Foundation vs Pure.css

When it comes to web development, CSS frameworks are invaluable tools that help streamline the design process, ensure responsiveness, and maintain consistency across different browsers and devices. Two popular frameworks that often come up for comparison are Foundation and Pure.css. Both have their unique features, strengths, and communities. In this article, we will delve into an in-depth comparison to help you decide which framework might be the best fit for your next project.

What is Foundation?

Foundation is a responsive front-end framework developed by ZURB. It’s a full-featured framework designed for creating complex and responsive websites. Foundation provides a robust grid system, UI components, plugins, and utilities that make it a comprehensive toolkit for developers.

Popular Add-Ons and Libraries for Foundation

  • Motion UI: A Sass library for creating custom CSS transitions and animations.
  • Foundation Building Blocks: A set of pre-made components that can be combined and customized.
  • Foundation for Emails: A sister framework for creating responsive HTML emails.

Code Sample: Foundation Grid System

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="">

<div class="grid-container">
  <div class="grid-x grid-margin-x">
    <div class="cell small-6 medium-4 large-2">One</div>
    <div class="cell small-6 medium-4 large-2">Two</div>
    <div class="cell small-6 medium-4 large-2">Three</div>
    <div class="cell small-6 medium-4 large-2">Four</div>
    <div class="cell small-6 medium-4 large-2">Five</div>
    <div class="cell small-6 medium-4 large-2">Six</div>

<script src=""></script>

What is Pure.css?

Pure.css, often referred to as Pure, is a minimalistic approach to CSS frameworks. Developed by Yahoo, it aims to be lightweight and only includes the bare minimum styles required to construct a responsive web layout. Pure is modular, meaning you can include only the parts you need.

Popular Add-Ons and Libraries for Pure.css

Pure.css is designed to be minimalistic and doesn’t have as many official add-ons as Foundation. However, the community has created various extensions and themes that can be integrated with Pure.

Code Sample: Pure.css Grid System

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
  <link rel="stylesheet" href="">

<div class="pure-g">
  <div class="pure-u-1 pure-u-md-1-3 pure-u-lg-1-4">One</div>
  <div class="pure-u-1 pure-u-md-1-3 pure-u-lg-1-4">Two</div>
  <div class="pure-u-1 pure-u-md-1-3 pure-u-lg-1-4">Three</div>
  <div class="pure-u-1 pure-u-md-1-3 pure-u-lg-1-4">Four</div>


Comparing Foundation and Pure.css

When comparing Foundation and Pure.css, it’s essential to consider various factors such as ease of use, customization, performance, and the size of the community. Foundation is feature-rich and offers a wide range of components and utilities, making it ideal for developers looking to have a comprehensive set of tools at their disposal. On the other hand, Pure.css is perfect for those who value simplicity and minimalism, as it provides just enough to get started with a responsive design without the additional bloat.

Feature Set and Components

Foundation is known for its extensive list of components. It includes a global set of styles for HTML elements and an array of components such as navigation bars, buttons, forms, and more. It also offers JavaScript plugins that add interactive elements like modals, tooltips, and tabs.

Pure.css takes a different approach by offering a minimal set of modules. It covers grids, forms, buttons, tables, and menus. The idea is to provide the essentials without overloading the developer with too many options.

Customization and Flexibility

Both frameworks allow customization, but Foundation goes a step further with its customization options. You can use the Yeti Launch app or customizer on their website to create a tailored version of the framework that includes only the components you need.

Pure.css is also customizable but in a different way. Since it’s modular, you can pick and choose which CSS files to include in your project. This can significantly reduce the footprint if you only need a grid system or a set of buttons.

Performance and Size

Pure.css is known for its small footprint. The entire set of modules is only 3.8KB minified and gzipped. This makes it an excellent choice for performance-focused projects where every kilobyte counts.

Foundation is larger, given its broader feature set. However, it’s still designed to be relatively efficient, and careful use of the customizer can help reduce the size by excluding unnecessary components.

Community and Support

Foundation has a large community and is backed by a company (ZURB), which means it regularly receives updates and has plenty of resources for learning and troubleshooting. The community also contributes to a variety of third-party add-ons and templates.

Pure.css has a smaller community in comparison. However, it’s still well-documented and supported by the developers at Yahoo. There are fewer third-party add-ons, but the simplicity of the framework means that you can often build what you need without requiring extensive external resources.

Learning Curve and Ease of Use

For beginners, the learning curve is an important consideration. Pure.css, with its minimalistic approach, is generally easier to grasp for those new to CSS frameworks. Its simplicity means there’s less to learn, and you can quickly start building layouts with the grid system and a few additional styles for common UI elements.

Foundation, with its comprehensive feature set, can be overwhelming for newcomers. However, it’s well-documented, and the community provides a wealth of tutorials and courses. Once you get the hang of it, Foundation offers a powerful toolkit that can handle almost any design challenge you might face.

Responsiveness and Mobile-First Design

Both frameworks are designed with responsiveness in mind. Foundation adopts a mobile-first approach, which means it encourages designing for small screens first and then scaling up to larger screens with media queries. This approach is beneficial for modern web design, as it ensures that websites are optimized for the vast array of mobile devices in use today.

Pure.css also offers a responsive grid system, but it doesn’t enforce a mobile-first design philosophy as strongly as Foundation does. However, it’s still fully capable of building responsive websites that work across different devices.

Browser Compatibility

Browser compatibility is crucial for ensuring that your website looks consistent across all platforms. Foundation prides itself on being compatible with a wide range of browsers, including Internet Explorer 9 and up, and the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

Pure.css also supports a broad array of browsers, including older versions of Internet Explorer (back to IE 8). This makes it a good choice if you need to support legacy browsers.

Integration with Other Tools and Frameworks

In the modern web development landscape, the ability to integrate with other tools is vital. Foundation is designed to play well with a variety of JavaScript frameworks and libraries, such as Angular, React, and Vue. It also integrates with build tools like Gulp and Webpack, making it a good fit for complex project setups.

Pure.css, due to its minimalistic nature, is easy to integrate with other tools and frameworks as well. Its standalone nature means it doesn’t impose any specific JavaScript or build tool requirements, allowing for greater flexibility.


Web accessibility is an increasingly important aspect of web development. Foundation includes accessibility features in its components, like ARIA attributes and keyboard navigation support, which help make your website more accessible to users with disabilities.

Pure.css doesn’t include built-in accessibility features, but its simplicity allows for easy implementation of custom accessibility solutions. The framework’s documentation also provides guidelines for making accessible web content.


Choosing between Foundation and Pure.css depends on the specific needs of your project. If you require a full-featured framework with a variety of components and extensive customization options, Foundation is the way to go. It’s suitable for large-scale projects where you need the flexibility to create complex layouts and interactions.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a lightweight, straightforward framework that will give you just the essentials without the additional weight, Pure.css is an excellent choice. It’s particularly well-suited for smaller projects or when you need to maintain high performance with a minimal footprint.

Ultimately, both Foundation and Pure.css offer unique benefits, and the decision should be based on project requirements, personal or team expertise, and the specific goals of your web development endeavor. Whether you choose the robustness of Foundation or the simplicity of Pure.css, both frameworks can help you build beautiful, responsive websites more efficiently.

More Foundation CSS Comparisons


What do you think?