Tachyons vs Chakra UI

When it comes to modern web development, CSS frameworks are essential tools for creating responsive, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing user interfaces. Among the plethora of options available to developers, Tachyons and Chakra UI have emerged as two popular choices, each with its unique approach to styling applications. In this article, we will delve into an in-depth comparison of Tachyons and Chakra UI, examining their philosophies, features, and how they can be leveraged to build stunning web interfaces.

Tachyons: Functional CSS for Efficient Styling

Tachyons is a functional CSS framework that focuses on creating fast-loading, highly readable, and super scalable CSS. It adopts a utility-first approach, providing a set of small, single-purpose classes that can be combined to construct complex designs.

Philosophy and Approach

Tachyons is built on the idea that styling should be as simple as composing small, reusable classes that do one thing well. This approach minimizes the amount of CSS you write by encouraging the reuse of these utility classes throughout your HTML.

  • Atomic Design: Tachyons aligns with the principles of atomic design, where you use small, immutable objects to build larger components.
  • Responsiveness: The framework includes a robust set of responsive modifiers, making it easy to create designs that adapt to different screen sizes.

Documentation and Installation

To start using Tachyons, you can visit the documentation for a comprehensive guide on its classes and design principles. Installation is straightforward, and you can either download the CSS file or use a package manager. The installation guide provides detailed instructions.

Popular Add-ons and Libraries

While Tachyons focuses on being minimalistic, there are a few third-party add-ons that can extend its capabilities:

  • tachyons-sass: A Sass version of Tachyons for those who prefer using a preprocessor.
  • tachyons-custom: Allows you to customize Tachyons variables before building the CSS.

Code Samples

Here’s a simple example of how to use Tachyons to create a responsive card component:

<div class="pa3 pa4-ns">
  <img class="br-100 h3 w3 dib" src="/path/to/image.jpg" alt="Profile image">
  <div class="tl">
    <h1 class="f5 f4-ns fw6 black-70">Jane Doe</h1>
    <h2 class="f6 gray fw2 ttu tracked">Web Developer</h2>

In the above example, pa3 and pa4-ns are padding classes, br-100 creates a fully rounded border, h3 and w3 set height and width, tl aligns text to the left, and font-size and color classes like f5, f4-ns, fw6, and black-70 style the text.

Chakra UI: A Modular Component Library for React

Chakra UI is a modern React UI library that provides a set of accessible, reusable, and composable components that you can use to build your applications with speed. Unlike Tachyons, Chakra UI is not just a CSS framework; it’s a complete component library built on top of the Emotion styling library.

Philosophy and Approach

Chakra UI is designed with ease of customization and theme-ability in mind. It aims to provide a simple, modular, and accessible component library that can be easily themed to fit the design requirements of your project.

  • Component-Based: Chakra UI follows the React component-based architecture, making it easy to manage the state and lifecycle of UI elements.
  • Accessibility: The framework places a strong emphasis on accessibility, ensuring that components follow WAI-ARIA guidelines.

Documentation and Installation

The Chakra UI documentation is a valuable resource that covers all components and utilities provided by the library. To install Chakra UI in your React project, you can follow the installation instructions available on their website.

Popular Add-ons and Libraries

Chakra UI has a growing ecosystem of add-ons and tools that enhance its core functionalities:

  • @chakra-ui/icons: A collection of commonly used icons that are easy to integrate into your Chakra UI project.
  • @chakra-ui/pro: A set of premium, professionally designed components and patterns.

Code Samples

Here’s how you might create a similar card component using Chakra UI in a React application:

import { Box, Image, Text, Heading } from '@chakra-ui/react';

function ProfileCard() {
  return (
    <Box p={4}>
      <Image borderRadius="full" boxSize="75px" src="/path/to/image.jpg" alt="Profile image" />
      <Heading as="h1" size="md" fontWeight="bold" color="gray.700">
        Jane Doe
      <Text fontSize="sm" color="gray.500" textTransform="uppercase">
        Web Developer

In this example, Box, Image, Text, and Heading are all Chakra UI components that come with a set of props to adjust their styles, such as borderRadius, boxSize, fontSize, and color.

Customization and Theming

One of the key differences between Tachyons and Chakra UI is how they handle customization and theming.

Tachyons Customization

Tachyons encourages a more hands-on approach to customization. Since it’s built with CSS, you can override the styles by writing your own CSS rules or modifying the source files. Tachyons provides a set of customizable variables that can be adjusted before compiling the CSS. This allows you to tailor the framework to match your design system.

For example, to customize colors in Tachyons, you can modify the $colors map in the _variables.scss file and then recompile your CSS.

$colors: (
  'blue': #0074d9,
  'navy': #001f3f,
  'red': #ff4136,
  // Add or change colors as needed

Chakra UI Theming

Chakra UI, on the other hand, provides a comprehensive theming system built on top of Emotion. It uses a default theme that can be easily extended or overridden using the extendTheme function. This allows you to customize any part of the library to fit your brand or design requirements.

For example, to customize the theme in Chakra UI, you can create a new theme object and pass it to the ChakraProvider at the root of your React application.

import { ChakraProvider, extendTheme } from '@chakra-ui/react';

const customTheme = extendTheme({
  colors: {
    brand: {
      900: '#1a365d',
      800: '#153e75',
      700: '#2a69ac',
  // Other theme overrides go here

function App() {
  return (
    <ChakraProvider theme={customTheme}>
      {/* Rest of your app goes here */}

Performance and Load Times

Performance is a critical aspect of web development. Both Tachyons and Chakra UI have different implications on performance due to their distinct approaches.

Tachyons Performance

Tachyons is incredibly lightweight. The entire library is just around 14KB minified and gzipped. Its utility-first approach means that there’s no unused CSS if you’re using the classes correctly. This results in faster load times and potentially improved performance, especially for sites with a lot of traffic.

Chakra UI Performance

Chakra UI, being a component library, is larger in size compared to Tachyons. However, it benefits from tree-shaking when used in modern build systems like Webpack or Rollup, which can help reduce the final bundle size by including only the components that are actually used in your application.

Community and Support

The community and support around a framework can be vital, especially when you encounter issues or require advanced usage patterns.

Tachyons Community

Tachyons has a dedicated community of developers who advocate for the functional CSS approach. While it may not be as large as some other CSS frameworks, it has a loyal following. You can find support through GitHub issues or Stack Overflow.

Chakra UI Community

Chakra UI has a rapidly growing community, especially in the React ecosystem. It has a strong presence on GitHub, and there’s an active Discord community where you can get help from other developers and the framework’s maintainers.


Tachyons and Chakra UI cater to different needs and preferences in web development. Tachyons is ideal for those who prefer a minimalistic, utility-first approach with a focus on performance and simplicity. Chakra UI, being a more comprehensive component library, is perfect for developers looking for a rich set of pre-built React components that are easily customizable and accessible.

Choosing between Tachyons and Chakra UI ultimately depends on your project requirements, your familiarity with React (in the case of Chakra UI), and your preference for either utility classes or component-based design. Both frameworks have their strengths, and understanding these will help you make an informed decision for your next web development project.

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