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What Is The Best Theme For Elementor? [Fast, Lightweight, & Free Themes]

So you too are using my favorite page builder (Elementor). I love Elementor so much that I wrote a whole Elementor review šŸ™‚

Let’s take a look at the best theme for Elementor. All of the themes below are free, but most have paid versions.

Here we go.

Best Theme For Elementor

The best theme for Elementor will depend on what you want to do. To be specific, each theme will require different levels of “building out”. Some start off cooked and ready to play. Others will require a little bit of building.

We’ll discuss the best theme over all, the best theme for max speed, and the best theme for the design-challenged.

Overall Best Theme For Elementor: Astra

wp astra home page

Astra

is a pretty cool theme and the one that I use for my own niche site.

The first thing I like about Astra is that it’s fast. It’s not the fastest on our list (that goes to our next theme). But it’s plenty fast enough to help your site load in under the maximum 2 seconds.

When I tested Astra (speedtest.wpastra.com) on Pingdom, the results were pretty mindblowing:

pingdom wp astra speed test

The site loaded in 0.7 seconds. Nothing to complain about there.

Astra is also super lightweight and great for building out with Elementor. It starts you off with a website that’s almost a blank page. Astra is super compatible with the free and paid versions of Elementor. I’ve never had any problems on that end.

Astra also works great with Elementor by providing you with some extra options that aren’t in Elementor’s tool set. In particular, Astra gives some super neat options with your headers, footers, and logo. If you want to take this to the next level and get some very cool header/footer options, you can invest in Astra Pro.

Astra Pro turns on superpowers for your branding (but I don’t think it’s necessary).

And then the last thing is that Astra is plug-and-play. You don’t have to spend time setting it up or customizing it how you like. It looks pretty good out of the gate, so there’s not much to complain about here.

The themeĀ might could be aĀ tiny bit faster. But it’s hard to nitpick over literal fractions of a millisecond.

Astra Pros

Astra Cons

Astra is a pretty hard theme to beat and it’s my theme of choice. It’s got all that you need to start playing from day 1, is customizable, works well with Elementor, and is lightning fast.

Oh, and it’s free.

Click here to get Astra for free on your site

Use the overall best theme for Elementor: Astra

Best Theme For Speed On Elementor: Hello

hello theme

Hello is a theme constructed by Elementor for Elementor. It is the fastest theme in the world because it is a literal… blank page.

The Hello theme was designed to allow you to bring out your full Elementor magic. It comes with no defaults at all; everything has to be built out by hand. This means that you’ll be designing your pages, your theme, post templates, and all of your pages using Elementor.

Since this theme has nothing on it at all, you can imagine that it’s pretty light weight. It doesn’t take long to load and is without a doubt the fastest theme in the world…

…until you put stuff on it with Elementor. Then, like any other website, it will have more assets to load. But if you want to get the fastest website possible, I would start with the Hello theme and go from there.

The downside to this theme is that you have to build out everything by hand, so there aren’t any quick starts. And since this theme comes with almost nothing, you’re going to be limited by the options included with Elementor’s theme builder.Ā 

You’ll miss out on some neat features like making sticky headers, transparent headers, and a couple of other cool branding features.

But it’s not too big of a loss.

Hello Pros

Hello Cons

Ā This is the theme I recommend if you’re very particular about the look that you want or if you want the fastest website possible. Hello doesn’t add very many scripts or assets so this is a very fast theme.

Click here to get started with the Hello theme by Elementor

Build a fast, customized website with Hello

Best “Done For You” Theme For Elementor: GeneratePress

generatepress theme

GeneratePress has a pretty big fan base. It’s the theme that Spencer used for his Niche Site Project 4, so you know that it’s super high quality.

One thing I love about GeneratePress is that it’s faster than the Flash and keeps getting faster. I put it into Pingdom and it blew me away:

generatepress website speed test

The speedtest site loaded in just over 1/10th of a second. That’s about how long it takes you to blink.

Can you imagine a website loading in the literal blink of an eye?

The way that GeneratePress makes their speedtest site so fast is that the theme doesn’t have much to it. When you install it, it’s more or less a blank canvas. Once you add website templates, it slows down to more regular levels.

And GeneratePress has the cool benefit of being loaded with website templates for you. If you’re a beginner or not very good with design, then GeneratePress has got you covered. GeneratePress premium takes this to another level with literal hundreds of templates and starter sites for you to choose from.

All of which you can customize to the 9s with Elementor’s page and theme builders.

The downside to GeneratePress is that you don’t quite get the branding options that you do with Astra. While GeneratePress is more beginner-friendly, it’s less customizable overall.

I recommend this theme for those of us who aren’t good designers by nature and who don’t need unique branding options.

GeneratePress Pros

GeneratePress Cons

GeneratePress is my top recommendation for you if you want a little more speed than Astra or if you want tons of great website templates. This is a good pick for the design-challenged and those of us who aren’t great with aesthetics.

Click here to use GeneratePress for free

Run an easy, fast website with GeneratePress

What Should You Look For In A Theme For Elementor?

Most themes nowadays will work fine with most page builders. That means that 90% of reputable themes will work fine with Elementor.

But there are a few things I think are very important in deciding which theme is bestĀ for you. Those things are:

Let’s take a look at each of these and see how the themes mentioned above score.

Theme Speed

Page speed started becoming important a few years ago. In a perfect world, you want every page of your website to load in less than 2 seconds. That keeps Google happy and keeps your users from bouncing away before they ever see your content.

Themes can influence your site speed by providing more (or less) assets for your visitors to load when they visit your site. As you’d expect, a “big” theme with a lot of assets and scripts takes longer to load. A “small” theme takes less time.

There are also ways that themes can load certain elements to provide a faster loading time. I’m not a tech expert, so I won’t get into it. Suffice to say that your theme has a lot to do with how fast your site runs.

So what should a great theme for Elementor load like?

It’s best to go for a theme that loads pretty quick. Most modern themes do fine at this, but the 3 fastest themes that I know of are Astra, Hello, and GenerarePress. Astra is a little bit more ready-out-of-the-box and doesn’t require much additional work to it. If you start using Astra from day 1, your site won’t look amazing. But it’ll function fine.Ā 

(That said, GeneratePress is my favorite ready-out-of-the-box theme because it comes with so many templates. It’s more of a blank page when you first install it, but the templates make it usable by noobs)

Since Astra is ready to go from day 1, it seems to load a little slower than the other two themes. But once you have your site content uploaded and your website is 100% complete, the themes load about the same.

Hello is absolute bare bones, so I’d go with it if your main concern is page speed and if you don’t mind putting in a little leg work.

GeneratePress is pretty bare from day 1, but comes with templates.

Whichever you choose, each of these three themes will be fine for your page speed.

Theme Design Necessary

Another thing you’ll want to look at is how much design you’re going to have to put in.

Internet artists might not mind starting with Hello and building from the ground up. Those of us who have trouble matching clothes will be better off finding a template or using a theme that’s ready from day 1.

Another thing to consider is that each day you spend designing is a day not spent producing content or building links.

I’m not a great designer and I like to start ASAP, so I tend to use Astra or GeneratePress. If you’re more artsy and don’t mind spending the extra time, I think that Hello would be a good option for you.

Theme Features That Elementor Does Have

Now it’s time we check our themes for features that ElementorĀ does have.

And the list is pretty long.

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My guess is that a lot of people could save money by skipping on premium themes and buying Elementor Pro. Elementor’s theme builder is like putting rocket fuel on your inner graphic designer. You can editĀ everything.

But that doesn’t mean that you canĀ do everything.

Here are some things that Elementor’s theme builder can do:

That’s not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea. Elementor can do a lot. If you’re considering a premium theme, it’s best to check whether Elementor Pro already has that feature. I can almost guarantee that Elementor Pro will be a better investment than the pro version of the theme,

Theme Features That Elementor Doesn’t Have

This is my biggest gripe with the Hello theme: you will always be limited by the features that Elementor has built in. Elementor’s theme builder is amazing and I’m a huge fan. I recommend it if you don’t have it.

But it doesn’t include everything.

Themes like Astra or GeneratePress will allow you to have more powerful branding options. You can do some extra cool stuff with your headers and footers to make your site stand out. You get extra color options, an improved WordPress Customize dashboard, more text typography options, different menu settings, and more.

Hello doesn’t provide that.

I don’t think that Astra and GeneratePress are necessary. But I’ll tend to use Astra or GeneratePress for the extra brand building options. Websites are more competitive than ever and it’s important to stand out from the competition.

Consider what you want your site to be and how you want it to look. Check whether Elementor has that feature. If it doesn’t, I recommend going with Astra or GeneratePress.

Here are some things that ElementorĀ can’t do:

And to be frank, Astra has more of these features than GeneratePress does. Hello theme doesn’t have any of them.

Not all of these things are necessary and I don’t want to make it seem like you’re missing out. I used the free version of Astra for a long time before going Pro.Ā 

But there is a lot of value in the higher tier plans: I do use Astra Pro now. Spencer uses GeneratePress Pro for Niche Site Project 4.

If any of the features above sound appealing, I’d look into getting either Astra Pro or GeneratePress Pro. Elementor just doesn’t have them and the Hello theme doesn’t include them.

Click here to get Astra Pro

Click here to get GeneratePress Pro

Price

And the all-important metric that no one wants to talk about. The price.

The good news is that all 3 of the themes I mentioned above (Astra, Hello, & GeneratePress) are all free. Astra and GeneratePress have pro versions, but they aren’t necessary. I don’t even recommend the pro versions unless you’re wanting to take your branding to the next level.

If you do want to get the pro versions, then there are minor costs.

Astra Pro costs $59/year. GeneratePress Pro costs $49.95 per year, but then they offer a 40% discount on your renewals. Astra has a lot more features, GeneratePress is less expensive.

But if you don’t need super strong branding or are happy with your look from Elementor alone,Ā don’t get the Pro versions of these themes.

Yes, I can feel my affiliate commissions taking a nosedive. But if you’re happy with Elementor alone, don’t go with the premium versions of themes. Astra and GeneratePress free are both awesome. Don’t get caught up into shiny object syndrome šŸ™‚

Should I Buy Elementor Pro Or A Paid Theme?

Now we’re talking strict return on investment. If I had to choose between Astra/GeneratePress Pro or Elementor Pro, which would I pick?

Elementor Pro. All. Day. Long.

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As far as a return on your dollars, Elementor Pro provides 5x the power that any custom theme will provide you. Investing in Elementor Pro to get the theme builder has been one of my greatest investments. It’s super powerful, it adds a ton of features, and it helps you stand out from the competition like you wouldn’t believe.

If I had to recommend a pro theme or Elementor Pro, I’d say so for Elementor Pro. The level of customization you’ll get is just unbelievable.

Don’t have Elementor Pro yet? Click here to try it with a 30 day money back guarantee

Use Elementor Pro to build your own theme

Frequently Asked Questions

Now let’s talk about some common questions that may pop up.

Are These The Only 3 Awesome Themes For Elementor?

No. There are tons of awesome themes that work with Elementor, but the themes above are the ones that I would use or recommend to my mother.

Here are some other themes you could use:

Any of these themes will work find. They’re all fast, work well with Elementor, and can be used by pros or noobs alike.

But I don’t think that I could call any of them theĀ best theme.

For that, I’d stick with Astra, Hello, or GeneratePress.

In the end, it’s better to have to choose between 3 amazing themes than 23 mediocre ones. Astra, Hello, and GeneratePress will do you just fine.

What’s Important In A Theme For Elementor?

Read above šŸ™‚

I think that speed, level of customization, and unique features are important. You want your theme to be fast, you want it to be able to do things that Elementor can’t, and you want it to be either very flexible or have awesome templates.

In order of importance, I would place it as:

  1. Speed
  2. Unique features (like special branding options – Astra is a pro at this)
  3. And customization

How Much Can Elementor’s Theme Builder Change My Theme?

Imagine if the Man of Steel was bitten by a radioactive spider and you’ll have a pretty good idea. Elementor’s theme builder is like giving your website design superpowers.

The ability to edit your headers and footers is enormous. It helps us content creators move away from the days where everyone used FocusBlog and looked like carbon copies of each other.

Elementor Pro allows you to have a custom built theme without dropping 4 figures (or even 3 figures). That means better branding, better look, and better conversions.

I love the ability to set post templates. Instead of going with the default post grids for your theme, you can design your own post templates. This means changing how your featured image gets displayed, editing post width, adding CTAs, post grids, related content boxes, or just about whatever you like.

I ordered my posts like this:

And I did all of that with Elementor.

Suffice to say that Elementor can help your site out a lot. It’s super powerful and inexpensive.

Elementor & You

If I had to recommend a theme for Elementor, it would be one of these:

Best Overall:Ā Astra

Fastest Theme: Hello

Best For Design Challenged:Ā GeneratePress

All of these are free. You can get pro versions of GeneratePress and Astra. The pro versions are a good option if you want some more branding features.

If you don’t already have it, allow me to recommend Elementor Pro. It gives you design superpowers without the pain of a spider bite or the need to be a billionaire.

What theme are you using with Elementor?




Product Reviews

By Brady Cargle
November 14, 2019 | 3 Comments

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3 Comments

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Dinesh

I have been using Elementor free version with Generatepress theme. As you said, both work well.
But after reading this guide, I think it will be great to have Elementor Pro for better customization. Looks like you like the Pro version well šŸ™‚

Thanks for the nice guide!

King Shah

Thanks for the great detailed article on how to choose the best theme for elementor

Sajan Kota

Hi Brady,

Thanks for the nice comparison. Like you i also like using elementor. Previous i used to use visual composer, Once i started using elementor, i stopped using visual composer in all my websites. I love using GeneratePress with elementor. I am able to create any kind of website using GeneratePress with elementor. Astra is also equally good but i feel it is little bit slow compared to GeneratePress. Overall i would choose GeneratePress over Astra.

Cheers,
Sajan

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