Page Builder is a plugin/add-on that allows easier creation of content on the page and visually. The most popular of all is Elementor.
Gutenberg is a built-in page editor in WordPress itself.
What is better?
The word better is not really the best use here because every better has its good and bad points. In this text we will base it on speed and only speed. Therefore, what is faster is better.
Does the site load faster with Page Builder or Gutenberg?
Without hesitation or thinking, the answer is Gutenberg.
It is not a plugin or an add-on, it is an integral part of WordPress and as such it is by definition faster. Another thing is that it doesn’t have as many options as other page editors, so it has less code and that greatly contributes to its speed. That’s actually his biggest flaw.
Each page builder has a bunch of options and with all those options come many more that help to expand or modify the existing ones, so it’s a lot, a lot of lines of code.
To understand a little better what is wrong with page editors like Elementor.
Each of those great options has specific options for size, margins, padding, and more. Any changes to those options are written to a file that must be loaded on each visit. And that’s actually what slows down the site. Which means that when you simply change the size of the text or change the color of some part of the text, it is written in a separate file that must be loaded, and that loading is the reason for the slow opening of the site.
Gutenberg, as you know, doesn’t have that, it has far fewer options, far fewer possibilities, so it’s better in terms of speed. In addition, through other page builders it is much easier to “center” something in a certain field, while with Gutenberg it is a real challenge and many things are not even possible.
Testing Gutenberg VS Elementor
For the purposes of this test, the Astra theme was used, which has a demo import and offers the option to set up the site via Gutenberg and Elementor. We found the same example and installed both Gutenberg and Elementor, then we tested with Google Pagespeed and gtmetrix. The site has not been edited a bit nor has any caching been turned on, so an empty site just uploaded content and a theme, that’s all that has been done on it.
What to choose in the end?
The question is far from simple. You should concentrate on what is more important. For a better ranking on Google, speed is very important. Since 2021, Google has started with mobile first ranking, this means that the site on mobile and loaded according to google pagespeed is green, it will be the first to be displayed than others that do not have full mobile optimization and have slower loading times.
Can the page builder be fast?
Surely. It can even be used as Gutenberg, but you have to be very careful about the changes and additions that are used. If elementor is used, then only it and nothing else, no other plugin for some additional options. To take care of the images that are uploaded and optimized before the desecration itself. The add-on/plugin itself is necessary for optimizing the site (which creates the HTML version of the page and displays it to the user).