Gutenberg vs Elementor? This choice is often overlooked by those about to create a WordPress site from scratch. They instead think about which theme to use, with the rest depending on which page builder – or not – that theme uses.
Indeed, Gutenberg and Page Builders are two very different tools that are not the same. So, taking a look at their features helps you understand which option is the best to make according to your real needs and not only the theme you would like to use.
Gutenberg vs Elementor: Quick Overview
While you may already know some information about Elementor and Gutenberg, to start our Elementor vs. Gutenberg comparison article, we first want to give you a quick overview of these two WordPress page builders.
✅ What is Gutenberg?
Obviously, we needed to start this article with Gutenberg. For what reason? Because it is the native page builder of WordPress. Therefore, if you prefer not to use third-party plugins to create your website, you stay 100% native with Gutenberg. This means that you will not have any compatibility problems, for example.
One major issue with Gutenberg is that it could potentially conflict with your existing plugins or themes. There is no problem if you want to design a WordPress site entirely from scratch with Gutenberg. The challenge occurs if you choose to integrate Gutenberg with your existing site.
✅ What is Elementor?
Elementor is among WordPress’s most popular page builders, with 5 million downloads. Using Elementor, you can visually create entire websites without knowledge of HTML, CSS or any other programming language.
What makes it special is that Elementor is not a theme but rather a plugin. This means that you still need a WordPress theme installed. But don’t worry: many themes are optimized for Elementor.
You can create a complete website quickly and conveniently with Elementor. For this, you do not need any knowledge of CSS or HTML.
In fact, you can configure everything you can think of using the visual page builder. With its very intuitive interface, Elementor is clearly laid out and thus also very suitable for beginners.
Elementor vs. Gutenberg: Key Differences
Well, there are some significant differences between these two, and in the following, we will look at some of the most important ones.
✅ What they offer
The first one is that Gutenberg is a content editor, which means that you can edit the contents of pages and articles (text, photos, etc.), while Elementor, as a page builder, allows you to edit entire pages.
As an example, you may have to create a different menu or footer for each site page, as happens with landing pages. Furthermore, page builders like Elementor offer the ability to work in a visual editor mode, which lets you see the changes live and makes the design process more straightforward.
But you don’t have such a feature in Gutenberg and won’t be able to see your design changes until you preview it.
✅ Ease of installation
The second significant difference is that you can find Gutenberg by default in any WordPress installation, but Elementor has to be installed separately.
Therefore, you can start using Gutenberg right after the WordPress installation. In contrast, if you’re going to use Elementor, you will first need to install it. Unless it is already included by default with the theme you have decided to install.
✅ Cost and updates
Elementor is a free plugin with a paid-for Pro version (starting from $49), which must be updated separately, just like all plugins and themes. On the other hand, Gutenberg is always free and will be updated automatically with the WordPress core.
Elementor vs. Gutenberg: Features and Options
In this section of our Elementor vs. Gutenberg comparison, we will take a deeper look into the features and options they offer for building WordPress pages; stay tuned!
✅ Elementor Features and Options
You can create outstanding page layouts with Elementor regardless of whether you are not a web designer and know nothing about HTML and CSS!
Furthermore, since Elementor follows a policy of open source code, i.e., code that is documented and accessible to everyone, several extensions have been developed by other companies.
This is particularly useful when using your own CSS: 90% of the CSS code is displayed live. This way, you can implement smaller CSS changes without repeatedly refreshing the website.
Let’s take a look at a list of what Elementor (Pro) provides and what you can do with it:
- Create fantastic layouts quickly with a drag & drop interface.
- Design your own blog articles.
- Save sections of layouts as templates and use them on other pages.
- Create landing pages.
- Dynamic content creation
- Create contact or opt-in forms. (Elementor pro)
- Link contact forms to some popular autoresponders. (Elementor pro)
- Customize the look of your theme easily. (Elementor Pro)
- Create and manage Pop-ups. (Elementor Pro)
✅ Gutenberg Features and Options
Gutenberg is a new editor which replaced the previous TinyMCE editor beginning with WordPress 5.0. It is a block editor, not a page builder, which lets you define a page as a set of editable blocks.
The designers then configure the blocks so that editing their content is user-friendly, and the result is a developer-friendly structure. It simply puts an end to the mess that WYSIWYG editors tend to produce.
While Gutenberg may not have as many options and features as Elementor offers, it has enough to help you easily create pages.
The following are some features and options of the Gutenberg block editor:
- Utilize lots of blocks to build content, from the most classic (text, image, video) to advanced options like galleries, lists, buttons, and widgets.
- Use drag and drop editor to create pages, articles, and custom post types (CPTs)
- Set up a basic multi-column layout which can be varied along with the page or article
- Personalize specific options on each block, plus a few parameters on the whole document
- Drag-and-drop to add, remove or reorder blocks
🏆 The Winner: Elementor
Elementor offers much more features and options to build pages. There are also more add-ons for Elementor on the market than Gutenberg.
Elementor vs. Gutenberg: Learning Curve
One important thing when deciding on what page builder to choose for creating a WordPress website is its ease of use. In the following, we will see which of these tools has a better interface and is easier to work with.
✅ Elementor Learning Curve
Elementor is not among the easiest WordPress page builders on the market, and it will take some time to get used to it. For us, it takes about half to experiment with it and get familiar with the menus and features. There are many tutorial videos on YouTube that can help you a lot.
However, after an initial look around, many will find Elementor easy to use, and the tool will feel easy to work with. The editor is very intuitive and contains all the essential elements.
✅ Gutenberg Learning Curve
If you do not have any page builders installed on your WordPress website, you will automatically be taken to the Gutenberg interface when you create a new article or page.
This interface looks somewhat overwhelming at first glance if you are only interested in a “basic” editor. However, the interface becomes simple and clean as you get used to it.
Furthermore, you have to admit that although it looks a bit complex for a basic editor, Gutenberg is in fact rather quick to pick up. In general, the user interface can be made more intuitive, but once you start learning it, you soon feel that it is no longer complicated.
The Winner: Elementor
Elementor has a better interface, is more user-friendly, and you can quickly learn to work with it after spending some time.
Elementor vs. Gutenberg: Performance
Most importantly, the Gutenberg block editor built into WordPress has no additional effect on page load speed. It works the same way as in a classic editor on the front end.
The static HTML is loaded from the database at the WordPress loading stage and is subsequently displayed by the theme.
Elementor plugin is a standalone software application that will become a kind of overlay on the default block editor in WordPress after being installed and activated.
Considering the different performance aspects, such as the DOM tree size or code semantics, Elementor performs much worse than the Gutenberg block editor in all of them. No wonder a site built on the Gutenberg block editor performs twice as well in Core Web Vitals, even with no optimization efforts on your part.
The already good result of the page with the Gutenberg block editor alone can be improved even further by choosing (or coding yourself) a lighter theme.
🏆 The Winner: Gutenberg
As discussed above, a website built with Gutenberg has much better page load speed and excellent performance overall.
Elementor vs. Gutenberg: SEO Friendliness
For one thing, Elementor can help you create attractive websites and achieve an eye-catching design, including for beginners. Ideally, this great design means your visitors spend more time on your website, resulting in a longer dwell time and a lower bounce rate.
Google values such positive signals with better rankings on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Conversely, Elementor, as with other page builder plugins, inserts unnecessary code into your website, which generally increases loading time and decreases performance.
As performance is also a ranking factor in Google, this may result in lower rankings in the SERPs.
When it comes to the Gutenberg block editor, as we mentioned in the performance section of this Elementor vs. Gutenberg comparison, it has no bad effect on page load times and on SEO. This is because, unlike Elementor, Gutenberg adds no unnecessary codes to your website.
🏆 The Winner: Gutenberg
Since Google considers core web vitals essential for ranking higher in search results, Gutenberg’s websites could be more SEO friendly.
Elementor vs. Gutenberg: Pricing
As you might already know, Elementor can be downloaded for free from the WordPress repository. The free version is quite good and offers many features, which could be enough to build a website.
But if you need additional widgets, a ready-made professional page, and block templates, or if you would like to tamper with the look and feel of WooCommerce, you will need Elementor PRO.
There are several options in the paid version of the page builder. These differ primarily by the number of sites (domains) on which you can use Elementor for a single cost.
On the other hand, Gutenberg is WordPress’s default block editor; therefore, you do not have to pay anything to use it on your website.
🏆 The Winner: Gutenberg
While the free version of Elementor offers some basic features to build pages, you must pay for Elementor Premium for the ultimate experience. On the other hand, Gutenberg is totally free, letting you utilize all features and options without paying anything.
Elementor vs. Gutenberg: Building Pages
In this section of the Elementor vs. Gutenberg comparison, we will talk about building pages, which is what both of the plugins promise to do easily.
✅ Building a Page with Elementor
An essential aspect of a good page builder is a clean and straightforward interface. You can find both of these features in Elementor.
All you have to do to access the features of the Elementor plugin is to create a new article or a new page on your website. By clicking the Edit with Elementor button, you will be directed to a loading screen and, shortly after, to the page builder.
Use the + (Add new section) button to create your page from scratch using the drag and drop commands in the column on the left.
Next, choose the structure of the section based on the number of columns, then select the + symbol inside it to select the element to be inserted.
Then drag the desired element from the left-hand column and drop it in the desired position. As you select an element on your page, you will be given several options, which will be shown in the column on the left.
If you would like to use Elementor’s available templates, select the button representing a folder icon. This will take you to the library of templates. Pick the one you prefer and then customize it to your satisfaction. There you will find not only whole page templates but also individual elements.
Each time you create a new section, a small menu of icons will be displayed whenever you hover your mouse over it:
- the + indicates the insertion of a new section;
- the dots in a row are used to drag the section to another position;
- X deletes the section.
After loading a template, you can still add new elements to the page, once again, using the drag and drop feature.
✅ Building a Page with Gutenberg
As the standard block editor of the WordPress CMS, Gutenberg is getting more popular among users. While the structure of its panel is quite reminiscent of the classic WordPress editor, featuring a top toolbar, a side toolbar, and the content area, the way it works and its features have changed a bit.
With the blocks that we can add to our page, we can create the structure of a website. All you have to do is learn the type of blocks you have and how to insert and customize them, in addition to the basics of the Gutenberg block editor.
The editor contains different Gutenberg blocks: common blocks, formatting blocks, layout blocks, widgets, and embedded blocks. Each of these has numerous blocks and covers different features.
If you want to insert a new block on your page, you must click on the “add block“ button in the top bar of the editor. It will display the different elements that we can add according to what we are looking for.
Alternatively, we can add it from the content area by clicking on the “+“ icon. In both cases, a drop-down menu will open with the different block options, sorted according to their type.
To remove a block or modify its position in the content area, you can click on the last three dots in the top bar on the right when you select the block.
Like Elementor, Gutenberg also has a list of blocks and patterns, which you can open by clicking the + button on the top bar. You can easily drag and drop them on the editor to design the page.
🏆 The Winner: Elementor
Because of its easy-to-use interface, you can build pages more easily with Elementor. Moreover, as a live editor, you don’t need to preview the changes you’ve made.
Bottom Line: Which One Should You Choose?
As discussed in this Elementor vs. Gutenberg comparison article, both tools offer good features to help you build posts, pages, and websites with no programming knowledge.
Elementor is a dedicated page builder plugin and has more features and options when compared to Gutenberg.
When it comes to designing pages, Elementor is the winner here, but as already mentioned, since it adds some additional code to your website, Elementor can decrease the load time of your pages.
In contrast, the Gutenberg block editor would be your best option if you want to build a website with good page loading times. Although it has fewer features than Elementor at the moment, its developers are adding more of them to Gutenberg with each update.
So, when it comes to the Elementor vs. Gutenberg comparison, which one is the winner, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments section below.