Both are quality options and, quite honestly, you’re not going to go wrong with either. But I’m guessing that you don’t want to use two page builders on your WordPress site…
Divi vs Elementor – Theme or. Plugin: Which is Which?
Ok, let’s start by defining some things. Namely, the difference between the Divi theme and the Divi Builder.
See, Elementor is always and only a standalone plugin. It works across all themes and has no theme of its own.
On the other hand, Divi Builder comes in two flavors. Originally, the Divi Builder was only part of the Divi theme. But, to deal with the issue of theme lock-in, Elegant Themes added a standalone Divi Builder plugin in 2015 that works independently of the theme.
So are the Divi Builder theme and plugin exactly the same? Well, not 100% right now. The Divi Builder version that’s included with the Divi theme currently has a few more features than the standalone plugin version.
For example, Elegant Themes rolled out the visual builder to the theme version of the Divi Builder before the plugin version. And while the Visual Builder is coming to the plugin version, it’s not there at the time I’m writing this post.
For that reason, I’m going to use the Divi Builder version that’s included with the theme for this comparison. My reasoning is that these features are coming to the plugin very soon and I want this post to be able to stand the test of time.
Interface: Which Page Builder Is Easier to Work With?
Your chosen page builder’s interface should be a major consideration because it’s where you’ll spend the bulk of your time. Unfortunately, I can’t give you a clear winner here as it really depends on your preferences.
Divi Builder Interface
The Divi Builder lets you pick between two different interfaces. You can either build your pages with the original backend Divi Builder. Or, you can use the new Visual Builder for true WYSIWYG designing.
When you first click on the Use the Divi Builder button, you’ll see the original backend interface:
I actually like having access to the backend interface because sometimes it’s easier for working with the big picture. Instead of seeing the “end product” like you would with the Visual Builder or Elementor, you see abstract blocks that you can drag around and manipulate as needed.
If you click the Use Visual Builder button, Divi will take you into the WYSIWYG interface:
Here, you’ll see your designs exactly like your end users will. That is, what you see is what you get. To add new columns and modules, you just click on the actual page. And then, to style and customize those modules, you use the popup windows that you can see in the picture above.
What’s neat is that you can actually switch back and forth between the backend and visual interfaces as needed. It’s not like you’re exclusively limited to one.
The only thing that I don’t like is you can’t just drag over elements like with many other page builders. While you can drag them around once they’re on your page, to insert them you need to actually click and scroll:
It’s a small thing. But over time, this added time can actually build up. By no means a dealbreaker, though.
Whereas Divi has both backend and front-end editing, Elementor only offers front-end, WYSIWYG editing. Most people prefer this style of page builder, so I don’t think this is anything to ding Elementor on.
Once you enter the Elementor interface, you can add Sections by clicking on the button. Or, you just need to drag over any element to add it to your page:
For example, to add a similar counter element as in my Divi example above, you just need to drag that element over to the page. Then, you’ll see the final product in your page (remember – WYSIWYG) and can edit the element in the sidebar:
The only downside with Elementor is that you can’t edit text in-line. That is, if you’re trying to edit a text element, you have to type the text in the sidebar instead of directly on the page like you can with the Divi Builder:
It’s not a huge deal. But I personally prefer the Divi Builder’s approach to in-line text editing.
Personally, I give a slight edge to Elementor here. While both are quality interfaces, I find that I can build pages slightly faster with Elementor’s interface. The difference is small though, and both are in the top tier of page builder interfaces as far as I’m concerned.
Elements: Who Has The Better Selection?
Elements are the actual building blocks you use to construct your pages. Elementor calls them elements, while Divi Builder opts to call them modules. Both refer to essentially the same thing.
Pretty much every page builder supports the basic elements like:
So the real differentiating features come in the more specialized elements that are available.
Divi Builder Elements
Currently, the Divi Builder supports 46 different modules:
Notable modules include specialized modules to be able to add:
- Contact forms
- Countdown timers
- Email optins
- Filterable portfolios
- Pricing tables
As far as I’m concerned, the Divi Builder has one of the best element lists of any page builder out there.
Currently, Elementor offers 43 elements between its free and pro versions:
Notable elements include:
- Forms for contact forms and opt-ins
- WooCommerce specific elements to build WooCommerce product pages
- Post and portfolio grids
- Price tables
- Countdown timers
- Unique “Flip Box” elements
It’s also worth noting that Elementor allows you to easily add any widget via the same drag and drop interface, which opens up a whole new list of usable elements. While you can add widgets with the Divi Builder as well, it’s nowhere near as simple.
I’m going to call this one a draw. Both have solid lists of elements and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with either. If you’re planning to use lots of third-party widgets, Elementor makes that easier. But otherwise, it’s a push.
Divi vs Elementor – Styling Elements: How Deep Can You Go
A good page builder should go beyond merely letting you add an element to a page. It should also let you add advanced styling to that element…if you want.
Neither disappoints in this area – both Divi Builder and Elementor offer advanced styling for each and every element that you add to your designs.
Divi Builder Advanced Styling Options
The Divi Builder Settings popup offers three different tabs. The first offers basic settings, as well as responsive design settings. You can, for example, disable individual modules for certain devices.
If you click over to the Design tab, you can go more in-depth with how each module looks:
You can quickly change up fonts, colors, sizes, and more without needing to know any CSS.
If you do know CSS, though, you can also pop over to the CSS tab and easily add custom CSS for each part of the module:
All in all, the Divi Builder gives you a fair bit of control over each and every element.
Elementor Advanced Styling Options
While Divi Builder gives you plenty of control over how your modules look, Elementor ups the game even further with the amount of control you have over each element.
Like the Divi Builder, Elementor gives you three different tabs to customize your elements. The first deals with general settings. Then, if you click over to the Style tab, you can configure colors and typography:
So far, that’s pretty equal to Divi Builder. Where Elementor pulls away is in the Advanced tab. Here, you can configure:
- Custom margins and padding
- Custom CSS
- Responsive settings (can disable elements for specific devices like with Divi Builder)
It’s worth noting that you can add custom margins and backgrounds to Divi Builder rows. But you can’t for individual modules.
Both page builders give you a good deal of control over your elements/modules. If you aren’t planning to dig into each element’s margins, you’ll be happy with either.
But I have to give the slight edge to Elementor here because you can set margins/padding on a per element basis, whereas Divi only lets you do that for rows. That said, the difference is only slight. Both offer a good deal of control of your elements/rows.
Pre-Made Templates And Library: Number and Variety
While page builders give you the ability to create detailed pages without needing to know any HTML or CSS, that doesn’t automatically turn you into a professional designer. That is, sometimes it pays to have a good starting place that isn’t a blank page.
Thankfully, both Divi Builder and Elementor offer up a number of premade templates that you can easily insert into your designs.
With a pre-made template, all the hard design work is already done for you. You just need to edit and tweak as needed to make the template fit your needs.
Divi Builder Pre-Made Templates
The Divi Builder includes a number of predefined layouts. When you enter the Divi Builder interface, you can choose to load a layout from your library. This brings up a list of predefined layouts that you can easily insert into your designs.
Currently, you can select from over 30 predefined layouts covering topics such as:
- Maintenance mode
- Coming soon
- Landing page
- Team listing page
- A variety of homepages
- Lots more
For example, if you load up the Contact Us predefined layout:
You’ll instantly have a fully designed page. You just need to go through and customize things to fit your site:
In addition to the premade layouts that come with the plugin, you can also save your own layouts to the library so that you can reuse them at a later date. Once you save a layout, you can import it from the library at any time with just a few clicks.
Elementor Pre-Made Templates
Similarly, Elementor also offers a variety of premade templates that you can choose from. Currently, they offer over 85+ different templates, which is more than double what you get with the Divi Builder.
Those templates span topics like:
- Coming soon
- Maintenance mode
- Landing pages
- About pages
- Lots more
And what’s cool is that Elementor’s templates have different niches. So you can find, say, a specific template for “homepage for a fitness center”.
And like the Divi Builder, you can also save your own layouts as templates in order to reuse them at a later date.
When it comes to templates, Elementor is the winner because it offers more than double the number of templates that you get with the Divi Builder. Additionally, Elementor is constantly releasing new templates, whereas Elegant Themes doesn’t add new predefined layouts very often.
Other than the pre-made templates, both page builders give you the same ability to save and reuse your own designs.
Unique Features: What Doesn’t Compare
Up until now, I’ve focused on core features that can be easily compared. Elements…templates…these are all things that pretty much every page builder offers nowadays.
But now, I want to get into some of the truly unique features of Divi Builder and Elementor. That is, things that can’t be compared against each other because only one of them offers the feature.
If one or more of these features piques your interest, that might be a good reason to pick one of these page builders over the other.
Divi Builder Unique Features
Let’s start with my absolute favorite Divi Builder feature:
Divi Leads adds powerful A/B testing directly inside the Divi interface. You can easily set up A/B or multivariate tests to optimize your content. This comes in especially handy for small modules like buttons or headlines.
A/B testing is one of the best ways to optimize your site and I’ve yet to find a page builder that makes it easier to A/B test than Divi Builder. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest reasons to consider the Divi Builder over other options.
Additionally, Divi includes a Role Editor that allows you to customize which actions different WordPress user roles can take. The Role Editor lets you control exactly how much access other WordPress users have, which can definitely come in handy:
Elementor Unique Features
Elementor lacks the cool A/B testing offered by Divi Builder but brings in some other awesome functionality.
I’ll start with a couple of small things. Elementor lets you:
- Easily enable maintenance/coming soon mode directly from the Elementor interface
- Design pages from a truly blank canvas for true landing page creation
Beyond those two features, Elementor also offers up the ability to design WooCommerce product pages thanks to its WooCommerce-specific elements. You can also do nifty things like display WooCommerce products in landing pages or regular posts.
So if you want a page builder that plays nice with WooCommerce, Elementor is probably your best bet.
And finally, Elementor has this really nifty Embed Anywhere feature that allows you to use designs from your Elementor library via widgets and shortcodes. So you can, for example, use Elementor to design your site’s sidebar.
Or, you can just use shortcodes to easily insert Elementor designs into pages that use the regular WordPress Editor. It’s something I haven’t seen with other page builders.
I’m not sure there can be a clear winner here. Both have attractive unique features. But if I had to choose, I’d give the edge to Divi Builder because of Divi Leads.
If you think you’ll take advantage of the A/B testing features of Divi Builder, that’s one of the Divi Builder’s biggest selling points in my opinion. No other page builder makes it as easy to implement A/B testing.
Additionally, the Divi Builder’s role editor is great if you need to give access to your WordPress site to other users.
On the other hand, Elementor isn’t totally helpless here. The blank canvas template is super helpful for building dedicated landing pages and the maintenance and coming soon modes can come in handy for some situations.
Additionally, Elementor’s Embed Anywhere feature opens up some really cool functionality to use Elementor beyond just normal posts and pages. And if you’re using WooCommerce, being able to design WooCommerce product pages with Elementor can come in handy.
Lock-in: Elementor Is the Winner
If you’ve researched Divi at all, you’ve probably come across the concept of lock-in. Chris Lema has a popular post that ranks first for the topic. And it is a real concern, though not as much as it once was.
So what’s the issue here?
The Divi Builder uses shortcodes in its designs. So if you ever deactivate Divi Builder, all the content you built with Divi is going to look like this:
While it’s not as big of an issue since Elegant Themes released the standalone Divi Builder plugin…it still definitely is an issue. If you ever decide to completely move away from Divi and the Divi Builder plugin in the future, you’re going to have to deal with that huge mess of shortcodes.
With that being said, Elegant Themes is a successful, established company. So if you like Divi Builder, I don’t think you have to worry about Elegant Themes going out of business anytime soon.
Why do I say that Elementor is the clear winner when it comes to lock-in?
Because if you deactivate Elementor, it only leaves behind clean HTML. For example, if I import an Elementor template and then deactivate the Elementor plugin, this is all it leaves behind:
No mess of shortcodes like you get with Divi. Just clean HTML.
If you’re planning to use the Divi Builder plugin for life, this isn’t an issue. But if you think there’s a chance you might want to switch down the line, lock-in is definitely something you want to consider.
Pricing: Only One Has a Free Version
Pricing is hard to compare exactly because Divi has a ton of value added benefits whereas Elementor is just a standalone plugin. With that being said, I’ll dig into some of the pros and cons below…
There’s no free version of the Divi Builder…but what you do get is a whole heckuva lot of added value. See, when you purchase access to the Divi Builder, you actually get access to the entire suite of Elegant Themes products.
That means, in addition to the Divi Builder, you also get access to powerful plugins like:
- Bloom Email Opt-ins – add a variety of email opt-in forms with custom timing.
- Monarch Social Media Sharing – boost your social shares with a variety of social share buttons.
And in addition to those plugins, you also get access to every single theme offered by Elegant Themes.
And the best part? You can also use all of these plugins and themes on unlimited sites.
To get access, you can either pay $89 per year or $249 one time for lifetime access.
As far as total value for your money, it’s tough for Elementor Pro to compete with the Divi Builder.
With that being said, if you don’t think you’ll use those bells and whistles, or if you’re looking for a free solution, then Elementor pulls ahead in those scenarios.
See, Elementor offers a free version which is actually pretty functional. You lose out on some of the best elements and templates, as well as features like Embed Anywhere. But it’s still a surprisingly powerful tool for casual use.
As far as the Pro version goes, Elementor Pro costs:
- $49 for one site
- $99 for three sites
- $199 for unlimited sites
With all of those plans, you get one year of support and updates.
If you just want to use Elementor on one site and don’t need any of Elegant Themes other products, then Elementor is the cheapest option. The Pro version only costs $49 for a single site, compared to $89 for the cheapest Divi Builder plan.
But if you think you’ll use Elegant Themes’ other products, or if you need a page builder for more than one site, then Divi Builder is the cheaper option (unless you can get by with the free version of Elementor).
Honestly, I’m a big fan of both of these page builders. I work with the Divi Builder a ton for my writing and I use Elementor for most of my personal projects.
So why did I make the decision to go with Elementor over Divi Builder for my own stuff? In the end, it came down to these two reasons for me:
- I don’t like shortcode lock-in. Even if there’s a small chance I switch down the road, I don’t like having my hand forced.
- I find Elementor’s interface a little more fluid. I feel like I can design pages faster using Elementor.
Is that the right decision for you? Maybe. Maybe not…
If you want to use the Divi theme, you’re definitely better off going with Divi Builder over Elementor. Additionally, if you like to move between backend and front-end editing, that’s another plus for Divi Builder. Divi Leads and Divi Role Editor are also powerful incentives. I’ve yet to find any way to A/B test your WordPress site as easily as Divi Leads allows you to.
And finally – some of this is just plain personal preference. Sure, I might prefer Elementor’s interface…but that doesn’t mean you will. Elegant Themes has a fully functioning demo of the Divi Builder. So I encourage you to play around with it. You might love it! Thousands of people do.
Now over to you – when it comes to Divi vs Elementor, which of these two page builders is your number one choice?