But finding which ones will work best for your designs can be a bit like searching for a needle in a haystack, and finding a wireframing software that fits your price range can add even more stress to your search. But don’t worry—we’re here to help!
We’ve rounded up our top picks for the best wireframing tools that won’t break your budget.
Our top eight wireframing tools include:
Ready to learn about some amazing wireframing tools? Let’s get started.
A wireframing tool for creating quick designs, running user testing, and sharing mockups with a design team.
- Free 30-day trial period
- Pro (single-user license): $89
Why should you use it for wireframing?
One of the many Balsamiq Studios products, Balsamiq Wireframes is a Flash-based wireframing software with an extensive library of UI elements and templates that make wireframing a breeze.
The complexity of the Balsamiq Wireframe library can be a source of great inspiration for designers when producing desktop and mobile wires. Not only does it have many diverse elements, but it’s also easy to learn and use. Most designers describe it as being as simple as dragging, dropping, and arranging elements from the menu onto your canvas until you have the interface you desire.
Balsamiq Wireframes also has built-in presentation tools that make presenting your designs to clients a seamless process.
Where Balsamiq Wireframes falls short
Balsamiq Wireframes is not the best for building larger prototypes and lacks animations or interactive features. Designers wishing to simulate the UX of their software must be able to program interactions themselves and export as an interactive PDF.
This wireframing software is unique in style as the design elements have a hand-drawn appearance to them. This gives your designs a bit of a cartoony feel that may not be desired. Also, it’s important to note that once your free 30-day trial is up, you’ll have to purchase a license to save any of your previous designs.
What other designers are saying
- “Probably the easiest wireframing tool to use. It’s focused feature set is aimed at creating wireframes in the least amount of time possible. Very quick to learn with some depth for power users.”
- “Wireframes can look child-like and unprofessional with some settings.”
A simple, minimalistic wireframing tool for mobile apps and websites that’s easy to learn.
- Basic: free
- Premium: 7-day free trial, $16 per month (single-user)
What does Wireframe.cc offer?
If you need a quick and efficient tool for putting together some simple wireframes then Wireframe.cc is your best choice.
This web-based wireframe tool is super intuitive as the layout is a bit like drawing items on pencil and paper and cutting and pasting them on to your design. Wireframe.cc made it very easy to turn your mouse into a multipurpose tool. Simply draw your shape on a blank canvas and select what you want it to be from the 9 options on the appearing toolbar.
Wireframe.cc’s design templates are simple with the ability to choose from the mobile landscape, mobile vertical, and webpage. This focus on the basics makes Wireframe.cc a great option when you just need something rudimentary done quickly.
What doesn’t it offer?
Some see the simple nature of Wireframe.cc to be a downside—especially if you are looking to create anything mid-fidelity and up. No animation or interaction options are provided and it also lacks mockup creation, presentation tools, prototyping, screen capture, and feedback management.
It also doesn’t allow for the creation of more than one wireframe at a time so comparing various iterations side-by-side can be difficult. So while this wireframing tool is quick and easy to use, it is a bit limited in features and complexity.
What people are saying about Wireframe.cc
- “I suck at designing. This dead-simple tool allows me to get my web design ideas out.”
- “Quick to start. No installation needed. Minimalistic. Easy to understand for everyone.”
A cloud-based design platform great for sharing and collaborating among team members.
- Starter: free (up to two editors and three projects).
- Premium: free for students or $12 per editor/month (unlimited projects).
Why is Figma good for wireframing?
Not all designers would associate Figma with wireframing as many people use it solely for its wonderful prototyping and graphic design features. However, this design tool gives you the freedom to create pretty much any design you want, including wireframes all the way from low- to high-fidelity.
Its open and expansive layout gives you the ability to create many designs within one project. It also gives you the ability to produce many iterations side-by-side, making brainstorming exercises and redesigns super simple. Figma’s design-centered approach makes it a wonderful tool to get your wireframing ideas out quickly by making usually tedious tasks quite easy.
Are there downsides to Figma?
To be honest, it is difficult to find reasons why Figma wouldn’t be good for wireframing. However, it’s not a tool designed explicitly for creating wires as it has multiple design purposes and functions. So if you are looking for something more specifically designed for wireframing, you might want to look elsewhere—especially if you and/or your design team will need to upgrade to paid versions. You might be paying for more than you really need.
What other people are saying
- “It’s a great tool to share prototypes, wireframes, even other kinds of deliverables such as mood board.”
- “Figma provides all the comprehensive features of a software diagramming tool but with a laser focus on designing user interfaces and user experiences….The price point for large teams can be a bit prohibitive.”
An open-source graphical user interface tool great for wireframing, mockup creation, and prototyping by both solitary designers and big businesses alike.
What is Pencil Project good for?
Pencil Project is a downloadable wireframing tool for both Mac and Windows and is also available as a Firefox add-on. Pencil Project has loads of templates to choose from for both mobile and web so you can create many different low-fidelity wires of your interface.
This diverse UX tool has a good amount of interactive elements and is especially noted for its diagramming capabilities. Linking shapes, wireflows, and other flowcharts is made quick and easy with Pencil Project’s “connector” tool and page linking.
Free of charge and intuitive to use, Pencil Project is a great choice for basic wires or beginner designers.
What does Pencil Project lack?
Pencil Project is not the best wireframing tool for big design teams as collaboration features are a bit limited. Users have also noted that the variety of available shapes is a bit light and many designers are left needing to hook up to a more extensive online shapes library.
Other users have noted that Pencil Project feels a bit out of date and could use better-looking features. Furthermore, designers looking for mid- to high-fidelity wireframing capabilities will most likely want to use a different software.
What users are saying
- “I love using Pencil for the initial mock-up of a project. I can work quickly and get the printout to all of my coworkers for input.”
- “Pencil is a little limited in what you can add to your design. They have great options, but sometimes you wish they had more to offer.”
Collaborative mockup and wireframing application for designing and testing mobile apps and web pages.
- Free version (one project with 200 elements)
- Personal (three projects, sinlge-user): $6.99/month
Why is NinjaMock great for wireframes?
NinjaMock lives up to its name by making wireframe creation super fast and efficient. It’s simple, quick to learn, and includes many interactive elements for both mobile and desktop.
The speed and intuitiveness of NinjaMock means you can spend less time learning how to work the software and more time getting creative with your wireframes. It’s also available for many platforms including IOS, Android, Windows phones and web.
Sharing and editing designs with clients is also made easy by the ability to produce unique links that can then be shared with customers allowing for real-time collaboration and editing.
Issues you may encounter with NinjaMock
If you’re a smaller company working on multiple projects that require various elements, NinjaMock’s pricing may not be feasible for you. Furthermore, users have reported issues with navigation between mockups and have requested more interactive layouts.
What users are saying about NinjaMock
- “I love the link feature which allows me to navigate through different pages: my customers love the live results!”
- “The major problem is with pricing, it’s a bit high for small companies.”
An intuitive wireframing tool for supported on a wide variety of platforms including mobile Android and iOS.
- Free version (one project, single-user, 10 pages max)
- Solo (three projects, single-user): monthly, $15/month; yearly, $8.25/month
How FluidUI can help you make great wireframes
FluidUI is all about making great-looking high-fidelity wireframes. The free version offers up to 10 pages of workspace and even allows transitions and gestures between them.
FluidUI is unique among most other wireframing softwares in that it offers a wide variety of interaction elements and animations. Not only that, but it also comes equipped with over 2000 icons, widgets, and design elements that you can customize and drag-and-drop onto your page. Fluid UI puts everything you need for an awesome wireframe right at your fingertips.
What’s not so great about FluidUI
Although FluidUI does its best to give you great wireframing tools for free, their unpaid version is still a bit limited and many designers feel the need to upgrade. Another frustrating aspect to FluidUI is that multiple image upload is not supported, leaving you uploading images one-by-one.
What are FluidUI users saying?
- “I haven’t actually used any other software other than FluidUI but I truly have no reason to! It’s got everything you’d possibly need.”
- “Sometimes it can be a little awkward to position things…although it does get easier with practice.”
On-premise and cloud based wireframing software equipped with template library and drag-and-drop editor.
- Basic: Free (one project with certain app limitations, two users)
- Premium: $14/month (unlimited projects and users)
Why should you wireframe with Mockflow?
Mockflow is kind of a one-stop-shop for wireframing and web and mobile app development. Not only does this software have amazing tools and presets for fast wireframing, but it also has website building, banner design, collaboration tools, and a timeline manager. All of these extra features make sharing your wires a breeze and moving forward in the design process a lot smoother.
Mockflow is especially great for beginners as their design presets save you the time it would take to create your own shapes and elements.
What are the drawbacks to using Mockflow
The basic package is a bit limited and most users feel the need to upgrade to the paid package. Mockflow is pretty specific to wireframing and mockup creation so if you’re needing something for prototyping and user testing, you might be better off with a different software. Users have also reported issues with the software lagging when they try to work with multiple pages.
What people are saying about Mockflow
- “It is easy to use and easy to load. You do not need any special skills to work on this.”
- “Wireframe Pro is very slow and needs better speed. It is lacking animations for your prototypes and an infinite artboard where one can just go on making screens.”
A diagramming software for designers, freelancers, and students to brainstorm flowcharts, mind maps, mockups, wireframes, and more.
- Free 2-week trial
- $6 per user, per month (paid monthly); or $5 per user, per month (paid annually—2 months free!)
What’s great about Cacoo
Cacoo is a great wireframing tool for creating both low- and mid-fidelity wires. It’s cloud based and heavy on team collaboration with quality presentation tools and ways to share your ideas with colleagues. There’s a good amount of templates to choose from as well as other features for creating user flows, prototypes, and diagrams.
The free trial is on the shorter side but it offers unlimited users and up to 25 pages or projects— pretty generous! Especially since Cacoo can be a great tool for design tasks other than wireframes, such as flowcharts or user testing.
The downsides to using Cacoo to wireframe
The free version is a bit more limited than the subscription and you can only export projects as PNG files. You also can’t access your work once your free trial ends so you must back it up elsewhere in order to save it. Some users have reported its cloud-based nature to be a bit frustrating as it can lag or malfunction if they’re not using a very up-to-date computer.
Furthermore, there is a bit of a learning curve to using Cacoo as the keyboard shortcuts are not as intuitive as desired.
What are other designers saying about Cacoo
- “Easy to learn and use. Cacoo lets you make fast and great diagrams for many usages.”
- “Using a good computer is needed for flawless function.”
A final word
So there you have it, our picks for the top 8 free wireframing tools. Each software has its own unique features to help you produce professional-looking wires quickly and efficiently. And while they all have their downsides, finding the right wireframing tool will depend on you or your team’s individual needs.
If you’re about to start creating your very first wireframe, I really recommend watching this video tutorial by CareerFoundry’s Head of Design, Jeff Humble.
If you’d like some inspiration as you create your wireframes, check out our favorite examples of website and app wireframes.
And if you’d like to learn more about UX design and wireframing, check out these articles:
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