Should I use Bootstrap or Tailwind?

The choice between flexibility, and actually shipping the site

Tailwind can power your next Bootstrap

The thing I got wrong was how Tailwind was compared to Bootstrap. I honestly though it was just another CSS Framework, but with a lot of more classes. I missed the point completely.

Trying to paint a car with a wrench

The problem of Bootstrap, at least for some designers, is that it offered “too much” to an extent of becoming inflexible in terms of style and disposition.

Tailwind is to a songwriter like Bootstrap is to a K-pop band.

If you really wanted to change the style or “look and feel” of Bootstrap, you were looking into transpiling with a bundler, or directly creating pure CSS to override the style. Not everyone is happy to jump into the Sass transpiler, even if nowadays is like a necessity more than a gimmick.

On the left, Bootstrap 5 “card” component. On the right, Tailwind CSS to create a “card”.

So, what should I choose?

The short answer: Bootstrap for the convenience, Tailwind for the flexibility.

  • You don’t need to meddle with Javascript shenanigans for modals, toast notifications, or button menus; these are included.
  • Graphically, it’s very consistent, modern, and difficult to screw up.
  • Without editing the Sass files to compile your own Bootstrap CSS, it’s a pain in the ass to style deeply.
  • You’re a <link> tag away to use it.
  • You have to implement the lack of dynamic behavior with Javascript by yourself — not difficult, but will take time.
  • The purpose of Tailwind is to be used through a Javascript bundler and allow you to create your own “CSS Framework” with your own components, giving you a CSS framework highly maintainable and weighting just a few KB.
  • You have more freedom to create your own design for your site, but also, you’re in charge of it top to bottom.

Graphic Designer graduate. Full Stack Web Developer. Retired Tech & Gaming Editor.