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Benjamin Semah | 15 Jan, 2024
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Top 20 Best CSS Frameworks for Front-End Developers in 2024

 

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a presentation language used to control the appearance of a document written in HTML or XML. With CSS, you can specify a wide range of visual styles, including layout, fonts, colors, margins, borders, and more.

Over the years, there have been several different versions of CSS, with each being an improvement over the last, with CSS frameworks arriving to help developers work even faster. It's still a great idea though to refresh your CSS skills with things like CSS cheat sheats to make the most of a CSS framework.

If you’re unsure where to start with CSS frameworks, don’t worry because we’ve got your back. This article covers the 20 best CSS frameworks you need to know in 2024. Let’s get to it!

What Is a CSS Framework?

Front end CSS frameworks are a package or library containing pre-written and standardized CSS code. They often contain resources like responsive grid systems, pre-defined UI components, and styling for elements like buttons, forms, text, and more.

The primary purpose of a CSS framework is to provide web designers and developers with a starting point upon which to build, allowing you to design and build websites more quickly and efficiently. And when combined with one of the best CSS editors, they can greatly enhance your front-end designs

So if you're interested in front-end web design, chances are you'll benefit from taking some of the best HTML courses and integrating CSS frameworks into your workflow.

Benefits of Using CSS Frameworks

  • Ease of use: CSS frameworks are often designed to be easy to use and customize, even for developers and designers with minimal CSS skills.
  • Speed: CSS frameworks mean you won’t be starting from scratch or writing all the CSS code yourself.
  • Consistency: CSS frameworks provide a consistent look and feel across all the pages of your website, improving the user experience and allowing you to follow best practices.
  • Cross-browser compatibility: Frameworks mainly include code that handles cross-browser compatibility issues.
  • Improved accessibility: Some CSS frameworks include code that makes your website more accessible.
  • Support and Community: Popular CSS frameworks have large and active communities making it easy to connect with other users to share ideas and find help when needed.
  • Responsiveness: CSS frameworks were designed for website responsiveness, ensuring the website looks good when rendered on different screen sizes.

The 20 Best CSS Frameworks in 2024

General-Purpose CSS Frameworks

1. Bootstrap

Bootstrap might be the most popular and well-known CSS framework in the world. And while our list includes many alternatives to Bootstrap, you can’t go wrong with this CSS framework designed by Twitter, as it provides a comprehensive set of tools and assets for designing web applications.

As one of the best CSS libraries, Bootstrap offers a consistent and tested codebase you can rely on for consistent results. The trade-off is that it leaves little room for flexibility. Bootstrap classes help front-end developers quickly add styling to their HTML code.

Bootstrap is also well-documented, making it easy to find resources. It’s one of the most popular CSS frameworks and has a large and active online community of users. We also found an 11-hour Bootstrap course for beginners.

Pros

  • Large community and support
  • Built with accessibility in mind
  • Supports both SASS and LESS

Cons

  • Lack of design flexibility
  • Large file sizes with increased download times
  • Overreliance on classes
  • Compatibility issues with older browser versions

2. Bulma

Bulma is a free and open-source CSS framework based on Flexbox. It was created to provide a modern, minimalist alternative to other CSS frameworks. 

Instead of using classes for styling and layout, Bulma uses a modular approach. And this allows developers to create custom designs without writing much CSS code. Bulma also has a strict CSS-only approach and includes no JavaScript components.

Bulma’s modular design makes it more flexible. You can easily customize it to suit your specific needs for a project. It’s also designed for cross-browser compatibility. And it’s also lightweight, fast, and optimized for performance.

Pros

  • Highly flexible and customizable 
  • Lightweight and fast
  • Classless and modular design

Cons

  • Smaller community of developers
  • Steep learning curve for those new to Flexbox

3. Foundation

Foundation is a responsive front-end framework that provides a set of CSS tools focusing on mobile-first design and accessibility. Foundation includes a range of JavaScript plugins for adding interactivity to your web applications.

Compared to other CSS frameworks, Foundation offers more control to developers for customizations. While this is a good thing, it also means newcomers will find it slightly complex and take a while before getting used to it.

Pros

  • Creators offer training/consulting for enterprises
  • High degree of flexibility
  • Has a command-line interface (CLI)
  • Includes an advanced responsive image system

Cons

  • Steep learning curve
  • Can be complex for beginners

4. Fomantic UI

Fomantic UI is described as the official community fork of Semantic-UI. This stems from the fact that it began as an open-source project to provide access to Semantic UI, which is a front-end framework that’s no longer maintained. 

Fomantic UI is easy to use and customize and focuses on Semantic HTML. The classes are intuitive and use syntax from natural human-friendly language.

It is also designed to be fast and efficient, as well as providing ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) accessibility support.

Pros

  • Open-source and community-driven
  • Easy to use and customizable
  • Focus on accessibility

Cons

  • Limited documentation
  • Limited JavaScript support
  • Smaller community

5. Blaze UI

Blaze UI is an open-source user interface toolkit for building front-end applications quickly. It focuses on scalability and maintainability. Even though Blaze UI has a small community of developers, the toolkit is well-documented and easy to start with.

The UI components provided rely solely on native browser features and not a separate library or framework.

Pros

  • Open-source and community-driven
  • It’s lightweight and fast
  • Focus on accessibility

Cons

  • Smaller community
  • Limited JavaScript support

6. Vanilla Framework

This open-source responsive front end framework is designed to be lightweight and composable. It contains a responsive CSS grid and pre-designed HTML elements to add to your projects. 

Usage is highly flexible, as you can add it to your projects with yarn, npm, or a hotlink to your HTML file.

Pros

  • Highly flexible and customizable
  • Open-source and community-driven

Cons

  • Limited JavaScript support

Utility-Based CSS Frameworks

7. Tailwind

Tailwind is a modern, utility-first, and un-opinionated framework that’s widely viewed as one of the top CSS frameworks available.

As possibly the best CSS library for beginners, Tailwind provides a set of pre-defined CSS classes to apply to HTML elements, allowing front-end developers to quickly build custom interfaces with a focus on speed and efficiency.

Tailwind gives developers more control over the look and feel of their websites. Whether you’re a seasoned web designer or a beginner, Tailwind is a great tool to help you build a high-quality, responsive, and accessible website quickly.

Pros

  • Focuses on developer productivity
  • Highly customizable
  • Focuses on accessibility

Cons

  • Over-reliance on utility classes

8. Open Props

Open Props is one of the few CSS libraries that’s non-prescriptive. It provides customizable design options for front-end developers to create websites quickly and efficiently.

Unlike many CSS frameworks/libraries, Open props allow developers to create custom classes instead of strictly using predefined class names.

Pros

  • Highly flexible and customizable
  • It’s incrementally adoptable

Cons

  • Smaller community of developers
  • Limited documentation

9. Tachyons

Tachyons CSS is a functional CSS framework that emphasizes the composition of styles through functions and utilities over lengthy, complex stylesheets.

It’s designed for speed and performance and provides a set of classes that you can use to style your HTML elements in a quick and consistent way. Tachyons also places emphasis on readability and simplicity.

Pros

  • Reusable and modular design
  • Readable syntax

Cons

  • Steep learning curve due to functional approach
  • Not widely adopted

10. Materialize

Materialize is a CSS framework that provides a modern and responsive design for front-end web development and it’s based on Google's Material Design guidelines.

Materialize includes various UI components, such as navigation bars, forms, cards, buttons, and models. These are pre-styled and ready to use with minimal effort. The framework also provides JavaScript components for adding interactivity to your website.

Pros

  • Based on Google’s Material Design guidelines
  • Pre-built UI components 

Cons

  • Large file size
  • Overdependence on JavaScript

Looking for the best way to write CSS code? Check out:

The Best CSS Editors

Lightweight CSS Frameworks

11. Pure

Pure is a minimalist CSS framework that provides a small set of basic styles for common HTML elements like buttons, forms, tables, etc. It’s designed to be a place for developers to begin when styling websites.

This framework is designed to reduce the amount of CSS code required for styling your web applications, making it easier for developers and designers to understand and modify.

Pros

  • It’s lightweight
  • Has a minimalist design
  • Highly customizable

Cons

  • Limited JavaScript support

12. Miligram

Miligram makes it easy to create fast-loading and responsive websites easy with a simple, clean design. Its focus on performance and developer productivity, and typography make it stand out among its peers.

Overall, it has fewer properties, allowing developers to write clean code. It’s also flexible and offers multiple ways of adding it to your projects by downloading the zip file or using any npm, yarn, or bower.

Pros

  • It’s a flexible framework
  • Focuses on performance
  • Has excellent documentation

Cons

  • Smaller community

13. Chota

Chota is a simple and straightforward micro CSS framework. It follows semantic HTML conventions and doesn’t require familiarity with too many rules with naming conventions.

It’s also very lightweight at just 3Kb, and it comes with a selection of components and utilities.

Pros

  • Easy to extend with CSS variables
  • Supports icons out-of-the-box

Cons

  • Hard to find tutorials and learning resources
  • Not widely adopted

14. Spectre

Spectre is a modern CSS framework that utilizes the latest CSS technologies, such as Flexbox and CSS grid, making it suitable for building responsive and modern websites.

Its minimal and customizable design makes it a great choice when you want to quickly prototype and build a website without having to start from scratch. Spectre is well-documented and includes examples and usage guidelines, making it easy to start.

Pros

  • Compatible with older browsers
  • Supports both SASS and LESS preprocessing

Cons

  • Limited community support

15. Skeleton

One of the key features of Skeleton is its minimalism, which allows developers to start with a clean slate and avoid the usual clutter and bloat of larger CSS frameworks. It also focuses on mobile-first design.

Overall, it’s a good choice for developers who want to create custom and responsive designs without the hassle of working around already-styled components.

Pros

  • Very lightweight and fast
  • Clean and elegant design

Cons

  • Not many pre-styled components

Class-Less CSS Frameworks

16. Water

This CSS framework is based on minimalistic design principles, providing only the bare essentials to style your web pages.

It’s easy to add to any of your projects, as you only need to copy one line of code into your HTML file. It’s also lightweight, fast-loading, and designed to make simple static websites more visually appealing.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight and fast

Cons

  • Not ideal for large, complex projects
  • Limited customization option

17. MVP

As the name suggests, this framework helps you style your Minimal Viable Product (MVP) quickly. You don’t need to learn any class names because there are none.

All you do with MVP is copy a one-liner into your HTML file, and you can easily edit the styles using CSS variables if you want to.

Pros

  • Simple, reusable components
  • Uses no class names

Cons

  • Limited customization options

Specialized CSS Frameworks

18. UI Kit

UI Kit is a specialized front-end framework for iOS development. It provides a set of UI components for building beautiful and user-friendly iOS applications.

It includes pre-designed elements like buttons, labels, text fields, and table views, and it also has advanced features like animations, touch handling, and more. This makes creating a dynamic and interactive UI for your applications easy.

Pros

  • Backed by Apple
  • Lots of UI components to choose from
  • Advanced capabilities

Cons

  • Relatively less customizable
  • Advance features like animations can affect performance

19. Gutenberg

Gutenberg is a CSS framework that was specifically created to improve the look and feel of HTML pages for printing.

In essence, it provides a way to format HTML pages and make them more visually appealing before printing them out. It’s available for both yarn and npm users.

Pros

  • Useful for formatting HTML pages for print.

Cons

  • It’s not a versatile framework

20. Bojler

This specialized CSS framework was created for email template development, which is ideal if you want to improve the design and overall quality of your email templates.

This simple CSS framework makes it easy to build beautiful, responsive email templates that work across a range of email clients

Pros

  • Ideal for creating beautiful, responsive email templates

Cons

  • It’s not a versatile framework

Conclusion

And there you have it, the 20 best CSS frameworks you need to know for front-end development in 2024. Using these in your projects, you can add beautiful styling and responsiveness to your application without writing CSS code from scratch. Which is fantastic for speeding up your development process!

With that said, it’s still a good idea to grasp vanilla CSS. Udemy offers several CSS courses to get you started. That way, picking up a framework will be much easier for you. It also means you’ll be able to customize styles to suit your needs with less hassle.

For complete beginners looking, we recommend you start with Bootstrap or Tailwind, as they’re easy to learn and use. For advanced front-end developers, consider looking into Foundation, as it offers more control and customization.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Many CSS Frameworks Are There?

It’s hard to calculate the total number of CSS frameworks out there. But there are at least 40 available today. Which is a lot of choice!

2. What Is the Easiest CSS Framework to Learn?

Even the best CSS framework can be challenging without a decent understanding of vanilla CSS. With that said, if you have basic CSS skills, check out Bootstrap or Tailwind, as these are two of the most widely used and well-documented CSS frameworks in 2024.

 

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By Benjamin Semah

Benjamin is a software developer and technical writer for Hackr.io. He is adept at working with the JavaScript MERN stack (MongoDB, Express, React, Node.js), as well as with TypeScript, Ruby, and Rails. As a self-taught developer, he loves learning about new technologies and sharing what he learns through writing. His writings have been featured on platforms like freeCodeCamp and Scrimba.

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Disclosure: Hackr.io is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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