The Best CSS Frameworks That Developers Can Use

The CSS framework is also known as a code library. It allows the developers to create more straightforward designs to implement in their web apps. Instead of writing codes from scratch every time they need to edit their web page, this CSS framework collects CSS style-sheets. These are all built-in, and developers can use them right away.

The CSS framework is also known as a code library. It allows the developers to create more straightforward designs to implement in their web apps. Instead of writing codes from scratch every time they need to edit their web page, this CSS framework collects CSS style-sheets. These are all built-in, and developers can use them right away.

If you are a new developer in responsive design, you can use this grid system to help with all your coding works. What’s more, it’s not only novices who use this grid system. Expert web developers are also using CSS frameworks to save time.

There could be a challenge in using a CSS framework if you can’t find your ideal frameworks from among the hundreds of options. So this article is to explain the best ideas and options of CSS frameworks for your specific needs. It will also outline the benefits of using the CSS framework and why front-end developers need it.

The Benefits of a CSS Framework for a Front-End Developer

A front-end developer needs a particular structure to design a website, create plugins, or other web functions without working hours. The CSS framework comes with icons, form elements, buttons, tooltips, web typography, interactive UI patterns, and grid. These are all essential to make a website and run it without problems.

Here are the pros of using a CSS framework:

  • You can use a particular CSS framework that suits your needs and preferences.
  • You can create a web solution and test it with your user to see if it works or not.
  • To validate the design hypothesis
  • It helps those novice developers or a person without coding skills.
  • To build a faster and lag-free website or application
  • You can rely on this solid foundation and save time.

These are just a few of the benefits of getting a CSS framework for designing your website. As you learn to use it, you’ll realize its benefit in saving time and resources. Instead of paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to developers, you can study how it works and design your web page according to your preferences.

The SASS and Javascript technology amplified the CSS framework for setting up navbars. One of the most significant advantages of this grid system is that it saves time. You don’t have to start from scratch to build or design your website. Everything you need is right there.

19 Best CSS Frameworks

Cardinal

This framework is a mobile-first design. Thus you can create a website design or application that is responsive, flexible, scale, and maintain UIs. It comes with high maintainability, scalability, and performance.

This framework reduces the development time through its various helper classes. That results in the faster application of styles upon an element. If you want to use a framework other than Bootstrap with a mobile-first approach with the CSS box model, this one is ideal for you.

It also extends support to different browsers, such as Android, iOs Safari, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome.

Core Features:

  • Cardinal leaves the design and creativity to you. It has simple CSS frameworks that leave the aesthetic design behind for faster and easier building applications and web designs.
  • This CSS framework’s goal is to prototype, build, scale, and maintain CSS. Through these activities, it is easier to create a responsive web application.
  • Front-end developers can save their time and leave all the hard work to Cardinal to create a well-organized website and application.

Spectre

This is one of the lightweight frameworks at ~10KB gzipped that is purely CSS-based. Since it is lightweight, it is easier to create elegant websites that are mobile-friendly, responsive, flexible, and flexbox-based.

Spectre is an excellent framework for beginners. It comes with the standard or basic styles of typography and elements. It also comes with CSS components and utilities that will look great in your web designs.

The size of these CSS frameworks makes it ideal for small web applications and single-page websites. It has plenty of advantages for lightweight pages.

Core Features:

  • It has easy-to-use and responsive designs that are modern and eye-catching. With this feature, you can create a user-friendly web design or application.
  • It comes with a Flexbox.
  • Spectre has no JavaScript, with lesser use of CSS, making it lightweight and faster to load.
  • Easy to utilize for your web designs and applications.

Miligram

The sole purpose of this CSS framework is to create a lightweight website design or application. It establishes faster and lag-free web pages, boosting your page speed’s score. Although Miligram is only 2KB, it has the essential features, functionalities, and web development tools to meet all your requirements.

It gives you the flexibility to use all the CSS3 specification features, which can be extended by adding a few lines of custom CSS.

Core Features:

  • Beautiful and responsive design themes: You can choose from several design options that would suit your goals and website’s niche.
  • Flexbox-based

Groundwork

This CSS framework enables developers to create scalable and accessible web applications, because of its flexible, lightweight, and responsive front-end framework. It also works on different screens and devices since it utilizes the responsive, configurable, and adaptive fluid grid system.

his framework enables developers to design and edit your designs according to their needs, preferences, and styles. Adding more functionalities is also easier. Creating tablets, text blocks, and responsive headings is possible via Sass and Compass.

Core Features

  • A responsive framework that creates responsive tables, responsive text blocks, and responsive headings.
  • An adaptive fractional grid system
  • Rapid wireframes and prototyping with dynamic fonts, images, and placeholder text.
  • Enables semantic markup with ARIA attribute selectors.
  • It supports halves to twelfths any columns fractional amount.
  • Fractional, responsive, adaptive, and nestable.

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Primer

Primer is the basecoat of Github, the largest community of developers in the world. They are the masterminds of this open-source tool and made this excellent framework possible. It has a consistent and systematic approach to color, typography, and spacing. i.

Along with its superb features and functionalities, it is also simple and straightforward. That’s why it is popular with developers and non-developers. Since Github uses this CSS framework, it adds to Primer’s reputation and credibility.

Core Features:

  • It comes with a base-8 spacing scale that works well with the content density of Github.
  • Primer has an excellent color scheme to improve your content. Through the color options, developers can do thematic styling options without sticking to a single structure.
  • Primer enables developers and non-developers to customize font size according to their styles and preferences by choosing weights and sizes.

Material UI

This CSS framework looks like the combination of Bootstrap and Materialize CSS. It has the simplicity and google-Esque material style of Materialize CSS, while its beauty resembles Bootstrap. Combining these two is the perfect match.

Developers use the Material UI to create great landing pages, material cards, dashboards, and user interfaces. One outstanding feature is that it is part of the React framework, also known as JavaScript. The JavaScript framework is responsible for the UI design.

This one is not ideal for beginners since it comes with advanced features that run with React or JavaScript.

Core Features:

  • It works together with Google’s material design.
  • Material UI comes with extensive documentation, together with its large variety of ready-to-use components.
  • Eye-catching and flexible design customization

Material Design Lite

Developers who trust CSS, HTML, and JavaScript can use this Material Design Lite as a UI component library. This framework lets you create a website with a Material Design look and feel. Its main goal is to optimize for cross-device use without relying on any JavaScript frameworks. By doing that, it doesn’t degrade in older browsers.

You can use this MDL to create consistent, attractive, and functional web applications and web pages. One of the advantages of using this framework is its ability to support modern web design principles. These are device independence, graceful degradation, and browser portability.

Core Features:

  • This Material Design Lite has blogging templates, enabling you to start your blog right away.
  • It comes with a unique design that looks great even without customization.
  • You can use MDL together with Elm, or also known as the language of graphical user interfaces.
  • It is flexible, easy-to-use, modern, and has comprehensive feature coverage, and no external dependencies are required.

Tachyons

Tachyons are less than 14KB gzipped, which makes it a lightweight CSS framework. You can use its small CSS modules independently, mixed, and matched. Also, it will not get rid of your original preference of designs or styles. You can combine your style and the existing CSS together.

Core Features:

  • Highly customizable
  • Ideal for beginners
  • It doesn’t have a fixed default size. You can choose from different screen sizes.
  • It is ideal for prototyping, which means it looks great even with little design works.

Ant Design

The Alibaba group by “Ant Design,” a Chinese company, made this framework. It is used for the JavaScript library and ReactJS. Since this Ant Design comes with 24 columns, it is now possible to customize the visible areas. It performs several app requirements with its various filled and outline icons.

Core Features:

  • Time-Saver: This is possible by making the prototyping faster.
  • Ant Design does the work for you, by meeting ARIA compliance, keyboard handling, and tabbing.
  • Clean design
  • Excellent feedback components
  • Ant Design supports form components, such as the Date/TimePicker, Checkbox, Radio, Input, and TextArea.

Picnic CSS

Most frameworks include presentational classes in the Markup. However, if this is not your preference, using this Picnic CSS would be an excellent decision. It is easy-to-use and perfect for beginners who have minimal coding skills.

When you compress Picnic CSS, its size can change to less than 10KB. With its lightweight component, you can use this to create a simple design without getting lags. It also has many UI elements with plenty of Flexbox-based grid layouts to start off your projects the right way.

T customizing your website is easy using Picnic CSS’s simple navigation bar and modal windows. As well as the HTML elements default styles, it also comes with interactive pure-CSS components, without using JavaScript.

Core Features:

  • Highly-responsive
  • Supports IE 9+ and CSS3 on IE 8.
  • Uses normalize.css as its base to reach a solid foundation
  • Lightweight
  • Only uses CSS3 while maintaining the HTML5 as highly semantic.

Pure

It has a responsive and lightweight set of CSS layouts that creates well-designed websites and applications. As a CSS framework based, it is very lightweight at 3.7KB, minified, and gzipped. Pure also uses Normalize.css to present to you the native HTML elements and UI components through its unique styles and layouts.

This is a mobile-first framework that is flexible in various devices. It also keeps the file sizes to an absolute minimum. Pure uses the CSS framework to improve its development and to make it compatible with multiple browsers.

Pure was created by Yahoo in 2014.

Core Features:

  • Extensible or the ability to add new CSS  rules without overwriting the existing ones.
  • Its frontend framework doesn’t have any browser compatibility testing issues.
  • Relies on Normalize.css
  • Easy to customize

Tailwind

One of the latest trends in the world of developers is building user interfaces. These are the Atomic CSS or the use of single-purpose utility classes. Tailwind takes advantage of this recent popularity.

This is part of the CSS frameworks that don’t need pre-styled cookie-cutter components. Instead, you can build everything from the ground up through utility classes. It differs from other competitors, as it provides low-level utility classes instead of using predesigned components.

With these features, it enables the developers and non-developers to build or customize new designs.

Core Features:

  • No pre-made components or a particular design language
  • Increase the development speed by eliminating the CSS coding or writing
  • Purely customizable with various customization options
  • Atomic CSS-based, which lets you create a flexible layout, use specific text color, and center an element

UIKit

This is one of the CSS frameworks that utilize minimal space despite a heavy-duty web developing interface. The variety of customizable options enable you to design your website or web apps according to your preferred style and preferences.

It is a high-quality framework since it uses some parts of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. Its user-friendly nature also made it one of the famous and well-used CSS frameworks for iOS.

If you are creating a website or application for an Apple platform, UIKit is ideal. It improves the core components like table views, navigation controllers, labels, and buttons.

Core Features

  • It has a modular overlay to add items to the style sheets.
  • It comes with a prebuilt component like Padding, Animations, Iconnav, Drop, Alert, Accordion, and more.
  • Minimalist design with modern interfaces
  • Clean code that creates clear architecture

Bulma

In 2020, Bulma has become one of the best Flexbox-based open-source CSS frameworks, thus 200,000 developers worldwide are using it. Whether you want a visual component or to improve your web design, this framework will do the job for you. Even beginners can learn how to codify a component and create a web application.

It comes with a cohesive interface for front-end developers by using several latest techniques. Since this one has responsive templates with customizable modern designs, you can focus more on creating web content than the codes alone.

Core Features

  • It has a large community of developers and fans who can ask questions or provide answers to the communities’ queries.
  • Bulma has various web components for users to choose from, depending on their modification and requirements needed.
  • Modern design and based on the latest technology
  • Aesthetic and eye-catching designs

Semantic UI

This CSS framework allows you to create incredible 3000 theming variables and more than 50 UI components. Its responsive design enables you to create a website that is accessible for all. Its lightweight framework allows for more contemporary lines with a bold finish.

The developer who made this framework used simple principles to create a framework that is accessible for both experts and novice developers. That’s why it has become one of the top frameworks of the year.

Its various features allow you to design your web page according to your preferences or the content’s niche.

Core Features:

  • Time-saver
  • The learning curve is shorter due to the meaningful names of Semantic UI classes.
  • A variety of theme designs
  • Well-organized documentation

Materialize

Materialize is a front-end framework with UI-components collections. It has a simple interface with minimal effect for faster and lightweight use. You can use this framework in tablets, mobiles, and different devices.

It is suitable for beginners to learn by using the excellent training documentation provided. Its positive feedback and community support enable you to quickly become familiar with its outstanding features and functionalities.

It uses HTML, Java, and CSS together to come up with an improved framework.

Core Features

  • It is a mobile-first design.
  • Complete features and functions
  • Material designs that more people are familiar with for targeting specific audiences

Skeleton

This CSS framework is a small collection of CSS files, enabling you to easily develop sites. It is also flexible so you can use it on different types of screens in various sizes.

Skeleton comes with a well-structured grid for a web page’s cleaner look in various browsers and devices. Its organized file structure and essential UI elements such as tabs, buttons, and styles form are sufficient to perform the task of creating a well-organized website or application.

It has 400 lines of source code, so if you don’t need larger or bulky frameworks, Skeleton is ideal.  Although it has minimal features, its essential functions let you create or design websites and web applications.

Core Features

  • Skeleton is a mobile-first CSS framework. It is compatible with different devices and browsers.
  • It is easy to use and understand. Through the help of the development team, you can build prototypes faster.

Foundation

Foundation is the right framework if you want complete features as well as having the freedom to choose your preferred styles and designs.

Developers who made this framework used JavaScript, SASS, CSS, and HTML for better and advanced codes.  Designing a website is quick and easy utilizing the SASS compiler.

When you use specific commands, you can install them on your PC or laptop. You’ll get a file structure with the resemblance of Materialize CSS, Bootstrap, and Bulma.

ThisCSS Framework is low-profile but gives excellent results. Developers use it as their trade secret in creating fantastic website designs and web applications.

Core Features

  • A powerful and excellent framework
  • Highly-flexible
  • It allows developers to have full control over their IUs.
  • Generic and straightforward style without complicated components
  • Enables you to create responsive HTML emails
  • Complete features

Bootstrap

Bootstrap is a popular  CSS framework. In 2018, they released Bootstrap 4, the latest version. This updates the latest utility classes, new modifiers, and unique color schemes.

It comes with a responsive and flexible design with a “mobile-first” philosophy. That means you can create websites that are responsive and compatible with different browsers and devices. If you want to adjust the screen sizes, include the relevant Bootstrap classes.

Core Features

  • It comes with built-in resource libraries.
  • It has the largest ecosystem.
  • Bootstrap provides front-end developers with gigantic libraries. These are the massive collection of UI components, admin panels, Bootstrap themes, website templates, and website layouts.
  • Responsive
  • Flexible
  • Rapid prototyping
  • It uses an advanced grid system for flexible and responsive design.
  • You do not have to think about browser incompatibilities and tricky CSS positioning.

How to Choose the Best CSS Frameworks for You

When looking for the best CSS frameworks, you need to evaluate your proficiency. Most beginners or novices should go with a framework with simple and easy-to-use features without compromising your web designs or applications’ quality.

Here are the ideal CSS frameworks for beginners:

Bootstrap

Bootstrap is very popular with both developers and non-developers because it comes with responsive and flexible functionalities. It also has the latest updates to bring the best services.

New developers don’t have to learn complex documentation to understand how Bootstrap works. As long as you know the basics, starting web design with Bootstrap is relatively easy.

Materialize CSS

This framework’s material design is familiar to many people. If not, you’ll also find excellent documentation for learning how to use it.

These two CSS frameworks are unique in their own way. You can build your inspiration website design and make it on one of these two code libraries. Take your time to review the features of both and see which works best for you.

Tailwind and Milligram are lightweight CSS frameworks for a single page,  simple websites or web applications. They focus on particular features to maintain its lightweight function while trying not to compromise your design quality.

Here are the CSS frameworks for both novice and advanced developers:

Semantic UI

This framework has the latest varied tools to create an incredible web page. Despite its number of features, it is lightweight and easy to use. Its well-organized documentation teaches you how to get started, create themes, and customize.

UIKit

This one has a minimalist style with modern interfaces. Apart from its clean design, it takes up minimal space. It is ideal for developers that create web apps for iOS or Apple devices. If you want to pursue the same goal, you can choose this framework.

Material UI

Material UI is a flexible framework. Its features are the combination of two popular frameworks—Bootstrap and Materialize CSS. It is beautiful and appears according to Google’s material design.

You need experience with JavaScript or React to start writing codes and creating web design in this framework.

Are you a risk-taker who wants to try new things, thus increasing your knowledge, and improving your skills? Some of the suggested CSS frameworks written in this article are new and need more time to become fully mature. As you learn to use them, you help them grow and improve at their own pace.

You can also choose a long-term solution with mature technologies, which will save you time and achieve your goals and preferences in creating web designs and web apps.

If you liked this article with CSS frameworks, you should check out this one with tips for creating a website design questionnaire.

We also wrote about other useful topics, like using a web design contract, the coolest fonts, and dummy text generator tools.

The Best CSS Frameworks That Developers Can Use

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We're a passionate bunch of designers and developers writing about the ins and outs of web design.

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