Bulma vs Materialize

CSS frameworks have become an essential part of web development, offering pre-written CSS classes and components to help developers create responsive and stylish websites more efficiently. Two popular frameworks that have been widely discussed in the web development community are Bulma and Materialize. In this article, we will delve into an in-depth comparison of these two frameworks, looking at their features, usability, and how they can benefit your projects.

Introduction to Bulma

Bulma is an open-source, modern CSS framework based on Flexbox. It’s known for its simple and clean design and is purely CSS, which means there are no JavaScript components included. Bulma is highly appreciated for its easy-to-understand syntax and good documentation, making it a favorite among developers who prefer to write their JavaScript interactions.

Key Features of Bulma

  • Flexbox-based: Bulma utilizes Flexbox for building flexible and responsive layouts.
  • Modular: You can import only the components you need, helping to keep the CSS file size to a minimum.
  • Responsive: Bulma’s grid system and elements are responsive out of the box.
  • Customizable: Variables can be customized easily using Sass.
  • Modern: It supports modern browsers and has a contemporary look and feel.

Bulma Documentation and Installation

To get started with Bulma, you can visit their documentation page, which provides comprehensive guides and examples. Installation is straightforward and can be done through various methods, including npm, yarn, or by simply including a link to the Bulma CDN in your HTML file. For more detailed instructions, visit the installation page.

Popular Third-Party Addons for Bulma

  • Bulmaswatch: A collection of themed skins for Bulma.
  • Buefy: A library of lightweight UI components for Vue.js based on Bulma.

Introduction to Materialize

Materialize is another open-source CSS framework that aims to implement Material Design principles into its components and layouts. Materialize comes with a set of ready-to-use components and is designed to be responsive and easy to use. Unlike Bulma, Materialize includes JavaScript components for additional interactivity based on jQuery.

Key Features of Materialize

  • Material Design: Materialize is heavily inspired by Google’s Material Design guidelines.
  • Comprehensive Component Library: It includes a wide range of pre-styled components.
  • JavaScript Integration: Offers interactive components such as modals, dropdowns, and tabs.
  • Responsive: Comes with a responsive grid system and layout options.

Materialize Documentation and Installation

For those interested in using Materialize, you can find the framework’s documentation here, which offers detailed explanations and examples for each component. Installation is available through npm, yarn, or by linking directly to the Materialize CDN. Detailed installation instructions can be found on their installation page.

Popular Third-Party Addons for Materialize

  • Materialize-stepper: A plugin for creating a step-by-step wizard-like interface.
  • Materialize-tags: A plugin to create tag chips as seen in Material Design guidelines.

Code Samples and Usage

To give you a better understanding of how Bulma and Materialize are used in practice, let’s look at some code samples for common components.

Bulma Code Sample: Navbar

<nav class="navbar is-primary" role="navigation" aria-label="main navigation">
  <div class="navbar-brand">
    <a class="navbar-item" href="https://bulma.io">
      <img src="bulma-logo.png" width="112" height="28">

  <div id="navbarBasicExample" class="navbar-menu">
    <div class="navbar-start">
      <a class="navbar-item">
      <a class="navbar-item">

This code snippet shows a basic navbar component in Bulma. The classes are self-explanatory, and the structure is simple, making it easy to customize and integrate into your project.

Materialize Code Sample: Navbar

  <div class="nav-wrapper">
    <a href="#!" class="brand-logo">Logo</a>
    <ul class="right hide-on-med-and-down">
      <li><a href="sass.html">Sass</a></li>
      <li><a href="badges.html">Components</a></li>
      <li><a href="collapsible.html">JavaScript</a></li>

This example shows how to create a navbar using Materialize. The nav-wrapper class is a key part of the Materialize structure, and the framework relies on specific class names to apply the correct styling.

Both Bulma and Materialize offer a clean and modern approach to creating navigation bars, but the syntax and structure differ. Bulma’s focus on Flexbox and simplicity contrasts with Materialize’s Material Design philosophy and reliance on JavaScript for interactive components.

In the next section, we will continue to explore these frameworks by comparing their grid systems, customization options, community support, and more. Stay tuned for the second half of this comprehensive guide.

Grid System Comparison

Both Bulma and Materialize provide their own grid systems, which are fundamental for creating responsive layouts. Let’s compare how each framework approaches grid layout.

Bulma Grid System

Bulma’s grid system is based on Flexbox, which provides a more modern and flexible approach to creating complex layouts. Here’s a basic example of a Bulma grid layout:

<div class="columns">
  <div class="column is-one-third">
  <div class="column is-two-thirds">

In this code sample, the columns container holds column elements. The classes is-one-third and is-two-thirds are used to specify the size of each column. Bulma’s grid system is responsive by default, and columns will stack on top of each other on mobile devices.

Materialize Grid System

Materialize’s grid system is also responsive and based on a 12-column structure. It uses a series of container and row classes to structure the layout, along with column classes that indicate the number of columns an element should span. Here’s how you can create a grid layout in Materialize:

<div class="row">
  <div class="col s4">
  <div class="col s8">

The row class is used to group columns, and the col class defines a column. The s4 and s8 classes specify the number of columns the element should take up on small screens and above.

Both frameworks offer responsive and flexible grid systems, but Bulma’s reliance on Flexbox might be more appealing to developers looking for a modern approach, while Materialize’s grid system adheres to the traditional 12-column layout that many are familiar with.

Customization and Theming

Customization is a crucial aspect when choosing a CSS framework, as it allows you to tailor the look and feel of your site to match your brand or design requirements.

Customizing Bulma

Bulma can be customized using Sass variables. You can override default values before importing Bulma, which allows you to change the primary color, default font, or any other component styles. Here’s an example of how to customize Bulma with Sass:

// Set your brand colors
$primary: #333;
$info: #a2e8dd;

// Import Bulma and its components
@import 'bulma/bulma';

Customizing Materialize

Materialize also allows for customization through Sass. You can modify the color palette, default animations, and much more by changing the Sass variables before compiling. Here’s a snippet showing how to customize Materialize:

// Customizing Materialize colors
$primary-color: color("blue", "lighten-2");

// Import Materialize source
@import "materialize";

Both frameworks offer extensive customization through Sass, but the process and variables may differ. It’s worth exploring the documentation of each to understand the full range of customization options available.

Community and Support

The community and support around a CSS framework can significantly impact its usability and longevity. Both Bulma and Materialize have active communities and are well-documented, which is beneficial for developers seeking assistance or resources.

Bulma Community and Support

Bulma has a strong community presence on platforms like GitHub and Discord. The framework is regularly updated, and the community contributes by creating third-party extensions and themes. For support, developers can turn to the official Bulma forum or the Bulma tag on Stack Overflow.

Materialize Community and Support

Materialize also boasts an active community, with a large number of users on GitHub and a dedicated Materialize tag on Stack Overflow. While the core team is responsible for most of the updates, the community often contributes with bug fixes and feature suggestions.


Choosing between Bulma and Materialize will largely depend on your project requirements, design preferences, and familiarity with the frameworks. Bulma offers a modern, Flexbox-based approach with a minimalistic design and no JavaScript dependencies, making it a great choice for developers who prefer to write their own JavaScript interactions. On the other hand, Materialize provides a Material Design experience with ready-to-use JavaScript components, which can be ideal for those looking to implement Material Design principles quickly.

Both frameworks have their strengths and can be customized to fit the needs of most web development projects. By considering the grid systems, customization options, and community support, you can make an informed decision that best suits your workflow and project goals.

Remember to check out their respective documentation and community forums for the latest updates and resources:

Choose the framework that aligns with your design philosophy, and enjoy the efficiency and style that modern CSS frameworks can bring to your web development projects.

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