When designing a website, we think the best tool to use is a page builder. These let you create the page by putting together prefabricated blocks, using a simple drag-and-drop interface. With page builders, you can see what you are building easily, and coding knowledge isn’t strictly necessary to get a polished website. Because each website will have its own needs, and each developer has preferred ways of working, it’s hard to say hands-down which page builder is best. Our article series compares the available options so you can see quickly the pros and cons of each. In this article, we discuss the similarities and differences: Elementor vs Beaver Builder. We explore costs, usability and overall functionality, as well as the special features and templates on offer.
Elementor and Beaver Builder are both flexible and fully customisable, with many content blocks available.
Elementor provides users with a live preview function and split-screen when designing their site. This is great for productive users who want an efficient page builder and real-time information about their edits. On the other hand, Beaver Builder’s live preview function is optional and appears in full screen. This lack of an option to split the screen means users are unable to work on finished designs and edits in tandem, the way that you can when using Elementor.
Focussing on module options and design features, Beaver Builder and Elementor are both flexible and fully customisable. Yet when it comes to additional modules such as online forms, it becomes clear that Beaver Builder users can only add forms by downloading a supporting plugin. On the other hand, developers can design, build and edit online forms within Elementor, as well as view the data collected, all from one central place.
Table of Contents
- What is a Page Builder?
- User Interface
- Templates & Themes
- Elementor vs Beaver Builder: Essential Features
- Elementor vs Beaver Builder: Price Range
- The Best Page Builder
What is a Page Builder?
To avoid falling victim to the cookie-cutter look, page builders have been the go-to solution for building beautiful and easy to navigate sites for a while now.
Avoiding time-consuming coding and the need to build websites from scratch, a page builder can make your life a lot easier, whether you are a developer, designer, or business owner.
While using a page builder does save you time when building a website, you still need to be able to personalise and customise your design to incorporate your company branding.
Although WordPress is an excellent foundation for nearly any type of website, truly feature-rich websites can only be built successfully by professional website design agencies. For example, agencies can implement a complex layout and unique design while avoiding inefficiencies or conflicting elements. Expert developers and designers are proficient at more than just code can really help you to distinguish your website from others built from the same theme.
Released in 2016, Elementor was quickly popular, because the free version offers many features that are usually only available with subscriptions. As one of the best free WordPress page builders, Elementor is very easy to use, helping designers produce beautiful websites quickly. For professionals, Elementor Pro provides additional tools to create more intricate and feature-rich designs. With over a million active installs to date, Elementor Pro can be a great value addition to your web design business, helping you save time and money.
Introducing Beaver Builder
Although some users say it is not as intuitive as Elementor, Beaver Builder does still allow you to quickly and easily create stunning websites. Providing a selection of pre-built designs and templates which can be customised, it is known as being a page builder loved by agency developers and freelancers alike. Beaver Builder’s powerful design system and flexible interface add value to those building large websites.
Elementor Vs Beaver Builder
User Interface: Speed and Customisation Win
Once you activate your Elementor Plugin, you can access the page builder by clicking on ‘Edit with Elementor’ on any of your pages or posts in the WordPress CMS.
When designing with Elementor, you work in the front-end, selecting blocks from a panel and positioning them within a live preview of your website. You can see straight away how your page will look to visitors without having to switch between screens.
The instant drag-and-drop function is fast and intuitive. Elementor shows dotted guidelines to available spaces in the shape of the block, which helps you to decide where to drop things. You can move existing content around just by clicking in the content area and selecting the block you want to edit.
There are 90 blocks to choose from in a panel on the left, and include the basics (text, image, video) as well as more complex elements. You can choose columns, dividers, spacers and other structural elements, but the real excitement comes with the specialised blocks, such as the form-builder (we’ll talk more about that later). There are so many options with Elementor that a scroll-bar and search bar are included to help you navigate quickly.
Once placed, you can edit the blocks to fit your style. The latest update in June 2020 allows colour customisation on a unique level, meaning you can easily change the colour of one or two words in a text box, or add a gradient to your Call to Action buttons.
To launch Beaver Builder, you need to ‘Convert to Beaver Builder’ within the WordPress editor. To convert existing content, use the conversion tool in the block editor settings list.
Also a visual editor, Beaver Builder’s interface is easy to navigate and loads layouts quickly. The toolbar sits at the top of the page, within which the main page-building panel is hidden behind a ‘+’. Compared to Elementor’s ever-present panel, this adds a small extra step to getting new elements into your design.
Beaver Builder offers 35 unique modules, including maps, lists, buttons and contact forms. In the builder panel, there are also tabs for Rows, Templates and ‘Saved’. In Rows, you can find premade column variations, allowing you to add content in up to 6 columns, or in a configuration of main and sidebar columns. We’ll talk more about Templates below.
When editing columns, rows or modules, click the content in the front-end viewer and edit the content within the pop-up editor, rather than typing directly into the block. There are different customisation settings for colour and style, but it’s clear that Elementor has the edge here.
Templates & Themes: Flexibility vs Basic Range
Elementor can be used to edit any theme, so your existing WordPress website is easily updated. This builder gives its users a library of over 350 free and pro templates to use. These are all fully customisable, so you can play around with the existing designs to create your own version.
Built with professionals in mind, the Elementor Theme Builder interface is identical to the regular interface. You can create a complete website design from scratch, and save it as a template to use over and over. You can even create conditional formats to use a different header and footer depending on the category of a blog post.
Beaver Builder’s templates can be accessed from the page-building panel just like any other content module. You can choose from a blank canvas template, 30 landing pages and 30 content templates, though none of these are available in the free demo. Beaver Builder offers a range of template styles, targeted towards different industries or website purposes such as portfolios, gyms and musicians. However, there is no way to preview a template or quickly remove your website design’s sidebars, so templates can look squashed when you insert them.
Where Elementor templates can be customised endlessly, Beaver Builder is more limited. Users can create custom layouts from scratch to save as templates, accessing them from the Saved tab in the panel.
As for themes, Beaver Builder users can only create and manage the various parts of their theme by downloading the Beaver Themer extension for Beaver Builder. When users are building their designs this provides them with a new group of Themer Modules which let users dynamically insert content into their site.
Compared to Elementor, the process for creating a new theme layout to insert their content is more laborious and involves categorising content by both users and location. This could get as specific as controlling where a design is displayed, dependent upon whether a user is logged in.
Essential Features: Form-builder
Creating a unique customer experience through your website is easily achieved with a great way for them to interact with you. Your enquiry or contact form is the first time you open that channel, giving your potential customers a direct line. Beautiful and engaging contact forms, those that change depending on the inputs, and those with multiple steps are proven to increase conversion among customers.
Elementor allows users to create easy-to-use, dynamic forms. Giving users full control, Elementor Form Builder widget facilitates powerful and flexible form design. This widget is very simple to use and allows users to build complete and even beautiful forms in minutes, controlling every aspect of layout, spacing and structure.
Offering full design control, users can create forms with Elementor which match their brand’s design, colour, and font. Forms can be edited at any time within WordPress, and once live, you can easily view the data captured. Elementor Pro gives more advanced form-building, including fields such as file uploads.
In the latest update, Elementor Pro gives us Multi-Step Forms, breaking down complex data collection into sleek, customer-friendly journeys. These can even provide conditional fields, presenting a different field set based on answers given. KIJO have used these forms to success many times, even being awarded Elementor’s No1 site of the month in January 2020.
Although Beaver Builder is loaded up with a flexible set of content modules, the form building options are very basic. The Contact Form module allows users to edit labels and placeholder text, but otherwise simply recreates an email interface, sending messages directly to your inbox. There is no room for more complex data capture without using third-party plugins.
Essential Features: Animations
As digital marketing continues to skyrocket, websites must become more and more engaging to keep visitors on-page. Animations are a great way to encourage interest in your site, from subtle entrance animations to moving images.
Elementor’s latest update offers users access to Lottie Animations, the new compact animation format that adds visual impact to your site without slowing it down. Using the Lottie widget, users can create animations on any aspect of an Elementor design. For example, users can create animated buttons, Thank You pages, and Popup Menus.
Beaver Builder users can also animate their sites, adding entrance animations to rows, columns, and modules. This creates a sense of modernity and dynamism in the page, and can be done easily. However, Beaver Builder offers limited styles for entrance animations, and does not have access to the Lottie library. Any animated imagery used with Beaver Builder needs to be uploaded as a GIF or Raster image file, which are often bulkier and can lead to site slowdown.
Price Range: Number of Sites vs Graded Access
Both Elementor and Beaver Builder offer free versions that users can test out. Elementor’s free version gives more flexibility because it offers users a larger widget library than most, and is often used by those learning to build. Beaver Builder’s free plugin is greatly limited, restricting access to most of the features.
Elementor’s free page builder has great functionality and features, leading it to become an increasingly popular choice in just a few years. For even more features and support, Elementor Pro is priced in 3 tiers, depending on how many sites you are building: $49 (£37.81) for one site, $99 (£76.38) for three, and unlimited sites for $199 per year (£153.54). Each plan provides users with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Beaver Builder offers 3 plans, with tiers based on access rather than the number of sites. For $99, users can access a standard package to use Beaver Builder on unlimited sites. The Pro package includes multi-site support for $199. For $399, Agency is the third tier package and provides users with everything in Standard and Pro, as well the option to white-label your site.
Neither page-builder offers a lifetime plan. However, Beaver Builder does not offer a money-back guarantee. Users can only apply for a refund, which is only approved if requested within the first 30 days of the contract.
The Best Page Builder: Elementor
Page builders are invaluable to developers and designers, enabling quick and customisable website builds. Their drag-and-drop tools make designing WordPress sites simple and allow for a lot of complexity and flexibility within site style and layout.
While Beaver Builder has a wider range of template designs, Elementor offers greater customisation and animation options. Overall, Beaver Builder just doesn’t provide its users with as much room to create as they get with Elementor.
It is no secret that Elementor and Beaver Builder are both page builders at the top of their game. This is why the website design creatives at KIJO use Elementor to build sites for their clients. If you are looking for support to design your website, contact the experts at KIJO today!