Top React Component Libraries
We’re going to explore the top React libraries and how to choose the right one for your next project.
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6 Things to Consider When Choosing a React Component Library
Below are six things to consider when choosing a React library for your next project. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and some of these factors may not apply to the product you’re building.
GitHub’s star rating allows you to quickly compare each React library’s popularity. The weekly downloads on npm also show how many people use the component library. Generally speaking, a React library’s popularity means it’s well established and serves its purpose.
Like star rating, a library’s GitHub issues can tell you a lot about its popularity and how well it’s maintained. Even if the library has minimal issues, do any of these affect the product you’re trying to build?
Documentation & Support
Documentation is an important consideration when choosing a React library. You want to avoid running to Stack Overflow every time you run into trouble or want to know how to use specific components. Good documentation is updated regularly and gives you a comprehensive understanding of the library.
You also want to know if the React library has support directly from the creators or via a dedicated community forum. There are times when you need expert advice to overcome challenges. The ability to reach out for help (even if that means paying) is crucial to get issues sorted quickly and keep the project moving.
One of the downsides to using a component library is its constraints and lack of customization. For some projects, customization isn’t a factor, but if you’re looking to develop a unique UI, the ability to build your own design system is vital.
Explore the library’s documentation to see if they offer instructions for customizing the components and how easily you can achieve your desired results.
Browser or Device Compatibility
Depending on the app you’re designing, you’ll want to know the component library’s browser and mobile compatibility. The quickest way to research browser/device compatibility is by searching GitHub’s issues or Stack Overflow.
Accessibility is a time-consuming but necessary consideration for digital product design. If a React library hasn’t considered accessibility when designing components, then it’s something you’re going to have to do yourself, which takes us back to points 3 and 4–documentation and customization.
5 Top React Libraries
These are our five best React libraries for 2022.
Note: Information regarding GitHub stars and NPM downloads are accurate as of Jan 2022.
- GitHub Stars: 73.8k
- Weekly NPM Downloads: 2.3M
- Official website: mui.com
MUI is one of the most comprehensive and widely used React component libraries. The library is built on Google’s Material Design UI, one of the most extensive UI kits in the world.
MUI – Components
MUI has a massive component library for designers to build everything from mobile and web applications, websites, and even wearable apps.
MUI Core features fundamental UI components you see in everyday digital products, while MUI X offers a list of advanced React components for building complex user interfaces, like data tables, data pickers, charts, and more.
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MUI – Theming & Customization
One of MUI’s biggest appeals is the ability to theme and customize components. Designers can use MUI as a foundation to scale designs fast but also adapt the library to build a custom design system for their product or organization.
Designers can also take advantage of Material Design and MUI’s comprehensive guidelines to avoid usability issues when customizing components.
MUI also has a template marketplace to purchase React theme templates for dashboards, eCommerce websites, landing pages, and more.
MUI – Documentation
MUI’s documentation is as detailed and comprehensive as its component library. Its curators have taken great care to provide designers and developers with step-by-step instructions and guidelines for installation, usage, customization, accessibility, and more.
There are also tons of videos on YouTube from MUI’s large community of users and contributors offering best practices, tutorials, tips and tricks, how-to guides, and more.
- GitHub Stars: 20.3k
- Weekly NPM Downloads: 879,780
- Official website: react-bootstrap.github.io
Founded in 2011, Bootstrap is one of the oldest and most popular open-source CSS frameworks for websites and web applications. Bootstrap was one of the first CSS frameworks to prioritize mobile-first web development, allowing designers to build and scale responsive websites quickly.
React-Bootstrap – Components
If you’re familiar with Bootstrap, then you’ll instantly recognize React-Bootstrap’s generic-looking component library. Like its CSS predecessor, React-Bootstrap features UI components that favor web design rather than mobile applications.
React-Bootstrap – Theming & Customization
React-Bootstrap is very generic with minimal styling, making it easy for designers to tweak and customize. Bootstrap’s defined classes and variants make it easy to select and customize components using CSS.
Due to Bootstrap’s long history and wide usage, you can find tons of free and premium React-Bootstrap themes and templates for everything from admin dashboards to multiple purpose websites, eCommerce, landing pages, and more.
React-Bootstrap – Documentation
React-Bootstrap has excellent documentation, albeit not as detailed and comprehensive as MUI. React-Bootstrap’s simplicity and naming convention make it one of the easiest React libraries to understand, use, and customize.
Bootstrap is also featured extensively on Stack Overflow, so you’ll likely find answers to most issues. There are also loads of blogs and YouTube videos offering advice, tutorials, design projects, and more.
Semantic UI React
- GitHub Stars: 12.6k
- Weekly NPM Downloads: 218,320
- Official website: react.semantic-ui.com
Semantic UI React is a popular alternative to React-Bootstrap. Like React-Bootstrap, Semantic UI started as an open-source CSS framework that its contributors used to build React components.
Semantic UI React – Components
Semantic UI React offers an extensive range of UI components for websites and web applications. The components provide cleaner, more modern styling than Bootstrap while remaining minimalist and simplistic.
Semantic UI React uses the FontAwesome icon set, including over 1,600 free icons and 7,864 Pro (paid).
Semantic UI React – Theming & Customization
Semantic UI uses an intuitive, straightforward naming convention that makes it easy to customize components. The documentation also provides a step-by-step guide for theming with Semantic UI React. Unlike MUI and React-Bootstrap, Semantic has very few template options.
Semantic UI React – Documentation
Semantic UI React’s interactive documentation provides you with CodeSandbox examples to inspect the code and play around with components.
The docs also allow you to switch between an example, code, and props to visualize the component from multiple angles.
Ant Design (AntD)
- GitHub Stars: 76.6k
- Weekly NPM Downloads: 681,434
- Official website: ant.design/docs/react/introduce
Ant Design (AntD) is another popular, widely used React component library developed by Ant Group–parent company to Alibaba, China’s biggest online marketplace. Like MUI, AntD offers a vast component library for both web and mobile applications.
Ant Design – Components
AntD has a massive component library for desktop and mobile, including UI patterns like infinite scroll and pull-to-refresh for mobile devices. Ant Design ProComponents offers a range of advanced React UI elements ( similar to MUI X) for building complex interfaces.
Ant Design – Theming & Customization
AntD uses design tokens or variables for devs to customize and theme components. The UI library uses Less and provides a complete list of all AntD variables in GitHub.
Ant Design – Documentation
AntD’s comprehensive documentation provides step-by-step instructions for using and customizing. You can also inspect each component in CodeSandBox, CodePen, or StackBlitz.
- GitHub Stars: 22.8k
- Weekly NPM Downloads: 182,166
- Official website: chakra-ui.com
Chakra UI is a Nigerian-based React component library founded by Segun Adebayo. You can choose between Chakra’s free component library or Chakra UI Pro, which offers pre-made complex UI components to build interfaces faster.
Chakra UI – Components
The stylish UI components look similar to Semantic UI, with dark and light options available.
Chakra UI – Theming & Customization
Chakra’s designers created the UI library to be fully customized using variables to meet product and brand requirements. Charka also integrates with Create React App, Framer Motion, React Hook Form, and React Table to extend the library’s usage and customization.
Chakra UI – Documentation
Chakra UI has excellent documentation with guides, video tutorials, examples, FAQs, links to connect with core team members, and an active Discord community.
Chakra’s users are extremely passionate and enthusiastic about the React library, and there’s always someone to connect with to ask questions.
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