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Chakra UI vs Material UI: What is Better For You?

Choosing between Chakra UI vs Material UI impacts your React development. Chakra UI is customizable with a gentle learning curve. Material UI is extensive, offering more pre-styled components. This face-off examines key aspects to guide your choice, without spoiling the in-depth comparison that follows in the article.

Key Takeaways

  • Chakra UI emphasizes customizable components and has a simpler learning curve, while Material UI offers a larger set of pre-styled components following Google’s Material Design guidelines, resulting in a steeper learning curve.

  • Material UI uses ClassName generation to apply styles and has a more comprehensive range of components, whereas Chakra UI uses CSS-in-JS for styling, providing more customization options for theming and component flexibility.

  • Both Chakra UI and Material UI are suitable for a range of project sizes, with Chakra UI being lighter and more customizable, making it ideal for small, unique projects, and Material UI more suited to larger projects requiring consistent and principled design.

Here’s an overview of what we will discuss:

Chakra UI vs Material UI: The Core Differences

Comparison of Chakra UI and Material UI

We begin by deciphering the key differences between these two libraries. Chakra UI is built on principles that prioritize consistent component design and provides a solid foundation for customization. Contrarily, Material UI employs Google’s Material Design guidelines to forge an elegant, cohesive user experience that can also be tailored to a brand’s needs.

When it comes to the developer experience, Chakra UI facilitates a smoother learning curve with its intuitive and CSS-like property-based styling. Meanwhile, Material UI, with its commitment to Material Design, requires a deeper comprehension of its design framework, leading to a slightly steeper learning curve. The impact of these design philosophies also extends to their component offerings.

Chakra UI offers fewer pre-styled UI components but compensates with greater design flexibility. On the other hand, Material UI boasts a larger selection of ready-to-use components, courtesy of its comprehensive integration of Material Design.

Design Philosophy: Google’s Material Design vs Customizability

The look and feel of a UI library are significantly influenced by its design philosophy. Material UI is an open-source React component library that comprehensively implements Google’s Material Design, following Google’s Material Design Guidelines. It takes cues from print design techniques to establish hierarchy, meaning, and visual coherence. This staunch adherence to Material Design guidelines means that Material UI is suitable for production use without the need for additional customization.

In contrast, Chakra UI adopts a different stance. Its philosophy is all about consistent and easily customizable components, providing developers with greater design flexibility. This is achieved through advanced theming, the development of custom components, and the modification of the default theme. If you are looking to build a unique user interface that steps away from established design norms, Chakra UI’s emphasis on customizability might be more appealing.

Developer Experience: Learning Curve and Ease of Use

The developer experience is a critical factor in the selection of a UI library. Chakra UI excels in providing an intuitive learning and usability experience. It facilitates rapid development through intuitive and reusable components, adherence to principles of simplicity, and flexibility. Moreover, it streamlines intricate tasks, such as responsive styling based on viewport changes, and simplified manual manipulation of CSS classes for customization.

On the other hand, Material UI, with its extensive feature set, presents a steeper learning curve. This could be more challenging for developers new to the library or those less experienced in Google’s Material Design principles. However, it’s worth noting that both Chakra UI and Material UI have thorough and user-friendly documentation, which includes clear examples and explanations to facilitate the effective utilization of the libraries.

Component Offerings: Pre-styled vs Highly Customizable Components

Highly customizable components in Chakra UI

When evaluating UI libraries, another important aspect to consider is component offerings. Material UI provides a comprehensive range of pre-styled pre built components that are designed to enhance development efficiency and adhere to Material Design principles. This includes:

  • Buttons

  • Forms

  • Navigation bars

  • Cards

  • Modals

  • Icons

This offers a substantial degree of design flexibility within the confines of various css frameworks, while still adhering to the principles of the CSS framework. For developers looking to streamline their workflow with Material UI, PureCode.ai provides an array of custom components that are easily accessible, making development with Material UI even easier and more efficient.

In contrast, the components offered by Chakra UI are extremely customizable, allowing developers to modify:

  • theme tokens such as colors, font sizes, and line heights

  • component styles by modifying base styles, sizes, or variants

  • component styles using the ‘as’ prop

  • component styles by developing custom components for further customization

This makes Chakra UI suitable for projects with unique designs or requiring extensive customization, while Material UI is less flexible as it closely adheres to its Material Design principles.

FeatureChakra UI Material UI
Design Philosophy Customizable components with a focus on consistencyGoogle’s Material Design for a cohesive experience
Learning CurveSimpler, more intuitive Steeper due to Material Design guidelines
Component OfferingsFewer pre-styled components, highly customizableLarger range of pre-styled components
Styling StrategyCSS-in-JS with inline style propsClassName generation with separate styling code
ThemingExtensive theming optionsCustomizable within Material Design constraints
PerformanceGood for most cases, may struggle with high data Generally efficient, can slow with dynamic styles
IntegrationSeamless with many frameworksCompatible with Node.js and other frameworks
Community SupportActive community and resourcesStrong community, technical support, and forums
Plugins and ExtensionsFigma plugin, VS Code extension, community pluginsUI kits, code snippets, additional components
Bundle SizeLighter, more suitable for small projectsLarger, may impact performance in small projects
Responsive DesignBuilt-in support for responsive stylesUses a grid system for responsive layouts
Project Suitability Ideal for small, unique projectsBetter for large projects with consistent design

Styling Strategies: CSS-in-JS vs ClassName Generation

Styling strategies: CSS-in-JS vs ClassName Generation

We now delve into the styling strategies employed by Chakra UI and Material UI. Chakra UI uses CSS-in-JS, integrating emotion and styled-system for dynamic styling capabilities, such as transforming theme tokens to CSS Custom Properties. In contrast, Material UI uses ClassName generation to apply styles to the DOM with distinct classNames for each component and its variations.

These different approaches impact how inline styles are handled. Chakra UI employs inline style props, allowing direct styling of components through shorthand properties. Material UI, however, uses the sx prop as a shortcut for writing custom inline styles, granting access to the theme object.

Both libraries offer a wide range of customization capabilities, allowing users to modify theme tokens and component styles.

Inline Style Props vs Separate Code

The handling of inline style props is an important consideration when evaluating UI libraries. Chakra UI uses inline styling with props, facilitating easy customization and overriding of component styles. This approach improves code readability and maintainability by separating styles from the component structure. However, it’s important to note that in some cases, it may be necessary to use CSS directly to override global styles.

In contrast, Material UI separates styling code using classNames. It uses the makeStyles hook to generate a collection of classNames, which can be used to style components, thereby segregating the styling from the component logic to enhance code cleanliness. The separation of styling with classNames offers improved organization, resolution of specificity issues, and enhances maintainability by following the separation of concerns principle.

Theming and Customization Options

Crucial aspects of UI libraries include theming and customization. Chakra UI provides extensive options for developers to modify theme tokens and component styles, while Material UI allows customization of a component’s styles, default props, and other aspects using the component’s key within the theme layout. Both libraries offer various options for customizing CSS classes, such as using CSS variables, the sx prop, and adjusting theme tokens.

Despite these similarities, there are differences in the level of customization freedom. Chakra UI offers a wider range of options, providing developers more flexibility to apply their design choices. In contrast, Material UI’s customization is more constrained, as it follows established design norms.

Performance Implications of Styling

The performance implications are also tied to the styling strategies of both libraries. Chakra UI’s CSS-in-JS styling strategy has a negligible impact on application performance for most use cases. However, high data apps utilizing Chakra UI’s CSS-in-JS may encounter performance challenges, such as slow rendering, especially when dealing with frequent data changes.

On the other hand, Material UI’s ClassName generation styling strategy could lead to performance slowdowns, particularly when utilizing dynamic styles for components, which could impact overall performance. This underlines the importance of considering the performance implications of styling strategies when choosing a UI library.

Integrations and Ecosystem

Active communities and support for Chakra UI and Material UI

We now investigate the integration capabilities of both libraries along with their community support and the available extensions and plugins. Both Chakra UI and Material UI seamlessly integrate with other frameworks, provide active troubleshooting and support, and offer a range of additional features to enhance their functionality.

Working with Other Frameworks

Compatibility with various JavaScript frameworks is a shared feature of both libraries. Chakra UI integrates well with Theme UI, Tailwind CSS, and Material UI. It also supports integration with other frameworks such as React Bootstrap, Semantic UI React, Ant Design, and Blueprint.

On the flip side, Material UI demonstrates compatibility with Node.js for server-side rendering. However, while integrating Chakra UI with other frameworks is generally seamless, there may be certain limitations. For instance, some advanced components, such as a carousel or datepicker, may not be included, requiring the use of other frameworks for these components.

Here’s how to use both with Next.js:

Community and Support

Both libraries boast robust community support. The Chakra UI community provides active troubleshooting and support, with dedicated resources and support pages available on their website. Material UI also maintains a strong community that offers:

  • Technical support

  • Feature requests

  • Bug fixes

  • A community forum for Q&A interactions

Both communities actively participate in ongoing development, feature implementation, and bug fixes, showing a high level of engagement.

Further demonstrating their popularity, both libraries have been incorporated into numerous prominent projects. For instance, StockX, Bitwarden, and Crypto.com have integrated Chakra UI, while Material UI is utilized in several notable projects featured on their official website.

Extensions and Plugins

The functionality of UI libraries is significantly enhanced by extensions and plugins. Chakra UI offers a range of additional features, including:

  • A Figma plugin for converting designs to Chakra UI code

  • A Visual Studio Code extension for documentation access

  • Community-created plugins like Chakra UI Prose for styled HTML content and Supa Palette Plugin for color palette generation.

Material UI also offers a range of plugins, including individual html tags related:

  • Third-party tools

  • UI kits for design tools

  • Code snippet libraries

  • Additional UI components

These plugins enhance the library’s features, add reusability, and introduce new features to the components through its extensive plugin ecosystem.

Performance and Optimization

We will now examine the performance and optimization attributes of Chakra UI and Material UI. These include bundle size concerns, runtime efficiency, and responsive design capabilities. Both libraries have different performance and optimization characteristics, which play a significant role in the user experience.

Bundle Size Concerns

The bundle size of a UI library, which is crucial for performance, is especially important for small projects where loading times are critical. Chakra UI, with its minified bundle size of 279.6 kB and 89.0 kB when compressed using GZIP, is more lightweight. This is beneficial for improved performance and speed, especially for smaller projects.

On the other hand, Material UI is notably larger at 335.3 kB minified and 93.7 kB with GZIP compression. While this larger size may affect performance, if the project necessitates user-friendly and fundamental responsive components, Material UI may still be suitable.

Runtime Efficiency

Despite the importance of bundle size, runtime efficiency remains another crucial performance aspect. Material UI is widely acknowledged for its superior runtime efficiency, especially for larger and more intricate applications. Although Chakra UI may not match the runtime efficiency of Material UI, it still delivers satisfactory performance for numerous real-world projects of small to medium scale.

It’s worth noting that while Material UI is more efficient, developers may lean towards Chakra UI for its simplicity and straightforward API, which is easily accessible for developers of all skill levels.

Responsive Designs

In today’s multi-device world, responsive design has become a fundamental requirement. Both Chakra UI and Material UI offer features that enable the efficient creation of responsive user interfaces. Chakra UI allows developers to directly define responsive styles and includes built-in support for various screen sizes, while Material UI utilizes a grid system to assist in the effective creation of responsive layouts.

While both libraries handle responsive design well, it’s worth noting that there may be some limitations when using Chakra UI. For instance, some components do not support theming, which limits their customization in responsive designs.

Project Suitability: When to Choose Which?

Project suitability: Choosing between Chakra UI and Material UI

Having examined various aspects of Chakra UI and Material UI, we now turn our attention to their suitability for different projects. Chakra UI is best suited for small projects with high customization requirements, while Material UI is ideal for larger applications that benefit from its extensive pre-styled components. However, transitioning between the two as your app grows may require careful consideration.

Considerations for Small Projects

Chakra UI, with its simplicity, modular design, accessibility, and extensive customizability, is an ideal choice for small projects. Developers can easily extend style defaults on a global or component level, and it offers a selection of pre-designed elements essential for quick development without sacrificing uniqueness.

However, when contemplating the use of Material UI in small projects, it’s crucial to take into account its larger bundle size, which could potentially hamper performance. However, if the project necessitates user-friendly and fundamental responsive components, Material UI may still be suitable.

Best Fit for Large Applications

Material UI is the superior choice for larger applications, thanks to its comprehensive suite of pre-built, responsive material ui components that guarantee consistent design across diverse environments and screen sizes. It streamlines UI development with a foundation of attractive, principled UI elements that enhance user experience and promote design uniformity.

However, while Chakra UI’s customizability might be a boon for smaller projects, it has the potential to create complexities in larger-scale projects, resulting in challenges such as customization friction, larger bundle sizes, and slower build and rendering performance.

Transitioning as Your App Grows

Careful planning may be required when transitioning from one UI library to another as your application grows. Primary obstacles include managing ease of customization differences, with Chakra UI allowing easier manual manipulation of CSS classes and Material UI adding more classes to elements, making customization more challenging. Additionally, while both libraries are technically compatible due to both using ThemeUI-based themes, they have differences in their design system and styling approaches, which could pose compatibility issues during a transition.

To manage this transition effectively, developers can refer to the respective migration guides of each library, which offer detailed instructions on installing and replacing components, and handling theme migration.

Chakra UI vs Material UI: The Final Verdict

Both Chakra UI and Material UI have their unique strengths and weaknesses. Chakra UI, with its focus on customization and simplicity, is a great choice for small projects that need a lightweight and flexible solution. On the other hand, Material UI, with its adherence to Google’s Material Design principles and a wide array of pre-styled components, is ideal for larger applications that require a comprehensive UI solution.

Ultimately, the choice between Chakra UI and Material UI depends on the specific needs of your project. Consider factors such as the size of the project, the need for customization, the learning curve, and the performance implications when making your choice. Remember, the best tool is the one that best fits your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Chakra UI worth using?

Yes, Chakra UI is worth using as it offers a modern and accessible set of reusable components and has excellent documentation and community support.

What are the downsides of Chakra UI?

Chakra UI’s major technical disadvantage is its runtime CSS-in-JS due to the @emotion/styled dependency, which is also seen in other popular libraries like Material UI, Mantine, and Theme UI.

Is there anything better than material UI?

Yes, some popular alternatives and competitors to Material UI include Kendo UI, Flat UI, Ant Design, react-md, Angular Material, Syncfusion Essential Studio Enterprise Edition, Progress Kendo UI, Ionic, and DevExpress.

What is the difference between Chakra UI and theme UI?

Chakra UI offers more components, improved styling API, accessibility, and intuitive component APIs compared to Theme UI, making it a more robust option that leverages the full power of styled-system.

What is the primary difference between Chakra UI and Material UI?

Chakra UI prioritizes consistency and customizability, while Material UI adheres to Google’s Material Design guidelines. This means Chakra UI offers more flexibility in design while Material UI follows strict guidelines for consistency and coherence.

Andrea Chen

Andrea Chen