CSS Frameworks Comparison: Bootstrap vs. Foundation vs. Materialize

When choosing the right CSS framework for your latest project, you must use the framework most appropriate for the task at hand.

When choosing the right CSS framework for your latest project, you must use the framework most appropriate for the task at hand.

While many popular CSS frameworks are available, the big three are Bootstrap, Foundation, and Materialize. In this article, we’ll compare these three CSS frameworks to help you decide which is right for you.


Bootstrap was first developed in 2010 at Twitter by Mark Otto and Jacob Thornton. It has since become one of the most popular CSS frameworks available, with many developers using it for their web projects. It’s best known for being able to develop mobile-friendly projects that are fast and responsive. As it’s so popular, Bootstrap has a large community of experts to learn from and an extensive documentation library. It even offers many prebuilt UI components, making it easier to work with, including popovers, dropdown buttons, and dynamic tooltips. However, common criticisms of the framework include overly detailed component styling and code bloat. Sites that use Bootstrap include Indeed, Vogue, and Walmart.


Foundation is an open-source CSS framework released in 2011 by ZURB – a product design company based in California. While it’s similar to Bootstrap in that it’s a responsive, mobile-focused full-featured framework, it has some key differences. For example, its interface is markedly more advanced than Bootstrap’s and better suited to creating bespoke websites. One of its best features is its responsive menu, which is functional and easy to style. It’s also well-suited for mobile and tablet devices due to its “mobile-first” philosophy. However, its complexity makes it unsuitable for beginners. Websites that currently use Foundation include Facebook, Amazon, and eBay.


Developed by Google in 2014, Materialize is one of the most popular material-based CSS frameworks available. Unlike the first two examples, Materialize is a material-based CSS framework, which means you don’t have the same range of features as you do with Bootstrap or Foundation. However, it can be useful for certain projects. Some benefits include its uniform design, its ability to look good on any device, and the variety of components not often found in other frameworks, such as badges, wave behaviours, and scrollSpy.

However, as it does not use FlexBox, it offers lower compatibility with the latest versions of Internet Explorer, and the large file sizes make it a bulky framework to work with. Nevertheless, there is a decently sized community behind Materialize, with lots of documentation. Examples of websites that use Materialize include Closeheat, Fuddruckers, and Post Planner.

Head-to-Head Comparison

So, which one should you use? It comes down to what you’re looking for from a CSS framework. Whether you’re aiming to build an online game, design a website for reviewing platin play casinos, or creating a website that needs to be used across multiple devices, it’s essential to pick the one that best suits your project. Bootstrap and Foundation are similar in what they provide but offer different levels of complexity, whereas Materialize offers something else altogether. Let’s look at what each of these frameworks is best for.

  • Bootstrap – This framework is best used by developers with little experience who need to make small to moderate changes or build and maintain simple projects..
  • Foundation – Foundation is best used by more advanced developers who want to create a unique design. It is useful for building mobile and web apps, websites, and more.
  • Materialize – This framework is ideal for developers with little experience who want a guided introduction to material design. It is useful for creating websites and designing hybrid mobile apps.


While many CSS frameworks exist, these three are arguably the most popular. Each has its specialised use case, whether Materialize’s hybrid mobile apps, Bootstrap’s easy-to-maintain projects, or Foundation’s unique web app design. As each framework offers something unique, make sure that you pick the most appropriate framework for your project.