stackable blocks and cwicly toolkit compared

Cwicly and Stackable are both Gutenberg block collections and people wonder which they should use. They are both good products with good teams, so I cannot say upfront that one is good and the other is not. However, this isn’t one of those comparisons where at the end you say “potato, potahto,” it is just a matter of personal taste. In actuality, Cwicly and Statckable have a lot of differences, and by going through this comparison the strengths and differences will become clear, and at the end there should be enough information for you to know which one you want to use.

Video Version

Stackable Overview

Free Version of Stackable Blocks

Lets start out with a whirlwind tour beginning with the free version.

stackable blocks on wordpress org


Stackable first launched in February of 2018, so it has been around for 4 years. The free version of Stackable has more than 70,000 active installs. It has 339 five star reviews and zero of 5 support questions in the last 2 months have been answered. Stackable is sold and licensed through Freemius.

Stackable does not have their own theme. Instead, you can use it on any WordPress site and with any theme that supports Gutenberg. You can use Stackable with core and third party block-based themes and with general purpose page builder friendly themes. Because they don’t have their own theme, the Stackable team has integrated and made sure that their blocks work well with other popular themes, such as Astra or Kadence. Most often, however, I see Stackable paired with the Blocksy theme, and this is good combination. Blocksy is very flexible and the two work well together.

Available Blocks

Stackable comes with 39 blocks. In fact, the free version includes all of the blocks in the pro version. The difference is that the pro version has more options and features, which we will look at shortly. On my test site I’ve installed and activated the free version and we see that there are three groups of blocks available.

The first group are the Essential Blocks, and there are 8 of these. These are standard blocks, such as button, heading and image blocks.

stackable essential blocks

The second group are the Special Blocks, of which there are 21. These are more complex blocks and include blocks like Accordion, Map, Progress Bar, Pricing, Table of Contents, Card, Divider, and Video Popup.

stackable special blocks

The last group are the 9 Section Blocks, which include Call to Action, Feature, Testimonial and Pricing Box.

stackable section blocks

In the Gutenberg Editor

When you go into edit a page or post there are some Stackable features available. First, there is the Design Library. This is accessed via a button on the top bar of the editor. Stackable comes with “UI Kits” which are collections of similarly themed sections. The free version of Stackable comes with 9 UI Kits. There is a Wireframes tab with minimally styled placed holder sections for demo purposes. There is also a Block Designs tab which lists the available sections by typical use, rather than UI Kit.

stackable design library free version

Over on the top right of the editor there is a button to open the global styles area for Stackable. At the top you can see there is a panel for global colors, and Stackable by default has automatically pulled in the Kadence Customizer color palette. Below that is a place where you can set typography options and under that a panel where you can optionally style the default for each Stackable block.

stackable global styles

When you look at the Stackable block options, when working with a block in the editor, there are three tabs. A “Basic” tab with options available to most all blocks.

stackable block options basic tab

There is also a “Style” tab with some typography and divider line options.

stackable block options style tab

And finally, there is an Advanced tab. Note that in the free version there is no access for dynamic data (except with Toolset) and the Transform & Transition, Motion Effects, Custom CSS, and Conditional Display panels are disabled and pro only.

stackable block options advanced tab

Stackable Premium Version

The premium version of Stackable is available from their website.

stackable blocks website

And here is the regular pricing, which goes from $49 a year for one site, to $149 a year for unlimited sites, to $499 for lifetime unlimited.

stackable regular pricing

Premium comes with a number of additional and enhanced features. Some of the general pro features include:

  • The ability to integrate Font Awesome Pro, if you have subscribed to that.
  • A role manager where you can set permissions for each role for full editing or content only editing.
  • The ability to create some basic custom fields without ACF or other custom field plugin.
stackable role manager
stackable custom fields

Stackable Pro has support for dynamic content and integrations with:

  • Advanced Custom Fields
  • JetEngine
  • Meta Box
  • Toolset

In the editor you go from 9 to a whopping 39 UI Kits with themed predesigned sections.

stackable pro ui kits

You can see here on the contextual block editor bar there is support for dynamic data and copy/paste styles.

stackable pro block editor bar

On the block options panels we now have available the Transform & Transition, Motion Effects, Custom CSS, and Conditional Display panels.

stackable transform and trasition panel
stackable motion effects panel
stackable custom css panel
stackable conditional display panel

While Stackable Blocks don’t come with their own query builder, you can use them with the core Query Loop block. Also, Stackable works in the Full Site Editor, though sometimes there is placeholder content instead of live content when doing so.

Cwicly Toolkit Overview

Cwicly is a premium only option available from the Cwicly website. It includes the Cwicly Plugin, Cwicly Theme, and Advanced Custom Field Pro.

cwicly website

Cwicly was launched just over a year ago, just about the time that Full Site Editing was added to core. You can use Cwicly with any theme, however, it comes with its own block-based theme. The Cwicly theme is a minimalist theme that gives you a blank slate for creating your site templates in the Full Site Editor.

The regular pricing for Cwicly goes from 49 Euros a year for three sites to 199 Euros a year for 1,000 sites.

cwicly regular pricing

Cwicly comes with a very fine-grained and powerful role editor that provides a great deal of control over how Cwicly can be used by different user groups.

cwicly role editor

Cwicly also comes with the Cwicly Themer feature, which provides the ability to better control the templates created in the Full Site Editor and assign display conditions to them.

cwicly themer

Once you are inside the Gutenberg editor, you have access to the Cwicly Design Library. The Design Library is fairly new, but is growing quickly. You can create your own library to share across sites and you can also contribute designs to the core Cwicly Design Library.

cwicly design library

Cwicly has more than 30 blocks. They include general blocks, like Columns, Heading, Image and Button blocks, but also advanced power blocks that Query, Filter, Repeater, Code, Modal, and Hook blocks. Blocks for WooCommerce have just been released.

cwicly block list

When you are working with the block options, there are three tabs. The controls on the Primary tab vary depending on the most common settings for that block.

cwicly block settings primary tab

Available on the Primary tab, most blocks have the ability to specify Display Conditions. There is a very long list of triggers, or conditions, that can be used.

cwicly display conditions

Also off of the Primary tab are the Block Interactions settings that let you specify triggers for various actions.

cwicly block interactions

The second tab is the Design Tab. Each block has a number of panels for design options:

  • Background
  • Typography
  • Layout
  • Sizing
  • Padding and Margins
  • Borders
  • Effects
  • Transitions
  • Pseudo Classes based on state
  • Relative Styling where you can target the style of child blocks from the parent block.
cwicly block settings design tab

Finally, on the Advanced Tab you have the ability to enter custom CSS for the block, create scrolling transitions, and add attributes to blocks to target for custom programming.

cwicly block settings advanced tab

Additionally, Cwicly comes with the ability to create Global Styles, add and manage Global Classes, and work with Global Style Sheets.

cwicly global styles
cwicly global style sheets

Summary and Conclusions

Now that we have an overview of each of the products, we can compare them, highlight the differences, and the strengths of each.

Age and Focus

Stackable was released 4 years ago during the hey day of page builder friendly, general purpose themes. It has a lot of general purpose blocks fit for content editing. When Full Site Editing was released it was updated to work with it.

Cwicly was released a year ago when the Full Site Editor was added to core. While you can absolutely use Cwicly with any theme and for general content editing. The power of Cwicly is using it in the Full Site Editor as an advanced page builder.

Type of Blocks

Stackable has a good number of blocks that are focused on content. Stackable has good support for dynamic data and can be used with the Blocksy or Kadence “theme builders” as well as with the Full Site Editor, but it is not really a “theme builder” in itself.

While Cwicly has a number of blocks for general content, it also has several advanced blocks like blocks for a query builder, front end filters, repeaters, and modals. Cwicly fully leverages the Full Site Editor to provide a theme builder.

Ease of Use

Stackable is pretty easy to use. If you know how to use Gutenberg then you know how to use Stackable.

Cwicly is more developer focused and it can be more difficult to get started. When you start out you are basically creating your own theme templates which can be intimidating for newer users.

Which to Use When

Stackable is for people who want to focus on content editing but need the flexibility to work with custom fields and dynamic data. Pair Stackable with a good theme and you are up and running from the start. Cwicly is for power users who are focused on site building and most Cwicly users will be creating their own theme templates. Cwicly is more powerful, but also has a larger learning curve.

New users often think they should start with the most sophisticated option that can do the most, but seasoned site builders know to find the sweet spot that matches the tool to the project, skill level, use case, and goals. Use Stackable if you want to use the features of a good theme, blocks that support dynamic data, and need to get going fast. Use Cwicly if you need the most powerful Gutenberg solution and have the time and skills to create a bespoke site.

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. You will still pay the same amount so there is no extra cost to you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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