Thrive Architect vs Elementor: Two Awesome Page Builders Battle It Out

Thrive Architect and Elementor are probably the two best WordPress page builders on the market right now.

They both offer insanely simple to use drag and drop  (WYSIWYG - what you see is what you get) builders with loads of built in elements. On top of that, the level of configuration of each element is so deep it almost covers 100% of what you can do with code.

When you add in libraries of pre-built templates and websites to the mix, you get yourself a tool that in many ways can replace your web designer or web master.

If you have used one of the older style page builders before (like Divi or Visual Composer) you are in for a treat. Throw away any grudges you might have built up over the years. These tools are powerful, easy to learn, easy to use and build stunning websites 

See Them In Action

I have done a few videos on each of these plugins, and included two below so you can see me building a homepage from scratch with both. It gives you a great idea of how they work, what elements there are and how easy it is to create stunning websites.

Page Builder Elements

Each of these powerful page builders comes with a big selection of prebuilt elements.

Why is this important? 

It means you can just drag and drop something straight onto the page. Something you would have to otherwise build yourself (or have to do with HTML). It saves you hours of work.

There is a bit of a difference in how they approach this idea:

Thrive Architect has quite a list of elements, but they are focused more on providing conversion focused features (email list building/sign ups, animations etc)

Elementor tries to provide almost any element you could possibly need. However, most of the more complex elements are available only on the pro version of the plugin.

The non-pro version of Elementor is free, whereas Thrive's is a one-price-fits all model.

I made the table below to try to give you a decent overview of what elements are available on each. It does not include functionality (so email signups, css customization, global widgets) which I will talk about in detail below.

* If I have missed something please let me know.

Thrive Architect


(Free & Pro)

Paragraphs and Headings

Images & Icons

Buttons (with Icons optional)


Video Lightbox

Custom HTML

Columns & Content Containers

Tabs & Toggle/Accordion

Dividing Line / Spacer

Sections with backgrounds


Table of Content

Pricing Table

Available as a template 

  • PRO

Price List

  • PRO

Icon List, Numbered List

Google Maps


Countdown Timer

Animated Counter (Bar, Circle)

Click to Tweet Box

Social Share Buttons

Facebook Embed, Page, Like Button

  • PRO

Facebook Comments

  • PRO

Disqus Comments

Lead Gen/Email Sign Up Form

Star Rating, Credit Card

Content Reveal (By time or scroll)

Hover & Entrance Animations

Animated Headings

Contact Form

Coming Soon

Blog Posts

Icon Box, Image Box, Image Gallery, Image Carousel

Navigation Menu

  • PRO


  • PRO


  • PRO

Media Carousel, Testimonial Carousel

  • PRO

Block Quote, Flip Box

  • PRO

Ecommerce Widget

  • PRO

Login Widget

  • PRO

WinnerElementor Pro

If you are looking at pure number of elements available, Elementor Pro wins hands down. But, have a close look at the kinds of elements Thrive vs Elementor have, and see which you really need or prefer. They differ, but not on anything important. And also keep in mind that some of them can be created by combining existing elements (as long as there is no complicated functionality in them that is missing).

Page Templates & Sites

One of the superpowers of page builder plugins is the ability to create pages and whole websites with the click of a button, or two.

Both Elementor and Thrive Themes have dozens of templates ready to go.

And of course, there are some differences between the two...

Thrive Architect page templates come in series that are meant to be used together. And in most cases, they are landing pages meant to get people to sign up to your email list or something similar.

Their template sets come with things like:

  • Landing pages with themed thank you, download pages
  • Landing pages for sales, webinars, product launches and more
  • Video Course templates
  • Single page homepages (two examples are below)

Just bear in mind that Thrive Architect is focused on conversion / selling / email signups. So, if you are looking for templates to help you with that, which replaces the need for something like a Leadpages subscription, it's a great buy.

If you are looking for templates that give you a website with one click (all pages included - home, about, contact etc) then Elementor Pro is a way better bet.

The free version of Elementor comes with quite a few templates, but if you want a huge amount of choice (over 130) and the ability to create a whole website or single page or landing page fast, Elementor Pro is the plugin for you.

The range of templates they offer is crazy. Things like:

  • Dozens or homepages 
  • About, Contact, Sales and Product pages (often matching the homepage)
  • Landing pages too
Elementor Pro Templates

Elementor Pro Templates

They are both great for building pages fast and importing or using pre-built templates, but keep in mind their focus - Thrive = Landing pages, Elementor = Websites.

Winner: Elementor Pro

If you are looking at pure number of templates available, Elementor Pro wins hands down (again).

But, the Thrive team are more focused on conversions and landing pages. Which means if that is your focus too, and you only use the builder for blog posts or certain areas of your site (and don't need all the templates) it might be better to use Thrive Architect, especially with all the Email Providers you can connect to with just a few clicks (more on that at the end).

Ease of Use

There is not much to choose between here, but having used both of these a bit, I will give you a quick rundown of how they compare.

Both use a very similar side-bar menu structure, to allow you to drag and drop elements and then edit them extensively with tonnes of options. You can see the interfaces in screenshots below.

Thrive Architect Elements Menu

Thrive Architect Elements Menu

Thrive Architect Elements Editor

Thrive Architect Elements Editor

Elementor Elements Menu

Elementor Elements Menu

Elementor Elements Editor

Elementor Elements Editor

The devil is in the detail though. Elementor (at least for now) have the edge with better organised editing options for the elements. There are usually three tabs/sections which divide up the areas you can edit. It is way easier to find what you are looking for.

Thrive Architect, which often has more editing options, is hard to use because once you open them all, you have a HUGE list to scroll through. It's a pain in the neck! I believe they are looking at changing that though.

Another way they differ is with text editing. Elementor usually gives you panels to edit your text in on the sidebar. Thrive edits things inline. But again, I believe Elementor are catching up to Thrive on this.

So they are very similar and almost copying each other as they release new versions!

Note: Both these builders do have a few small annoyances.

Grabbing the elements to drag/drop is a pain as the move icon is so small (on both, but worse on Elementor.

And figuring out exactly where to click and how to add new columns, copy elements, multiple select etc could be a lot better. 

However, given how powerful both these tools are, I forgive them their failings :>

Winner: Elementor

Right now I give Elementor the edge on usuability (as of end of 2017) but there is not much between them. It's the other things like elements, templates and the more detailed features (email integration, templating etc) that makes the real difference.

Mobile Friendly Design

You know how important mobile ready websites are in 2018, both for Google and your customers.

So, it's important that your favorite page builder can help you create a mobile-ready website, right?

Well, you are in luck. Both these page builders do the same thing in terms of helping out with mobile.

1. They give you the ability to hide/show elements on the three main website sizes (pc, tablet, mobile). That way, you can construct specific areas or elements to suit these sizes - and then only use/show them on that size screen.

Thrive Architect Mobile Hide-Show

Thrive Architect Mobile Hide-Show

2. They show you an easy to tweak preview on each of those 3 main sizes, so you can fine-tune your design using the builder, before it goes live.

Elementor mobile-friendly

Elementor mobile-friendly

Winner: None

As far as I know, they both provide exactly the same functionality here. Very handy and mobile-friendly.

It's a win-win!

Re-using Elements

Both of these page builders allow you to re-use elements, or groups of elements again and again.

It's great. You can create and style a button, or a whole section. Then save it and re-use it somewhere else on your website. This saves you lots of time and helps you keep the style/branding across your website too.

Although they both provide this kind of template saving, they do it a little differently.

Thrive Architect allows you to save anything as a template and then re-use it.

You do that by dragging a template element where you want it, then choosing from your pre-saved elements, which are then in a list to choose from.

Elementor Pro (you need the Pro version) also allows you to save anything as a template. But they call them widgets. Or to be more specific, Global Widgets. The difference is in two things. 

1. They are easier to access in a separate tab, where you can just drag and drop them onto the page.

2. They are global. So, you can re-use them and then, if you decide to change their color, it changes all over your website. Change once, done! How cool is that. 

Maybe I missed something, but I do see a downside. If you want to re-use an element and not change it everywhere with Elementor, it does not work because of this functionality. I have not used this yet, so someone let me know if I misunderstood this.

Winner: Elementor Pro

These are two different plugins in this area. But both give you reusable elements. 

If you plan on building a complete website, Elementor Pro is a better bet with the Global Widget. Otherwise, Thrive is also just as good.

Custom CSS

There are more than enough options to tweak just about anything with these page builders, but as a web designer, I still find that some things you just have to do with CSS.

So, having access to either the elements CSS or the ability to add CSS classes or IDs is crucial.

Yes, you are going to hear me say it again. Both these page builders give you the ability to tweak the CSS, but they do it differently.

Thrive Architect allows you to add a CSS class or id to just about everything (but not columns and a couple of other structural elements - no idea why). They also give you the ability to throw in your own custom CSS on the page. So you can target any element, if you know enough CSS, and tweak it from there.

Thrive Architect - CSS Class or ID

Elementor Pro gives you access to a CSS class and ID too. But they take it a step further and give you a live custom CSS field on everything. So, you can inject your CSS right into the element and, watch your changes happen write as you type them!

This makes things a little easier when you are trying to find something on the page. Developers will probably want to use classes and ids, but for everyone else this is a godsend!

Elementor Pro Custom CSS

Winner: Elementor Pro

If you need access to CSS on elements, and don't have the coding background to deal with CSS classes and IDs, I would go with Elementor Pro. 

But, if you are familiar with CSS and can add it to your theme or to each page you make, Thrive Architect will work well too. Especially for web designers.

Support & Bug-free Code

Both their email support teams are pretty good, and they both have good documentation online.

However, I find that Thrive has lost their way a little in the last year or so. They have awesome products, and I have been using them since the beginning (a few years now) but there are way too many bugs and inconsistencies for such an amazing product. Nothing is going to really stop you creating a great website, I am just a little disappointed with their code and their support sometimes. It is just not as top-notch as I would expect.

Elementor I don't have as much experience with, but I tried their support a couple of days ago and it was very fast.

On top of that, I have yet to find any real bugs in their page builder. Maybe they are lucky to have started from scratch (Thrive had to move from their old version to the new one - keeping all old-functionality working, which is painful for them). They also have a very active and helpful Facebook group, which means you get very fast and on-the-ground community support from people using the tool daily.


Although both are very good at support, I feel that Elementor has the edge in terms of a great code-base (error and bug free) and lots of opportunity for quick and helpful support.

How They Really Differ

As I have mentioned a few times in this comparison, these two page builders are very similar BUT they differ in their approach.

Thrive Architect is part of a big family of plugins and themes from Thrive Themes and their focus is conversion. That means they produce all their themes and plugins with the idea of helping people create sales focused websites.

What does this mean for Thrive Architect?

It is very strongly integrated with all their other great products, like Thrive Leads (for getting people on email lists) and that you can easily integrate their popups and lead gen forms with almost every email marketing tool on the planet. 

This is a big weakness of the Elementor Forms. They only integrate easily with Mailchimp and MailPoet, the rest has to be done via external tools (Zapier) which is frankly a bit of a pain.

Doable? Yes, but not everyone is going to love having to figure out how.

Thrive Products

Thrive Products

Thrive Architect Email Integration

Thrive Architect Email Integration

However, if a focus on conversions and sales is not high on your agenda (it probably should be, but let's say it's not) then Elementor actually has the better website building tool. 

Not only do they have more pre-built elements and templates, but they also have the Global Widget, custom CSS on elements and another cool feature I have not mentioned yet: Embed Anywhere!

Embed Anywhere (another pro feature) allows you to put pieces of pre-designed elementor elements anywhere a widget or shortcode can go in WordPress. 

That means the sidebar and footer (or header, depending on your theme) with widgets, and inside any page or post with a shortcode.

Some of the elementors Elementor Pro has are also very handy, like the WooCommerce widgets which can really help integrate with a woocommerce store. 

And the forms widget which allows you to fully customize and integrate a contact form with all the bells in whistles. So, you can get rid of whatever plugin you were using before. Thrive has not caught up on this yet.

Elementor Embed Anywhere

Elementor Embed Anywhere - Widget in Sidebar


The final question! Price.

Here is the lowdown.


Elementor is Free for the basic plugin. This is great if you just want a simple page builder and don't need all the special elements or conversion options. It does not come with the top-end features like Custom CSS, Global Widgets, Anywhere Widget and the bigger library of elements and page templates. You can see a full comparison here.

Elementor Pro

1 Website

1 Year of Updates & Support
All Pro Features Included


3 Websites

1 Year of Updates & Support
All Pro Features Included


Unlimited Websites

1 Year of Updates & Support
All Pro Features Included



There is only one version of Thrive Architect and it comes at various price points like Elementor Pro.

1 Website

1 Year of Updates & Support
All Features Included


5 Websites

1 Year of Updates & Support
All Features Included


15 Websites

1 Year of Updates & Support
All Pro Features Included



Because Thrive has a whole suite of plugins and themes, it might be worth your while checking out their membership plans. I have the basic one and use all their themes  and plugins on my sites. In the longrun it saves me lots of money. You can also see more details of the membership here.

25 Own Websites

1 Year of Updates & Support
ALL Plugins & Themes


50 Client Sites

1 Year of Updates & Support
ALL Plugins & Themes


Elementor Free version is a good place to start if you just want to try this kind of page builder out.

But if you really want to take full advantage of it, you have to get the Pro version. And compared to other top-end plugins on the market, it's pretty cheap at $49 for a website.

If conversion and sales is your focus, Thrive Architect is the way to go and at only $67 for lifetime access it certainly beats hiring a web developer!


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