Are you trying to decide between Toolset and ACF (Advanced Custom Fields)? Or are you unsure how these tools would help you get more out of WordPress? We’ll go over how Toolset and ACF would help you construct better WordPress sites in this comparison. Then, though there is some overlap, each plugin has a slightly different emphasis, so we’ll go over each one individually to help you choose the right tool for your needs. Custom post types and custom fields are your best pals if you want to develop more complicated websites with WordPress development services. With Elementor Pro, you can use the theme builder to create custom post-type templates and use the Dynamic Content option to inject data from custom fields. However, you’ll need a separate tool to create and manage custom post types and custom fields on your web.
Custom Post Types and Custom Fields
If you’re unfamiliar with the significance of custom post types and custom fields in WordPress, we’ll need to start with a fast primer before diving into Toolset and ACF. Custom post types and custom fields, in a nutshell, allow you to work with custom content on WordPress sites. WordPress comes with two kinds of content by default: posts (blog posts) and pages (web pages) (static pages). Custom post types allow you to add your kinds of content to the mix.
For example, if you have an eCommerce shop, you should create a product post type to house the items you want to sell. Alternatively, if you run a job board, you might create a work listing post type to place each job. On the other hand, custom fields allow you to add fields to any post type to gather extra data. For example, if you have a product post type, you might add custom fields to retrieve the price, dimensions, stock status, SKU, and other information for each product. You might add custom fields to a work listing post type to accumulate a salary range, needed years of experience, and so on.
WordPress development services Unlock Custom Post Types and Custom Fields.
In a nutshell, custom post types and custom fields are essential because they enable WordPress to function as a content management system to its full potential. You’ll be able to use WordPress to create eCommerce shops, directory sites, classified listings, online courses, membership sites, and more once you’ve mastered these principles. Toolset and ACF are both WordPress plugins that make it easier to work with custom content, which is why we’re comparing them.
When Should Custom Fields Be Used?
You may be wondering if custom fields are necessary in the first place. Couldn’t you add all that information as regular text in the WordPress editor if you wanted to post an event on your WordPress site?
Yes, you certainly could. Custom fields, on the other hand, are a better option for a few reasons:
More accessible data entry — rather than typing everything from scratch, a well-designed custom field group will make data entry much more accessible. You should, for example, choose a date from a date picker rather than typing it in.
Consistency — the data you enter in your custom fields will always display according to your settings, ensuring consistency across your site.
Simple updates and maintenance — rather than having to edit each post individually, if you want to change something about how that information appears in the future, you can update one thing.
ACF vs Toolset: what to choose?
Let’s look at more specific comparisons between Toolset and ACF now.
Toolset and ACF also have features to help you work with custom content, so they focus on different things. The Toolset is intended to be a one-stop-shop for creating custom content. It allows you to make custom post types as well as custom fields. It also allows you to use that custom content on your site’s front end without having to use any coding. For example, you can quickly generate custom layouts and queries that contain your custom field data on the front end. ACF, on the other hand, is devoted solely to custom fields (hence the name). It’s also just for the backend; if you want your custom fields to appear on the front end, you’ll need to use PHP.
The Toolset is made up of various components. Each component is a separate plugin that you can mix and match to meet your needs:
Custom post types, custom fields, and custom taxonomies can all be created with Types. Because this module controls custom fields, it has the most overlap with ACF.
The block editor allows you to display custom content on the front end using blocks. Custom queries, design loops, and other features are also available. This is one of the most significant differences between Toolset and ACF, as it simplifies the process of showing custom content (which ACF does not).
It allows you to generate front-end forms that are connected to your custom post types and fields.
It allows you to limit access to custom content on the front-end and backend using WordPress user positions.
Use any custom content as a map marker on Google or Azure maps.
Toolset Types adds advanced field types like connection fields and repeater fields to Toolset.
ACF is limited to custom fields, making it less versatile than Toolset. Furthermore, ACF is geared more toward developers, as it assumes you understand PHP to work with custom fields on the front end. On the other hand, ACF can do custom fields exceptionally well because it has narrowed its focus in this manner. The free plugin includes over 30 different field types and advanced features such as repeater fields, versatile content fields (which allows you to identify groups of sub-fields), gallery fields, and more.
ACF can be used for a lot more than just creating custom front-end content. For example, if you’re a developer, ACF will help you quickly build backend options pages for your web, theme, or plugin. ACF provides complete control over WordPress custom fields to developers.
The interfaces of Toolset and ACF are both well-designed. In general, Toolset’s interface has “more” going on than ACF’s since Toolset has more features.
The main Toolset dashboard displays all of your site’s content types, including those generated by other plugins. It’s challenging to do this feature justice in just a few words and a single screenshot. But suffice to say, this is a potent tool.
ACF also uses “Field Groups” to accomplish its goals. A field group collects custom fields that you like to show up somewhere on your website. When creating a field group, you can start by adding all of the custom fields you want to include. You’ll be able to customize the type and other settings for each area, including conditional logic. You’ll need to use PHP or combine ACF with a plugin like WordPress development services to indeed display content from your fields on the front-end of your site. Additionally, if you tried to add custom fields to a custom post type, you’d need to use a separate plugin like Custom Post Type UI to make the custom post type in the first place. This is not the case with Toolset, which has this feature built into the core plugin.
To begin with, there is a significant price difference between Toolset and ACF:
The Toolset is only available in a premium edition, while ACF has a free version on WordPress.org. ACF’s premium version is equally-priced to Toolset’s premium version.
In terms of premium editions, I believe Toolset provides better “value” because it is priced similarly to ACF but offers a lot more functionality. The Toolset provides custom fields and Toolset Blocks, form builders, query builders, custom post types, Maps integrations, and more for the same price.
It all gets down to your needs, use case, and budget when deciding between Toolset and ACF. There’s no risk of choosing a “bad” tool for working with custom content on WordPress because they’re both superb. They are still doing slightly different things and solving somewhat other problems, as I previously stated.
ACF is only for custom fields, and it’s aimed chiefly at programmers. It excels at custom fields, but it has no other capabilities. It’s not just for front-end content, either. Developers would use it to build custom admin choice pages, for example.
On the other hand, Toolset is a more comprehensive WordPress development service and tools for working with custom content. Yes, it creates custom fields and custom post types, but it also allows you to display that content on the front end of your site, create forms for adding new content, limit access to custom content, and much more.