GitKraken vs TortoiseGit

Git is the most widely used version control system in the world, with over 70% of developers using it to manage their code. It is no wonder that so many tools have been created to help make Git easier to use through a graphical user interface (GUI). We have compared our solution, GitKraken, to a number of other approaches in the past, like SourcetreeTower and Fork.

Today we are going to take a look at TortoiseGit and see how it stacks up to GitKraken. While we are going to be as fair as possible, it is a challenge, the same way it would be to compare a new model Tesla with the Flinstones’ car.

Compare TortoiseGit vs GitKraken

Features GitKraken TortoiseGit
Basic Git productivity features
1 license for Windows, Mac, & Linux installation
Connect to any Git repo including GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket & Azure DevOps
Git LFS
Visual commit graph
1-click undo/redo
Command palette
Drag-and-drop to push and pull changes
Predictive merge conflict alerts
Merge conflict tool
In-app pull request management
Built-in text editor
Interactive rebase
Git hooks support
Git flow integration
Connect repos to Jira, Trello, GitKraken Boards, GitHub Issues & GitLab Issues
Team collaboration features
Flexible license management
Multiple profile support
Guaranteed support for paid customers

Take your Git game to the next level. 🚀 GitKraken enables enhanced visibility into your branch history, making it possible to manage complex merges and quickly resolve conflicts with confidence.

TortoiseGit – An open source project from an earlier time.

TortoiseGit is an open source project, not a commercial product. This has some upsides but comes with a few caveats. The biggest benefit is the community has internationalized the UI into 34 languages, with 14 of those at 80% or more translated. The other major upside is it is completely free to use, though that comes with some downsides that we will cover later on.

TortoiseGit came about in an era when Windows was the de facto operating system developers were using. An era when Linux was in its infancy, with a stable desktop distribution, like Ubuntu, still a few years in the future and when MacOS amounted to only about 3 percent of the market. At that time, the decision to create a Windows-only tool that integrated directly into the Windows shell interface was very clever.

Unfortunately, their UI reflects the time period when it was first encoded, the Windows ME era. As the rest of the Windows designs have evolved, this retro look lends to the overall clunkiness of using the tool.

Another thing you will immediately notice is when you look at the TortoiseGit documentation, there are many references to Apache Subversion (SVN) and how it differs from Git. This is because TortoiseGit is based on TortoiseSVN, a popular tool for Windows developers relying on Apache Subversion (SVN). While this likely served their community very well as people migrated to Git in the first place, it makes using their tooling feel a bit dated, especially in a world when so many developers have learned Git as the first and best version control system.

TortoiseGit vs GitKraken

So, which of these options is the right tool for your needs? Let’s dig into the features and functionality that make GitKraken the most popular Git GUI on the market.

It’s clear, for both large organizations and individual developers collaborating on projects, GitKraken offers more robust features and support for pull requests, cross-platform consistency, undoing/redoing, training materials, and more.

Linux Support

GitKraken ✅ | TortoiseGit ❌

As one of the only true cross-platform Git GUIs on the market, GitKraken is proud to offer Linux support. The TortoiseGit documentation states: “TortoiseGit runs on Windows 7 or higher.” This makes sense as this was purpose-built to integrate with the Windows Explorer UI.

Cross-Platform Consistency

GitKraken ✅ | TortoiseGit ❌

GitKraken was built to meet developers’ needs, no matter what operating system they prefer. Based on Electron, GitKraken works on any operating system that professional developers prefer.

Developers are diverse and opinionated. Each individual prefers their own tools and platforms. Some like Mac while others love Windows, and many more swear by Linux. Having an OS-agnostic way to engage in version control across the organization is key to getting everyone in agreement on workflows, as well as a sane and streamlined path to onboarding new team members.

Compare this to TortoiseGit, which is only available for Windows. This can make collaboration more challenging unless the whole team prefers to work on Windows.

Onboarding & Git Training Materials

GitKraken ✅ | TortoiseGit ❌

Getting a new team member up to speed is always a challenge. The learning curve of Git is steep in general, especially when the UI is a blank terminal. Teams need a way to get everyone as productive as possible, as soon as possible.

The GitKraken support site offers a whole toolbox of tips, technical documentation, and product videos and materials that highlight popular features. That is also where we keep our fan-favorite release notes.

Users can also subscribe to the GitKraken YouTube channel to access our always expanding library of Git educational videos and tutorials for using GitKraken with GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, and Azure DevOps,and more, for free.

GitKraken has a dedicated content team producing quality training and educational resources to help onboard new users, and ensure users of all experience levels have consistent support.

Our series of beginner, intermediate, and advanced Git tutorial videos will help your team level up their Git skills! Learn Git with GitKraken

TortoiseGit does provide a free manual, which incorporates a lot of the official git-scm documentation, but that’s where their educational resources seem to end. The manual, while immense, does not offer a search function, making it hard to navigate.

Get up-to-speed with Git faster. GitKraken’s intuitive UI will have you executing simple & complex Git commands from day one!

Easy Staging and Unstaging

GitKraken ✅ | TortoiseGit ❌

GitKraken makes it extremely easy to stage only what you want to stage, down to individual lines of code. It also gives a straightforward view of what has been changed vs what has been staged.

TortoiseGit actually obscures the concept of staging, not even offering it as a menu option. It allows you to commit any individual file, but there is no clear indication of where files are in relation to your Work in Progress (WIP) or staging. For both those new to Git and those used to working the command line, this lack of clarity can cause serious confusion.

Drag and Drop Actions

GitKraken ✅ | TortoiseGit ❌

GitKraken provides users the ability to perform drag-and-drop actions. This includes merging, interactive rebasing, and even pushing specific branches to your choice of remote repositories, all by just moving the branch where you want it on the central graph.

Don’t worry, GitKraken has something for you keyboard lovers out there too: our Fuzzy Finder, which allows users to access a variety of actions via keyboard shortcuts.

With TortoiseGit, every action opens a new window. Each window brings a whole new slew of choices and options whose functions are not very clear, even to a seasoned Git user. And other than system-wide commands like ctl + f for finding text on-screen or f5 to refresh view, TortoiseGit offers no keyboard hotkeys or shortcuts.

Fine Grain Diff Controls

GitKraken ✅ | TortoiseGit ❌

GitKraken’s built-in Diff Tool is one of our users’ favorite features, giving you the ability to quickly see what has been added to or removed from a file. Our tool allows you to choose individual lines or hunks of a file to stage.

GitKraken’s Diff Tool allows users to easily toggle between Hunk, Inline, and Split views and includes word diffing, syntax highlighting, arrows to move between change sets, and more.

While TortoiseGit certainly has a Diff view with many options, figuring out how to get to a side-by-side view took a few attempts from the initial Diff menu. Once inside the Diff view, the UI offers a lot of settings in the toolbars, and the meaning of each is not immediately clear. There are so many that some are hidden unless you make the newly opened window full screen. With all the options, there does not seem to be a Hunk view possible in TortoiseGit.

Undo/Redo Button

GitKraken ✅ | TortoiseGit ❌

By far one of the most popular features of the GitKraken Git GUI is our magical Undo/Redo button. Literally allowing you to go back in time and undo a grave mistake, like accidentally resetting a branch and losing multiple commits. 😱

If you’ve ever wished you could undo a Git action with the click of a button, you’re in luck with GitKraken. Our Undo button allows users to undo the following:

  • Checkout
  • Commit
  • Discard
  • Delete branch
  • Remove remote
  • Reset branch to commit

Similarly, all of these actions can be redone using the Redo button if you undo them by mistake.

TortoiseGit does not offer an equivalent feature. While you’re able to view both the log and reflog, that’s where your time travel abilities end. You cannot undo discarding changes, deleting or resetting branches, removing remotes, etc. as you can with GitKraken.

Get your Git safety net in place. Features like GitKraken’s Undo button help protect your work from common mistakes. 💯

GitHub, GitLab or Azure Issue Tracking

GitKraken ✅ | TortoiseGit ❌

Aside from the GitKraken Git GUI, no other Git clients offer robust issue tracking integrations with the most-used task management tools. Not a single one.

The GitKraken Git GUI integrates with the following issue trackers:

  • Jira Cloud/Server
  • GitKraken Boards
  • Trello
  • GitLab/GitLab Self-Managed
  • GitHub/GitHub Enterprise

Users who utilize one of the above tools to manage their issues can accomplish the following actions directly from the GitKraken Git GUI: view, filter, and edit issues/cards, create branches tied to issues/cards, and create new issues/cards.

This can be instrumental for developers looking to optimize their workflow with reduced context switching.

TortoiseGit on the other hand claims to offer issue tracking capabilities but seems to suggest this is only possible through Bugtraq.

Enterprise Account Management

GitKraken ✅ | TortoiseGit ❌

The GitKraken team understands that enterprise teams and organizations need enhanced security and accountability for their tool chain.This is why we offer cloud-based, stand-alone, or self-hosted GitKraken enterprise license options to fit the specific needs of various policies.

Teams that want full control over their user & license management and LDAP integration love GitKraken. Using our enhanced license management features for organizations makes it easier to transfer individual licenses to new team members and customize requirements for access.

Since TortoiseGit is only for individual local Windows environments, it does not offer any hosted version of their software, nor does it offer team account management or enhanced security options. This means that if your team is using TortoiseGit to manage your repos, it will be on the shoulders of your organization’s administrators to manually manage one more piece of software.

Enterprise Support

GitKraken ✅ | TortoiseGit ❌

TortoiseGit’s open source model means it is completely free to use, but with it comes community support as the only support option. Community support is oftentimes amazing — we love that option as well — but for larger teams focused on building enterprise software, having a single source of truth for resolving their issues is not optional, it’s critical.

While GitKraken can be used completely for free and with community support, many customers choose GitKraken because we offer Enterprise licensing with direct access to our professional support. Being able to quickly connect to the team that is building and maintaining the tooling is extremely beneficial for larger-scale organizations with mission-critical workflows. Having this peace of mind available helps our customers sleep better at night.

Download, Install, and Run GitKraken Git GUI

Now that we’ve made a convincing GitKraken vs TortoiseGit argument, we hope you will consider joining the Kraken family. To make it as easy as possible, we’ve got step-by-step instructions for installing GitKraken on your OS of choice:

  1. Download GitKraken
  2. Install GitKraken
  3. Run GitKraken

Unlike TortoiseGit, GitKraken’s intuitive UI and advanced features give you the visual context you need to make smart decisions and avoid harmful mistakes.