CSS frameworks are fast becoming extremely popular starting points for a lot of developers. If you have never used one, a CSS framework is a set of default CSS and HTML files that provide a great code base to build upon. Commonly included in CSS frameworks are CSS resets, buttons, and common layouts that that are aimed towards saving developers time by not having to reinvent the wheel with every project.

I've used a number of CSS frameworks in my day for projects and each one has it pros and cons. If you are just looking for a set of CSS resets to work with then you will want to go with one of the smaller, lighter CSS frameworks. If you have a fully responsive, mobile project you need to build, choosing one of the larger frameworks might be in your best interest. Either way take a look at the list of top CSS frameworks I have compiled below and check out the ones that interested you.

  1. 1

    Pure

    Pure CSS Framework

    Pure is a simple framework that only includes 1 file, the stylesheet. Pure prides itself in being one of the smaller frameworks weighing in at only 4.3KB for the one file. Included in the small framework are CSS styles to get you started making layouts, buttons, forms, and tables.

    http://purecss.io/
  2. 2

    Bootstrap

    Bootstrap CSS Framework

    Bootstrap calls itself the sleek, intuitive CSS framework that focuses on mobile first. Bootstrap is one of the more robust frameworks with multiple CSS, JS, and font files to get you started. Bootstrap includes in their CSS framework what they call Components. These components allow you to build things like drop down menus, paginations, and alert boxes. This CSS frameworks is a good choice for anyone needing a complete solution to mobile development.

    http://getbootstrap.com/
  3. 3

    HTML5 Boilerplate

    The HTML5 Boilerplate framework has been around for a couple years now and remains one of the top CSS frameworks out there. This framework is a comprehensive set of files that is meant to be step one of your project. Included in the framework is HTML, CSS, JS, and images to get your project kickstarted quick. Just treat this framework as the root directory of your site and enjoy and accelerated build process.

    http://html5boilerplate.com/
  4. 4

    Base

    Base is another one of the CSS frameworks that prides itself in a mobile first approach. Its packed with the required files to make you project look amazing on mobile and tablet devices. The CSS framework is the only I have seen so far that includes Less.js and Sass. Both of these CSS preprocessors are great time saving tools that should be included in every project.

    http://matthewhartman.github.io/base/
  5. 5

    Skeleton

    Skeleton CSS Framework

    Skeleton is another one of the CSS frameworks that take pride in being minimal. This framework is simply a set of three CSS files provide the tools get your project up and running quickly. Buttons, forms, layouts, and typographies are all accounted for in this framework. Since this is one of the smaller frameworks, incorporating it into your next project with be quick and painless.

    http://www.getskeleton.com/

Conclusion

There you have it! The 5 top CSS frameworks out there right now that you should be using. When it comes down to it each has their pros and cons, but in general you should at minimum be trying to use one of them to streamline your build process. I know there are a lot more CSS frameworks out there. If you have one you think should have been included in this list, then drop me a line in the comments and let me know.

Meet the Author

Russell Martin is a computer engineer and internet aficionado. He has been working in the web design/development industry for over 10 years now and enjoys the freedom of a job away from the office. Currently living in Thailand, he is focusing on sharing his web design knowledge by writing blog posts and tutorials.