Free App Builder – Pros and Cons (2024)

When it comes to building an app, one of the biggest decisions entrepreneurs and small business owners face is whether to use a paid app development service or a free app builder. 

With the rise of free app builders in recent years, more and more people are opting for the latter option. But what are the pros and cons of using a free app builder? Is a free app builder right for you?

Here’s the short answer—free app builders can be a great option for personal projects or hobby apps. But for business use, a paid app builder might be a better choice.

In this post, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of using a free app builder and provide tips on how to choose the right one for your needs. The purpose of this post is to help you make an informed decision about whether a free app builder is the right choice for your app development project.

The Pros of Using a Free App Builder

These are the four main advantages of using a free app builder over paid alternatives: 

  • Cost Effectiveness
  • Ease of Use
  • Customization Options
  • No Commitment

Cost Effectiveness

One of the biggest advantages of using a free app builder is its cost-effectiveness. With a free app builder, there is no need to pay for app development. 

This can be especially beneficial for small businesses, startups, and individual entrepreneurs who may not have the budget for a paid app development service. With a free app builder, you can create a functional app without incurring any upfront costs.

However, it’s important to note that while using a free app builder may save you money on upfront development costs, it may not be completely free. Many free app builders offer a limited set of features for free but charge for additional functionality or for the removal of ads. 

You must understand the pricing structure of the app builder you choose and budget for any additional costs that may be incurred.

It’s also important to consider the long-term costs associated with using a free app builder. 

While it may be cost-effective in the short term, you may end up spending more in the long run if the app builder doesn’t have the scalability options you need or if you need to hire a developer to add features that the free app builder doesn’t offer. Always

Weigh the short-term savings against the long-term costs when considering a free app builder.

Ease of Use

Many free app builders are designed to be user-friendly and do not require coding knowledge—making them accessible to a wide range of users. This can be especially helpful for those who have limited technical skills but still want to create an app. 

Free app builders allow you to create an app by simply dragging and dropping elements or by using pre-designed templates without the need for any programming knowledge. 

This can save a lot of time and effort for those who are not familiar with coding and allow them to focus on the design and functionality of the app.

Additionally, free app builders often come with a wide range of tutorials and resources that can help users navigate the platform and create the app they want. Many of the popular free app builders have a large community and forum where you can find answers to your questions and learn tips and tricks from more experienced users. This can make it even easier to create an app, even if you’re not an expert.

While it’s true that some free app builders may have limited support and resources, it’s important to note that many offer a range of support options, such as FAQs, user guides, and video tutorials, that can help users troubleshoot any issues they may encounter. 

One example of a free app builder that boasts ease of use is BuildFire. BuildFire’s platform is designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, making it accessible to users of all skill levels. 

In addition to its simplicity, the platform also has a support team that’s available to assist users with any questions or issues they may have. BuildFire’s ease of use, along with its range of features and customization options, makes it a great option for those looking to create a functional and professional-looking app.

Customization Options

Most free app builders allow users to create an app that is unique and tailored to their specific needs. This includes options such as different color schemes, layouts, and design elements, as well as the ability to add custom functionality and features. 

With these customization options, users can create an app that is truly unique and stands out from the competition.

For example, BuildFire lets users choose from a variety of pre-designed templates or create their own layout using the platform’s intuitive drag-and-drop interface. Additionally, BuildFire allows users to add custom functionality and features to their app with a single click. 

Just choose from one of the 150+ pre-built functions from the BuildFire marketplace.

It’s important to note that while many free app builders offer customization options, the degree of customization may vary from one platform to another. 

Some free app builders may have more limited options than others, so it’s important to do your research and find the app builder that best suits your needs. However, as long as you’re willing to put in some time and effort, it’s possible to create a professional-looking and fully-featured app with a free app builder.

No Commitment

Another significant advantage of using a free app builder is that it allows you to create an app without any long-term commitment. With a free app builder, you can create an app and test it out before deciding whether or not to invest in it further. This can be especially beneficial for businesses that are just starting out or are not sure if an app is the right move for them.

You can experiment with different designs, features, and functionalities without incurring any costs. This can be a great way to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t before committing to a more expensive app development process. This flexibility allows you to make informed decisions about the direction of your app and whether or not it’s worth investing more resources into.

A free app builder can be a great way to prototype your app idea or get started with a minimum viable product. You can create a basic version of your app and test it out with a small group of users to see how it performs and gather feedback. This can help you identify any issues or areas for improvement.

Overall, the no-commitment aspect of free app builders is a great opportunity for businesses and individuals to test the waters and see if an app is the right fit for them before making any big decisions. 

The Cons of Using a Free App Builder

While there are plenty of perks to using a free app builder, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  • Limited Features and Functionality
  • Limited Scalability
  • Limited Customer Support
  • Limited Design Options

Limited Features and Functionality

It’s common for free app builders to have a more limited range of features and functionalities compared to paid app builders. This can ultimately limit the overall capabilities of your app.

For example, free app builders may not offer advanced features such as e-commerce functionality, social media integration, or the ability to send push notifications. 

These features can be essential for businesses looking to create a fully-featured and functional app. Additionally, free app builders may not offer the same level of support and resources as paid app builders, which can make it more difficult to troubleshoot any issues that may arise.

Another issue with free app builders is that they often come with limitations on the number of users or downloads that can be supported. This can be problematic for businesses looking to create an app that will be used by a large number of users. You may also encounter limitations on the amount of data that can be stored or the number of pages that can be created.

So while free app builders can be a great option for small-scale projects or personal use, they may not be the best choice for businesses looking to create a fully-featured and functional app. The limited features and functionality of free app builders can be a significant drawback, and it’s important to consider this before deciding to use a free app builder for your app development needs.

Limited Scalability

While free app builders may be suitable for small-scale projects or personal use, they may not be able to handle the demands of a growing business or a large user base.

It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to generate tens of thousands or millions of downloads using a free app builder. This can be a problem for businesses looking to expand their user base or for apps that require a significant amount of data storage. 

You’ll likely need to upgrade to a higher tier for more data.

Free app builders may not be able to handle the increased traffic and usage that comes with a growing user base, which can lead to poor app performance and user dissatisfaction.

As a business grows, it may require new features and functionalities that are not available on a free app builder. This can make it difficult to keep up with the demands and may require the business to invest in a more expensive app development process.

Limited Customer Support

Some free app builders do offer a certain level of customer support. But it’s often more limited compared to paid app builders. 

With that said, the level of customer support offered by different free app builders can vary greatly, so it’s important to research the support options available before deciding to use a specific app builder.

For example, some free app builders may only offer basic customer support, such as a FAQ page or a community forum. While these resources can be helpful, they may not be able to provide the same level of support as a dedicated customer service team.

For example, if you upgrade your service with BuildFire, you can connect with a dedicated account manager for app strategy sessions. This type of service won’t be available with a free app builder.

You may not find the same level of support for customizations and integrations. For businesses looking to create a fully-featured and functional app, it is essential to have access to support for customizations and integrations. Without this, it can be more difficult to make the necessary changes to the app to keep up with the demands of a growing business.

This can be a significant drawback, especially for businesses looking to create an app for real users.

Limited Design Options

When it comes to creating an app, the design is just as important as the functionality. However, with a free app builder, the design options available can be quite limited. 

The templates and customization options offered by free app builders tend to be more basic compared to paid app builders. As a result, it can be more challenging to create an app that stands out and looks professional.

Additionally, the design elements offered by free app builders may not be as flexible as those offered by paid app builders. For example, some free app builders may only offer a limited number of color schemes or font options. This can make it difficult to create an app that aligns with a specific brand or style.

A lot of free app builders don’t offer advanced design features such as animations, interactive elements, and other design elements that can make your app more engaging and enjoyable to use. This can be a significant drawback, especially for businesses looking to create an app that stands out in the crowded mobile market.

Choosing the Right Free App Builder

Choosing the right free app builder is crucial for creating a successful app. There are many free app builders available on the market, each with its own unique set of features and limitations. It can be overwhelming to choose the right one, especially for those who are new to app building.

One free app builder that stands out from the rest is BuildFire. BuildFire is a powerful and user-friendly app builder that offers a wide range of features and customization options. 

With BuildFire, you can create an app that looks professional and functions seamlessly. The best part is that you can try BuildFire for free for 14 days, allowing you to test its features and see if it’s the right fit for your app.

One of the major advantages of BuildFire is its cost-effectiveness—you can create an app without breaking the bank. 

BuildFire has affordable plans that are suitable for businesses of all budgets. Even though you can use the app builder for free, to have a live app with real users, you will have to pay. But the plans are still affordable.

Another advantage of BuildFire is its ease of use. The app builder is designed to be user-friendly, making it easy for anyone to create an app, regardless of their technical skills. BuildFire also offers excellent customer support, which is another plus.

Final Thoughts

Using a free app builder can be a great option for many app creators, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. 

The cost-effectiveness of using a free app builder can be a major advantage, as it allows app creators to create an app without breaking the bank. Additionally, most free app builders are user-friendly, making it easy for anyone to create an app, regardless of their technical skills.

But there are also limitations to using a free app builder. Limited functionality, limited scalability, and limited design options are some of the cons that app creators should consider. 

Ultimately, it’s up to the app creator to decide whether a free app builder is the right choice for their app. By considering the pros and cons and taking the time to choose the right app builder, app creators can be sure that they’re making the best decision for their app.

Nic Hughart

Nic is the VP of Sales at BuildFire. He's a proven sales leader with 20+ years of experience in SMB, MM & ENT level sales markets, with more than a decade in the SaaS segment. Nic specializes in leadership, hiring, training, developing, and optimizing growing sales teams.