7 Alternatives to Twitter Bootstrap for Web Designers

Posted on June 30, 2015 | Updated on October 20, 2023

Some developers like Twitter Bootstrap CSS because it allows for the publication of a new site or app in a relatively short period of time on a small budget. Thanks to a variety of templates, responsive design and compatibility, there are plenty who sing the praises of Twitter Bootstrap. However, some prefer alternatives to Twitter Bootstrap.

Some have noted the loading time of Bootstrap websites and the inevitability of Bootstrap sites looking like others since they use the same templates. Plus, Bootstrap doesn’t employ best practices. If you fall into the “I’m-looking-for-alternatives-to-Twitter-Bootstrap” camp, here are seven options to consider.

7 Alternatives to Twitter Bootstrap for Web Designers

1. Skeleton: Better Features

A common complaint against Bootstrap is that users pay for many features unused by basic sites. As the name would suggest, Skeleton is the way to go if you want just a few standard elements to get started. Skeleton is a good option for small projects and offers enough HTML elements to get started.

2. Base: Unique Design Elements

Some see Bootstrap’s design options as one of its greatest strengths. Others see it as a weakness, since sites may end up looking too similar. If you fall into the latter camp, try Base, which is built on top of LESS and SASS. Thanks to its pared-down format, it allows developers to add custom themes and design elements.

3. Tuktuk: Less Heavy

For those worried about loading times with Bootstrap sites, try Tuktuk. The much lighter Tuktuk uses a column system and offers only the number of components needed to build out a good-looking website.

4. CardinalCSS: Building for Mobile First

If your client is mainly mobile-minded, check out CardinalCSS — a “modular, ‘mobile-first’ CSS framework built with performance and scalability in mind.” CardinalCSS doesn’t offer many of the bells and whistles of Twitter Bootstrap, but that makes for a much lighter site.

5. Zimit: Uniformity Across all Web Browsers

Tired of complaints about sites not working across all web browsers? Try Zimit, an open source, LESS-based project that provides uniformity whether users are accessing your site via Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari or Internet Explorer.

6. Mueller: Plays Well With Others

Sometimes developers aren’t creating a site from scratch. Sometimes, they are called on in the middle of a project and can’t rely on Twitter Bootstrap to be the bridge over troubled waters. Javascript, HTML and CSS can all create conflicts within Bootstrap. Instead, try Mueller, a responsive modular grid system for both responsive and non-responsive designs based on Compass — complementary to Masonry Javascript.

7. ConciseCSS: Supports SASS

Twitter Bootstrap is built with LESS, so there is no support for SASS or Compass. Want an alternative? ConciseCSS encourages developers to “give up the bloat” and “accomplish more with less” by offering a product that includes supports for SASS and Vanilla CSS.

There are many benefits to using Twitter Bootstrap, but many developers are also looking for alternatives based on the needs of their clients. These seven alternatives may be just the solution you’ve been looking for.

Image: Personal Creations

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at www.eleanorhecks.com.


  1. Ajay on February 9, 2016 at 12:32 am

    I haven’t built a site with it yet. It does kind of feel like the best bits of foundation and bootstrap though.

  2. doideunu.ro on December 12, 2017 at 9:57 am

    You are so awesome! I do not think I’ve read through a single thing like this before. So great to find somebody with unique thoughts on this subject. Seriously.. thank you for starting this up. This website is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with a little originality!

    • Eleanor on December 12, 2017 at 1:13 pm

      Thank you so much! We’re happy that you found this helpful!

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