Materialize vs UIKit

When it comes to building modern, responsive web designs, choosing the right CSS framework can make a significant difference in both development speed and the final user experience. Two popular options among web developers are Materialize and UIKit. Each has its own strengths and philosophies, and in this article, we’ll dive deep into what sets them apart, helping you make an informed decision for your next project.

Introduction to Materialize

Materialize is a responsive front-end framework based on Google’s Material Design principles. It offers a set of CSS and JavaScript components that adhere to the design language’s guidelines, featuring bold, graphic, and intentional design choices. Materialize provides a consistent look and feel across your web pages while ensuring a high level of interactivity and user engagement.

Key Features of Materialize

  • Material Design: Materialize strictly follows Material Design principles, offering components like cards, floating action buttons, and ripple-effect animations.
  • Responsive Grid: It includes a 12-column grid system that adapts to screen size and orientation, ensuring compatibility with all devices.
  • Pre-styled Components: Ready-to-use components such as navigation bars, dropdowns, modals, and tabs are included out-of-the-box.
  • JavaScript Options: Materialize comes with jQuery-based JavaScript plugins for additional functionality like parallax effects, carousels, and tooltips.

Documentation and Installation

You can find the Materialize documentation here, which provides a comprehensive guide to using the framework. To install Materialize, you can download it directly from the installation page or use a package manager like npm:

npm install materialize-css@next

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries

  • Materialize-Sass: A Sass-powered version of Materialize, allowing for customization with Sass variables.
  • Angular Materialize: This library integrates Materialize with Angular projects, providing directives for Materialize components.

Introduction to UIKit

UIKit is a lightweight and modular front-end framework for developing fast and powerful web interfaces. It is designed to be simple and easy to use while still providing a comprehensive set of HTML, CSS, and JS components. UIKit’s minimalistic approach is perfect for developers who want a clean and modern design without the weight of additional design rules.

Key Features of UIKit

  • Modularity: UIKit is made up of small, independent, and consistent modules, which allows you to pick and choose the components you need.
  • Customization: It offers a customizable and extendable framework with Less and Sass files, making it easy to tailor the design to your needs.
  • Components and Layout: A wide array of components such as navigation bars, modals, off-canvas bars, and grid systems are available.
  • JavaScript Interaction: UIKit provides its own set of JavaScript utilities for component interaction, without the need for jQuery.

Documentation and Installation

The UIKit documentation can be found here, offering detailed instructions and examples for using the framework. To install UIKit, you can download it from the installation page or use npm:

npm install uikit

Popular Third-Party Addons or Libraries

  • UIkit Icons: An addon that provides a comprehensive set of SVG icons that can be easily implemented in your project.
  • Customizer: An official tool that allows you to customize and download your own version of UIKit with the components and styles you select.

Materialize Code Samples

Here are some code samples showcasing how to use Materialize in your web projects:

Responsive Grid

<div class="container">
  <div class="row">
    <div class="col s12 m6">
      <div class="card">
        <div class="card-content">
          <span class="card-title">Card Title</span>
          <p>I am a very simple card. I am good at containing small bits of information.</p>
        <div class="card-action">
          <a href="#">This is a link</a>
          <a href="#">This is another link</a>

Navigation Bar

  <div class="nav-wrapper">
    <a href="#" class="brand-logo">Logo</a>
    <ul id="nav-mobile" 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>


<!-- Modal Trigger -->
<a class="waves-effect waves-light btn modal-trigger" href="#demo-modal">Modal</a>

<!-- Modal Structure -->
<div id="demo-modal" class="modal">
  <div class="modal-content">
    <h4>Modal Header</h4>
    <p>A bunch of text</p>
  <div class="modal-footer">
    <a href="#!" class="modal-close waves-effect waves-green btn-flat">Agree</a>

UIKit Code Samples

Below are examples of how to implement some common components using UIKit:

Responsive Grid

<div class="uk-container">
  <div class="uk-grid-match uk-child-width-1-2@m" uk-grid>
      <div class="uk-card uk-card-default uk-card-body">
        <h3 class="uk-card-title">Default</h3>
        <p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor.</p>
      <div class="uk-card uk-card-primary uk-card-body">
        <h3 class="uk-card-title">Primary</h3>
        <p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor.</p>

Navigation Bar

<nav class="uk-navbar-container" uk-navbar>
  <div class="uk-navbar-left">
    <a class="uk-navbar-item uk-logo" href="#">Logo</a>
  <div class="uk-navbar-right">
    <ul class="uk-navbar-nav">
      <li class="uk-active"><a href="#">Active</a></li>
        <a href="#">Parent</a>
        <div class="uk-navbar-dropdown">
          <ul class="uk-nav uk-navbar-dropdown-nav">
            <li class="uk-active"><a href="#">Active</a></li>
            <li><a href="#">Item</a></li>
            <li><a href="#">Another item</a></li>
      <li><a href="#">Item</a></li>


<!-- This is a button toggling the modal -->
<button class="uk-button uk-button-default uk-margin-small-right" type="button" uk-toggle="target: #demo-modal">Open</button>

<!-- This is the modal -->
<div id="demo-modal" uk-modal>
    <div class="uk-modal-dialog uk-modal-body">
        <h2 class="uk-modal-title">Headline</h2>
        <p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.</p>
        <p class="uk-text-right">
            <button class="uk-button uk-button-default uk-modal-close" type="button">Cancel</button>
            <button class="uk-button uk-button-primary" type="button">Save</button>

In the first half of this article, we’ve introduced both Materialize and UIKit, explored their key features, and provided code samples for common components. We’ve also linked to their respective documentation and installation guides, as well as mentioned popular third-party addons for each framework. In the next half, we will delve into a more detailed comparison, discussing customization, community support, performance, and real-world use cases to help you decide which framework is the best fit for your project.

Detailed Comparison Between Materialize and UIKit

Now that we have a basic understanding of both Materialize and UIKit, let’s dive into a more nuanced comparison. We’ll look at various aspects such as customization, community support, performance, and real-world applications to see how these frameworks stack up against each other.

Customization and Flexibility

Customization is a crucial aspect of any CSS framework as it allows developers to tailor the look and feel to match their project’s unique requirements.

Materialize Customization

Materialize provides a Sass version which makes it highly customizable. By using Sass variables, you can easily change colors, fonts, and other design elements. The framework also allows you to include only the components you need, which can help in keeping the file size down.

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

@import "materialize";

UIKit Customization

UIKit shines in terms of customization thanks to its modular structure. You can use the Less or Sass files to modify the default styles, and its BEM naming convention makes it straightforward to override styles without specificity issues.

// Customizing UIKit with Sass
@primary-color: #1e87f0;

@import "uikit";

Community Support and Resources

A strong community can provide extensive resources, plugins, and troubleshooting help, which is essential for both beginners and experienced developers.

Materialize Community

Materialize has a decent-sized community with a good amount of resources available online. However, since it is based on Material Design, it often gets overshadowed by other Material Design frameworks like Angular Material or MDC Web.

UIKit Community

UIKit, while not as popular as some other frameworks like Bootstrap, still boasts a dedicated community. There are fewer resources compared to Materialize, but the official documentation is thorough, and the core team is active in maintaining the framework.

Performance and Efficiency

The performance of a CSS framework is determined by its impact on page load times and overall efficiency in terms of browser rendering.

Materialize Performance

Materialize can be relatively heavy due to its dependency on jQuery for JavaScript components. However, if you’re already using jQuery in your project, this might not be a significant issue. Careful selection of components and use of the minified version can help mitigate performance impacts.

UIKit Performance

UIKit is known for its lightweight footprint, especially when you only include the modules you need. It does not rely on jQuery, which can lead to better performance on modern websites that don’t require jQuery for other purposes.

Real-World Applications

When choosing a framework, it’s essential to consider the types of projects it’s best suited for.

When to Use Materialize

Materialize is an excellent choice for projects where you want to implement Material Design with ease. It’s particularly useful for creating Android app-like web interfaces and single-page applications that benefit from the interactive components provided by Materialize.

When to Use UIKit

UIKit is ideal for projects that require a clean, minimal design without the need for a strict design language. It’s well-suited for creating custom, lightweight websites and can be an excellent choice for projects where performance is a priority.


Both Materialize and UIKit offer unique advantages and can be the right choice depending on the project requirements. Materialize is the go-to for Material Design enthusiasts, while UIKit offers a more minimalist and performance-oriented approach.

Ultimately, the decision between Materialize and UIKit should be based on your project’s design requirements, the need for customization, community support, and performance considerations. Whichever framework you choose, make sure it aligns with the goals and values of your web project for the best results.

Additional Resources

By considering all these factors, you can make an informed decision and select a CSS framework that will serve as a solid foundation for your web development projects.

More Materialize CSS Comparisons


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