By chance, I was on Facebook when an Ad appeared for Elementor Pro. I already had a pro license, but I decided to peruse the comments. Someone had written "Oxygen is better" and an Elementor rep had replied with this GIF.
I thought to myself, "Ooooh, a feud? This could be worth checking out. I wonder if any of the competitive products have legs to stand on". I was doubtful but curious.
Oxygen builder though, what was it? A dodgy plugin? Something only hardcore devs would enjoy? A quick Google search brought me to a reputable-looking website and little did I know that I was going to watch a 45-minute video on the homepage (the video below), check out the price and then drop Elementor altogether for future projects.
So, what was it specifically that made me make the switch? Let's run through it all.
The video above does a great job of comparing Oxygen Builder to other page builders such as Beaver Builder, Divi, and Elementor in an unbiased way.
Don't get me wrong, I've used Elementor for a long time now, and there are ways to make it quick, but it's generally something I'd look into after the site was built (aside from trying to make the structure as clean as possible and by optimising images) by utilising browser caching and CSS/JS minification. By writing skinny code from the get-go; however, Oxygen gets the fundamentals right as you are building the page.
For example, one of my irritations with Elementor was the amount of code that it took to render straightforward content on the page (and it seems that Divi and Beaver Builder are not much better). If you drag a heading onto the page and inspect the code, it's always nested in a tonne of div's. It's like div-ception! Don't get me wrong, some nesting is to be expected when dealing with page builders, but Oxygen does a fantastic job of writing clean code on the fly.
Clean code translates to faster sites which gives the end-user a much better experience, helps with conversion optimisation and has SEO benefits.
In Elementor, they have made it pretty easy to style multiple elements. You get one looking the way you want it and then copy/paste the styles to other elements. It's easy enough, but say you want to restyle it again. You have to go through the process each time. Throughout a site build, it's a huge time waster. Additionally, copy/pasting the same styles to multiple elements on the page creates duplicate code. Bloat!
The alternative is to add classes to elements and then style them using custom CSS, but that takes you out of the page-builder workflow. It feels tacky and sort of defeats the purpose of a page builder.
In Oxygen, the workflow is different. Each element on the page has a unique ID (naturally), but you can also add classes. You can then apply whatever styling you like to the class in the builder apply it to other elements on the page. If you change your mind on how something looks, you edit the class, and the styles change across the board and in real-time while you are still in the builder. Oxygen has found an excellent way for you to add classes without taking you out of the page-builder workflow. It's faster; it's leaner, it's better.
All Oxygen pricing tiers come with a "Lifetime Unlimited License", and plans start at only US$99. That means no renewal fees ever and access to support and core updates for life. From what I can find out there, this positions them as the most affordable well-equipped page builder.
The highest "Agency" tier which allows you to create an unlimited amount of websites was only US$169 at the time I purchased it. As the owner of a digital agency that creates many sites, I was sold. Pricing models like this don't exist anymore.
As a side note, I had just renewed my annual Elementor Pro license for another year which cost me US$199.
Oxygen integrates seamlessly with the WordPress Gutenberg editor so your clients can make content changes in a simple, easy-to-use interface. They can also write new content utilising the features of Gutenberg (content blocks!). Additionally, with Oxygen's Role Manager, you can restrict users with particular permissions from having access to the Oxygen editor.
We all know that if clients can break it, they'll probably break it, right?
I've only been part of the Official Oxygen User Group on Facebook for almost a month, and I've found it to be convenient. There are multitudes of questions being asked at any given point and heaps of friendly users helping out with suggestions.
I generally find that users there have a keen interest in making fast sites that don't use too many plugins, which is a breath of fresh air from a lot of other "there's a plugin for that" WordPress communities.
You'll find information on new releases, case studies, and more. It doesn't take long of being active in there to get you thinking like an Oxygen Builder.
It should be said that Elementor has a lot going for it. I harped on about it to anyone that cared to listen until I found Oxygen Builder. It has a vast array of elements that can be dragged out from the sidebar and onto the page. I feel it's quicker to throw pages together, but at the expense of thought out page structure and speed.
When I first used Oxygen Builder, I felt it wasn't as intuitive because I couldn't drag elements from the sidebar or copy and paste styles as I can in Elementor, but that's by design. It will take a little while to get used to it. Not allowing you to drag and drop elements onto the page makes you stop and think about exactly what container that element will sit in. Not allowing you to copy and paste styles between separate elements makes you consider using classes to style multiple items.
My advice is to stick with it. Don't get cold feet too quickly. You'll wonder why you hadn't made the switch sooner.
If you have a knowledge of CSS and care for fast load times and lean page structure, Oxygen is definitely for you.
If you're a CSS beginner, I wouldn't worry too much about the learning curve if you have a couple of days to check it out. There are heaps of pre-designed "design sets" that you can import onto your page. I'd put aside some time to look at how they are structured. Start by making subtle design changes to them, and you'll get the gist of the editor.
All in all, I'm thrilled I found Oxygen Builder. It's changed the way I build websites, and I'm sure it will do the same for you.