CSS Grid vs Flexbox: Which One Is Best?

Updated: September 20, 2023

CSS grid vs flexbox

In CSS, both Flexbox and Grid are layout models that allow you to create complex layouts more easily than using other methods such as floats or positioning. Below is an explanation of each along with instances where you might prefer one over the other:

Flexbox (Flexible Box Layout Module)

What is Flexbox?

  • One-dimensional layout model: It is designed to layout items in a single dimension, either a row or a column.
  • Container and item-based properties: Flexbox introduces properties for both the container (e.g., display: flex;, flex-direction: row;) and the individual items (e.g., flex: 1;, align-self: center;).

Flexbox Use Cases

  • Aligning items: When you need to align items in a single dimension, either horizontally or vertically.
  • Responsive designs: Creating responsive designs with elements that should resize based on their container’s size.
  • Header, footer, and navigation menus: Crafting header, footer, or navigation menus where elements are aligned linearly.

Flexbox Example

.container {
  display: flex;
  justify-content: space-between;

.item {
  flex: 1;

Grid (CSS Grid Layout)

What is CSS Grid?

  • Two-dimensional layout model: It allows you to work with both rows and columns at the same time.
  • Grid container and grid items properties: Similar to Flexbox, Grid has properties for the container (e.g., display: grid;, grid-template-columns: 1fr 1fr;) and the individual items (e.g., grid-column: span 2;, grid-row: span 2;).

CSS Grid Use Cases

  • Complex layouts: Designing layouts with a complex structure involving both rows and columns.
  • Creating a grid system: When you want to create a grid system with a fixed number of columns and rows.
  • Aligning content in two dimensions: Where you have to align content both vertically and horizontally.

CSS Grid Example

.container {
  display: grid;
  grid-template-columns: 1fr 1fr;
  grid-gap: 10px;

.item {
  grid-column: span 1;

When to Use CSS Grid vs Flexbox

  1. For simpler one-dimensional layouts: Flexbox is usually the choice for simpler layouts where you are mainly concerned with aligning items along a single row or column.
  2. For more complex two-dimensional layouts: If you are creating a more complex layout with a number of rows and columns, Grid can be a better choice because it is designed to handle two dimensions at the same time.
  3. Nested layouts: In some cases, you may even use Grid and Flexbox together, utilizing Grid for the overall layout and then using Flexbox for the layout of individual items within a grid cell.
  4. Browser support: Keep in mind the browser compatibility; although both Flexbox and Grid are widely supported in modern browsers, Flexbox has slightly better support in older browsers.
  5. Personal Preference & Project Requirements: Sometimes the choice between Grid and Flexbox comes down to personal preference or the specific requirements of your project. Some developers find Grid more intuitive for two-dimensional layouts, while others prefer the flexibility of Flexbox for one-dimensional layouts.
  6. Learning curve: Flexbox has a bit of a simpler learning curve compared to Grid, making it more approachable for beginners or for developers with less experience with CSS layouts.

Is CSS Grid or Flexbox better for SEO?

Using Flexbox or Grid in CSS generally does not have a direct impact on SEO (search engine optimization). Search engines like Google primarily focus on content, metadata, loading speed, mobile-friendliness, and other factors to rank pages.

However, the way you use these layout techniques can indirectly influence technical SEO. Here is how:

  1. Page Load Time: Creating layouts that load quickly can positively impact SEO. Both Flexbox and Grid can facilitate clean, efficient layout code, which can help reduce page load times.
  2. Mobile Responsiveness: Search engines give preference to mobile-friendly websites. Both Flexbox and Grid can help you create responsive designs that adapt well to different devices and screen sizes, which can potentially improve your site’s SEO.
  3. Accessibility: Ensuring your website is accessible is not just a good practice for usability; it can also positively influence SEO. Proper use of Flexbox and Grid can aid in creating accessible layouts. However, be cautious as improper use can also lead to accessibility issues.
  4. Content Structure and Hierarchy: Structuring your content logically and hierarchically is beneficial for SEO. Grid, in particular, allows for complex layouts that can visually differentiate between different types of content, potentially aiding in the representation of the content’s hierarchy.
  5. Clean Code: Using Flexbox and Grid can help to create clean, semantic HTML and CSS, which is easier for search engines to parse, potentially aiding in SEO.
  6. User Experience (UX): Both layout techniques allow for a better user experience by enabling the creation of modern, user-friendly layouts. Google uses Core Web Vitals, a set of metrics related to speed, responsiveness, and visual stability, to measure user experience, which influences rankings.

How to optimize CSS Grid and Flexbox for SEO

  1. Test Frequently: While creating your layout, frequently test your website to ensure it is mobile-friendly, accessible, and provides a good user experience.
  2. Semantic HTML: Alongside using Flexbox and Grid, it is important to use semantic HTML to clearly indicate the role of different parts of your page to search engines.
  3. Avoid Layout Shifts: Try to prevent content from shifting around as the page loads, as this can impact the Core Web Vitals negatively.
  4. Cross-Browser Compatibility: Ensure compatibility across different browsers to offer a consistent user experience, which can indirectly aid in SEO.

While Flexbox and Grid themselves do not inherently provide SEO benefits, the ways you use them to enhance load time, mobile responsiveness, accessibility, and user experience can indirectly improve SEO. Always keep abreast of the latest updates in SEO best practices, as search engine algorithms are continually updated.

So, should I use Flexbox or CSS Grid for my website?

In summary, the choice between Flexbox and Grid often depends on the specific requirements of your layout and your personal preference as a developer. Both layout models offer powerful tools for creating responsive, modern layouts, and understanding how to use both can be a valuable skill.