Zoho Projects Review 2021

The low-cost project management software sports a recent revamp that boasts a beautiful new user interface (UI) while addressing the pandemic-induced remote work world.
The multi-colored logo for Zoho Projects software
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
  • Check
    Tons of features
  • Check
    Beautiful UI
  • Check
    Extremely affordable
  • X
    Value may drop for larger teams

Zoho, known for publishing budget-friendly enterprise applications, released its Projects 7.0 upgrade in January 2021. As a result, Zoho Projects renewed its drive as a strong value proposition for small businesses needing a low-cost but full-featured project management software solution.

Headquartered in Chennai, India, with offices worldwide, Zoho recently scored our Best Overall award for its lead management software, Zoho CRM. And while Zoho Projects is also a favorite, its pricing structure makes it less appealing for larger businesses.

Let’s take a deeper look.

Zoho Projects is best for budget-conscious businesses and small teams

Zoho undoubtedly tries to appeal to value seekers with its low prices that can be a blessing to cash-strapped small businesses. Indeed, the company’s visually attractive Projects 7.0 revamp drives home superb features that defy the small, $10-and-under pricing scheme.

But, rapidly growing entities might wish to tread lightly since Projects makes the most sense if you have a smaller team.

Projects’ midrange plan, Premium, only supports up to 50 users, but with a proportionately generous 100 gigabytes of total storage.

On the other hand, if you upgrade to the top-level Enterprise subscription, you’ll get unlimited users but only 20 more gigabytes of storage, totaling 120 gigabytes. This effectively caps how many users could realistically be added to the Enterprise plan, since there is no proportionate increase in storage capacity to support them.

As a result, you’ll inevitably be hindered either by Projects’ user limit or digital storage capacity, making the software title more cost-effective the smaller your organization is.

Nonetheless, if Projects still sounds right for your situation, then read on to analyze available plans and features.

Zoho pricing and plans

Now that we’ve clarified some fine print surrounding Projects’ plans, let’s explore which option may be best for your business.

Each of Projects’ three plans offers a 10-day free trial along with the option to upgrade to a higher tier down the road. Keep in mind that opting for an annual subscription will save around 17% compared to paying monthly.

Zoho Projects plans

Feature
Free
Premium
Enterprise
Starting price (per user/per month)
$0
$5
$10
Maximum users
3
50
Unlimited
Maximum storage space
10 MB
100 GB
120 GB
Open project limit
2
Unlimited
Unlimited
Gantt charts
Limited - per project only (not customizable)
Advanced
Advanced
Custom fields
5
Unlimited
Unlimited
Project templates
None
20
30
Document sharing
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Import project issues (via CSV, XLS, and Jira export)
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Time tracking
Icon No  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Budget tracking
Icon No  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark
Icon Yes  Dark

Data effective 2/11/20. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.

Overall, we recommend skipping the Free plan considering its exceptionally sharp limitations. Even if your team consists of three or fewer people (which is Free’s user limit), you’ll likely get frustrated with the puny two-project limit and the lack of even the most basic features, such as fully-fledged Gantt charts, time tracking options, and the ability to factor weekends, holidays, and budgets into project data.

Plus, if you need to add files to a project, the Free plan caps uploads at 10 MB, which may only be one or two high-resolution photos or PDFs. For perspective, the Premium plan jumps to a whopping 100 GB limit.

Bottom line: trying to cope with the Free plan’s lack of features is an opportunity cost that $5 per user for the Premium plan could quickly solve.

Key features

Integrations

Zoho Projects offers third-party integrations, although the Free plan is limited. Some common integrations among all three subscription plans are:

  • Other Zoho apps, such as Zoho CRM, Meeting, and Sprints (free plan doesn’t integrate with Invoice, Books, People, or Analytics)
  • Google's G Suite apps (such as Gmail and Docs)
  • Zapier
  • Slack
  • Import-only from Microsoft Project

The Premium and Enterprise plans also feature integrations with GitHub, BitBucket, Crashlytics, Dropbox, and others.

Overall, Zoho Projects showcases a thorough amount of seamless integrations, although this is fairly commonplace among competitors such as Asana and Jira.

Gantt charts

Since Gantt charts are essential for the busiest project managers, you’ll be happy to hear that Zoho Projects is exceptionally generous in this regard.

Even in the Free plan, Projects grants users the ability to create elaborate Gantt charts, albeit with limitations (the Premium and Enterprise plans alleviate these limitations). By contrast, Jira’s take of Gantt charts, called Roadmaps, doesn’t include any traditional Gantt charting features without a third-party add-on. Monday.com only dishes out Gantts starting with its Standard plan at $12 a month, per user.

As for Zoho Projects, if you’re in charge of many projects and you love a good Gantt chart, you’ll want to opt for the Enterprise plan. This way, you can get global Gantt charts that let you get a bird’s-eye view of all of your projects at once, rather than only per project as seen in the Premium and Free plans.

Bullhorn
What is a Gantt Chart?

In simplest terms, a Gantt chart is a horizontal bar chart that visualizes the time involved in a project or task. With this charting technique, a project manager can quickly assess what’s happening and when in order to draw actionable insights on how time is being spent. Gantt charts are an essential software feature, so check out our list of the best project management tools in 2021.

Dark mode

With the January 2021 launch of Projects 7.0, Zoho upped its user-interface game by including many new aesthetic improvements, such as an eyeball-soothing dark mode.

This is noteworthy for two reasons. First, consider that you may need to refer to Projects under various circumstances, such as in the middle of the night at a construction site or in low-light industrial conditions. These are ideal night-mode situations, especially when preserving human night vision can be critical to avoiding industrial accidents.

Second, Zoho’s inclusion of night mode may be a direct jab at the lack of this popular feature in some of its competitors, such as Asana and Jira. On its website, Zoho openly admits Jira is its nearest low-cost price competitor while portraying Asana as expensive and inadequate.
Both Jira and Asana have yet to natively implement dark mode after years of people fervently requesting it. As a result, Zoho appears victorious in the race to the pupil-widening darker theme.

And although paid third-party plugins for Jira and Asana add night mode, the costly inaction of both companies is Zoho’s gain toward the appearance of being more receptive to customer pain points—an ideal quality when investing in enterprise-grade software.

Who knew the politics of night mode could be so cutthroat?

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Zoho Projects FAQ

What is Zoho Projects used for?

Zoho Projects serves as a project management tool, which helps people get a bird’s-eye view of ongoing work projects using highly analytical charts and data. This allows business decision-makers to draw actionable insights based on the progress made toward completing each project.

Is Zoho Projects free?

Yes and no. While there is a free subscription plan available, it’s frustratingly minimal and unlikely to provide much long-term value for most businesses. On the other hand, the Free subscription may be a superb option for individuals, such as freelancers, looking to manage a small number of personal tasks.

If you’re on a budget, most of Zoho’s products include a free trial and low-cost, entry-level plans, so it’s worth checking out its other solutions as well. You may be able to combine multiple Zoho software titles to collectively solve your needs, especially since most Zoho titles integrate well with each other.

Is Zoho Projects safe?

Zoho encrypts some data using the AES-256 encryption specification. Specifically, uploaded files, personally identifiable information (PII), integration tokens to log in to other apps, and up to 10 fields per project are encrypted. Keep in mind that the Enterprise plan includes hundreds of customizable fields, so if data privacy is a concern, 10 encrypted fields may be paltry.

Zoho also claims to be fully compliant with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is a 2018 law that enhances the protection of customer data and the “right to be forgotten.”

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The takeaway

Zoho Projects is a rock-solid project management tool that delivers more value than its price tag may suggest. Its Projects 7.0 revamp indeed indicates the company is committed to packing a punch for every dollar, while suggesting that its closest adversary, Jira, is perhaps falling behind.

If the storage limitations and $3 client access fee ($2 on annual plans) doesn’t keep you up at night, Zoho Projects is hard to beat for overall value and user experience.

Want to scope out some other project management tools? Check out our list of the best project management software and tools in 2021!

Disclaimer

At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.

Ian Agar
Written by
Ian Agar
Ian covers human resource administration at Business.org. His expertise stems from his four years as a military HR generalist in the U.S. Coast Guard, where he held the title of yeoman and became an Oracle Peoplesoft maestro. Ian also owned an ecommerce small business for over three years and holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. He was previously a venture capital reporter at PitchBook Data, and his work can be seen on Seeking Alpha, The Motley Fool, and Yahoo! Finance.
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