4 of the Best WordPress Table Plugins I Use Across My Niche Sites for Various Purposes

As a Joe-Blow reader of websites, I love tables and charts.  Tables and charts distill a lot of information into something I can glean quickly.

I also think they look great as long as the right table software is used.

One of my goals in 2017 is to invest time into sprucing up my content presentation.  I'll do this with a variety of the usual blog post visual aids available such as content boxes, icon-based bullet lists, dividers, headings, buttons, tabs and tables.

Sprucing up content presentation takes time, especially when starting out, but I've been pleasantly surprised that the more you do it, the faster you get at it.  

I admit the content and design of this site (Fat Stacks) is Plain Jane.  I hope to do a redesign, but in the meantime I'll be working on enhancing content presentation in 2017 starting with this post and my new income report format.

Part of my learning curve with improving content presentation has been testing and trying many different table plugins.  There are a good number of them including free and paid.  

However, what I've come to learn is that instead of trying to figure out which is the single best table plugin for all uses, it's best to use different table plugins for different purposes depending on the nature of the table or chart.

This post sets out my 4 favorite table plugins and explains for which types of tables they are best (and why).​

4 Outstanding Table Plugins

1. Table Press

​TablePress plugin is free with some premium add-on options.  The free version is generally all you'll need.  I haven't purchased any add-ons yet.

This plugin is amazingly simple and powerful.  It's a true table plugin and if it's data you wish to display in table format, this is the must-use table plugin.​

I use this plugin when I mostly have numbers to present in the table.  This is my go-to table option when I want a table that can be sorted by users or paginated or I have a lot of numbers to input into the table (it's great for numerical data).

A big advantage with TablePress over Thrive Content Builder tables is that ads will not display inside a TablePress table.  While on occasion it can be good to have ads in a table, more often than not it's bad.​

TablePress ​Example:

Table TypeBest Table Plugin
Numbers... lots of numbers:TablePress
Product Comparison:WPCompear for standard tables and custom comparisons with a maximum of 8 features to compare. Arena Products Store for custom comparisons with many features/specifications to compare.
Content rich tables:Thrive Content Builder Tables
Lots of images in the table:Thrive Content Builder Tables
Simple tables like this one:TablePress

2. Thrive Content Builder​

Thrive Content Builder, which I've been using quite a bit in 2017 (I know, I've resisted for years, but I'm a convert now) has a decent table element you can use.  

While TCB's tables look and function much like TablePress tables, there are instances when I prefer to use TCB tables.  Those instances include:

  • When I wish to include images in table cells;
  • When I need to insert links into a table (I find inputting links in TablePress a bit of a hassle, whereas it's dead simple with TCB tables); and/or
  • When I wish to include a fair amount of text in the cells and/or wish to have multi-column within cells.

1 Big Pro OR Con

The one issue that can arise that can be good or bad is that if you have ads on your site and the ads are configured to display after X paragraphs, the ad may show up inside the TCB table.  More often than not this is bad.  

Essentially, the TCB tables are very easy to input all kinds of content within cells which can result in amazingly helpful and beautiful content presentation.  I find I have more control with table configuration with the TCB table compared to TablePress.

Thrive Content Table Example Showing How You Can All Kinds of Elements Inside a Table.  Yeah, it looks messy, but at least you can see a variety of elements you can add to a table which can be handy for specific tables.

Header 1 / 1

Header 1 / 2

Header 1 / 3

Row 1

Column 1

Added 2 columns within the cell

Column 2

Here's the 2nd column in this cell.​

Third column.

Row 2

Put an image in this cell.

Another image in Column 3

Row 3

Easily merged the 2 cells in this row.

Row 4

  • First tab
  • Second tab

Tab 2

Add buttons to cells:

Row 5

Add Cool Content Boxes

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Cell content

Row 6

  • Bullet Point 1
  • Bullet Point 2

Cell content

3. WP Compear

WP Compear is a product comparison plugin.  It has some really nice interactive components to it.  For instance, you can create tables where visitors can drag and drop select products into the table so they can compare just the products in which they're interested.

Here's an image of what I'm talking about:

You can also create sortable tables with product images and star ratings.  This is terrific for the usual product comparison tables.

Demo:

Sorry, since I'm not using this plugin on FatStacksBlog.com, I'm not able to provide a live example.

But, WPCompear has an excellent demo page so check it out here.​

4. Arena Products Store

Arena Products Store is a beast of a table plugin.  I use it when I'm doing some serious product comparisons on a website.  Not only does it compare products in a multitude of ways, but it creates filtered searches and product specification tables that you can embed anywhere with shortcodes.

While there's a bit of a learning curve to get this beauty up and running, once you figure it out, you'll love it if you are publishing a product-oriented affiliate site where you want to promote, compare and review multiple products within the same product line.​

I'm not going to include an example in this post because I don't have this plugin set up on this site.  It's a mega table plugin that creates all kinds of dynamic content and requires a fair amount of planning and time to set up.  However, if you publish a site that promotes or sells multiple related products, check it out.

For example, if you have a blender affiliate site, you can set up an amazing compare page where visitors can choose which benders they want to compare (up to 5).  You can also manually create comparison pages for a better chance at ranking those comparisons (with proper h1 tags and url).

You can also embed the specification tables into the product reviews.

There's so much this plugin can do for product comparisons.  I use it extensively on one niche site and so I can confidently recommend this plugin for the right type of site.​

Fortunately this plugin developer offers a great demo site so you can see it in action for yourself.​

The BIG Problem with WordPress Tables​

Ahhhh WordPress.  Oh how I love it and hate it at the same time.  

The WordPress table plugin is actually not bad to use, but the problem is it's not responsive.  Yes, you can add some CSS to your WordPress website to get the tables responsive, but that's a pain.  In fact, with these tables without the CSS, you can't even scroll horizontally so basically a lot of content is cut off.  

Test Before Publishing

I strongly suggest that you test the display of your tables on all devices to ensure your table works as you want it to on all devices.  Do not expect perfection because the fact is tables on mobile phones are never going to be great.​

Which Table Plugin is Best?

There is no best table plugin.  It comes down to what you want to include in the table and why you're using it.

However, to help you choose the right one for any particular task, here's a short list of of my recommended tables by task or table type (I used TablePress for this because it's simple data and doesn't require any fancy configuration or media):

Table TypeBest Table Plugin
Numbers... lots of numbers:TablePress
Product Comparison:WPCompear for standard tables and custom comparisons with a maximum of 8 features to compare. Arena Products Store for custom comparisons with many features/specifications to compare.
Content rich tables:Thrive Content Builder Tables
Lots of images in the table:Thrive Content Builder Tables
Simple tables like this one:TablePress

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Colin Suttie says

    Hi Jon
    Regarding inputting links in TablePress, I agree it’s a PITA if you do it manually through the plugin. I set up Excel spreadsheets for my tables, with a simple formula to generate the link, then save the result as a .csv to import directly into the plugin. Works pretty well and doesn’t take a lot of time. You can use exactly the same process for images. Happy to share the spreadsheet / formulas if you’re interested.

    1. Jon says

      Hey Colin,

      Great idea. Thanks for the offer. I find Excel a bigger nuisance to use than TablePress. Fortunately for most tables I don’t input links and if I do such as a product comparison table I use WPCompear or Arena Products Store.

  2. Jenny Rev says

    Hey Jon,

    Very Informative.

    Without a doubt Tablepress & Thrive content builder are two of the best plugins in the business. I am using Tablepress on my Niche blogs and it is very easy to use and of course these days Google showing knowledge graphs, so having a table in posts becomes all more important.

    ~ Jenny

  3. Kasa says

    Go Pricing is my “must have” plugin for creating pricing and any other tables in WordPress.

    I am surprised it is not mentioned anywhere in this post.

    1. Jon says

      Thanks Kasa. I’ll check it out. I tend to restrict my recommendations based on what I use and I don’t always use every plugin available… although I’ve often tested many not mentioned, but in this case I have not tried Kasa. I’ll check it out.

  4. Felica Carroll says

    I have a great experience with “WP Compear” plugin. It’s user-friendly & gives professional look over the site. Best for eCommerce platform & affiliate market.

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