After researching and extensively testing the top 14 project management software tools currently out there, we found that:
- monday.com (4.7/5) is the best Jira alternative for a simple layout with excellent customization
- Clickup is the best free Jira alternative & our top-performing provider (4.8/5), with a cheap paid plan functioning as a “work OS”
- Backlog (3.8/5) is a great Jira alternative that will suit tech and development teams
Jira is a titan in the project management software world, but many businesses may find creating projects and workflows demands a steep learning curve. Although Jira is a great fit for tech and development teams, its automation system and hard-to-navigate interface aren't the easiest to use and this can mean that some teams aren't particularly fond of it, despite the affordable pricing.
If you've found out that Jira isn't for your team, then take a look at eight competitors that we think beat Jira in one way or another. They may not all trump Jira in every single area, but each platform listed here will reign supreme in some regard.
All prices listed are per user, per month (billed annually)
BEST FOR CUSTOMIZATION
BEST FOR TECH TEAMS
| || || || || || |
Best Alternatives to Jira
There are loads of project management options out there – and more ad more people have been using them since the pandemic broke out – and they all have different advantages over Jira. While we won't cover them all, here are some of the major contenders for the project management crown.
When you're looking for an alternative to Jira, be sure to check out precisely which project and workflow creation features a provider is offering, because Jira has quite a few on offer and there's no point making the switch to a provider you won't gain anything from. Asana, for example, has a much easier-to-use automation builder.
Task management features can vary wildly between both providers and plans (for example, providers don't offer a Gantt Chart on their free plan), as can collaboration tools, which become increasingly important the more people you have working on your project. Tools that let you visualize data are crucial too, and Jira for instance offers a full suite of data visualization tools on its free software, but Wirke provides none.
monday – Best for Customization
Tech.co's monday.com test score: 4.7/5
Tech.co's Jira test score: 4.3/5
monday is a prolific creator of multiple business-based software tools, one of which is their popular project management platform.
This platform comes with an easy-to-use automation builder, as well as many handy customization options which users can implement to make their experience a lot easier – the provider gained a score of 4.1/5 for usability on our last round of testing, higher than our top-rated provider ClickUp (4/5) and Jira (3.5/5).
On the Standard plan and up, there are useful task management tools like a Gantt Chart, Kanban board and Milestones too. While monday isn't exactly packed with options (as you can see from the picture below), that can sometimes be preferable for people who don't want to be flooded with buttons and tools and want a simpler, cleaner experience that remains highly customizable.
How easy monday.com is to use goes some way to explaining why it has such a high customer score (4.5/5) which was much higher than Jira,s (3.6/5) – clearly, customers who go for monday.com are, on average, more satisfied.
monday Pricing vs Jira Pricing
For monday's pricing, it has one free tier, three priced tiers, and a bespoke tier. While the bespoke plan's price varies based on what you include, the other plans cost $8 per user per month (Basic plan), $10 per user per month (Standard plan), and $16 per user per month (Pro plan) (all prices billed annually).
When compared to Jira's pricing, with two paid plans costing $7.50 and $14.50 per user per month, these prices are slightly more expensive, putting monday at a bit of a disadvantage – in terms of value for money, our team gave Jira a 4.2/5, whilst monday.com only gained a 3.9/5. It's only a difference of a couple of dollars, though, so you shouldn't make a call just based on that.
Is monday Better than Jira?
One of Jira's biggest failures is its tricky automation system, a problem which is entirely solved by monday. While Jira does come with a few features that monday doesn't have, like customer support options and burndown charts, overall monday does have the edge over Jira.
- Highly customizable platform
- A bit more affordable compared to other services
- Automation features save loads of time
- Missing more common project management features
- Limited third party integrations
- Higher tiers required for basic features
Backlog – Best for Tech/Dev Teams
Tech.co's Backlog test score: 3.8/5
Tech.co's Jira test score: 4.3/5
Backlog is a fairly barebones project management software platform, which goes some way to explaining why it didn't score very highly on our last round of testing. In fact, it only scored 2/5 for features and its customer support (3.5/5) wasn't as good as Jira's (4/5).
It doesn't have any collaboration or data visualization features, and only gained a 3.9/5 for task management compared to Jira's 4.3/5. Key aspects that are missing include custom project templates, automations, and task dependencies, which are rolled in to almost all the other project management software we tested – including Jira's free plan.
the features it does have do lend themselves toward software development teams, like burndown charts and issue logs, which will suit teams deploying Agile project management frameworks to work efficiently and continuously on projects. This makes it much more directly comparable to Jira than any other product, but it just isn't as good overall.
The homescreen design (shown below) is a lot less cluttered than some competitors on this list, however, so Backlog has that going for it at least.
Backlog Pricing vs Jira Pricing
Backlog has a free tier, three paid tiers, and a bespoke tier. These paid plans are the Starter plan ($35 per month), Standard plan ($100 per month), and Premium plan ($175 per month). It's worth noting that these prices don't differ based on the number of users, so a team of 3 and a team of 100 will be paying the same price.
It's hard comparing this to Jira's plans, as its worth will only be easy to calculate if you know how many team members you have. A team of 10 will get a lot out of Backlog's $35 per month plan, but the same team would be paying $75 per month on Jira's cheapest plan.
Is Backlog Better than Jira?
For most businesses, Backlog would not be better than Jira. However, if you're a tech or software development team that doesn't need things like data visualization or collaboration resources, Backlog might be for you.
- Provides dedicated features specifically for agile project management
- Free plan available
- Uses a 'one price' pricing structure rather than charging per user
- Unintuitive interface
- Custom fields are restricted to Business and Enterprise plans
- Does not provide automated workflows
ClickUp – Best Free Option
Tech.co's ClickUp test score: 4.8/5
Tech.co's Jira test score: 4.3/5
ClickUp wins our prize for the best project management free plan – as well as being our best performing provider on test (4.8/5). While most competitors offer free plans, ClickUp's unlimited users and integrations, coupled with their wide range of features that are often locked behind paid tiers (like time tracking and a team instant messenger) make this a free plan for the ages.
ClickUp topped the charts for task management (4.9/5) – simply because it has a broader range of features than almost all other providers, including a Gantt Chart (pictured below), yet they work smoothly and don't take too much learning to master. It also performed well for ease of use (4/5), and has a pretty high customer score (4.3/5). That last one's important too – if people already using ClickUp are having a good time, there's a likelihood you will too – and Jira's is only 3.8/5.
However, one area where Jira performed better was customer support (4/5 vs ClickUp's 3.8/5), and the two providers were tied when it came to data visualization.
ClickUp Pricing vs Jira Pricing
Concerning ClickUp's pricing, while they have a good free plan, the paid plans are still worth mentioning. They have a bespoke plan, as well as four paid tiers. The Unlimited plan costs $9 per user per month, the Business plan costs $12 per user per month, the Business Plus plan costs $19 per user per month, and there's an Enterprise tier too.
Compared to Jira, these are a bit more expensive, but not deal-breakingly so. In any case, ClickUp's free tier is still the most fairly priced (our research team awarded it a 4.4/5 for value for money), and its paid options should really only be considered if you find yourself a bit cramped by the free plan's limits.
Is ClickUp Better than Jira?
It's quite close, as there are several cases where one will fail to offer a feature that the other includes. For example, Jira doesn't allow guest access while ClickUp does. But ClickUp fails to offer custom widget or chart builders on its lowest tiers, while Jira has them on every tier. The overall amount of features is pretty even, so it comes down to cost and what your business needs.
- Genuinely impressive free plan
- Competitive pricing options
- Very customizable
- Better for small teams, few enterprise-level features
- Customizability can be overwhelming to new users
Wrike – Best for Ease of Use
Tech.co's Wrike test score: 4/5
Tech.co's Jira test score: 3.5/5
Wrike is a project management software that's mercifully easy to operate and subsequently scored 4/5 for usability, the same as ClickUp, and a lot higher than Jira (3.5/5). Again, this is another provider that doesn't demand as steep of a learning curve as Jira.
Wrike offers so many features in the realm of task management, like spreadsheet view, sub-tasks, milestones, and task dependencies, that making and tracking tasks is extremely easy and fluid. Overall, it scored 4.6/5 for task management, the third-highest out of all of the software we tested and higher than Jira. It scored a perfect 5/5 for data visualization, (see picture below from our testing) as did Jira.
Wrike Pricing vs Jira Pricing
When looking at Wrike's pricing, aside from the free and bespoke tiers, there are just two paid tiers. These are the Professional and Business tiers, priced at $9.80 per user, per month and $24.80 per user, per month respectively. However, you do need a minimum of five users on each plan, which can be a bit annoying for small teams.
These plans are steeper than Jira's $7.50 and $14.50 plans, especially when you factor in the five-user minimum. Jira is an overall better value product when looking at price.
Is Wrike Better than Jira?
Wrike is around the same level as Jira, as they have around the same amount of shortcomings. Both aren't great at automation, and while Jira falls short on collaboration, Wrike offers great support for teams to communicate. On the flipside, Wrike's price is a bit steeper than Jira, putting them around the same level in the end.
- No-nonsense, robust feature catalog
- Lots of customizability
- Best task management features
- Not entirely easy to use
- Difficult to use automation builder
- Not the best for collaboration
Smartsheet – Best for Excel Junkies
Tech.co's Smartsheet test score: 4.6/5
Tech.co's Jira test score: 4.3/5
As the name Smartsheet might imply, this platform is great for anyone who relies on a lot of spreadsheets to operate their business, as its spreadsheet interface is flexible and powerful. If your business uses Excel or Google Sheets, this is a great option to integrate your data into project management software.
However, Smartsheet was our third-best performing provider overall with a score of 4.6/5, so it's much more than just a slightly-more-helpful spreadsheet. It came joint first for project and workflow creation (4.3/5), but more impressively, it was our easiest-to-use provider. It had useful features for the project delivery phase like automations, but also features for post-project feedback gathering (see below).
This puts it at the other end of the spectrum to Jira, which was only awarded a 3.5/5 for usability and is an order of magnitude harder to use.
Smartsheet Pricing vs Jira Pricing
There's no free plan on offer on Smartsheet's pricing, meaning that it's just the one bespoke tier and two paid plans. These plans are the Individual plan, costing $14 per month, and the Business plan, costing $25 per user per month.
These plans are a bit more expensive than Jira, and without the option for a free tier, it's easy to see that the value doesn't quite stack up, but they're by no means expensive.
Is Smartsheet Better than Jira?
You'd really only opt for Smartsheet if you were a sucker for spreadsheets. Jira trumps or ties Smartsheet in almost every other capacity, like data visualisation and customer support. The only way Smartsheet pulls ahead is in task management, due to its detailed spreadsheet features.
- Free Trial available
- Easy to use, even for beginners
- Familiar, spreadsheet-like interface
- Great for any sized company
- Some features have limited functionality
- Competitors have better collaboration features
Trello – Best for Automation
Tech.co's Trello test score: 4.1/5
Tech.co's Jira test score: 4.3/5
One of Jira's weakest points is its automation, as while the options are there, the automation builder itself leaves a lot to be desired. That's why Trello, which has an intuitive automation builder (shown in image below) that even offers suggestions based on user behavior, is a great substitute for those looking to automate a lot of their project management.
However, we still rated Jira higher than Trello overall, and it performed much better for customer support (4/5) than Trello (1.8/5). It was even marginally better in areas it isn't so strong in – Jira only scored 2/5 for collaboration, but that still beat Trello's 1.8/5. It also got a perfect score for data visualization (5/5) whereas Trello only scored 1.8/5 for data visualization.
Trello Pricing vs Jira Pricing
Trello's pricing is made up of a free plan and two paid plans – the Business Class plan ($12.50 per user per month), and the Enterprise plan ($17.50 per user per month).
While these costs don't break the bank, Jira is one of the cheapest platforms out there, so they don't quite reach Jira's affordability. Compared to the rest of the market, however, these are definitely affordable prices.
Is Trello Better than Jira?
Trello is one of the most popular project management software platforms on the market, so it's close to Jira's standard. Trello is also a better option for small teams and projects, as it's a lot more user-friendly, and easier to get up and running.
Jira beats Trello in data visualization resources, but everything else is pretty much neck and neck (apart from automation). So while it's tight, the average user might get more out of Jira.
- Intuitive, drag-and-drop interface
- Lots of add-ons available
- Free option available
- Free option is limited
- Too basic for larger teams
- Sparse collaboration tools
Asana – Best for a Clean Interface
Tech.co's Asana test score: 4.5/5
Tech.co's Jira test score: 4.1/5
Sometimes, all you're looking for is a smooth ride with little to no obstacles getting in your way. Asana ticks this box, with one of the sleekest user interfaces on the market. This extends not just to its interface, as its automation (pictured below), form, and chart builders are all very streamlined and intuitive.
But Asana's a lot more than just a clean interface – on our last round of testing, it scored the same as ClickUp for project and workflow creation tools (4.3/5), and scored highly for features overall (4.3/5) thanks to high task management (4.4/5) and data visualization (5/5) scores.
Asana Pricing vs Jira Pricing
Outside of the free plan and the bespoke plan, Asana has two paid tiers. These are the Premium ($13.49 per user per month) and Business ($30.49 per user per month) tiers.
This is a lot more expensive than Jira, so Jira does have the edge on Asana, at least when it comes to cost.
Is Asana Better than Jira?
Asana is certainly a lot easier to use than Jira, but the cost can turn a lot of people away. Its features and builders are extremely useful and very robust, but comparing $10.99 to $7.50 makes the choice a lot easier, especially for small businesses.
- Free trial available
- Plenty of third party integrations
- Incredible clean and intuitive interface
- Free options available
- Most key features require Premium plan
- High prices for larger teams
- Customer support options could be better
Should You Choose Jira Anyway?
Jira is a big name in project management for a reason, so opting for them can definitely still be a good choice. Jira can be split up into two products: Jira Software and Jira Work Management. We'll mainly be talking about Jira Software, as that is usually the product that people refer to when referencing Jira.
Jira is certainly on the lower end when it comes to price. Putting aside its free tier, its lowest tier is $7.50 per month, and the upper, non-bespoke tier is only $14.50 per month, making it one of the cheapest options on the market.
Where Jira shines is in its free plan, which is almost as robust as its paid plans, with the most significant differences coming in the form of limit increases. Manual tasks, like task reallocation and time-frame updates, can be completed very easily, saving you time.
As for downfalls, users can't give access to guests, the terminology can be a bit tricky, and the automation builder is more complex than others, but these can mostly be fixed with some good ol' determination.
- Large range of customer support
- Lots of helpful integrations
- Scalable pricing structure - the more users you have, the more you save
- Missing more advanced task management features
- Integrations can be confusing
- Not the best for collaborating
Free Alternatives to Jira
If you're not looking to spend any money on your project management service, you're in luck! A vast majority of project management software platforms offer free tiers.
Being transparent, Jira's free tier is pretty solid. It has almost all the features of its lowest paid tier, with the only concession coming in the form of lower limits for things like users (10 users) and data storage (2GB).
However, Trello's free plan is particularly generous, offering unlimited users and data storage (though each file does have a limit of 10MB). Its features are less inclusive than in a paid plan, but it's still worth your consideration. Another solid free plan is Asana, which offers unlimited projects, integrations, data storage (100 MB file limit), and 15 users. The only missing features are Asana's data visualization tools and some task management features.
However, our favorite free tier belongs to ClickUp. Unlimited users and integrations, 100MB of data storage, and almost all of the features included in the paid tiers. The only downside is that some of these features have limited uses (usually 100 uses), like Gantt charts and the data visualization dashboard.
Verdict: The Best Jira Alternatives
However, if you're looking for a great free plan to match up against Jira's free plan, go for ClickUp. It has the best free plan our research team tested, and included automations, custom project templates, and a Gantt Chart, which other competitors often reserve for paid tiers. Lastly, it might be worth checking out Backlog if you're a tech or development team who was using Jira and want a more simple solution to managing your workflows.
How did we choose the best Jira Alternatives?
At Tech.co, we're lucky enough to have a team to carry out in-depth research projects into the products and services we write about. This gives us the ability to inform our readers and impart the most accurate, up-to-date information possible.
Tech.co's researchers spend their days creating research frameworks for every category of product we review, as well as road-testing the software itself.
For our project management software category, our research team scoured a software market that could be worth over $20 billion by next year to find the top providers, and then performed usability tests on project management software packages provided by 14 companies,
Project Management software testing criteria
Before testing project management software packages like the ones Jira has rolled out, our research team identified several key areas upon which to assess providers. These were:
- Price – is the product good value for money, considering the price point against the features on offer?
- Usability – how easy is the product to use? Is it difficult or easy to set up, and how much assistance is given to the user in the process?
- Features – what features are included in the software, how useful are they, and how do they hold up during a usability test?
- Customer Support – what customer support options are on offer, and do they function well?
There were other metrics upon which providers were tested that sat within these broader categories. Take “Features”, for instance, which is an amalgamated score made up of sub-scores awarded for:
- Task Management – what kind of task management features are provided, and how easy are they to use?
- Project and Workflow Creation – what kind of project and workflow creation features are provided, and how easy are they to use?
- Data visualization – what kind of data visualization tools are provided, and how useful are they for displaying project data?
- Collaboration – what kind of task management features are provided, and how easy are they to use?
Frequently Asked Questions
Tech.co is reader-supported. If you make a purchase through the links on our site, we may earn a commission from the retailers of the products we have reviewed. This helps Tech.co to provide free advice and reviews for our readers. It has no additional cost to you, and never affects the editorial independence of our reviews. Click to return to top of page