Gutenberg has been the default WordPress editor since late 2018. Before that, only a simple text editor was available; the look of your site was completely determined by the chosen theme back then, which was created by an experienced developer who had to understand PHP, HTML and CSS.
Only when the first themes with a built-in page builder appeared around 2012/2013, such as Avada and Divi, it became possible for people who can’t code to create more advanced layouts with multiple rows and columns. In addition, such page builders contain many modules to easily add content, such as a module for text, images, testimonials, a photo gallery, a button, a contact form and so on.
Gutenberg finally brought a page builder-like experience to WordPress itself as well. Gutenberg also offers the possibility to format pages with multiple rows and columns,
and contains a number of modules (called blocks) to insert things like texts, images, a photo gallery, and a button.
However, the possibilities in the standard version of Gutenberg are quite limited. For example, you can’t add a background image or video, more advanced blocks such as icons, testimonials and contact forms are missing, and even adding basic things like margin, padding and borders is only possible if you use the default WordPress theme (Twenty Twenty-one or Twenty Twenty-two).
Therefor, Gutenberg in itself is certainly not a full alternative to the established page builders such as Divi and Elementor (see my page builder comparison), but it IS the future of WordPress. A number of developers quickly realized this and developed plugins that extend the standard version of Gutenberg with numerous extra blocks and functionalities.
In this article I compare some popular block plugins to see which blocks and styling options they offer.
|Included in the free version|
|Included in the premium (paid) version|
|Container / sections for multiple rows or blocks|
|Rows with multiple column layouts|
|Text block (advanced)|
|Button block (advanced, e.g. with an icon)|
|Contact form block|
|Newsletter subscription module (for MailChimp and other providers)|
|Social media share buttons|
|Image gallery block (advanced)|
|Image slider / carousel block|
|Icon list block|
|Counter / percentage block|
|Team member / person block|
|Google Maps block|
|Animated headline block (e.g. typed text effect)|
|Post grid block|
|Display posts in a carousel / slider|
|Pagination (for posts, products etc)|
|Pagination with infinite scroll|
|Popup /modal block|
|Table of contents|
|Embed Facebook posts|
|Advanced product archive block|
|Edit product archive query (determine which fields are shown yourself)|
|Add to cart button|
|Product images block|
|Product meta block|
|WooCommerce tabs block|
|Related products block|
|Product reviews block|
|Product rating block (average star rating)|
|WooCommerce breadcrumbs block|
|Product features block|
|Product stock block|
|WooCommerce notites block|
|Custom column width (instead of just fixed column structures)|
|Set padding and margin|
|Set max-width, max-height and min-height|
|Choose from multiple units like px, (r)em, %, vw, vh|
|Basic styling options (colors, alignment, font size)|
|Advanced styling options (borders, line height, shadow)|
|Image shape mask|
|Filters / blend mode|
|Google Fonts integration|
|Custom Fonts (upload your own fonts)|
|Font Awesome integration (icons)|
|Dynamic content (retrieving texts, images and other data from the database)|
|Support for custom fields / ACF|
|Support for custom post types|
|Add a link to an entire bloxk / container|
|Copy and paste styles on the same page|
|Set a site-wide default style for a section, row, or module|
|Global colors (if you adjust a color in 1 place, it will be adjusted everywhere)|
|Library with standard designs|
|Hide items on desktop, tablet or mobile|
|Adjust certain properties for mobile and tablet (padding, margin, font size)|
|Show different content on mobile and tablet (other texts, images, etc.)|
|Free version available|
|Premium version for 1 website (price per year)||$ 49||$ 69||$ 39||$ 39||$ 69|
|Premium version for 3 websites (price per year)||$ 99||$ 69||$ 59||$ 69||$ 149|
|Premium version for unlimited website (price per year)||$ 149||$ 69||$ 99||$ 99||$ 299|
|Lifetime premium version for unlimited website (no yearly costs)||$ 499||$ 649||$ 599|
Stackable has been gaining popularity lately, with some 50,000 active installs at the time of writing. Stackable does not contain a huge amount of blocks, but it does offer the most styling options of them all.
The premium version offers a number of advanced functions features such as (scroll) animations, CSS transformations, conditional display and dynamic content.
In addition, Stackable has a design library, which contains about 400 pre-designed templates (of which 75% are only available in the premium version).
The pre-designed templates of the popular Blocksy theme also use Stackable blocks.
With over 200,000 active installs at the time of writing, Kadence Blocks is by far the most popular Gutenberg Blocks plugin.
However, in terms of features, Kadence is mediocre; there are not that many blocks available and some advanced features like filters, CSS transformations and conditional display are missing from their feature set.
The premium version of Kadence does offer a newsletter subscription module, a post carousel, and – as the only one in this list – a popup / modal block. Dynamic content is also present here.
Furthermore, the free version of Kadence offers useful workflow features such as copying and pasting styles and setting a default style for each block.
Like Stackable, Kadence also has a design library with quite a few pre-designed templates, but where Stackable only offers designs for individual blocks, Kadence also has a number of complete website designs consisting of several pages.
Qubely is – in my opinion – quite undervalued with only 10,000 installs. This plugin provides by far the most blocks of all, which all look fantastic.
Like Kadence, Qubely also offers an extensive library of pre-designed templates, both for individual blocks and complete starter sites that consist of several fully formatted pages.
Qubely is also not inferior to the rest in terms of styling options, but dynamic content is unfortunately not yet supported.
This is probably because the development of Qubely has been standing still for a long time; the developers behind Qubely have several products and have recently focused mainly on Tutor LMS, which makes Qubely a bit neglected.
At the end of 2021, however, another update was released with a number of bug fixes, and the developers have promised to start developing Qubely more actively.
I have good hopes for the future of this beautiful plugin!
If you’re looking for a Gutenberg Blocks plugin with lots of blocks and styling options, GenerateBlocks is not the right choice for you. This plugin only adds 4 blocks: a container, a grid block to insert columns, a block to format headings and paragraphs and a block to add buttons.
GenerateBlocks is also quite limited in terms of design options. The plugin really aims to add as little “bloat” to WordPress core as possible and really only offers those things that are necessary to build a full-fledged website with Gutenberg.
Although it is certainly possible to create a nice page with GenerateBlocks, I personally prefer a plugin that offers more features.
Toolset Blocks is one you won’t easily come across in a Gutenberg Blocks plugins comparison – except in this one. That’s because Toolset Blocks is not available as a standalone blocks plugin; Toolset is a custom post types plugin and Toolset Blocks is only developed to build layouts for those custom post types.
Like GenerateBlocks, Toolset Blocks doesn’t offer a whole lot of blocks, nor does it offer a lot of styling options. No animations, no scrolling effects, no shape dividers…
but despite this, Toolset Blocks is the blocks plugin I use most often.
Although Toolset does not seem to be very powerful if you look at the above comparison, it actually really is. The container block and CSS grid block will let you easily build a responsive layout, but Toolset excels especially in the field of dynamic content.
For example, Toolset has no testimonials block, but a testimonials block is basically just an image with a few text blocks underneath. You can also make this with GenerateBlocks or Toolset Blocks, of course. But with Toolset, you can also create a custom post type “Testimonials” with some custom fields such as a field “name”, “function”, “image” and so on.
Then you have an extra heading “testimonials” in the admin, for example under pages and posts, where you can add all your testimonials.
After that, you can create 1 or more layouts to show those testimonials, exactly as you want them; several next to each other, in a masonry layout, as a slider and so on,
and with conditional display and filters you can determine exactly which testimonials are shown where.
That doesn’t just apply to custom post types; You can also create completely custom layouts for pages, posts and WooCommerce products, where you can determine exactly which fields you want to display. Do you want a post archive with a custom read more button, with the categories shown above the featured image? You can. Want to display the sizes of your products on your shop page? You can. Do you want to add custom fields to a WooCommerce product yourself and display them on the product page? Toolset will let you do it.
If you have a WooCommerce webshop, Toolset is a logical choice anyway, since it’s currently the only one that offers the possibility to design your shop and category pages completely according to your wishes, with separate WooCommerce blocks for elements such as the price, add to cart button, reviews and so on.
Toolset is intended for more advanced users, but for them, it offers unprecedented possibilities in Gutenberg.
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