Gutenberg first appeared a few years ago and was said to be the future of page editing in WordPress. And now, the latest version - Gutenberg 9.7 has just been released and proven that it’s not only the future of page editing but also more than that. With Gutenberg and a starter WordPress theme - free or paid, you can easily build your website with many powerful blocks.

So, we came up with an idea to review some of the most popular Gutenberg-compatible WordPress themes you can use as a starter theme.

What Features Do You Need in a Gutenberg-Compatible WordPress Theme?

A good Gutenberg-compatible theme should meet these requirements:

  • Display all the Gutenberg core blocks nicely
  • Support extra features like font sizes, color palette, background gradient, background colors, ...
  • Synchronize the settings in the Customizer and the style in Gutenberg
  • Support block patterns and display them well
  • Support full-site editing. This feature will appear on WordPress 5.8. Now, it’s experimental. But let’s see if any themes support it yet.

Besides, we are going to see if the theme has its own Gutenberg plugin and how it works.

Here is the review of some most popular Gutenberg themes in 2021. Trust me, the review is fair and unbiased.

Astra

You all may hear about this famous freemium multipurpose WordPress theme at least once. Along with its strong compatibility with page builders, you can also use Astra as a Gutenberg starter theme. Besides, Astra has tons of built-in demos for any kind of website.

Core Gutenberg Blocks Support

Besides the standard support for the core Gutenberg blocks, they have some special features such as button animation:

Astra theme has some special features such as button animation

However, I think Astra should pay more attention to some minor enhancements like the margin of the blockquote. Here is the front end version:

Theme Astra should pay more attention to some minor enhancements

And it looks different on the back end:

Theme Astra looks different on the back end of the WordPress website

Synchronize the Settings in the Customizer with Styles in Gutenberg

There is no problem with the synchronization between the typography settings in the Customizer and the Gutenberg editor.

The typography settings in the Customizer looks no different with the one in Gutenberg
The typography settings in the Customizer
The typography settings in the Gutenberg editor
The typography settings in the Gutenberg editor

 

Even when you change the layout from boxed to full-width (or vice versa) in the Customizer, the editor layout is changed accordingly:

change the layout from boxed to full-width in Customizer and in Gutenberg editor

But the background color set in the Customizer isn’t synchronized with the background color in the Gutenberg editor.

Synchronize the background color of Gutenberg and Customizer
The background color in the Customizer
The background color in Gutenberg is synchronized
The background color in the Gutenberg editor

 

Block Patterns

The default Gutenberg block patterns display well in Astra.

Full-site Editing

Not supported yet

Other Features

While installing the companion plugin for each theme, I found that if you activate Kadence Blocks plugin, the width of the layout in Gutenberg is affected.

if you activate Kadence Blocks plugin, the width of the layout in Gutenberg is affected.

So I think it'd be better to use o Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg, the recommended Gutenberg plugin by Astra. Using this plugin, you can have up to 30+ extra blocks.

it'd be better to use o Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg

Besides, Astra provides you with some extra settings for Gutenberg without a companion plugin. There are not many options here but you can still deal with some important features here:

Astra provides you with some extra settings for Gutenberg without a companion plugin.

Blocksy

Blocksy is the name of a Gutenberg-base theme with 10.000+ active installations on wordpress.org. Let’s review how it works with Gutenberg.

Core Gutenberg Blocks Support

Blocksy also works flawlessly with the core Gutenberg blocks and features like color and font settings, background gradient:

Blocksy works flawlessly with the core Gutenberg blocks

Other blocks like quotation and cover work nicely:

Other blocks like quotation and cover work nicely on the WordPress website

Moreover, this free Gutenberg-compatible theme added a changing-color effect to make the buttons more lively:

this free Gutenberg-compatible theme added changing-color effect to make the buttons more lively

Synchronize the Settings in the Customizer with Styles in Gutenberg

Blocksy has 3 palettes for global colors and some other custom color sections. When you customize color using the Customizer, you will see the same change in the Gutenberg editor. And so does the typography.

Blocksy theme has 3 palettes for global colors and some other custom color sections.
Blocksy has 3 palettes for global colors and some other custom color sections

Change the color in Customizer

The color in the Gutenberg editor changed
The color in the Gutenberg editor changed

 

Block Patterns

As for Gutenberg block patterns, Blocksy carefully supports all of them. You can see that this theme even add some elements to make this pattern looks beautiful:

Blocksy carefully supports all Gutenberg block patterns

But I didn’t see these elements on the back end:

I didn’t see the block elements on the back end of website

Full-site Editing

Not supported yet.

Other Features

Blocksy has an extra table for layout settings, which looks intuitive and minimal so I could work with it easily. I also tried all the options in this extra tab and the results did satisfy me.

Blocksy theme has an extra table for layout settings

Besides, you can install Getwid plugin recommended by Blocksy to have 40+ Gutenberg blocks and Stackable plugin to have a library of page builder Gutenberg blocks.

eStar

eStar is a free WordPress multipurpose theme we created last year. It’s made to be SEO-friendly, code-optimized, and compatible with many page builders as well as all Gutenberg blocks.

Core Gutenberg Blocks Support

eStar supports all the default Gutenberg settings including custom color and font:

eStar theme supports all the default Gutenberg settings

Besides the common font size, you can also have some special size like XL, 2XL, 3XL (well, like you’re buying clothes)

eStar theme provides you some special sizes

And here is the gradient option:

the gradient option of eStar theme

Other core Gutenberg blocks are supported well here. For example, still two default styles for blockquote but eStar makes them looks quite nice and unique:

eStar makes two default styles for blockquote look quite nice and unique

Synchronize the settings in the Customizer with styles in Gutenberg

In this aspect, eStar also supports the synchronization between Customizer settings and Gutenberg settings well.

Here are the color and typography settings in the Customizer:

eStar supports the synchronization between Customizer settings and Gutenberg settings
The color settings in the Customizer
The typography settings in the Customizer of eStar theme
The typography settings in the Customizer

 

And here, you can see that all these settings above are the same on the back end.

The colors and typography changeed on the front end of WordPress website

Block Patterns

I tested all the pre-made block patterns from Gutenberg and found that eStar displays them well without any bugs.

eStar displays pre-made block patterns from Gutenberg well without any bugs.

Full-site Editing

Not supported yet.

Other Features

In general, eStar is quite easy to use. It has a minimalistic design and interface so that everyone can use this free theme as a Gutenberg starter.

Although eStar doesn’t officially support any Gutenberg plugin, you can still combine using this theme with any Gutenberg add-on. Besides, With less than 10KB of CSS and JS, eStar can be one of the lightest themes you can find now.

This review of eStar will give you more information about this free Gutenberg-compatible theme.

GeneratePress

GeneratePress is also a multipurpose WordPress theme designed to fit anywhere and works with many popular page builders. Here is the review of GeneratePress in terms of its Gutenberg compatibility.

Core Gutenberg Blocks Support

GeneratePress works quite well with core Gutenberg blocks. It supports color settings, font size settings, gradient background, …

Notably, GeneratePress even added some animation to the button:

GeneratePress theme added some animation to the button

But this theme should pay attention to some small elements more. Such as the block’s alignment and spacing between two cover blocks:

GeneratePress theme should pay attention to some small elements more

Their display on the front end is not the same as on the back end.

two cover Gutenberg blocks of GeneratePress display different

Synchronize the Settings in the Customizer with Styles in Gutenberg

Just like most of other Gutenberg-starter themes, GeneratePress has the ability to synchronize the color and font settings in the Customizer with styles in Gutenberg.

Here is the custom color I tested in the Customizer:

synchronize the color settings in the Customizer with styles in Gutenberg.

Regrading the typography customization, GeneratePress only allows you to customize from heading 1 to heading 3:

And this is how exactly the color and typography were in Gutenberg:

the color and typography in Gutenberg editor of GeneratePress

Block Patterns

There is no big problem with default Gutenberg block patterns displaying in GeneratePress except for the 3-column layout:

There is no big problem with default Gutenberg block patterns displaying in GeneratePress except for the 3-column layout

Full site editing

Not supported yet.

Other Features

GeneratePress has a few extra layout settings in Gutenberg editor:

GeneratePress has a few extra layout settings in Gutenberg editor

And it recommends using GenerateBlocks plugin to have 4 extra advanced Gutenberg blocks. The number of extra blocks from GenerateBlocks seems to be less than other plugins, but each block has many advanced settings. For example, there are many choices for grid layouts and a lot of options in the settings sidebar:

GeneratePress recommends using GenerateBlocks plugin to have 4 extra advanced Gutenberg blocks.

Kadence

Kadence theme - from Kadance WP, the owner of the famous Kadence Blocks plugin - joined the game in the middle of 2020. It has about 9 starter pre-made templates that can be imported when you install Kadence Blocks and Kadence Starter Templates.

Core Gutenberg Blocks Support

Basically, Kadence supports the core Gutenberg blocks well, including custom text and background colors, and font sizes.

Kadence supports the core Gutenberg blocks well
Font size
Kadence supports the core Gutenberg blocks of custom text and background colors
custom text and background colors

 

Besides, Kadence has gradient background for some blocks:

Kadence has gradient background for some blocks

These are the blockquote and they follow the 2 default styles of Gutenberg:

The Gutenberg blockquote of Kadence

Then, I reviewed the button block, which has 2 button styles:

I reviewed the button block, which has 2 button styles

And here is the button group on the front end. I found that the space between them was a bit different from the back end:

the button group on the front end

Synchronize the Settings in the Customizer with Styles in Gutenberg

I tested some features like color and font customization.

Here are the font sizes set in the Customizer:

the font sizes I set in the Customizer when using Kadence

And Kadence displays exactly the same sizes on the backend as in the Customizer:

Kadence displays exactly the same sizes on the backend as in the Customizer

This is the color settings in the Customizer:

This is the color settings in the Customizer

The same color can be seen in the Gutenberg editor. And the color settings of all blocks are changed following the Global Palette in the Customizer:

the color settings of all blocks are changed following the Global Palette in the Customizer

Block Patterns

There is a bug displaying the 3-column block patterns. Here is the screenshot on the back end.

There is a bug displaying the 3-column block patterns when using Kadence

And here is the buggy version on the front end:

the buggy version on the front end

I have contacted the support team and they said “we do not have control over its settings. What I would recommend is to add this custom CSS code to make the width of the columns block follow your content width”.

Full-site Editing

Not supported yet.

Other Features

Kadence has many settings and all the settings can be applied properly. The interface is easy to use and manipulate. The options oriented to editing the general layout and some positions for some important elements.

The interface of Kadence theme is easy to use and manipulate.

Besides, Kadence also provides a companion plugin - Kadence Blocks. After installing Kadence Blocks plugin, you will have more advanced pre-built blocks from them and an extra table to control the Kadence Blocks settings. But many tabs and tables on the right sidebar may cause confusion.

For a review of other features, you can read this Kadence theme review.

Neve

Neve is a multipurpose WordPress theme that can be used for Gutenberg-based sites. It also has various demos built with Gutenberg to pick up when you install Cloud Templates and Patterns Collection plugin.

Core Gutenberg Blocks Support

When I reviewed Neve, I found some small issues.

You can see the mistake with the lines of each blockquote on the back end:

You can see the mistake with the lines of each blockquote on the back end

While they look different on the front end:

Gutenberg blockquote of Neve look different on the front end

And the full-width alignment doesn’t display properly on the front end:

the full-width alignment doesn’t display properly on the front end of WordPress website

Synchronize the Settings in the Customizer with Styles in Gutenberg

All the settings of color and font in the Customizer will be applied in Gutenberg. You can see the synchronization I tested here:

In Neve, you can customize various color section:

In Neve, you can customize various color section
Change color in Customizer

The color changes correspondingly in the Gutenberg editor

As for the font family choice, Neve only allows you to choose one family font for all the headings:

Neve theme only allows you to choose one family font for all the headings
Choose fonts in Customizer

The font of Neve changes correspondingly in the Gutenberg editor

Block Patterns

Neve has no problem with displaying Gutenberg block patterns at all. It supports all patterns quite well.

Full-site Editing

Not supported yet.

Other Features

In the Gutenberg editor, you can easily customize the layout and display of the post easily with the Neve settings table. The interface of the settings table is intuitive and very easy to use.

In the Gutenberg editor, you can easily customize the layout and display of the post easily with the Neve settings table.

And after you install Gutenberg Blocks and Template Library plugin recommended by Neve, you will have these:

extra blocks of Neve theme

If you want to read a more detailed review of this Gutenberg-compatible theme, please check this review of Neve.

OceanWP

OceanWP is another famous theme with a tone of customization option and high versatility. This highly extendable theme enables you to use different page builders to create your own design. And we’re going to explore its Gutenberg compatibility now!

Core Gutenberg Blocks Support

Like other Gutenberg starter themes above, OceanWP supports all the core blocks of Gutenberg well. There is no big issue found while I tested this theme, just a few small differences between some blocks on the front end and back end.

First, the button style is beautiful. But it can’t be seen on the back end:

the button style of Neve theme is beautiful.

And the full-width alignment didn’t apply properly even when I select the wide layout for the whole website:

the full-width alignment of Neve theme didn’t apply properly

Synchronize the Settings in the Customizer with Styles in Gutenberg

OceanWP hasn’t supported this feature yet. Here is the evidence:

The color and font settings in Gutenberg wasn’t the same as in the Customizer:

Change color and font in Customizer of OceanWP theme
The color and font in Customizer

The color and font settings in Gutenberg wasn’t the same as in the Customizer

And neither the typography:

Change the typography of OceanWP theme in Customizer

The typography of OceanWP theme on the back end of WordPress website

Block Patterns

All the default Gutenberg block patterns look good in OceanWP.

Full-site Editing

Not supported yet.

Other Features

Now, OceanWP hasn’t officially supported any Gutenberg plugin. I think that OceanWP still focuses on other customization tools than Gutenberg.

Conclusion

All of these themes are versatile and highly customizable. They all support the core Gutenberg features quite well and don’t have many issues.

After reviewing all these 7 themes, I made a compare table below for easier observation:

  Core Gutenberg Blocks Support Synchronize the Settings Block Patterns Full-site Editing Gutenberg plugin companion
Astra 4/5 4,5/5 5/5 0 Ultimate Addons for Gutenberg
Blocksy 5/5 5/5 5/5 0 Getwid
eStar 5/5 5/5 5/5 0 -
GeneratePress 5/5 5/5 4,5/5 0 GenerateBlocks
Kadence 5/5 5/5 4/5 0 Kadence Blocks
Neve 4,5/5 5/5 5/5 0 -
OceanWP 4,5/5 0/5 5/5 0 -

Hope that this review finds you well so it’s easier for you to choose one suitable Gutenberg-compatible theme. Also, if you don’t use Gutenberg, try a page builder and use a theme for page builder.  

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3 thoughts on “Review Best 7 WordPress Themes for Gutenberg for 2021

  1. Thanks for taking the time to do this.
    Certainly helped me in evaluating which theme to look into for learning how they coded this.
    😉

  2. Another one not on the list is C9, a starter theme that comes with templates, block patterns, and a few free working examples with a stand-alone blocks plugin called C9 Blocks.

    The C9 Blocks plugin works with a few of the themes mentioned in the article including Kadence and GeneratePress.

  3. Hi, great review
    i found and currently use estar theme combined with metabox. and it work great.

    now i tried to learn metabox more deep and hope to find something powerful from it combination

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