There are several to-do list apps on the web that helps you to get things done. However, the problem is finding the perfect task manager because there are so so many of them — both free and paid.
I have tried a bunch of them over the past several years and can definitely say that there is no such thing as a perfect to-do app. It’s all about your requirements as all of them offers a variety of features. It also means that if you are looking for a task manager with a particular feature then chances are it already exists.
Today, I have cherry-picked three of the best to-do apps, namely Todoist, Wunderlist, and Any.do, that are intuitive, feature-rich, powerful, and massively popular. And I have limited the list to just “3” as I believe they are the best of the best and is probably the only to-do list apps you’ll ever need to get things done.
Note: I have shortlisted, reviewed, and compared the free plans of Todoist, Wunderlist, and Any.do based on the criteria that I have set personally. But I believe it’s comprehensive enough and have highlighted almost all the aspects of the aforementioned apps (citing the web as well as the iOS platforms).
Todoist vs. Wunderlist vs. Any.do: Quick Comparison
- Desktop: Web, Windows, macOS, Chromebook
- Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch), Android (Phone, Tablet, Wear), Windows Mobile, Apple Watch
- Add-ons: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Outlook, Gmail
- Third-party Integrations: IFTTT, Zapier, Google Calendar, Slack, Alexa, Google Assistant, Gmail, Dropbox, and a lot more.
- Free Plan Features: Sub-tasks, Sub-projects, Task Priorities (4 levels), Due Dates, Recurring Tasks, Collaborate, Keyboard Shortcuts, 10 Themes
- Premium Plan Features: Labels, Filters, Comments, Attachments (up to 20 MB per file), Voice Recording, Reminders (Email, Push, SMS), Location-based Alerts, Project Templates, Automatic Backups, Calendar Feed, Add Tasks via Email
- Price: Free / Premium ($28.99/year)
- Visit: Todoist
- Desktop: Web, Windows, OS X, Chromebook
- Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch), Android (Phone, Tablet, Wear), Windows Mobile (and Windows Phone), Kindle Fire
- Add-ons: Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Outlook
- Free Plan Features: Folders, Lists & Smart Lists, #Hashtags, Notes, Comments, Attachments (up to 5 MB per file), Voice Recording, Stars, Sub-tasks (up to 25 per task), Due Dates, Recurring Tasks, Reminders (Email, Push), Collaborate (25 assigns per shared list), Calendar Feed, Add Tasks via Email, Custom Keyboard Shortcuts, 20 Backgrounds
- Pro Plan Features: Sub-tasks (unlimited sub-tasks), Attachments (of any size), Collaborate (unlimited sharing), 30 Backgrounds
- Third-party Integrations: Zapier, HipChat
- Price: Free / Pro ($59.88/year)
- Visit: Wunderlist
- Desktop: Web, OS X, Chromebook
- Mobile: iOS (iPhone, iPad), Android (Phone, Tablet), Apple Watch
- Add-ons: Google Chrome
- Free Plan Features: Lists, Notes, Comments, Attachments (up to 1.50 MB per file), Voice Recording, Stars, Sub-tasks, Due Dates, Recurring Tasks (with pre-set options only), Reminders (Push), Collaborate (1 shared task), 1 Theme
- Premium Plan Features: Attachments (up to 100 MB per file), Recurring Tasks, Location-based Alerts, Collaborate (unlimited teamwork), Multiple Themes
- Third-party Integrations: Google Calendar, Microsoft Exchange, iCloud, Slack, Alexa
- Price: Free / Premium ($26.88/year)
- Visit: Any.do
Todoist is a fantastic to-do list and task manager app that’s pleasingly ingenious and simple. It was my favorite to-do app (until I switched to Wunderlist) as I found it to be a perfect alternative to Google Tasks.
The best thing about Todoist is its intuitive user interface that it works seamlessly across all devices — web, desktop, mobile, and tablet.
Now the problem is, most of the key features in Todoist are paid (or part of their premium version). And I guess you have already figured it out from the above quick comparison.
For instance, a reminder is one of the most desirable feature in any task manager app and it’s available only to premium users of Todoist. You can’t imagine a task manager without a reminder, right?
That being said, Todoist’s free plan is good enough for starters or for those who care only about a “list” and not about other features like reminders, notes, attachments, tagging, etc.
The free plan of Todoist supports up to 80 active projects and up to 5 people per project. Meanwhile, the premium plan, which costs $28.99/year, supports up to 200 active projects and up to 25 people per project.
#Todoist: Pros and Cons
- It’s got one of the best user interface — that looks clean, simple, and elegant.
- It works seamlessly across all the devices (web, desktop, mobile, smartwatch).
- It’s the fastest task manager app (among the three) and opens super-quick.
- It works offline (you can open Todoist web and manage tasks even if you are offline).
- Its features are just the same on all devices (or not just limited to one platform).
- It allows you to set priorities (screenshot) — by choosing from 1 to 4.
- Its task sharing feature is just wunderful.
- It supports Mailbox-style swipes (you can swipe a task to the right to mark it as complete and can swipe it to the left to snooze it) on mobile.
- It supports natural language (and it works!).
- It integrates beautifully with third-party apps like IFTTT.com and Zapier.com.
- It allows you to track your productivity using “Todoist Karma”.
- You can drag and drop tasks (to rearrange the tasks in a project or between different projects).
- It lets you sort the tasks by date, priority, name, and team.
- It allows you to create a “Project” with emojis in its name (you can also have emoji-only names) and it makes the projects more identifiable.
- It supports markdown (text formatting).
- Its key features — reminders, labels, filters, email to tasks, task comments, and attachments — are all part of their Premium plan.
- It’s not available on Windows Phone (but is available on Windows 10 Mobile).
- Its search function is limited in the free plan.
- Its keyboard shortcuts can’t be customized (though it’s no big deal).
- It doesn’t have a backup option for free users.
- It shows an annoying “Upgrade and get more done” on the web version for the free version (but the mobile apps are clean).
And just like Todoist, it works seamlessly across all the devices.
The best thing about Wunderlist is that its free plan comes with a ton of features. In fact, most of the features offered in a Todoist Premium plan (like reminders, tags, attachments, notes, voice recording, email to tasks, etc.) is available in Wunderlist’s free plan.
Wunderlist also offers a premium plan and it costs $59.88/year. However, you probably don’t need it unless you are a business/enterprise user.
I tried Wunderlist for the first time when Microsoft acquired it and when I started using it I was immediately convinced that it’s the best task manager app — that’s genuinely free.
#Wunderlist: Pros and Cons
- Its free version is fully-loaded and is not limited in any way (it’s just that the pro version enhances some not-so-essential features).
- It works seamlessly across all the devices (web, desktop, mobile, smartwatch).
- It’s a simple-to-use and easy-to-understand app and at the same time it’s the most sophisticated task manager I have ever used.
- Its syncing works perfectly on all devices (and works better than Todoist).
- It supports natural language (and it can be customized!).
- It supports “Smart Lists” and it’s super-handy.
- It allows you to link to a specific task on Wunderlist.
- It doesn’t show any pop-ups or reminders asking you to upgrade to pro version (and there are no ads either!).
- It can be integrated with third-party apps like Zapier, Slack, and HipChat (but not with IFTTT, yet).
- It allows you to “Star” a task (and is the Wunderlist way of setting a priority to a task) with just one-click or a tap.
- It offers more options (than Todoist) to organize your tasks — Folders, Lists, Smart Lists, #Hashtags, and Stars.
- Its #hashtag feature is remarkable as it doesn’t create extra lists or folders or menus.
- It allows you to create a “Folder” or a “List” with emojis in its name (you can also have emoji-only names) and it makes the lists more identifiable.
- It allows you to add comments and attachments and shows when was it added.
- It allows you to attach files from your Dropbox.
- It shows an indicator when a task has sub-tasks, comments, attachments, or notes in it.
- It even shows a progress bar (on the web) that moves as you complete the sub-tasks in a task.
- It lets you sort the tasks by name, due date, creation date, priority, and assignee.
- It allows you to view your tasks in your favorite calendar (thanks to free calendar feed).
- It lets you duplicate a list with just one-click.
- It allows you to email to-dos or lists in few clicks.
- It’s adding more features continuously and have already added a ton of additional features ever since I switched to it.
- It supports email reminder (not just push notifications).
- It allows you to add a new task (including attachments) via email (it’s not turned on by default and you have to enable it manually by going here).
- It even allows you to add multiple email addresses and then assign a custom list (than the default one) to a specific email address.
- It allows you to customize a lot of settings — like this, this, this, or this.
- Its search function is powerful and can be used to search within tasks, sub-tasks, notes, and comments.
- It allows you to restore deleted lists.
- It allows you to manually create backups (go to Settings > Account) and then import data from your backups.
- It offers a variety of backgrounds.
- Its web app is the slowest among the three (Todoist, Wunderlist, Any.do) and it takes a little longer when you open it for the first time.
- It doesn’t show the last synced time.
- It hides the sub-tasks from the main view so that you have to click an individual task to see its sub-tasks.
- It lacks an option to keep the “Detail View” always open.
- It supports drag and drop but you can’t drag a task and make it sub-task of another task (it can be done with ease in Todoist).
- Its free plan is very generous and lets you enjoy all the features of the app without any limitations for free. However, I feel its pro plan is limited and is targeting only enterprise users and not super-users.
- It shows an annoying “Show completed to-dos” button at the end of the to-do lists (or perhaps I’m the only one who is annoyed because of it). I think that option is better fit under the “More” menu.
- It doesn’t support markdown.
UPDATE: Microsoft To-Do
Microsoft To-Do is here, and Wunderlist will eventually be replaced. Perhaps that explains why there’s lack of innovation at Wunderlist over the past many, many months. If you try Wunderlist now then you will see that it’s more or less the same app that I have reviewed almost 2 years back.
Oh yeah, Microsoft did mention that there won’t be any new feature additions to Wunderlist as they are now focused on bringing the best of Wunderlist to Microsoft To-Do. As of today, Microsoft To-Do sucks because it lacks most of Wunderlist features.
However, Wunderlist is still my preferred to-do list app and I plan to switch only if Microsoft fail to add ALL the good features of Wunderlist to Microsoft To-Do.
Any.do is one of the most popular to-do app with over 10 million users. I’m not a fan of Any.do as it’s not as feature rich as Wunderlist or Todoist. On the flipside, they are offering all the essential features for free — unlike Todoist.
If I’m asked to compare Any.do with Wunderlist and Todoist then I would say it’s a fusion of Wunderlist and Todoist. Why? Because the essential features in a to-do app like Reminders, Notes, Comments, Attachments, etc. are free (just like Wunderlist) and it’s got a simple user interface (just like Todoist).
The best thing about Any.do is its clean design and simple user interface. And the worst thing about Any.do is its web app as it’s slightly unpleasant to use.
However, the mobile app is fantastic and it works beautifully. So, if you are always on the move and is looking for a to-do app (without all the advanced features) then Any.do is a good fit.
#Any.do: Pros and Cons
- It’s a good choice if all you want is a to-do list app with all the essential features.
- You are going to love its minimalistic design.
- It opens (both web and mobile) very quickly so that you can add a new task in no time at all.
- It works beautifully on a mobile devices.
- It’s got an AI-powered “Assistant”.
- It lets you organize your to-dos using “Lists”. Apart from that, it doesn’t have any other options like folders, labels, hashtags, etc.
- You can “star” a task to mark it as high priority.
- You can switch easily between “Time View” and “List View” and “Priority View”. Time View automatically organizes your tasks based on its due date (Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming, Someday). Meanwhile, List View organizes your tasks based on your custom lists and Priority View splits the tasks into starred and unstarred tasks and shows them as “HIGH” and “NORMAL”.
- It’s got in-built speech recognition (on mobile).
- You can drag and drop tasks (to rearrange the tasks in a list or between different lists).
- You can swipe a task to the right to mark it as complete and can swipe a completed task to the left to add it again to the list.
- You can attach files from your Dropbox and Google Drive (on mobile).
- “Any.do Moment” (on mobile) helps you complete tasks much faster.
- It’s not as intuitive to use as Todoist or Wunderlist.
- Its web app is a mess — totally confusing and limited in features. Cloud based apps are supposed to work seamlessly across all the devices.
- It doesn’t hide a task when it’s marked as complete. You have to clear completed tasks manually.
- You are forced to switch between “Views” as it doesn’t show whether there is a due date for a task.
- It doesn’t doesn’t indicate when a task has got subtasks, or notes, or attachments in it.
- You have to click on a task to see its due date.
- It doesn’t support email reminders. Yuck!
- Almost all the frequently needed options are hidden and perhaps that’s the secret of their minimalistic design.
- You can’t create a custom recurring task in a free plan.
- Its task sharing feature is limited — very limited — in a free plan.
- You can attach photos, audio recordings, PDFs, etc. from your mobile device but not from the web (it requires a premium plan).
- It doesn’t support natural language.
- I don’t think that they are adding more features fast enough because they didn’t even have a web app until mid-2014.
- It doesn’t support third-party app integrations like IFTTT.com or Zapier.com.
- It doesn’t have a Windows (desktop or mobile) app.
- It doesn’t have a backup option. Any.do says your tasks are automatically backed up when they are saved on their servers but it’s not clear whether it’s actually possible to restore from those backups.
- It doesn’t support emojis in your list names.
- It doesn’t support markdown.
All in all,
- Any.do Free > Todoist Free.
- Wunderlist Free > Any.do Free.
- Todoist Premium > Any.do Premium.
- Wunderlist Pro = Todoist Premium.
I haven’t considered note-taking apps (like Evernote) or project management apps (like Trello) or Calendar apps (like Sunrise) as they are not exactly to-do list apps (although they can also be used as a task manager).
Actually, the idea should be to use a Calendar, To-do list, and a Note-taker — to get things done. And that’s the foundation of “The Fantastic Ten”. Simple as that!
Have I missed an amazing feature of any of the above listed apps? If so, let me know as a comment below.
Happy To-do Listing! :)
First Published: April 25, 2016; Last Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2018.