GeneratePress and Kadence are 2 of the most popular WordPress themes on the market. Both have a large user base and offer amazing features. Let’s find out which one is better for your needs.
GeneratePress is a lightweight theme that focuses on speed, stability and accessibility.
It has been in the business for 7 years now. It’s run by Tom Usborne, who is a web designer/developer living in Canada. He spends most of his professional time developing and supporting the theme.
Since its launch, GeneratePress proved to be one of the most stable and well supported WordPress themes on the market. Tom and his team are known to be hard working professionals who care about the product and their clients.
Kadence theme was launched in 2020 and is the new kid on the block. It relies on default WordPress functionality and its new Gutenberg block editor.
It was created by Ben Ritner, a WordPress developer living in Missoula, Montana. In April 2021, Kadence WP (the company behind Kadence theme) has been acquired by iThemes.
Ben and his team joined the new company and this helped them accelerate the expansion of their products/services.
2. Active Installations and Ratings
Both themes are used by thousands of users and most of them are more than happy, as the average rating is 5 out of 5 stars.
GeneratePress doubled the number of active installations in the last 2 years: from 200K to 400K and is now in the top 15 most popular themes in WordPress repository.
Kadence reached 100,000 active installations in just 1 year. This is pretty impressive! It’s been one of the most downloaded theme this year and is in top 10 most popular themes in the WordPress directory.
|GeneratePress||400,000+||5 out of 5 stars; 1,326 reviews ★★★★★|
|Kadence||100,000+||5 out of 5 stars; 156 reviews ★★★★★|
GeneratePress is pretty easy to customize. You can adjust the appearance from WordPress Customizer (Appearance –> Customize).
There is also a dedicated section in the WordPress admin under Appearance –> GeneratePress. From there you can access the following customization options: site identity, colors, typography, layout. That’s pretty much it.
By default, there is a limited number of options, so you can only adjust the following elements of your site:
- General settings
You can’t reset the settings for some individual items like in Kadence, there is only a Global reset option which resets all the customizer settings to the default state.
Kadence theme is extremely easy to use and customize. The most of customization options are available in the WordPress Customizer (Appearance –> Customize). From there you can adjust your website as you wish.
Here is the list of some elements that you can define and adjust in the Customizer:
- Global colors
- Page layout
- Blog layout
- Single post layout
- Search results
- Social links
- Scroll to top
Kadence has a dedicated section located under Appearance –> Kadence. There, you’ll find links to specific customization features, latest theme updates and info on how to get started.
Kadence offers more customization features than GeneratePress, and they’re presented in a logical and appealing way, so I find them aesthetically-pleasing and intuitive.
Kadence has a dedicated side panel with additional post and page options. You can access it when you edit a post or page. It provides lots of adjustment options and gives you more control on what elements to display or hide.
I find this panel easy to use and understand, as it blends with default WordPress editor settings and it’s really powerful in terms of features.
GeneratePress offers a basic set of features. The free version doesn’t have a header/footer builder. This feature is available with the Pro version.
The site library is also available in the premium version, which is kind of limiting you in terms of ready made templates, if you don’t have the budget.
Here are some unique features offered by GeneratePress:
- Lightweight and fast
- RTL languages support
- Accessible for everyone (WCAG 2.0 compatible)
- Font and typography manager
- SVG icons
- CSS optimization
- Theme builder (pro)
- Site library (pro)
- Hook system (pro)
The core options are focused on speed, stability and accessibility. Based on these 3 aspects, GeneratePress aims to help you set up a good foundation for your WordPress site.
The theme builder is pretty awesome. It’s powered by the core Gutenberg editor and GenerateBlocks and allows you to build custom elements and personalize things like: single post, post archive, sidebar, footer, header, etc.
You can even add dynamic data inside blocks using GenerateBlocks. How cool is that!
Kadence was one of the first themes to provide built-in header and footer builder. Soon, lots of other providers followed the same path.
The header/footer builder is free by default, making it a great value for all users.
The free version of Kadence includes an impressive amount of features. You can adjust pretty much every aspect of your website, using the Customizer.
Here is a list of some features available in Kadence:
- Header/footer builder
- Advanced typography features
- Advanced layout features
- Custom blog layouts
- Global colors and palettes
- Global button settings
- Social media links and icons
- Sticky header
- Scroll to top
- Responsive design controls
- Speed and SEO optimized
- Custom post type support
- Hooked elements (pro)
- Ultimate menus (pro)
- Header/footer scripts (pro)
Kadence has some really useful and granular options that other themes don’t have, for example: blog post layout settings, post updated on, author box, etc.
One of the most exciting features available in the Pro version is Hooked Elements. It’s my favorite option when it comes to theme customization.
With Hoked Elements you can add custom elements on different areas of your website:
- Entire website
- Single post or page
- Before or after the header/footer
- Before or after the content area
- Before or after sidebar
- Before after title
- Custom placement via custom hooks
You can also choose to display these elements to all users or specific users and set expire dates, so they will disappear after the defined date.
You can even replace certain template parts using the Template element type (replace header/footer, sidebar, etc.).
5. SEO Options
GeneratePress is not fully compatible with AMP. To make it work perfectly with AMP, you will need to install their simple AMP + companion plugin.
The theme is packed with some default SEO options like default schema markup and compatibility with Google AMP. However, to fully benefit from advanced SEO features, you will need to use a dedicated WordPress plugin.
Speed and customer support are two of the main priorities for the team behind GeneratePress, making it one of the fastest themes in the market.
The theme is bloat free and has zero dependencies. The page size is less than 10kb and there are only 2 HTTP requests, so scoring 100 in PSI is relatively easy.
It really isn’t that hard to get a 100 score in Google PageSpeed Insights tool with Kadence, but I don’t think you should be obsessed with that.
Additional remark on performance
There are multiple tests on web comparing these 2 themes. Some of them claim that Kadence is faster than GeneratePress, which is pretty hard to prove.
These are all emulated tests which don’t replicate real world performance. I don’t care if one theme loads 0.1 sec faster than the other. The truth is: both themes are super fast and performance oriented.
That’s pretty much everything you need to know about performance.
7. Starter Templates
GeneratePress offers a decent amount of starter sites (about 75 templates). These are categorized in 3 groups: business, e-commerce, blog and can be used for a wide variety of websites.
The designs are not super fancy, but are functional and look clean and minimalist. If you don’t need anything special or know how to add creative stuff, these themes can be a good starting point.
The downside is: starter sites are only available in the Premium version, so you won’t be able to install any theme demos by default.
Kadence offers more than 30 starter templates by default. That’s not a huge selection of designs, but it should be enough for most users.
The layouts look fresh and modern and can be easily imported via the Kadence Starter Templates plugin. You’ll be asked if you want to install the plugin, after you activate the theme.
I find the import feature very useful, as you can choose what pages to import, the color scheme, font and additional required plugins. You can also choose to override the global colors and fonts or keep the existing ones.
8. Page Builders
GeneratePress is compatible with all major WordPress page builders:
The theme takes full advantage of the default Gutenberg block editor, so you don’t have to use a page builder to create your website if you don’t want to.
Even so, you might want to use the GenerateBlocks plugin to create more advanced designs.
GenerateBlocks plugin doesn’t provide as many blocks as Kadence blocks and is more developer focused, so average users might find it a little difficult to use.
Kadence works well with most popular WordPress page builders:
However, it has been primarily optimized for Gutenberg editor and if you want to get the most of it, you should use this combination: Kadence + Gutenberg.
Additionally, if you install the Kadence Blocks plugin, you will get even more customization options right inside WordPress.
With Kadence Blocks you can easily build whole pages and add extra functionality like: contact forms, testimonials, countdowns, etc.
Since the default Gutenberg editor is not that powerful, the team behind Kadence created a superior block builder, so props to them for that!
GeneratePress doesn’t provide integrations with 3rd party plugins, except WooCommerce. That’s probably becasue they want to keep the theme stable and lightning fast.
This approach is great for perfomance and stability, but doesn’t offer deafult options for those looking to use popular WordPress plugins.
Kadence provides the following major integrations:
- Tutor LMS
- The Events Calendar
- Restrict Content Pro
That’s a decent list of integrations, so it should be enough for most users. If you need some extra functionality, you can anytime use 3rd party tools or plugins.
GeneratePress pricing is simple and straightforward. There are 2 premium plans: yearly and lifetime.
With the yearly plan you get access to all premium features:
- Theme builder
- Site library
- WooCommerce integration
- Advanced hook system
- More layout options
- More styling options
Although GeneratePress doesn’t provide lots of options like Kadence, the price is affordable. You can also use the theme on up to 500 websites, which is generous.
Here is an overview of the premium plans:
|Yearly plan||Lifetime plan|
|$59 / year||$249 / one time|
|All premium features||All premium features|
|Access to all starter sites||Access to all starter sites|
|1 year of updates||Lifetime updates|
|1 year of premium support||Lifetime premium support|
|Use on up to 500 websites||Use on up to 500 websites|
|30 day money-back guarantee||30 day money-back guarantee|
Kadence offers 2 types of plans: Kadence Theme Pro and Bundles.
If you only need the premium theme you can go for Kadence Pro plan. Here are the premium features that you get:
- Header add-ons
- WooCommerce add-on
- Header/footer scripts
- Ultimate menu
- Fixed elements
- Hooked elements
The best value for money however are the Bundle plans. For only $149 you get Kadence Pro + Kadence Blocks Pro + all Pro Starter Templates.
The full bundle gives you access to all existing premium themes and plugins + all future products. There is also a lifetime plan which offers you lifetime access to everything.
Here is an overview of Kadence Pro and Bundle plans:
|Kadence Pro||Essential Bundle||Full Bundle|
|Use on unlimited sites||Use on unlimited sites||Use on unlimited sites|
|1 year support and updates||1 year support and updates||1 year support and updates|
|30 day satisfaction guarantee||30 day satisfaction guarantee||30 day satisfaction guarantee|
|Kadence Theme Pro||Kadence Theme Pro||Kadence Theme Pro|
|Kadence Blocks Pro||Kadence Blocks Pro|
|Pro Starter Templates||Pro Starter Templates|
|Kadence Shop Kit|
|Access to all themes and plugins|
|Access to all future products|
GeneratePress provides the following support options:
- Knowledge base
- Free support via forum
- Premium support via forum
- Private Facebook group
Support is the number 1 priority for GeneratePress team. They try to answer within 24 hours (usually within 12 hours). They’re also open and transparent about their future plans and releases.
Kadence provides the following support options:
- Knowledge base
- Email support (ticket system)
- Support forums
- Video tutorials
- Private Facebook group
Kadence offers decent support options and while the community is growing, there will be more tutorials and guides on how to get the most of it.
GeneratePress is a light, fast, stable and accessible theme for those who don’t require lots of options by default and have a web development background.
If you like building things from scratch, and know how to do it, GeneratePress might be a good fondation for your website.
Kadence theme is a great choice for non technical users, who need a fresh/modern looking website which is fast, SEO friendly and offers multiple features right out of the box.
It’s also a good fit for users with more advanced technical skills, as it offers hooks, script management options and WooCommerce features.