top 20 most popular wordpress block themes

I’ve taken a look at the most popular classic themes for three years in a row. This last time people mentioned that it would be interesting to do something similar for block themes. I hadn’t compared block themes before and didn’t really know much about them, except that they work in the new Site Editor.

I learned some interesting things about block themes that I didn’t realize before which has me looking at them in a new way. I’ll share that in the discussion at the end, but you’ll see what I’m talking about as we go along.

There is no easy way to get stats on block themes except by looking at them one by one, so I at the 290 available when I started this project. I made a list of all of the ones with at least a 1,000 active installs. Only a thousand? Yes, block themes are new and the Site Editor just came out of beta a month ago. Install numbers are lower than classic themes with the most popular block theme having more than 10,000 active installs, which is of course many times fewer than the most popular classic theme, Astra, which has more than a million active installs. In all there were 55 block themes with more than 1,000 active installs. That is too many to look at here, so I’ll look at the first 9, which takes us to the ones having at least 3,000 active installs, and then look at a few others which I think are interesting.

Video Version

Number 1 Raft, Nine Jaxon, Number 11 Riverbank, and Number 13 Fork

raft by themeisle

Raft is the number one most popular block theme with more than 10,000 active installs. When you install it you are prompted to also install their block plugin OtterBlocks. OtterBlocks Pro works in the Site Editor and supports dynamic data. These themes are from ThemeIsle, which is one of the top tier classic theme shops.

Number 2 Zeever, Number 3 Intrace, and Number 4 Startupzy

zeever wp org

Zeever, Intrace, and Startupzy are from Jeg Studio and promoted under the Gutenverse brand. The themes are stylish and attractive and it is not hard to see why they would be popular. They make the free Gutenverse block plugin that includes 45 blocks, has more than 20,000 active installs and targets the Site Editor. Gutenverse hasn’t been on my radar because the blocks don’t support dynamic data, but the Gutenverse blocks do come with their own enhanced version of the placeholder blocks for Post Title, Post Author, Post Excerpt, etc. So even though they don’t support dynamic data, they have blocks for use in the Site Editor to create standard templates for posts, archives, and pages.

Number 5 Zoologist and Blockbase Number 19


Zoologist is a theme from Automattic. It is a child theme of Blockbase. It is one of the oldest in the list, being about 2 years old. It is a very attractive theme with a number of color style sets in the Site Editor.

Number 6 Bjork and Number 17 Oaknut


Bjork and Oaknut are themes by Anders Noren, a well known theme author. Both are very stylish. Bjork is a minimalist theme and Oaknut is a Linktree type of theme for social profiles. Oaknut has a lot of color options in the Site Editor for customization.

Number 7 Extendable


Extendable, by Extendify, is another very attractive theme. It is developed on Github.

Number 12 Greenshift


Greenshift by WPSoul is one of the newer themes that is bringing some of the advanced features of Classic themes to block themes. It is paired with the Greenshift blocks plugin which supports advanced animation and styles. The pro version of the Greenshift plugin supports dynamic data. Greenshift is made for the Site Editor and creating templates.

Number 20 Spectra One

spectra one

This is the newest theme on the list. It also sports advanced options found in Classic themes. It is paired with the Spectra blocks plugin. Spectra Pro is being worked on, but has not yet been released.

The List of Top Block Themes

As with my previous reviews of top 10 classic themes, the list is based on the number of active installs. Of the 299 block themes, only 56 have more than a thousand active installs. This image shows the top 20 with some extra information like the author, if they have addons, and when they were last updated.

top 20 block themes

Here is the full list of block themes with more than 1,000 active installs.

Elevated Lite2000
Gutenify Hustle2000
Spectra One1000
Inspiro Blocks1000
Paloma FSE1000
Gutenify FSE1000
Arc FSE1000
Sparkle FSE1000
Auto Car Dealership1000
YITH Wonder1000
Gutenify Photography1000
Catch FSE1000
Ona Minimal1000

Discussion and Concusions

In the beginning of the video I showed the difference between classic and block themes for how to not showing a date. Classic themes are easier, you could click an option in the Customizer, but you are limited to whatever options the theme author makes available. Block themes have much more control and freedom, but also require more skill not to screw it up. You don’t have the same guardrails as with the Customizer. This is one of the differences between classic and block themes.

Another one is focus. Today the most popular classic themes are general purpose themes with tons of options. Many of the options , especially in pro versions, go way beyond layout and design. The feature list of classic themes is one reason people looking at block themes might ask, “is that all there is?” What we see with block themes is that they are focused more on design. Along with this design focus was a return to a focus, in some cases, on niches, something classic themes used to have but that was replaced by general purpose page builder themes. Some of the themes we looked at had extensive lists of patterns and templates and some of them were popular just for their design.

Most of the top block themes, however, had something extra going for them. A few of the themes had pro versions that added more designs and features. Some also had companion block plugins that greatly extend the theme. A couple of the block addons started to bring the kinds of features people are used to seeing in classic themes, and I imagine this will expand more. A few of the block addons supported custom fields and dynamic data, which could be leveraged in the Site Editor to build advanced templates.

Comparatively, install numbers for block themes is much lower and block themes are just starting to catch people’s attention. I found it very interesting to see that ThemeIsle and Brainstorm Force, two of the big players in classic themes, had a strong presence in the top 20. I’m interested in working with Custom Post Types and dynamic data, so for me the ones to watch are Raft, Greenshift, and Spectra One.

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