Kadence vs Elementor – Which WordPress Plugin Should You Choose?
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What’s the difference between Kadence vs Elementor, you ask? In this post, I’m gonna break it all down for you.
Over the last few years, I have designed websites for clients using both the Kadence Blocks and Elementor plugins. I absolutely love both tools because they allow me to:
- Create beautiful website designs without coding
- Then hand the website back over to my clients when the project is over so they can confidently add new content and maintain the site without feeling like I’m holding their website hostage.
Before I make a plugin recommendation to any of my clients, I always look at the scope of the website project and the business’ short and long-term goals. If you’re DIYing your own website, I recommend you do the same!
If you don’t have all of that mapped out just yet, download my FREE Website Planning Workbook. It will help you clarify your goals and decide on the pages & resources you’ll need on your new site! Download it here:
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What Is Kadence?
KadenceWP is a theme developer who has created a suite of products (themes and plugins) to make it easy to build WordPress websites. They created:
- The Kadence Theme (Free + Pro versions available)
- The Kadence Blocks plugin (Free + Pro versions available)
- Kadence Shop Kit
- Kadence Conversions
- Pro Starter Templates
- A Child Theme Builder
- And more…
The Kadence Blocks Plugin
Kadence Blocks is a WordPress plugin that extends Gutenberg’s editing capabilities by giving users custom blocks to design beautiful pages without coding.
When you install Kadence Blocks, you will edit and design your post or page directly in the Gutenberg editor and preview the page in a new tab to view the design.
Kadence Blocks can be installed on any website regardless of the theme you’re using, however many people pair it with the Kadence theme.
What Is The Elementor Plugin?
Elementor is a feature-rich, drag-and-drop page builder that gives you a front-end view of your site while editing. It allows you to create simple landing pages to more complex/ custom layouts without typing a single line of HTML or CSS code.
With Elementor, you won’t design your pages in the standard Gutenberg editor, instead, Elementor has its own editing interface, settings, and widgets.
You can install Elementor on any WordPress website regardless of the theme you’re using. Many people pair it with Elementor’s blank Hello Theme or more full-featured themes like the Astra Theme or Kadence Theme.
You may also like this post: Is Elementor Worth It? Elementor Pros And Cons, FAQs & My Honest Review
WordPress provided users with a classic editor.
Because users didn’t have a way to add columns, buttons, or other advanced elements without changing WordPress themes or writing custom code, page builders (like Elementor, Beaver Builder, Brizy, Divi, etc.) became the most popular and accessible way to design your website, especially for beginners.
But since the Gutenberg block editor came onto the scene and has continuously made improvements, page builders aren’t as necessary as they used to be. Tons of plugin developers are now building WITH the Gutenberg experience in mind rather than creating tools that work around or against it.
So, which one should you choose? Let’s talk about the pros and cons…
Kadence vs Elementor – What’s The Difference?
There are four categories I think you should consider: ease of use, performance, price/value, and support. I will tell you which plugin I think wins in each category and I’ll explain why.
1. Ease Of Use
In the ease of use category, the Elementor plugin wins. Here’s why:
A. Editing Experience
Elementor offers a front-end editing experience, which means what you see on the editing screen is very close to the way the page will look in the live page view.
With Kadence, on the other hand, the editing experience is more clunky.
Because the page building takes place on the back-end of the site in WordPress you have to view the page in a new tab to see what the changes look like.
There are some parts of the editing experience that do feel like a front-end editor, but there can be major discrepancies as you go to look at the design on the actual device view.
Honestly, this workflow is a pain in the butt having to go back and forth over and over again, but it’s not really a Kadence thing, it’s a WordPress/Gutenberg thing.
I have also found a handful of limitations when using the Kadence theme & blocks plugin. For instance, when I centered the product archive text on my product page, the review stars were left-justified with no way to center it. To correct that, I had to add CSS.
This is just one example, but I have found myself annoyed many other times because I couldn’t make simple design changes without adding CSS.
With Elementor, on the other hand, the sky is the limit and you can customize every element on your website without touching a single line of code.
Having designed in both tools, Elementor’s features and capabilities outshine Kadence. With Elementor there’s just so much more you can edit and control without having to send in a support ticket or add CSS in the customizer options.
While Elementor wins the ease of use category, you may willing to compromise on the clunkier editing experience and make do with limitations or fewer features for the next category…
In the performance category, Kadence wins… hands down.
Elementor is much a more bloated plugin compared to Kadence. That means websites built with Elementor tend to have slower website load times which can have a negative impact on the overall user experience and, in some cases, on SEO rankings.
As I was redesigning my own website in the fall of 2021, I built the home page on two different staging sites so I could see the impact of the site speed on the same design. The page built with Elementor was 30 points lower than the one built with Kadence (according to Google PageSpeed Insights) and the pages looked almost identical.
Ultimately, that was the deciding factor for me, but you may care more about some of the other factors like more robust features and a smoother/ easier editing experience rather than a website that’s a few site speed points higher.
If you do decide to go with Elementor, be sure to watch all of the videos in this YouTube Playlist created by the Elementor Team. These videos will teach you how to design with site speed in mind so you don’t add to the bloating issue due to poor page-building skills.
Also, it is a best practice to use optimization plugins like ShortPixel and WProcket to help you improve your site speed and performance regardless of the theme and plugins you decide to use.
If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your website for site speed, check out iMark Interactive’s Site Speed Course.
3. Price/ Value
Kadence and Elementor both offer free versions and pro versions of the plugin, so let’s do a comparison and look at the value you get from only the free option and then we’ll do a second comparison looking at the pro versions:
Kadence vs Elementor – Free Version Comparison
For the free plugins, Kadence wins the value category!
Kadence – Free
With the combination of the free Kadence theme, free Kadence Blocks plugin, and free Kadence Starter Templates plugin, you can easily build a fast, beautiful, and professional-looking website.
Thanks to their design library, you can install a pre-designed page with just 3 clicks. Many of these templates are part of a collection, which makes it easy to create an entire website that all matches from the home, about, contact page, service pages, and more.
If you are a beginner who needs a basic site, you can create a good-looking website by simply using these free tools!
Elementor – Free
When it comes to Elementor’s free plugin, there are a number of limitations.
The biggest limitation is the inability to access the header and footer builder or edit the way the blog roll looks. So if you want to create an entire website on Elementor’s free version, you would have to depend on a free full-featured theme like the Astra Theme or Kadence Theme to edit the header, footer, and blog roll – they can’t be edited in Elementor unless you upgrade.
You also can’t add contact forms, among other things, which could be a deal-breaker for you if you’re looking for a free one-stop-shop plugin to build your site.
Elementor really wants you to upgrade to their Pro version to use most of their features… which, let’s be honest, is SUPER affordable at $49 per year for a single license.
So, again, at the FREE level, Kadence wins in the value. But what about upgrading to the Pro versions – how does Kadence and Elementor stack up?
Kadence vs Elementor – Pro Version Comparison
For the pro plugins, Elementor wins the price/ value category… However, in my opinion, they’re both really affordable and 100% worth the upgrade.
Kadence Blocks Pro
If you’re going to go with Kadence, it’s best to purchase a bundle that will give you access to the Kadence Theme Pro, Kadence Blocks Pro, and Pro Starter Templates. Although, you can purchase the Kadence Blocks Pro plugin on its own without the theme for $89 per year.
- The Kadence Blocks Pro plugin gives you animations, custom icons, dynamic content, custom fonts, access to the premium design library, and page-specific scripts.
- The Kadence Theme Pro will give you premium header add-ons, hooked elements (a must-have feature, in my opinion), ultimate menu, fixed elements, header/ footer scripts, and WooCommerce add-ons.
The Essential Bundle which includes the theme and plugins costs $149 per year and can be used on unlimited websites.
Elementor – Pro
With Elementor, a license for one website costs $49/ year. If you need more than 1 site, the price goes up to $199/ year for up to 25 websites.
- When you upgrade to Elementor Pro, you will get access to an additional 90+ widgets, 300+ website templates, 60 website kits, the theme builder, and premium support.
If you are a single site owner, it is cheaper to go with Elementor Pro compared to Kadence Blocks Pro or the Kadence Bundle. However, if you have more than 1 site, Kadence becomes more cost-effective, because you can build unlimited websites for just $149/ year.
I gave Elementor the win in this category simply because they offer more features for the price, but again, they’re both worth the upgrade!
4. Support & Tutorials
The final category to consider is support and tutorials. For this category, I’m giving it a tie because overall they both do a good job in this area.
- KadenceWP offers premium email support to all Pro users. In my experience, their support team has been very quick to respond.
- Kadence also runs a free Facebook group called the Web Creator Community (by Kadence WP). In this group, you can ask questions to fellow Kadence users who may be able to provide additional support.
- While their development team is quick to respond, they are lacking in documentation and video tutorials. I’d really like to see their support team create more tutorials!
- Elementor also offers premium support to all Pro users. Premium support means you can ask any question via email and receive an answer within 1 day on average. I was around when Elementor was notorious for poor support, but can confidently say that their support has dramatically improved ever since they implemented their new pricing structure.
- Elementor also runs two free Facebook groups – 1 called Elementor Community and the other for Elementor En Español. In this group, you can ask questions to fellow Kadence users who may be able to provide additional support.
- As for the documentation and tutorial videos, Elementor does an excellent job at providing written tutorials and youtube videos showing you click by click how to use the Elementor page builder plugin.
So which plugin should you choose?
At the end of the day, you have to decide what’s most important to you.
- Is website performance and site speed a top priority? If so, then Kadence is your best bet.
- Are display ads a primary source of income for your blog? If so, I’d recommend Kadence over Elementor.
- Do you want complete control over your entire website without any limitations? Go with Elementor.
- Are there more advanced features that you need for your website project? Elementor will likely have what you’re looking for.
If you know what you’re trying to accomplish with your website, it should be easier to make a plugin. Just bear in mind that you may have to compromise on a few things with either plugin to prioritize a feature that’s most important to you.
Remember, there can be a learning curve with both Elementor or, especially if you’re new to WordPress or not very tech-savvy.
If you want to DIY your own website but need help, check out my DIY Website Themes and Templates. You’ll get an entire website design, plus video tutorials showing you how to set up and customize it to match your branding. (You’ll find child themes for Kadence and full site Elementor templates!)
Alternatively, if you’d like to hand your entire website design project over to a professional, check out my Website Design services. I’d love to help you launch the website of your dreams.