Beaver Builder is a widely-used front-end visual page builder for WordPress, also offering a dedicated theme and theme builder (as of very recently) to work alongside it.
Unlike it’s competitors, Beaver Builder seems to have a strong foothold in the developer community, promising site builders and their clients a platform to create and design websites without the usual headaches.
In this review, we’ll just be looking at the page builder as a standalone plugin.
The Good, Bad, And The Ugly
For this review, I fired up Beaver Builder to see how it fares in comparison to popular alternatives.
From here on out, I’ll share my experiences using this tool, as well as what I liked and didn’t like along the way.
User Interface & Experience
When you launch beaver builder for the first time, it won’t take you very long to get an idea of how it works.
And even though I found it fairly intuitive as far as page builders go, it wasn’t exactly efficient.
For example, it has a bar going along the top with the Beaver Builder logo on one end, and a handful of buttons on the other.
This is a pure waste of screen space. I don’t need a constant reminder of what builder I’m using and there’s no reason they couldn’t move those buttons to the sidebar.
The only time it’s useful is when you need to bring the sidebar back into view, but Elementor has a much more elegant solution that I think Beaver Builder should take note of.
Speaking of the sidebar, there were a few issues I found right off the bat.
First of all, I really don’t like how it sits on top of the page, covering up any elements on the far right side.
This may not be an issue for anyone with a larger screen, but I just found it annoying more than anything else.
Again, Elementor takes a much better approach in my opinion…
Secondly, the sidebar panel itself is very rigid.
You can’t resize it. You can’t compress it. You can’t even move it to the other side of the screen.
Personally, I feel like these are the kinds of the nuances that make or break a page builder in today’s very competitive market.
In terms of actually adding elements to the page, I ran into some friction yet again. For most elements (or modules), Beaver Builder forces you to input certain information first.
To give you an example, adding a button first requires you to set the link URL before you can do anything else…
And while this information is eventually needed for the element to function, sometimes you just want to get it on the page and see how it looks before committing to anything.
Personally, I think Beaver Builder should adopt a ‘placeholder’ approach with all elements by default, like Elementor does:
That way, users can focus on the visual aspect without having to worry about finer details there and then.
Overall, for what most would consider a “premium page builder”, Beaver Builder’s interface is far from premium.
The module library is a collection of elements you can use to build your page.
These include things like buttons, images and text blocks. As well as more advanced stuff like accordions, sliders and pricing tables.
Beaver Builder has all that. And it even has a few conversion elements like a subscribe form, countdown timer and testimonial slider.
Overall, the builder covers pretty much all the basics, but it really doesn’t venture much further than that.
- There’s no portfolio module
- There’s no price list module
- There’s no forms module
- There’s no flip box module
- Etc. etc.
If you want any of that stuff, you’ll need to use third-party plugins which often breaks the “visual building” aspect of using a visual page builder.
More importantly, the modules themselves are quite limited in terms of styling and variation.
I can give you a few examples right now.
Example #1: You can’t add drop shadow to a button element without using custom CSS.
Example #2: You can’t adjust the ‘roundness’ of an icon without using custom CSS.
Example #3: You can’t apply a simple border to an image without using custom CSS.
I could keep going here, but you get the point. It relies too heavily on CSS.
Honestly, I did expect a little more from Beaver Builder when it came to styling options, especially given the very average selections of modules they offer.
There is SOME good news, though.
If you’re happy to splash out some cash to upgrade your module library, there is a third-party addon you can use, and it’s called “Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder”.
This thing injects over 40 new modules and almost 200 template elements into the standard Beaver Builder Plugin, each with a myriad of styling options.
The addon starts at $69 for a 1-year license, but I still think it’s a worthwhile investment if you’ve already committed to Beaver Builder and you need some extra oomph.
Let’s be real for a minute.
Even with a stellar user interface and an abundance of modules and widgets to choose from, none of it really matters if you can’t actually build what you’re trying to build.
In other words, a page builder needs to be flexible.
Given what I’ve had to say about Beaver Builder so far, I wasn’t entirely optimistic about this one.
In terms of achieving different kinds of layouts, Beaver Builder’s “row” system was actually fairly robust and simple to use.
Using both the element settings and global page settings to control margins and paddings, I was also able to eliminate spacing without any fuss.
Apart from that, though, I found myself running into a brick wall on more than one occasion.
To give you a few examples…
Example #1: You can’t manually resize images without using custom CSS.
Example #2: You can’t apply any custom fonts without using CSS.
Example #3: You can’t define a specific width for individual sections (or rows) without using custom CSS.
Again… we have a CSS dependency. And this time, the limitations extend beyond just the modules themselves.
Visual page builders aren’t supposed to rely on users implementing CSS to pick up the slack. Especially this much slack. That defeats the purpose of using a page builder in the first place.
Overall, unless you’re a CSS ninja and you don’t mind getting your hands dirty from time to time, you’ll definitely struggle to replicate certain ideas and designs with Beaver Builder.
Did You Know
I ran a test below to see how well Beaver Builder performed when recreating Trello’s homepage. This will give you an idea how flexible the page builder is in a real life scenario.
Content & Page Templates
If you rely heavily on templates, Beaver Builder does offer a reasonable selection of landing pages and content structures to wet your appetite.
And while the designs aren’t winning any awards, they’re still decent enough. (They offer a good base to build upon if nothing else.)
In order to use one of these templates, however, Beaver Builder will need access to the entire page.
By default, it will end up looking like this:
Your design can only extend to the boundaries set by your theme.
Once enabled, it will lift the themes inherent boundaries and allow Beaver Builder to fill the entire page with content.
Finally, you can save your own templates to reuse later, which is a crucial element to consider if you produce a LOT of similar content. (This alone saves hours of your time.)
Not only that, but you can also save individual sections from your design to reuse on another page/post.
AND… you can save both rows and modules as “global” elements, allowing you to reuse them anywhere on your site and edit them from one central location.
This is one somewhat subtle feature that can be really powerful if you know how to use it.
This is easily one of the biggest flaws when it comes to using Beaver Builder.
Almost everything you do is PAINFULLY slow to process. Seriously, it’s like the dial-up internet of page builders.
Anyways, back to the builder…
Dragging any module onto the page will give you a loading screen that takes anywhere from 2-5 seconds to do it’s thing.
And if that wasn’t annoying enough, any changes you make to an existing module are also subject to more loading…
And, speaking of “changes”, the page even lags behind when previewing changes inside the editor window…
And if you think a few seconds isn’t a big deal, consider how many actions you take when building a page.
Not a couple. Not dozens. But HUNDREDS.
The efficiency of using Beaver Builder as a page builder becomes heavily diluted when start doing the math.
If there’s one thing they need to fix about this plugin, it’s this by a mile.
Beaver Builder speaks highly of their support, and it’s hard to say otherwise based on my own experience.
Even before I got my hands on the plugin, the email response I got back from enquiring was fast and helpful.
And while they do have a contact form to fill out, you’ll get the best response by posting in the dedicated support forum.
Aside from that, the Beaver Builder’s community Facebook group is another excellent support line with over 6,000 members.
Not only do you get responses to your question in minutes, but the answers are coming from other Beaver Builder users who offer advice on workarounds and alternatives you wouldn’t normally get from Beaver Builder’s official support.
Beaver Builder isn’t the cheapest page builder out there, but it’s not the most expensive, either.
It does have a free version, but it’s even more limited than the paid version, so I wouldn’t recommend it.
(Besides, if you’re going the free route, Elementor is the easy choice.)
Looking at how it’s competitors are priced, you can get a better idea of where this plugin sits in the market.
|Page Builder||Free Version||Premium Version|
|Thrive Architect||No||$67 lifetime|
|Elementor||Yes (some limitations)||$49/yr - $199/yr|
|Beaver Builder||Yes (heavy limitations)||$99/yr - $399/yr|
|Divi Builder||No||$89/yr or $249 lifetime|
At first glance, Beaver Builder might seem like one of the more expensive options on the market, but it’s not entirely true.
Even with Beaver Builder’s lowest plan ($99), you’re allowed you to install the plugin on unlimited sites, with complete access to all the plugins modules and templates.
(You can continue to use Beaver Builder after 1 year, but you just don’t get updates and support without renewal.)
So while some alternatives above may appear cheaper, not all of them offer the same flexibility. (For example, using Elementor PRO on unlimited sites will set you back $199.)
Even with my somewhat mediocre rating of this tool, it’s still not a bad price point for what you get.
That said, it would be nice if they offered a single site license at a discount.
Rebuilding Trello’s Homepage
For each page builder we review as part of this series, we decided it’d be a great idea to recreate an existing page using each tool.
That way, it would give us (and you) a much clearer comparison of what each tool is capable of in practical terms.
As for the page, we settled on Trello’s homepage because it’s an excellent example of a modern layout that makes good use of different elements.
Check out the video to see how I got on with Beaver Builder:
Where It Performed Well
- Rows & Columns – I said this in the review, but I really like how robust the rows were during the build, and the column widths were also super easy to adjust.
- Spacing – Surprisingly, I had no trouble with spacing and I was able to eliminate all margins from the global settings. This made the build a lot smoother overall.
Where It Fell Flat
- Resizing Images – The resizing options for images are a bit of a joke. Without using CSS, there was no way for me to resize certain images which caused serious problems with some parts of the design.
- Content Containers – Beaver Builder completely lacked containers with adjustable width values, which forced me to apply left and right margins to almost every element. Not ideal.
- Custom Fonts – I also mentioned this in the review, but Beaver Builder doesn’t offer a way to set your own custom fonts for a given page. Considering how crucial fonts are for design, I think they really missed the boat.
- Font Sizes – For some reason, you can’t specify your own font size with this page builder. Instead, you have to select from a drop down menu that doesn’t include precise values.
- Button Styling – This one bothered me a lot. The buttons were severely lacking in terms of styling options and there was no way to remove the default border around them.
- Link Colors – The link colors were inherited from my theme, which meant I couldn’t match it with the style I was trying to recreate without using custom CSS (and you know how I feel about that).
Is Beaver Builder Right For You?
Now that I’ve covered all the different features and functions of Beaver Builder, weighing up the pros and cons and giving my experience along the way — let’s talk about YOU.
As with any tool, Beaver Builder isn’t going to be the right choice for everyone, so I’d like to get to the bottom of who exactly this page builder is suitable for.
At a $99 one-time (with 1 year of updates and support), Beaver Builder isn’t the biggest expense you’re likely to run into when building a site.
That said, I’d still recommend the free version of Elementor if budget is really a concern. That way, you can get what is, in my opinion, a superior page builder without spending a penny.
If you do plan on upgrading in the near future, and you’d like to run your page builder on multiple sites, then it would be cheaper to stick with Beaver Builder.
If there’s one thing I can say about Beaver Builder, it’s that it’s really easy to pick up and start using.
Of course, a big part of that is due to how minimal it is as far as page builders go, but either way, I’d still feel confident about recommending this to someone who’s new to building websites.
Now, is it the best page builder for beginners?
No. Not really. Though it is a good option, in my opinion, it’s still not as easy to use as its newest competitor, Elementor.
If you’re looking for the most capable page builder, I definitely wouldn’t recommend Beaver Builder straight out of the box.
That said, if you were to combine it with the Ultimate Addons plugin and perhaps some developer experience, that might be a different story.
As it stands within the context of this review, Beaver Builder just isn’t what I would consider a “high-level” solution.
I hate to say it, but Beaver Builder struggles to outshine the competition in what has essentially become a fierce market in the last couple of years.
With newer page builders like Divi 3.0 and Elementor PRO offering a faster, more feature-rich experience right out of the box, it’s difficult to make a strong case for Beaver Builder.
If you have a good understanding of CSS, and you don’t mind investing in additional addons and plugins to unlock the true power of this plugin, you’ll no doubt have a completely different opinion.
As it stands, though, it just doesn’t tick enough boxes and it’s simply not the most complete page builder on the market today.