Before the popular concept of page building plugins was born, business owners aspiring to build an online presence for their businesses must undergo intense training in coding to construct websites. The thought of handling complex coding functions across a wide array of programming languages terrified a number of people as they would have to spend significant time, money and effort in picking up the necessary skills.
Fortunately, page builder plugins are now readily available to us. We can now transform our online presence from absolutely nothing to a spectacular experience for users in significantly less time without needing to go through the nightmare of all the coding and backend jargon. In fact, the dilemma now is not whether we should spend time learning to develop websites, but rather, the page builder plugin we should utilise.
As such, The Digital Space wants to share our opinions on two of the best page builder plugins available on WordPress – a popular platform to build your website – Elementor and Beaver Builder. We have outlined several key factors of comparison between the two plugins and provided our verdict on which plugin has the edge in each category for your reference. If you haven’t already done so, do remember to check out our WordPress vs Wix comparison article to decide if WordPress or Wix is better for you.
These are the five categories of comparison:
Modules & Widgets
1. User Interface
User Interface is one of the most critical aspects to consider when picking the plugin to use. Your speed, ease of navigation, and enjoyment derived from website development starts from the user interface. A software packed with a vast array of features is pointless if the user interface is too horrible for you to utilise them.
Elementor divides its interface into two main sections – the sidebar, located on the left, and the live preview of your website. The sidebar consists of the WordPress widgets and elements for you to build your pages. Elements can be added to your pages via simple dragging and dropping to the live preview. To make changes to the content, you can simply click on that element and make changes directly on the live preview (inline editing) or through the sidebar. Additional settings can be accessed at the bottom of the sidebar.
Like Elementor, Beaver Builder has a sidebar showing all the available modules. To insert a module to your page, simply drag and drop it from the right sidebar into the live page. However, unlike Elementor, Beaver Builder’s text editor is slightly different. By default, a pop-up editor will appear when editing. For those of you that dislike the pop-up function, you can choose to pin the text editor by dragging it to the left or right side of the screen, allowing you to perform in-line editing. Unfortunately, Beaver Builder does suffer from a lack of edit history, thus making undoing edits more challenging.
2. Modules & Widgets
Elements are necessary cogs for establishing your website using page builder plugins. Elementor terms elements as “modules” while Beaver Builder calls them “widgets”. These are basic contents required to ensure the smooth running of your website. Examples of such important elements include text, button, images, contact forms, testimonials, gifs, tables, and more.
Elementor divides its elements into three categories: sections, columns, and widgets, with sections being the highest and widgets being the lowest in the hierarchy. This means that every widget lives inside a column, and every column and widget exist inside a section. Essentially, widgets consist of your actual content while sections and rows are for layout purposes. Elementor gives you access to 30 widgets in the free version and over 50 in the PRO version (take note that the numbers are ever-increasing as new versions are released). Widgets can be dragged from the sidebar inside columns, which form a section. Conveniently, Elementor allows you to simply right-click on an element to edit, delete, or duplicate it.
Likewise, Beaver Builder also divides its elements into three categories: rows, columns, and modules, with rows being the highest and modules being the lowest in the hierarchy. Beaver Builder’s free version allows you to use 6 modules while the pro version gives you 30 modules to utilise (again, these numbers are ever-increasing). However, unlike Elementor, Beaver Builder does not come with custom right-click options, meaning you have to hover over a module to perform actions on it.
Elementor is the clear winner in this category. While both plugins offer simple ways to create neat layouts for your pages, Elementor takes it a step further by offering a right-click menu on every widget which allows you to easily access its settings. Furthermore, Elementor has the advantage of having more elements available for use, especially in the free version.
While one of the main attractions of using a builder plugin is the ability to customise your own designs from scratch, it is not necessary for you to do so. The design process can be expedited if there are templates available for use. This is especially important for business owners who prefer to devote their time to other aspects of their business. Hence, the template options is another key feature to consider when selecting a page builder plugin.
One of Elementor’s key selling points is that it comes with more than 100 pre-designed templates. Examples of what some of these templates cover include:
Service listing pages
Coming soon pages
Moreover, for each page, you can often find different designs targeted towards specific niches. For instance, you can have a homepage template catered for restaurants, or a landing page tailored for agencies. More templates are easily available on the web, with simple importing functions, enabling limitless customisation possibilities. You are also given the option to create your custom page templates and save them easily for reuse in future.
Beaver Builder offers over 50 templates divided primarily into two categories: Landing pages, and Content pages. Similarly to Elementor, you can create a page as a template, save it, and reuse it later. However, take note that the free version of Beaver Builder does not offer templating options, so you need to be ready to do everything from scratch if you want to utilise their free version. Importing templates from the web is also possible on Beaver Builder, albeit not as intuitive as Elementor’s.
In terms of design and appearance, both Elementor and Beaver Builder offer a multitude of fantastic templates that cater to many different types of niches. However, Elementor has the edge here due to having more templates to pick, and easier import and export options available. Moreover, the free version of Elementor has a significant edge over that of Beaver Builder’s as you can select from over 20 free templates, while you have to upgrade to the premium version on Beaver Builder to make use of templates.
Basic drag and drop options offered by page building plugins offer users a simple route to the designing of their websites. Inevitably, every developer might prefer some freedom to flex his/her creativity. Extra styling options will go a long way to tweak your site to your preferred taste and style. You would want a page builder that offers more control over the look and positioning of various elements and layouts.
Upon clicking on any element or section in Elementor, three tabs will appear at the top of the sidebar: Content (which enables you to specify basic content and alignment settings), Style (allows you to set fonts, colours, borders, and more), and Advanced (lets you add custom margins/paddings, scrolling effects, entrance animations, background settings, and more). Something unique about Elementor is the ability to set custom values for different screen sizes, giving you finer control over the display of your content on different devices and screen resolutions.
Similar to Elementor, upon clicking on most elements, a pop-up will appear, showing three different tabs: General (lets you set basic content and functionality), Style (lets you choose colours, basic alignment, font size, and more), and Advanced (lets you add custom margins, responsive settings, user role visibility, animations, and more). Compared to Elementor, Beaver Builder’s settings might not be as detailed as it lacks the ability to add more advanced styling such as column gaps. However, Beaver Builder does have a unique function – the option to hide or display certain modules depending on whether a user is logged in to your WordPress site.
We are going to call this a draw for this category. Both plugins offer a wide range of styling options and configurations. You can engage in plenty of customisations up to the smallest details of each element for either plugin. Aside from some features unique to each plugin, both Elementor and Beaver Builder are mostly equivalent in this category.
Having compared both plugins over several key factors, we are going to have a look at their pricing. This could be a crucial factor for many business owners operating on a tight budget.
Elementor provides 3 pricing options – Personal ($49 for one site), Business ($99 for three sites), and Unlimited ($199 for unlimited sites). All plans have access to the same features and will continue to receive the premium support and updates for 1 year.
Similar to Elementor, Beaver Builder has three tiers of pricing – Standard ($99), Pro ($199) and Agency ($399). The standard license does not have multisite support and the Beaver Builder Theme. The pro version is able to support multiple sites and comes with the Beaver Builder theme. Finally, the agency license adds in an additional white labelling feature.
Elementor gets our vote in this category. Elementor’s free version comes with more features and less restrictions than Beaver Builder’s. In terms of the paid versions, both plugins have different pricing strategies and each has its own advantages. The white labelling option of Beaver Builder might appeal to developers, though at a much steeper cost.
Elementor has the edge over Beaver Builder in most of the categories we are comparing. That is not taking anything away from Beaver Builder – it is a developer-friendly web builder plugin which can similarly meet the needs of every web design user. Essentially, which web builder you should go for depends on your requirements. If you want something with lots of features and rapid updates, Elementor will be better for you. On the other hand, developers might be more keen on Beaver Builder as a result of the white labelling options available and no restrictions in place on how they can sell services or websites built using it.