There's nothing wrong with a paper to-do list, but going digital has its benefits. Paper is fine if you enjoy writing by hand, crossing off tasks in ink or pencil, and drawing arrows to show when priorities and deadlines change. The best to-do list apps, however, let you write, organize, and reprioritize your tasks more efficiently. They also let you attach notes, links, and files to a task, and the very best ones also let you see when someone else has completed a task. In many ways, a good to-do program is the ultimate productivity app.
To find the best to-do list apps, we look for ones that are easy to use, offered on all major platforms, and have the tools you need to work productively. After considering dozens of apps in this category, these are the best we've tested, followed by what to look for when choosing the right app for your needs.
Todoist is a rare five-star Editors' Choice winner because it is simply the best to-do list app on the market. It's designed superbly with all the features anyone could need, such as custom views, natural language input, collaboration options, and more.
Whenever PCMag readers ask for advice about managing work, our reply always includes the following: "Have you tried Asana yet?" It is hands-down one of the best apps for managing the to-do list of any team or business. It borders on being a full project management app but works equally well if not better for groups of people who need to get work done together. If your team passes along work tasks from one person to another, you should 100% look at using Asana to manage it.
OmniFocus is an excellent to-do list app with a long features list. It's powerful and it works well. You can add a tremendous amount of detail to tasks. We also like that you buy OmniFocus either as a standalone product for a one-time fee or as a subscription, depending on what works best for your wallet.
TickTick is a powerful to-do list app with a reasonable price tag, and you can use it just about anywhere. It's available as a desktop app for macOS and Windows, as well as a mobile apps for iOS and Android that are compatible with Apple Watch and Android Wear. TickTick also has a web app, Chrome app, and browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox.
Toodledo is a fantastic to-do list app that goes the extra mile. This app wants to help you not only cross all your to-dos off your list, but also adopt new habits and organize your thoughts. It has an exhaustive features list, though it also throws at you an excess of information at every turn.
One of the major points of consideration when testing and scoring is how well these apps help you organize and stay on top of your tasks. We also consider collaboration, meaning the ability to share a to-do list with other people, though we see it as a bonus feature and not a requirement to be included.
One of the most popular to-do list apps, Wunderlist, was acquired by Microsoft in 2015 and taken out of commission five years later. Microsoft's stated ambition was to build a replacement app for Wunderlist from the ground up, cloning all its best features in the process. The new app, Microsoft To Do, frankly took too long to come to market and arrived half baked, which is why it isn't included here. It scored too low.
Design is extra important in this category of apps because you end up looking at your to-do list app often. How will you get anything done if you can't stand looking at your ugly app? A good design also allows the app to feel intuitive, so you can write down things that come to mind quickly.
Every to-do list app comes with tools and features for organizing your tasks and lists, and in an ideal world, these features match up with the way you think. For example, if you are a highly visual person, you might find that color-coding your lists or tasks to show priority is important. If you are a deadline-oriented person, you'll want an app that sorts your tasks by due date and or shows them in a calendar view. If you're forgetful, you might want an app that sends you reminders on different devices.
As for collaboration, it's always handy to have the option to share a to-do list. For home use, a collaborative to-do list means you can assign chores to other people or track when someone has purchased items off a shared shopping list. In business settings, collaborative task management makes working together easier and more transparent.
Our overall top winner is Todoist. Todoist is the best to-do list app you'll find. It works on every platform. You can use it for free or pay a reasonably fee to get all the features. It's designed in a way that makes it productive to use. You get plenty of customization options. It does everything you could want.
Several of the best to-do list apps have a robust free service tier. Of them, our favorites are Asana and Todoist. Asana may be too free-form for some people's tastes. Todoist has a more inherent structure.
Another good free app is Remember the Milk, which scored a little too low to make it onto this list of the best to-do list apps. Remember the Milk looks old-school compared with the best to-do list apps, but it's capable and reliable. It's also highly intuitive. You can figure out all the ins and outs in minutes.
Occasionally, we encounter an app that straddles more than one category. Here, Asana is that app. It now includes tools for traditional project management, but it also works perfectly well as a to-do list app.
Overall, project management apps and collaborative to-do apps serve the same general purpose but at a much different scale. They both keep track of what needs to get done, when, and by whom. They help people manage time more efficiently and regulate how many tasks are assigned to each person on a team. Project management apps help large groups of people juggle schedules, resources, and budgets in a way that to-do list apps can't. To-do apps are simpler and cost less than project management software. For many types of work to-do apps are a better fit.
A to-do app is only as useful as the information you put into it, so in addition to picking the right app, you might also want to peruse these tips for creating better to-do lists. If you're looking to share to-dos, you might also want to look at our story on how to make a family to-do list and calendar.
ClickUp is an all-in-one project management tool with customizable features to help you organize and manage simple to complex tasks more efficiently. Get access to hundreds of features for checklists, project tracking, documentation, data reporting, team collaboration, and more to help you stay on top of your tasks and aligned with your team at all times.
Trello is one of those rare project management tools that make collaboration easier than ever. You can use this visual list tool to organize grocery lists, personal to-dos, plan your next vacation, and practically anything with Trello.
Toodledo is an incredibly powerful tool to increase your productivity and organize your life. It acts as a centralized place for online to-do lists, task management, note-taking and more. Already being used by over 1.8 million people, ToodleDo is known for its intuitiveness and rich features.
2Do is a powerful task manager that is designed to meet your need for speed. It can be a simple to-do list helping you in staying on top of your daily chores or a full-featured tool for heavy taskers. It houses an incredibly powerful engine and can be as fierce as your workflow.
It is one of the best task management software and to-do list apps for task management. As the name suggests, it is one of the simplest and easiest note-taking app designed for users. It is light, clean, and free.
TexuDeux is a dedicated to-do list app with minimalist design and easy to use interface. The app is perfect for organizing everyday tasks and allows users to check off the completed tasks with a single click. The ability to automatically roll over the unfinished tasks to the next day makes TeuxDeux one of the best to-do list apps.
Checklist is yet another popular to-do tool and is also among the best to-do list apps suitable for both personal and professional use. The app offers several checklist templates ranging from personal hygiene to marketing automation to-do lists. Checklist aims to improve the productivity of users by allowing them to share their workloads with others.
nTask is one of the most popular to-do list apps today that can be used easily by both individuals and teams. Users can create tasks and subtasks, and schedule them as one-time or repetitive tasks. You can use checklists to list down things to be done as well as organize, prioritize tasks, and monitor task status.
Keep & Share is one of the most simple and easy-to-use to-do list apps as it boasts extensive and practical features. It is the easiest and most customizable calendar that you can access anywhere, anytime. You can use text, images, and files to plan your day on the calendar. Selective sharing is a great feature so your plans are only visible to people you want.
Notion is an all-in-one platform for maintaining a record of all your vital documents and organizing your to-do lists. This application eliminates the need to juggle multiple applications to keep track of things. Users can use its flexible interface for creating to-do lists, taking notes, and managing spreadsheets and databases.
Quire is an online project and task management software that allows users to streamline their to-dos visually. You can arrange, prioritize, and focus on the tasks that matter most to you with Kanban boards. The overall user interface of the software is lined up with some excellent tools, shortcuts, and minimalistic design.
With so much going around, Todoist lets you keep track of everything in one place, so you can get it all done and enjoy more peace of mind along the way. The online to-do list app has grown in popularity over the years and is helping over 10 million people to be in control of their lives. 2b1af7f3a8