Top 10 Differences between Bootstrap and Tailwind CSS

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Top 10 Differences between Bootstrap and Tailwind CSS


When building modern, responsive web applications, developers often turn to CSS frameworks to streamline the design process and maintain consistent user experiences. Two popular CSS frameworks that cater to different design philosophies are Bootstrap and Tailwind CSS. While Bootstrap is a component-based framework that offers pre-designed UI components and elements for rapid prototyping, Tailwind CSS takes a utility-first approach, providing low-level CSS classes for developers to create custom UI components

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In this article, we will explore the top 10 differences between these two frameworks, along with examples to help you better understand their unique features and capabilities, and ultimately make an informed decision about which framework to choose for your project.


Bootstrap and Tailwind CSS are both popular CSS frameworks that can be used to build responsive and modern web designs. Here are the top 10 differences between them, with examples:

1. Approach

  • Bootstrap is a component-based framework, providing pre-designed UI components and elements.
  • Tailwind CSS is a utility-first framework, offering low-level CSS classes to create custom UI components.



<button >Submit</button>

Tailwind CSS: 

<button >Submit</button>

2. Styling

  • Bootstrap applies global styles and includes pre-designed themes.
  • Tailwind CSS doesn't apply global styles and encourages custom styling.

3. Customisation

  • Bootstrap offers limited customisation through SCSS variables.
$primary: #4a148c;
@import 'bootstrap/scss/bootstrap';
  • Tailwind CSS provides extensive customisation through configuration files.
module.exports = {
  theme: {
    extend: {
      backgroundColor: {
        'primary': '#4a148c',
  variants: {},
  plugins: [],

4. File size

  • Bootstrap has a larger file size, including components you may not use.
  • Tailwind CSS generates a smaller file size, only including used utilities.

5. JavaScript

  • Bootstrap requires jQuery for some components, like modals and tooltips.
  • Tailwind CSS doesn't require JavaScript for styling, but can be extended with JavaScript if needed.

6. Learning curve

  • Bootstrap has a gentle learning curve, as it relies on familiar HTML and CSS syntax.
  • Tailwind CSS has a steeper learning curve, due to its utility-first approach and custom syntax.

7. Responsiveness

  • Bootstrap uses a predefined 12-column grid system for responsiveness.
<div >
 <div >
  <div >Column 1</div>
  <div >Column 2</div>
  <div >Column 3</div>
  • Tailwind CSS offers a flexible grid system with custom breakpoints.

8. Design constraints

  • Bootstrap may limit design creativity due to its pre-designed components.
  • Tailwind CSS encourages unique designs through its utility-first approach.

9. Community and ecosystem

  • Bootstrap has a larger community and extensive third-party libraries and templates.
  • Tailwind CSS has a growing community, but fewer third-party resources.

10. Versioning

  • Bootstrap is currently on version 5.
  • Tailwind CSS is currently on version 3.


In conclusion, both Bootstrap and Tailwind CSS are powerful frameworks, each with their own strengths and design philosophies. Choosing between the two depends on your project requirements, personal preferences, and the level of customisation needed. If you're looking for a framework that allows for rapid prototyping and offers a wide range of pre-built components, Bootstrap might be the better choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a more modular approach and greater control over your design, Tailwind CSS would be the ideal option. Regardless of your choice, both frameworks can help you create responsive and visually appealing web applications, while enhancing your productivity and overall development experience. You can also read further on Bootstrap and Tailwind CSS comparison, and how to use bootstrap, and how to use Tailwind CSS guides.

Useful Links

  1. Bootstrap official documentation
  2. Tailwind CSS official documentation
  3. Bootstrap examples and templates   
  4. Tailwind CSS components
TWT Staff

TWT Staff

Writes about Programming, tech news, discuss programming topics for web developers (and Web designers), and talks about SEO tools and techniques