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Bootstrap Alternatives: The top 34 options in 2020

These days, the number one requirement of any website is that it must run correctly on all kinds of devices (especially mobiles). For that end, Bootstrap has been one of the most popular front-end frameworks and has been featured in the top list of many developers for designing mobile-friendly websites.

While Bootstrap is undoubtedly amazing at what it does, there are some other frameworks which are equally good and may fit your requirements better.

In this article, we'll list 34 Bootstrap alternatives that might be more suitable for you in different scenarios.

As you all know, devices like mobiles and tablets have smaller screen sizes and limited memory when compared to desktop computers. So, it's not always a good choice to include the complete Bootstrap framework in your code because of its large file size. You may instead use a library that has a lighter footprint than Bootstrap but provides all the necessary functionalities.

There are tons of other reasons that may convince you to have a sneak peek at some available alternatives to Bootstrap. So, let’s get started by taking a look at these 34 Bootstrap Alternatives (ordered alphabetically).

Best Bootstrap Alternatives

1. 960 Grid System

As its name anticipates, 960 Grid System is a CSS framework that was specially built for websites that are 960 pixels wide. This framework has an intuitive grid system that can be divided into 12, 16 or 24 columns.

Is 960 GS a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • Great for designing a quick prototype of any web page.
  • Low memory usage due to small file size.
  • Unlike other CSS frameworks, it has plugins for Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and Photoshop.

Cons:

  • It doesn't provide a responsive or fluid design as core functionality.
  • Its actual content area is only 940px. It works well when designs are set at a maximum font size of 12px.

2. ArtDesignUI

ArtDesignUI is a jQuery library for style control web elements. The basic purpose of ArtDesignUI is to create and manage the user interface of a website.

You can easily customize different UI elements like drop-down, text area, input field, button, and tabs. All the HTML elements created using ArtDesignUI are mobile-friendly by default.

Is ArtDesignUI a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • Your website design will be 100% responsive.
  • You don’t need to use CSS as everything can be easily managed through JavaScript.
  • Class prefix to prevent conflict with classes from other CSS files.

Cons:

  • ArtDesignUI’s code hasn’t been updated since 2015. Now it seems like the project is actually disbanded by the original developers.

3. Bootflat

Bootflat works on top of the Bootstrap framework. So, basically it is not a Bootstrap alternative in a true sense. Instead, it's like a starter template or a user interface kit that helps you create modern web pages more quickly.

Is Bootflat a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • Best choice for prototyping web pages.
  • It is created according to the latest web design trends and works in all major web browsers.

Cons:

  • It doesn’t support the latest version of the Bootstrap framework (Bootstrap 4).
  • Bootflat project is completely dependent on Bootstrap and is unable to work independently.

4. Bulma

Bulma is a completely free CSS framework. It is inspired by Bootstrap and based on Flexbox, which already has great compatibility between browsers.

This Framework contains all the most common elements such as forms, tables, buttons, menus, titles, notifications, progress bars, among other things.

Is Bulma a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • A super simple grid system
  • 100% responsive (mobile-first)
  • Modern (built with Flexbox)
  • Open Source on GitHub

Cons:

  • The CSS of this framework runs very slow on IE web browser.
  • Small community

5. Cardinal

Cardinal is one of the best Bootstrap alternatives with a mobile-first approach. Web developers love this framework because of its unmatched performance and extremely fast speed.

It does not have any unnecessary code-related UI design, which makes this structure very light compared to Bootstrap. Plus, it allows complete control over the appearance of websites

Is Cardinal a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • The minified version of Cardinal framework is available in almost 11 KB file size, which is perfect for websites that must load within the first few seconds.
  • Very easy to scale existing codebase as your project grows.

Cons:

  • According to the developers of Cardinal, this project will no longer receive frequent updates. So, you should choose it wisely for your next web design project.

6. Cirrus

Cirrus is designed in such a way that it can be easily used inside existing or new projects. Its code is structured using BEM notation (Blocks, Elements, and Modifiers) Notation for ease of use.

For the rapid designing of web pages, it comes with pre-built components. These components are divided into separate "Core" and "Ext" packages. "Core" contains all the necessary components while “Ext” provides specially designed components.

Is Cirrus a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • You don’t have to rewrite existing website code to integrate Cirrus.
  • Cirrus is open source and free to use for personal or commercial web projects.

Cons:

  • It only has 5 contributors and a small community of users.

7.Element

Element is coded in CSS and JavaScript but it is totally dependent on the Vue.js library. It works on the concept of reusable components and provides you with a set of pre-designed UI elements.

As you may already know, component-based architecture is really popular among frontend design libraries. So, this UI design kit probably has a very bright future ahead.

Is Element a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • It has a professional community of contributors that update codes on a regular basis. So, you don’t have to worry about any outdated coding practices.
  • Element is distributed with MIT license which allows you to use its code however you like.

Cons:

  • You need to learn Vue.js in order to understand its basic working.
  • It still has 1000+ open issues on Github that needs to be fixed.

8. Flexbox Grid

Flexbox was created to align and distribute spaces between items in a container. Its objective is to give the ability to change the width, height, and order of the elements to promote a better filling of the available spaces. Flexbox serves all types of devices and screen sizes.

It is packed with a grid system similar to Bootstrap. But it is based on the latest CSS3 “flex” property instead of using floats.

Is Flexbox Grid a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • It can make your web page responsive and fluid.
  • Very easy to grasp if you are already familiar with the Bootstrap framework basics.

Cons:

  • It comes with a modern grid system but doesn’t have any readymade user interface elements. So, you have to design the web pages from scratch.
  • Flexbox is used to design simplified one-dimensional layouts, with a straight-line layout, and is best suited for app components and small-scale layouts.

9. Foundation

Foundation is a CSS framework built with Sass, a powerful CSS preprocessor, which allows for faster development of foundations and provides new tools for customizing and building upon initial styles.

This framework is giving a hard time to Bootstrap. It is admired by developers because of its unmatched flexibility.

With Foundation, it is possible to create web pages that will look good on all screens and it will not clutter your code.

Is Element a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • Foundation can be easily customized to match specific requirements.
  • Professional training and certification is available

Cons:

  • It has a steep learning curve, so it takes some time to be familiar with its key terms.

10. Groundwork

Groundwork CSS framework is a responsive HTML5, CSS and Javascript Framework. It has complete support for “ARIA state/role” attributes and semantic element selectors

Is Groundwork a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • It has a responsive grid system that can be easily nestable to create complex web designs.
  • Rapid prototyping and wireframes with dynamic placeholder text, images, and fonts

Cons:

  • The source code of Groundwork on Github is archived by its owner. This may mean that he and his contributors don’t have plans to continue its development in the near future.

11. Gumby

Gumby is a CSS framework that can help you create responsive and mobile-friendly websites. It is packed with UI toolkit, grid, components, and extensions to provide an ultimate experience.

Is Gumby a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • Makes use of SASS to speedup customization.
  • It has a step by step documentation regarding each concept.

Cons:

  • Engineers have officially stopped its development.

12. HTML Kickstart

HTML Kickstart project was started to help you speed up your web designing tasks by providing pre-built design elements like navigation menus, buttons, and animated sliders. This way you don’t have to spend much time while designing a web page. You may instead focus on delivering quality work rather than struggling with how to get things right.

Is HTML Kickstart Grid a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • One of the best CSS and JavaScript framework for rapid designing of a website.
  • Its UI elements are capable of being displayed correctly in older browsers.

Cons:

  • Not enough open-source contributors available to continue its development.

13. HTML5 Boilerplate

HTML5 Boilerplate is not a framework but an HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript template. It is used to design any kind of web page and helps you build fast, robust, and adaptable web apps or sites. Basically, it comes with all the necessary building blocks to design a simple or complex website.

Is HTML5 Boilerplate a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • Built-in support for printing a web page.
  • Complete and easy to understand documentation for each and every line of code.

Cons

  • Its latest version has dropped support for older web browsers.

14. INK

INK is a rapid web design framework that is created by the popular Portuguese company SAPO. Initially, they started this project to speed up the development of their own websites. But, with time it became flexible enough to be used in any web application.

Is INK Grid a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • Developers had added pre-designed cookbooks in INK framework through which you can quickly customize a theme and use it (start from scratch is also available).

Cons:

  • The framework has a lot of features but it seems like the future development or enhancement of existing functionalities are stalled since 2017.

15. Inuit

Inuit provide a very structured code base that is able to handle enterprise-level web applications where multiple developers are working together as a team.

In reality, a website becomes difficult to manage as it grows. So, if you are looking for a scalable CSS framework Inuit is a good option.

Is Inuit Grid a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • It is an advanced CSS framework that comes with object-oriented concepts and design patterns.

Cons:

  • Not suitable for novice web designers because it has a steep learning curve.

16. Jeet

Jeet is a Bootstrap alternative that introduces a flexible grid system instead of using a fixed number of columns.

Unlike other CSS frameworks, Jeet provides the opportunity to describe web documents in a human-friendly manner. This way it is very easy for newbies to get started by designing their own real-world websites.

Is HTML5 Boilerplate a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • Its source code is very lightweight because it only consists of a responsive grid system.

Cons:

  • To design any common user interface elements like navigation menus or buttons, you have to manually write its HTML and CSS code.

17. Kickstart

Kickstart CSS is a library, not a framework. This means you only use the CSS you need.

Most of the advanced CSS frameworks are available with a heavy footprint which in-turn decreases the loading speed of websites. Kickstart fits best in this scenario to minimize the problem.

Is Kickstart a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • Very lightweight as compared to Foundation and Bootstrap framework.
  • Unlike other CSS frameworks, Kickstart doesn’t require jQuery to tackle some tasks.

Cons:

  • If for some reason you want to support older web browsers for your audience then Kickstart may not be the right choice.

18. Material Design Lite

Material Design was first invented by creative designers at Google. It quickly got popular because of its clean and tidy user experience.

Google designers then released a complete CSS framework that is named as Material Design Lite to get help from the open source community for its further development.

Is Material Design Lite a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • It is powered by tech giant Google.
  • It provides readymade material design components.

Cons:

  • It uses complex terms as class names. So, you may find it difficult to memorize different UI elements.

19. Material UI

Material UI is built on top of the React framework. So, you have to import "React" and "ReactDOM" in order to use Material UI.

The basic purpose of Material UI is to apply material design concepts on your React components. This helps you finish quality websites faster than ever before.

Is Material UI a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • One of the fastest-growing CSS frameworks. It has 1625 contributors on Github.

Cons:

  • Not for beginners. It demands a good knowledge of the React framework.

20. Materialize

Materialize is a modern responsive CSS framework based on Material Design by Google.

Its components are very similar to Bootstrap, but it presents lighter design options. This makes projects become more visually pleasing.

Is Materialize a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • Materialize developers have designed premium themes that can be purchased from their website. Existing themes boost your prototyping speed.

Cons:

  • Materialize framework has a large community but it still has 550+ open issues on Github that still need to be addressed.

21. Metro UI

Metro UI is a CSS framework that brings the concept of Metro (Design Language) from Windows OS to the web. It is packed with 100+ user interface components to help you design any kind of website.

It is an open-source toolkit for developing with HTML, CSS, and JS. Metro UI has a responsive grid system and powerful plugins.

Is Metro UI a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • It comes with various base styles for changing the appearance of HTML elements.
  • Multiple built-in tool functions and classes that increase productivity.

Cons:

  • The Metro Design Language follows the typographic principle, which is opposed to the skeuomorphic approach. Applications using the latter could completely lose their charm under Metro.

22. MontageJS

MontageJS is an HTML5 Open Source Framework for the development of single-page applications. It uses time-tested design patterns and software principles to create and design projects and enhance user experience.

Is MontageJS a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • Provides a complete software development kit to create or manage modern single-page applications.
  • It makes it easier to manage your application and UI state with data bindings.
  • MontageJS minimizes the expensive layout reflows to help the user end.

Cons:

  • It has 100+ unique issues that require the attention of its maintainers and/or other contributors.

23. Mueller

Mueller is a blazing fast CSS grid system that enables the design of responsive and adaptive website layouts. It is mainly used for prototyping, but it also handles backgrounds, borders, margins & paddings, radius as well as other additional typo-styles.

It is built upon Syntactically Awesome Style Sheets (Sass) and Compass (open-source CSS Authoring Framework).

Is Mueller a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • You have full control over column width, gutter width, baseline grid, and media queries.
  • You just need to add rows and columns in a grid to create responsive design, everything else will be handled by MUELLER automatically.

Cons:

  • Although you can do fluid designs with MUELLER, you lose control over your typography.
  • (A con for non-programmers) It’s not a drag-and-drop grid system, it requires code.

24. Onsen UI

Onsen UI is an open-source hybrid UI interface framework. It has components for the development of HTML5 hybrid mobile applications. It allows developers to create mobile applications using web technologies like CSS, HTML5, and JavaScript.

Onsen was initially based on AngularJS and supported jQuery. Currently, the Onsen UI has become a JavaScript framework agnostic (developers can create mobile apps with or without any JavaScript framework).

Is Onsen UI a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • A rich variety of UI components specially designed for mobile apps.
  • Offers end-users the native experience they expect from apps on their devices

Cons:

  • Offers end-users the native experience they expect from apps on their devices
  • Doesn't come with a free debugger, which means developers have to look at each line of code individually

25. Powertocss

Powertocss is a versatile CSS Framework. Simple, light and responsive. By linking a single CSS file in your existing HTML5 code and then applying pre-defined classes, it will automatically convert your static web pages into more accessible mobile-friendly layouts. That’s the power you get from Powertocss.

Powertocss is based on the principles of SMACSS (Scalable and Modular Architecture for CSS) and DRY (Don’t Repeat Your CSS).

Is Powertocss a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • Very easy to learn its basic to advanced level concepts in just one day.
  • Simple and easy class names, such as .button, .column, and others.

Cons:

  • In order to harness its full functionality, it is necessary to combine it with some sort of UI Kit.

26. Pure CSS

Pure is a CSS developed by YAHOO. It helps you in the process of developing faster, beautiful and responsive websites.

Some of its main features are Standard CSS with minimum size, Responsive embedded design, Set of small and responsive CSS modules, and it’s open-source.

Pure is very minimalist. It was designed considering the fact that it is much easier to add new CSS rules than to replace existing ones.

Is Pure CSS a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • It is divided into different and independent modules (tables, grid system, navigation menu and etc.) to solve different problems.
  • Each module is available in a separate file and they have a very small file size which is a plus point for websites that need more efficiency.

Cons:

  • Pure CSS hasn’t received any significant improvement from quite some time now.

27. Semantic UI

In Semantic UI, the major plus point is that it allows writing meaningful HTML code instead of something intuitive which is easier for computers rather than humans to understand.

It has a collection of reusable UI elements that can be dropped anywhere in your HTML code to get instant results.

Is Semantic UI a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • Self-explaining coding terminologies that are very easy to understand and to be used in projects.

Cons:

  • A gigantic number of issues (approx. 850+) are waiting to get responses from contributors of Semantic UI.

28. Simple Grid

Simple Grid is a simple, lightweight grid and container system for websites. This is not a framework with items like forms and buttons. Simple Grid comes handy when you don’t want extra design and theme-related features from Bootstrap.

Is Simple Grid a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • Simple Grid allows developers to build websites on a foundation suited for mobile and tablet browsers.
  • The twelve column structure of Simple Grid easily divides into columns of two, three, four or six, giving developers numerous layout possibilities.

Cons:

  • Only recommended if you just want to add a responsive grid to support your website on mobile devices.
  • Its source code has never been updated since 2016.

29. Skeleton

Skeleton is a collection of CSS files built to quickly develop websites that adapt to any screen resolution. Its source code consists of approximately 400 lines which makes it suitable for mobile devices because mostly they don’t have enough memory to load pages quickly.

This framework also has styles for titles, buttons, among others.

Is Skeleton a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • A very lightweight alternative to Bootstrap.
  • Ensures the display of content to mobile devices with elegance and flexibility when adapting to browsers, allowing for portrait or landscape display.
  • Skeleton grid is very simple and the result is the same in any browser.

Cons:

  • Its development is paused since Dec 29, 2014.
  • 70+ open issues may change your mind if you plan to use it in a long term project.

30. Susy

Susy is a framework that allows you to create grids according to the needs of your website. Unlike others like Bootstrap and Foundation, you will not need to import a file full of classes in which you will only use some of them. Susy works directly in the style of the classes you have defined and customized.

Is Susy a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • Very flexible
  • Provides a step by step installation guide whether you are using Eyeglass, Webpack, Gulp, Grunt or even Yeoman.
  • It doesn’t require adding classes to markup.

Cons:

  • To start using it you need to have Sass installed and a minimum of knowledge about it.
  • It doesn’t have any preexisting components.

31. Topcoat

Topcoat is not a framework, it is an open-source component library built entirely on web standards (CSS and HTML).

Topcoat’s library can be used along with any JavaScript framework (Backbone, Angular, etc). It just a collection of CSS and HTML. It has a very large set of pre-designed UI components that are ready to be included in any web design project.

Is Topcoat a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • It has complete support for older Internet Explorer 8+ as well as most of the modern web browsers.

Cons:

  • No contributor or code maintainer has improved its source code since 2016.

32. UIKit

UIKit is a responsive modular front-end framework designed to be lightweight and simple to use. It was built to design pixel-perfect web layouts for mobile and desktop screens.

Recently, despite being relatively new, it has seen impressive growth.

Is UIKit a complete bootstrap alternative? Yes

Pros:

  • Easily customizable
  • It uses the excellent and renowned jQuery, Normalize.css and FontAwesome, making frontend development much simpler

Cons:

  • 600 open issues on Github. It can be too early to use this framework in an enterprise-level application.

33. YUI

YUI is a CSS/JavaScript framework developed by Yahoo!'s front-end developers. Free of charge and open-source, the project is available on GitHub. It offers functionalities for different situations, from DOM manipulation, with the association of event handlers, to the construction of powerful layouts with a grid system, animations, widgets, skins, among other diverse resources.

It was a very popular framework a few years back. But, the project has been abandoned in August 2014.

Is YUI a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • It works as a combination of jQuery, jQueryUI, numerous plug-ins, and Backbone.
  • YUI is a complete solution for building cross-browser web applications.

Cons:

  • Its development was officially ended back in 2014.

34. Zimit

Zimit is a responsive prototyping framework for front-end web developers. It uses LESS to achieve modular and scalable CSS and the whole framework compiled and minified weight in at around 64KB.

Is Zimit a complete bootstrap alternative? No

Pros:

  • Provides a framework designed for scalability and code that’s easy to read and understand
  • It supports all modern web browsers and compiled it’s very lightweight.

Cons:

  • Its development was ceased.

Conclusion

There are plenty of options when it comes to designing a responsive web application. The above-mentioned alternatives to Bootstrap are suitable in different scenarios. So, you have to choose wisely whether the framework can accomplish what you need or not.

Sometimes adding Bootstrap for a small web template may not be the right choice because it brings a lot of extra "weight" that may slow down your simple website.

A point to be noted is that Google "dislikes" websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. Also, it ends up decreasing your overall website ranking. So, you must spend some time to select the right CSS framework for your specific requirements.

Felipe Bernardes
I am an economist responsible for Marketing and Growth Hacking strategies at Classpert. I usually write about entrepreneurship, marketing, SEO, stock trading and related subjects.