There was a lot of hype around Kadence theme in the past year. Was it justified? Let’s find out.
In this article I’ll talk about Kadence theme, its features, designs, pros/cons and try to clarify their multiple premium options, so you can decide if it’s a good fit for your website.
What is Kadence Theme?
They also have several handy plugins, including Kadence Blocks, which is a block/page builder for Gutenberg editor (the latest editor launched by WordPress in 2018).
Kadence WP (the company) has been acquired by iThemes (which is a part of Liquid Web) in 2021. In any case, Ben Ritner, the founder of Kadence WP and his team are still operating the business and deciding its future.
This acquisition gave him the opportunity to invest more in theme development and support, thus releasing more features and improving the product
Ben didn’t come up with something completely new. He did a good job by replicating the best features from the top WordPress themes on the market and packing them in one product, which proved to be pretty nice.
Kadence Theme Pros 👍
- Lots of free built-in features
- Free header/footer builder
- Mobile oriented
- Lightweight and performance oriented
- Gutenberg ready
- WooCommerce ready
- Can be enhanced with Kadence Blocks plugin
Kadence Theme Cons 👎
- Relatively small team
- Confusing branding: Kadence themes, Kadence WP, Kadence blocks, etc.
- Confusing plans: pro version, pro blocks, bundles, add-ons, etc.
- No white-label option
Overall Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Page builders compatibility
Customization and Design
You have 2 ways to access the layout options:
- Go to your WordPress admin – Appearance – Customize
- Go to your WordPress admin – Appearance – Kadence
Either way, you will end up in the WordPress Customizer, where you will be able to adjust the design of your website, powered by Kadence theme.
The design options are pretty granular, so you can play around and adjust them until you get the desired result in terms of appearance.
Here is the breakdown of the main sections:
- Page layout
- Blog posts
- Search results
Let’s go through each section and see what options we have inside:
In this area you can adjust the following parts and elements of your website:
Layout – define the width, spacing and other layout options for your content
Sidebar – define the width, spacing and design of your sidebar. Enable sticky sidebar
Colors – here you can choose and apply a global color palette and define the background colors for various sections
Buttons – set up the colors, fonts, padding, shadow and other properties for your buttons
Typography – choose fonts and define their style, size, colors, etc. There is a cool font pairing feature allowing you to choose appealing font combinations and apply them
Scroll to top – a few themes have this feature by default, especially in the free version. You can even adjust the design of the icon. Thumbs up for that
404 page layout – define the layout of your 404 page
Comments – choose to remove comments field or display it above all comments
Breadcrumbs – display breadcrumbs on your website. It works with the following SEO plugins: Yoast, Rank Math, SEOPress
Social links – insert the links to your social media profiles. The icons will be displayed in the header/footer at your choice. Also, the icons are in SVG format, meaning that they will load fast
Performance – enable some performance features to speed up your web pages
Here you can adjust your header and footer and their appearance for desktop and mobile devices. You can learn more about these options in the Features section below.
In this area you have multiple preferences to customize your single pages. These are global settings that affect all the pages on your site, but you can also override them on the page level in WordPress editor.
The section includes 2 tabs:
The General tab includes the following options:
- Page title – show or hide page title
- Default page layout – define the layout of your pages. It can be: normal, narrow, full width, left/right sidebar
- Page default sidebar – choose to display sidebar 1 or 2, which you can adjust in the Appearance – Widgets area
- Content style – display content boxed or unboxed
- Vertical padding – enable or disable the top/bottom padding
- Featured image – display or hide the featured image
- Comments – display or hide comment on pages
The Design tab has these preferences:
- Page title – define the colors and fonts for breadcrumbs and meta values
- Default page layout – adjust the site and content background colors
In the design tab there are 2 features you probably didn’t know about: 1. allows you to change the transparency of the color 2. allows you to preview the selected font
One my favorite sections in Kadence theme, as it provides extensive customization options for single blog posts and archive page.
Blog posts area includes 2 sections:
- Single post layout – global settings for single blog posts
- Archive layout – the blog page where all your blog posts are displayed
Every section has 2 tabs:
- General – define general settings
- Design – adjust colors and fonts
The settings are similar to Page layout section described above. In addition, there are a few extra preferences related exclusively to blog posts. Here they are:
For single post layout
- Post title layout – display the title above content or in content
- Title elements – show or hide additional elements like: categories, excerpt, meta, breadcrumbs. Additionally, reorder the elements and further customize every element. This is very handy!
- Featured image position – choose to display the featured image above, below or behind the title
- Featured image ratio – select from different ratios. The image will be cropped accordingly
- Show/hide post elements – select to show or hide different post elements like comments, author box, related posts, etc.
- Related posts columns – you can display related posts in 2, 3 or 4 columns
- Post archive columns – display the list of all blog posts in 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns
- Item image placement – choose to show the featured image beside or above the title and its elements
- Content vertical alignment – align content of the blog post cards to the top or center
The settings in this section are similar to those from Page layout and Blog posts sections described above, except that these ones are for the search results page.
Unlike block based WordPress themes, Kadence still offers support for widgets. I find that the old way of adding widgets and sidebars is still the best way to do it.
Kadence theme offers 8 widget areas by default. With the pro version you get even more.
To add blocks to your widgets or edit existing widgets go to Appearance – Widgets or go to Appearance – Customize – Widgets. You can add any blocks to your widgets, be it default blocks, Kadence Blocks or any other 3rd party blocks.
Note about FSE
By the way, the theme doesn’t support Full Site Editing yet, and that’s great in my opinion as FSE has been launched recently and doesn’t look like a finite/polished product.
The team behind Kadence is already working on a version which will be compatible with full site editing. You will have the option to enable FSE at your choice.
Kadence theme includes lots of features right out of the box. Here is a list of some main options that are available in the free version:
- Header/footer builder
- Advanced typography features
- Advanced layout features
- Global colors and palettes
- Scroll to top
- Social media links and icons
- Sticky header
- Responsive design controls
- Speed and SEO optimized
- Mobile first
Most of the features are managed via WordPress Customizer (WordPress admin – Appearance – Customize). From there you’ll be able to adjust pretty much everything that’s related to your site’s design and functionality.
The options are well organized and the interface is appealing and easy to use.
What makes Kadence theme stand out is its header/footer builder. A lot of other themes do not provide this option (at least in their free version).
You can add up to 3 rows in your header and up to 3 columns in each row. There is a predefined list of items that you can drag and drop to your header. These are:
- Primary navigation
- Secondary navigation
- Social media links
All these items can be further customized and placed in whatever row or columns you like. Also, you can adjust the header in multiple ways: change its width, height, color, make it transparent or sticky and adjust the mobile header options.
The pro version includes header addons with more than 20 new header elements like: dividers, extra buttons and widgets, contact items, search bar, extra HTML and more.
The footer builder works in a similar way, except that you can also add up to 6 widgets.
Another useful feature is the ability to change the page layout, style, header, etc. inside WordPress editor, when you edit that page.
To access it, click on the Page Setting icon from the right side panel. Here you have the following preferences:
- Transparent header – enable or disable
- Page title – show or hide the title on any page
- Page layout – define the layout of a page. You can make it: full width, normal, narrow or show the sidebar. This option overrides the global layout settings
- Content style – display the content in a boxed or unboxed area, or use the global settings
- Featured image – show or hide the featured image on any page
- Disable header/footer – display or hide the header or footer on any page
And finally, one of my favorite features available in the Pro version is Hooked Elements. It makes the theme even more powerful in terms of customization.
With Hoked Elements you can add custom elements on different areas of your website. For example:
- 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.).
Example: let’s say you want to display a promotion banner below your header on all pages. This is possible with Hooked Elements.
It will only load the required files on a page, keeping it light fast. Additionally, Kadence works well with AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and is compatible with popular WordPress AMP plugins.
This is very useful if you’re obsessed by speed and need a really fast website.
I’ve imported the Kadence SAAS demo template on a fresh WordPress install and tested it in Google PageSpeed Insights, without making any optimizations or changes.
Here are the results:
As you can see it scores pretty well. Giving the fact that I didn’t optimize it at all. If you choose a reliable hosting and use an optimization plugin like SG Optimizer, you’ll be able to make it even faster.
Kadence adds some default schema markup to your site, but you can enhance this by using a dedicated WordPress plugin.
Compatibility with Page Builders
Kadence plays well with most popular WordPress page builders like:
I think that Kadence + Gutenberg editor is a great duo, as you can use the built-in features of Kadence and create new layouts and add extra functionality with Kadence Blocks. This would be my preferred set up.
If you like the default editor Gutenberg, you can use it to build your whole site, as all your blocks will be available and editable in the WordPress editor. For that, you simply need the Kadence Blocks plugin.
I still think that Gutenberg is not perfect. In my opinion, the experience is not there yet, but it’s getting better. Thank God we have Kadence Blocks plugin which improves dramatically the default editor.
If you’re familiar with Elementor, you can use it to power your site. Kadence theme works just fine with Elementor, so it’s an option too.
Kadence offers a decent number of templates by default. The team is working hard to release new themes. Currently, there are more than 80 starter template which should be enough for most users.
In order to import demo templates, you’ll need to install the Kadence Starter Templates plugin. Then, go to WP admin – Appearance – Starter Templates choose the preferred page builder (currently, it’s Gutenberg or Elementor) and import your demos.
I find the import options very useful, as you can choose the color scheme, font and additional required plugins.
Kadence also includes wireframe blocks. This recent options allows you to quickly build layouts and plan/structure your page’s design before they go live.
Wireframes are available with Kadence Blocks plugin for both free and premium users.
To add wireframe blocks, follow these steps:
- Create a new post or page
- Click on Design Library – Wireframe
- Choose the wireframe you need
- Click to add it and save the page/post
There are more than 50 wireframe blocks available across different categories: content, promo, pricing tables, testimonials, etc.
Kadence works well and has been integrated with the following plugins:
- Tutor LMS
- The Events Calendar
- Restrict Content Pro
That’s not a big list of integrations, but it should be enough, if you don’t have some special requirements.
When it comes to pricing, things become a little confusing. Let me clarify everything.
First of all, let’s see what are the different premium options. Here they are:
- Kadence Theme Pro – access to premium features for Kadence theme
- Kadence Blocks Pro – access to premium blocks for Gutenberg blocks plugin by Kadence
- Kadence Bundles – access to all premium plugins and themes, including Kadence Theme Pro, Kadence Blocks Pro and all Kadence add-ons
- Kadence Add-ons – access to individual tools/plugins for extra functionality, for example sliders
With Kadence Theme Pro version, you get more advanced features. Some of them are:
- 20 header elements
- Ultimate menus (similar to Mega menus)
- Hooked elements
- Fixed elements
- Header/footer scripts
- WooCommerce enhancements
- Use on unlimited sites
- 1 year support and updates
Now, let’s see what is the difference between Kadence Theme Pro and Kadence Bundles:
|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|
The Full Bundle is a pretty awesome deal for only $219/year, as you get access to all existing themes/plugins/add-ons and all future releases.
You can also get the lifetime plan, which is $699 meaning that you can benefit from lifetime support and updates + access to all future products.
If you compare the free vs pro version, it’s definitely worth getting the premium product as you get so much more in terms of functionality and design. There is also an introductory 25% discount for new users.
The team provides the following support options:
- Extensive documentation
- FAQ page
- Dedicated Facebook group
- Support via a ticketing system
The documentation is detailed, well organized and easy to understand. There is a private group on Facebook with lots of enthusiasts ready to answer your questions.
They provide support to all users (including free users) via a ticketing system. To receive support you need a free or premium account.
You can also ask support questions in the WordPress theme directory (Kadence theme -> Support forum) and Kadence team members will reply over there.
Apart from offering multiple support options, the guys from Kadence are transparent and open about their future plans. They are constantly releasing new features and they listen to the community feedback.
If you’re curious about all theme releases, you can browse the free and premium theme changelog which is publicly available on their website.
Free theme – current version 1.1.31, updated on 3rd of November 2022
Pro theme – current version 1.0.7, updated on 22nd of September 2022
This is a public list of feature requests. The community decides by votes what features should be considered and included in the future releases. The requests have different statuses: planned, started, under review, completed, declined, etc.
Currently, the most popular featured requests are:
- White label option – planned
- Dynamic content – started
- Built-in maintenance mode – under review
- Individual archive layout controls – planned
- Padding and margin control – started
This is a general overview of what is the team working on. It doesn’t necessarily represent the official roadmap and is based on the feature requests described above.
Is Kadence Theme Pro worth your money?
Yes, if you require some extra functionality for your header/footer, WooCommerce features, ultimate menus, various fixed elements, premium support/updates and also need to display custom elements via hooks.
Who is this theme for?
Kadence theme is a nice choice for non technical users, who care about their site speed and SEO and need multiple options right out of the box.
It’s also a good fit for users with some development background, as it offers hooks, script management options and WooCommerce features.
Need a stylish, fast & SEO friendly Kadence theme?
Have a look at Narita theme! It’s an elegant, minimalist, modern and airy WordPress child theme for Kadence. It’s simple, yet powerful and includes a variety of features to help you showcase your works in a creative way.