Bet this was on your to-do list, find a to-do list app.
There's dozens of to-do list apps popping up every single week. We get plenty of requests each week to explore the latest to-do list applications on the market and from years of experience we've narrowed down the best of the breed for task management apps.
First things first, what makes a superb to-do list application? A few factors really, a combination of capture, design and function day-to-day when managing your to-do list.
Best 10 To-Do List Applications: Handpicked by us
Let's explore the options we've picked before we jump into the in-depth explorations.
- Things 3 - a clean, easy-to-use to-do list app with amazing design
- Microsoft To-Do - the free and lightweight Microsoft to-do list experience
- Motion - for those who want to plan calendar, tasks and meetings with AI
- Akiflow - designed to be the base for all your tasks and time-blocking in one
- TickTick - one of the best budget friendly and value to-do apps on the market
- Todoist - the best all-round to-do list app on our recommendations
- Sorted 3 - a great, lower-priced version of Things 3 with neat time abilities
- OmniFocus 3 - the powerhouse for GTD task management for productivity nerds
- Zenkit To-Do - a balance of power and form for tasks
- Google Tasks - the lightest weight to-do app on the list, not to be missed
We've not ranked these tools as we believe all of these twos have a good placement in the best to-do list applications in our official list. Okay, that's a big list to throw you into when seeking that one to-do list app for you, let's start by unpacking them all in a bit more detail with our in-depth explorations.
1. Things 3: Minimalist To-Do List App
The masterfully designed task management app created by Cultured Code.
Probably one of the most appreciated to-do list apps, Things 3 is a marvel of design, function and form for managing tasks and projects too. Whilst it is for solo users, Things 3 offers a wide array of features and balance design and function well without having collaborative functions.
Features like projects with deadlines, this evening (a neat feature for breaking tasks into their own "this evening category") and even GTD (Getting Things Done) like features like logbook and anytime.
Things 3 offers a one-off cost, but with upfront pricing totalling to just over $80 if you bought the iPad, iPhone and macOS version - but does not recur as a subscription. This is ideal for those pay-once, never again type of folks when saving long-term budget.
This is a beautiful, stunning to-do list app and rated as our most visually appealing. The bonus truly is that it is a really solid, reliable to-do list app for Apple-centric folk.
2. Microsoft To-Do: Free, Lightweight Microsoft To-Do App
Handle tasks, collaborative lists and checklists with a lightweight task manager.
Formerly Wunderlist, Microsoft To-Do has evolved into a blossoming solution.
Okay, let's put Wunderlist firmly in the past. Microsoft acquired Wunderlist back in 2015. Since then, Microsoft To-Do has been a fan favourite amongst those who manage tasks in the Microsoft ecosystem, those who have a lower budget and people who want the feel and nature of Wunderlist in their palms.
Microsoft To-Do thrives with collaborative to-do lists allowing you to share them with others who use Microsoft To-Do. It also has a "My Day" view for planning tasks, with AI functions like "Suggestions" to better curate your to-do list for the day ahead.
Microsoft To-Do has also good connections with apps like Microsoft Outlook so you can flag and get hold of emails you send that require your upmost attention for your to-do list. In essence, Microsoft To-Do is a Microsoft users dream and perfect for lightweight management of to-dos, the day ahead and light lists you might be keeping.
3. Motion: AI Focused To-Do List App
Oh yes, the AI world has hit task management apps and Motion is one of the frontrunners.
Motion is one of the most expensive options on our list, if not the most expensive option still from time of writing. The application presents itself as a "daily planner application" which is something a bridge between a calendar and task management experience. Motion offers a wide array of features for task planning, calendar management and even management of your schedule with events and meeting booking scheduler.
For the average joe, Motion might not be for you - the price combined with the advanced level of features for simple list management this would be too complex. But for someone in a working knowledge management profession - this would be lapped up.
Whilst Motion is expensive, it gives a great to-do list experience with ability to add lots of detail to tasks, high level planning, Kanban boards, calendar and meeting management - a real technical/IT/sales/marketing person's dream for task management.
4. Akiflow: Create the Ultimate Task Dashboard
This could be one base for everything tasks, no matter what your team use for tasks.
Akiflow is haven for all your tasks. Whilst Akiflow can be used as a task management application and a place to manage your calendar as a solo experience (eg. tasks only hosted by Akiflow) it offers a way to connect apps like Gmail, Notion, ClickUp and more to help bring in tasks from projects you might work on with a team.
This is called task consolidation. One base for everything and despite the price of $20+ per month, many people are loving the concept of Akiflow as a base to manage their daily task view and organize what's up next. Akiflow also has a host of features like daily rituals for planning, time blocking, inbox, labels, command bar and many more to-do list gems.
Here's our beginner's guide to Akiflow if you wanted to expand your insights and how it works for task management a bit further.
5. TickTick: Great for Budget, Great for All-Round
One of the most under-rated experiences for to-do list management is TickTick.
Outstanding for budget, TickTick presents a good free but also low-cost premium task management application for managing tasks. Despite having more free limitations than to-do list apps like Todoist, it still offers a good task, list and (in premium) calendar view.
Calendar view is something to touch on here. This is a great way to manage your week in a more visual way and something that people love about TickTick. It does present a decent solution for those too who want to manage their habit-tracking with an Android experience for that. With all the other traditional things you'd expect like sub-tasks, projects (lists), multiple platforms, TickTick is not one to sleep on in 2023.
6. Todoist: The Best, All Round To-Do List App
This is just a gem in front of us. This all-rounder Todoist breathes task management.
Maybe not the most attractive in comparison with Things 3. Todoist offers a brilliant all-round task management experience with lists and to-dos that ooze practical use. Let's start with Todoist for capturing tasks, the speedy iOS and Android apps offer a great way for capturing tasks and combine that with the Amazon Alex, Siri and Google Home extensions you'll never be without capturing a task on the go.
Todoist comes with the same flair as many other traditional to-do apps, sub-tasks, projects, templates for replicating tasks, Kanban boards - but no calendar management unless you are using the 2-way sync with Google Calendar or Apple Calendar. Coming with a well-thought out layout and way to manage your to-do list.
Todoist is developed by the folks at Doist who also create a-sync communication app, Twist. This is just the best all-round to-do list application for day-to-day use. We tend to recommend this to everyone - busy teachers to retired gardeners.
7. Sorted 3: A Budget Things 3 with Auto-Scheduling
Manage your tasks and time efficiently using this easy to use to-do list app.
Looking to save money on Things 3, but want something similar in nature?
This is an Apple-centric application much like Things 3 that offers a way to plan your tasks and see what's coming up in your timeline for the day. Lighter on the wallet too.
Sorted 3 is much better for people who like to micro-manage their daily schedule. For those who want to see a time-blocked view of their day down to the minute and want to quickly adjust the daily schedule with a change in mind. There's a feature called "Hyper-Scheduling" inside premium that allows you to select multiple tasks and move them forward 3 hours. Hyper scheduling also plans your day for you adding time stamps to tasks added so you can see what's ahead for your day.
Sorted 3 is probably best for those students or budget conscious individuals who want a Things 3 like app, but have budget on the mind. Here's their pricing around 50% less than Things 3 pricing.
8. OmniFocus 3: The Ultimate GTD Experience
Built by the folks at OmniGroup, this experience is built from GTD'ers worldwide.
Now for Web, OmniFocus 3 presents a perfect system for Getting Things Done lovers to craft their perfect task management capture setup and processing of tasks to meet the standards of GTD king, David Allen. OmniFocus 3 is a well-built to-do app with easy-to-use management, inbox, folders for all sorting steps, projects and forecast for what's ahead.
This to-do app isn't for the average Sally or Joe who just want to manage their tasks. No, OmniFocus 3 presents a one-stop shop for managing GTD and almost impossible to use without knowledge of Getting Things Done methodology, or at least very un-optimised.
9. Zenkit To-Do: Good Todoist Alternative
Better organise tasks, to-do lists, events and notes with Zenkit To-Do.
Surprisingly Zenkit have built a good alternative to apps like Todoist and TickTick.
To-Do by Zenkit offers a unique place to manage tasks, it does not offer a clean design like apps like Things 3 and Todoist, but it does present a similar view to apps like Microsoft To-Do. In terms of features, Zenkit To-Do is packed with lists, starred tasks, sub-tasks and collaboration with others and even smart lists too for better list management.
This is a good balance between TickTick and Todoist but doesn't steal the crown off of Todoist as the best all-round task management app. Zenkit To-Do is also ropped into an ecosytem, so if you use Zenkit Projects, Hypernotes and more. You can get the full stack of tasks, projects, notes and more in one bay.
10. Google Tasks: The Basic Task Add-On
A place to quickly capture tasks, make lists & do tasks inside the Google ecosystem.
Tasks and To-Dos
At a glance, Google Tasks looses to apps like Apple Reminders, but does it?
Google Tasks, yet not killed off yet by Google, is sort of 50% of an application. It offers an Android (Google Play Store) and iOS app that is reliable and hosts your to-do list management, but only your tasks, sub-tasks, and lists. That's it.
Apple Reminders as a collective does a lot more. But for those who didn't know Google Tasks has a way to create tasks from your Gmail with a simple drag to their sidebar Google Apps experience, perfect for turning a Gmail email into an actionable task that links back.
This will not win any awards but if you love Google Keep (for notes) and Google Workspace, this might actually be something you might want to use. This is assuming you don't take down that many tasks and most of them are Gmail associated tasks too.
Another great one for the simple to-do list management individuals out there.
Help me pick my to-do list application, please
Okay, let's narrow this down for you, there's 10 to-do list applications here and that could be very stressful for just narrowing down which one is best for your to-do list management.
Best All-Rounder: Todoist
If you're looking for something easy, practical and does the majority of task management.
Best Budget To-Do App: TickTick
Cheaper than Todoist with their premium, TickTick is the best value for money.
This is the most advanced and consolidation experience for solo users.
Best For Students: Microsoft To-Do
Handle tasks, collaborative lists and checklists with a lightweight task manager.
This is great for students for managing their tasks, in a timeline view.
There's plenty of tools in between, but we just wanted to give you some simple takeaways to give you the best idea of which one is for you. There's obviously hundreds more to-do list applications you can explore in Tool Finder and expand your search.
Picking that perfect to-do list app
There are many hundreds of to-do list applications, trust us - we know.
Finding the right one can be quite stressful because the features feel and might look the same when selecting them. We recommend exploring what your needs are before jumping into the deep end. Your needs are anything that you have experienced with a to-do list (of any format) in the past and where you are aiming for.
Remind yourself with these key questions before looking:
- What hasn't worked about a to-do list app in the past?
- Will I change my lifestyle in 2-3 years? If so, find a tool to map to this.
These can help you navigate your decision. For example, if you are changing from being a student to a working role, then picking a lightweight to-do app like Google Tasks might not be a good bet as you will likely need something more advanced, whereas if you were going from a working role to retirement then maybe moving to something like Todoist would see you through and beyond into your hobby task years.
The Three Tools to Get: Notes, Tasks & Calendar
There's a unspoken rule in GTD (Getting Things Done) by David Allen that recommends you get three productivity tools.
- To-Do List App
- Note Taking App
- Calendar App
This will help you manage all aspects of your life, the lines are very much being blurred when it comes to selection of these, tools like Akiflow and Motion are good examples of that. But this general principle might help you to pick the right now.
- Best 10 To-Do List Applications: Handpicked by us
- 1. Things 3: Minimalist To-Do List App
- 2. Microsoft To-Do: Free, Lightweight Microsoft To-Do App
- 3. Motion: AI Focused To-Do List App
- 4. Akiflow: Create the Ultimate Task Dashboard
- 5. TickTick: Great for Budget, Great for All-Round
- 6. Todoist: The Best, All Round To-Do List App
- 7. Sorted 3: A Budget Things 3 with Auto-Scheduling
- 8. OmniFocus 3: The Ultimate GTD Experience
- 9. Zenkit To-Do: Good Todoist Alternative
- 10. Google Tasks: The Basic Task Add-On
- Help me pick my to-do list application, please
- Best All-Rounder: Todoist
- Best Budget To-Do App: TickTick
- Best Advanced To-Do App: Akiflow
- Best For Students: Microsoft To-Do
- Picking that perfect to-do list app
- The Three Tools to Get: Notes, Tasks & Calendar
- Related reading
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