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Drag-and-Drop Email Builders Vs Custom Coded Emails

Drag-and-Drop Email Builders Vs. Custom Coded Emails

Drag-and-drop email builders or custom coded email templates - still on the fence? Let us help you decide....

A robust, pixel-perfect, and responsive email template forms the lifeline of your email campaign. And so, rightfully, a great deal of literature exists surrounding its development. The tick boxes that ought to be checked off while creating an email template have been given their decent share of limelight. So, today, we wish to delve into the “How” aspect of it- what are the tools or choices available at your disposal to craft an email template? 

There are two options when it comes to creating email templates.

1. Drag-and-Drop builder: A Drag-and-Drop template builder is a type of email editor that provides you with pre-built modules/blocks with the feasibility to customise them as per the need and brand. 

2. Custom Coded Email: Template created from scratch HTML and CSS with the feasibility of writing the code with custom design. 

And the truth is that both can be used for different purposes, depending mostly on the company, brand, objectives, goals, and resources.

The Benefits of Drag-and-Drop Email Builders:

  • Easy to use and save time:
    You can simply Drag-and-Drop different elements, such as text, images, buttons, and links, into your email template. You don’t need any HTML knowledge or design experience to create professional-looking emails.
  • Ensure brand consistency and mobile responsiveness:
    You can choose from a variety of templates/modules that match your brand identity and style. You can also preview how your email will look on different devices and environments and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Reduce costs and improve efficiency:
    You don’t need to hire graphic designers or HTML coders to create your emails. You can also reuse your templates and customize them for different purposes and audiences.

The Drawbacks of Drag-and-Drop Email Builders:

  • Limits your creativity and customization:
    You can only use the elements and templates that are provided by the tool. You cannot add your own HTML code or CSS styles to create unique and original email designs.
  • Increase compatibility challenges:
    Drag-and-Drop editor has pre-built modules/templates so it takes a considerable amount of time to adapt to any new technological changes or making the templates compatible for any new device. 
  • Reduce your control and flexibility:
    In case of migrating from one ESP to another, Drag-and-Drop templates lose all their editability when imported to any new tool.

The Merits of Custom Coded Email Templates:

  • More control and flexibility over the design and layout:
    You can create unique and custom email designs that match your brand identity and style. You can create designs that can stand out in the digital market.
  • Ensure better compatibility and rendering:
    You can use HTML and CSS hacks to ensure the template is compatible across all/major email clients. You can also use media queries and responsive design techniques to make your email adapt to different screen sizes, and also target any specific OS. 
  • Improve your email performance and deliverability:
    You can optimize your email code to reduce the weight of the template so it can load faster to facilitate better open rates and lower spam scores. 

The Downsides of Custom Coded Email Templates:

  • Time-consuming and complex:
    It takes a team of experienced email developers able to create customised templates. You also need to test your email templates across different email clients and devices to ensure they render correctly and consistently.
  • Increase your costs:
    You may need to hire developers or designers to create and maintain your email templates.

Drag-and-Drop email builder vs Custom Coded emails- What’s the verdict?

You have good reason to believe that both of these routes stand to benefit you for different project requirements.  Here is a comparison table, to help you choose the best option for your email marketing needs:


Irrespective of any option you choose, one thing that you must do is test the email template before its eventual deployment. We hope by shedding light on the pros and cons associated with each method, we’ve made it easier for you to make your pick. 

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Avani, a Senior Project Manager with six years of experience at Email Uplers, is a certified Mailchimp, Klaviyo, & Sendinblue Email expert. She leads the team responsible for email development and holds accountability for Client Experience and Team Management. Apart from her professional achievements, she finds joy and inspiration in various creative pursuits, including reading, painting, and sketching.



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