WordPress slider plugins have been demonized lately for multiple reasons: they are widely accused of slowing down a website, affecting user experiences, and other sins.
But let’s look at it from another angle: a slider is just an instrument, which has proved to be an effective and powerful marketing weapon for drawing attention to any content.
And whether a slider of your choice will do all those bad things to your website or not directly depends on the slider itself and the way you create, implement and optimize it.
Opting for a quality, lightweight WordPress slider plugin and utilizing it intelligently will only boost engagement with website visitors.
The Best Slider WordPress Plugins
In this roundup, we are looking into the most feature-rich slider WordPress plugins that are constantly improved, developed, and adopted to WordPress changes (Gutenberg).
The competition on the WordPress slider market is fierce, which means a win-win situation for us, WordPress users.
In the “Pros” accompanying list for each plugin, we’re trying to make the main emphasis on unique and the most helpful features, so those can be both free and premium ones. Let’s get straight to the list.
This plugin, created by a trusted UpdraftPlus team, is a top choice among free WordPress slider plugins. This was one of the first companies that moved from shortcodes to Gutenberg blocks, thus introducing a better user experience for all non-tech users.
The free plugin version ships with a handy slider editor, where you can reorder images with drag and drop, crop them, customize SEO parameters for images and apply more familiar settings.
- One of the most feature-rich used and free WordPress slider plugins
- Slideshow starter templates
- Four distinct types of sliders featuring different transition effects and layouts
- Compatible with WordPress translation plugins
- Search and add free stock images to slides without leaving a WP dashboard
- PRO features extend the slider options to support video backgrounds, slide scheduling, thumbnail navigation, to name just a few highlights.
Smart Slider 3
Smart Slider 3 is a MetaSlider’s primary competitor with an even more significant number of positive reviews and more free exclusive features for creating custom slideshows in WordPress. It doesn’t differ from the MetaSlider at the core aspects, but in our opinion, it’s much more performance-oriented, design-rich, and customizable.
If you are looking for a handy visual slider creator for an affordable price, Smart Slider 3 should be top on your list.
- Adjusted to Gutenberg as well as other popular builders, such as Divi and Elementor
- An excellent slider library to fast-track the editing process
- Background animation effects
- Adaptive font sizes
- The Smart Slider 3 Pro includes everything to create a slider you may set your mind to numerous professionally designed slider templates to start with, an advanced layer animation builder, more animation effects and layer types, priority support and more.
Although this WordPress slider plugin by the trustworthy Envira team is available in a free version as well, the premium version encompasses the full range of possibilities.
For example, you can go beyond standard slider options and turn on special features, such as image protection, slide scheduling, featured content, and others. To go beyond standard carousel and lightbox slides, you can feature WooCommerce, Instagram, PDF, video, and other automatically sourced content types.
- Build any slider you can think of with any integration
- Visual drag-and-drop slider builder
- Ready-made slider patterns
- Gutenberg ready
- A toolchain of SEO setting for each image
- Even offering tons of unique features, the plugin is surprisingly lightweight (won’t kill your website performance).
Slider by 10Web – Responsive Image Slider
Slider by 10Web is a free responsive image slider that promises to ease the way you create sliders. You can check that yourself by playing with the no-registration backend demo; meanwhile, we can agree that it’s quite easy to build and edit sliders with layers, but the user experience is still not outstanding compared to Smart Slider 3 or MetaSlider, for example.
To get more advanced layers, access to more layer and transition effects, Parallax/carousel effects, and the option to create post slides, you’ll need to pay at least $20 for a premium version.
- Build the entire slider quickly and easily from one screen
- Even chock full with animation effects, the slides are still fast and lightweight
- Adjusted to Gutenberg.
Slider Widget in Elementor
You may not even look for extra WordPress plugins and get a whole range of tools for the website creation, including slider, within the premium Elementor WordPress page builder plugin. And you may rest assured that it’s as good as other dedicated slideshow plugins we’ve just revised. With Elementor, apart from the tons of slide-specific options, you’ll get a professional toolset for designing and building a website.
- Responsive layers
- Support for full and wide-width slides
- Transition and interaction effects for all slides
- Customizable arrows and dots navigation.
Slider Module in Divi Builder
To decide which one is better, Divi or Elementor, make sure to read our in-depth builders comparison.
- Support for video backgrounds
- Customizable arrows and controls
- Parallax effects
- Deep slider design options.
Slider Revolution is a top popular premium WordPress slider plugin, which comes with a gazillion of modern animation and design features, responsive layouts, a vast variety of image slider templates, great image layer control, and more tools. A lot of big WordPress theme companies often include this slider for free into their products.
It’s hard to find a slideshow WordPress plugin that can beat Slider Revolution by feature set. One of the reported cons of the Slider Revolution is, however, that it’s too heavy since hosting hundreds of features and designs it offers isn’t an easy job.
- A super user-friendly drag-and-drop slideshow builder
- Takes the lead among similar plugins in terms of the layer animation
- Multiple slider layout options
- Splendid 3D Parallax effects
- Multiple content sources for creating sliders with the automatically slid content: Flickr, Instagram, WooCommerce, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
Master Slider is a very popular freemium WordPress slideshow plugin. You want to use it if you are looking for a full-blown slider toolchain with a huge collection of professional pre-designed slider templates.
Also, the drag-and-drop slider editor interface, which enables you to edit every content layer deeply, is a joy to work with. There is little this image slider WordPress plugin can’t do.
- Multiple unique interactive transitions to create dynamic slideshows
- Parallax effects
- Support for HD video backgrounds
- Support for full-width and full-screen slideshow layouts
- Swipe navigation and image hotspots
- Generous free version bundled with 8 slider samples.
This is a direct competitor of Slider Revolution. LayerSlider also goes deeply into editing each content layer within a visual slideshow builder, which is reminiscent of advanced image editors. Of course, the plugin offers a mind-blowing library of slideshow templates to get started.
If you need to create a true wow effect for your content, this slideshow plugin arms you with all the needed effects you won’t find in many other plugins, such as interactive play-by-scroll slides, origami slider transitions and more.
- Slider templates of different styles and for real business-fueled purposes
- Countless animation and transition effects
- The ability to customize device-specific layouts
- Multiple layer timelines
- Great productivity tools (keyboard shortcuts, undo/redo buttons)
- Handy user experience of working with the slider editor.
Responsive Zoom in / Out Slider
This is a rather traditional type of slider plugin, but it’s much more lightweight. It allows you to add different types of marketing and presentation sliders by applying a bunch of settings, without really deep controls.
If you need a kind of simple slider with a good bunch of zooming and panning effects, you’ll definitely pan out with this responsive slider.
- Responsive layers and great touch-screen navigation
- A straightforward way to add and customize slides
- Several types of skins for each type of slider
- Optimized for performance
- Modest pricing.
Slider PRO is a premium multi-purpose slider plugin for WordPress, which works great for most use cases. It’s one of the bestsellers that has a lot of features in common with Slider Revolution and LayerSlider, but is doing a better job at the performance level and offers more tools for developers and optimization for search engines.
If you need a powerful plugin yet with a focus on simplicity and clean code, consider Slider PRO.
- A good bunch of layout skins and animation effects
- Almost no bad effect on the website speed and overall performance
- Native-like navigation experience on touch-screen devices
- Conditional logic for slider images
- Breakpoints to adjust your slider to different screen sizes
- Lightbox and video support.
Royal Slider is another WordPress slider plugin that can brag about smooth performance, polished touch-screen navigation, and excellent SEO tools (lazy loads, deep-linking).
It ships with a relatively small collection of pre-set slider design patterns and only essential animation effects, but it should be enough for building diverse hero front page, product, full-screen and even video gallery slides.
- Straightforward starter slider templates
- Easy to set up and launch, plus smart backend management tools
- Support for video embeds and HTML5 full-screen slides
- Easily embedded into posts, pages, sidebar, header, footer, and other widget areas.
The Accordion Slider plugin will be particularly useful for creating smooth accordion-styled sliders. Just like the Slider PRO from the same company, it’s known for design quality, intelligent SEO work, and excellent built-in guides for non-tech users.
The plugin features a library of different horizontal and vertical accordion pre-set slider templates you can select and customize: those can be custom slides, video slides, from automatic sources (e.g., WooCommerce products, posts, Flickr) and others. You can even combine different types of content in the same accordion slider.
- WordPress-native customization interface
- Touch-enabled and fully responsive layers
- Modular architecture, which is easy for developers to adjust to any needs.
According to the plugin creators, it’s a “genuinely easy” slideshow plugin, which can aid you in creating a diverse slideshow, with a particular focus on custom, WooCommerce, video (from your Media Library, Youtube, Vimeo) and Parallax sliders. Take a look at demo examples to see how stylish default design solutions they have to offer.
- Real-time drag-and-drop slider editor
- Different design styles individually for navigation arrows, buttons and slides in general
- Grid overlay to arrange slider elements easier
- Timeline view for animation on the backend
Slider – Responsive WordPress Image Slider
Although it comes with a very generic name, you’ll love how it works on the backend. If you’re into a plain and straightforward free image slider, search no more. This plugin will allow you to create a photo gallery with image titles, descriptions, thumbnails, navigation buttons, and other traditional slider content elements.
- Six slider layouts in a Pro version
- Font styles, slider ordering, drag-and-drop image reposition, color settings
- Works with multilingual plugins.
WP1 Slider is a freemium slideshow plugin that comes packaged with all the essential features for building a visually appealing and SEO-optimized slider. It supports a huge range of sliders, such as WooCommerce, SoundCloud audio slider, Facebook, Instagram, social media slides, posts slider, carousel slider and more making it a perfectly suitable solution for both business and creative projects.
- Full-width and auto-width sliders
- Touch screens friendly
- Six transition effects
- Affordable pricing.
This slider offers probably the easiest way to create a slideshow: you need to simply choose images, select a slider type, and apply some animation effects. And that’s it! There are no sophisticated editing tools, yet you can create functional and beautiful image slideshows.
- Full-width, full-screen and boxed layouts
- Multiple slideshow types
- The Pro version covers video slides, more navigation arrow styles, more colors, and slideshow effects.
GS Logo Slider
Showcase partners, companies, and brands in style by creating a logo slider with this great purpose-built plugin.
You can create it from scratch with a set of essential tools in a free version and go further by upgrading to PRO: choose from more layouts, add tooltips, source sliders from logo categories and more. If you need to showcase design works or just brand logos, going with this lightweight plugin is a good decision.
- Resizable logos
- Stop-on-hover controls
- Controlled speed and animation
- Dedicated Gutenberg block.
Gutenberg Slider by Kadence Blocks
If you want to have access to a slider block within the Gutenberg plugins for the new WordPress era, Kadence Blocks is one of those solutions. You can create a slider with the Advanced Gallery block, which allows for building carousels and classic sliders.
- Customizable basic design options
- Support for lightboxes
- Transition effects.
Gutenberg Slider by Getwid
That may sound strange, but only a few Gutenberg addons offer dedicated slider blocks. Getwid is one of those plugins that support this functionality allowing you to create five different types of slideshows, although their customization options are quite limited. One more bonus is that you can create slides quite quickly because they are set to inherit styles from whatever WordPress theme you use.
- Support for image and media & text sliders
- Multiple sources for dynamic slider content: latest posts, posts, custom post types
- Customizable slider templates
- A standard set of design and typography options
- Transition effects.
Conclusion: What is the best WordPress slider plugin?
The obvious answer is that it depends on what you are aiming to create your budget and design preferences.
Almost all top popular premium WordPress image slider plugins presented in our roundup can do the same work, but they differ in pricing, support, and critical performance metrics. Free WordPress slider plugins give you a wider choice of dedicated solutions but can limit you in design, layout, and animation settings.
Anyways, the following recommendation will be useful in any case: stick to a performance-optimized, straightforward in customization and actively developed plugin. So has any slider plugin already caught your eye?