A comprehensive list of the many types of Gutenberg blocks and pagebuilder plugins for WordPress.
I cover as many as I can…from simpler ones with just a few common block options…to specific-use ones with unique features…to comprehensive ones that have full block sets, features and style libraries.
Most important of all is that I compare them contextually to each other. So you can get some clarity between how they stand out from each other. Which is hard to do with every Gutenberg plugin today claiming to be “the best and only” Gutenberg plugin you’ll ever need.
Let’s dig for the truth shall we?
The beauty of Gutenberg
hate criticism will (soon) go away.
As much as people have complained about Gutenberg…about it’s difficulty-of-use, or being too different from how users envision site-building, or how its been forced upon users…we can’t deny one thing…
… Gutenberg is maturing!
And it’s maturing in a way I actually didn’t see coming. Gutenberg has standardized its internal code output in a way that plugin developers can actually build their own 3rd-party interfaces on top of Gutenberg!
Gutenberg actually provides interface flexibility!
So for everyone who complains that Gutenberg sucks, and that they’d rather use Elementor over Gutenberg, and such and such. They actually CAN!
No, not Elementor itself, but that Gutenberg block code allows it to be built using other UI layouts. Which is beautiful because that’s what the real Gutenberg complaint ever was in the first place. Nobody hated its code quality or block features. What people hated was the Gutenberg editor!
Gutenberg is still adding new features.
I’ve seen the latest talk about more incoming features to the Gutenberg editor and I’m being excited. Things I never thought I would need, are suddenly appearing to be very essential and game-changing for the future of WordPress editing. I was already such a big fan of Gutenberg. I already thought it was brilliant and life-changing. And now you tell me there’s gonna be even more?!
Wow wow wow. I can barely contain myself.
Gutenberg block plugin comparisons
What is Gutenberg? And what are Gutenberg blocks?
This is a needed pre-explanation for certain readers that don’t even know what Gutenberg is.
- Gutenberg is the default editor for WordPress.
- And it already comes with a default Gutenberg block options…like paragraph text, title text, boxes and columns, YouTube embeds, etc.
- Basically…it comes with standard “blocks” that you can choose to put together your content.
- And within each block, are block settings. For example…a text block might have settings for font type, size, color, etc. A section block might have settings for spacing, background color, etc. An image block might have settings for opacity, ratio, fill pattern, etc.
Some of you might be just fine with the default Gutenberg blocks that already come with WordPress. Others of you might want different kinds of blocks and with different features. In this case…you would install a 3rd-party plugin to get these extra blocks & features.
There are many types of Gutenberg block plugins.
- The simpler ones give you a set of general Gutenberg blocks. Enough to completely build most websites.
- The specialist ones give you some very specific blocks or specific features for your existing blocks.
- The comprehensive ones give you a massive set of Gutenberg blocks and also a style library full of existing preset template designs. You can use these not only to build your pages but also your theme template areas (like header, footer, widget styling, etc). Do to their comprehensive feature-set, they like to call themselves “Gutenberg pagebuilders”.
- Some of these “Gutenberg pagebuilders” even come with their own UI so you’re working in their unique editor instead of the default Gutenberg editor.
And yes…you can use several Gutenberg plugins together since they were all made to work with Gutenberg. This is definitely a huge advantage for Gutenberg over traditional pagebuilders, because you previously couldn’t mix parts of one pagebuilder (e.g. Elementor) with parts of another (e.g. DIVI). However…you won’t be able to do this if you’re using one of the Gutenberg block plugins that come with their own interface.
One other distinction to make is that Gutenberg block plugins often market themselves under different labels. And that users may refer to them under a wide range of labels as well.
- Gutenberg block plugin
- Gutenberg block library
- Gutenberg addons
- Gutenberg pagebuilder
Basically…they’re all WordPress plugins that add new blocks, features, or functionality to your default WordPress Gutenberg editor.
1. Gutenberg block libraries
Gutenberg block libraries are great for building simple sites and page content, newbies learning how Gutenberg works, or devs who prefer custom-coding more complex blocks and page layouts.
These 3rd-party plugins offer your site a collection of new Gutenberg blocks. Simple ones offer more basic block options (e.g. text, images, sections, etc). More advanced ones offer many custom blocks (price tables, table of contents, read time, 3rd-party embeds, etc). Some use a freemium model, where the FREE version offers basic blocks and PAID version gives you more advanced custom blocks.
The advantage are these are the easiest to use. Since they have the fewer features and settings. Disadvantage are these don’t have any global options or template libraries. Which means complex designs may take longer to build from scratch.
It’s a good start for a simpler site, new users wanting simpler interfaces with fewer settings/options. Or for developers who like simpler visual options and preferring to custom build or custom style things themselves in code.
- Otter Blocks (FREE, PRO) – beautifully simplified set of blocks with the right amount of pre-styling, that look beautiful in the editor as well as on frontend. Many extra features like conditional display, sticky blocks, WooCommerce template customization, etc. So simple to use. A freaken quality product by an A-level dev team. It’s too bad they didn’t build a custom template library to become a full Gutenberg pagebuilder. (RECOMMENDED – comprehensive set of blocks, simple settings, powerful features)
- CoBlocks (FREE) – made by GoDaddy, a company I truly hate but this is actually a good plugin. Clean no-frills plugin with great UI. No template library, just like all plugins in this category. (RECOMMENDED – clean and simple, right amount of blocks)
- Ultimate Blocks (FREE) – nice block library with clean settings UI. Their red accent color contrasts nicely against the WordPress admin blue color.
- GenerateBlocks (FREE) – quality dev team with great UI, but adds very few core blocks. More suited to a dev-user who knows how to create custom blocks from these core blocks or via custom-coding. A non-coder will find this block library much too minimal and un-inspiring, un-fun.
Choosing between these mostly comes down to which block library has the right blocks and right amount of blocks for you. Ideally, it has only the ones you want and none of the ones you don’t want. The settings UI area also matters…you’ll want the right balance between flexibility and simplicity.
Worst case scenario, you’ll have to use multiple block libraries side-by-side and that’s ok, too. It’s just that later when you find yourself growing out of one block library and migrating to another…it can be a pain to keep track of which blocks were used on which pages. For that reason, I try (as much as possible) to use only one block library per site.
I will say that once you find yourself heading towards larger and more comprehensive block libraries…you might as well consider stepping up to the “Gutenberg pagebuilder” plugins that come with more features (like global settings and template libraries). They come with so much more power, and not that much more complicated to use.
2. Gutenberg native pagebuilders
Gutenberg pagebuilders are basically block libraries but with extra features (e.g. global settings, conditional display, and template libraries). They help you build your entire site (WP templates, headers & footers…not only page content) and also with more complex designs, using only Gutenberg blocks.
Their included Gutenberg block collections are usually more comprehensive, offering you not only more building elements but also many complex patterns and block templates to help you build more complex sites from start to finish.
These are great for building elaborate site designs purely in Gutenberg and without having to code whatsoever.
- Kadence Blocks (FREE, PRO) – an awesome product! Many awesome block options and with super clean settings UI. And beautiful template library of many designs I would actually use. Probably the best design library out there. They strike a good balance of feeling minimal yet still being very comprehensive. I’m sad that the original Kadence developer sold his product out to StellarWP, but there’s no denying this is an awesome product and that StellarWP has a better reputation than Awesome Motive. (RECOMMENDED – minimal feel but comprehensive, great UI, best design library IMO)
- Stackable (FREE, PRO) – their product is awesome and they’ve been around a while. Always tweaking and maturing their product. Their team and community have a lot of real world experience. Probably the most comprehensive set of blocks, block settings, and template library out there. They were definitely the first and probably still the most comprehensive Gutenberg pagebuilder on the market. Very active developers and community. (RECOMMENDED – most comprehensive set of blocks and features, strong and matured community)
- Spectra (FREE, PRO) – many blocks, nice UI, nice global control for spacing and block enabling, awesome template library. A great product all around. Nice support docs and community. Built by the same team behind Astra, one of the most popular WordPress themes ever (despite several controversies in the WP community). Definitely a good option for newbies and pros alike. (RECOMMENDED – comprehensive block library, large community, clean UI and simple to use.)
- Genesis Blocks (FREE, PRO) – the free version is very minimal, but still usable. Good option for coders. The pro has more block options, nice templates (that I would actually use), and extra client/dev features you should check out. Has a nice clean minimal vibe that suits coders.
- GenerateBlocks (PRO) – once again, quality product by a quality dev team and great UI. However…their block library is not as comprehensive as the competitors…feels more like general wireframes than polished designs. And suits more of a dev-user who can cleverly create custom blocks using existing core blocks or custom-coding. Paying for PRO doesn’t unleash dozens of custom blocks like with other plugins.
If you’re at this point, I highly recommend going with pagebuilders that offer more options than you need, so you have room to grow. You won’t need all the features now, but you may later and can save yourself extra hassle down the line (without having to migrate to another pagebuilder).
The ones with template cloud option like Kadence Blocks and Otter Blocks make them a beast for devs!
Do you want even MORE power? Perhaps more developer-features, or build more complicated visual designs even faster? Or just looking for a different workflow style? You might want to consider a “proprietary sitebuilder”.
3. Gutenberg proprietary sitebuilders
Gutenberg proprietary sitebuilders come with their own editing UI, instead of the standard Gutenberg UI. Their custom editing UI offers you a different editing experience (usually more visually-based and/or with more developer-friendly features), but still outputs native Gutenberg code. I also included some builders that don’t use Gutenberg but work alongside Gutenberg.
Unlike the previous block libraries or native Gutenberg pagebuilder plugins, these proprietary sitebuilders completely take over your sitebuilding process. And vary in compatibility with other Gutenberg libraries/pagebuilders (or at least not without hacks). However they’re usually very full-featured and allow you to do anything you can imagine, all from one plugin.
These powerful plugins offer even more flexibility and features for hardcore website builders, or those wanting to work in a different manner (from the usual Gutenberg editor). They do require more skill or learning curve to use, but allow you to do complex tasks faster than the simpler less powerful plugins. Definitely overkill for simple tasks and designs, though.
- Cwicly (PRO sub, FREE coming soon):
- Actually works off the native Gutenberg editor and therefore compatible with any other Gutenberg plugins.
- Adds many cool workflow features to your existing native Gutenberg editor.
- Definitely the #1 option if you want to keep everything in Gutenberg and have all Gutenberg features/capabilities. However, the other options might be a better fit for you despite not being fully Gutenberg.
- (RECOMMENDED – different workflow style, compatible with other Gutenberg plugins, improving fast)
- Bricks (PRO ltd):
- Has its own editor but is based off Gutenberg block code.
- Is actually installed as a theme and requires you to design your theme completely from scratch (templates available). Can be overkill if you wanted something generic and not so custom.
- After building the theme with Bricks, you can choose Bricks or Gutenberg to build your pages/content.
- (RECOMMENDED – most powerful dev features, strongest active community, great pricing)
- Breakdance (FREE, PRO sub):
- Has its own editor, with super user-friendly UI similar to traditional pagebuilders like Elementor/DIVI.
- Can be used with any theme. Letting you custom-build your own theme parts, or use the existing theme.
- (RECOMMENDED – easy to use, most polished UI)
- Builderius (PRO ltd):
- Basically an IDE code-builder for WordPress templates only. You can’t use it to build your content.
- It’s a great tool for specific use-cases and developer workflow styles. Allows you to “visually” hardcode your theme templates/parts. For building content pages, you use Gutenberg or anything else you like.
- (RECOMMENDED – only for “hardcoding” custom template designs.)
Choosing the right one for comes down to your workflow style. You’ll have to test out each to see which is best for the way you like to build sites, has the features you need, and with settings organized in a way that’s most sensible to you. You might also want to consider something that’s still easy to use for clients to manage themselves (so they bother you less).
I’ll have a fully expanded guide on this soon.
4. Gutenberg special blocks & addons
These Gutenberg plugins specialize in giving your site some special features or settings that you wouldn’t find with the usual Gutenberg block plugins/builders above.
Some of them will be used in place of other Gutenberg block plugins above. Some of them will be used as a compliment to the other Gutenberg block plugins above. And take note…some block plugins above already have these features built into them.
- GreenShift (FREE, PRO) – like a native Gutenberg pagebuilder plugin, with a comprehensive block collection along with template library and global options, but they specialize in adding animations to all your blocks. It’s a great option if you really want to add animations to your site and weren’t able to do it with other block plugins. Greenshift works, I just feel the UI is a bit unrefined, the template library lacks polished designs, and most of all…that their outputted code (although loads fast) doesn’t deliver the super high page scores like they advertise all over their site. Either way, Greenshift is not my library of choice even if it did deliver fast page scores. I much prefer more the more polished UI and template designs of the more mature block plugins (GenerateBlocks, Stackable, etc).
- Block Visibility – gives you lots of conditional options for your block, like choosing whether to display them for certain user roles (admin vs editor vs reader), logged state (logged-in vs logged-out), among various other conditions (time, placement, etc). Some similar but less popular alternatives are Conditional Blocks and Wicked Block Conditions.
- Blocks Animation – made by highly-respected development shop, ThemeIsle. Adds CSS animation capabilities to all your Gutenberg blocks.
- EditorsKit (FREE) – nice toolkit of extra Gutenberg features. The dev here contributes to WP core.
- Timeline Blocks (FREE) – adds timeline block.
4. Other plugins
All the Gutenberg plugins I felt were misses. Listed here (for posterity reasons), along with explanations why they weren’t included in my recommended lists above.
They aren’t recommended because they either have some fatal flaw, still too new, or have a direct competitor that is superior in every way. Any plugin listed here means I wouldn’t use it at all, because I couldn’t find any clean advantage or specific use-case for it. Although I admit some show potential to have unique advantages.
There are many out there that aren’t listed below. If you think they’re worthy of making this list, let me know. I got tired of checking out endless generic options again and again.
- Atomic Blocks (FREE) – was a good block library, and still active, but now superseded by Genesis Blocks. You should be using Genesis Blocks instead.
- B Blocks (FREE) – this block library had some interesting options. But I feel the plugin is still too new. The website looks unfinished, with many product demos not working right (or maybe the website was not working right). I’d pass for now.
- Editor Plus (FREE) – minimal block library that adds just a few more helpful blocks (instead of the whole kitchen). Looks clean and simple, but I hate the generic branding.
- Essential Blocks (FREE) – I hate the generic name of both the product and the developer name, but this is a nice free product. The toggle block caught my eye.
- Getwid Blocks (FREE) – seems like a nice block library. But I dislike the generic branding. Their website feels strangely anonymous and faceless.
- Ghost Kit (FREE, PRO) – native Gutenberg pagebuilder with promise. I like the unique branding and the website seems polished. They have some nice blocks and features especially made for developers. (HAS POTENTIAL)
- Gutentor (FREE, PRO) – comprehensive blockset, works well. Not impressed by their giant style library of mostly generic designs. Also not a fan of the overall UI especially block settings area. Lacks some polish, and slightly ugly still. Extra options are conditional load for assets, block enabling by post type, and template library enable/disable. Compares most directly to Kadence Blocks and Spectra, both of which are clearly better. (HAS POTENTIAL)
- Gutenverse (FREE) – feels super generic. Big list of blocks, but the website feels and brand overall doesn’t feel unique.
- PublishPress Blocks (FREE, PRO) – argh, so close and they ruined it. They offer a comprehensive set of blocks, many powerful block features, and clean-enough settings UI. But I hate that their long ass name “PublishPress” is on every block (cluttering the block-choosing panel and reducing readability), and that every block settings panel has the annoying advertisement to upgrade to pro. UGH! Will also say that their purple color scheme doesn’t contrast nicely against the WordPress admin blue color. (HAS POTENTIAL)
- Snow Monkey Blocks (FREE) – huge collection of blocks. Seems to be growing in popularity but we’ll see where it goes.
- Twentig (FREE) – nice native Gutenberg pagebuilder, with good block selection and quality branding. I expect them to grow quickly. (HAS POTENTIAL)
- Qubely (FREE, PRO) – nice native Gutenberg pagebuilder that on paper compared well against its more direct competitor Stackable. I just can’t get over the fact that this company was discouraged years ago and basically asked its user-base to start paying for PRO or else they would cease operations, they’ve since dropped activity on their product. And its product quality and community activity is also not on Stackable’s level. Stackable simply does everything better and in every way.