When building a product, website, or application, it is a common question to consider the design system or component library to use to help you ship quality products fast, and deliver value to your customers in a way that scales with your team.

Here's a comparison between Chakra UI and other popular UI or CSS frameworks like Theme UI, Tailwind CSS, and Material UI to help you make the best decision.

This comparison strives to be as accurate and unbiased as possible. If you use any of these libraries and feel this information could be improved, feel free to suggest changes (with notes or evidence of claims) using the "Edit this page on Github" link at the bottom of this page.

How is Chakra different from Tailwind CSS?#

Overview 🚩#

Tailwind CSS: CSS Framework that provides atomic CSS classes to help you style components, leaving you to handle lots of other things like accessibility, component composition, keyboard navigation, style overrides, etc.

Chakra UI: A library of carefully created React components that comes with all the styling benefits of Tailwind and takes care of all the details.

Learning Curve 🌀#

Tailwind CSS: If you come from a bootstrap or bulma CSS background, you might find it easy to pick up Tailwind. However, from a styled-components or emotion background, the learning curve can be rather steep.

Chakra UI: Comes with a very intuitive, CSS-like, and prop based model of styling components, making it easy to learn. The components name and prop names are also very easy to understand.

Responsive Styles 📱#

Tailwind CSS: Authoring responsive styles in tailwind requires a combination of pseudo-classes. This can get rather lengthy as your project grows. The API: <img class="w-16 md:w-32 lg:w-48" src="...">

Chakra UI: Authoring responsive styles in a very easy and intuitive way. You can use either the array or object notation.

The API:

  • Array syntax: <Img w={[16, 32, 48]} src="...">
  • Object syntax: <Img w={{ base: 16, md: 32, lg: 48 }} src="..." />

Style Overrides 💫#

In most applications, it is a common challenge to want to override styles for a specific context to match design requirements.

Tailwind CSS: Given that Tailwind is a CSS utility framework, you may need to figure out the best way to override specific classNames, or write custom CSS.

Chakra UI: Given that Chakra UI styles are prop-based, overrides is as easy as passing a prop.

Accessibility ♿️#

As mentioned earlier, Tailwind CSS is simply a CSS framework similar to Bootstrap or Bulma CSS. This leaves the user to handle semantic html structure, meeting the WAI-ARIA requirements, keyboard navigation, etc.

Chakra provides the convenience of Tailwind and all these other benefits out the box.

Dark Mode 🌜#

Tailwind CSS: All components are dark mode compatible with dark variant.

Chakra UI: All components are light and dark mode compatible. You can also author your own light and dark mode experience across your application.

How is Chakra different from Theme UI?#

  • Chakra UI was heavily inspired by Theme UI and follows the system UI specifications.
  • Chakra UI provides more components, improved styling API, accessibility, and intuitive component APIs than Theme UI.
  • Think of Chakra as a more robust version of Theme UI that leverages the full power of styled-system to provide better component styles and theming.

How is Chakra different from Material UI?#

The Material UI React library provides users with a handful of UI layout tools but is most famous for its large breadth of pre-styled UI components to which developers can apply custom styles to override out-of-the-box base styles. Chakra UI is a more robust, layout-focused library that also provides developers with UI components similar to those that Material UI provides, but has a greater focus on the creation of flexible, composable, and scalable code.

A core concept to be considered when comparing the two frameworks is 'Ease of Modification'. Comparatively, Material UI adds far more classes to individual HTML tags related to exported components and layouts, forcing developers to fight against base styles when customizing their interface. Chakra gives developers far more freedom to manipulate CSS classes of exported components and layouts and often requires less code to do so. For example, Material UI requires separate code to control responsive styling based on viewport changes, while Chakra provides built-in support for responsive styling without the need to create CSS classes or media queries. If custom styling is not a major concern for your project, Material UI is beneficial as you can avoid the creation of custom components that the library provides. If scalable, custom designs are important for your project (which oftentimes they are), Chakra's developer convenience shines brighter than Material UI's especially as a project scales over time.

How is Chakra different from Ant Design?#

The Ant Design React library is an implementation of the design language. This means the components follow existing design rules and values, only allowing customizability to certain variables to a limited extent. Chakra is not tied down by any design systems and offers more freedom with customizing the components to implement your own design.

Styling Components#

Ant Design components are built to be used out-of-the-box so they have limited style-specific props and customizations (more on this in the next section). On the other hand, Chakra components features styles as props as the main way of styling. So while working with one or the other, you as a designer or developer will find yourself taking different decisions as you go along.

Take the Button component as an example. A Chakra Button's colorScheme prop has many different values by default and can be customized and/or extended for you to apply your own designs. In contrast, you need to keep in mind that the Ant Design Button can only be colored in if it has the primary and danger props and nothing else because the existing design values of Ant Design. The same pattern can be seen in other components such as Layouts, Forms, and Typography.

Theming and Customizing#

Ant Design has a long list of default variables that can be modified ranging from colors, paddings, margins, animations, shadows, borders, screen sizes, dimensions some being generic and some specific to UI components. Customization beyond modifying these existing variables is not recommended in order to respect the underlying design specification.

Chakra features easy customizability/extensibility of all global and component style defaults. New sizes or variants can be defined for each components. On top of that, you can compose new components out of existing ones or even non-Chakra components with Chakra Factory.

The Runtime Trade-off ⚠️#

Since Chakra UI uses CSS-in-JS under the hood (emotion + styled-system), this flexibility comes with a small price to pay when it comes to runtime. This runtime footprint is caused by style computations by styled-system, and className generation by emotion.

If your app deals with high, frequently changing data that is performance sensitive, you might notice this footprint as your app grows.

We recommend you compare with alternatives before making the decision to use Chakra. However, for most small or medium data-driven applications, we think Chakra UI is a perfect fit.

The Community 💖#

My favourite thing about Chakra UI is the community around it. Despite the fact that it is still small for now, it is growing daily and everyone is so helpful and we keep striving for better ways to improve Chakra UI's speed, performance and developer experience.

Community Remarks 💬#

"When I'm pitching Chakra, my main selling point is that Chakra makes it easier to customize components to be entirely your own. MUI has a distinctly "material" look that is difficult to get rid of even if you want to. Chakra strikes a balance of look nice out of the box and can morph into anything".

— Vynlar (View Quote)

"When we were in the process of choosing a component library, like most others that found Chakra, we were looking for something that did a lot of the heavy lifting for us whilst being as unopinionated as possible. This was a big reason that ruled most of the big players out (MUI, Ant). These big players are awesome, don't get me wrong, but because they come with their own design languages, you're kinda stuck with their look.

Then there were a bunch of other medium/small players, such as variations of Bootstrap in React. Among other small issues, these libraries generally don't have large hyper-active communities.

Then, I found Chakra.

  • ✅ A wide range of well-thought components.
  • ✅ Unopinionated. Chakra gives you the tools to easily make your components look the way you want.
  • ✅ Built with accessibility in mind! You mean I don't have to worry about that anymore!?
  • ✅ Amazing community, led by a great team. ❤️

I feel like Chakra is becoming a movement, and I'm excited for it."

— ChasinHues (View Quote)

Edit this page on GitHub

Proudly made inNigeria by Segun Adebayo

Deployed by Vercel