Best Free Online Kanban Tools Of 2022
In this text I will compare several online tools by the features they have that are crucial for Kanban. I will separate the features into 4 categories - Cards or Tasks, Groups, Boards, and Roadmap. It is a loose categorization, just to help organize features into larger parts. Then each feature that is used in Kanban will be described in detail.
There are many tools out there that have features centered around Kanban methodology. If you want to know more about Kanban, Kanban boards and how it can help you and your team achieve better results, you can read it on our blog.
Tasks Or Items
Tasks or items are the base of every management tool, whether it is project management or a product management tool. They are almost always drag-and-droppable in every online Kanban tool. And they are mostly a free feature, though sometimes limited.
There is a lot of useful information displayed on the tasks - apart from the name and perhaps description. It can show the status it is in, members who are assigned to it, and if some other task is related to it while trying not to display too much information to become too cluttered.
One important piece of information is if the card is being blocked by another task. So I will note when I begin comparing the tools if the tool has flagging blockers in its list of task features, as it is very important in Kanban.
Tasks also need to have some type of categorization, so task types are a must-have feature in Kanban online tools.
Task assignees is a feature that has variable availability in many of the online tools. Some offer only one member to be assigned to a task in the free plan, while others offer this feature without limitations, but we will see more of this later on.
One more thing that will be taken into account is if there are task relations among the features. While not crucial, this feature gives more room for customization and freedom to do whatever needs to be done to improve the team’s productivity, and that’s why it is included in this comparison.
While there are more features a task can contain, I will focus on these ones as they meet the criteria of Kanban management. Additional features, if there are any, will be covered in their respective tools.
Although groups are not essential to Kanban, in practice a lot of people use the groups or a backlog together with Kanban. This is why task grouping is chosen as one of the criteria to compare the Kanban tools. For a lot of people, it is a very useful feature to have, especially if they are working on multiple projects or with multiple teams.
Groups are often using drag-and-drop activity, so you can arrange them as it suits you. Some of the tools also have additional features that come with task groups, but more on that later.
Columns are the foundation of the Kanban process and are the foundation of many, if not all, online management tools. They alone come with many features, but I will focus on the ones that are the most important for Kanban.
The possibility to set the WIP limits for a column is a very important and useful feature for any tool to have. Especially if it is a soft limit that doesn’t interfere with task creation or updating.
A useful feature to have is also work in progress displayed on a board card, so the team always knows what is the current state of the task.
As tasks have their types, so do the columns have their status inside a Kanban board. This feature is limited in some tools depending on the pricing plan.
Roadmaps are also not essential to Kanban, but for the best uses of Kanban, it is crucial to have a high-level overview. This can be done through different flight levels from which you drive the process or with a timeline overview. To keep this simple, this will be referred to as a roadmap.
This feature varies from tool to tool. In some tools, this is just another view of all tasks in a project, while in others it is a separate feature and view with its own tasks. Nevertheless, it is an important and useful tool present in all Kanban tools.
Because of its flexibility and difference in structure, the roadmap’s features will be described in detail in each of the tool’s paragraphs.
ProdGoal - Free Kanban tool
ProdGoal is a beautiful and easy to use online Kanban tool that offers all of its features unlimited for free. Highly customizable and scalable, it is good for small teams as well as large teams or teams of teams.
The projects are created with out-of-the-box templates for an easier start. You can also create your customized views.
ProdGoal Kanban board offers great customization with columns, tasks, groups, and more. Feature-rich columns give the flexibility to organize and arrange the tasks as it suits you the best.
There are WIP limits where you can set the minimum or maximum tasks per column, policies to set the expectations and give more information to the members, categories, and edit options which are clearly displayed once set. Every feature in the Kanban board columns is free and unlimited.
There are WIP limits where you set the minimum or maximum tasks per column, policies to set the expectations and give more information to the members, categories and edit options which are clearly displayed once set. Every feature in the Kanban board columns is free and unlimited.
ProdGoal board tasks
Tasks offer great visualization and yet simple layout for all information to display clearly and not create “noise”. You can create an unlimited amount of tasks in a project.
Flagging blockers are color-coded for easier member communication. The task background becomes red if it is blocked by some other task.
Task detail is also there. By clicking on a task, it opens a modal where you can write additional information about the task, and it is rich-formatted because of the text editor input available. You can attach files in the detail modal. Storage is limited to 5MB, but there is an option to connect to Google Drive and attach the files without limit.
You can easily create groups to organize your tasks. There is also no limit on how much you can create. They are editable which adds to the whole project customization.
Very cool and useful feature in groups is that every group has built-in forecasting calculations based on historical data. It estimates when the tasks will be done.
This feature separates ProdGoal from the rest of the online tools. As you are populating the group with tasks, an estimation will be calculated and displayed in the upper right corner.
Groups also have a drag and drop feature, so you can arrange your groups of tasks however you want.
And if you need to focus on a particular group, the “collapse group” option enables you to hide the ones you don’t need.
The Roadmap is a separate view in ProdGoal. It has its own columns, rows, and cards or tasks, unlike some other tools. Roadmap as well as all the features in it are unlimited and free.
Columns are similar to the board’s columns with the addition of the “collapse” option which is useful if you want to focus on specific other columns. Column categories, WIP limits, and policies are also there to make the most of the Roadmap columns feature.
Roadmap rows are collapsible just like the columns. They have a rich-text editor instead of plain text which helps really point out important information.
Roadmap cards have a parent relationship to the board tasks. The attached tasks are listed inside the card with the click of a button. While the list is closed, there is a progress bar that shows the percentage of the child’s tasks that are done.
With a wide range of features, ProdGoal is a good tool for both beginners and experienced managers. It is highly customizable so you can keep things simple or as complex as you need them to be.
Jira - Powerful Management Tool
Though growingly unpopular, Jira still stays one of the most dominant project management tools around. Complex and robust, it may be a challenge for a beginner, but by investing your time, you can become proficient enough to run large and scalable projects.
Jira has a free plan for 10 users which includes both Scrum and Kanban boards. Roadmaps and flagging blockers are limited to basic features in this pricing plan. Now let’s have a more in-depth look at this plan’s features.
Jira Kanban Boards
Jira Kanban boards are flexible and customizable features that help small and large teams cooperate more efficiently and visualize the workflow. And there are no limitations on how many you can create. The boards come as a template or you can customize your board features.
Default columns that are created with the board are the standard Kanban columns - “To Do”, “In Progress”, and “Done”. It is possible to change the name and type of the columns. The workflow editor is used for editing column types.
Columns can be dragged and dropped so you can easily change their order if the need arises. They also have WIP limits, but only the maximum issues a column can have.
Issues are clear and simple. They are displaying small icons as you flag the blockers or add assignees to them. Task dependencies are also displayed as an icon that you can hover over. When you click on the issue to view the expanded view, things aren’t so simple anymore.
You can edit the issue’s relations here. The issue can be a parent or a child or both if you make it so. The column can be changed from the expanded view as well as issue dependencies and assignees. There is more customization available, but those are many and not so important for Kanban, so they will not be covered here.
An important feature that can’t be left out is the issue type. Like many of the features in Jira, this one isn’t as simple as one can think. To manage the issue types, you have to go to a different view and manage the feature from there.
Jira Board Grouping
This isn’t a separate feature as in some online Kanban tools, but it is more like a different view on the board. You can group the issues by assignee, subtask, and more. It is a pretty useful feature for easier filtering and getting around the workflow.
Jira Roadmaps come in Basic and Advanced forms. In a free plan, there are only basic roadmaps, which “basically” means that it is meant for a single team, while the Advanced Roadmap is for multiple company-wide teams. Also, these “roadmaps” are actually just Gantt charts.
The issues in a roadmap are of Epic type. They are created in a column on the left-hand side. On the right-hand side, you can see a timeline where you can place the Epic. You can also create a child issue or a subtask that functions like a regular Jira task. There are all kinds of features found in Roadmap, but they are out of the scope of this article.
Jira’s refreshed look and features make it a little friendlier tool to work with and organize work in. Its features are pretty straightforward to use from the start and you can always add complexity gradually.
Wrike - AI Powered Tool
Wrike is a serious project management tool focused on Agile methodology. A feature-rich online tool powered by AI automation can help you and your team organize and visualize work and improve communication.
Wrike has a free plan for 1-5 users suitable for more centralized work management. Other than that, Kanban boards, tasks, and projects are unlimited.
Wrike boards can be created as templates or manually customized. The status columns come with 5 predefined categories - “New”, “In Progress”, “Completed”, “On hold”, and “Canceled”. You can make an unlimited number of columns in each of the categories.
They also don’t have WIP limits available. Columns can be rearranged via the dropdown menu or by dragging and dropping. By setting the color of the column you have the visualization effect to better communicate with your team members.
It is simple to create tasks, edit task names and remove tasks. When you click on the task, a detailed screen opens up and lets you attach files to it, add assignees, create subtasks, and manage dependencies. One thing that is also useful is a calendar feature and a time-tracking feature available for each task.
Wrike groups have various filtering and sorting options. You can group the tasks by folders which then you can view on the Gannt chart or the resource view.
In the project dashboard there is an option for a Gantt chart and resource view. There are timeline features where you can organize your tasks by the due date, estimate their completion, or plan ahead.
Overall, due to member limitations, you can use Wrike’s free plan with a small team organized around one or a few projects. But as the features are considered, Wrike doesn’t come short on expectations.
Miro - A Kanban Sandbox
Miro is a whiteboard-style tool, where you can literally do anything you want. Which is a good and a bad thing. If you are just beginning your Agile journey it could be a little overwhelming when you find yourself in front of a blank board.
But let’s not ruminate too much on the potential problems and challenges, but let’s see what Miro has to offer.
Miro Kanban board is available with a template or you can make your own. It comes with three default columns - “Backlog”, “In Progress”, and “Done”, and two swimlanes. In the free plan, 3 editable whiteboards are allowed for the team.
Columns can be renamed, moved left and right, and deleted. Column categories do not exist on their own, but they can be color-coded. There are no WIP limits or column policy features. You can make an unlimited number of columns.
Swimlanes as columns have a few features - Creating, renaming, deleting, and moving. It can also be color-coded for better visualization and communication. And there is no limit on the number of swimlanes.
Miro Tasks Or Cards
While columns and swimlanes have fewer features, the cards are more customizable with features such as card linking, types, and assignees. A card can change shape, color, and name. It can be linked to another card or item for better organization and you can add labels and tags to act as item types.
Groups don’t exist as a separate feature, but as with everything in Miro, you can get creative and make your own way to group the tasks.
You can get Miro Timeline Builder as an app because there are no roadmaps specifically as a built-in feature. Luckily, the app is easy to install. It brings the timeline view to your project where you can arrange and organize cards.
As it is said already, Miro can be as complex as you want or as simple as a whiteboard. It is up to you and your team to decide if this is the tool for you.
Taskworld - Easy Task Management
Taskworld is a colorful task management tool built with Kanban in mind. The free plan gives up to 5 users the opportunity to explore and use the tool. There is a free trial of the Business plan that lasts for 15 days after you sign-up. After that, you can continue to use Taskworld for free, though some other features will be limited.
Taskworld boards come as we have already seen in other online tools with predefined project templates or you can create and customize your own board view. It is more of a view for tasks than it is a dedicated Kanban board. Projects in Taskworld are unlimited in number.
Columns or Tasklists as they named them are simple to use, with an intuitive interface to make organizing and editing easy. You can add any number of them to your board. In the lack of categories, there are different colors you can use. Unfortunately, there are no built-in WIP limits feature or flagging blockers available.
There is no group feature in Taskworld.
Tasks are unlimited in the free plan. You can create tasks from the column dropdown menu or by clicking on the add task button. You can assign your team members, create subtasks, give points or set a due date. There is also an option of coloring the task and tagging them as a substitute for types.
Taskworld timeline view arranges the tasks by the columns they are in on the left-hand side of the panel. Then you can arrange the tasks as best as suits your needs.
Overall, this is a great tool if you are starting with Kanban and have a small team that you can work with. Taskworld is fairly easy to use and it isn’t overpacked with complex features, so if you are looking for simplicity, this may be the tool for you.
Teamhood - Flexible Online Tool
Teamhood is a great Agile tool for task management and collaborative work and it offers much in its free plan. There are no limitations on the features you get in it. Up to 5 users and 1 guest can use Teamhood in the free plan, which is suitable for personal use or with a small team.
Teamhood boards have multiple views you can work with. There is the list view, Kanban view, timeline view, and workload view. The last one is available in the Professional plan.
There are also multiple boards you can choose from to customize your workflow for maximum efficiency. These are the Tasks board, a Kaizen board, and a custom board. Tasks board in Kanban view is the one I focused on.
This board has the classic Kanban columns as default, so it is easy to start a project right away. Columns are collapsible if you want to narrow your focus. They have 2 built-in types - “In Progress” and “Completed”. There’s a color picker too so you can visually represent each column. WIP limits are available in the dropdown and they have 5 predefined values
Apart from columns, there are rows to act as swimlanes. You can set a schedule by clicking on the calendar icon.
Various useful and crucial features can be found in the Teamhood’s task - From creating tags, colors, time tracking, item relations, and dependencies to assigning team members, suspending, and setting schedules. All of it is packed in the task item layout as icons. You can open a modal by clicking on the task for an expanded view and better customization.
There are tags and board rows that can be used for grouping tasks. The filtering and sorting options enable you to create custom groups to suit your needs.
Roadmap features are represented as a timeline view in the left sidebar and as a Gantt chart in the board view. You can choose which one suits you and your team better. You can create tasks in it and easily organize them on the timeline.
Intuitive and well-designed, Teamhood makes it easy to adapt it to your needs, whether it be a more simplistic approach or a complex one with lots of customization so you can organize and communicate with the team members and stakeholders alike.
MeisterTask - Kanban On The Go
Next on the list is MeisterTask. A robust and feature-rich online tool good for experienced Agile managers as well as beginners. It is suited for small and large teams. The free plan has 3 projects available with unlimited members.
MeisterTask boards are colorful and easy to read. Columns take the spotlight as soon as you make a project. You can edit the columns, order them by dragging and dropping, change the column icon or color, set WIP limits, and collapse them.
The last two things listed are available only if you upgrade the pricing plan. So that is a little of a letdown. Nevertheless, there are a lot more features to make up for that. Every column has automation available, which is also available in the upgraded plan. At least you can make unlimited columns.
MeisterTask, Well - Tasks
Let’s jump to tasks. They are pretty straightforward to create and manage. When hovering over, they show information in a non-cluttered layout. The detail modal opens up after you click the task.
There is a rich-text editor to emphasize important information or just to format the text as it suits you. You can set a due date, add tags, checklists, and attachments and assign team members.
MeisterTask groups are not a separate feature and don’t have their own view. Tasks are possible to group with tags, as a sort of filter.
Another thing that is available only in the business plan. MeisterTask has a timeline view where you can set your goals, estimate the work needed to be done and predict the outcome.
MeisterTask’s full potential can be experienced if you decide to switch to a paid plan. The free plan is too limited for real Kanban management.
SwiftKanban - Intuitive management tool
SwiftKanban is an online tool and a part of Digite’s large online platform that offers many products revolving around project and product management. It has a free plan for 10 users and includes 3 boards, 5 standard card types, 5 custom card types, standard templates, and basic metrics.
If you decide to go with a Kanban board template, you will get a little noisy board filled to the brim with columns and rows. It is okay, though, because you can build your own from the ground up if you like a more simplistic approach. Columns and rows are collapsible which gives you the option to focus on a particular task at hand.
User interface is simple and easy to use. The columns don’t have many options in the board view because the customization is done in a separate column editor view. You can set WIP limits there, change column color, edit column type and define column policies.
As a template board is a little “noisy”, so are the task cards. A lot of icons are displayed on the card, so if you want to customize a specific card I would suggest that you do it from the expanded view when you click the card. Luckily, there is an option that lets you control which icons are going to be shown on the card in the card editor view.
Regarding features, there is a rich-text editor available to format the text in a way that best communicates the message. There are types for task categorization, due dates, relations, dependencies, and attachments. You can assign team members also and a commenting section to improve communication.
Because of the high level of customization, tasks can be grouped by being a little creative, as SwiftKanban doesn’t have a specific group feature. In the free plan, at least.
A lacking feature in SwiftKanban is a roadmap feature. There is only a calendar view that can be accessed from the sidebar.
Despite missing some features in the free plan, it is still a good and versatile tool that you can use with your team, and the fact that SwiftKanban offers up to 10 spaces per account in the free plan is also great.
Bitrix24 - Versatile Online Platform
Bitrix24 is a full-stack online platform that offers a multitude of features and options to its users, but I will just focus on the tasks and projects part of the platform. They have a free plan with unlimited users and limited features.
Bitrix24 Kanban boards are somewhat lacking full Kanban features, but considering this is a feature-rich platform that spans across multiple services, it doesn’t surprise that it doesn’t have all the Kanban features.
There are default columns that you can create in an unlimited amount. You can change the name of the column and the color which acts as a sort of column type feature. There are no WIP limits available.
Tasks are simple and clear in design. They are easy to create and move around using the drag-and-drop feature. The icons on the card show the assignees, a bell icon to turn on notifications, a start button when you start working on the task, and a flag icon when the task is completed.
There is also a calendar icon where you can set the deadline. Clicking on the task name opens a detailed modal where you can edit dependencies and relations, create subtasks, and more.
Bitrix24 groups aren’t separate entities, but they are referred to in the context of a project. So you can group the tasks, but actually, you are grouping them by the project.
Bitrix24 doesn’t have a feature named Roadmap, but you can get creative and customize a timeline calendar view template to make your own roadmap. They have a Gantt chart view to arrange the tasks on and plan the workflow.
All in all, this online tool offers a lot for free, but if you are focused just on the Kanban aspect of the work, then you may find the features offered here not enough for you and your team.
Here are listed a few “big” project management names already covered here and here. In this article, we wanted to dig a little deeper and see what other free online Kanban Board tools are out there and write about them in detail. That’s why some of the tools below aren’t covered in this text.
I hope this was a helpful article and that it brought you some new information. If you are using some other tool that can fit in this list, please feel free to contact me. I would be happy to include it in the text.