After conducting extensive research and analysis in 2017, we recommend Wrike as the best free project management solution for 2017. We chose Wrike from a pool of the dozens of project management solutions we considered. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of project management solutions on our best picks page.
Wrike offers the only free project management solution on the market that allows users to create unlimited projects. Most other free versions are so limited that we felt hindered using them, but Wrike allowed us to fully explore project management without paying a dime. For small teams, startups and companies that only need the barebones of project management software, Wrike is an excellent free solution.
Ready to choose a project management solution? Here's a breakdown of our complete coverage:
- Best Project Management Software
- Choosing Project Management Software: A Buyer's Guide
- Best Project Management Software for Small Teams: Teamwork
- Best Project Management Software for Large Teams: LiquidPlanner
- Best Free Project Management Software: Wrike
- Best Project Management Software for Remote Workers: ZohoProjects
- Best Project Management Software for Teams with Freelancers: TeamGantt
- Best Agile Project Management Software: Atlassian JIRA
Wrike's free version comes with limited features, but not so limited that it doesn't feel like true project management software. Its advantage over other free software is that users can create an unlimited number of projects. That said, access to more advanced features, including Gantt charts and subtasks, is completely restricted. For these, you have to subscribe to a paid service. Still, Wrike is one of the only services offering a free account with unlimited projects. That alone set it apart in our search for the best free software.
Wrike's free version is available for up to five users, making it suitable for small teams and startups. Larger teams or companies looking for a scalable solution will need to consider subscribing to a paid service. Still, for no cost, Wrike enables five users to work on an unlimited amount of projects. In the end, this is what distinguished Wrike from other free project management solutions we reviewed.
- Core features – Wrike excels at simplifying the core features of project management. Simple navigation tabs across the top of the screen direct users to their inbox, active work, dashboards, reports and a live stream of team members' activity. Adding users is also easy.
- Collaborators – Wrike's free version includes an unlimited number of "collaborators," which have restricted access to projects. Unlike users, they cannot create new tasks or edit existing projects, but they can see ongoing changes. This is useful for bringing in supervisors, partners or clients to help direct a project without getting hands on.
- Storage space – Wrike offers 2 gigabytes of storage space on its free version, so you'll have to carefully allocate space to support unlimited free projects.
Ease of use
Although Wrike's free features are quite limited, it still provides insight into how simple and intuitive a project manager it is. A clean, user-friendly interface makes navigation easy. Starting with the active user's inbox, topline navigation allows the user to easily cycle through the different pages, including active projects, dashboards, reports and an activity stream.
Similarly, adding new users and collaborators to projects is made as simple as point and click. There is also a series of keyboard shortcuts that allow users to quickly and easily create a new task, open a new tab, search, assign tasks and mark tasks as completed or active. Once users familiarize themselves with these hotkeys, navigating Wrike is even easier.
Wrike's design is user friendly and welcoming. With dark blues and light greens, as well as rounded edges, Wrike feels engaging without becoming overly professional. There's a "fun" feel to using the software; unlike some project managers that feel extremely technical, Wrike has made navigating its interface simple with a lot of point-and-click functionality and simple layouts that directly display necessary information without requiring users to search around for it.
In addition to a free version, Wrike offers several paid tiers at a per user, per month rate. Each level includes access to a free trial. Here's a look at each tier and the capabilities each one offers.
- Free – Free for unlimited projects. Up to five users and unlimited collaborators. Includes 2 gigabytes of storage space. Integrations with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, MS Office 365, OneDrive and iCal.
- Professional – $9.80 per user, per month. Supports five, 10 or 15 users and unlimited collaborators. Includes 5 gigabytes of storage space. Access to Gantt charts and dynamic timelines, as well as subtasks are included at this level. Integrations also include MS Project, Excel and RSS. Shareable dashboards are also accessible in this pricing tier.
- Business – $24.80 per user, per month. Supports five to 200 users and unlimited collaborators. Includes 50 gigabytes of storage space. All features included in Professional plus custom fields and workflows, real-time reporting, alerts, report templates, a branded workspace, request forms, time tracking, user groups and permissions and a Salesforce integration.
- Wrike for Marketers – $34.60 per user, per month. Supports five to unlimited users and unlimited collaborators. All Business features plus video proofing, a tailored workspace and an Adobe Creative Cloud extension.
- Enterprise – Contact the company for pricing. Enterprise packages allow companies to tailor Wrike to their needs and includes an Active Directory integration, a single sign-on solution, multifactor authentication for security, administrator-controlled user permissions and 100 gigabytes of storage space.
Our customer service experience was average. Our questions were answered to our satisfaction, but the first customer service representative we spoke to continuously suggested that we consider the paid version. They frequently cited the limited features of Wrike's free edition despite our firm insistence that we were only interested in the free option and had called to gain a better understanding of what it offered. Despite the sales pitch, all of our questions were answered and the pushiness was not repeated with subsequent calls.
Like some of our other best picks, Wrike maintains webinars, a blog and a "productivity tour" for users to refer to when they run into a problem or have a question about the software. These resources make it easier to figure out how to use Wrike or get even more out of the software without going to customer service or tech support. Best of all, Wrike has a built-in live chat function that allows you to contact the help center right in the software should you run into a problem.
There's also a question-and-answer portal that functions much like a search engine. Users can plug in key terms, such as "Gantt chart," and Wrike will return with a number of materials that match the query. In addition to this search engine functionality, Wrike maintains a community of users and forums on the company website. Most questions have already been asked and answered there, but if you find yourself with a unique problem, there's a good chance someone else has experienced it as well. There's also a place to share best practices with other users as you discover the best ways to leverage Wrike for your team.
Wrike's free edition is missing a lot of key features that many teams would find essential to a project management solution. The lack of Gantt charts and dashboards, as well as no ability to create subtasks, might be seen as serious drawbacks to companies that use project management software regularly.
However, for those teams that just need something quick, simple, and easy to use, Wrike will meet your needs again and again, without limit on the number of projects you can create.
For that reason, we recommend Wrike for teams that need a simple, basic level of service for free that can get them moving on multiple projects quickly. Teams with more advanced needs should consider one of the paid services on our best picks page.