Do you want to build your website independently, exactly the way you want?
If so, a page builder is the way to go. It’s a codeless experience with the ability to use your coding skills if you want to.
They are an ideal solution, but the question is, which page builder is best for you?
What would you prefer in a page builder: lots of design features, ease of use, or affordability?
There are a number of other factors we believe you should consider before choosing the right page builder in 2023.
Among others, the page builder should not slow down your website, be fully responsive and provide an easy-to-use interface.
Two page builders that have all those benefits are Beaver Builder and Elementor. They are two heavyweights in the industry.
We will also spice up this comparison with Spectra, a newer page builder that is becoming popular for its speed, performance and flexibility.
In our Beaver Builder vs Elementor vs Spectra comparison, we will give you a hands-on demonstration of how each plugin performs in real life.
By the end of this page, you’ll hopefully have an idea of what page builder you want to use for your next project.
We believe it’s more realistic to test page builders in a way that is closer to real-life use. We created a test WordPress website with all three plugins installed.
For this test, we hosted our website on Hostinger’s Business Web Hosting plan.
We used Hostinger because it’s one of our recommended web hosts. If you want more options, Cloudways, SiteGround and DreamHost are among the most reliable web hosting companies.
To see the actual performance of these page builders, we wanted to test them on one of the hottest themes in town.
The theme we wanted should have:
- Small file size and fast loading speed
- Compatibility with page builders
- Minimal and clean code
- Essential features with modern design
- Unlimited customization options
That’s why we chose Astra.
Astra is a free theme you can download from WordPress.org or its website. Download the free or premium version.
To keep things standard, we picked one of the Astra Starter Templates, Outdoor Adventure, from the theme library.
This template has three different versions for each page builder so it was a logical choice.
By using a standard design, we will find out which page builder gives us the maximum performance.
We will compare each page builder in the following areas:
- Customer Support
Now, let’s put these page builders through their paces!
Elementor dominates the market, with over 5 million active installations.
Beaver Builder with its over 200K installations still surprises us with the number of features under the hood.
When we talk about performance and ease of use, Specta stands as a solid rival.
We can define Spectra as the most lightweight and intuitive page builder out there.
It’s easy to find your way around as the plugin makes use of the WordPress core interface which the default block editor (Gutenberg) uses.
Elementor and Beaver Builder both offer essential features in their free versions.
The pro versions take the game to the next level by including additional design features.
Spectra also offers a range of features in its free version. It also includes some design elements that Elementor and Beaver Builder provide in their pro versions.
Spectra will soon be releasing a pro version, which will really up the ante and take the page building game to the next level.
The premium version will be part of Astra’s Growth Bundle. However, existing Growth Bundle customers will get Spectra Pro for free.
In addition to a number of features, what matters is how a page builder allows you to use them.
By the way, Elementor calls these features Widgets, whereas Beaver Builder refers to Modules. Spectra is more in line with WordPress’s naming style and calls them Blocks.
Here is the structural hierarchy of each page builder.
- Elementor > Section > Column > Widget
- Beaver Builder > Row > Column > Module
- Spectra > Container > Block
Let’s check out what these three plugins have to offer.
Elementor is the most widely used drag and drop page builder. You can easily customize existing pages or build a new website in no time.
As you place widgets in the desired location, the live editor shows the changes taking place in real-time.
Elementor’s basic version is free to download from the WordPress repository and offers around 30 widgets.
They include headings, a text editor, video, basic gallery, testimonial widgets and many others.
The pro version adds several useful widgets such as table of contents, price table, share buttons and several others, nearly 90 widgets in total.
The global design system is one of the most prominent features of Elementor. It offers a powerful way to set up colors and fonts globally.
It’s a convenient way to implement standard fonts and colors across the website from a single control.
For example, you can standardize headings for different sections of your website. You can also implement colors wherever you want in just a few clicks.
This global setting option can save a lot of time and effort that you may otherwise spend styling each widget individually.
Here are a few more things that we like about Elementor:
- Easy Finder, a powerful search tool to locate any page, template, or design you have worked on
- Design anything now and save it as a template to reuse later
- Add motion effects to any widget of your choice such as parallax, mouse effects and much more
- A popup builder that lets you create stylish and engaging popups anywhere on your website
- A number of widgets to display dynamic content which is useful for websites like blogs, news outlets and similar platforms
- Over 300 professionally designed templates to cater to any need
Beaver Builder is among the oldest page builders we have. It’s not only loved by users but also by developers as it provides tons of advanced techniques to build a website.
You can also download the free version from WordPress.org.
The basic version is limited to only 9 modules including heading, text editor, sidebar, and a couple of pre-designed templates.
Just the basic stuff to get an idea of what the premium version offers.
It’s the pro version that takes page building to a whole new level.
It adds more than 24 modules including layout, call to action, login forms, gallery, and several others to handle most situations.
The pro version also adds more prebuilt templates for different pages. It also provides prebuilt rows with predesigned modules that can be used as they are.
It saves a lot of time and effort.
You can customize these templates, modules, and rows to save and reuse them anytime.
Here are some more features we like about this page builder:
- Beaver Builder’s visual editor is smooth and fast, which increases productivity
- Lock the sidebar if you need to use it frequently. The sidebar can be positioned and locked on either side of the screen
- Click a module in live view to open the settings box
- Adjust the column size by dragging and dropping. There is no need to open settings to change the width
- Duplicating columns/rows is a handy feature as it saves a lot of time when you need to quickly add more columns or rows
Spectra brings a whole new approach to building websites from scratch by using the WordPress block editor (formerly known as Gutenberg).
The best part of Spectra lies in its simplicity. Yet it’s powerful at the same time.
Someone who has used the block editor for creating posts and pages can use Spectra to design the whole website.
It’s beginner friendly and you can watch the changes taking effect in real-time through a drag and drop visual editor.
You can also design an impressive landing page in minutes.
Spectra calls its design elements Blocks and places them where WordPress keeps its blocks.
There are a number of performance-related benefits to this approach which we will discuss later in the article.
Spectra is a free plugin you can download from the WordPress repository. It offers 32 design blocks for dealing with almost every design situation.
When you are designing your pages or website from scratch, you will find Spectra fully equipped with premade blocks and templates.
Just choose one of the predesigned patterns and place it anywhere on your page.
You can also use professionally designed pages, patterns, and wireframes from the Template Kits library to create stunning websites.
Another notable feature of Spectra is its compatibility with other popular plugins.
If you have Spectra and Elementor installed on your website, you can access Spectra’s prebuilt pages and blocks library inside the Elementor page builder.
That means whether you design pages with Elementor or not, you can conveniently access Spectra’s template library and use its prebuilt designs wherever you need.
That’s how flexible and compatible Spectra is!
Spectra provides a wide range of features that make page building an amazing experience.
- Flexible containers which is a modern way to put content on the page. It keeps pages optimized, responsive and speedy
- Drag and drop anything, anywhere, copy and paste blocks easily and change the direction and alignment of content within the container however you want
- Copy and paste entire blocks from one website to another as long as Spectra is installed on both
- Responsive content display which means you can display certain things on desktop devices and hide them on mobile
- Conditionally display contents on the basis of users, operating systems or browser
- Responsive editing to tweak your design for any device type
Here is a side-by-side comparison of these page builders for some insight.
|Visual website builder||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Copy and paste style||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Lottie animation block (Module/Widget/Block)||No||No||Yes|
|Schema compatible blocks||No||No||Yes|
|Global design system||No||Yes||No|
Page builders make website building effortless by offering a codeless experience. This is why we expect them to offer an intuitive interface for making things more productive.
Check out how convenient Beaver Builder, Elementor and Spectra are.
Elementor divides its interface into two panes: the left one holds all the widgets and settings menus. The right pane is the live preview area for seeing the changes live as they happen.
You can pick a widget and drag it to the right panel which is as easy as ABC. You can also change the width of the widget panel for your convenience.
Soon as you drop an element to the right, the widget panel turns into a widget setting area.
Elementor categorizes those settings into three groups – Content, Style and Advanced.
Within the widget panel, they are placed inside their respective groups, which can be expanded to show all available elements. Elementor makes searching for a widget easy through a search field.
You can also use the Favorites group to place frequently used widgets to access them quickly.
You can access Site Settings, Theme Builder and User Preferences from the hamburger menu visible on the top left.
The bottom of the widget panel houses some key buttons.
You can hide and show the navigator, review editing history, use responsive mode and preview changes from the bottom area.
Elementor also provides you with a way to hide the widget panel.
Just click on the Hide Panel icon and you can preview the website from edge to edge.
You can alter the panel width as per your need from inside the User Preference menu.
This can be done by dragging the mouse with the left button clicked from the edge of the panel.
Elementor provides us with a lot of options to set things globally. Site Settings allow us to globally define the widget’s behavior, all from one place.
Elementor also provides shortcut keys for a number of helpful functions. These include Ctrl + E for invoking the search box and Ctrl + I for showing and hiding the navigator.
When you want to save time while designing pages, these shortcuts come in handy.
Beaver Builder seems more organized and intuitive. If you’re a fan of uncluttered space and a full screen view while designing your pages, you’ll like working with Beaver Builder.
Unlike Elementor, Beaver Builder gives you an edge-to-edge editing area while providing all the menu items on the top bar.
In the right corner of the top bar, you can access Outline which is equivalent to Navigator in Elementor.
Your web pages comprise different elements and Outline provides an easy way to access each element.
With your right mouse button, you can remove or duplicate an element or open the setting window for each item from this area.
It’s an alternative way of accessing the settings of a module. A more direct approach is to click an item on the page to see the settings window popup.
The + sign reveals the menu area for accessing modules and rows. These are the building blocks Beaver Builder uses.
You can also access predesigned templates from here.
For standardizing your website, you can save different modules, rows, and templates in the Saved tab and use them on other pages.
Beaver Builder’s shortcuts are easier than Elementor’s.
You can navigate to Tools > Keyboard Shortcuts to find out the list of keys you can use to do different things.
We really like how Beaver Builder can transform the entire working environment.
You can relocate the sidebar as we discussed earlier and you can also change the number of modules that appear in the sidebar.
You can do it from Settings > Beaver Builder > Modules.
It’s a helpful feature for keeping your screen the way you want by only showing the modules you need.
With Spectra, everything works the same way it does with WordPress.
It’s an intelligent move by the Spectra team to keep you closer to the native WordPress look and feel.
It makes design much more intuitive.
When you open a page or post with Spectra active on your website, you will notice a blue Template Kits button on top. This will enable you to access predesigned pages, patterns and wireframes.
Everything else that you need for designing your page from scratch can be accessed from the block inserter area.
It’s the same place where you usually pick items for the block editor.
Spectra Blocks sit on top of WordPress’ default items, so it’s easy to use anything you want.
You will notice that each block shows a tooltip when you hover your mouse over it. It’s a beginner-friendly feature that comes in handy.
Like any page builder, it’s a drag and drop interface.
When you insert a block on your page, you will see related settings in the right sidebar.
Spectra presents those settings in three tabs – General, Style and Advanced.
You will also notice a small toolbar on top of the selected block that holds additional tools to do things quickly.
There’s also List View (an equivalent of Navigator and Outline) which you can find in the top toolbar.
To open it quickly, Shift + Alt + O is the shortcut key.
When it comes to responsive design, you can never go wrong with Spectra. It provides three buttons in the top bar to test your design’s responsiveness.
Whenever you change the design, simply press one of the buttons to see if it is mobile friendly or needs some tweaking.
Website site speed depends on a number of factors such as web hosting quality, theme, plugins, cache system and image size.
Page builders are plugins that can have quite an impact on your site’s loading speed.
Users love visiting websites that load quickly no matter how cool they look. Design becomes a secondary factor in this case.
You should make sure to choose a page builder that doesn’t slow down your website.
To test the performance of these page builders, we took the following measures to standardize the environment as much as possible:
- We removed all the plugins except for the page builder being tested
- We didn’t use a cache system so we could check the coding quality of page builders
- We used GTMetrix, PageSpeed Insights, and Pingdom to measure the performance of all page builders
- Since our hosting server is located in Singapore, we tried to access the test website from the closest location possible
We recorded performance scores sequentially so that you have a reference score to compare different steps.
For example, we tested website performance in the following sequence:
- Speed test with the default WordPress theme
- Speed test after installing the Astra theme
- Speed test each page builder with the Outdoor Adventure Starter Template installed
Elementor, Beaver Builder and Spectra are among the most reliable page builders in town when it comes to speed tests.
Let’s check the performance one by one.
|WordPress (default theme)||92%||99%||1.3s||0ms||0|
|WordPress (Astra theme)||99%||99%||693ms||0ms||0|
|Beaver Builder (Pro)||92%||90%||1.4s||0ms||0|
|WordPress (default theme)||99||100||100||80|
|WordPress (Astra theme)||99||100||100||90|
|Beaver Builder (Pro)||92||95||100||92|
|Performance||Page Size||Load Time||Requests|
|WordPress (default theme)||95||26.6KB||676ms||6|
|WordPress (Astra theme)||94||52.7KB||712ms||6|
|Beaver Builder (Pro)||82||1.8MB||1.62s||29|
Results clearly show that each page builder performs impressively in terms of loading speed.
All of them load the website in under 2 seconds which is excellent performance.
However, Spectra wins with flying colors as it outperforms the two heavyweights.
In addition to features and performance, a major factor that we can’t ignore is the price of a product we want to use.
No matter how outstanding the performance is, if it’s out of your budget, you will likely look for alternatives.
Spectra is a free page builder so won’t feature it in this part of the comparison.
The other two builders both have premium versions, so we’ll compare those two together.
Beaver Builder and Elementor have their free versions but they reserve several key tools for the premium option.
However, they are still not expensive tools if you compare their price with the services of a professional developer.
Let’s check out the different plans Elementor and Beaver Builders have to offer.
|Essential Plan||Expert Plan||Agency Plan|
|$59/year (1 site)||$199/year (25 sites)||$399/year (1000 sites)|
You may also get 3 Pro Websites for $99/year
All Elementor plans include 100+ basic and pro widgets, 300+ basic and pro templates, theme builder, WooCommerce store builder, landing page builder, popup builder, form builder, marketing tools and 24/7 premium support.
All Beaver Builder plans can be used on unlimited websites. The Standard plan covers premium support and premium modules and templates.
The Beaver Builder theme and multisite capability are available on the Pro plan. If you need white labeling, you should opt for the Agency plan.
Beaver Builder, Elementor and Spectra cleverly cover every aspect of their use with simple guides and instructions.
If something needs more explanation, there is a huge knowledge base on their respective websites.
You may run into problems at any time, even with a top-notch product.
All you need is a responsive support team to help you fix the issue.
Check out how each page builder handles customer support.
Elementor offers video tutorials in the plugin settings area. There are step-by-step guides to explain the interface and various other features to give you a quick start.
The help section on their website covers basic guides to explain design items and settings.
Elementor support is available on the WordPress forum for users of the free version. Pro users receive 24/7 premium support.
You can contact them by email or live chat. Either way, you will hear from them within a short time.
Like Elementor, Beaver Builder also guides you with a welcome video. You’ll find it inside plugin settings and it covers most of what the page builder offers.
Their YouTube channel offers plenty of tutorials but nothing like Elementor’s step-by-step videos.
You can also sign up for free to access Beaver Builder courses on their website.
In addition to the support on WordPress.org which is limited to the free version, you get yearly support with every plan you buy.
The Beaver Builder support team is available through the ticketing system only from Monday to Friday during working hours.
You can also join Beaver Builders’ social media groups to get answers from the community.
Spectra never ceases to inspire us when it comes to helping users through its knowledge base and support.
The welcome video explains Spectra features in detail making newbies comfortable to start working with the plugin.
The team also responds to user queries on the WordPress.org forum. Additionally, their website features in-depth articles explaining every feature Spectra offers.
Their blog section covers everything about Spectra from the latest updates to how you can use it efficiently.
The upcoming pro version is likely to come with premium customer support.
Just to make the point, Spectra comes from the same team that also sells the Astra theme, Brainstorm Force.
They take customer support very seriously, which is evident from Astra’s innumerable achievements.
Page builders in this comparison are not only feature rich, they also perform well.
Before we conclude, here are a few more things we would like to share with you.
Whether we build websites alone or in a team, we like to take notes during the testing process. Elementor offers an effective tool for this purpose.
You can leave a comment about any element on the page while designing.
You can access it from the hamburger menu located in the top left corner of the interface.
It’s a powerful feature to keep track of all the changes you want to remember or communicate with other team members.
Not only can you create notes, you can tag your team as well.
It isn’t quite as powerful as ProjectHuddle, but it’s a neat inclusion!
Images play an integral role in website design.
With Spectra and Beaver Builder, you can easily adjust the aspect ratio of an image.
For example, they allow you to crop, zoom, rotate and change the aspect ratio.
Spectra doesn’t change the original image, it saves a separate copy whenever you change the aspect ratio.
Beaver Builder does a similar thing more or less under Style settings.
All three page builders are loaded with features. They all help you create stunning websites. But which is best?
If Elementor boasts a staggering number of widgets in its arsenal, Beaver Builder can still do an amazing job with carefully designed modules.
We personally liked the Global Design System feature that Elementor uses to streamline the whole design process.
In Beaver Builder and Spectra you will need to do a bit more work to standardize things.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for any website.
Here we see Spectra and Elementor show full compatibility with popular SEO plugins.
Spectra also provides schema-compatible blocks which we don’t find in Elementor and Beaver Builder.
SEO stretches beyond adding metadata to your content. A huge contributing factor is website speed.
All things being equal, it’s a clear win for Spectra for loading speed.
Both Beaver Builder and Elementor offer free versions which are useful for basic needs.
Elementor starts off with a more affordable yearly plan but it’s only limited to a single site, whereas you can use Beaver Builder on unlimited sites.
For single-site owners, the Elementor Essential plan looks the most attractive offer as it includes every feature Elementor offers.
Higher plans only increase the number of sites you can use Elementor on and don’t add any extra features.
Beaver Builder gets more attractive with the Agency plan which includes all the goodies including white labeling.
It’s a very attractive proposition for developers and agencies with large numbers of clients.
A big plus for Spectra is its price. You get all the features (blocks, patterns, pages and wireframes) for free.
You can download Spectra and create a stunning website and use all the pro features while spending absolutely nothing.
Each contender has its own unique approach to supporting its users.
While the free versions offer support on WordPress.org forums, the premium user can get quick responses from the support team to handle the issues.
24/7 support and live chat give Elementor a distinct edge over Beaver Builder where users are limited to a ticket system during official working hours.
However, we have found the Beaver Builder team very responsive.
Spectra provides a huge archive of guides and tutorials on its website. This archive is full of guides and tutorials should you need to learn anything about the page builder.
The upcoming premium version is expected to introduce an email or chat support system for pro users.
Page builders are not merely plugins. They’ve become the most reliable partner for anyone who wants to build websites their own way.
They are crucial for creating or customizing landing pages, checkout pages or any part of your website. Having one in your arsenal surely gives you an edge.
The one you choose for your website should be reliable and match your needs. It should be a blend of features, design and performance.
However, we shouldn’t overlook the importance of price and customer support.
In this Beaver Builder vs Elementor vs Spectra comparison, we hope you have learned everything you needed to know about these three competitors.
Which page builder will you choose for your website? What are the features you value most? We would love to hear about your experience in the comments section!
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