page contents

Todoist vs. Wunderlist, which is better?

Todoist vs Wunderlist, which is better? Now, I will give you the answer from a user’s perspective having used both over the last months.Todoist vs. Wunderlist, which is better?

Wunderlist vs. Todoist, which is better? has been an on-going debate and in this article I will give my opinion on which is better from a user perspective. 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 from the links provided.(Affiliate Note). 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 vs Wunderlist Todoist User Interface

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 to 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

Todoist vs Wunderlist Wunderlist User Interface

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.

Which is better, Todoist or Wunderlist?

if you want the most extensive feature set and are prepared to pay for it then Todoist would be the better choice


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 think Wunderlist is the better option.

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 and if you found the article useful, remember to share on your social network with the little buttons to the left.  Cheers!

Affiliate Statement:

If you purchase those items through my links I may earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my link.


Summary
Todoist vs Wunderlist, Which is Better?
Article Name
Todoist vs Wunderlist, Which is Better?
Description
Todoist vs Wunderlist, which is better? Now, I will give you the answer from a user's perspective having used both over the last months.
Author
Publisher Name
Done Before Brekky

Brendan Toner

Let me welcome you to this alcove of the internet. In this little productivity blog, I detail the trials and tribulations of trying to use my time more effectively utilising the latest productivity tools and techniques. I hope you enjoy the articles, cheers!
Brendan Toner, author of Done Before Brekky

You may also like...

11 Responses

  1. Ankit says:

    I use Wunderlist as its very easy to use and can update their daily task. simple and can easily manage in mobiles also.

  2. Robert Kok says:

    I’ve compared Todoist, 2Do and NirvanaHQ and thought Wunderlist was too simple, until I discovered its beauty lies in its simplicity.

    Wunderlist for the Mac has advanced filtering options. Details can be found in https://support.wunderlist.com/customer/portal/articles/2129607

    Wunderlist also has many integration options. You can find them on https://www.wunderlist.com/integrations. While Todoist offers e-mail integration for Gmail and Outlook for Windows, Wunderlist offers add-ins for Outlook.com and Office 365 which means you can capture any e-mail into Wunderlist even when using Office on a Mac, while Todoist for Outlook is limited to the Windows platform.

    While Wunderlist doesn’t integrate with Google Drive, it does integrate with Dropbox as can been seen on https://support.wunderlist.com/customer/en/portal/articles/1703301-how-to-add-dropbox-files-to-a-to-do

    Although it doesn’t offer a Google Calendar sync it offers a Calendar feed you can use in iCal, Google Calendar or Outlook as can be seen on https://support.wunderlist.com/customer/en/portal/articles/1710196-how-to-use-wunderlist-s-calendar-feed

     For me it’s not which one is better, but best fits my workflow and personal taste. The reason I prefer Wunderlist over other apps, is it’s simplicity while still being able to create my own workflows.

    • Brendan Toner says:

      Hi Robert,

      thanks for your comments. I think your last comment hit the nail on the head, that it may come down to individual workflows and tastes. Both offer more than sufficient functionality for most peoples needs and for me also I use but a tip of the iceberg of the Todoist features. But, often it is the small differences that make the difference sufficiently to sway people from one to the other and int he article I conveyed a few of the minor details that are more important in my case.

  3. Gene says:

    The problem I have with both Todoist and Wunderlist (and Any.do, and Google Tasks, and iOS Reminders) is that they are all set up for user who either doesn’t have too many tasks, or has tasks which can all be done in a couple hours at most.

    None of these systems support a start date.

    Imagine that you have a presentation that will take 5-6 hours of total work to complete and must be presented in a meeting two months from now. With all of your other workload, meetings, inevitable unplanned urgencies, you need to start working on that presentation at least three days prior to the meeting. You also must be able to track the deadline which is “hard” i.e. independent of you.

    So, you set the start date 3 days before the due date, you set the due date for when the meeting will take place, and it’s probably a good idea to set a reminder a day before due. Once the start date comes, the task shows up in your hotlist. If you have many dozens of tasks, and many of them are similarly high effort, having the ability to track both the start and due dates is very important.

    Except of course neither of these services seem to get it. Toodledo gets it, Outlook.com Tasks get it, and desktop Outlook definitely gets it. The rest rely too much on user doing a lot of mental juggling.

    • Brendan Toner says:

      Hi Gene,

      thanks for stopping by!
      The relatively flat structure of Wunderlist does not lend itself to many tasks(unless some workarounds are used) but given the nesting possibilities and filtering in Todoist, larger numbers of tasks should be no problem.
      The problem you describe is likely a common scenario and I can relate to that. If you use start dates in your task management then you will surely miss it, if it is not available.
      But, there are various ways to determine which task to start at a given time, but to give a couple of time based scenarios.

      1. The situation that you mention, whereby all tasks have start/due dates entered which may or may not be tied to effort. Could be done when processing new tasks.
      2. Projects. By default all tasks will have start/due dates and task overlaps should have already been considered at least for that individual project.
      3. Most tasks do not have due dates but time critical tasks will have a trigger such a reminder to start the task.

      For your case, I wonder if significant effort is placed on maintenance of the list if start, due and reminders are set? The other thing that crossed my mind is that even if this is available a bit of mental juggling is needed in the case of overlapping tasks as some consideration needs to be given towards the effort required which may not be related to the dates. I quite like the Nozbe approach to this problem – select the tasks you will be focusing on and it will sum the efforts. You then quickly see if it is viable in the time frame you are considering. Such an approach works well with a daily/weekly review.
      Personally I find myself mostly in the 2nd and 3rd scenarios. For the latter, I set reminders for time critical tasks for it is only needed on those. This is also a workaround that could be applied to Todoist/Wunderlist – not exactly a start date but it will give a bit of pre-warning. I am a bit lazy so try to avoid too much task info. For other task selection, I tend to do that based on review. Both methods can be easily coupled – flagging tasks & reminders or could even filter for flagged & start date. For the record I use Abstractspoon Todolist for work stuff which is completely flexible and I mix and match a lot in there. To avoid visual clutter, I opt for the Kanban view.

      Which software are you currently using and do you normally do a daily/weekly review?

  4. Gene says:

    Hi Brendan,

    Thank you for replying to my comment, and for your excellent blog !

    I worked as a project manager for over a decade, and now am doing advanced planning and estimating (basically, part of the team that’s “dreaming up” new ideas & figure out the required funding, before they get approved and turned into real projects).

    An individual task will often take 2-3 days to complete, and at any given time I have probably a dozen or so major overlapping tasks. E.g. right now, I need to finish an estimate before Wednesday (this would take probably 4 hrs of total work), write a presentation before the end of the week (at least 3 hours and a few phone calls), review a proposal before next Monday (so I better start on it Wednesday afternoon), this is in addition to smaller tasks, and a healthy dose of meetings and conference calls. I also have similar tasks the next week, and the week after, and in June, and a couple deadlines that just crept up for July. Now, I am talking about individual tasks, not just the top level projects.

    I really don’t have a clue how to handle these tasks without a start date. The Due dates are for most part written in stone – they are set by others and I can only track them. With start date at least, I can accomplish two things – first, be reminded about having to start on the task early enough that I can finish it by the deadline; second, I can set up my task list to hide the tasks with start date in the future, to help focus on the tasks at hand. It can be frustrating looking at dozens of tasks trying to figure out what’s next.

    The alarm reminders could work as a start date, however in many apps the alarms can’t be set to a specific date, only to xx time before Due, or in case of iOS Reminders, the alarms are treated as Due date. I’d rather not marry myself to a single method that only works with one app / service.

    The setup I currently use is Outlook on the desktop (our company standard email and calendar app) and Calengoo on my iOS devices. I use Onenote to store project data & brainstorm / develop my task list for project, and sometimes iThoughts for additional brainstorming. Most of the tasks in a project are just top-level mental steps, only the directly actionable individual steps go into my master task list in Outlook. This way I can keep my master list manageable. I also create tasks from emails (very easy in Outlook).

    I barely use Categories – too much maintenance. I do use the three priorities. The High priority tasks are my “today” tasks (same as Star in Wunderlist). They are what I am going to work on now / today / tomorrow. I keep no more than 4-5 tasks in Top. The Medium priority tasks are my “Next step” or “Coming up”. I try to keep no more than 5-6 there. All the rest are Low priority. The task with no priority are my Inbox and need to be reviewed.

    I have several custom views set up in Outlook. Mainly, a Master list for planning, and a Focus list for concentrating on today’s work, filtering out the future tasks and no date tasks.

    The tasks are synced to iOS Reminders. I use Calengoo to replicate my workflow on my phone and tablet. It has an option to show High priority tasks on today’s date in calendar regardless of their due date, so I have a single view of all my timed events (meetings, calls, tasks) for the day. It also supports Start date. There are a couple other iOS calendar apps that have similar functionality.

    I review my Master task list at least twice a week, and my calendar / today’s tasks daily.

    Sorry for writing a book 🙂

    • Brendan Toner says:

      Hi Gene,

      books, tomes, novels are all welcome here.
      Your approach seems logical. Some things I was wondering about,

      1. Since the task management is clearly for professional application, do you still need a mobile solution? You mention the use of iOS reminders and Calengoo but if you extensively use MS Outlook during the day would that be sufficient?
      2. I think beyond the start date trigger I think you have another item to consider which is overlapping tasks and the danger of over utilisation of your resource. Have you found an easy way to handle this? I know a few task management tools can handle estimated task durations but I don’t know of any that really uses it effectively, together with start/due dates for resource assessment. I know full fledged project management software can do this but I am thinking of a simpler, more practical solution.
      3. It sounds like you set the priorities according to the start dates. Is this done manually or do you have a filter for this?
      4. Is the focus list a filtered view of the Master list?

      thanks

      Brendan

  5. Gene says:

    1) Absolutely. During my “other” life, I was spending most of my time in the field, traveling, going to project sites, meetings, etc. Having a mobile task / project data list was a must. I cut my teeth on a Handspring Visor and Shadow Plan, if you remember them 🙂 Even now that I don’t have to travel nearly as much, being able to review and juggle my task list when I have the opportunity and inclination is vital. I’ve had some of the best ideas while sitting at my kids’ school play 😉

    2) That is a two edged sword. The danger of overcommitting your time is very real, but so is the danger of spending way too much time on maintaining a complex task management system. For major projects with multiple contributors, MS Projecf or similar is absolutely necessary, but so far I’ve done ok managing my personal workload with just a task list and some intuition.

    3&4) Basically, drilling down it’s Master list -> Active tasks -> Focus tasks -> Today tasks. Active subset is created automatically by filtering all tasks that are between Start and Due dates, or High / medium priority, or have due date on/before tomorrow. Focus is the subset of Active that is set manually by assigning High priority (Today) or medium priority (Next). All new tasks when created are assigned Low priority. If a task has no priority assignment than it’s my inbox, i.e. needs to be reviewed.

    I use two custom views in Outlook. The Master view and the Focus view. Both views are grouped by Due Date and have conditional formatting so my High priority tasks are bold, blue & underlined, and my no priority tasks are an ugly cyan color (gives me an incentive to “process” them). I also have a custom column that shows the number of day before due. I used to have a special color for the tasks due today / tomorrow but found that having too many colors was confusing. The Focus view is the copy of Master view with a filter that hides any Low priority task that hasn’t started, or has no due date.

    On mobile, I mainly want to see my calendar and tasks on one screen to plan my day. I still use it for overall task planning when I have time, but it’s less involved (less sophisticated filtering in Task view etc.)

    • Brendan Toner says:

      Hi Gene,

      thanks for the clarification. I will have to get around to more time-centric task managers in the near future. Your input has pushed me a little in that direction!

      Brendan

  1. March 22, 2017

    […] is available for you to try before you buy. In my experience though, and as highlighted in my Todoist vs. Wunderlist article, the free version is simply too limited for serious use. The current cost for Todoist is […]

Leave a Reply