Differences Between Tailwind CSS and Bootstrap


By Emmanuel Chinonso

Technical Writer

Bootstrap is a CSS framework that many programmers have been using for a long time now. After many years of dominance in the CSS world, here comes tailwind CSS, which has been gaining popularity ever since it was introduced back in 2017.

It was described as a utility-first CSS framework. Whatever that means. Well, don’t worry. We are here to clear this up for you.

Today we will look at the difference between Tailwind CSS and Bootstrap. We will also look at some facts about the two frameworks and pick which one you think is better.

Table of content

  • What is Tailwind CSS?
  • What is Bootstrap?
  • can you use Tailwind CSS with Bootstrap?
  • Difference Between Tailwind CSS Vs Bootstrap
  • Adding Tailwind CSS with Bootstrap
  • Which is better, tailwind CSS vs Bootstrap

What is Tailwind CSS?

As we first described tailwind CSS is a utility–first CSS framework. This means that instead of writing a bunch of CSS as you would normally do, you will be writing a lot of classes instead for your elements.

The framework’s core has no pre-made components like Bootstrap, so you have to build your own.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are creating a different website from conventional websites.

What is Bootstrap?

Bootstrap was released on August 9, 2011, almost ten years ago.

It was created by a group of the Twitter development team in a hackathon and was later developed and maintained by matt Otto and a group of developers.

It is a component-based framework that developers can use to build applications and websites fast. It is an object-based framework, making it easy to learn and maintain across multiple devices and browsers. With its multiple components, Bootstrap covers all the fundamental elements in HTML, which you can quickly implement.

It also has numerous JavaScript plugins you can apply and make your website more responsive.

Difference Between Tailwind CSS Vs Bootstrap

Pre-designed widgets

The most notable difference between Tailwind CSS and Bootstrap is that Tailwind comes with pre-designed widgets you can use to build a website or application from scratch. At the same time, Bootstrap is a UI kit that comes with default or pre-styled that is responsive and mobile-friendly components.

The problem posed in using Bootstrap is that it compels developers to rely on specific components or styles for their designs.

A website created with Bootstrap has a typical pattern that makes them look alike. It no doubt hinders the ability of developers to use their creativity effectively.

Unlike Tailwind, which comes with a set of utility classes, you can create a beautiful UI with more flexibility.

Another advantage offered by tailwind CSS is that you can implement any design you want without worrying about which element affects another element.

Another great feature you will find helpful is setting focus state, active, and hover using classes in a tailwind.

Use of preprocessor

Another difference between Tailwind CSS VS Bootstrap is that Bootstrap uses Sass which is a popular CSS preprocessor. This enables you to use functions and variables in stylesheets.

Tailwind uses post-CSS and a config file to set up its variables and configuration of the stylesheets.

It simply means that you can add, update or remove fonts, color, spacing, or anything you can think of.

Size of the framework

Another difference between Tailwind CSS and Bootstrap is the size of the framework. You are required to include four files in your project to get the full benefits of using Bootstrap.

These files amount to 308.5kb, including bootstrap JS, the main Bootstrap CSS file, jQuery, and Popper.js. In contrast, tailwind CSS requires only the base stylesheet, which is up to 27kb.


Another considerable difference between Tailwind CSS and Bootstrap is their community. The bootstrap community is more extensive than Tailwind because it has been around longer and is much more popular.

You can easily find forums and several Stackoverflow threads answering any questions on any problems related to Bootstrap, unlike the tailwind community, which is still growing and has gained popularity only recently.

Design Philosophy:

Bootstrap provides a set of pre-designed UI components that can be customized to fit your needs. Tailwind, on the other hand, provides low-level utility classes that allow you to create custom designs from scratch. If you prefer to start with a pre-designed UI, Bootstrap may be the better choice. If you prefer to create custom designs, Tailwind may be a better fit.


Tailwind is highly customizable. You can configure the framework to include only the utility classes you need, which can help reduce the size of the CSS file. Bootstrap, on the other hand, includes a large set of pre-designed components, which can make it more difficult to customize.

Learning Curve:

Bootstrap is easier to learn than Tailwind because it includes a set of pre-designed components that can be easily combined to create a website. Tailwind requires a deeper understanding of CSS and HTML because it relies on low-level utility classes.


Tailwind's JIT compiler can help improve website performance by generating CSS on the fly based on the utility classes used in a project. Bootstrap's CSS file can be quite large, which can negatively impact website performance.

Can you use Tailwind CSS with Bootstrap?

You can use Tailwind with Bootstrap in your projects. This allows you to use both features and make stunning websites.

To add Tailwind CSS with Bootstrap, manually create a tailwind.config.js file or use npx tailwindcss init. You can go ahead to set a prefix on all your tailwind utility classes in order not to have duplicate class names. You can go ahead to custom Tailwind’s breakpoints to match Bootstrap’s.

Which is better, Tailwind CSS vs Bootstrap

What is better between Tailwind CSS vs Bootstrap is based on personal preference regarding what you are building.

If you want to build a website fast with not many customizations, then Bootstrap will be the way to go, but if you wish to implement a lot of styles and broaden your creativity, I suggest you take up tailwind CSS.

Whichever you choose, I suggest you try them both out and see whether building UI with utility classes is your preferred way of designing a website or You prefer to have your design in a predefined way.

Is Tailwind CSS worth learning?

Tailwind CSS is a way for CSS experts to speed up their creation and design process. It will be worth it if you are willing to learn a new framework and speed up your production rate as a developer. Beginners can use this framework but not so well at first but eventually will get better at it. It always pays to learn CSS first before trying out Tailwind CSS.


In comparing Tailwind CSS vs Bootstrap, both of them are powerful frameworks that can help developers quickly create stunning websites. Each framework has its own strengths and weaknesses, and which one is best for a specific project will depend on the goals and needs of the project. Tailwind is a great choice for developers who need more flexibility and customization, while Bootstrap is better suited for those who need a quick and easy way to create responsive designs. Ultimately, the decision between Tailwind CSS vs Bootstrap will depend on the needs of the project and developer preference.

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