I struggle to answer this. Add-ons are growing at such a rate I’m not convinced anyone can. This all makes me conscious of my affiliate links. They’re endorsements of a kind, but are they appropriate to those I try to serve? Perhaps, it’s best I share my thoughts. You can tell me if I’m wrong.
Something easy first:
Mentioned in my videos, I’ve no concerns about Beaver Tunnels. It does one thing well. To date, it’s the only Beaver Builder add-on to have gone on one of my client’s sites.
Sure, it is a two person company new to supporting plugins, but I don’t see an issue. They’ve not taken on something unmanageable. Even if they have, someone would take over a plugin like this.
It’s not dormant either. White-labeling was added. They solved a back end problem when Beaver Builder changed. They’re also working on adding more flexible conditionals and a free plugin to add schema.org and HTML 5 mark up to templates.
If you’re a Genesis, Generate Press or Beaver Builder theme user who builds sites regularly it’s worth checking out. Particularly if you use WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads. If you only have a few sites or don’t think you will do more than header and footer replacements – don’t bother. We can give you code snippets and there is this plugin.
Update: September 2017. The release of Beaver Themer has had an impact on the value of Beaver Tunnels for many, but not all. I did a first walkthough video on Themer over here.
What you came here for – Add-on Packs:
Update: 19th April 2017. I wrote a new post on how I am using PowerPack and UABB here
Before moving on to Beaver Lodge HQ Vs PowerPack (PP) Vs Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder (UABB) I have to say that:
I am not keen on the mega-pack approach. Last week I chatted with Peter Luit. This led him to write this insightful article. (Please take a look)
In brief, our concerns are that with using mega-packs:
- Unused Modules/Templates are increasingly adding to our plugin load.
- Unused Modules/Templates are increasingly occupying space on servers.
- The Beaver Builder interface is getting changed without opt-in.
- Incompatibilities are appearing with multiple add-ons.
- New features are turned on with updates (potentially confusing untrained clients).
The success of Beaver Builder owes much to developers promoting it as a dependable tool where growth is responsibly managed. Trust was earned for not caving in to demand when the consequences could spoil the User Experience. For providing two years of enhancements without extra plugin load. They know that backward compatibility means you can’t rush. Make a mistake and everyone has to live with it. Make too many and no-one will be able to.
Even though the add-on packs have adopted their recurring price model, the marketing and ethos seems to have more in common with marketplaces like Envato. There’s a race to show who has the greatest number of features. Good for immediate sales, but it’s setting off alarm bells for developers dependent on long term stability and control.
Update: 11th Oct 2016. Both PowerPack and Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder have made major improvement on the above concerns.
Update: 19th April 2017.
Are you saying forget these Packs?
No! Far too much phenomenal work has been done to dismiss them like that. In spite of concerns, we are seeing what is truly possible with Beaver Builder. Many people are being given opportunities that were not there before. The last thing I want to do is knock the amazing talent we have. I’m just trying to stand back and look at things from a distance as a supporter, fan and customer.
What I’m saying is carefully consider what you actually need before bringing in the unknown. Many of us get excited by shiny new things. It does not mean we will ultimately use them in our businesses.
At the moment my thoughts are changing as quickly as the packs themselves, but let me tell you where I am today:
1. I’m not expecting to use these packs in a future design business where the main earnings will come from hosting and maintenance. The key thing here is keeping server demands and client’s interfaces stable. As Beaver Builder covers 95% of my needs the uncertainty and uncontrollable server drain is not worth it. If greater modularisation (which only exists in Beaver Lodge) and stability arrives this could change, but presently custom modules seem the way forward here.
2. On the present/future work I do with someone else either PowerPack (PP) or UABB could be perfect. In this my colleague mostly manages the design, content and clients. The extra options these packs bring will make her less reliant on me as she continues to support clients. Also many of her self hosting client’s need quicker websites made with templates.
Ideally I would have liked to have combined PP and UABB, but in less than a week duplication has become so great it’s not worth having the weight of both. Also with templates each showcasing their own modules mixing and matching doesn’t make for a good experience.
For me, anything that divides the Beaver Builder community seems less than ideal, but clearly today we have head to head competition. For the moment I will try both without prejudice. I’ll also share my experiences, but I have to view them as separate worlds within the Beaververse.
Speculating on the future
It’s never a good idea, but… when Beaver Builder 2.0 comes out (early next year) we can expect a User Interface that will better suit add-ons. It will come with clearer recommendations for addon developers. This, at least, should solve some issues with multiple developers having to pioneer their own ways.
My guess is that we are one step closer to the planned Beaver Builder Marketplace talked about last year. If so, this is likely to attract a wider range of developers. Developer who perhaps don’t want to set up a plugin business to get their work out. If conversations from last year still hold the Beaver Builder team would guarantee quality and continued support.
It certainly would move the dynamic away from a few businesses trying to be everything to everybody. That said if mega packs clearly appealed to a particular demographic they would continue to strive. I did ask pack owners about their target audience, but aside from a few differences it really is just Beaver Builder users.
Now to the contenders
Beaver Lodge HQ
I don’t endorse Beaver Lodge. Even Jon the owner is not actively promoting while he sorts out getting a team of support staff. Beaver Lodge was the first in the market, but as a one person business there were startup problems. I don’t think it is the end of Beaver Lodge, but I will wait until things settle before testing his modules again.
One thing to mention is that, unlike the other two packs, Jon’s modules can be taken from the main plugin and used as stand-alones. His pack is truly light-weight.
Update Nov 2017 No longer supported.
PowerPack (Beaver addons)
These were the second to arrive with a premium pack. The launch was underwhelming with uncertainty over pricing and eye-candy modules like flip boxes…
But something happened with this small team. Puneet the owner increasingly dazzled everyone with his knowledge and incredible support. Modules like the flexible Modal Boxes, Form styling and Content Grid solved real issues. He even began writing articles focused on good practice and users experience. All reassuring stuff to developer types.
Even with the arrival of the well established and much larger Ultimate Addons team, PowerPack held its popularity. Many commented that it was worth its cost just for a few modules. I agreed.
Now they have added templates so the idea of being able to use PP and UABB together has gone.
The templates themselves are done well and are practical. Also they’ve not increased the plugin load which is presently a 3rd of UABB’s, but I would have preferred they had created another plugin for this. (Update 28th Now 2016 UABB 1.3 is no longer slower than PowerPack. It is faster).
Power Pack is amazing tool for designers. Sure, this is a new business that may make some mistakes, but is likely to more than make up for it in relentless community help, generosity and inventiveness. I am a fan of Puneet and his sensibility.
Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder
The third to arrive, but this 20+ team were serving add-on packs to Visual Composer users even before Beaver Builder existed. They came in with professionalism and a plan. They managed their beta testing superbly and I could not wait to buy it. There was a lot of new module ideas in this pack as well as many similar to Beaver Builder’s (controversially) allowing it to be used with the free version of Beaver Builder.
What I like is that UABB has a lot of business experience supporting thousands of Envato customers, but I’m also conscious it’s experience within a marketplace that never suited me. That’s why I’m sensitive to UABB’s server requirements and new features. I don’t want the bloat issues I experienced with the “built to sell” Envato themes.
Please don’t read this wrong. Feedback from co-owner Sujay shows they are conscious of this and are working on it. Also for most with decent hosting and caching it is not an issue at all. It is just a concern looking to the long term future.
The bottom line is that UABB is an incredible plugin. I can already see their “section” templates raising the standard of aesthetic design for those using them and their page templates are still to come.
There isn’t one. It’s early days and it’s all a gamble. You have to pick what feels right or not. Typically like I to go with safe bets, but in this new field and community I don’t think there are any.
Even when I chose Beaver Builder almost 2 years ago it was a risk. They were small and inexperienced, but I related to them, their genuine intent and clear talent – it was an easy decision. With add-ons the intent is less clear. So if you find yourself flipping from one favorite to another don’t worry – you’re far from alone!
Over to you… have add-on packs changed your life? Are you more confused than ever? Do you have a favorite or are you not bothering at all?
I build websites at WP Corner Shop and travel. I also co-host a weekly WordPress podcast called WP Builds and make YouTube videos.
First of all, thanks for the link to my previous article around this subject.
I just can only agree with your conclusion. There is not ‘one best’. However I did come to another conclusion after checking a number of websites with some pagebuilder ‘under it’. I could just see that in many cases a very limited number of ‘dancing objects’ were used. I just compare it a bit to PowerPoint or iMovie demos where you see nothing an overload of ‘dancing objects’ in their demos. I think (technology driven) developers overrate the use of these objects in day-to-day practice.
I think in general that BB plugin will offer enough creative modules to get most jobs done. And that is why we put so much focus to get just single modules if you really need one. And not the need for a bundle with 20-30 modules, with all the disadvantages we already mentioned in the previous mentioned article.
Both for this comment and the original article . It already looks like both PP and UABB are responding with some practical solutions to some of the issues. Yes indeed, specialized single modules would be great. It is bound to come at some point.
I am watching the development of BB with fascination. I was an early adopter of Dynamik for Genesis – back in the days it was Catalyst. I’ve always admired the developer’s Eric Hamm’s pragmatic approach to his theme’s scope.
I come to web development from an SEO and marketing point of view, while many of the new modules I see for BB are more from the – wow this is pretty and cool approach.
What I really want is to be able to buy specific content without having to buy the whole pack. I’m a rubbish coder and I’d happly pay money for a robust transparent header which scales correctly on mobile – but I don’t want the overhead of a whole bunch of other stuff I’ll never use.
Quick question – I’ve always assumed that Beaver Tunnels basically allows the use of hook boxes and/or widgets and shortcodes anywhere in a theme? I can do all that with Dynamik so I’ve not bothered with it.
@Lis: I also come form Genesis/Dynamik and have been using conditionals and hooks many time. After building my first sites in BeaverBuilder I was very glad with the arrival of BeaverTunnels. Although not a programmers approach, BT offers basicly enough ‘off the shelf’ possibilities to conditionally ‘hook things’ anywhere on the site.
Look at http://www.nieuwsmarkt.nl/blog/2016/08/28/using-a-shortcode-in-a-template-together-with-beaver-tunnels-to-display-the-post-title/ on how I created a post title block to be displayed under the condition fl_bofore_content and the Beaver Tunnels shortcode [beaver_tunnels] to get the right post ID for every post or page.
Hi Peter – yeah that’s where I don’t think I see an advantage of using Beaver Tunnels – I could achieve the same thing in Dynamik – using a label on the required post or page and then adding a custom conditional to hook a widget or short code which would display a BB short-code in that widget
@Lis: sure if you keep using Genesis/Dynamik as underlaying theme. However I also stepped into the BB theme, because I felt what was left over for Genesis/Dynamik was infact only header and fotter and maybe some sidebare aspects. Once I dis rebuild one site in BB theme, I just found one limitation I had before in Genesis/Dynamik and that was ‘just’ conditionals. Beaver Tunnels solved that.
I don’t say that Genesis/Dynamik users/developers should all leave this behind in favor of BB theme. But I do so many possible applications which could easily go throught the BB theme/BB plugin combination, possibly with Beaver Tunnels for a little bit more dedicated conditional work.
In the sites I have made sofar with this setup, I did not find any limitation to have to go ‘back’ to Genesis/Dynamik. And also I thought for long times that Genesis/Dynamik would be the tool for me ‘forever’……… And yes I still run many sites with it ;-)
Wow, a conversation on my post. I’m almost like a proper grown-up blogger now.
Lovely to see you Lis. Thanks for reading and commenting, Much appreciated :-) Thanks too Peter.
Yeah, Beaver Tunnels has no place with Dynamik …and Dynamik can do more with being able to hook in other things. I have made the shift from Dynamik to the BB theme and Beaver Tunnels helped with that. I thought the switch made things cleaner and easier – now to do the same with add-ons!!
Looking forward to reading your Divi post Peter
(had no net today! still only very slow 2G – grrr!)
Just clarifying, “Dynamik can do more with being able to hook in other things”, but you still made the shift and stopped using Dynamik, opting instead for using the BB Theme and Beaver Tunnels, is that correct?
One other thing also, you said that Beaver Tunnels and Dynamik should not be on the same site? Would that be true as well then with the Power Pack? I currently have Genesis, Dynamik, Beaver Builder and am working on a site, but was looking for options to extend even more. Thoughts?
Hello Jeremy, thanks for your comment and reading here :-)
Yes, I moved to the Beaver Builder theme to keep things simple (more integrated) for handing over the clients. Dynamik is still a great child theme for Genesis. It just has stuff I don’t need that can confuse the self managing clients.
I think Tunnels could be added to a Dynamik, but both Tunnels and Dynamik can conditionally hook saved Beaver Builder templates as there is probably less reason to have both. Since writing Eric Hamm the creator of Dynamik as released Beaver Extender for the BB theme. This is some competition for Beaver Tunnels. Beaver Tunnels also added some more complex conditionals where you could have the timed showing of content. They are close to what each other can do, but with some differences. Things are always changing at the moment
I don’t know what to suggest for extending more. It a very personal thing. The addon packs like PowerPack are great for that, but I still have only used them on personal projects. I have not liked the idea that clients could update and can find they have stuff that was not there before. This will probably get better as the plugins mature.
I appreciate the feedback! Thanks!
this website is great.. very beautiful.. do you use beaver builder to create this site? I want to learn how to do it.
Thanks James and for stopping by. Beaver Builder is used on the pages, but the main theme is Genesis. I plan to switch it over to the Beaver Builder theme at some point as that is what I use. Anything particularly you want to achieve?
Great post although I didn’t get the clear answer: “Use THIS addon” :-) I know you can’t give that kind of answer a the moment, but could you say something about how you would figure if you should go with PowerPack or UABB for a given project? I think it’s difficult when both of them change and expands features all the time. It seems like a space race to me :-)
Hi Torben, I think there is some good news in the sense that PowerPack don’t intent to keep adding to it. They are going to produce free and premium templates but you can chose to add. With the recent changes so you can turn off everything (no more UI hijacking) I have warmed to them the most. I know where I stand now. Their focus is on trying to improve the code and being part of the developer focussed community. I like that it will stay relatively lightweight. I would now put PP on a client sites.
With UABB. I really don’t know. I have to see the speed improvement. The long awaited templates are still to come, but we are seeing more of what’s on the paid version of Beaver Builder and PowerPack instead. They are living up to the name Ultimate.
They’ve done some side projects similar to the Header/ Footer replacement plugin and the Admin Spider plugin created by another BB community person for BB. I suspect they will just continue to create their own alternative universe separate to the premium Beaver Builder users. It’s not hard to imagine a theme for UABB coming and then they can offer everything.
Waow, it sounds good if PP is doing what you say, but I think it would be hard to dismiss UABB. They’re doing a very good job IMHO.
What do you mean by “I would now put PP on a client sites.”? Haven’t you done that before now? What are your worries with it? I’ve launch a few client site with both PP or UABB with no problem!
But anyway, I looks like I should hold my horses and wait to invest in a lifetime license on both PP and UABB to see what the future brings :-)
Hi Torben, Yeah, I say it above that only Beaver Tunnels has gone on a client site. I am super cautious… and BB with plugin has me covered. The real advantage with these for me is the time saving so I want to be sure that will hold. The more stuff – the more can go wrong and if the server demands increase beyond my control it will increasingly cost me more to host client sites (but this is a future thing). I can’t see any problem using them now. That’s just me. Plus I work with someone who has to get used to it. It’s enough we moved the the BB theme recently.
No, I would not dismiss UABB. Even If I don’t use end up using it as a standard set up (which as to be light and controlled) there is a quick templating market out there that does not have the Beaver Builder! Could still be perfect for quick jobs. I see someone has already used UABB for a DIY hosted solution too.
Wow – great comments and great post… Perhaps in a later post someone might be able to shed some light on the new wp types – toolset integration with views ( content blocks ) and beaver builder page builder plugin… Chris Lema’s articles on beaver builder got me interested and I’m slowly transitioning from Ultimatum theme to Beaver Builder theme… Chris L – also has been a fan of tool set and so I wonder if there is something to be said about this new integration and future of dynamic page templates…
David – an pretty ( Diane Laidlaw ) young lady you interviewed has done a quick you tube video on the integration and I think this could be a good fit for me…
Nathan, I am so sorry I missed you comment. Thank you for it.
I have owned Toolset for some time now and it been under used, but I am now starting to use it.
I am going to do a video soon like Diane, but show it used on Custom Post Types to make a product pages (like WooCommerce without the cart).
Everyone’s problem now is that Beaver Builder will release 2.O (probably around March) and it will be including a way to add dynamic fields. It won’t do all that toolset does but not everyone needs all that.
Interesting time and sorry again!
I believe it all boils down to the features each have. As of now, PP has dot-navigation, timeline, content tiles and other unique features that almost make me want to purchase it (already have BB).
Thanks for the comment. You clearly have studied the present set up. PowerPack’s form styling still wins many over. The new animated subscription module is interesting too
I don’t use templates and think that is UABB strength, but one advantage with the PP ones is you don’t need to change the images (they are all free to use)
Many of the unique selling points of PP have been added to UABB and visa versa, but there are still enough differences.
I am still pleased I bought the life deals on both. It’s a lot of backup power to have available. Puneet’s (and his team) give great support and contribute much to the BB community.
Certainly now is a good time with the 30% off.
Your last sentence was the best call to action they could’ve have somebody do.
I bought PP yesterday, too.
Ha ha, welcome to the club Rui. Hope that did not sound like sales promotion. I think I will be forever locked in to love/hate relationship with these addons. I hope you feel you got good value from it.
Word of mouth is still the best selling strategy! :)
I started using UABB a couple of months ago and I didn’t see the need for PP. But now I just discovered PP can easily style forms like gravity forms, and PP + Gravity sounds like a better deal than Ninja.
Now the question is, would it be possible to use UABB together with PP? Would it affect the website load speed anyhow?
I use both on a website and I don’t see it getting significantly slower; just make sure you only activate the needed modules/features.
Thank Rui, Yes. thing improved on both PP and UABB. Hats off to them :-)
Hi Alex. Speedwise there should be no issue. At the time of writing (I believed ) there was an issue with the way UABB colour picker was playing with BB, but they fixed it and went further by making that when you turned off their modules it actually reduced the page load. BB and PP don’t do that.(effectively with BB and PP turning off theirs is just hiding the module from the UI).
Of course, if you had caching on this would not have been noticed as it only affected the “Time to first Bye” not the stuff on a page. If that makes any sense.
Alot hear of a lot who are using both and have no issues. There seem less chance of other conflicts now between them. Personally I try to keep thing the least needed, but It comes down to time and convenience I guess.