It’s been thirteen years since 37Signals came out with Basecamp, its signature project management software.
Originally conceived as a simple tool for freelancers to manage things like website design projects, Basecamp has ballooned into one of the most popular project management software solutions. With over 285,000 customers, 15 million users, and hundreds of thousands completed projects, there’s no denying Basecamp has been hugely successful.
Its simplicity and collaborative approach to managing projects stood in stark contrast to the waterfall method and complexity of Microsoft Project when Basecamp was first released in 2004. This simplicity has been the rallying cry of Basecamp ever since, and for ten years it’s managed to prevent feature bloat and to keep the user experience easy to pick up and learn.
However, this philosophy of simplicity über alles has its share of detractors, and complaints that Basecamp doesn’t include some basic functionality, like embedded time tracking or an easy task list view are common online.
Additionally, hundreds of new project management software products have been released in the intervening decade; many offering similar usability at a comparable (or lower) price point.
The Best Basecamp Alternatives
The twelve PM software products listed below meet two distinct criteria:
- They are all at or below Basecamp’s price range (in the $99/month range for unlimited projects and users).
- They all prioritize simplicity, ease of use, and transparency within the platform.
These twelve project management systems are absolutely worth a look if you are currently considering signing up for Basecamp, or if you’re already using Basecamp and looking for some alternatives. All of the solutions in the list are web-based and true Basecamp alternatives.
Used Basecamp? Leave a review!
Offered in both web-based and self-hosted flavors, ActiveCollab has acquired over 10,000 customers since 2007, including heavyweights like the Apple, Harvard University, and Adobe. A slick, modern UI and integration with Xero for time tracking and invoicing round out the offering.
ActiveCollab starts at $25 per month for the SaaS version, which includes five users, 5GB of storage, and unlimited projects, and goes all the way up to $299 per month for unlimited users, 500GB of storage, and unlimited projects. Additionally, there is an option to buy a self-hosted version of the software for $499 and install it on your own server if you happen to want to customize and tweak it.
Used ActiveCollab? Leave a review!
With over 40,000 customers, including Dropbox, Tesla, and Uber, Asana promises “teamwork without email.” Google Drive integration, the ability to forward an email to Asana and have it be automatically turned into a task, and a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts make Asana a top contender for usability and functionality.
Asana is priced based on the number of users and is actually free for the first 15. After 15 users the premium tiers start at $8.33 per member per month. All tiers include unlimited projects and tasks, and premium tiers include private projects, unlimited dashboards, advanced reporting, and priority support.
Used Asana? Leave a review!
JIRA from Atlassian has over 35,000 customers with over 45,500,000 users and is a great Basecamp alternative for tech teams. Clients include NASA, Twitter, and Pandora. JIRA includes integration with Google Apps, time management, and tracking, and an HTML5 enabled mobile interface for team members on the go.
Pricing starts at $10 per month for ten users and increases to $1,000 per month for 2,000 users. Additionally, like ActiveCollab, JIRA has a self-hosted option for a one-time price of $10 for ten users, $1,200 for 25 users, and on up to larger enterprise offerings. Of note, if you plan to use JIRA for a qualified open source project, Atlassian will actually let you use it for free.
Used Atlassian Jira? Leave a review!
Billed as “the closest free alternative you will ever get to Basecamp,” Freedcamp, by Enavu, boasts Google, PayPal, and Airbnb among its140,000 customers. A simple user interface, similar in feel to Basecamp’s, as well as group communication tools like a wall, browser alerts, and social media integrations make Freedcamp a robust PM solution. We also ranked it as the #2 free and open source project management software available.
Freedcamp is free for unlimited users, projects, and tasks,
Used Freedcamp? Leave a review!
Some 50,000 organizations use Mavenlink’s “growth management software,” including BuzzFeed and the San Antonio Spurs. Integration with QuickBooks and Google Apps, as well as mobile optimization, and time tracking functionality are all strengths of Mavenlink’s system.
Mavenlink starts at $19 a month for up to five users. For project management with financials or customization for create and professional services automation, pricing starts at $39 a month per user.
Used Mavenlink? Leave a review!
Used by customers like Volvo, the NFL, and Sony, Podio boasts a robust app marketplace with integrations for tools like Zendesk, Evernote, and Freshbooks, and also includes private and open workspaces, and a built in IM and video chat.
Pricing starts at $9 per employee per month, with discounts available for enterprise-size teams.
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If you like Basecamp for its ease of use, you’ll like ProWorkflow. Don’t confuse simplicity with a lack of features, though; ProWorkflow offers time tracking and financial management in addition to a slew of project management features like timelines, project tasks and subtasks, and resource reports.
ProWorkflow’s professional version starts at $20 per month, per user and includes 25GB of storage, SSL security, client access, invoices, and permissions settings. Upgrade to $30 per month, per user for 50GB of file storage, project templates, and customization options.
Used ProWorkflow? Leave a review!
A feature-rich project management solution, Teamwork Projects even has an entire page dedicated to comparing it to Basecamp. Some functionality lauded by users includes a sophisticated search, time tracking with integration into Freshbooks, and continually updated iOS and Android apps. Some of its 255,000 customers include Spotify, eBay, and Forbes. Teamwork starts at $49 a month for unlimited users, 40 projects, and 20GB of space. Pricing scales with increased project and storage functionality.
Used Teamwork Projects? Leave a review!
Looking for project management software that’s truly dedicated to small business success? Meet Wimi, an all-in-one project management app with unified workspaces, extensive user permissions settings controls, and detailed task and reporting functionality.
Best of all, Wimi is incredibly reasonably priced. Users can get started for free with up to eight projects, 10GB of storage, and up to 10 guests. Upgrading for more file sharing and users starts at $5 per user, per month. The enterprise level caps out an astonishing $12 per user, per month. That version includes full-service integrations, unlimited projects, unlimited guests, and a “customer success program” that comes with a private API and dedicated customer service attention to your account.
Used Wimi? Leave a review!
Worksection poo-poos the idea of trying to stuff all of your project management needs into one dashboard; there’s too much information, and for Worksection, too many features to include on one page.
By allowing space for different “sections” (including, but not limited to, project management, file management, and business planning), each activity has breathing room, encouraging users to focus on their task at hand. You can find Hyundai and Burda among the 12,000 teams using Worksection.
The features that Worksection offers tie directly into its pricing model. For example, the free version allows for two active projects, a calendar, and hardly any storage (50 megabytes). Its $49 a month plan, for example, allows 50 active projects, 50GB of storage, and a calendar, along with Gantt charts, time tracking, a timer, accounting features, and FTP storage. The professional version of Worksection does not limit the number of active projects, offers 250GB of storage, includes all the above-mentioned features and SSL encryption and an account on your business’ domain.
Used Worksection? Leave a review!
Wrike’s 4,000 customers include PayPal, and Capgemini. Online document collaboration through integration with Google Drive, Dropbox, and Box, as well as free mobile apps, and detailed time-tracking are a few of the powerful features in this project management tool.
For up to 5 users and 2GB of storage, Wrike offers a free version, and paid plans start at $10 per user, per month for 5GB of storage and unlimited collaborators.
Used Wrike? Leave a review!
12. Zoho Projects
One of the smaller solutions on this list in terms of customer numbers, Zoho’s project management offering is nonetheless a strong alternative to Basecamp, and includes customers like Techcrunch, PC World, and the New York Times. Standout features include integrations with Google Apps, Dropbox, and Github, mobile apps, and time tracking.
Zoho Projects offers a free version for up to one project and 10MB of storage, and the paid versions, which include time tracking, start at $25 per month for 20 projects and 10GB of storage and go up to $80 per month for unlimited projects and 100GB of storage.
Used Zoho Projects? Leave a review!
Other Basecamp Alternatives to Consider?
While I think the above twelve options are the closest potential alternatives to Basecamp, there are several other products that, depending on your needs, may also deserve to make your PM software shortlist.
Know any other good Basecamp alternatives? Leave a review for software that we missed and share in the comments below!