Whatever you do, it’s often tricky to stay on top of your tasks. Most people these days use lists – whether on a notebook or on a basic reminders app. However, lots of people are looking for more refined, and advanced systems. In this post, you’ll be able to see the top five task apps, along with their pros and cons.
I’ve kept it at five as it means you don’t have to go doing in-depth research into each app – choosing the right app can be difficult, so this post will let you spend less time doing research and more time being productive.
The following five apps are my favourite task management apps that I’ve used. Each has their pros and cons, which are listed, as well as the price and supported platforms.
Things 3 is the task app that I use – and I love it. It’s great for managing large projects, and small tasks. There’s a lot under the beautiful interface of the app, and I’ve found it excellent for managing homework, large projects, and so much more. You can read more about Things here.
Things is supported on:
Pricing is a one-time fee, and varies depending on the device you buy it for (yes, iPad and iPhone apps are sold separately).
- £50 for Mac
- £10 for iPhone and Apple Watch
- £20 for iPad
- Well designed. The interface of Things is beautiful – it’s a pleasure to open up, and it’s fast and easy to use. Despite the simple look, Things has a lot of power underneath.
- Powerful. With support for repeating reminders, tags, projects, and so much more, Things is one of the more powerful apps in this list. It also has the ability to set due and scheduled dates, making it easy to keep on top of deadlines.
- Intuitive. Things is simple and relatively easy to use. Projects also show small pie charts of completion, and you can add subheadings into projects. Small touches here and there in things really make it a lot more intuitive to use.
- Limited availability. Things is an Apple only app – you can’t get it on the web, on Windows, or on Android. In addition to this, the developers have no intentions to release either a Windows or web client.
- Natural language is limited. Things only supports natural language input for dates, which can mean that it’s pretty clunky adding tags, dates, and locations to tasks in Things.
- Expensive. As the app is sold separately on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, it can get expensive if you want the whole suite.
Want to know more about the features in Things? Check out a larger list here.
Todoist is a great, free, app, that I used before moving to Things. It has a pretty minimalistic interface, but does have some power underneath. Plus, it starts out free.
Things is supported on:
Its also supported on various wearables, and even on Linux via third party developers.
Todoist starts out free, with limited features, and is then £3 a month. However, a 70% discount is offered for students.
- Amazing natural language processing. Todoist makes it incredibly easy and fast to add labels, dates, and so much more straight from the input box. This means that it takes a few seconds to fully flesh out your task. Todoist has the best natural language support of any task app I’ve used.
- Available on all devices. Even in the rare chance that Todoist doesn’t have an app on your OS, you can always use the web to manage your tasks.
- Powerful, whilst also being flexible. Todoist has features that allow it to be powerful, but also flexible at the same time. For example, you can use filters to sort through your tasks and see what you want easily.
- A cluttered interface. The interface on Todoist can get pretty busy, especially when you have a lot of tasks. It can get a little stressful to look at, which is the opposite of Things, which is always a pleasure to look at.
- No start dates. Makes it a pain to remember when tasks are meant to be due.
- Reminders and other advanced features are premium only. Therefore, if you go with Todoist, you’ll most likely have to go with the premium option. Filters, labels, and calendar integration are all paid too.
Microsoft To-Do is a completely free app, that was the evolution of Wunderlist, the first task app I used. With all the basic features that are vital, Microsoft To Do is a decent option for people who don’t need all the bells and whistles.
Microsoft To-Do is available on:
And is completely free.
- Free. Microsoft To-Do offers many of Todoist’s paid plan features for free – reminders and file attachments are offered my Microsoft To-Do, whilst you have to pay for them in Todoist.
- ‘My Day’. This is similar to Things’ Today view, but you add tasks in there manually. Whilst more of a basic approach, a great feature for students and workers as it lets you preserve due dates.
- No advanced filters. Microsoft To-Do doesn’t have any way to filter in the app. You can only create lists – that’s it.
- No natural language processing. The app has no natural language processing whatsoever. It’s even more bare bones than Things’ support, as it doesn’t exist.
- Doesn’t support anything other than Outlook calendars. So if you use Google Calendars, you won’t be able to integrate them with the app.
If you are looking for something relatively simple, and completely free, Google Tasks is another great choice. It’s tightly integrated with the Google Suite, however, does lack some of the power and flexibility of the other apps.
Google Tasks is completely free, and is available on the following:
- Integrated with Google. You probably use a few Google services already – be it Drive, Gmail, or Calendar, Google Tasks is tightly integrated, making it easy to add and manage your tasks. It’s pretty nice to have your tasks right alongside your email, and in your calendar.
- Simple. Google Tasks is simply a list of your tasks, with the ability to add dates. It’s incredibly easy to pick up, unlike some of the other apps which do have a learning curve and can be quite overwhelming at first.
- Simple. Despite being mentioned as a pro above, chances are that you’ll soon outgrow Google Tasks. It doesn’t offer features such as tagging, filtering, and the like, making it hard to use if you have a lot of tasks.
- Underdeveloped. Google Tasks is pretty much ignored by Google, only getting a small update once or twice a year. Not an encouraging sign for an app you’d rely on.
- No recurring tasks. If you want to have a weekly repeating task, tough luck – Google Tasks doesn’t let you have that.
- No organisation. There are limited sorting options, and making different lists can be clunky. Basically, you only have one list to play with, and sorting by due date then name, or manually.
Taskade takes a different approach to tasks than other apps on this list. It shows them in a more list style way, allowing you to add notes, and lists other than tasks. This is pretty nice as it means that the app is very flexible.
Taskade is availble on the following platforms:
It has two tiers of pricing – free, and then premium, which is priced at $7 a month. However, the free plan is likely to be enough for most people’s use case.
- Flexible. As Taskade allows you to add any sort of list, it’s really flexible. You aren’t restricted to making tasks.
- Easily see an overview of your tasks. This makes it really easy to see what you have left to do, and what’s coming up.
- Intuitive. Taskade is really simple to use, and it’s very easy to get the hang of right out of the box.
- Multiple user support. Taskade has amazing collaboration features. This makes it great for group projects, or for jobs that require multiple people. Comments can be made on items too.
- Requires an internet connection. This includes the mobile apps, which can be a paid if you are on a flight and need to access your tasks.
- Tasks cannot be moved between lists. It’s harder to manage large projects as you can’t move tasks between lists.
- Lack of collaborator control. If you want someone to only be able to comment, you can’t. Taskade doesn’t offer individual user permissions.
- Filtering and sorting is weak. You can’t search through your lists, or tag items.
Which one is right for you?
So, we’ve seen the top five to-do apps, but which one is right for you?
On a budget
If you are on a budget, Google Tasks, Microsoft Tasks, or Taskade are the choices for you. All of these apps lack the ability to use powerful searching and filtering, however are good choices for free users.
- Need power and flexibility: Taskade.
- Need a day view for better task scheduling: Microsoft Tasks.
- Bare bones: Google Tasks.
If you are willing to not have notifications, Todoist would also be an option. Just be aware that you’ll likely struggle on the free version, which is more of a ‘taster’ anyway.
Windows & Android user
Todoist would be great for you here, if you have the money for premium. It offers great apps on both platforms, and has powerful sorting and filtering features.
MacOS & iOS user
Things is a great app – with the ability to set start dates along with due dates, it’s really easy to keep on top of tasks with Things. A great choice for those with the money, and on the Apple ecosystem. You may also be interested in Todoist, and if you are, you can check out my detailed comparison here.
Hopefully this post will let you find the perfect task app for your requirements. There are a lot of options out there, but these five apps are the best I’ve used.