Best Kanban Software Tools Comparison (Top 16 Apps 2021)
Everyone gets things done their own way and at their own pace. But project managers need amazing tools to keep track of every task and monitor the workflow of whole teams.
To do this, you need the best Kanban software.
We break down 16 of the best Kanban tools out there. We consider which Kanban software suits different needs, from personal use, to software development, to overall project management. There’s a summary of key tools and features. Finally, we go over the price and free options of the top Kanban apps.
Kanban software comparison chart (top 10 highest rated)
Best Kanban software overall
$99 per 15 users /month
Best free Kanban software
Best personal Kanban app
Top Kanban tool for software development
$10 per 10 users/month
Best online Kanban board
$19 /5 users/month
*Not including free versions.
What is Kanban software?
Kanban software is a digital interface based on the physical Kanban cards and board system.
The Toyota method
Kanban project management was first developed as part of the Toyota car manufacturing process. The idea was to be as agile as possible by streamlining production in a “just-in-time” fashion. This meant each task or problem would get its own card, which project managers could prioritize and track through stages of completion.
A typical Kanban board would have columns or lists, and the card would progress from left to right. A most basic Kanban board structure would go:
Of course you could make longer lists with custom fields.
Kanban and Scrum
The Kanban methodology is similar to Scrum but not exactly. Scrum is for the quick or emergency completion of tasks or a series of subtasks. Kanban is for any kind of task or even larger projects.
Both Kanban and Scrum are methods of agile production. This lets teams and companies do more with less staff and fewer idle resources. Agile production lets you tackle issues and tasks as they arise, which keeps overhead costs low.
What are the different types of Kanban software?
The most common types of Kanban task cards used in Kanban software are:
Production Kanban. This is the basic Kanban for getting tasks done.
Conveyance Kanban. This Kanban for goods production tracking moving parts.
Through Kanban. This Kanban coordinates between physically distant departments.
Supplier Kanban. A Kanban that lets companies include 3rd parties like suppliers.
Emergency Kanban. This Kanban is for rushing through emergency solutions.
Express Kanban. Like Scrum, for speedy completion of a small number of tasks.
What are the best Kanban software options? Here’s our top 16 list:
From the best Kanban software overall, to some great free Kanban tools, here’s a list of 16 of the best Kanban apps out there. There’s something here for everyone looking to get into project management software, from individuals on a budget, to agile teams and remote workforces.
Kanbanize (best Kanban software overall)
Kanbanize has been a player in the agile project management scene since 2008. It’s a company out of Bulgaria which has got some impressive clients like Mozilla, Epic Games and Continental.
The name leaves no doubt that Kanbanize is all about the best Kanban board features. This is a pretty professional platform that project managers will love. The platform is divided into two: Scaled Kanban and Team Kanban. Scaled Kanban is the big picture. It’s for project managers who need eyes on everything from strategies to finished solutions. Team Kanban is for task management at the granular level. It highlights potential issues like delays and helps teams resolve them quickly. Kanbanize also has Gantt charts, team workspaces, and task card links. It also offers cumulative flow diagrams (CFD) to monitor each task's cycle time, as well as total work in progress. You also get business rules and workflow analytics.
When it comes to overall Kanban software, Kanbanize is a top player. The price plans depend on the number of users and extra features. It starts at $99 per month billed annually and that’s good for up to 15 users.
Kanbanize is best for:
Agile project management
Google Drive integration
Trello (best free Kanban software)
Trello is one of the biggest names out of all the best Kanban apps. It is made by Atlassian. This company was started by two college buddies in New South Wales. Today, Atlassian is known for Trello, Jira and Confluence.
Trello is the reason many people know about Kanban tools. It’s very simple interface makes it easy to use. Everything starts with your Kanban boards, lists and cards. You can expand cards to add notes, due dates and attachments for greater detail. Team collaboration with Trello is great. Any changes one team member makes gets updated in real-time. Trello also has workflows. These automatically perform tasks with rules-based triggers. Workflows take over easy and repetitive tasks that free up your time. With Trello you also get the options for Power-Ups. These are extra features you can add per board. There’s even an add-on for Gmail.
Trello has a great free version and for that it gets the award of best free Kanban software. It’s good for as many users as you want. You get unlimited boards, lists and cards. But there is a limit to your uploads. Premium versions go for $9.99 and $17.50 per user per month billed annually. These get you unlimited Power-Ups.
Trello is best for:
One person business
Ease of use
Zoho Projects (best personal Kanban app)
Zoho is a giant when it comes to business applications of all sorts. Zoho Projects is its cloud-based project management tool. While it’s great for teams and startups on a budget, this is also the best Kanban tool for personal use.
Zoho Project task management tools work on Kanban boards as well as other views. These include Gantt charts, classic lists and calendars. The Kanban boards are straightforward and pleasing to the eye. Everything related to a task card is turned into neat visual icons. This is easier to navigate than too much text. You can expand cards for plenty of details. These include comments, attachment and links. Aside from Kanban tools, Zoho Projects has time tracking and timesheet builders. You can also do comparative planning, where you see how your plans hours matched up with actual worked hours.
What’s great about Zoho Projects is the ability to integrate it with other Zoho apps. On its own it’s very affordable, which is why it’s the best Kanban for personal use. Proces are between only $3 and $6 per user per month. There is also a free version.
Zoho Projects is best for:
Individual personal use
One person business
Website: Zoho Projects
Jira (top Kanban tool for software development)
Jira is another product made by Atlassian, the makers of Trello. Jira was their flagship software, released in 2002. It is a very well-known agile project management tool.
The main focus of Jira is for coders and software developers. It is used for managing bug tracking and ticket tracking. Using the basic Kanban board setup, it streamlines the solution for bugs while creating new applications. Jira also has good backlog tools. These are useful for reapplying old fixes to new bugs. You also get reporting on your team’s performance. Jira has out-of-the-box workflow templates to automate easy tasks. You can also make your own workflows. Finally, Jira has great integrations with over 3,000 other apps.
Jira offers a free version for up to 10 users. It is limited to 2GBs of upload storage. Their standard plan has a flat monthly rate of $10, and the premium plan starts at $14 per user per month.
Jira is best for:
MeisterTask (best online Kanban board)
MeisterTask is the project management software by German tech firm Meister. It is the sister app of MindMeister, which is a mindmap collaboration tool.
MeisterTask is an online platform. Its main focus is on team collaboration around project and task management. When any individual team member adds a task or edits one, the rest of the team get real-time notifications. There is good attention to aesthetic detail. The MeisterTask interface looks great and is very intuitive to use. There isn’t an overabundance of features either, but only the core task management tools. MeisterTask has easy preset workflows to use. You can also create your own automated workflows, as well as automate recurring tasks. There is a feature called task relationships. This lets you mark tasks as related, duplicated or blocked by other tasks. Finally, Meistertask gets you time-tracking too.
Meistertask offers a free version for unlimited users but only 3 projects. The premium plans are $8.25 and $20.75 per month.
MeisterTask is best for:
Online Kanban boards
Ease of use
Asana is a popular project management app. Asana was started by former Facebook engineers. They felt team organization could be improved with a new app which led to Asana.
While Asana offers many of the standard layouts to monitor work in progress, the Kanban view is the best. Other view options are lists, Gantt charts and calendars. Through Asana team members can send each other messages with @comments or add notes on tasks and cards. Another great project management tool is time tracking. Asana does basic reporting and analytics. There is also a custom rules builder for workflow automation.
Asana has a basic package which is free forever. You get unlimited tasks, projects and activity logs. This free version lets you collaborate with up to 15 team members. The premium pricing plans are $10.99 and $24.99 per user per month billed annually. Enterprise packages get bespoke rates.
Asana is best for:
One person business
LeanKit is a product of the company Planview, which is headquartered in Austin, Texas and has offices around the globe. Planview specializes in workflow and project management. In all of their products there is a focus on being lean and agile.
Planview’s LeanKit Enterprise management software is a very project management tool with many task management features. The Kanban board view is one of the main features. It may not have the pleasing aesthetics of Trello. But it makes up for its stuffy design with many powerful features. The Kanban boards feed data into a regularly updated backlog, as well as keeping audit trails of changes made to task cards. LeanKit can help you see bottlenecks in your workflow and notify you about them. There are WIP limits (work in progress), which prevent you from creating too many new task cards at once. Finally, LeanKit gives you lean analytics, flow analytics and agile analytics.
The above roundup of project and task management tools are only a taste of LeanKit’s many features. You can try it out with a 30-day free trial. Otherwise Planview’s LeanKit starts at a cost of $20 per user per month billed annually.
LeanKit is best for:
The first Smartsheet came out in the mid-2000s to lukewarm appeal. It got a total redesign with simplicity as the main guiding principle. The new Smartsheet came out in 2010 and has been growing in usage ever since.
Smartsheet is a basic work management platform. It’s got Kanban, Gantt, grid-view, and calendar-view. Like most work project management software, it’s easy to work in one view and then toggle to others. For team collaboration you get a streamlined approval process. You can loop in as collaborators people on your team as well as outside parties. Smartsheet makes it easy to connect tasks and connect projects which share or repeat information. There’s also workflow automation, and lots of integrations.
Smartsheet has two plans. The first is for individuals at $14 per month billed annually. The business plan is $25 per user per month billed annually.
Smartsheet is best for:
One person business
Ease of use
Blossom is a project management tool for software developers. They have offices in Vienna, Sydney and San Francisco. The company is lightweight and so is their software. It's great for team collaboration with remote workforces.
Blossom works using Kanban card logic. The task cards fit into projects and larger roadmaps. As teams work on a card, the other’s get notified in real-time. You can add checklists and attachments to cards. All completed tasks show you cycle times on the card, how long it took to complete. Blossom offers more in-depth analytics. Since this is task management for software, it integrates with GitHub. There’s Slack integration as well.
Blossom offers a 14-day free trial. For current prices contact the vendor.
Blossom is best for:
AgileCRM is mainly used by sales and marketing departments. Despite its name it’s way more than CRM. There are a lot of features, including great task management. It’s great for tracking sales deals, but you can also use it for any project.
AgileCRM’s boards are just like Kanban boards. With simple drag-and-dropping you move task cards through stages. Project managers can monitor whole teams, and you can easily toggle to only your tasks. As you add or edit notes, teammates get real-time updates. You can create custom categories for tasks, then use sorting filters.
AgileCRM has a free version for up to 10 users. Then there are three premium packages at $9.99, $39.99, and $64.99 per user per month billed annually.
AgileCRM is best for:
One person business
Ease of use
Breeze is another lightweight project management tool. It aims to be as intuitive as possible. It puts ease of use and minimalist screens. The Kanban board is straightforward. It has all the team collaboration tools. The task cards allow lots of detail and are very colorful. There’s time-tracking, estimates and budgeting. Breeze has progress tracking, and reports are easy to create.
Breeze has four pricing plans starting at $39 per month for up to 5 users. They also offer a free trial.
Breeze is best for:
KanbanFlow is as straight to the point when it comes to simple Kanban tools. It’s quick to set up your workflow. The interface is clean and colorful. You can set WIP limits. These help avoid bottlenecks. All tasks can be divided into subtasks. The Kanban board can have swimlanes for different departments. You can set up automated recurring tasks. There’s good searching, filtering and document attachment.
KanbanFlow Premium is $5 per user per month. There is also a free version with fewer features.
KanbanFlow is best for:
One person business
HeySpace is project management built for team collaboration. It’s great for real-time collaboration on desktop or Android and iOS for mobile. The basic Kanban board works like all the others, with drag and drop. You can also switch to calendar view. HeySpace also has a team communication tool that’s divided between groups and private chats. There are also good integrations with HeySpace like Google Hangouts, Slack and Skype.
There is a free version of HeySpace which is good for up to 5 members. The premium version is $3.75 per user per month billed annually.
HeySpace is best for:
Clarizen Go is a business app for task management. It’s good for project managers who want to oversee several workspace boards. Creating custom stage names for lists is easy. The Kanban board and task cards store a lot of details. There is a Scrum board tool to help agile teams complete tasks and sprints. You also get progress tracking and file management. Clarizen Go integrates with Zapier, Zoom and Microsoft Teams.
For prices contact Clarizen through their website.
Clarizen Go is best for:
Website: Clarizen Go
Monday.com launched out of an apartment in Tel Aviv in 2014. Today they employ over 600 people and over 100,000 teams across the globe use monday.com. As you expect, it all starts with a Kanban board. This one is intuitive and clean. There are other dashboards for timelines and real-time analytics. Automating workflows is a snap. Developers can build their own integrations with monday.com. It also has decent mobile apps.
monday.com offers a free version. It only gets you 1 dashboard. The premium versions begin at $10 per user per month billed annually for a minimum of 5 users.
monday.com is best for:
ProofHub is a project management platform for teams and especially remote ones. It’s supposedly used by Nike, Netflix and Nasa. The Kanban boards let you visualize your workflow like other task tracker platforms. There’s also a calendar and Gantt view. You can create custom workflows. There’s an admin status for project managers to oversee many projects and tasks. ProofHub has the basic team communication and collaboration tools.
ProofHub has two plans. Then first is $45 per month and the second is $89, both when billed annually. You get unlimited users for both plans.
ProofHub is best for:
The above Kanban apps are all worthy, and this list is not even exhaustive. There are also many open-source Kanban platforms like Wekan and Taiga worth checking out if you’re on a tight budget.
If you are ready to invest in the best Kanban software, Kanbanize, LeanKit and Blossom are top Kanban tools for business. The premium versions of Trello and Asana are also contenders.
No matter your project management needs, getting the best software to apply the Kanban methodology will surely be a big productivity booster.