Published in


The 6 Best Free Smartsheet Alternatives of 2021

Story taken from the nTask Blog — The 6 Best Free Smartsheet Alternatives of 2021

Smartsheet is a project management tool that essentially relies on a spreadsheet format for managing projects and tasks.

Introduced in 2006, with a major redesign in 2010, the platform serves as a single systematic and flexible solution for all the task management needs of a team.

Being a spreadsheet program at its core, Smartsheet already calls for multiple alternatives. Although it has extensive features that cater to the project management needs, let’s be realistic!

There’s not a single tool that can be the gold standard for fulfilling all the project management needs of an organization. Same goes for Smartsheet, because of a few reasons.

Why You Should Look for Free Smartsheet Alternatives

Time Tracking

Being able to track the time associated with each and every project is one of the most critical aspects of a project management software. Smartsheet doesn’t come with extensive time tracking features.

You cannot track the time you’ve spent on a particular task, and that tends to be one of the biggest drawbacks of the tool.

Real-time Chat

For timely collaboration among team members, real-time chat feature or comments within tasks should be a core element. Smartsheet doesn’t come with real-time chat options for team members to collaborate on the project progress.

Limited Functionality of Reports

Although Smartsheet does have a reporting feature, it’s too complicated to use. For a fully functional project report, users have to go through multiple steps and personally create a report. This is time-consuming, as well as frustrating.


In contrast with the majority project management tools available freely in the market, Smartsheet can come off as quite expensive. With only a 30 days free trial period and upgrades starting from $14, Smartsheet calls for other cheaper alternatives to consider.

Due to these limitations, we’ve gathered some of the tried and tested free Smartsheet alternatives for you to choose from. They are:

1. nTask

The top spot on this list of free Smartsheet alternatives goes to nTask.

A versatile project management software equipped with an intelligent toolset that caters perfectly to all individual as well as team task management needs. With a simple user interface and smartly developed features, nTask facilitates seamless storing, processing, and monitoring of project performance — all under one roof.

Key Features

  • Projects and tasks management
  • Recurring tasks management
  • Time tracking with activities
  • Meeting management
  • Task comments
  • Issues and risks management
  • Gantt charts
  • Timesheets
  • Multiple workspaces
  • Reminder notifications
  • Search filters
  • Integration with Slack


  • Meetings Management to effectively execute meetings
  • Issues and Risks management to tackle their occurrence likelihood
  • Built-in Gantt charts for timely reporting
  • User-friendly interface
  • Powerful task filters
  • Free forever version and affordable upgrade


  • Kanban boards for workflow visualization is currently not available (underworks)
  • Integration with multiple apps to avoid constant switching between apps (underworks)
  • Limited functionality of auto-generating Gantt charts
  • Feature of chat within tasks not available, however, comments can be made


  • Free — up to 5 projects, 5 free workspaces, unlimited tasks, unlimited meetings, 5 MBs file attachment size, 200 MBs of storage space, issues and risks tracking, timesheets
  • Pro — at $2.99, unlimited everything

2. Basecamp

Next up on our list of free Smartsheet alternatives is Basecamp. It’s an online project management tool providing collaboration solutions to small and medium sized organizations.

Coming with a diverse toolset, Basecamp tries to provide a single platform to users for effectively managing their projects.

Key Features

  • To-do lists management
  • Tasks scheduling
  • Messages board
  • Group chat rooms
  • Clients portal
  • Hill charts
  • Project reports
  • Documents management
  • Notifications
  • Search filters


  • Simple user-friendly design
  • Simple to-do list management
  • Easy drag and drop for uploading files
  • Check-in questions for status updates
  • Clients access portal
  • Personalized themes for workspaces


  • Basic project management features
  • No recurring tasks management
  • No time-tracking with activities
  • No built-in chat features. Campfire sign up is required for availing it
  • Does not offer functionality for project budgeting


  • $99 per month — unlimited users, unlimited projects, all features, 500GB of file storage

Basecamp comes with a free trial of 30 days.

3. Jira

Third on our list of free Smartsheet alternatives is Jira. Considered a #1 software chosen by agile teams for software development, Jira makes a pretty strong contender for Smartsheet.

The tool allows teams to use workflow mapping and agile reporting techniques to make sure projects are executed efficiently.

Key Features

  • Kanban and Scrum boards
  • Powerful reports
  • Customizable dashboards
  • Project roadmaps
  • Custom search filters
  • Sprint management
  • Backlog management
  • Bug and issues tracker
  • Third-party application integrations


  • Advanced project management features for Agile teams
  • Numerous progress tracking reports
  • Customizable Scrum boards
  • User stories mapping
  • Affordable plans


  • Requires extensive configuration to set up
  • Complex functionality
  • Steep learning curve
  • No free version


  • Up to 10 users: $10 monthly
  • 11–100 users: $7 per user/month
  • More than 100 users: upon request

Jira offers a free trial of 7 days.

4. Airtable

Airtable is a cloud-based project management software which combines the functionality of a task management tool and a spreadsheet to provide the most user-friendly experience while managing projects.

A free Smartsheet alternative, Airtable comes with a pleasing design and easy interface to help users have fun while getting things done.

Key Features

  • Multiple views for tasks management
  • Video chat with team members
  • Time tracking with activities
  • Pre-built project templates
  • Issues and bug tracker
  • Powerful project sorting filters
  • Client project tracker
  • Safe file attachments
  • Multiple third-party application integrations


  • Light and user-friendly interface
  • Clutter-free features
  • Users can create multiple databases in one location
  • Compatibility with multiple devices
  • Numerous built-in project templates


  • Primarily a data storage and visualization tool
  • Limited functionality of time tracker
  • No meeting management features
  • Limited functionality of progress reports


  • Free: unlimited bases, 2GB attachment space with each base, other essential features
  • Plus: $10 per user/month, unlimited bases, 5GB attachment space, other essential features
  • Pro: $20 per user/month, unlimited bases, 20GB attachment space, essential and advanced features
  • Enterprise: upon request, unlimited bases, 1000 GB attachment space, essential and advanced features with maximum support and admin controls

5. Clarizen

The last tool in our collection of best free Smartsheet alternatives is Clarizen. It’s a collaborative work management solution designed and developed for enterprises.

Providing an option to configure workflows according to the team needs, Clarizen facilitates a highly customizable and advanced platform for project management.

Key Features

  • Projects dashboard
  • Project portfolio management
  • Resources management
  • Timesheets
  • Documents management
  • Expense sheets
  • Risk analysis and control
  • Gantt charts
  • Project financial management


  • Easily customizable
  • Advanced functionality
  • Advanced project planning
  • Web portals for multiple teams
  • Integrations for easy collaboration


  • Can be too advanced for small teams
  • Too many complicated features
  • Not too user-friendly
  • Expensive in comparison to other tools


  • Enterprise Edition: $45 per user per month
  • Unlimited Edition: $60 per user per month

6. Asana

One of the top free Smartsheet alternatives that project managers love is Asana. Regarded as one of the most popular tools when it comes to project management, Asana allows you to smartly organize and tackle your project details with maximum efficiency.

The tool comes with multiple project templates, designed to serve diverse team types and their project needs. With multiple third-party application integrations, Asana makes sure you get everything done without switching applications.

Key Features

  • Tasks and subtasks management
  • Kanban boards for indicating workflows
  • Native project templates
  • Project timeline
  • File attachments and task comments
  • Milestone tracking
  • Backlog management
  • Sprint management
  • Issues and bug tracking
  • Third-party application access


  • Advanced tasks management
  • Built-in project templates for quickly getting started
  • Project timeline management
  • Effective for large teams and multiple projects
  • Dedicated feature set for agile teams, like backlog management


  • Native time tracking missing
  • Multiple assignees missing
  • No risks management
  • No meeting management
  • Limited features in the free version


  • Basic: for teams who are just gearing up
  • Premium: $9.99 per user/month for teams to create project plans effectively
  • Business: $19.99 per user/month for large teams
  • Enterprise: customizable plan for organizations who need more security and controls

What are your favorite free Smartsheet alternatives? Share your recommendations in the comments below.

Originally published at www.ntaskmanager.com on November 23, 2018.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store

nTask is an all-in-one online project management software trusted by smart teams to organize work. Sign up today — it’s free.