A list of general thoughts about the current top themes out there.
This list exists so people can stop messaging me privately. Seriously, there’s like 80 of y’all that keep asking me the same
If you want my all-time list…check out my Best WordPress Themes guide. Otherwise, this list covers only the recent and most commonly talked-about ones. If I don’t mention it here, then it’s not a big deal to me in 2021.
Here goes my list in order of favorite (most-used) to less-used (but arguably still as good).
- Pros only.
- If you’re not a coder, don’t use it. End of story.
- If you never used Genesis before, now probably ain’t the time to start. (Go to the next option.)
- I do really love Genesis blocks. Genesis theme community devs are the best in the business and overlapping as WordPress core developers/contributors.
- Easily my favorite of the free themes and might take over Genesis as my new favorite. (Also kind of obvious GP was initially inspired by Genesis.)
- Great theme with longstanding history.
- Nice hooks and filters for devs. Has great developer-centric interface/workflow.
- Also perfect for minimalist developers.
- Great starter theme library. Has designs I actually like, and don’t look like generic stock templates.
- New features make it perfect for me, in regards to FSE-related design and custom page templates.
- Strong community with legit developers, and also many newbie ones to help each other as well.
- Great modern theme. 2-man show.
- Beautiful super-polished starter theme designs.
- Great interface for customizing your site and page templates.
- Really awesome devs that care and passionate about their work.
- Kind of like another Blocksy. Similar custom header builder and other features that were involved in controversial mud-slinging (between them two) a couple months back.
- Kadence has different starter theme designs. You may like them more for being very American-hipster style. Or you may feel their designs to be less fancy and polished than Blocksy’s.
- I’m not a huge fan of Kadence being acquired by iThemes (ewwwww). Just makes me feel the head dev either doesn’t want to deal with his product anymore, or is so overwhelmed by newbie user-requests that he needs a partner to handle them.
- Also not a fan of Kadence being linked to Adam Preiser (WPCrafter), who I can’t help but see as an affiliate-marketer dude more focused on his bottom-line than anything else.
- However, there’s no denying that Kadence has a strong following, strong community, and still a solid theme. I also like the KadenceBlocks plugin a lot. It’s a nice set of Gutenberg blocks that aren’t overly-designed.
- Very cool new workflow for WordPress themes and pagebuilder-users. Has a unique pagebuilding interface that actually utilizes the native Gutenberg blocks. Basically allows you to create custom layouts in pagebuilder manner but outputs super fast lean Gutenberg block code.
- Very fun to use and could totally be a gamechanger.
- Many other features as well such as cloud templating and sharing designs across different sites and with community.
- Still lacking in starter templates and many things still being improved. I would probably not use this on a super complicated site for now. But do give it a try.
- Has many similar features that you see in Blocksy and Kadence. But backed by a big company with lots of support resources. If you’re too shy to ask for help on Facebook groups, Neve is a great option for you.
- Also has cloud-based templating and able to share designs across different sites and with the community. Oh lord, it seems everybody’s copying this feature now. Kadence jumped in on it too recently (but sells it as a separate paid plugin).
- Neve has built-in AMP-compatibility.
- Also don’t like the huge library of generic-looking starter sites.
- This theme is so 2018. It’s last year’s “last year”.
- I don’t like their coding architecture.
- I don’t like their designs and copycat nature (ripping off ideas from other themes instead of innovating their own).
- Yes, the theme is popular but sure as hell not with devs like myself.
- And yes, the theme has many similar features as other themes above.
- Their plugin eco-system is sometimes buggy. Also not a fan of the giant library of generic designs.
- I think the support is helpful enough if you aren’t reliant on so much handholding.
- I’m also not a fan of their leadership and PR-strategy of sweeping/deleting community complaints instead of tackling them head on.
- With that said, the theme isn’t totally bad. There’s a reason why it’s the most popular on this list. (Although, I secretly feel it’s more to do with hype marketing than actually being special/unique.)
Still can’t decide?
Argh. I’m so freaken annoyed. If you still can’t decide… please, DO NOT MESSAGE ME. Just follow the questions below and decide for yourself. I don’t tell you what you wear, or what to eat. And I’m sure as hell not going to tell you what theme to use. I really don’t give a rat’s ass.
- Which one has the type of starter themes you like? – because the less work you have to do, the less help and inconvenience you’ll have to go through.
- Which one has the community you like? – typically…devs like helping other devs. Newbs like helping other newbs. So pick the community that matches you.
- Which one does your developer like? – because he/she will be the one doing all the things you can’t. And it’s cheaper/faster if you use a theme they like.
- Are there features that are dealbreakers? – some small features can make a huge difference if you really use them. If not, then it don’t matter much. All these themes aren’t bad.