Here are the best Gutenberg block plugins to redesign your WordPress site!
- Want to replace your bloated pagebuilder?
- Scared you won’t be able to do fancy layouts?
- Scared you can’t keep your existing design?
- Scared that Gutenberg blocks are too hard to use?
Well, you’re in luck!
There is so much Gutenberg development nowadays and tons of 3rd-party extensions available. It blows me away how fast G-blocks are evolving.
I’ve played with all the best ones and will now share my favorites with you. They are EASY to use (very low learning curve), also in my opinion more flexible than pagebuilders and much more lightweight than pagebuilders.
Intro to Gutenberg blocks
The new WordPress editor builds content in blocks.
Previously, you were mostly typing into a text box and attaching images/embeds for media. And then for other special functionality on the page, you either had to add shortcodes or use a custom page template or hack widgets into your pages.
With Gutenberg, everything is added in blocks. You want text? That’s a block. You want images? That’s a block. But there are many more possible block options than just text and images. Just about all plugin functionality nowadays can be added via a Gutenberg block.
What about if you wanted fancy layouts? No need to code a custom template, you can build it yourself using “layout blocks” that added multiple-column layouts other other special layouts, into which you would add other content blocks.
Really cool, right?
Distinguishing between SINGLE-PURPOSE BLOCKS and BLOCK LIBRARIES
I use these made-up terms to help categorize the different block plugins out there. Gutenberg block plugins are just like regular WordPress plugins. Some do just one thing. Others do many things.
Ideally, you want to install as few plugins as possible to keep your site as light as possible. It’s probably better to have only one block library plugin per site that can do most of what you need. And then for any other specific design or function, you can install a single-purpose block for that. This keeps the bloats down and also not clutter your site with so many darn blocks and plugins.
Distinguishing between MINIMAL library vs PRE-STYLED library.
Here go some more made-up terms. Some of the Gutenberg block libraries out there have tons of blocks (for every design and widget function). They look really polished and probably great for someone switching from a pagebuilder and don’t want to start with a plain design. Other G-block libraries look more plain and simple. They’re better for building from scratch when you have your own style or maybe want to code things in yourself.
Which one is better for you? Depends….if you have zero technical ability and want something that looks professional without any effort, start with the pre-styled libraries. They’re almost like full pagebuilders in the amount of pre-designed options available for you. Just plug and play!
But if you know how to code and want to do really customized non-generic layouts, then you’ll prefer a more minimal library that’s more like a blank canvas for you to style things out exactly as you like. Both options can be fast, both can look nice. It’s just a matter of what feels easier or more freedom to you.
Personally, I think the plain ones are better for my use. Cleaner, more lightweight. But really, you should be fine with any…either will be cleaner and leaner than a pagebuilder. If you don’t know what you’re doing…maybe you should start with the pre-styled ones. Heck, you can have multiple block libraries installed and they’ll still be lighter than your pagebuilder.
Newb questions…that I’m tired of hearing.
Do Gutenberg blocks/builders slow down your website?
- No! The are so much better than the old pagebuilder way. Gutenbergs are so much more native to WordPress, load faster and use fewer assets to do so.
Which is the best Gutenberg block plugin?
- You decide. Try them all and see which one has the blocks and pre-styled designs you use most.
Can you install more than one Gutenberg block plugin without slowing down your site?
- Yes. Having 5 Gutenberg block libraries is still faster than one pagebuilder.
- For single-use Gutenberg blocks, you can mix and match multiple no problem.
- For Gutenberg block libraries, it’s ideal to have only one block library per page. But even if you used elements of multiple together, you’ll still be ok.
Top 5 MINIMAL Gutenberg block libraries
These are my favorite because all I really need are just container and layout options. I don’t need actual block widgets or block functions since I get them from my plugins already. And extra styling or design, I can code them myself. These libraries won’t overwhelm your editor with tons of unused block options.
The qualities I look for most in these blocks are spacing and layout options (multi-columns, different layouts with text and images, displaying posts). If there’s extra widget functionality, that can be nice if it saves me from having to install and extra plugin but that’s a slippery slope…for me, most plugins end up having too much rather than too little.
1. Genesis Blocks formerly “Atomic Blocks” (StudioPress)
Perfect balance of containers and common layouts for you to put stuff inside. Great for doing business sites, comes with posts grid, pricing, accordion, and other common blocks. There’s also prebuilt templates as well so you don’t start from total scratch. I think this is the perfect Goldilocks option if you want something minimal but don’t want to start from scratch.
In case you didn’t know, the development team behind this are closely related to StudioPress and Genesis theme (my favorite developers theme). It’s no wonder at all that I would like it.
2. Advanced Gutenberg (JoomUnited)
Many useful pagebuilder blocks but unstyled. Has counter, testimonials, layout summary (TOC), tabs and accordions, and many more. Great for recreating all your pagebuilder layouts AND get their little widget icons and functions as well. I think the generic name is horrible…maybe great for SEO but terrible for branding. They should have called it “JoomBlocks”.
Kind of funny background on JoomUnited, they are also Joomla developers (Joomla was the former popular CMS before WordPress took over), and have a solid history of making quality plugins for both WordPress and Joomla. I’ve seen and enjoyed their other work as well.
3. GenerateBlocks (Tom Usborne)
From the maker of GeneratePress (one of my favorite themes). This is the Gutenberg block library I use the most as it’s super lean and minimal. All it has is CONTAINER, GRID, HEADLINE, and BUTTONS. And all I mostly only use the container and grid blocks. The rest I build by hand. But that’s because I build many custom sites and know how to code things in the way I like.
I think it’ll be too minimal for most people and not conducive to helping newbies create polished layouts. But if you want to do things in the most clean and minimal way…I seriously think you can do nearly everything with only the container and grid blocks alone. Whatever other widget functions can come from your other plugins.
Notes from actual use:
- It’s just too minimal for quick use. If you want to stay super lean and style things from scratch, it’s great. But otherwise, you should start with another library if you’re new to Gutenberg.
- Button spacing can get real annoying. This is partly to do with default WP core button styling as well.
4. Guteblock (Sweans)
Has different multi-column layout options. Good if you have many little cards for arranging text and images around each other. It’s not for me but many people doing pagebuilder-style layouts but don’t want the extra-styling might like this.
- Appears abandoned and dwindling user base (only 200+ active installs).
5. Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg (Brainstorm Force)
Made by the same company behind the Astra theme. It was just ok for me, feels like another me-too plugin from BSF. Has the typical widget blocks. Perhaps might be nice if you already have Astra theme and want to stay in the same eco-system. Otherwise, I highly suggest skipping this one and going straight to the next section.
NOTE: ehhh…I don’t like all the inline styles. I’ll be looking to replace this #5 spot asap.
Top 5 PRE-STYLED Gutenberg block libraries
I think this is where the fun begins for most of you…and honestly, even for me as well. The block libraries listed here are more than just the usual standard container blocks and common widgets. They have many more widget options (sliders, counters, timeline, table of contents, tabs/accordions, pricing tables) and on and on and on. And they also have prebuilt templates for you to import.
If you’re coming from a pagebuilder and loved the pagebuilder experience, you should definitely start with these. They have many options that already look nice and tons of widgets for you to choose from. They’re a lot of fun, look great and surprisingly easy to use. What I care most about the block libraries here is that they stay manageable and don’t overwhelm you with their options.
1 . Qubely (Themeum)
Oh man, there is gonna be a pagebuilder war starting in the Gutenberg blocks world and Qubely is the first ruler as far as I can see.
This thing looks great! So polished, everything about the plugin is so nice. Feels premium and yet I’m surprised at what you get for free. They also have a PRO plan too which I think is totally worth it if you want the extra features. Do you wanna know I like them?…I put my email in their newsletter! (Which I never ever do!)
When I first wrote this guide, I had Gutentor (the current #3) as being the best pre-styled Gutenberg blocks library but Qubely is easily miles ahead once you compare them side-by-side. Qubely has the right balance of many helpful widgets but not so many that you have 4 tabs worth (like Gutentor).
The prebuilt designs are the most polished of any block library that I see. You can compare both Qubely and Gutentor’s website for yourself and you’ll see that Qubely feels like a better development company and with better design.
My affiliate link for Qubely Pro. (They still have LIFETIME plans now.)
2. Stackable (Gambit Technologies)
Ouch, this is so painful and straight up disrespectful to put them at #2. Because everything about them screams first place. The blocks look great. The designs are awesome. They also have PRO plan that unlocks many more sexy designs. Also too, check out their Stackable showcase (really awesome designs at the bottom, just look!).
They got everything you need. Many block options. Many predesign templates to choose from. So why are they not #1? I felt that Qubely gave you slightly more in the free version. Qubely has a few extra widgets (like table-of-contents, timeline, image comparison) which look great and weren’t included in Stackable. The only unique advantages I can think of for Stackable is a much more active Facebook group and they seem to be featured more than Qubely. Gun to the head, I feel Stackable might be a better development team as well.
Ultimately, both of them could be either first or second place. You really can’t go wrong. Everything about them is top class. Try both and see which one you like better. Then go buy their pro plan.
- UPDATE – Stackable is officially my #1 pick considering all their recent improvements, and also in combination with Qubely’s announcement that they weren’t making enough money to support Qubely development for the longterm.
My affiliate link for Stackable Pro (No lifetime plan available.)
This is basically a full-on pagebuilder but in Gutenberg. If you ever wanted all your pagebuilder layouts and many predesigned templates and hundreds of widget options…this is the one! I feel like it has more widget options than any other Gutenberg block library.
While I don’t like having more Gutenberg block tabs, I do appreciate that they organized their blocks into Elements, Module, Posts, and Widget. (Hmmm…why didn’t they make all those words plural?) In any case, I think some people will feel it’s overkill. Others will love all the options it has. (I also hope they go away from the generic plugin name.)
4. CoBlocks (GoDaddy)
Absolutely fantastic for replacing complicated pagebuilder layouts. Has dividers, menus, pricing tables, carousels, collages, media layouts. This one is super fun with the shape dividers (put in a CSS class and use image as the background, hehe). Tons of options and still very lightweight. Just FYI, Godaddy didn’t built it…they simply acquired it. Let’s hope it stays amazing.
Notes from actual use:
- I really wanted to like this one, but it was a little buggy at times. Some blocks broke and had to be rebuilt.
- It has many useful blocks but some blocks don’t have all the options like others. For example their container blocks don’t have so many margin and padding options like GenerateBlocks and KadenceBlocks.
- I did really like their accordion, and probably the only thing I would use on some sites.
- I would use KadenceBlocks instead if I were you.
Brand new to the scene and already I think it’s deserving of the #3 spot. I only list it here at #5 because I want to see how it matures. First off, Kioken aims to be the best pagebuilder replacement and looking at the feature-set, I’d have to say I’m very impressed.
Kioken can do a handful of things that other blocks can’t. Vertical text and animations (I think many newbies are gonna love this). I think they’re following design trends pretty well. The designs look very polished. Here’s a showcase site built with Kioken.
If there’s any cons, it’s that they’re still really new and the site design library doesn’t have many options. Also they don’t have as many block widget options like the other libraries. But it’s still a solid choice and especially if you like their design style. I think their PRO version is worth checking out if you like the free one.
- This plugin looks abandoned by its devs.
6. Getwid (MotoPress)
This one is also a lot of fun and very underrated. It has many unique blocks like progress bar, content timeline, even CPT block (wow). Also has a template library so you can import prebuilt layouts. So why isn’t this one ranked higher? It’s not that it isn’t great, it’s that the others have so much more polish. But I can also see certain scenarios where you might prefer this one. It’s got lots of widgets and un-styled (so you can style them yourself).
- Plugin was closed on WP repo (may be reinstated soon), but you can still get it from their website.
Block libraries I didn’t like
These are the ones you can skip. I felt they were missing too many key functions and/or didn’t offer enough unique functionality to make them worth the install.
- Advanced Gutenberg Blocks (maximebj) – a random collection of blocks that do such specific functions you probably won’t use more than 2 or 3 of them if even that much. I also don’t like that it failed to open sometimes (on my bloated test site). (Closed. No longer available.)
- BlockyPage – nothing wrong with it. Feels like a copycat of other G-block plugins except only two minor differences. I don’t like that it takes over the full-width of your editor header area, but do like that it added buttons for desktop, tablet, mobile view. (Appears abandoned.)
- Gutenberg Blocks and Template Library (Otter) – meh. The collection of blocks was too specific for my needs and their template library import didn’t work. Maybe the library didn’t work because I had 10 other G-block libraries enabled but still…I wasn’t compelled to diagnose it. I’m also not a fan of how it takes over the top of every page editor. (Getting popular. 100K downloads.)
- Kadence Blocks – arghhh, so close. I wanted to like them as a clean DIY block library but it’s missing some essential blocks like the Container block (if not for that alone, it could have replaced GenerateBlocks pretty easily). It’s still worth checking out but I think the others are better and will cover more use cases.
- Ultimate Blocks – feels like a collection of widgets, doesn’t have anything for building content layouts. I liked the countdown and “how-to” block but those alone are not enough to justify using it.
A word to the Gutenberg naysayers
I know some people are terrified of losing their way of WordPress and don’t want to switch to Gutenberg. Many of them have argued with me or even tried to show me links of the Gutenberg plugin getting tons of reviews.
My message is “don’t worry”.
Gutenberg is improving so rapidly, I can’t even keep up with it. It has opened the door for so many more ways of creating, designing, and editing content in WordPress sites.
It’s not only the future of WordPress (it’s already the current state of WordPress). Maybe you don’t like how that sounds but actually what it means is that Gutenberg blocks will keep improving and competing with each other to take as much market share as possible. You will have more power, freedom, and flexibility than ever before…AND…your site will be so much leaner than with a pagebuilder.