and enterprises, the collaboration and communication functions of Basecamp are hard to beat.