Trying to decide between Elementor vs Visual Composer?
These two are among the most popular front-end WordPress page builders and you can use any of them for building professional looking websites with advanced features — all without coding.
But Elementor and Visual Composer of course differ.
So, in this post, we’re going to focus on the differences between Elementor and Visual Composer, discuss their features, pricing plans, and try to find out what is better.
Elementor vs Visual Composer: Overview
Launched in 2011, Visual Composer is one of the oldest WordPress page builders that now has more than 80,000 active installations.
It is a complete website builder that you can use to build all sorts of websites, and you’re not limited to building pages only.
Elementor, on the other hand, is a fairly new page builder (launched in 2016) but it has managed to garner over 5 million active installs in this short time (read Elementor review here).
It is similar to Visual Composer as it’s also capable of building complete websites from scratch. But Elementor includes a lot more features, releases constant updates, and it is now moving towards a complete design system to build websites, rather than just a page builder with limited options.
All that being said, both are different products, and it depends on the functions you need.
Before moving to the differences between the two-page builders, let’s take a quick look at the comparison table…
WordPress Elementor vs Visual Composer: Comparative Table
Now let’s take a closer look:
While both Elementor and Visual Composer are based on front-end drag and drop editor, each plugin’s interface is different.
Elementor uses a fixed left sidebar in its editor, with working space in the right.
The editor is based on three elements:
- Sections create the primary layout of the page, in which you can add rows, columns, and widgets.
- Columns help divide rows vertically.
- Widgets are the content elements that you can drag and drop in the columns and rows.
To add a new widget, you can simply drag and drop any module in the content space. The editor works in real-time so you can see the live preview of your design without refreshing the page.
Inline editing is also supported so you can just click and start typing to edit any content.
Check this video to learn more about Elementor editor interface:
Visual Composer has a similar editor, with a left sidebar, and site preview in the right. The left sidebar is collapsible by default so you get more space to work on the page design.
But the row and column structure isn’t very flexible compared to Elementor. You can only add pre-defined columns, and custom columns layout is also not supported.
This can be limiting if you are looking to build multi-column or complex designs.
Watch this video for quick Visual Composer front-end editor tutorial:
Content modules or widgets are the actual building blocks in every page builder. And a variety of content modules are required to create unique and custom layouts.
Elementor offers 40 content widgets in its free version and more than 50 pro widgets in its paid version. The widgets in the Elementor free plugin are enough to create a basic website or landing page.
Some of the basic content widgets are:
- Text Editor
- Star Rating
- Image Box
- Icon Box
- and, Progress Bar
Beyond the Elementor free and pro content modules, there’s a massive library of third-party add-ons that can give you access to hundreds of additional widgets.
Visual Composer has a rich library of over 350 elements, but almost all are only available in the premium version. Your access is limited to text block, single image, basic button, heading, video, and shortcodes in the free version of Visual Composer.
Other than the default elements, not many third-party add-ons are available for Visual Composer.
Note: Be sure to check the content elements in Visual Composer before you start using it as adding new elements in the page builder without third-party add-ons might not be possible.
Styling options are the settings included in every content element to modify their look.
All the rows, columns, and widgets in Elementor have individual styling options divided into two tabs: style, and advanced.
In the Style tab, you can set basic things like colors, alignment, and typography. And in the Advanced tab, you can set margins, padding, background color, animation, border, responsive design, and custom CSS.
While with Elementor, you don’t need any coding skills to style a widget and you can literally do anything you want with it, with Visual Composer, you’re limited to basic settings only (like alignment, color, margin/padding, and animation).
Also, unlike Elementor, all the styling settings in Visual Composer are displayed in one column, making it difficult to navigate quickly.
Templates are the pre-built designs that you can import to build websites quickly.
Elementor offers 200+ beautifully designed templates in multiple categories like hotels, agency, restaurant, news, interior design, and more!
More than 30 templates are included for free, so in fact you can build your website with just Elementor Free.
Full website kits are included in Elementor Pro, which you can import and set up any website within minutes.
While Visual Composer also has a huge template library with over 200 templates of pages, header, footer, sidebar, and blocks, it offers around ten templates only with its free version.
And even in the Visual Composer premium, you will get page and section templates, but no full website kits. So if you’re looking to build your complete website from scratch using a page builder, Elementor site kits will be much better for you!
Note: You can view all Elementor templates before importing them into your website, but we couldn’t find this feature in Visual Composer. So it means that you will have to import the templates first and then see if they fit your requirements. It’s a small thing, but worth considering if you work with templates regularly.
Watch this video to see how you can import and export templates easily in Visual Composer:
The most discussed disadvantage of the page builders is their lock-in, i.e., what happens after deactivating a page builder.
Elementor leaves 100% clean code after deactivation. All the HTML like heading tags will not be removed. But you’ll lose all the stylings, and the pages will start using the theme’s default styles.
Visual Composer also leaves a clean code after deactivation, and only the stylings are lost. But it includes a mess of div IDs and classes so you’ll have to deal with that.
Also, suppose you activate the plugin again after deactivation. In that case, the previous settings of the page are applied again in Elementor, but you will have to set them back in the Visual Composer.
Visual Composer vs Elementor: Pricing
Both Elementor and Visual Composer offer a free version that you can test out. But the Elementor free version is far better than the limited Visual Composer free plugin.
You can use Elementor free to build websites with all the basic things… which is not possible with Visual Composer.
To build complex layouts, you’ll need Elementor Pro. But for basic needs Elementor Free works just fine.
The premium plans of Elementor start at…
- Personal plan — $49 for 1 site.
- Plus plan — $99 for 3 sites.
- Expert plan — $199 for 1,000 sites.
All three plans are yearly renewable and offer the same features. There’s no lifetime plan with Elementor, but you get around 40% renewal discount with every consecutive renewal of license.
There’s a 30-day money-back guarantee included with all the plans if you wish to return the product.
Visual Composer also offers three different plans…
- Single Website license at $49 per year.
- Three Websites license at $99 per year.
- Developers license for 1,000 websites at $349 per year.
You get a money-back guarantee as well, but only for 15 days, with no renewal discounts.
Final Thoughts on Elementor Pro vs Visual Composer
Elementor and Visual Composer are two established page builders in the WordPress community.
But overall, Elementor excels in almost everything when compared to Visual Composer. Whether it’s the editor, customization options, templates, or pricing — Elementor offers a lot more!
Additionally, Elementor has around 5,000 reviews on WordPress.org with a 5-star rating, and 5+ million installs — that shows how much users like this page builder.