Material UI vs Tailwind CSS: Which is Better for your next project ?

by SWHabitation
Jun 21, 2024

CSS framework is crucial for frontend development as it can greatly enhance your workflow and enhance the aesthetic appeal of your user interface.

Tailwind css and material ui are two of the most used alternatives for different projects. Let's look at each one closer, compare and contrast, and see which one is best for your next project.

Tailwind CSS

Tailwind css is a framework that uses low level utility classes to construct designs quickly, making it a first class implementation.

Developers like tailwind because developers like it because developers like it because developers like it.

Utility-first Approach: Tailwind css uses small, single-purpose utility classes to simplify development. To illustrate, you can use classes to design a button with your own personal styling like `bg-blue-500`, `text-white`, and `px-4 py-2`.

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1 <button class="bg-blue-500 text-white px-4 py-2 rounded">Click me</button>

Flexibility and Customization:Tailwind css doesn't require any predefined styles, giving developers the freedom to create their own designs. Ui components can be customized to suit a project's needs.

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1 2 3 4 <div class="bg-gray-200 p-4 rounded-lg shadow-md"> <h2 class="text-2xl font-bold text-gray-800">Tailwind CSS Example</h2> <p class="text-gray-600 mt-2">Customizable and flexible design</p> </div>

Ease of Learning: Easy to learn and use, simple syntax and direct style implementation in html make it easy for developers to use.

Pros of Tailwind CSS

  • Speed and Efficiency: Boosts development velocity with prebuilt resources.
  • Highly Customizable: Can be extensively modified without the requirement of custom css.
  • No Global Scope Issues: Prevents international style disputes from happening.
  • Responsive Design: Easy to use utility classes for designing responsive designs.
  • Community Support: A lively group with a plethora of resources and plugins.

Cons of Tailwind CSS:

  • Learning Curve: Utility first approaches may not be a skill that developers are comfortable with.
  • Cluttered HTML: A lot of utility classes can obstruct html files.
  • Design Consistency: A certain level of discipline to ensure consistent design throughout the application.
  • Design Limitations: It is not likely to achieve highly personalized or exceptional designs without additional work.
  • Tooling Dependencies: You'll probably need to use other build tools like purgecss to optimize production builds.


Material ui is a react ui framework that meets google's material design requirements and provides a range of prebuilt, fully customizable react components. Developers love material ui because it's easy to use.

Component-Based Development: Material ui is a collection of pre-existing react components built on material design principles, like the button, appbar, card, etc. These components can be easily modified to meet the needs of any project.

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 import { Button, Typography } from '@mui/material'; const ExampleComponent = () => ( <div> <Typography variant="h2" color="primary">Material-UI Example</Typography> <Button variant="contained" color="primary" disableElevation>Click me</Button> </div> );

Theming Capabilities: Framework comes with a powerful theming system that lets developers customize the appearance and feel of their applications. Material ui's theming utilities can be used to create a dark theme, for example.

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 import { createTheme, ThemeProvider } from '@mui/material/styles'; const darkTheme = createTheme({ palette: { mode: 'dark', }, }); const ThemedApp = () => ( <ThemeProvider theme={darkTheme}> <Button variant="contained" color="primary">Dark Theme Button</Button> </ThemeProvider> );

Comprehensive Documentation and Community Support: A large community of people and documentation that enables the launch and upkeep of projects.

Pros of Material-UI

  • Consistent Design: Ui design that is consistent and well designed, material design guidelines.
  • Accessibility and Responsiveness: Responsiveness and accessibility features make it easy to use on all devices.
  • Developer-Friendly: Development is simplified with prebuilt components and inbuilt documentation.
  • Theming Capabilities: A system for grading the appearance and ambiance of components.
  • Component-Based: Modular and reusable architecture is gaining traction.

Cons of Material-UI

  • Bundle Size: Bundle size enlarged because of the pre-installed features and styles.
  • Customization Effort:Might need more effort to customize beyond the scope of material design.
  • Design Limitations: If the project doesn't follow material design guidelines, it might feel limiting.
  • Learning Curve: It is necessary to familiarize oneself with Material-UI's API and theming system in order to proceed.
  • Overhead: Css in js adds more dependencies and makes the project more difficult.
FeatureTailwind CSS Material-UI (MUI)
Design PhilosophyUtility-first approach Component-based approach
Ease of UseRequires learning utility classes Provides ready-to-use components
CustomizationHighly customizable with configurationCustomizable via theme and props
StylingUtility classes applied directly in HTMLCSS-in-JS, inline styles, and styled-components
Component LibraryNo built-in componentsRich library of pre-built components
Performance Lightweight, minimal CSS output May include additional JavaScript overhead
Learning Curve Steeper for those new to utility-first CSSEasier for those familiar with React components
DocumentationExtensive and well-organizedComprehensive with examples and demos
Community Support Large and active Large and active
Theming Manual setup required for themes Built-in theming support
Responsive Design Built-in responsive utilities Responsive components and grid system
CSS ApproachUses a single CSS file Uses CSS-in-JS
Framework AgnosticYes, can be used with any framework Primarily for React
EcosystemSmaller, fewer third-party plugins Large, with many third-party components
Development Speed Fast once utility classes are masteredFast due to ready-made components
Bundle Size Smaller, as you only include what you use |Larger due to bundled components
FlexibilityHigh, can style any component Moderate, dependent on provided components

Which Should You Choose?

Tailwind css or material ui are two options that should be considered for your project, considering the project's specific requirements and development style.

  • Tailwind css is a versatile design approach that is well suited for projects that require rapid development and extensive customization.
  • Material ui is ideal for projects that prioritize consistent design and adhere to material design principles, providing a complete set of pre-built components and theming options.


Tailwind css and material ui are both good frontend development tools. Your project's requirements, team's experience, design preferences will determine which one to choose.

Tailwind css is a practical approach with lots of flexibility, material ui is a good ui design and has great theming capabilities.

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