We used both JIRA and Trello extensively at Zepel.

To make sure we give you an unbiased review, we used all their features, started paying for them like a regular customer, and finally have a firm grip of the pros and cons of both JIRA and Trello.

And more importantly, we know the differences between the two and when you should choose one over the other.

If you’re unsure about switching from Trello to JIRA this in-depth blog post should help you decide.

But if you’re already using JIRA within your organization and wish you didn’t have to put up with its clutter, you should give Zepel a shot already!

Let’s jump in and have a look at the differences between JIRA and Trello.


TL;DR Comparison of JIRA vs Trello

If you’re in a hurry, then this quick comparison of JIRA vs Trello should give you a good overview of what each of these tools is good at and how they are different.

JIRA Trello
Pricing Free up to 10 users for cloud version. Standard plan starts at $7/month/user Free forever. Standard plan starts at $12.50 per user per month
Hosting Cloud and on premise Cloud only
Top Features Kanban Boards, Sprints, Access Controls, and Reports Kanban Boards and Power ups
Typical Customer Mid-market and Enterprise Freelancers and small businesses
Integrations Massive library of integrations that meets use cases of CRM, test management, code review, and more. Plenty of native integrations including Zendesk, Slack, and Salesforce.

The key difference between JIRA vs Trello

The key difference between JIRA and Trello is the target audience they go after. JIRA primarily focuses on software developers, engineers, and product managers in medium to large organizations. Trello on the other hand, goes after freelancers, developers, and other contributors in small businesses.

Trello, unlike JIRA, is flexible enough to support other use cases like wedding planning, marketing, and more.

This key difference drives the majority of their decisions in terms of the features they build and how they price their product.

Ultimately, making Trello far easier to get started with. Since JIRA requires you to set it up correctly and go through a steep learning curve, it is a lot harder to onboard your team and get started.

If you don't want to go through JIRA's tedious process to even get started, check out these 9 JIRA alternatives.


Self-hosting vs Cloud in JIRA and Trello

While there are certain advantages to using a cloud-based project management tool, it is understandable that some organizations would want to host and have their data within their network.

JIRA understands this and gives its potential customers both the options — you can choose to self-host it or go for their cloud-based option. Trello, on the other hand, does not have a self-hosting option.

So, if you’re looking for a project management tool that lets you self-host, then JIRA is probably your best bet.


JIRA vs Trello: Pricing

If you’re comparing the pricing of JIRA vs Trello, it’s pretty hard to come up with a clear winner today.

Until recently, pricing was one of the bigger differences between JIRA and Trello, since JIRA didn’t provide a free plan in their pricing plans. In September 2019, Atlassian, the maker of JIRA, introduced their free tier. Prior to that, their lowest plan needed you to pay $10 for 10 users.

This, however, only applies if you choose their cloud-based version. If you decide to self-host JIRA by yourself, you will still have to pay $10 for 10 users as a one-time fee.

Trello, on the other hand, has always had a free plan that allowed you to create an unlimited number of boards and collaborate with any number of users. However, they do have a restriction on the number of power-ups (their integrations) that you can add. If you want more capabilities on Trello, their “Business Class” pricing tier starts at $12.50/member/month.

JIRA Cloud Pricing JIRA Self-hosted Pricing Trello Pricing
Free plan for 1 user Free $10 one-time payment Free
Standard plan for 1 user $7 per month per member $10 one-time payment $12.50 per month per member
Standard plan for 15 users $105 per month $3,500 one-time payment $187.50 per month
Standard plan for 25 users $175 per month $3,500 one-time payment $312.50 per month
Standard plan for 100 users $700 per month $13,300 one-time payment $1,250 per month

More information on JIRA's cloud pricing plans.

More pricing information on JIRA's self-hosted plans.

More details on Trello's pricing plans.


Task Management and Team Collaboration in JIRA and Trello

Of course, task management and team collaboration are going to be fundamental capabilities you’re going to be looking for in a project management tool. When it comes to JIRA vs Trello though, what they can help you achieve and how they define this varies.

Trello has everything you need when it comes to simple collaboration and task management - assignees, due dates, notifications, and moving cards from one column to another in a kanban to show progress. If you want to see who is working on what, you can simply use their filters to find this.

Trello board example
An example of a Trello Board

JIRA, on the other hand, looks at task management from the perspective of agile development. It allows you to customize your workflow using the workflow builder and set up rules on how a task should move from one status to another.

You can even go as far as setting up advanced configurations to show only certain work items in certain kanban columns to certain people. Fancy stuff, right?

The downside to this is, if not done right, it can lead to a lot of miscommunication and lost productivity within your team.


JIRA vs Trello: Agile Project Management

In the last decade, agile and its methodologies have gained a lot of popularity. And for good reasons too! When done properly, agile lets your team build and ship the right features for your customers, and allow them to quickly see value in your product.

JIRA was built specifically to let you and your team follow agile methodologies. It supports scrum as well as kanban, so you can set it up in however way you want to meet your team’s requirements.

JIRA structure
Here's the structure of a typical JIRA project

Trello, while it is known for its simplicity, doesn’t support every aspect of agile. It lets you to quickly move work around using kanban boards but does not have dedicated support for scrum teams. Some scrum teams, however, workaround by naming columns as a backlog, prioritized, in progress, and done to run sprints.

If you're new to Agile, here's an exhaustive guide on Agile and its methodologies.


Reports in JIRA vs Trello

Every team that manages several projects requires the ability to report on their progress, performance, and a host of other metrics. They are not only essential but in crunch times they can help you make key decisions.

JIRA provides a highly configurable dashboard that lets you get insight into any information you want to see about your team. From burn up, burn down, cumulative charts, and many more, JIRA lets you see exactly what you want.

Agile reports in JIRA
Agile reports in JIRA

While Trello doesn’t have reports out-of-the-box, it does have some power-ups that you can use to get basic information from your project.

Here's the link to view all the power ups in Trello.


Integrations in JIRA and Trello

Of course, not all data sits inside your project management tool. You will want to exchange data between your project management app and the other tools you use every day, say, your code repository, or Slack.

Both Trello and JIRA provide a host of third-party integrations that you can use within your team. But in terms of sheer quantity, JIRA has a massive library of tools that you can integrate with.

A list of Trello integrations
A list of Trello integrations

And of course, both tools also provide free access to their public APIs, so you can hit their endpoints and set up your own integration.


Wrapping up the comparison of JIRA vs Trello

As you might’ve noticed, when you take a step back and compare JIRA vs Trello, they are opposite extremes.

While Trello is extremely easy to get started, use, and setup, it doesn’t have all the features a growing team would want to streamline their product development process. Its biggest drawback would be its lack of dedicated support to run sprints.

If you are looking for a project management tool with an exhaustive set of features, then JIRA surely has the upper hand. However, its biggest disadvantage is its steep learning curve that often leaves developers a little more than just frustrated.


Is there a middle ground when comparing JIRA vs Trello?

If you are still unsure about which project management tool to choose, you should check out Zepel – a project management tool for software product teams.

It is the simple, yet powerful project management tool for teams who are building products.

With a dedicated view for Sprints, a document-like interface to plan your features, kanban boards, and reports, Zepel gives you everything you need to build great products.

Hey, don’t take our word for it. Here’s a review from our existing user.

User review of Zepel
A user's review of Zepel on Product Hunt

If you haven't already, sign up to Zepel for free and share with us your feedback.


Further Helpful Articles

5 questions to ask when switching to a new project management tool
There are plenty of project management tools out there. So, why should you switch to Zepel? Is Zepel even a good fit for your team? Here are 5 questions we get from teams before they make the switch.
11 Best Agile Tools For Project Management in 2019
Looking to compare agile tools for project management? Here is a list of 11 best agile project management tools you can add to your stack today!
9 Best And Free Project Management Software
Looking for free project management software? Here are the top 9 project management software that is free, simple and easy to use!