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The Best WordPress Page Builders 2023

An image of the best WordPress Page Builders for the year.

Page Builders (and just in time for Page Builder Summit). They all have a promise: You can build a website with ease using such and such platform! Using our patented Dragon Drop tools, you can build a deadly website that kills every user’s browser who dares to visit it.Yet Another Page Builder.

They regale you with unhinged celebrity appearances by Adam Driver and John Malkovich (good on ya, Squarespace?) that not only cost millions to make and converted many millions of pennies from a few hundred people.

Pagebuilders are the present and the future.

Pagebuilders are great for abstracting away the tedious work like setting up build tools and CI pipelines. Seriously, both of those things are tedious, especially when you have to troubleshoot why they’re not working.

These website-building tools are all around us these days.

I’ve talked about Webflow around these parts, and another page builder has delivered on its promises of making designing and building websites easier. It’s a good tool, but we’re not here to discuss it. I’ll come back with a head-to-head analysis of Webflow vs. Frames. Stay tuned for that, and consider subscribing to our newsletter!

A note for Webflow devs… 😉

Today I’m here to talk about the best Page Builders for WordPress!

Elementor

The undisputed champion of Page Builders and it doesn’t matter what your opinion is, with over 5 million installs they are the clear cut winners. Elementor.

Elementor is installed on roughly 5 Million websites. Elementor has received over a million in funding, in fact, which isn’t a common occurrence for WP-based product companies.

Elementor remains one of the most widely used Page Builders because of it’s approachability for new users and seasoned developers alike. Also, Elementor has a vast ecosystem of 3rd party developed products that extend its functionality.

In fact, Elementor can stake a claim that it’s used by some of the most talked about brands in the world. According to their article, there are 25 examples can see Elementor in use. I’ll save you a click, though. Only ONE of those websites is using Elementor as of this writing. It’s Snoop Dog’s. There are undoubtedly hundreds, nay, THOUSANDS of well-known brands out there using Elementor (but c’mon, update your damn article).

What I like About Elementor

  • Vast 3rd Party Ecosystem of product developers. If there’s an Elementor widget you want, there are like fifty companies offering the same damn thing but different? Notable Elementor Add-ons: Dynamic for Elementor, Ultimate Add-ons, Happy Add-ons, PowerPack,
  • Ease-of-use. Even for those who don’t build websites, Elementor is as good, if not better, than Wix or Squarespace. It provides enough utility and is approachable even for beginners.
  • Simple, yet powerful. Elementor shines with the many integrations it has to various products, in particular like Simply Schedule Appointments (Appointment Booking), IgnitionDeck (White-label Crowdfunding), and Advanced Custom Fields.
  • Solid support. At least my experiences with their support have been pleasant and helpful.

What I don’t like about Elementor

  • Performance is always an issue. You can optimize Elementor to be fast and performant, but it takes work; you must put in the effort. Elementor is well-known for having extraneous markup (div-itis), loading unnecessary scripts, and more. To their credit, they’re always pushing forth performance optimizations.
  • Their releases often cause breakage, which requires users to have a backup and restore plan in case an update hoses their website.
  • This is a personal gripe, but I hate how Elementor is all over their markup. It’s giving strong Pick me vibes.

Kadence

This site is made with Kadence Theme and Kadence blocks. This site is block-first by its very nature.

Mostly, that’s a good thing, and I’m happy with it. However, my problems with the block-building experience don’t have anything to do with Kadence. Kadence does a great job of building along with WP’s block-based direction.

Generally, block-based sites are faster than, say, their Elementor brethren. Again, that’s a good thing.

However, the block editor is far from perfect, which unfortunately casts an unfair shadow on Kadence Theme and Block products.

What I like about Kadence

  • Kadence Theme and Blocks are wonderful. I think they’ve built one of the best products that utilize the block editor fully.
  • The Kadence websites I’ve built are performant.
  • Even for novices, with some time, they can pick up Kadence just fine, I’ve trained a few clients on managing their site and updating content, and they take to it quickly.
  • Theme-building options for custom headers and footers, and hooks are thoughtful and well-executed. Kadence Hooked Elements are powerful.
  • Experienced theme devs will understand Hooked Elements quickly.
  • Various per-page options are useful, like different page widths, disabling headers, and footers, etc.

What I don’t like about Kadence

  • While Kadence is made for a wide audience, I don’t like that flexbox and grid css settings are abstracted out of the way. I’d like more control over my layouts.
  • Kadence is only as good as the block editor allows it to be, thus Kadence suffers. The buggy, laggy issues inherent to the block editor are present when using Kadence-related blocks as well. The product suffers by association.

Oxygen

Oxygen builder, the first Webflow-like clone for WP.

Oxygen is a fairly stable Elementor Page Builder alternative built by the good folks from Soflyy.

If Elementor is the Page Builder for anyone of any experience level, then Oxygen is the choice of the developer-oriented crowd.

Oxygen has all the markup elements you need to build a semantic website. Oxygen doesn’t contain much, if any, bloat, unlike Elementor. While Oxygen is still, in my opinion, easy to use, it’s not as approachable as Elementor, and it suffers for it.

Use Oxygen if you’re familiar with crafting websites from raw HTML/JS/PHP, but you’d like a cozy UI to do it than hand-typing out the code.

Oxygen has always felt like the ultra-niche, underground choice of WP users, and it’s never received the level of attention of Elementor or even Beaverbuilder, and I think about that a lot!

What I like About Oxygen

  • It also has a decent-sized 3rd Party developer ecosystem. A few notable product developers are OxyPowerPack, which adds basic functionality missing from the core Oxygen product, OxyNinja which offers stylish UI and design kits for Oxygen.
  • Pleasant UI. If you’ve used Webflow, then Oxygen will seem familiar to you.
  • Oxygen-built sites are fast. I delivered a client project with Oxygen when I needed something quick and was sick of Elementor. I built a site quickly; it was fast and kicked butt.
  • Support is usually good, but it can be difficult if you need quick responses, and that’s mostly true of any product support offering.
  • Vibrant Facebook community with lots of helpful folks.
  • Oxygen sites are fast, have minimal bloat, and manage to load only necessary scripts.

What I don’t like about Oxygen

  • It disables WordPress’s theme system. I’ve always found that odd, making me weary of leaning on it. I prefer to use tools that respect WP’s decisions and direction. This is just my preference, nothing wrong with what Soflyy has done here.
  • A little more difficult to learn. It’s not for the lay user; having experience with building websites is a pre-requisite, in my opinion, or you’ll get frustrated quickly.
  • I don’t like that they decided to build a new Page Builder product that essentially competes with Oxygen. When this new Page Builder (listed below) was announced, it made people big mad. I’ll leave it at that. You can go track it down on FB if it matters.
  • Disabling the theme. I never understood why this is necessary, I don’t know what added flexibility this provides

Beaver Builder

One of the early, more widely used Page Builders for WordPress. We still have a couple of clients using Beaver Builder.

BB is easy to use and well-loved; with over 200,000 active installs, it’s still one of the more widely used site builders out there, trailing only Elementor!

What I like about Beaver Builder

  • It’s easy to use. Of all the builders, I believe BB has the most friendly user interface of them all. It’s approachable for non-devs and provides enough utility for experienced website developers alike.
  • A thriving ecosystem of 3rd party developers that make various unique add-ons for Beaver Builder.
  • It uses generally understood terminology throughout the interface, again making it easier for non-experienced users to get around and do what they need.
  • My experience with their support has always been great.
  • Strong FB and online community forum also (not sure why you need both but whatever).

What I don’t like about Beaver Builder

  • It’s not as flexible as it could be. While BB supports Flexbox, it doesn’t provide a UI for it, and thus many settings and layout configs are missed.
  • No Grid CSS support. I’m not sure if this is coming, but this is a feature advanced users appreciate for creating complex layouts.
  • It skews too much to uninitiated users. I get why, and that’s okay. But I’d avoid this as a developer these days because of that.
  • Like Elementor, the layouts produced by BB have extraneous markup. BB is a victim of coming out early and being successful with a sizeable user base. The builder needs an overhaul, but how do you do that and not nuke your customers’ websites?
  • Speed. While not as sluggish as Elementor sites, BB sites suffer for speed without adequate optimization.

Bricks Builder

Among the newer builders on the block is Bricks Builder. Many Oxygen fans are also fans of Bricks, which is likely because of how developer-oriented the product appears to be.

Bricks, like Oxygen, has a WebFlow-inspired UI, which is snappy and quick. Bricks are on version 1, and it’s super impressive. We’ve only rolled out one project using it thus far, and the process was enjoyable.

While the product lacks a lot of native solutions for things like mega menus, you can still get them through 3rd party add-ons like BricksExtras.

What I like about Bricks

  • It’s dev-focused. It uses semantically correct terminology for its various settings and page elements.
  • I love the template management features. Specifically, being able to share templates with many other sites is great.
  • Emerging 3rd party support of Bricks add-ons, i.e., BricksForge.
  • Snappy and responsive UI makes building layouts a snap and delightful.
  • Grid CSS Support along with Flexbox support. Just having a UI to manage these is great.
  • Speed. Bricks sites, like Oxygen, are fast. There is no extraneous markup like with Elementor and Beaver Builder.
  • Unlike the competition, Bricks is a theme, not a plugin, which seems counter-intuitive and like a lock-in. you can’t take your templates with you should you want to try a new theme. I don’t think this is an issue. If you move away from Bricks, there’s probably a good reason you’re doing so (new dev team with their preferred tools, new platform ala Shopify, etc.). Portability isn’t a huge deal in that case.
  • Decent product support and community support.

What I don’t like about Bricks

  • Conceptually, I’m not sure I understand why Bricks is a theme and not a plugin. Portability concerns exist if you decide to move to a different WP theme but wish to keep your layouts.
  • There are only a few starter sites for Bricks to mess with. Elementor and Beaver Builder do well here as does Oxygen.
  • No Grid CSS support. I’m not sure if this is coming, but this is a feature advanced users appreciate for creating complex layouts.
  • It skews too much to uninitiated users. I get why, and that’s okay. But I’d avoid this as a developer these days because of that.
  • Like Elementor, the layouts produced by BB have extraneous markup. BB is a victim of coming out early and being successful with a sizeable user base. The builder needs an overhaul, but how do you do that and not nuke your customers’ websites?

Zion Builder

Zion Builder, to me, feels like what the next version of Beaver Builder would be like if they modernized their editor experience. Its UI is approachable, unlike opening Photoshop for the first time, which can be overwhelming with all the settings and tool panels. Oxygen and Bricks are a lot like that.

What I like about Zion Builder

  • Speed. It produces lean code and generally loads pretty fast.
  • While the UI colors and usage aren’t my cup of tea, I appreciate how it generally stays out of your way.
  • UI is more welcoming to non-devs, in my opinion. It’s simplified, bright, and colorful and doesn’t clobber the user with web terminology.
  • I love the template management features. Specifically, being able to share templates with many other sites is great.
  • Emerging 3rd party support of Bricks add-ons, i.e., BricksForge.
  • Snappy and responsive UI makes building layouts a snap and delightful.

What I don’t like about Zion Builder

  • No native Grid CSS support.
  • This is a preference, but I don’t care for the UI, it reminds me too much of Divi, with its colorful icons and such. I prefer the Webflow UI similar to Oxygen and Bricks. So this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  • It misses some basic elements, such as a logo element, which, it turns out, is very useful to have and thus seems a glaring omission.
  • No Grid CSS support. I’m not sure if this is coming, but this is a feature advanced users appreciate for creating complex layouts.
  • It skews too much to uninitiated users. I get why, and that’s okay. But I’d avoid this as a developer because of that.
  • Template assignment is not intuitive at all; it’s confusing in fact.

Breakdance

Breakdance. It’s from the same people who brought you Oxygen. When Soflyy announced Breakdance, the reception for it was… mixed! A lot has been said about Soflyy’s decision, but I’m not here to analyze that bit.

Breakdance was built for a more casual (non-developer) user. The UI (which is similar to Oxygen/Webflow) is pleasant, intuitive, and snappy/responsive.

What I like about Breakdance

  • Speed. It produces lean code and generally loads pretty fast.
  • Intuitive UI, it’s fast, snappy, and smooth.
  • Lots of elements to choose from.
  • Dynamic elements for the post title, custom field support for ACF and Metabox, and others.
  • Element studio functionality. You can use the Breakdance UI to build a custom element with no or low code. It’s pretty damn cool.
  • Emerging 3rd party support of Bricks add-ons, i.e., BricksForge.
  • Snappy and responsive UI makes building layouts a snap and delightful.

What I don’t like about Breakdance

  • No native Grid CSS support… yet. It’s planned according to their roadmap.
  • This is a preference, but I don’t care for the UI, it reminds me too much of Divi, with its colorful icons and such. I prefer the Webflow UI similar to Oxygen and Bricks. So this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  • I still disagree with the whole theme disabling. Although, I have to admit my ignorance of what flexibility this provides. Also, it seems like this could have unforeseen consequences I don’t know what they would be.

Closing Thoughts

Page Builders continue to get more and more sophisticated as they mature. Regardless of your experience level, there’s a builder that’s right for you.

For devs looking to use a powerful UI, I recommend Oxygen or Bricks. Both are superb.

For folks who want a powerful interface that abstracts confusing terminology, complex functionality, and terminology to keep it approachable, I recommend either Breakdance or Elementor.

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