WordPress developers and web users have a love/hate relationship with sliders. Some love them and think they add a lot to a page while others hate them.
We are in the former camp.
We think sliders can add a lot to a website. But, there’s a caveat. The slider has to be fast, seamless and not slow down page load times. It must also offer something to the user and not interfere with the user experience.
If a WordPress slider plugin can do all that, it gets our vote!
- Why Are WordPress Sliders Useful?
- How a Slider Can Benefit Your Website
- Features of a Good WordPress Slider Plugin
- Introducing the Best WordPress Slider Plugins
- Summary of the Best WordPress Sliders
Sliders can be a very effective way of engaging with the audience. They are also useful for conveying a lot of information in a relatively small space.
If you’re running an online store, portfolio website, gallery or other image-intensive site, a slider can be invaluable. Not only can you showcase several pieces of work in the same space, the movement of the slide will naturally catch the eye and it can keep the audience on your page while they watch the slideshow.
All these things can be useful for showcasing products and delivering bitesize pieces of information that the audience can easily digest.
Sliders are about much more than just headers, which is what we discuss next.
The majority of sliders are used as headers but they can do much more than that. They can be used as a product carousel, testimonial showcase, review slider and so much more.
Have you ever selected an extra or alternative product from a slider on an Amazon product page? That’s a slider in action!
Product carousels are useful for eCommerce upselling. They can be used for showcasing multiple products on a page or for highlighting similar items on a product page.
A testimonial carousel can help buying decisions by showing a selection of reviews within the eyeline of the user without them having to do anything.
The ability to show multiple slides in the user’s eyeline with no input from them can be a very powerful marketing tool when used correctly!
You have to be very selective when considering a WordPress slider plugin. Don’t just stick with the one that came with your theme. Unless it’s one of the sliders listed here, there are often much better options out there.
If you’re in the market, your new WordPress slider should be:
- Fast, so as not to slow down page loading
- Seamless, so as not to interfere with the user experience
- Responsive, so it can render properly on different screen sizes
- Easy to navigate, so it is universally accessible
If your WordPress slider plugin is all those things, it could be worth using. If it falls short on any of those points, it may be worth reconsidering.
These 12 plugins are what we think are the best of what’s available in 2020.
|Soliloquy||$17 to $209||Soliloquy||4.5/5|
|MetaSlider||Free or $39 to $149||MetaSlider LLC||4/5|
|Smart Slider 3||Free or $35-$250||Nextend||4/5|
|Slide Anything||Free or $10||Simon Edge||4.5/5|
|Slider by 10Web||Free or $20 to $40||10Web||3.5/5|
|Layer Slider||$25 to $125||Kreatura Media||4/5|
|Ultimate Responsive Image Slider||$25 to $149||WPFrank||3.5/5|
|WP Slick Slider||Free or $99||WP Online Support||3.5/5|
|SlideDeck||Free or $25 to $95||SlideDeck||4/5|
Soliloquy is a very competent WordPress slider plugin that has been around for a while. It has gathered quite the following during that time, for very good reason. It’s a lightweight plugin with its own drag and drop builder or you can use the WordPress dashboard.
Soliloquy works with WooCommerce, images or video and uses a simple tab layout for customizations. Slides are responsive, can be set to full screen and feature dynamic content from a range of sources. There are also predefined templates you can use if you prefer.
Soliloquy also has a unique scheduler so you can time slides to appear at certain times which could be useful for online stores.
Features of Soliloquy:
- Uses the WordPress dashboard or its own page builder
- Can utilize multiple media sources for slides
- Fully responsive
- Can be used for WooCommerce product sliders
- Premium version includes Lightbox, dynamic content support and more
Pros of Soliloquy:
- Quality predefined templates you can use
- Straightforward drag and drop builder
- Lots of animations and effect options
- Fast loading with no perceptible slowing of page loads
Cons of Soliloquy:
- Dynamic content and blog post slides locked behind more expensive premium option
Soliloquy costs from $17 up to $209
MetaSlider is owned by the same company behind UpdraftPlus. It’s a lightweight WordPress slider plugin that likes to keep things simple while delivering a fully-featured experience. If you think the number of options in Layer Slider or Slider Revolution are just too much, MetaSlider might be just what you’re looking for.
Lightweight isn’t just about features, it’s also about load times. A lot of work has gone into making the slides as light as possible so they don’t slow pages.
Each slider is built using a simple slider dashboard and customized to look exactly how you want them to look. It’s a very intuitive way to build slides.
Features of MetaSlider:
- Lots of features in both free and premium version
- Simple slide creation and customization dashboard
- Automated image cropping to ensure each slide is identical in size
- A widget for placing sliders anywhere on your site
- WordPress Multisite compatible
Pros of MetaSlider:
- Simple to use with a straightforward design dashboard
- Control the look and feel with ease
- Loads quickly and doesn’t noticeably slow your page
- Optional addons to extend the power of the plugin
Cons of MetaSlider:
- Similar price to more feature-rich competition
MetaSlider has a free version and four premium options costing from $39 up to $149.
Smart Slider 3 is a very streamlined WordPress slider plugin. The interface seems pared down compared to some of these others yet still packs in the features. It has an attractive drag and drop editor to help you create or customize your slider and a library of premade sliders for you to use.
The interface is uncluttered and simple to grasp. Creating a slider is merely a case of selecting New Slider, configuring the basic settings, adding images or video, setting the type and saving. That’s it.
You can go a lot further if you want to but you genuinely could create slides that easily. Or use one of the dozens of premade templates accessible with the premium version.
Features of Smart Slider 3:
- Streamlined interface that is very simple to use
- Over 180 editable slide templates
- Compatible with dynamic content, video, audio, WooCommerce, social media and more
- Lots of animation and effect options
- Capable of handling up to 16 layers per slide
Pros of Smart Slider 3:
- Easy to get to grips with
- Simple slides can be configured in minutes
- Smart timeline control so you can see your slide in action
- Can use Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, WooCommerce and other sources in slides
Cons of Smart Slider 3:
- Not the cheapest option if you want to go premium
Smart Slider 3 has a free version and three premium versions costing between $35 and $250.
Slide Anything is a slightly different take on the WordPress slider plugin. Rather than make standard sliders more fancy, this plugin keeps the slide part simple but allows you to use anything as a slider. You can use images, video, HTML, shortcodes or anything you like.
The plugin uses Owl Carousel 2 jQuery to create slides. It is touch compatible, responsive and works with all current browsers. The interface isn’t as intuitive or as easy to use as some in this list but once you get to grips with it, you can use this plugin to place slides for anything, anywhere on your site.
Features of Slide Anything:
- Both free and premium pack in a lot of features
- Touch compatible and responsive
- Lots of slide effects
- Can lazy load to minimize page load times
- Premium version supports popups and hero slides
Pros of Slide Anything:
- You can create a slide out of literally anything, including shortcodes
- Once you get the hang of the dashboard, creation is easy
- No perceptible load penalty when used
- Free version is generous in its features
Cons of Slide Anything:
- The UI isn’t as intuitive as some
- Not as many animations or effects as other slider plugins
Slide Anything has a free version and a premium option priced at $10.
Slider by 10Web is a polished product. It has an attractive dashboard within the WordPress UI, simple controls and makes short work of the slide creation process. You can keep things simple with images and a headline or ramp it up with multiple layers, animations, videos and interactivity.
The plugin uses an intuitive drag and drop builder that can handle external sources, images, videos and posts. Slides are responsive and load quickly and can be configured as full screen or parallax for extra design freedom.
There is a lot going on here but once you figure out where everything is, you could be designing attractive slides to place anywhere on your site.
Features of Slider by 10Web:
- Drag and drop slide builder
- Lots of predefined slide templates you can use
- Compatible with external video sources, YouTube, Vimeo and others
- Lots of customization options for each individual slide
- 23 transition effects
Pros of Slider by 10Web:
- Provides full control over every aspect of your slides
- Well-designed interface with simple controls
- Compatible with hotspot layers for interactivity
- Can add social elements and external media to slides
- Lots of animations, effects and transitions
Cons of Slider by 10Web:
- Cheapest premium option only includes 6 months of updates.
Slider by 10Web Pricing
Slider by 10Web has a free version and premium versions priced between $20 and $40.
Slider Revolution is a very popular WordPress slider plugin with almost half a million sales. It’s a feature-rich plugin that creates some exceptional slides but requires a great eye for design to get the best out of it.
Slider Revolution uses a drag and drop builder to help create your slides. Those slides will be fully responsive, work with multiple media types including video. You can use blog posts, custom posts, social feeds and all kinds within slides, offering full control over the look and feel of your site.
There is a lot to get to grips with and designing isn’t as fluid as some. However, if you’re familiar with Adobe products, the interface and controls should be instantly familiar.
Features of Slider Revolution:
- Over 200 predefined templates you can use
- Redesigned interface is easier to get to grips with
- Optional addons to extend slides even further
- Thousands of elements to choose from
- Lots of available animations and effects
Pros of Slider Revolution:
- Very well-designed visual editor
- Over 200 templates and over 2000 elements to choose from
- Works with multiple media types including video and blog posts
- Literally hundreds of options to make slides unique
Cons of Slider Revolution:
- No free version
- That visual editor is not the most user-friendly
Slider Revolution costs $59.
7. Layer Slider
Layer Slider is one of the best-known WordPress slider plugins with over 100,00 sales. It’s a feature-rich plugin that uses a drag and drop slider builder to help you design the perfect slide.
If you have used Elementor or Brizy in Astra, Layer Slider has a similar setup.
Despite having a page builder, there is a lot to get to grips with here. It’s still accessible but be prepared to spend a few hours learning how slides are put together to get the best out of them. Otherwise, this is a superb WordPress slider plugin!
Features of Layer Slider:
- Uses a drag and drop slide builder for ease of use
- Lots of powerful animations, effects and options
- Comes with predefined slide templates you can import
- Allows insertion of dynamic content including posts
- Fully responsive so should work perfectly with any device
Pros of Layer Slider:
- The page builder saves a lot of time and effort
- Included slide templates are usable and easy to import
- Lots of customization options
- Wide range of effects and animations
Cons of Layer Slider:
- There is a lot to learn!
Layer Slider costs $25 for a single site licence up to $125 for up to 3 licences and white label options.
Master Slider is an excellent slider that works across all devices but specializes in touch devices like mobiles. It works equally well on desktop or laptop but if you think the majority of your visitors might use their phone to visit your site, this is definitely the slider plugin to consider.
Master Slider has a free and a premium version. The free version enables full control over a selection of slider types you can add to WordPress.
The premium version adds a drag and drop builder to help create sliders and over 90 predefined slide templates you can use for your own needs.
Features of Master Slider:
- Drag and drop slide builder with premium
- Wide selection of great slide design templates
- Works with YouTube, Flickr and WooCommerce
- Specializes in touch devices
- Uses smart loading to minimize load times
Pros of Master Slider:
- Master Slider has been optimized for touch swiping and works well
- The page builder makes short work of building or customization
- Tested on every browser
- Huge list of features for both free and premium version
Cons of Master Slider:
- Slider builder premium only
Master Slider has a free version while premium costs $24.
Ultimate Responsive Image Slider is an accurate description of what you get with this WordPress slider plugin. It’s an image slider only so won’t work with video or dynamic content but what the plugin does, it does very well indeed.
The plugin uses a simple interface where you create a slider, add or upload images, drag them into order, add your layers and effects and you’re good to go. It is simple but very effective with the opportunity to add unlimited images, add a slider to blog posts and style it as you please.
Ultimate Responsive Image Slider is also responsive and has no noticeable effect on page load times.
Features of Ultimate Responsive Image Slider:
- Simple, intuitive dashboard
- Can feature unlimited slides and images
- Compatible with all devices and browsers
- Lots of styling options
Pros of Ultimate Responsive Image Slider:
- Simple but very effective WordPress slider plugin
- Lots of effects and transitions to choose from
- No limit on the number of slides you can use
- Responsive and works on multiple device types
Cons of Ultimate Responsive Image Slider:
- Some of the best features only in premium
- Images only
Ultimate Responsive Image Slider has a free version and premium options priced from $25 to $149.
WP Slick Slider and Image Carousel is another entrant in our list of best WordPress slider plugins. It’s a feature-rich plugin that uses shortcodes to implement sliders, meaning you can put them anywhere on a page. It’s a great use of shortcodes offering a lot of freedom for your designs.
The plugin has a free and a premium option. Both offer the ability to create image slides and implement them within your website. The dashboard is straightforward and the creation process is simple. Add a new slide, add media, add layers, add copy and you’re good to go.
The premium version adds slide templates, slider types, pagination designs and a whole lot more.
Features of WP Slick Slider and Image Carousel:
- Fully responsive and touch compatible
- Pro version works with WPBakery page builder
- Sliders can be implemented using shortcodes
- Custom CSS editor included for full control
Pros of WP Slick Slider and Image Carousel:
- Straightforward dashboard with simple controls
- Good range of effects and options
- Lots of control over how slides and sliders operate
- Fully responsive and compatible with touch devices
Cons of WP Slick Slider and Image Carousel:
- Free version doesn’t include many templates or design features
- It helps to know a little CSS to get the most out of it
WP Slick Slider and Image Carousel has a free version and a premium version at $99.
FlexSlider is a free WordPress slider plugin that uses jQuery to deliver great looking sliders to any website. It doesn’t have a smart dashboard or drag and drop editor. Instead it relies on your adding a little code to your pages to implement. Full instructions are included but it might put some people off.
FlexSlider is compatible with vertical sliders, which is a unique feature. If you want a little something different, this is the only WordPress slider we know of that supports that.
The plugin is also responsive, compatible with touch and offers a lot of scope for customization as long as you know code.
Features of FlexSlider:
- Simple but effective slider plugin
- Uses jQuery to implement slides on pages
- Responsive and touch compatible
- Full customization of slides and the slider
Pros of FlexSlider:
- Can use used anywhere on any site
- Unique vertical slider makes it stand out
- Works on all browsers and devices
- Full control over how the slider looks and feels
Cons of FlexSlider:
- Requires you to handle code, although instructions are provided
- Not as feature-rich as other plugins
FlexSlider is free.
SlideDeck is a very flexible WordPress slider plugin that can create sliders for image, video, posts, testimonials, products and a whole lot more. It can handle external sources, WooCommerce products and a range of other slide types too.
The dashboard isn’t the most polished but does allow you to quickly create new slides, set the media, add layers and preview the slide. You also then use ‘lenses’ which are defined styles similar to templates to create slides quickly.
A simple side tab menu allows you to customize the slider, add effects and configure slider settings. It is very easy to learn and should make short work of creating slides.
Features of SlideDeck:
- Compatible with multiple media sources
- Lenses are the equivalent to templates and work well
- Compatible with dynamic sources
- Place slides anywhere for any purpose
Pros of SlideDeck:
- Easy to use once you learn the dashboard
- Menus and options are well-designed
- Slide creation is very straightforward
- Free version has a lot of features
Cons of SlideDeck:
- Some CSS knowledge required for more detailed customizations
SlideDeck has a free version and premium version costing from $25 to $95.
This list of the best WordPress sliders includes a wide range of options from some leading developers. Some are free, others are premium and some offer both.
Each delivers great looking sliders for you to use on any WordPress website.
If we were to choose two standout WordPress slider plugins, we would select Soliloquy for its power, ease of use and flexibility. We would also choose Slide Anything for the ability to add slides for any use, anywhere on a page.
The free version of Slide Anything is also worthy of its place here thanks to its range of features.
If you use any of the WordPress sliders in this list, you should be able to feature beautiful slides on your website in no time at all!
Do you use any of these WordPress sliders? Have any others to suggest? Tell us your thoughts below.