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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Streamlining Front-End Development with Top 20 Best CSS Frameworks in 2023

What Is a CSS Framework?

A CSS framework is a collection of CSS code that simplifies the process of laying out web pages with various visual styles. It provides ready-to-use classes, UI components, grid systems, and other techniques to assist front-end developers. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) define the appearance of all page elements, such as fonts, borders, colors, etc., significantly reducing the effort for programmers and enabling them to achieve a polished website presentation in a shorter time.

Benefits of Using CSS Frameworks

  1. Fast start: Quickly demonstrate your vision of the website to clients with minimal effort.
  2. Coherence: Ensure consistent styling across all pages, creating a sense of balance for visitors.
  3. Layout without special knowledge: CSS frameworks can be used even with minimal layout expertise.
  4. Perfect cross-browser compatibility: Websites appear identical on different browsers, ensuring a seamless user experience. An excellent example is the online casino MIT Hoher, Gewinnchance which functions flawlessly on all devices.
  5. Community support: Access technical assistance easily through active and extensive community support.
  6. Customisability: Seamlessly combine and modify components and styles to create a unique website presentation.

Primary Goals of CSS Framework

A CSS framework aims to provide user-friendly interfaces for websites and applications, optimizing the efforts of programmers and yielding fast, well-elaborated results. Key goals include:

  1. Reliable and tested solutions: Avoid errors related to page layout.
  2. Flexible functionality: Achieve originality comparable to coding from scratch.
  3. Responsive web design: Ensure consistent display across devices.
  4. Simplicity of upgrading: Easily add new components or modify existing ones.

The 20 Best CSS Frameworks in 2023

NameWhat It IsGitHub StarsLicense
BootstrapThe most sought-after CSS framework165kMIT
BulmaClear and comprehensible CSS framework47.4kMIT
FoundationConsidered the best alternative to Bootstrap30kMIT
Fomantic UIAn updated version of Semantic UI3.3kMIT
Blaze UIScalability and maintainability-focused toolkit1.5kMIT
Vanilla FrameworkMinimalistic stylesheet for web projects705LGPL-3.0
TailwindTop CSS for creating unique design websites71kMIT
Open PropsNon-prescriptive CSS library3.4kMIT
TachyonsDesign-oriented CSS framework11.4kMIT
MaterialiseWeb design framework based on Google recommendation38.8kMIT
PureLightweight framework by Yahoo23kBSD
MilligramPerfect minimalistic CSS for small projects10kMIT
ChotaEase-of-use micro CSS framework1.2kMIT
SpectreFlexbox-based lightweight and responsive framework11.2kMIT
SkeletonLightweight CSS with a basic set of components3.2kMIT
WaterDrop-in collection to style your websites7.7kMIT
MVPClassless CSS framework to create a Minimal Viable Product4.7kMIT
UI KitTop CSS focused on building apps for iOS17.9kMIT
GutenbergBest CSS framework to prepare HTML pages for printing4.7kMIT
BojlerFramework devoted to the creation of email templates994MIT

General-Purpose CSS Frameworks


Bootstrap is the most sought-after CSS framework that has contributed to the creation of about one-fifth of all websites on the web. It is open-source and free for both non-commercial and commercial use.

Summary of Bootstrap:

  • File size: approx. 163.82 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 576px, 768px, 992px, 1200px, 1400px
  • JavaScript: All plugins in Bootstrap 5 are pure JavaScript (previous versions used jQuery)
  • Grid system: 12 columns
  • Features: Alerts, Buttons, Card, Navs, Carousel, Media Object, Popovers, Dropdowns, Forms, List Group, Input Group, Jumbotron, Modal, Spinners, Pagination, Progress, Scrollspy, and many more
  • Particularities: Utilities, ready-made components, build layout tools, styling classes, community extensions/examples

Reasons to Use Bootstrap:

  • Tested on millions of websites
  • Abundant ready-made classes and components
  • High-speed performance
  • Customisable
  • Excellent technical support from active communities


  • Difficult to create unique designs due to its widespread usage
  • Large file sizes


Bulma is a modern and straightforward CSS framework known for its clarity and ease of use. It is suitable for developing websites and apps for all devices.

Summary of Bulma:

  • File size: approx. 206.62 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 768px, 1024px, 1216px, 1408px
  • JavaScript: Does not require JavaScript
  • Grid system: 12 columns
  • Features: Box, Button, Image, Content, Notification, Card, Tab, Delete, Icon, Message, Navbar, Pagination, Progress bars, Tag, Titles
  • Particularities: Based on the Flexbox module

Reasons to Use Bulma:

  • Easy customization
  • Lightweight
  • Compatible with any JavaScript framework
  • Minimal HTML code


  • Smaller community compared to other CSS frameworks
  • Still under development, which may affect documentation


Foundation is a feature-rich CSS framework that caters to front-end developers. Originally designed for mobile devices, it now offers responsive capabilities for larger screens.

Summary of Foundation:

  • File size: approx. 134.84 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 640px, 1024px
  • JavaScript: foundation.min.js and jQuery
  • Grid system: 12 columns
  • Features: Abide, Label, Accordion, Badge, Switch, Off-canvas, Flex Grid, Button, Callout, Grid, Reveal, Close Button, Equalizer, Interchange, Menu, Orbit, Pagination, Sticky, Table, Toggler, Tooltip, Visibility Classes, etc.
  • Particularities: Motion UI, using Flexbox module in the latest version, documentation with videos

Reasons to Use Foundation:

  • Open source
  • Rapid development with the Sass compiler
  • Advanced interface
  • Reliable grid system
  • Comprehensive animation library
  • Suitable for websites and email templates


  • Design may not be as appealing
  • Requires coding skills for code modification
  • Less popular than Bootstrap, resulting in limited community support

Fomantic UI

Fomantic UI is an improved version of Semantic UI, combining the best features of both frameworks to cater to their fan bases.

Summary of Fomantic UI:

  • File size: More than 600 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 723px, 933px, 1127px
  • JavaScript: jQuery
  • Grid system: 16 columns
  • Features: Buttons, Inverted Buttons, Images, Icons, Inputs, Dividers, Loaders, Breadcrumbs, Statistics, Cards, Accordions, etc.
  • Particularities: Build tools

Reasons to Use Fomantic UI:

  • Free and open source
  • Abundance of theming variables
  • Numerous UI components
  • Responsive for tablet, mobile, and other devices
  • Simplified debugging
  • Cross-browser compatibility


  • Possible style conflicts
  • Limited documentation

Blaze UI

Blaze UI is a mobile-first CSS framework with responsive capabilities for other devices as well. It relies on native browser features without additional CSS libraries.

Summary of Blaze UI:

  • JavaScript: Compact JavaScript Library
  • Features: Addresses, Avatars, Badges, Divider, Lists, Trees, etc.
  • Particularities: One of the lightest CSS frameworks

Reasons to Use Blaze UI:

  • Free and open source
  • Works well on all screen sizes
  • Easy customisation
  • Lightweight UI toolkit
  • Well-documented


  • Less JavaScript support compared to other frameworks
  • Smaller community, resulting in limited technical support

Vanilla Framework

Vanilla Framework is a minimalist CSS framework that can be easily expanded and complemented with custom patterns.

Summary of Vanilla Framework:

  • JavaScript: Compact JavaScript Library
  • Grid system: Responsive CSS grid
  • Features: Accordion, Badge, Buttons, Cards, Grid, Chips, Icons, Lists, etc.
  • Particularities: Built using Sass

Reasons to Use Vanilla Framework:

  • Highly flexible
  • Easy to integrate into projects
  • Lightweight
  • Responsive CSS grid
  • Pre-made HTML elements
  • Compatible with numerous other frameworks


  • Requires expanding JavaScript support
  • Smaller community, affecting technical assistance

Utility-Based CSS Frameworks


Tailwind is a powerful CSS framework known for its advanced infrastructure. It is suitable for creating complex and unique websites and has gained popularity in recent years.

Summary of Tailwind:

  • File size: approx. 2413.4 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 640px, 768px, 1024px, 1280px, 1536px
  • JavaScript: Varies
  • Grid system: 12 columns
  • Features: Possibility of combining CSS classes for creating components

Reasons to Use Tailwind:

  • Compatible with many other frameworks
  • Greater control and easy component modeling
  • Excellent documentation
  • Support for all modern browsers
  • Unlimited flexibility


  • Excessive use of utility classes

Open Props

Open Props is an optimised open-source non-prescriptive CSS library that allows custom classes to be used alongside or instead of predefined class names.

Summary of Open Props:

  • Responsive breakpoints: 360px, 480px, 768px, 1024px, 1400px, 1920px
  • JavaScript: Builds the JavaScript modules
  • Features: Lists, Code, Audio, Video, Progress, Meter, Images, Checkboxes, etc.
  • Particularities: Non-prescriptive CSS library

Reasons to Use Open Props:

  • Vast possibilities for website design
  • Customizable interfaces
  • Opportunity to add animations


  • Insufficient documentation
  • Smaller community, limiting technical support


Tachyons is a progressive CSS framework that utilises functions and utilities to design web pages and apps, minimising the use of code and resulting in a small CSS file size.

Summary of Tachyons:

  • File size: approx. 73.26 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: Medium and large
  • JavaScript: Optional
  • Grid system: 12 columns
  • Features: Article Lists, Articles, Forms, Avatars, Tables, Collections, Links, Banners, Buttons, Cards, Footers, Layout, Headers, Lists, Quotes, Text, etc.
  • Particularities: Open-source CSS libraries

Reasons to Use Tachyons:

  • Powerful yet flexible front-end framework
  • Simple class functions
  • Follows a mobile-first strategy
  • Thorough module documentation


  • Limited distribution due to high competition
  • More challenging to master compared to alternative products


Materialise is a front-end framework that allows you to bring web design ideas to life with minimal effort. It enables the creation of web products in Google’s style, making it one of the most popular CSS frameworks.

Summary of Materialise:

  • File size: approx. 139.62 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 600px, 992px, 1200px
  • JavaScript: Materialise.min.js and jQuery
  • Grid system: 12 columns
  • Features: Auto Init, Collapsible, Badges, Footer, Breadcrumbs, Carousel, FeatureDiscovery, Icons, Pushpin, Modals, Scrollspy, Navbar, Pagination, Tooltips, Waves, etc.
  • Particularities: Tailored to Material Design

Reasons to Use Materialise:

  • Abundance of advanced components and classes
  • Maximises developer productivity
  • Fast page loading
  • Easy to use


  • Limited ability to create a unique product due to design uniformity
  • Reliance on excessive JavaScript

Lightweight CSS Frameworks


Pure is the most popular lightweight CSS framework, developed by Yahoo as a minimalist alternative to Bootstrap.

Summary of Pure:

  • File size: approx. 16.79 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 568px, 768px, 1024px, 1280px
  • JavaScript: Limited support
  • Grid system: 5 and 24 columns
  • Features: Base, Forms, Grids, Tables, Buttons, Menus
  • Particularities: Built on Normalise.css

Reasons to Use Pure:

  • Very small file size
  • Works well with leading browsers and OS
  • Possibility of adding Bootstrap elements


  • Minimal JavaScript support (vanilla JavaScript is possible)


Milligram is a free and minimalistic CSS framework that proves a tiny framework can be powerful. It ranks high among CSS frameworks due to its complete set of tools in a very small file size.

Summary of Milligram:

  • File size: approx. 9 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 640px, 1280px, 1920px
  • JavaScript: Does not support JavaScript
  • Features: Buttons, Typography, Tables, Blockquotes, Lists, Forms, Grid


  • Particularities: Use of Flexible Box Layout Module

Reasons to Use Milligram:

  • Enables developers to create clean and concise code
  • Several handy ways to add it to your projects
  • Can be mastered in just one day


  • Lack of templates
  • Some components from other popular front-end frameworks are not available due to the lack of JavaScript support
  • Smaller community, making technical assistance difficult


Chota is a new CSS framework focused on ease of use with clear rules that even beginners can understand. Despite being a micro framework with a very small file size, it comes with a great set of components and utilities.

Summary of Chota:

  • File size: approx. 3 kB
  • JavaScript: Limited JavaScript support
  • Grid system: 12 columns
  • Features: Rid, Tabs, Buttons, Card, Nav, Tag
  • Particularities: Doesn’t use preprocessors

Reasons to Use Chota:

  • Possibility to extend thanks to SASS
  • Support of seven leading browsers
  • Adheres to semantic HTML conventions
  • Possibility of using icons


  • Few learning materials
  • Lack of comprehensive community support


Spectre is based on Flexbox and CSS grid, allowing it to create responsive websites with a small file size. It is optimised for different fonts, including Asian ones, and is considered one of the best CSS frameworks.

Summary of Spectre:

  • File size: approx. 45 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 480px, 600px, 840px, 960px, 1280px
  • JavaScript: Does not support JavaScript
  • Grid system: 12 columns
  • Features: Accordions, Code, Avatars, Buttons, Labels, Toasts, Cards, Chips, Forms, Hero, Media, Panels, Menu, Modals, Nav, Steps, Tables, Tooltips, Typography, etc.
  • Particularities: Based on the Flexbox module

Reasons to Use Spectre:

  • Multiple methods to add to your project
  • Ability to edit LESS files
  • Easily creates uncommon responsive tables
  • Compatible with older browsers


  • Does not support JavaScript


Skeleton is a minimalist and lightweight CSS framework that provides only basic CSS components, making it ideal for quickly starting the development of a website.

Summary of Skeleton:

  • File size: approx. 31.6 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 440px, 550px, 750px, 1000px, 1200px
  • JavaScript: Based on CSS and JavaScript
  • Grid system: 12 columns
  • Features: Grid, Forms, Typography, Tables, Media queries, Buttons, Lists, etc.
  • Particularities: Has tested Less and Sass extensions proposed by the community

Reasons to Use Skeleton:

  • Easy to store and manage due to small file size
  • Works with all modern browsers
  • Easy to learn even for inexperienced developers
  • Ability to use Sass or Less extensions


  • The choice of pre-styled components is not very wide

Class-Less CSS Frameworks


Water is a simple and lightweight CSS framework ideal for developing simple static web pages or presenting demo websites to clients. It doesn’t require classes and can be easily added to projects using just one line of code.

Summary of Water:

  • File size: < 2 kB
  • JavaScript: Based on CSS and JavaScript
  • Features: Background, Code, Border, Animation, Links, Focus, Variable, etc.
  • Particularities: Built with CSS variables

Reasons to Use Water:

  • Class-free semantic HTML
  • High code quality
  • Supports all popular browsers
  • Customisable


  • Best suited for small projects only


MVP is the best CSS framework for quickly creating a Minimal Viable Product. By adding just one line of code to your HTML file, you can style your website and make it more attractive.

Summary of MVP:

  • File size: One line of code
  • JavaScript: Does not require JavaScript
  • Features: Table, Details, Summary, Code, Checkbox, Pre-line, Focus, Font, etc.
  • Particularities: Easy CSS variables modification

Reasons to Use MVP:

  • Easy workflow using semantic HTML
  • Reusable components
  • Mobile-friendly
  • Free for any purpose
  • Ability to use CSS variables


  • The choice of customisation options is quite limited

Specialised CSS Frameworks

UI Kit

UI Kit is the best CSS framework for developing applications for iOS. Backed by Apple, it provides the perfect user experience with an intuitive interactive interface built with CSS libraries.

Summary of UI Kit:

  • File size: approx. 256.01 kB
  • Responsive breakpoints: 640px, 960px, 1200px, 1600px
  • JavaScript: uikit.min.js
  • Grid system: 12 columns
  • Features: Alert, Animation, Cover, Article, List, Badge, Block, Grid, Breadcrumb, Button, Close, Flex, Column, Comment, Contrast, Pagination, Dropdown, Form, Icon, Overlay, etc.
  • Particularities: Free autocomplete plugins

Reasons to Use UI Kit:

  • Creating a consistent style for web products and applications
  • Ability to quickly design alternative project options
  • Ease of rebranding due to the wide selection of UI components offered by the best UI framework


  • App performance may degrade when using advanced features


Gutenberg is the best CSS framework for content appearance when printed. It offers a variety of post templates that facilitate and speed up the work of the developer, making the results attractive to end-users.

Summary of Gutenberg:

  • Responsive breakpoints: 480px, 600px, 782px, 960px, 1080px, 1280px, 1440px
  • JavaScript: Supports JavaScript
  • Features: Code, Headings, Sub, Paragraph, Blockquote figure, Sup, etc.
  • Particularities: Available on npm

Reasons to Use Gutenberg:

  • Ease of use thanks to the block system
  • Can be mastered without programming skills
  • Thousands of blocks available
  • Detailed documentation


  • Narrow focus


Bojler is one of the best CSS frameworks for responsive email templates. It is easy to use yet allows you to create great product designs compatible with various email clients.

Summary of Bojler:

  • File size: approx. 345.9 kB
  • JavaScript: Supports JavaScript
  • Features: Reset styles, Grid system, Components, Utility classes, Typography
  • Particularities: Built with SASS

Reasons to Use Bojler:

  • Lightweight email templates
  • Works correctly with common email clients
  • Wide selection of utility classes and components


  • Narrow focus, interesting only to a small community of users

Is Tailwind Better than Bootstrap?

The choice between Tailwind and Bootstrap depends on your specific tasks. If you need to quickly create an effective digital product using a responsive website design framework, Bootstrap is a suitable option. However, if you desire an

ultra-modern CSS framework and the ability to create unique product layouts, Tailwind is the preferred choice. It provides a greater level of flexibility and customisation, but it requires more effort to master compared to Bootstrap.


CSS frameworks have become indispensable tools for web developers. By streamlining front-end development, they allow for faster and more consistent website creation. With numerous options available, developers can choose the best CSS framework based on their project requirements and personal preferences. Whether it’s a general-purpose, utility-based, lightweight, class-less, or specialised CSS framework, these tools have proven to be essential in achieving attractive and responsive web designs with minimal effort.


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