Todoist vs Wunderlist, which is better? Today, I will give you the answer from a user’s perspective having used both over the last months.
Wunderlist vs. Todoist, which is better? has been an on-going debate for some years now and in this article I will give my two cents worth. After being a long term user of Wunderlist, I recently migrated over to Todoist after completing a detailed Todoist review on both the Android and Windows platform. So, by this stage I have spent a reasonable amount of time with both apps “in the field”, so to speak.
This article is based on that hands on experience and won’t be a Specification comparison, but rather the pros and cons I see from day to day usage.
This article is based on that hands-on experience and won’t be a Specification comparison, but rather the pros and cons I see from day to day usage.
Before we begin, let me first make it crystal clear that both apps are excellent choices for task management. So, no matter which you opt for, it will likely meet your needs admirably. Indeed, both share many common attributes which you will notice in practice. Let’s start first with those common features that actually affect user experience.
Common features for Todoist vs Wunderlist
Both Wunderlist and Todoist offer free and paid versions
Both Todoist and Wunderlist offer free versions and I would strongly recommend to download both free versions and try them out before making a final choice. You can get Wunderlist and Todoist directly from the iTunes store. That said, not all free versions are created equal and in this case Wunderlist comes out ahead. More on that later.
Both Todoist and Wunderlist have Smart date entry
This is a personal favourite of mine. Some tasks are appointments or require due dates and the tracking of such tasks is particularly suited to modern to-do list apps as they can automatically notify you when it is due. Naturally, for this to work the date/time must be entered. With modern Todo list apps like Wunderlist and Todoist though this has been made very quick and easy as both support Smart Date Entry. This means that when you enter the task, any dates or times you state will be automatically recognized by the App and an appointment created. So, for instance if you write “Doctor appointment Wednesday 3pm”. The app will enter a task “Doctor appointment”, and set a due date on Wednesday at 3pm. When it comes to that time you will get a reminder on your phone. This is even more of a technological marvel when combined with voice to text, which is available on all smartphones. So, you can simply speak the statement with date and time and it will be entered. No need to even type it! This is great for entering tasks on the go.
Both Todoist and Wunderlist support task sharing
If you are in the fortunate position of being able to fob off or delegate tasks then both Todoist and Wunderlist can support this. You can share task lists with other users for collaborative working. In Todoist, this can be easily done by right clicking on the list and selecting share. You just need to enter the team member’s email address and they will be able to access the list. A similar method is used in Wunderlist. Again you just have to hit the share button, then enter an email address for the team member for them to collaborate on the task list. In both cases, the team members need to have accounts. There are some differences in the implementation of task sharing for Todoist vs Wunderlist, but I can say that in principle both support it.
Both Todoist and Wunderlist have Shortcut keys
If you are using a Desktop PC or laptop to use either Todoist or Wunderlist, then keyboard shortcuts are very useful for efficient working. Thankfully, both Todoist and Wunderlist come equipped with a full complement to handle all of the common functions such as copying/pasting tasks, adding new tasks or finding tasks. You can get the full listing of Todoist keyboard shortcuts and Wunderlist keyboard shortcuts and if you are using an IOS device, my Ultimate List of IOS Keyboard shortcuts.
Both Todoist and Wunderlist support task list duplication
For some time it has been possible to duplicate task lists in Wunderlist and this functionality has also now come to Todoist. If many of your tasks are of a repetitive nature then it makes sense to create a template for these and simply reuse it every time that activity comes back to haunt you. This means you don’t have to spend time entering all the tasks, labels, responsibilities etc. so it is a great time saver.
Both Todoist and Wunderlist have similar screen layouts
Whenever you open up Todoist or Wunderlist you will be confronted with a similar layout. Indeed, the same kind of layout is prevalent in many a To-do list app. That is, with an overview screen on the left side with items such as inbox, project listings, and a daily or weekly overview screen. On the right side a list of tasks for the corresponding list. Both Wunderlist and Todoist share this layout but with a little variation which relates to differences in their functionality. Since Todoist offers custom filters, there is an additional tab for this. Likewise for labels. In Wunderlist, tags perform the same function as labels but don’t have a separate tab listing in the overview screen. Instead, clicking on a tag will provide a listing of all instances of that tag. Essentially, hitting the tag will do a search for it.
Also on the overview screen both Wunderlist and Todoist allow for project nesting. In Wunderlist, this is by dragging lists into folders. In Todoist, one can simply create projects and sub projects. A nice feature that Todoist has is to use emoticons with project listings and also to colour code them. The latter is useful in distinguishing the projects in the reporting section – I’ll discuss the Todoist reporting feature a little later when discussing the advantages of Todoist vs Wunderlist.
Todoist vs Wunderlist, Todoist advantages over Wunderlist
Todoist User Interface for Windows
In this Todoist vs Wunderlist debate, let’s start with the advantages of Todoist over Wunderlist. The first few advantages will be those that are more important for me personally and these will be followed up with a few other, less obscure advantages.
Todoist has better task reporting than Wunderlist
Utilization of the task reports in Todoist is a completely unexpected outcome that I had not foreseen when I migrated. In Todoist it is possible to get reports of the tasks you have completed and even to accumulate points for your efforts, so called “Karma”. Some may see Todoist reporting as a gimmick and I never thought I would use it in practice but to my surprise I got some benefit from this. The reason is the following. Each of the projects have an associated colour and when you complete project tasks, those tasks will be counted up and plotted. This gives you a good idea how many tasks you have completed in each of your projects over the last days or weeks. In my case, what I observed was that I had been spending an undue amount of my time on trivial activities which did not really contribute towards my longer term goals. This acts as a useful wake up call to ensure you are spending your time where you should be and not being busy simply for the sake of it.
Todoist’s quick addition of tasks is better than Wunderlist
That may seem an unusual point but for me an important one when I migrated. The reason why it is important for me is because a lot of my task entry is using the voice to text input while on the go so I don’t have to mess around with an on-screen keyboard. While entering the task, I would like to be able to also enter the associated project and labels to avoid too much processing later on. For label entry in Wunderlist, this is not so convenient due to the use of hashtags in Wunderlist to indicate the Tag. To create a hashtag, I would have to switch from voice to letter keyboard, then letters to symbols to do this in Wunderlist. In Todoist, it is much more convenient I can enter the task by voice, hit a button to bring up a list of projects and labels and select which labels I wish to apply to the task. This is a much more streamlined way to enter additional task details.
Todoist has deeper hierarchy/nesting that Wunderlist
With Wunderlist there is really only 2 levels if I omit the checklists. The reason I omit checklists is because they really never have the same functionality as tasks. Some of my tasks need more categorization/nested filing .e.g. blogging! I find it much tidier to have a nested format than lots of top level lists. Since Wunderlist does not support this, I and likely many people, selected Todoist because of the more flexible nested projects and tasks functionality. In the Todoist vs Wunderlist debate, I suspect for many that This is a main attraction for Todoist.
Todoist has better filtering than Wunderlist
Wunderlist has tag filtering but it is not as advanced as Todoist’s custom filtering options. The ability to create and save custom filters can help with your personal workflow. They enable you to define which view of the tasks you want to see instead of depending on the pre-defined views offered by the task management app. Let’s take an example. Let’s say you tag all of the tasks related with an important goal with “Goal 1”. If you wanted to know which tasks you had to do over the next week to fulfill this goal, you can set a custom filter in Todoist using it’s custom filters. Additionally, it is even quasi-natural language so fairly easy to comprehend. So, to view the “Goal 1”, tasks, simply enter a custom filter in Todoist stating,
@Goal 1 & 7 days
This view can be saved and brought up with a click of a button. This is what custom filters can do for you. Naturally, you can configure it to you own particular needs.
Other advantages of Todoist vs. Wunderlist
The reasons listed above are those more important for my needs at present. However, in addition to those listed above, there are a few other reasons why Todoist is better than Wunderlist. Since they are less critical for my personal usage I mention them separately.
Todoist has better Integration than Wunderlist
There are very few apps out there that can compete with Todoist when it comes to Support and Integration of other Apps. Not only does Todoist have native support across 12 platforms, it also has countless opportunities to integrate with third part apps. For example,
- Google Drive and Dropbox cloud storage
- IFTTT and Zapier for automation
- Amazon echo
- Google Calendar sync
This is but a few of the big names here and for a more complete list you can refer to the Todoist Integration Page.
Todoist is smarter than Wunderlist
Times are changing and in 2016, we have witnessed the rise of Artificial Intelligence in Todo list apps. Both Todolist and Any.do announced the integration of smart, Artificial Intelligence into their respective apps. In the case of Todoist, it helps with the re-scheduling of late tasks, hence the name – Smart Schedule. According to Todoist statistics, we are all perform woefully when it comes to getting our tasks done on time. This leaves us all with the chore of re-scheduling the mountain of late tasks to more realistic time frames. But, one need not suffer this burden any longer for Todoist has come to the rescue.
Smart Schedule will automatically re-schedule the late tasks for you
Smart Schedule will automatically re-schedule the late tasks for you. According to Todoist, Smart Schedule will learn about your habits and re-schedule your tasks accordingly. It will account for task urgency, workload over the next days, habits, such as when you usually complete a given task and so on. So, basically everything except for actually doing the task. At present, this kind of functionality is absent from Wunderlist.
Todoist Smart Schedule
Todoist has location based reminders
With location based reminders, one need never forget those anniversary flowers again!
One important consideration in task management is context, being in the right place or having the right tools to complete the task in hand. In Todoist, there are location based reminders. This enables tasks to be linked to a certain geographic location. When you are at that location, you will get a reminder of that task. Have a look at the video below and you will get the idea.
With location based reminders, one need never forget those anniversary flowers again!
Todoist vs Wunderlist, Wunderlist advantages over Todoist
Wunderlist User Interface for Windows
Now, as with any debate there are two sides to the story and now it is time in this Wunderlist vs. Todoist discussion to cover the reasons why Wunderlist is superior to Todoist. As before, I will not trawl through the specifications trying to dig up one technical advantage here or there. The points below are simply based on my own user experience over the last months. So, apologies advance if I missed any points and feel free to add them in the Comments section below.
Wunderlist is faster and easier to flag tasks than Todoist
Wunderlist has a beautifully simple way to do this – Star! Every task carries a little star icon that can be highlighted to indicate a task in focus. There is also a menu view for starred tasks. So, with a single push of a button you can quickly and easily indicate those tasks that need focus or are in progress. In Todoist, this is also possible in different ways but all are a bit more effort. For example, you could have a label, “In Progress”, and tag all the tasks that are in Progress. You can then set up a filter for that label. But, even to apply the label requires the task to be selected, then hit edit, then add the label, then finally click Done. So, not really as streamlined as Wunderlist.
Wunderlist can manipulate tasks more efficiently than Todoist
This is another example where the simple and easy approach of Wunderlist trumps Todoist’s more labour intensive method. If I want to move a task from one list to another in Wunderlist I hold down on the task, drag it to the top of the list to the “move”, label and at that point a little window will appear politely asking me where I would like to deposit it. I select the destination list and voila! Task has been moved to the desired location. The Todoist approach again is to open up the task details and there one can select where to move the task to. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, this requires several button pushes which is really not desired on small hand held devices.
Wunderlist offers a better free version than Todoist
Both Todoist and Wunderlist offer free versions but I have to give credit to Wunderlist in this case as the free version of Todoist has such curtailed functionality as to render it ineffective. The free version omits key features such as labels and comments which are really necessary.
Retrospective on moving to Todoist Premium
As mentioned earlier, I migrated across to Premium Todoist a few months ago and perhaps this this article is a good opportunity to review that decision. Having used Todoist for some months I find there are some aspects of my usage of it that are different than I expected. For example I thought I would make greater use of the advanced filters and task nesting. The reasoning behind the latter is because I have integrated OneNote into my workflow, especially for blogging which removes a rather complicated set of tasks from my task list manager. I will write more about my use of OneNote in a future article. I don’t use filters as much as expected either. I did initially to organise tasks in progress but that is more cumbersome to do in Todoist than setting dates which can be done quickly by swiping the task. So, at present this is what I am using to indicate work in progress. I miss the simplicity of starring tasks in Wunderlist for that.
Going forwards, I will stick with Todoist. I underutilise the many functions it has to offer but given I frequently experiment with different task management methods I may come to them in the future. At present, between Todoist vs Wunderlist, I think Todoist offers the greatest flexibility to accommodate that.
Todoist vs Wunderlist Summary
Phew, that’s a pretty big write up on my experiences of Todoist vs Wunderlist. In summary I would say that if you want the most extensive feature set and are prepared to pay for it then Todoist would be the better choice. If, on the other hand, you want the best free option with a better mastery of the simple functions, then I would probably advocate Wunderlist. As always, you pay your money and you take your choice. Well that is my side of the story. What about you? Feel free to share your opinions on Todoist vs. Wunderlist in the comments section below. Cheers.
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