Tailwind CSS vs Tachyons

When it comes to CSS frameworks, developers have a myriad of options to choose from, each with its own philosophy and approach to styling web applications. Two popular choices in the realm of utility-first CSS frameworks are Tailwind CSS and Tachyons. Both frameworks aim to streamline the development process but do so in subtly different ways. In this article, we will delve into an in-depth comparison of Tailwind CSS and Tachyons, exploring their design philosophies, core features, community support, and more.

Design Philosophy

Tailwind CSS takes a highly customizable approach, offering a low-level utility framework that encourages developers to create custom designs without writing CSS from scratch. It focuses on rapid UI development with a set of predefined utility classes that can be composed to build complex designs directly in your markup.

Tachyons, on the other hand, also adopts a utility-first approach but with a stronger emphasis on simplicity and performance. It provides a set of atomic classes that aim to reduce the size of your CSS and HTML while increasing the speed of development.

Core Features

Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS offers a highly customizable system with a focus on responsive design. Its features include:

  • A utility-first workflow that encourages the composition of small, reusable classes.
  • Responsive design made easy with mobile-first classes that can be extended for larger screens.
  • Customization via a configuration file, allowing you to tailor the framework to your project’s needs.
  • A “purge” feature that removes unused CSS, ensuring smaller production builds.
  • Integration with modern build tools like PostCSS, Webpack, and others.

Code Sample for Tailwind CSS

<div class="flex justify-center items-center h-screen bg-gray-200">
  <button class="bg-blue-500 hover:bg-blue-700 text-white font-bold py-2 px-4 rounded">
    Click me


Tachyons provides a minimalistic approach with the following features:

  • Atomic classes that can be combined to achieve a wide variety of designs without writing custom CSS.
  • A focus on performance with a small CSS footprint and fast loading times.
  • Clear naming conventions that make it easy to understand what each class does.
  • No need for a custom build process, as Tachyons is designed to be used as-is.

Code Sample for Tachyons

<div class="flex justify-center items-center vh-100 bg-light-gray">
  <a class="f6 link dim br3 ph3 pv2 mb2 dib white bg-dark-blue" href="#0">
    Click me

Community Support and Ecosystem

Both Tailwind CSS and Tachyons have active communities and ecosystems that contribute to their growth and support.

Tailwind CSS Ecosystem

Tachyons Ecosystem

Both Tailwind CSS and Tachyons offer unique benefits and cater to different preferences in the development community. In the next section, we will explore their usage in real-world scenarios, compare them in terms of customization and scalability, and provide insights into choosing the right framework for your project.

Real-World Usage and Scalability

When choosing between Tailwind CSS and Tachyons for real-world projects, it’s essential to consider how each framework scales and integrates with your development workflow.

Tailwind CSS in Practice

Tailwind CSS is designed with scalability in mind. Its configuration file allows you to define design constraints, which can be beneficial for maintaining consistency across large and complex projects. As projects grow, Tailwind’s utility classes can be extracted into components, promoting DRY (Don’t Repeat Yourself) principles while keeping the stylesheet size in check.

Scalability with Tailwind CSS

Tailwind’s ‘purge’ feature is particularly important for scalability. By automatically removing unused CSS, it ensures that the final build is as lean as possible, regardless of the project size. Additionally, Tailwind’s plugin system and compatibility with modern build tools make it highly extensible for large-scale applications.

Tachyons in Practice

Tachyons is also suitable for projects of various sizes. Its simplicity and small footprint make it an excellent choice for projects where performance is a priority. However, because Tachyons lacks a configuration file and relies on predefined classes, it can be challenging to enforce design consistency in larger teams or projects without strict discipline.

Scalability with Tachyons

Tachyons’ atomic classes are both a strength and a weakness when it comes to scalability. While they promote quick prototyping and high performance, they can lead to HTML bloat and redundancy as projects scale. Unlike Tailwind, Tachyons does not offer a built-in solution for purging unused styles, which may require additional tooling for large projects.

Customization and Extensibility

Both frameworks offer customization options, but they approach extensibility differently.

Customization with Tailwind CSS

Tailwind CSS shines in customization. You can modify the default theme, define custom values, and control which variants are generated for each utility. This level of customization allows you to tailor Tailwind to fit your project’s design language closely.

Extending Tailwind CSS

Tailwind’s plugin system allows developers to create and share custom functionalities. Here’s an example of how to write a simple Tailwind plugin to add custom utilities:

// tailwind-plugin-example.js
module.exports = function({ addUtilities }) {
  const newUtilities = {
    '.skew-15deg': {
      transform: 'skewY(-15deg)',
    '.skew-30deg': {
      transform: 'skewY(-30deg)',


Customization with Tachyons

Tachyons offers less built-in customization than Tailwind. It encourages you to use the framework as-is, which can streamline the development process but may limit design flexibility.

Extending Tachyons

While Tachyons doesn’t have an official plugin system, you can still extend it by writing additional CSS or modifying its source code. This approach is less structured than Tailwind’s plugins but can be equally effective.

Choosing the Right Framework

Deciding between Tailwind CSS and Tachyons largely depends on your project’s requirements and your personal or team’s preferences.

  • Choose Tailwind CSS if you:
  • Prefer a highly customizable framework.
  • Want to enforce design consistency through configuration.
  • Need a scalable solution for a large project.
  • Enjoy working with a vibrant ecosystem of plugins and extensions.
  • Choose Tachyons if you:
  • Value simplicity and a smaller CSS footprint.
  • Are working on a smaller to medium-sized project.
  • Prefer to adhere to strict utility classes without customization.
  • Want to ensure fast loading times with minimal effort.


Tailwind CSS and Tachyons both offer compelling approaches to styling web applications using utility-first CSS. Tailwind’s extensive customization options and ecosystem make it a versatile choice for developers who want full control over their design system. Tachyons’ minimalist and performance-focused philosophy appeals to those who prioritize speed and simplicity.

Regardless of your choice, both frameworks can lead to efficient and maintainable codebases when used correctly. By understanding the strengths and limitations of Tailwind CSS and Tachyons, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your project goals and personal coding style.

Remember, the best framework is the one that works for you and your team, enabling you to build great products efficiently and effectively. Whether you choose Tailwind CSS, Tachyons, or another solution, the key is to understand the trade-offs and leverage the strengths of your chosen toolset.

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