Bootstrap vs Material Design Lite

bootstrap vs material design lite
bootstrap vs material design lite logo comparison

Hi and welcome to, in this article, Bootstrap vs Material Design Lite (MDL), I am going to compare these two most popular front-end frameworks . We will start of by their key differences and later dive into more detailed comparison.

Bootstrap vs Material Design Lite – Quick Comparison


  1. Twitter Team founded Bootstrap.
  2. Bootstrap has a very rich documentation.
  3. You can style almost all HTML elements.
  4. It gives you an advance grid system.
  5. Gives you an average looking design which is neither too stylish nor too dull.
  6. It has a large community.


Material Design Lite

  1. Material Design Lite was made by Google.
  2. It is more complicated than bootstrap because its components are built by joining multiple classes.
  3. MDL is not so rich in its components.
  4. Has very basic grid system that cover only basic functionality.
  5. Has fresh looks and features including colors and advance animation.
  6. It is popular on GitHub but still don’t have large community.


Key Differences:

Before giving you some examples I will first discuss some major differences between:

Bootstrap vs Material design lite.


Twitter Team founded Bootstrap. Their aim was to make websites more responsive and more eye catching than ever. In bootstrap framework you will get a lot of new components along with several other options like customization for development of web applications.

Material Design Lite was made by Google in order to expand their concept of material design for web applications. It only gives you the basic building blocks for developing material applications and the remaining outlook depends on how users use it.

Development Experience:

For development purposes Bootstrap has a very rich documentation. Developers can easily use code (just copy and paste it) in their projects.

Material Design is more complicated than bootstrap because its components are built by joining multiple classes. This approach is very effective but sometimes the HTML become more Complex and difficult to understand. 


You can style almost all HTML elements which can fit into web pages effectively. Bootstrap has a large number of additional components for design purposes.

MDL is not so rich in its components. However MDL has animation options and also have very beautiful templates. MDL websites are usually more simplistic but more elegant than those based on bootstrap.


Bootstrap gives you an advance grid system having offsets, column wrapping and hiding, you can also reorder columns according to your need.

In MDL you will see very basic grid system that can cover almost all basic functionality. But when you will going to develop advance websites then it will not support that.


Bootstrap gives you an average looking design which is neither too stylish nor too dull. But you can choose plenty of different themes and template for your website.

MDL gives you fresh looks and features with eye catching colors and more advanced animation than bootstrap.


 This is where the main difference lie between the two. Bootstrap has a large community because it has been around for quite some time. They produce a number of themes, plugins and other stuff like blog posts.

MDL is not very old but has already become popular on GitHub. Still MDL is not as rich as bootstrap and most of the time developers are on their own.


Now let me show you some practical implementation of bootstrap vs material design lite. Here we have prepared some examples that will be very helpful in choosing the better framework for you.

  1. Grid

The grid plays very important role in development of responsive web apps. You can design for smartphones to desktop.

In bootstrap you can divide any size of screen into 12 equal segments. There are four different classes which we use for different platforms.

  1. Extra small or ‘xs’ (0 to 768px wide)
  2. Small or ‘sm’ (768 to 992px wide)
  3. Medium or ‘md’ (992 to 1200px wide)
  4. Large or ‘lg’ (1200px +)


MDL grid system is similar to bootstrap. It has three classes or sizes. The main difference between both is that, as discuss before bootstrap has 12 equal segments of all kind of screens whereas in MDL these segments are different in different platforms. In MDL there are three sizes.

  1. Phone ‘4 Columns’ (0 to 480px wide)
  2. Tablet ‘8 Columns’ (480 to 840px wide)
  3. Desktop ’12 Columns’ (840px wide)


Bootstrap gives you more control than MDL, in Bootstrap you can hide, offset, and also reorder columns which is very useful in responsive web design. On other hand empty columns have to be restored in achieve offsets. But it will be fixed hopefully very soon.

  1. Header Navigation

In bootstrap headers are known as Navbars. In mobile view they collapse and whenever they get some space they become horizontal.

Similarly, In MDL there is a hamburger menu behind that the navbar collapse and become horizontal when get enough space;

  1. Footer

Bootstrap does not have any specific component for footer.

Whereas MDL gives you two options for footer one is Mini Footer and other one is Mega footer.

  1. Tabs

Both Frameworks use almost same syntax for creating tabs and also they both require JavaScript. Only bootstrap need JQuery as well.

  1. Button

A bunch of different sizes and options are in bootstrap. The default layout of buttons is rectangular. Color of button can be changed via CSS and also there modifier classes Success, Danger, Warning Etc. There is another interesting and unique feature is half button and also half Dropdown.

  1. Tables

Before Bootstrap it was nearly impossible to make responsive tables. But now using bootstrap you can add responsiveness to your tables and also scroll bar to scroll your table where it is very large in length or in width.

MDL did not add this responsiveness feature yet. But they have make tables more beautiful than bootstrap. Another distinguished features of MDL is that it allows you to align your content anywhere in table by using its classes , similar to Excel.

  1. Forms

Bootstrap supports different types of input fields. Labels and input fields can be aligned by classes. It does not support out of box validation for that you will have to use library like Parsley.

MDL supports very few input elements but those few elements are having material animation which make them more pleasing, and also they have validation.

  1. Dropdown Menu

This feature is almost same in both framework and both requires JavaScript.

In Bootstrap you can add separator line between two list items and also can add heading.

In MDL you can add animations which is replacement of  “display: none/block” of bootstrap.

  1. Tooltips

Tooltip is a feature in which you can add attributes to button and on hover that attribute display. In this framework they allow us two types of tooltips. One is simple tooltip and the other one is with heading, separator and content.

MDL gives this option in different way. It allows us in two different ways , we can use it with button and also we can use it using span element. But only drawback is that it only shows downward.

They both need JavaScript for this feature.

  1. Icons

Bootstrap has bundle of 250 icons and we can use them simply by adding CSS file. It does not need any special setup.

MDL use icons that google has released known as material icons. These are nearly 500 icons but these icons are not bundled with MDL. You will have to link it in HEAD for using those icons.

<link rel=”stylesheet” href=””>


Now, For the reason that Material design has beautiful templates, I will prefer Material design lite for short projects. Due to its limited components, you can only use it in simple projects.

Whereas, In comparison of Bootstrap vs material design lite, Bootstrap gives you a way more than MDL. So, For complex and large project I will prefer Bootstrap over MDL.