I was in a dilemma choosing between Thrive Architect and Elementor at a time in my blogging career.
I’ve used both these page builders in and out, and in this post I’ll be helping you choose the best out of two.
If you are looking for a comparison between Elementor free and Thrive Architect, Thrive Architect is the winner even though Elementor free version has great features.
In this guide, you'll learn
- 1 Overview of Elementor and Thrive Architect
- 2 Unique features
- 3 Ease of use and interface
- 4 Elements/modules
- 5 Reusing elements
- 6 Templates
- 7 Mobile editing
- 8 Email list building
- 9 Developer friendliness
- 10 Support
- 11 Pricing
- 12 FAQs
- 13 Which page builder is right for you?
Elementor is relatively a new comer in this game and has gained lots of users and popularity in a very short span of time. It has gained lots of attention with the release of its generous free WordPress page builder.
Elementor gives you lots of design freedom and flexibility. The page builder has focused on designers and agencies.
The team behind Thrive Themes is focused on developing conversion-friendly WordPress plugins.
- Elementor comes with “Embed Everywhere” feature that offers you a shortcode wherein you can display the design sections anywhere on your site.
- Elementor comes with a couple of WooCommerce widgets making it a perfect page builder for building attractive WooCommerce sites.
- Elementor comes with more modules and also supports 3rd party addons, like Crocoblock which I’ve reviewed. It contributes a lot to the Elementor’s growth.
- It comes with more modules than that of Thrive Architect.
- It supports dynamic fields feature for some of its elements
- It comes with a theme builder
- It offers custom WordPress dashboard builder, wherein you can completely build and customize the WordPress dashboard with the page builder elements.
- Elementor also has a free version
- Thrive Architect integrates with other Thrive Themes products like Thrive Leads and Thrive Ultimatum for ultimate marketing flexibility. Having a suite of products that work in tandem with each other is its biggest strength
- Thrive Architect comes with a source code editor, wherein you can view and edit the actual source code of the landing page you’re building.
- It has some unique modules like table of content, table, and click to tweet (for which you need to have 3rd-party addons in Elementor).
When you launch Elementor, you can see the left sidebar with all the elements.
Here you need to click on the “+” button and select the layout of the section.
I selected the two column layout and dragged in the button element.
Here you can see that the customization options are categorized into content, style and advanced. This neat categorization of options is really helpful and productive.
Elementor has a unique “Navigator” feature that lets you easily build and reorder/drag the sections when the design process becomes complex.
When you launch Thrive Architect, you can see there’ll be two sidebars. One for dragging the elements and another one solely for customizing the selected elements.
When you have two sidebars and an additional bottom bar, it’ll be quite hard to get a true WYSIWYG experience, although the sidebars are collapsible to an extent.
You don’t necessarily need to create a section before dragging your first element. However, it’s always a good practice to build the page on the top of the sections or columns
Once you drag in your first element, you can see that all the customization options are populated in the left sidebar.
Unlike Elementor, Thrive Architect has not created separate sections/tabs and grouped the options on a higher level. Due to this, it takes a bit of extra effort to locate or to even discover all the customization options.
Like Elementor, Thrive Architect doesn’t come with navigator but it does come with breadcrumbs for you to know the hierarchy of your work.
Winner: Elementor, as it offers more space, has navigator, and easy access to customization options
Elementor comes with ~58 elements in it compared to the ~35 elements Thrive Architect comes with.
You can even extend the number of elements using many free and pro 3rd party Elementor addons.
Some of the notable unique modules in Elementor are slider, carousels, WooCommerce elements, flip box, login, etc.
It also has some dynamic elements like post title, featured image, etc as a part of the theme builder functionality.
Thrive Architect comes with close to ~35 elements, it’s very less compared to Elementor.
Still, Thrive Architect has some unique modules like table of content, tables, and click to tweet boxes. When you use Thrive Architect with various other Thrive products, it unlocks many more elements due to tight integration.
Thrive Architect doesn’t support 3rd party modules.
Winner: Elementor, as it has got more modules and support for 3rd party addons.
Both Elementor and Thrive Architect come with great features for you to save and reuse the widgets and sections.
With Elementor, you can save any section of the page as a template and access them using the templates feature whenever you need to reuse.
There’s also an option to save any widget that you’ve customized as a global widget and use it anywhere on the site. If you customize the global widget in any one place, the changes will be reflected throughout the entire site wherever the global widget is used.
On the other hand in Thrive Architect, you can save any element or a section as either a template or symbol. The symbols are similar to global widgets option provided by Elementor.
After saving the templates and symbols, you need to make use of Templates/Symbols module by Thrive Architect to use them.
Both these page builders offer equally great features when it comes to reusability of elements.
But the fact that Elementor has a whole separate section for displaying global widgets makes it much more productive. However, when it comes to features they are still the same.
Elementor comes with a few templates in its free version and hundreds of templates in its pro version.
The templates offered by the pro version of Elementor are more beautiful as they make use of pro-only elements.
The templates are neatly categorized as homepages, landing pages, pricing and much more. As of writing this blog post, there were around 125+ templates offered by Elementor.
All these templates are mostly design-centric. You can export and import any of the templates.
Another nice touch is the refresh button by Elementor that lets you easily update the templates section for changes without refreshing the entire page.
Thrive Architect also comes with hundreds of conversion optimized landing page templates.
As it is more geared towards online marketers, it has landing pages related to lead magnets, webinar pages, video sales page, ebook page, course page, homepage, content page, etc.
These templates are designed with conversions and marketing psychology in mind.
Another great thing to note about Thrive Architect is it has a set of landing pages solely for accessing complex elements that can be created using elements offered by Thrive Architect.
You can export or import any of the templates.
With the number of smartphone users exceeding the desktop users, it’s very essential for your page builder to have great mobile editing functionality.
You can toggle the responsive editing mode by clicking on the icon in the bottom bar of the sidebar. The design changes and customizations that you make in the mobile mode will only be applicable to the mobile screen.
Optionally, if you don’t want any element on the page to be displayed on any of the devices, you can head over to the advanced customization options and toggle the visibility.
For elements like “Navigation menu”, there’s a separate section called “Mobile Dropdown” that lets you specify the breakpoint and also many other options.
There are also options for you to wrap columns and hamburger options in mobile layout.
In Thrive Architect, you can see the responsive bar at the bottom of the page you’re building.
There’s also a responsive section similar to that of Elementor, where you can selectively toggle the visibility of elements.
The changes to the design you make in mobile/tablet mode are not reflected in the desktop mode.
Similar to Elementor, you get wrap columns and hamburger feature for mobile layout as well.
Elementor has forms module from the beginning.
And recently, they have introduced a popup builder that lets you build highly versatile popups using the power of Elementor page builder.
You have 100+ different popup templates to choose from classic, bottom bar, fly in, hello bar, slide-in, etc.
You have dedicated popup settings where you can change the position of the popup, adjust layouts, add animations, style it, and also you’ve some really advanced settings to play with.
As of writing this post, the popups lacked the analytics and also A/B split testing functionality.
Elementor has integrations with the various email marketing softwares, to enable you to effectively implement lead generation on your site powered with Elementor.
The Thrive Architect comes with Thrive Lightboxes functionality.
When you create a new lightbox, there are no lightbox templates for you to start with. If you want templates along with some groundbreaking advanced lead generation functionalities, you need to make use of Thrive Leads along with Thrive Architect.
With Thrive Architect alone, you can build light-boxes from scratch.
You need to make use of the lead generation module available in Thrive Architect and make use of the customization options to suit your brand.
By clicking on the connect form to a service, you can connect to your favorite autoresponder using API or HTML form integrations.
As of writing this blog post, Thrive Themes had integration with 40+ email marketing, webinar platforms, and other services. The API integrations provided by Thrive Themes is far more than that of Elementor.
Let me discuss how to trigger pop-ups.
Once you have created the lightboxes, you need to head over to the landing page where you want the popup to show up.
Head over to the settings, select the trigger and choose the lightbox you want Thrive Architect to popup.
There are only two triggers for you to choose from i.e. exit intent and timer. It lacks some triggers like scroll percentage, scroll to element, and others that the Elementor comes with.
For more advanced features, as I have described earlier you may need to use Thrive Leads as it uncovers many features like different formats of lead generation, A/B split testing, analytics, and other advanced features.
As this is a review of Thrive Architect purely, we’re not gonna consider the features offered by Thrive Leads.
Winner: Elementor has more advanced popup trigger options and templates, but fewer integrations than that of Thrive Architect. However, Thrive Architect when used along with Thrive Leads is an absolute game-changer.
When it comes to developer friendliness, I would look at these features in a page builder.
- Custom CSS
- Source code editing
- 3rd party addon support
- Dynamic fields
- API support
Let me discuss these one-by-one.
Both Elementor and Thrive Architect has custom CSS support and you can also add CSS classes or IDs to the page builder elements. But Elementor does reflect the CSS changes in real time, whereas in case of Thrive Architect you may need to refresh the page
When it comes to source code editing, you can view and edit the source code of the landing page in case of Thrive Architect. In Elementor, you can’t. Again, it has its own pros and cons.
Elementor supports 3rd party addons that add in more functionalities like templates and elements on top of the page builder. Whereas, Thrive Architect is more of a closed ecosystem where it only integrates with Thrive Themes products.
Elementor supports dynamic fields in some of their elements and also has integrations with ACF and PODS. So, it adds a whole new realm of flexibility to your page building experience. However, Thrive Themes was yet to introduce theme builder as of writing this post.
As a developer, you can access the Elementor’s API functionality and also their developer resources to build your own addons for autoresponder integrations, query filters, and more. However, Thrive Architect has limited scope in this regard.
Elementor has great support and documentation. In order for you to prevent struggling, the Elementor comes with inbuilt troubleshooter, safe mode, rollback version, and also beta testing option. Plenty of my issues were solved using these features alone. The email support system is also great.
However, Thrive Themes support system is also great. But recently when they rebranded Thrive Content Builder to Thrive Architect, there were plenty of bugs and plugin conflicts as the update was rolled out with minimal real-world testing.
As far of my opinion, Elementor has an awesome bug-free codebase, reducing your support requests.
Both Elementor and Thrive Architect offer great support whatsoever.
Elementor comes with three plans. The unlimited sites license, gives you license to use the Elementor pro plugin on client sites too.
If you are having 1-3 websites, you can go with either personal or business plans.
With all these plans, you get access to all the features, support, and updates for a year and you get the renewed plan with an additional discount (if applicable).
I would happily consider paying Elementor yearly, considering the pace at which they are growing.
The Thrive membership plan comes with a monthly price (almost the same as that of Elementor unlimited plan) and gives you access to all their plugins and themes.
If you are looking to supercharge Thrive Architect with plugins like Thrive Leads, Thrive Ultimatum (scarcity marketing plugin), Thrive Quiz Builder, and many more, you may need to go for Thrive membership plan.
It’s like an ecosystem of products that compliment each other – think of an Apple ecosystem.
Thrive Themes membership may be a no-brainer deal for you to build extremely versatile complete online sales funnels that are conversion friendly.
If you want only Thrive Architect, you can go with either of these two plans. These plans come with lifetime updates and free support for a year.
- Are the free versions of the page builders available? Elementor is a freemium plugin that comes with a generous free version. Whereas, Thrive Architect is a premium only plugin.
- Can I do A/B split testing? With both of these plugins, you can do A/B testing of the landing pages. With Elementor, you may need to make use of Google Optimize. Whereas with Thrive Architect, you need to buy it along with a separate plugin called Thrive Optimize.
- Which page builder is future-proof? When we say future-proof, we need to see at least 3 years down the lane. I’m optimistic about the future of Elementor considering the rate at which they're currently growing.
- Which WordPress theme is best for page builders? I would recommend you to use Astra or GeneratePress with either of these page builders. Because these are themes built from the ground up especially to be compatible with page builders. If you want to choose the best among the two, read the comparison here.
- Do these page builders work with all the themes? Yes, both these plugins work with almost any WordPress theme.
- Which page builders offer more integrations? Thrive Architect offers more integrations. However, Elementor also integrates with all the major email marketing softwares and also has Zapier integration.
- Do these builders work with all the plugins? These plugins work with the majority of other plugins in the WordPress marketplace. I've never had issues. I'm using both Elementor and Thrive Architect on my site, never ran into any issues. However, if there are any issues Elementor's safe mode comes handy.
- Which offers true WYSIWYG experience? Both these page builders are WYSIWYG builders. However at times, especially when building complex pages, Thrive Architect falls short to Elementor when it comes to the true representation of the actual page.
- Can I edit my blog page? With Elementor as it comes with theme builder, it's easy to customize the blog page of your site
- Which page builder is good for WooCommerce? Elementor comes with a dedicated WooCommerce builder, whereas Thrive Architect does not come with support for WooCommerce.
If you are reading this post, you are one of the kinds:
- Web developer/designer: Elementor suits you the best as it is design-centric page builder and also offers very powerful developer-centric features as I discussed earlier. It’s also perfect for web design agencies as you can use the builder on client sites as well. The 3rd party addons available for Elementor enable you to implement a wide array of features on your client websites.
- Digital marketer: If you are a marketer, and want to implement advanced marketing strategies and techniques on your site like scarcity marketing, advanced lead generation, A/B testing, quizzes, then you may want to get Thrive Themes membership. However, when you compare Thrive Architect (alone) with Elementor for digital marketers I would still give Elementor an edge due to more popup customization options.
You can’t really go wrong with any of these page builders.
I use Thrive Architect along with Thrive Optimize and Thrive Leads only for certain landing pages where conversions and performance matters the most to me.
With this, I get the benefits of both the plugins.
Hope you found this comparison of Thrive Architect and Elementor helpful.
Looking forward to hear more from you.