Trello vs Notion will be an interesting match! But before we start, I need to do a full disclosure: I introduce Trello to many teams in the course of my digital production career! However, in all fairness, I also have to admit that I also used Notion in the past year or so (along with Trello.)
What is Notion?
Notion is a productivity application aimed at being an all-in-one solution for just about any use case. They market themselves as a one-stop-shop workplace for all of your productivity needs.
What is Trello?
Trello is a project management tool. The underlying concept of the application is based on the Kanban methodology. This is a Japanese based approach that gives high-level visibility on the status of every task and a simplistic transition of work as it progresses through the stages of a project.
Notion is a relatively new player in the productivity space. Their value proposition is to be a jack-of-all-trades for productivity and note taking. To answer the question of which is better, Notion vs Trello, we first need to examine the pros of each application. Notion seeks to replace specialty apps that are good in one aspect and instead combining their best features into a single platform. The approach seems to be working as they have been able to garner a huge fanbase in a short period of time. Due to the nature of its User Interface, Notion is primarily a note-taking app, but this does not diminish its potential to be used as a project management platform.
Notion pricing: Notion works on a freemium model.
Some of their most notable features of Notion include:
- Powerful note-taking capabilities
- Lists, plain text, rich text formatting, videos, sound clips, checklists
- Clip notes and convert them to tasks
- Fully customizable pages with an assortment of widgets
- Project Boards
Another advantage of Notion is its powerful templates, something rare in the note-taking apps market:
- Choose from several pre-defined templates or create your own to save time with set up
- Relational (*I often hear people say that this is what attracted them to Notion on top of the hype and the templates)
- Multiple views
- Google Calendar integration
- Google Drive integration
Trello has established itself as a fully-featured project management tool. From day one, their value proposition has been around making project tracking and team collaboration as simple and efficient as possible. When comparing Notion vs Trello, we must remember that Trello focuses primarily on project management. But it does offer some unique features that make it stand out.
Trello pricing: Trello has a free version filled with useful features. To boost your account you can pay to have access to extra features.
Some of Trello’s most notable features include:
- Simple and intuitive UI
- Tasks tracked in cards that document the most relevant details
- Due Date
- Assigned comments
One of the biggest advantage of Trello is its management of personal and professional tasks in a single application:
- Home page dashboards showing all the latest details on your projects
- Team management
- Create multiple boards for multiple teams
- Task transition workflows
- Email integration
- Google Drive integration
- The free version has all the features most teams will need
- API connections with 3rd party applications (Power Ups)
- Task automation (the "Butler")
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While Notion receives great praise for its ability to combine useful aspects of different productivity tools, there are some challenges that some users may experience. These drawbacks may impact your decision when deciding between Notion vs Trello.
Notion’s extensive features can be overwhelming.
One of the major selling points of Notion is its high degree of customization. It seems that whatever the task, project, or endeavor you’re taking on, there is a way to track it in Notion. But this advantage can also a drawback for many. The way that Notion’s UI is set up, it almost expects you to customize and experiment with its many widgets and tools. But the reality is that many people won’t use the majority of its functionality. And the number of options to choose from can overwhelm those who may just be looking for a simple solution.
For example, let’s say you are want to track the progress of your wedding planning from your engagement to the actual day. Notion has an infinite number of combinations you can use to accomplish this goal. So you’ll need to spend time and figure out the ins and outs of the application and experiment with features until you get something close to what you visualized in your mind. This can be time-consuming and unnecessary if you are just trying to track simple tasks.
For teams, onboarding can also be time-consuming with a steep learning curve. Some managers may even go overboard on the customization and want to track everything. Then you end up spending more of your time doing data entry than the actual work.
So when thinking about Notion vs Trello, keep in mind that Notion typically involves a high degree of user interaction.
Struggles in collaborative work
Project management is one use case for Notion, but it is not the one it focuses on the most. Now, there are good project management features in Notion. You can insert kanban boards directly into your pages and even look at tasks from a board view. But it lacks some important features powerful project management tools will have and ones that some teams will find important.
First, there are no Gantt charts. If you’re a project manager looking after timelines and risks, you will want to know how additional scop will affect your deliverables.
Next, there are no assigned comments. Within a task, comments are typically used to record questions and clarification among team members. Being able to tag a team member in a comment and have them receive notification about it promotes efficiency and accountability.
Finally, there are no customizable project statuses. Many teams have unique workflows for the different projects they take on. So teams using Notion may have trouble confining their work to its fixed statuses.
For many people weighing the options between Notion vs Trello, project management functionality has a lot of influence on decision making.
Notion is best suited for individuals and small teams. When you try to implement this application across large enterprises, you will find that their collaboration capabilities are not mature enough to work well. Applications like Confluence and Trello will do a better job. Notion is great to use in enterprises as a repository for information. But if everyone is trying to work on the same page, it’s likely to lead to chaos.
Doesn’t excel in anything
Notion does a bit of everything but doesn’t do one thing exceptionally well. Which is understandable given finite time, resources, and money. People expecting the same experiences as one of their super focused applications will be disappointed.
- Evernote is a better note-taking app
- Airtable is a better table app
- Clickup or Monday are better task managers
Notion’s strengths lie in its ability to put a little bit of everything into a single experience.
From its onset, Trello has focused its energy on making a premier project management tool. They’ve never strayed from the Kanban philosophy and make the boards the focus of their platform. But in doing so, they have also introduced a level of rigidity that may not favor certain people or teams.
Trello is exceptionally good at managing linear projects, where there is a start and an end and tasks flow through statuses in between. Where Trello struggles is in projects that need to expand to cover other areas. Projects that have dependencies on other teams and projects.
Most people considering Notion vs Trello will often look at their project needs. Those who require more flexibility will favor Notion.
Trello put a lot of work into figuring out what details are important for project management such as due dates, assignees, and labels. But they’ve also locked down. That’s all the details you’re able to enter. Everything you want to track needs to fit in the form and fields they provide. Granted, this will satisfy most users, but those looking for more customization and tracking of information will find Trello a challenge.
No project planning
Every project requires planning and documentation. Well, Trello falls short. We know we know, it was not built as a documentation platform, but having this initial step of every project part of Trello would have made it an even more powerful app.
Advantages that Notion has over Trello
Between Notion vs Trello, Notion is the better note-taker of the two applications. It uses pages as the foundation of the tool versus a board for Trello. By doing so, it opens up a variety of note-taking functionality that Trello does not have. You’re able to write full-length descriptions of projects and tasks and customize your pages using different note-taking widgets such as checklists. There is no documentation per se in Trello (yes you can link to a document, but the document does not sit within the app's environment itself.)
Notion is also better when it comes to organization. You can organize as single pages. You can organize pages into groups. You can also set up different folders and subfolders. Whether you want to organize your work in a broad fashion or a granular one, Notion can accommodate.
Databases also give Notion the edge in the Notion vs Trello debate. You can set up tables of information, either as part of a project or as standalone data points. Any page you set up on Notion can reference the databases you created. This is extremely powerful for connecting projects together and can even provide rollup information for key metrics on your projects.
Advantages that Trello has over Notion
When looking at Notion vs Trello, Trello is the easier to use, by a longshot. Trello is one of the best project management tools out there. Trello’s approach is so straightforward. Trello is simple. Create a board for a project. Create columns for every status you want to keep track of. Create cards for any task and drag and drop to the appropriate status.
The simplistic UI is a major advantage when working with teams. Since all tasks are visible, teams know exactly what they need to be working on. If you work on multiple teams, Trello allows you to set up different statuses and workflows. This is great for maximizing their productivity.
Frequently Asked Question: Notion vs Trello
Who should use Notion
When deciding which application to go with, Notion vs Trello, Notion makes a great option for people who are looking for a single solution they can use to maximize their productivity. These are people who don’t want to pay or subscribe to different applications. They’re also people who wish to use one application to solve the majority of use cases rather than using multiple applications to solve every nuance and edge case. If you are a hype follower, Notion may be for you. I even know some people who started using Notion to gamify their work and their lives.
Who should use Trello
On the other end of the Notion vs Trello spectrum, people who are looking for a simple project management tool to track their tasks from start to finish should use Trello. Teams who need to collaborate and want to spend less time satisfying project updates would also be a good fit for Trello. If you are interested in a tutorial on how to use Trello, we made a Trello Tutorial.
Which is better for project management, Trello or Notion?
Notion vs Trello, which is better for project management? The answer is that it depends. For linear projects that have different needs in terms of workflow, Trello will be the better option. For projects that have a lot of dependencies and relate to many other projects or databases, Notion would be a better option.
Which is better for note-taking, Notion or Trello?
Notion is better than Trello for note-taking. It even offers discounts for Evernote users. There a so many options for notes that Notion has over Trello. You can create detailed standalone pages that capture all the requirements of your project, with a variety of formatting options. Or you can create a collection of pages and use different widgets to capture different aspects of a project.
Which is better for Collaboration, Trello or Notion?
Trello is the better of the two for collaboration. You can have multiple teams on multiple boards. You can assign comments and set up automated workflow transitions. You can also send emails directly from Trello cards. Responding to emails show us card comments so information can be efficiently documented. You can also subscribe to cards on a board so that you receive notifications on any changes.
Why not use both Trello and Notion?
The title says it all? Why not use both? Use each tool for what it is good for, that is, Trello for project management and collaborations, and Notion for note-taking and documentation.
So the answer to which application, Trello vs Notion, you should choose is going to depend on the needs of you or your team. Notion can make your life very productive by providing an assortment of tools to help organize your tasks and projects. Trello is hyper-focused on helping you manage projects effectively. It’s simple and intuitive UI helps to maximize the productivity of teams by providing clear and accurate visibility on all tasks.
I personally like to use Trello for project management and Notion for... you guess it, note-taking!