TailwindCSS vs Bootstrap | What Should You Learn


The discussion about TailwindCSS and bootstrap has been a hot topic nowadays. Some people may say it’s better to use bootstrap than design with tailwind and others will suggest using tailwind because of easy customization for web design. In this article, 10 different parameters are used to compare both these frameworks. So, If you read this article, you’ll have a clear mind about both these frameworks and what you should learn.

Learning Bootstrap vs TailwindCSS

To learn bootstrap, you don’t have to spend too much time learning CSS because, in the end, you will be using pre-designed components. Only the basics of CSS are enough to start with bootstrap. TailwindCSS is not that easy if you don’t learn CSS core concepts and spend some time practicing. You need to learn about flexbox, positioning, and other core concepts of CSS before starting your journey with TailwindCSS.

Learning TailwindCSS – Requires core concepts of CSS.

Learning Bootstrap – Requires basics of CSS

Component vs Utility First

Bootstrap is known for quickly designing web pages without writing much. This is because bootstrap offers many pre-designed components like buttons, navbars, modals, accordions, and many more. On the other hand, TailwindCSS offers a utility-first approach instead of pre-designed components. This means you don’t get buttons, navbars, or anything else, instead, you get small utility classes that you can combine to design a button, navbar, or anything you want. The code snippet below designs two similar buttons with bootstrap and TailwindCSS.

Remembering Class Names

When working with bootstrap, you have to either remember the class names to use different components or go to documentation every time you do something. Remembering class names is a little hard thing to do. In TailwindCSS, you don’t have to remember the class names because they are just the CSS properties you are going to apply. For example, you want to add padding the class name is p-value.For flexbox, the class name is flex to use display:flex; for justify-items:center its justify-center and so on. TailwindCSS also has a VS Code extension for IntelliSense that makes life a lot easier to work with TailwindCSS.

Remembering class names in TailwindCSS = Easy

Remembering class names in TailwindCSS = A little Hard

Customized Design – TailwindCSS vs Bootstrap

TailwindCSS lets you design anything you want. You can convert PSD or Figma files into real websites using tailwind with ease. Because bootstrap has pre-designed components, you are not in control to change layouts, navbars, modals, and other components. You have to write your own CSS to create a custom design. The other option is to override the existing bootstrap styles which sometimes is very hard. So, in customized design, you have a lot more advantages if you are using TailwindCSS.


In the modern world where frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue exists, reusability is very much important in web designing. When you are working with bootstrap, you already have pre-designed components that you can use again and again. But, what if you want to use a bootstrap button 3 times with different colors and padding? You can’t do this without writing custom CSS or overriding the existing classes. In TailwindCSS, because you are using the utility-first approach, you combine different utility classes which you can change at any time without writing custom CSS. The other advantage of using TailwindCSS is that you can paste the code of different sections to a new project and everything will start working. When it comes to reusability, TailwindCSS is more reusable as compared to bootstrap.

Responsive Design

Both bootstrap and TailwindCSS offer responsive design. With bootstrap, you get different classes for responsive design like col-md-4 but it’s hard to do these things when you are working on a customized web design. What if you want to change the targetted screen sizes that bootstrap uses to change from mobile to tablet? In TailwindCSS, you can design everything mobile responsive with the media query utility classes like md:px-4 etc. It also offers to change the targetted screen sizes with ease, all you need to do is to add targetted screen sizes to tailwind config file.

Arbitrary Values and Custom CSS

To explain this, let’s create a situation in a design. Suppose you are working on a page and you need margin-top:45px or you need font-size:33px. If you are working with bootstrap, you probably end up writing your own CSS classes or some web designers may add inline CSS which is worst. TailwindCSS in version 3.0+ has arbitrary values which you can specify at any time and tailwind will create a class for you. The syntax for arbitrary values is also easy to use and remember. You can add arbitrary values with m-[value]syntax.

Unused CSS Code and JIT

When you add bootstrap to your project, every component code is added. If you use the navbar and buttons only, the code for the modal, accordion and other components will be there even if you don’t use them. You can’t ask bootstrap to give you code for buttons and navbar only and remove the rest of the code. This cause the page to load the unused CSS code and slow down the web pages.

In version 2.2 TailwindCSS added JIT which became a default mode in version 3.0. JIT which stands for Just In Time mode, will only add the classes you use in your HTML. It will not add the rest of the classes, unlike bootstrap. So, with TailwindCSS, you’ll never have unused CSS code in your project which will increase the performance of web pages. When you create a build for production with CSS, it’s going to be very small in size compare to bootstrap file sizes.

Dark Mode

Many visitors especially programmers prefer dark mode on today’s websites. TailwindCSS offers dark mode classes which you can use to add dark mode to your website. All you need to do is to enable the theme for dark mode and add dark:variant classes in HTML. You can’t add dark mode functionality when working with bootstrap. You have to struggle a lot to get the dark mode stuff working with bootstrap.

Design System

When you are working with custom website design and a UI designer has created a design guide for you, it can be easily converted into a design system with TailwindCSS. You can add primary color, secondary color, font sizes, and everything else in the config file and everything is available for you to use. This is not as easy when working with bootstrap. So, tailwind also wins the points when converting a UI design to a website with a design system.


What Should You Learn in 2023?

TailwindCSS has a lot more to offer than bootstrap. You get everything you need with utility classes and total control over customization. If you just want to build a website quickly without any customization, go for bootstrap. TailwindCSS requires core concepts of CSS but offers a lot more than bootstrap. You can design any website design you want with TailwindCSS with a design system. It offers dark mode, doesn’t add unused CSS, and has more usability than bootstrap. So, if you are looking to build a career in web designing, learn core concepts of CSS and start learning TailwindCSS.


Which is more popular Bootstrap or Tailwind?
If you see TailwindCSS weekly downloads on NPM and compare them to Bootstrap downloads. You will see that Bootstrap is winning in downloads. Additionally, bootstrap is used in many old projects and WordPress themes. So, as of now, Bootstrap is more popular than TailwindCSS because it has been there for more than 10 years.

Which is better Bootstrap or TailwindCSS?
TailwindCSS is better than Bootstrap in many ways. It offers a lot more customization, has responsive classes, supports dark mode, and doesn’t include unused CSS in your code. Bootstrap is hard to customize and you will always have unused CSS in your production code.

Which is easy Bootstrap or Tailwind?
If you know about the core concepts of CSS and have practiced a lot, TailwindCSS is not difficult at all. Bootstrap on the other hand is easy to learn because all you will be doing is adding classes to use pre-designed components with less customization control.

Is Tailwind better than CSS?
It’s better to write TailwindCSS utility classes to design things quickly instead of writing CSS from scratch. Yes, TailwindCSS is better than CSS but you still need to learn CSS before using Tailwind.

Can I use both Tailwind and Bootstrap?
You can use both, but you shouldn’t. If you are working with TailwindCSS and want pre-designed components, there are many component libraries built with TailwidnCSS for you.

Is Tailwind good with React?
With react, you can utilize the real power of TailwindCSS. The combination of React and Tailwind is awesome to design modern websites with a lot more customized components.

Who uses Tailwind?
TailwindCSS is used by many websites in production like NASA. You can check more websites on the official showcase page on the tailwind website.

Is Tailwind good for large projects?
TailwindCSS is great for the large project because it offers a lot more customization and the production file sizes is minimum.

Is learning Tailwind hard?
Not at all, If you have learned CSS, you already have learned 80% of TailwindCSS. Just follow the official documentation and you are good to go.

Is Tailwind smaller than Bootstrap?
If you compare file sizes, yes! TailwindCSS is smaller than bootstrap because it doesn’t include unused CSS code.

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