Top Smartsheet Competitors:
The Best Smartsheet Alternatives for Your Business

Founded in 2006, the last decade has seen Smartsheet grow into one of the most popular cloud-based project management (PM) solutions on the market for both enterprises and small and midsize businesses (SMBs).

It was recognized as a “cool vendor” in Gartner’s 2015 report (this content is available to Gartner clients) and placed in the Masters quadrant on Software Advice’s 2016 FrontRunners beta.

Of course, while this recognition demonstrates a vote of confidence in a vendor’s offering, it doesn’t mean that Smartsheet is right for every business. In fact, there are many comparable solutions that may be better suited to your unique team or industry needs.

In this article, we’ll show you how Smartsheet stacks up to competing PM vendors so you can invest in the system best suited to your organization.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

Smartsheet: A Quick Overview
Most Asked-About Smartsheet Alternatives
Top User-Rated Smartsheet Alternatives
Next Steps

Smartsheet: A Quick Overview

Smartsheet is a scalable PM solution designed for teams of all sizes, across industries. Its defining attribute is its spreadsheet design. Reviewers on Software Advice say, if you’re already familiar with Excel or Google Sheets, Smartsheet is very intuitive and easy to pick up.

By the same token, some reviewers note that although Smartsheet solves the collaboration issues associated with other spreadsheet tools, some of the formulas and formatting options users may be accustomed to are not available.

The product is sold in four packages with capabilities increasing as packages scale. Some of the biggest differences between editions include:

  • Individual: One user license, 10 sheets and email support
  • Team: Minimum three user licenses, 150+ sheets and phone and email support
  • Business: Minimum three user licenses, 300+ sheets and phone and email support
  • Enterprise: Minimum 25 user licenses, unlimited sheets and phone and email support

Key platform features include:

Sheets Store information and files in spreadsheets and share between users. Set up sheets for projects, processes, contacts and more.
Multiple views View projects and tasks in three ways: card view (i.e., kanban-style boards and task cards), Gantt chart or calendar.
Resource management View users’ allocation across projects and availability for upcoming initiatives. Changes are reflected in real time, so schedules are always up-to-date. (Available in team, business and enterprise packages.)
Dashboards and reporting Create customizable displays summarizing critical info such as tasks due this week, at-risk items, project status or progress toward key performance indicators. Ability to export data and share with other users. Available in team, business and enterprise editions.

Each plan includes mobile apps for iOS and Android, the ability to create and publish web forms and the ability for paid users to invite an unlimited number of free collaborators (e.g., clients and partners) to work on a project. Free collaborators have limited abilities within a project—for example, they can edit an existing sheet and attach documents, but cannot create their own.

Most Asked-About Smartsheet Alternatives

Our “most asked-about” category includes products that prospective buyers are searching for online in comparison with Smartsheet (for example, “Smartsheet vs. MS Project”).

Note: you can learn more about our Alternatives methodology here.

MS Project

Our first Smartsheet competitor is MS Project. Microsoft’s feature-rich PM solution has been in use for over 30 years.

Available for both cloud-based and on-premise deployment, the software helps teams of all sizes collaborate on projects, share documents, manage tasks and track time. Manager-level capabilities also include project planning and scheduling, resource management and reporting.

Additionally, some versions of MS Project include more advanced features designed to aid larger organizations with portfolio management. Capabilities in these editions include business intelligence, demand management and portfolio selection and optimization.

A major advantage of MS Project is the platform’s easy integration with other Microsoft products, including SharePoint, Skype for Business, Excel and Outlook.

Perhaps the biggest difference between MS Project and Smartsheet is that every version of Smartsheet is cloud-based and therefore can run on either Windows or Mac operating systems.

MS Project is designed to run on Windows, not OS X, so on-premise versions can only be installed on a Mac if a Boot Camp partition or a virtual machine is set up to run Windows OS.

Wrike

Our second Smartsheet competitor, Wrike, placed as a Leader in this year’s PM FrontRunners quadrant. This means that Wrike had higher capability and value scores than Smartsheet (for more information about FrontRunners methodology, go here).

Another cloud-based solution, Wrike enables teams of every size to manage tasks, share files, collaborate on projects and keep up-to-date on changes via a real-time activity stream. Wrike also provides a spreadsheet view if your team is looking for an easy transition from Smartsheet or another spreadsheet tool.

The PM solution is available in the following plans:

  • Free: Up to five users. Includes task management, activity stream, basic integrations and file sharing (2GB storage space).

  • Professional: Five to 15 users. Includes everything in the Free version plus Gantt charts, shareable dashboards, unlimited collaborators, advanced integrations and 5GB storage space.

  • Business: Five to 200 users. Includes everything in Professional plus resource management, reporting, user permissions, custom fields and workflows and 50GB storage space.

  • Enterprise: Five to unlimited users. Includes all Business features plus advanced security settings, e.g., admin permissions, password policies, two-factor authentication and 100GB storage.

The main difference between Smartsheet and Wrike is that Smartsheet subscription licenses are sold per user, whereas Wrike uses block pricing (starting in buckets of five).

So, if a five-person team on the Business plan wants to add three unrestricted team members, they would have to jump to the 10-person package. This would double their investment, but not in fact double the size of their team.

Basecamp

The next Smartsheet competitor on our list is Basecamp. Like Smartsheet, Basecamp was also named a Master in our FrontRunners quadrant. However, where Basecamp and Smartsheet have similar capability scores, Basecamp has a higher value score (see FrontRunners methodology here).

Basecamp is also cloud-based and acts as a centralized hub where teams can organize projects, collaborate on different to-dos, store documents and maintain a searchable database of archived conversations surrounding project decisions.

Basecamp 3 was released in late 2015 and is sold for a flat, fixed fee (no per user pricing), that includes unlimited users and unlimited projects. This means that Basecamp costs the same whether your team is 10 people or 100 people, which makes this product a better deal for large organizations than for small businesses.

Existing Basecamp users (Basecamp Classic or Basecamp 2) are not required to upgrade to Basecamp 3, although this is the version new customers must purchase.

Key capabilities within Basecamp 3 include:

  • Team/company project page (remember: unlimited projects)
  • To-dos for tracking tasks within a project
  • Unlimited file storage
  • Automatic check-ins, which allow you to schedule recurring reports asking users what they worked on that day, week etc.
  • Client-side features, i.e., guest access for clients and contractors

There are several differences between Smartsheet and Basecamp. One of the biggest is user interface: Where Smartsheet is designed to look and feel like a spreadsheet, Basecamp looks and feels very much like structured to-do lists.

A software product’s user interface is going to heavily impact adoption, so consider which format your team is more comfortable working in (and if they’re resistant or willing to change) when comparing solutions.

Top User-Rated Smartsheet Alternatives

Our “top user-rated” category features highly rated PM products by reviewers on Software Advice.

BillQuick

BillQuick is our top user-rated Smartsheet competitor. It has over 160 reviews on Software Advice and users give it high marks for depth of functionality and degree of customer support. One user states:

“I'm sure we don't use all the features in the system, but it is flexible enough to meet our needs. The system is very easy to use and customer support has helped us with some customizing that has worked great for some unique needs.” Karla from INTRUST Bank

BillQuick is available as a cloud-based or on-premise solution and is designed to serve professional services organizations within a variety of industries, including architecture, financial services, engineering and design—businesses that need to track finances alongside projects.

As such, BillQuick offers project accounting functionality not available in Smartsheets including budgeting, revenue forecasting, billing and invoicing. This is in addition to more standard PM capabilities such as resource management, scheduling and reporting.

Asana

Asana is our next highest-rated Smartsheet competitor. Reviewed over 70 times on Software Advice, users praise the system’s clean design and ease-of-access. One user states:

“It's terrific for teams. It's absolutely powerful for tracking deliverables and assigning out priorities. Computer, iPad, iPhone. Syncs across everything which is absolutely necessary.” Jeff from Riskalyze

Asana is a cloud-based collaborative work management platform only, meaning that it’s focus is on organizing tasks and projects and not on high-level portfolio management. Key features include the ability to create unlimited tasks and subtasks, projects and conversations. Users can also add labels and filters to tasks and projects, which help display status at a glance.

As such, Asana would be a good fit for organizations wanting to focus on task and project management, which do not need a comprehensive project and portfolio management platform such as Smartsheet.

Next Steps

If you’d like more information about Smartsheet or the alternative PM systems we’ve discussed in this article, here a couple of next steps you can take:

Still not sure the PM solutions listed here are right for you? Call our project management software experts at (855) 998-8505 for a FREE software consultation. Our advisors will review your unique business needs, evaluating your business size and industry-specific requirements. At the end of the call, you’ll receive a short list of products tailored to your organization.