If you want to build a website fast, there is no better tool than a WordPress page builder.
Since the early days of page builders there have been a lot of contenders like Thrive Architect (which this page is built with), Divi, Visual Composer and now Elementor.
Elementor is one of the newer kids on the block and probably one of the best.
So, how does it stack up against one of the original page builders - Visual Composer, now called WPBakery Page Builder.
In this post I am going to show you the most important differences and help you make the right decision.
The Main Differences
Elementor vs WPBakery Page Builder
Cost: FREE vs PAID
Maybe one of the most important questions for most people is - free or paid?
WPBakery Page Builder
WPBakery page builder plugin is a paid tool that you can grab on their website. You can create a free account to test it on their site, but in the end you have to buy a license to use their tool. Sometimes it is "free" when you buy specific themes that have it built in, but in the end that is not exactly free, right?
Single Website License $45
Elementor (Free & Pro)
The majority of the tools you need are FREE with Elementor.
You can build a basic website, add text, headings, images, layouts and even templates. It is a pretty impressive tool, even the free version.
However, if you want to make the most of it, there is the Elementor PRO version which comes with more elements, templates, and their Theme Builder which alleviates the need for an actual theme (you just use their empty/base theme and custom build your whole theme on top of that, using the page builder for everything!)
You can see my detailed comparison of Elementor vs Elementor PRO version here.
Elementor FREE - Free of course!
Single Website License $49
3 Website License $99
1000 Website License $199
Ease Of Use
This is perhaps one of the biggest differences between the two. How easy is it to use, learn and build pages (and a website). Even for a beginner.
WPBakery Page Builder vs Elementor
On the face of it, they are both very similar. You drag and drop elements and edit their properties. But, the devil is in the detail.
WPBakery Page Builder is a lot simpler in many ways, but is quite limiting. There are less things you can edit and finetune, and many times it will annoy the hell out of you.
Elementor is Simpler & More Powerful
Elementor is a lot easier to use and learn from the get go. It is a smooth, simple drag and drop. That gives you almost always 100% accuracy in what you see IS what you get. It can allow you to edit mobile, tablet and desktop views. And it's easy to change and move anything. It's a little like comparing a BMW with a Hyundai - sure the Hyundai gets the job done, but for the same price (or free) why would you bother!
There is a little more complexity in a few areas of Elementor, because they give you so much power. Most of the time you won't have to worry about such things, but you can. If you want to, dive deep and edit just about anything in an element. WPBakery just can't do that.
Let me give you an example.
Many elements in web design can be finetuned in terms of the alignment, spacing, size, and where they appear on the page. Some of there properties you rarely have to care about, but with Elementor you can access them. WPBakery only has about 50%.
Elementor Is All About "Sexy" & Up to Date
If you want your website to pop. With moving elements on scroll, or typing headlings that appear one word at a time. Elementor has your back. They are all about making stunning websites, and that is their main focus. They understand modern web design and they aim to please their audience - web designers. There is a huge community behind Elementor and they always ask for newer and better features.
WPBakery is very very old, and rarely develops at all. Elementor releases new addons and upgrades all the time (monthly at least).
When comparing Elementor vs WPBakery page builder, another important question is what elements you get with each page builder. These are the things that make up your pages like Headings, Text, Images, Blocks, Columns, Contact Forms etc.
Usually you can drag and drop them into place (columns for examples) and then edit them to your requirements and style.
WPBakery Page Builder
WPBakery page builder has been around a long time and comes with all the elements you would expect to build a website. Here is a screenshot of the elements you can add to a page. They range from Rows, Text, Sections and Icons to Buttons, Maps, Video Players and Charts.
WPBakery Page Builder also has a lot of different add ons for various page elements, however you usually have to pay for them individually.
Let's compare the Elementor page builder, FREE version, to see what the basics are you get with that plugin. Again, the basic plugin has all the rows, boxes, columns built in, and belowhere are the elements you can add. Such things as sections, headings, text, buttons, video, maps, galleries, icon boxes, social icons and more.
Elementor Pro version adds a lot more complex elements for designers and website owners who want a little more pizzaz or functionality. Things like Forms, Post Display, Price Tables, More Social Media Buttons, Flip Boxes, Calls to Action (for email signup), Reviews etc.
Both of these page builders allow you to build pages visually with rows, columns, sections and dragging and dropping elements. Yes, the exact elements they offer do differ, but so does some other functionality.
Elementor PRO has more recently (in the last year) released the ability to build your whole theme with their page builder. This means the header, footer, blog posts page and single posts and page templates. You don't need to buy or use any other theme.
They provide a free "base" theme with almost no functions and then you build (or use their templates for each section) to quickly make a whole site. It can literally take you an hour or less to make a whole, modern, stunning website.
Although Thrive Architect now has the same functionality, WPBakery DOES NOT! At best, they offer you some color defaults for menus and links via a Skin Builder (which Elementor does too, of course!). And some defaults for certain elements (Elementor too).
WPBakery page builder has both a Front End (Drag and Drop) builder and a Backend Editor. This is more due to history (Drag and Drop was hard many years ago). But sometimes it is easier to work with the simple structure with a backend editor than in front end / drag and drop. It also gives you access when things go wrong with the visual builder. Rare, but it has happened to me.
Elementor of course is only Front-end/Visual Drag and Drop.
I have not explored the full extent of the WPBakery template library, but they have quite a few. For me, Elementor always wins with this because they are a very modern, stylish page designer with dozens and dozens of page templates - enough to make you a stunning site in hours.
To see where the differences are you have to explore them both yourself. But it is something they both offer.
Elementor vs WPBakery - There is no Choice Really
I have been using WordPress and page builders since 2013. I have built dozens of websites for myself and clients. And, I have used almost all the page builders there are available.
The only one I recommend anyone use at the moment is Elementor.
It is easy to use, there is a free version to get started and it helps you build amazing websites.
Not only that, but it doesn't slow your site down like many other plugins and it is always up to date, upgraded and has a huge community behind it.
What else do you need?