Elementor vs Visual Composer (WPBakery Page Builder): Which One Should You Choose?
Elementor vs WPBakery Page Builder (formerly known as Visual Composer Page Builder) is an interesting comparison because it’s pitting two page builders with vastly different market positions.
On one side, you have Elementor – the upstart that’s managed to quickly amass 300,000 active installs in under two years.
And on the other, you have WPBakery Page Builder – a page builder stalwart that’s been around for years and finds itself integrated into what seems like every ThemeForest theme.
So when it comes to Elementor vs WPBakery Page Builder…which one is the right choice for your site?
TL;DR – If you want my opinion RIGHT NOW – I say choose Elementor.
That’s what I’m hoping to find out in this post. To do that, I’ll go through each page builder section by section to give you a look at how each page builder functions and, hopefully, which page builder has the best functionality for your situation.
We’ve got a lot of ground to cover – so let’s get started!
Interface: Which Page Builder Is Easier to Work With?
Chances are, you’re going to spend quite a bit of time using your page builder of choice. That means you’re going to want to choose a page builder with an interface that you find intuitive and enjoy using.
Since our Elementor vs Divi Builder comparison, Elementor has made some big changes. Most notably, Elementor now offers inline editing!
Alongside that addition, Elementor also just generally offers a smooth, glitch-free front-end page editing experience.
In a nutshell, here’s how it works to add elements and edit the text (more on styling elements in a little bit):
- Drag an element from the sidebar into the visual preview
- Start typing or use the Content options to otherwise customize its content
WPBakery Page Builder Interface
While Elementor exclusively offers a frontend page building experience, WPBakery Page Builder lets you choose between two different views:
- Backend editing – you build your page using abstract “blocks”
- Frontend editing – you build your page with a live visual preview (just like Elementor)
Honestly, most people will probably just use the frontend editor. But having backend editing does come in handy sometimes if you do need a more abstract look at your page.
Here’s what the backend editor looks like:
And here’s what the frontend editor looks like:
One thing that I don’t really like is that you have to click the + icon to add a new element (whereas with Elementor you can see all the elements in the sidebar):
While it might seem like a small thing, those unnecessary clicks (and slight delay while the element list opens) can quickly add up if you’re building a complicated page.
Finally, it’s worth noting that WPBakery Page Builder lacks inline editing – you’ll need to edit your text in the popup box, which is a bit frustrating.
If you plan to build your pages using the frontend visual editor, I think Elementor is the clear winner because:
- Its interface does a better job at making important elements readily available
- Its interface feels faster than WPBakery Page Builder
- You can type directly on the page with Elementor (inline editing)
The only time I could see WPBakery Page Builder winning is if you absolutely want backend editing in addition to frontend visual editing.
Elements: Who Has The Better Selection?
Elements are what you actually build your pages with, so it’s important that the page builder you choose gives you the necessary elements for your designs.
In addition to the raw number of available elements, you should also consider what functionality you actually need. For example, 200+ elements doesn’t matter if you’re still missing some important elements.
Currently, Elementor offers 53 elements in its Pro version. You can view the full list below:
You can also add additional elements using Elementor add-ons.
WPBakery Page Builder Elements
WPBakery Page Builder offers a similar 50+ elements in its core:
Beyond those elements, there’s also a massive WPBakery Page Builder add-ons community that can give you access to 200+ additional elements, which is larger than Elementor’s add-on community. And you can even create your own addon with a special plugin.
In terms of built-in elements, the two are fairly equal. But when you consider the number of elements that are easily available via add-ons, WPBakery Page Builder definitely has the edge with its 200+ add-ons.
Like I said, though – you should also consider the individual elements rather than the raw number. Depending on your specific needs, one of these plugins might have a set of elements that’s better for you.
Elementor vs WPBakery Page Builder – Styling Elements: How Deep Can You Go
If you want to make your site your own, you’ll probably want to add custom styling to your elements. Here’s how deep each page builder goes…
Elementor Advanced Styling Options
Elementor has two tabs in its sidebar dedicated to advanced styling:
- Style – lets you change basic things like alignment and colors
- Advanced – lets you change margins/padding, Z-index, animation, borders, responsive design settings, and even add custom CSS directly to the element
You can use these tabs both for individual elements and entire sections.
Elementor has also the ability to use pre-made templates. You can upload them, activate and modify.
WPBakery Page Builder Styling Options
WPBakery Page Builder gives you different styling options depending on what type of content you’re editing.
If you’re editing a basic element, you don’t have very many options. You’re basically limited to:
But if you edit a column, you’ll get a new set of options that allow you to configure additional settings like:
- Parallax effect
- Responsive design (including hiding a column on specific devices)
I prefer Elementor’s styling options for a few reasons:
- They feel more intuitive to me
- They’re easily accessible in the sidebar, rather than a popup
- You get the same general set of options for all content types (section, column, element), whereas WPBakery Page Builder gives you different options for each
- You can add custom CSS directly to an element, whereas WPBakery Page Builder only lets you add custom CSS classes (you have to add the actual CSS elsewhere)
Pre-Made Templates And Library: Number and Variety
Templates allow you to quickly import a finished page design that you can edit and tweak as needed, rather than requiring you to build your page completely from scratch.
Elementor Pre-made Templates
Elementor currently offers 120+ pre-made templates and continues to add additional templates to its library:
You can also save your own finished designs to the library to reuse them across different pages (as well as in other areas on your site – more on this later).
WPBakery Page Builder Pre-made Templates
WPBakery Page Builder currently ships with 85+ pre-made templates. Not all of these are for a full-page design, though. Many are just individual page sections that you can use as part of a page:
Like Elementor, you can also save your own designs as a template to easily reuse them across different pages.
Elementor offers more pre-built templates and, in my opinion at least, better-designed templates. Additionally, Elementor’s template library is more flexible for letting you reuse your own designs (as you’ll see in a second).
Unique Features: What Doesn’t Compare
Ok, so far I’ve tried to keep things pretty rigid and compare Elementor vs WPBakery Page Builder on a 1:1 basis. But there are some features that just don’t compare because they’re unique to each page builder.
This section is for those features!
Elementor Unique Features
One thing that’s consistently impressed me about Elementor is how dedicated the Elementor team has been to rolling out features that are truly unique.
First up, there’s Elementor’s neat Embed Anywhere functionality. Basically, this lets you take any of your saved templates and embed them using a shortcode:
With this feature, you can use your Elementor designs in your sidebar, footer, or anywhere else that accepts shortcodes.
Another nice feature is the Global Widget functionality. With this, you can save a design once and reuse it across multiple areas. And here’s the cool part:
Whenever you edit the design, those changes will automatically update to every single place where you used the global widget.
Finally, Elementor includes a neat maintenance mode feature that allows you to put your site into maintenance mode using a custom-designed Elementor page. We’ve previously written about Elementor’s maintenance mode here.
WPBakery Page Builder Unique Features
While Elementor does include basic user role permissions, WPBakery Page Builder offers a more full-featured Role Manager tool that lets you control access to specific parts of the WPBakery Page Builder interface:
It’s not quite as detailed as Divi’s access permissions but is a big upgrade over Elementor in that regard.
Additionally, while it’s not a core feature, I think it’s fair to count WPBakery Page Builder’s massive add-on list as a “unique feature”
Through this huge community, you can add tons of unique features (though you will need to pay extra money for each additional add-on).
In terms of core functionality, Elementor has more unique functionality in my opinion. But when you consider how many add-ons there are for WPBakery Page Builder, you can probably get more unique functionality for WPBakery Page Builder if you’re willing to pay for it.
To be fair, there are plenty of helpful add-ons for Elementor, as well – the list just isn’t as long as WPBakery Page Builder’s list of add-ons.
Lock-in: Elementor Is the Winner
Lock-in refers to what happens if you were ever to disable the page builder plugin. It should be a serious consideration because it affects your ability to maintain your site’s design if you ever move away from a plugin.
Here’s the skinny:
Whenever you disable a page builder, you’re going to lose the advanced styling that the page builder added. But page builders go about removing this styling in two ways:
- Gracefully, while leaving behind clean code
- No so gracefully, while leaving behind a mess of shortcodes
If you disable Elementor, you’ll lose your styling, but your content will still look “normal”. For example, here’s what the source code looks like after you disable Elementor:
Notice how Elementor at least keeps the basic styling when it comes to headings and images?
On the other hand, if you ever disable WPBakery Page Builder, this is what you’re in for:
Just like Divi Builder, WPBakery Page Builder leaves behind a whole mess of shortcodes. So not only do you lose the basic styling, you also have to contend with all those broken shortcodes, which isn’t a very fun experience.
Because of this lock-in issue, you should think long and hard before fully committing to WPBakery Page Builder (because it will be difficult to change your mind later on).
Pricing: Only One Has a Free Version
The core Elementor page builder plugin is 100% free and listed at WordPress.org.
As far as free page builders go, it’s the best option I’ve ever come across.
However, if you want to get access to all of the features listed in this comparison, you’ll need Elementor Pro (which is technically an add-on for the free Elementor plugin).
Elementor Pro has three plans:
- 1 Site – $49
- 3 Sites – $99
- Unlimited Sites – $199
WPBakery Page Builder Pricing
With WPBakery Page Builder, there’s no free version.
Additionally, there’s only one payment plan:
- 1 Site – $45
If you only need WPBakery Page Builder for a single site, that’s fine. But if you’re planning to use WPBakery Page Builder for a number of sites, the lack of an unlimited plan (like Elementor) is going to quickly inflate your costs.
Hopefully, I laid things out in a way that lets you make your own decision when it comes to Elementor vs WPBakery Page Builder. But if you’re interested in my personal thoughts, here they are:
I recommend Elementor for a few reasons:
- I find its interface to be much quicker and less laggy which, over time, adds up to significant time savings.
- Elementor’s styling options are more intuitive and accessible. And inline editing also helps you customize text quicker than WPBakery Page Builder’s popup method.
- I’m a big fan of how rapidly the Elementor dev team is pushing out new features and improvements.
- The third-party Elementor add-on community is also doing lots of cool stuff, which opens up even more doors.
In case you’re wondering, Elementor is also what we used, in part, to build WPLift’s design.
So if you want my personal opinion – I say choose Elementor. But if some of WPBakery Page Builder’s features specifically caught your eye, WPBakery Page Builder is massively popular, so you’re probably not going to go wrong.
Now over to you – when it comes to Elementor vs WPBakery Page Builder, which of these two page builders is your number one choice?