Elementor continues to grow rapidly in popularity with new features added regularly. Even in a market that’s experiencing strong overall growth, Elementor manages to comfortably outperform the market. In February, Elementor surpassed 2 million active sites.
It’s not hard to see why. Even compared with some very impressive competitors, Elementor offers some really clever features paird with great User Experience. All that comes at a highly competitive $45 entry-level price.
You may come up with the question: What’s the best theme to use with Elementor?
It’s important that you choose a theme that helps bring out the best in Elementor and helps you produce a great-looking, fast site that’s easy to manage. I’m going to provide some examples and explain what you need to look for. Here are some free themes that work very well with Elementor, some of which also have a premium version. I’ll explain what the differences are and in what circumstances those extra features might be worth paying for.
Page Builder Framework
The Page Builder framework – as the name suggests – has been designed with users of page builders firmly in mind. This theme is something of an underdog against some big-name rivals, and its differentiator is its very minimalist approach.
It gives you great sitewide controls right within the WordPress Customizer panel. The free version is easily good enough to create a great-looking site and it gives you the chance to try it out free before you consider the premium add-on. Page Builder Framework is a light theme, making it easier to create a fast-loading site across all devices, for better SEO and user experience.
The premium add-on then starts at just $58 (with 20% off your renewal in subsequent years) which gives you a year of support, and you can use it across unlimited sites. Or you could pay $248 to make it a lifetime deal with no renewals.
The premium add-on gives you better design features such as:
- Great choice of header options including transparent and sticky
- A wide choice of menu options including mega menus for larger sites and off-canvas or full-screen for clutter-free layouts
- Easy addition of fonts including Adobe Fonts (Typekit) and Custom Fonts for greater control over typography
- Advanced WooCommerce integrations for great-looking, minimalist e-commerce stores
- Flexible, highly customizable blog and archive layout options using grids
- and a lot more!
Page Builder Framework gives you everything you need to build a great-looking and high-performing site. What’s more, if you decide to sell online, its integrations with WooCommerce make it easy to achieve this, either at the outset, or further down the line.Page Builder Framework
Astra comes from BrainstormForce, who also make add-on packages for both Elementor and Beaver Builder. As such, they too have a great understanding of page builders and the needs of those who use them. Even the free version includes an impressive range of free importable demo sites, with a wider choice for pro users. Much like Page Builder Framework, Astra adds more options to the Customizer for greater sitewide control and consistency as well as great-looking headers and menus.
The pro version starts at $59 for use on unlimited sites and there are many different pricing options, including some lifetime deals. In terms of features, the Pro version includes thorough integrations with
- Lifter LMS
- and Easy Digital Downloads.
GeneratePress has been a popular theme for a number of years now. It’s a theme I’ve only dabbled with myself, but it’s the go-to option for a few people whose site designs I really admire, so I could well experiment with it further on some projects in future. This is another light, fast theme with both free and premium options.
Whilst I don’t profess to be an experienced user of GeneratePress, I’m told that the developers of this theme focused heavily on the user experience it offers to designers, to avoid the steep learning curve that can be experienced on some themes.GeneratePress
Compared with the other themes in this article, the premium version of OceanWP is relatively expensive if you want to use it on more than one site. As with the other themes though, the free version is more than enough to get you started and help you build a good-looking site.
Although the premium version can end up expensive, there are some nice extensions in the pro packages such as a cookie notice, the ‘stick anything’ module and a WooCommerce pop-up that appears when users add things to their cart. There’s also a long list of additional elements you can add to Elementor.OceanWP
Hello Elementor Theme
The growth of page builders and the ability to create custom layout sections has led some people to ask if you even need a theme at all! The Hello Elementor theme takes minimalism to a new level where it almost feels like you have no theme. After initially being available on GitHub, this bare-bones theme can now be downloaded straight from the WordPress theme repository.
There really is no reason you can’t make a great-looking site with this theme, because Elementor is simply so powerful. It needn’t take you long either, because an impressive feature of Elementor is the quality of the importable templates. You can then use Elementor to harmonise the use of typography and colour for sitewide consistency, although this isn’t as thorough as the full typography control you can expect to see on the other themes.Hello Elementor
Choose a theme that will help your site evolve over time
So we’ve looked at six themes in all and finished up with one that’s so minimalist it’s almost not a theme at all. So which is right for you? Well as with many questions relating to web design, the answer is “it depends”.
I’ve alluded to this already, but it’s well worth repeating – you must consider what you or your client want from the site, now and in the future. If you think you may want to add an online store, courses or digital downloads, one of the “freemium” themes could be your best bet, if they integrate well with the services you want to add. Then you can add functionality to your site, without disrupting the look and feel or needing to rebuild it.
You should also consider how important design is to your site. The most striking design features like transparent or sticky headers, mega menus and off-canvas menus, tend to be premium features. This might be a reason to go straight in with a premium theme if the look of your site is fundamentally important.
As an Elementor user, you can be confident that there are plenty of options for themes that will work really well with it. I hope you’ve found this quick guide useful and would welcome your thoughts and comments if you have a theme you love to use with Elementor, that’s not mentioned here.