How to pick the best Shopify theme using this handy theme comparison chart

by Michael P. Hill

How to pick the best Shopify theme using this handy theme comparison chart

Selecting a premium Shopify theme for your online store can be a huge challenge for any merchant — but Out of the Sandbox has a “secret weapon” for making shopping for themes a bit easier.

Shopify theme comparison chart

Out of the Sandbox publishes a comprehensive comparison chart of all six themes it develops to help store owners in the process of picking the best theme for their site.

This chart, which is available as a PDF download, gives you a side-by-side look comparing the Responsive, Retina, Parallax, Mobilia, Turbo and Artisan Shopify themes.

The chart lists numerous frequently requested Shopify theme features down the left side and its corresponding availability in each theme in the columns to the right.

When using this chart to compare our Shopify themes, keep in mind that the chart doesn’t just tell you if a feature is included or not; it also lists any unique functionality, design elements or limitations of the feature in each theme you’re considering, so pay close attention to any notes in the chart.

We update this chart whenever we add any new features or functionality to one of our themes, so be sure to always grab the latest version from this page.

Many store owners also find it helpful to print the chart to highlight features or make notes when settling on which Shopify theme to purchase.

Shopify theme styles

Every Out of the Sandbox Shopify theme has multiple pre-formatted styles built into each theme. These are the “city names” you see listed under each theme name. For example, the Turbo Shopify theme comes with Portland, Seoul, Chicago, Florence and Dubai styles.

Theme styles are a set of preset “looks,” one of which must be selected as a “foundation” to build your store on. These styles define the base fonts, colors, button styles, accents and structure of your theme, but all of these elements have multiple options to help you make a theme your own.

Shopify theme styles are also a great way to get started fast with a theme — especially if you aren’t design savvy or you find that one of the built-in styles already reflects your brand style and aesthetic.

When using the comparison chart to select a Shopify theme, be sure to keep in mind that each style may have a slightly different take on how a particular feature is displayed.

Using Shopify theme demo stores

In fact, the best way to explore these nuances is to view the demo store for each theme style included within a particular theme; this way you can see first hand how the features and sections look and operate.

Out of the Sandbox provides one demo store for each theme style, all of which can be previewed here.

In order to showcase the flexibility of each theme, the various Out of the Sandbox demo stores are set up with slightly different configurations as well as sample products and preset design elements; the focus with the demo shops is to showcase the flexibility and range of a theme, and demonstrate how particular settings affect the way the theme looks and - to some extent - functions.

In most cases, if you see a theme feature on the store listed as having multiple options (what happens after a user clicks “add to cart”, for example), we’ve tried to provide at least one demo store that has the option configured, so be sure to fully test each style’s demo store to see how each option looks and functions, especially if it’s a feature you’re not too familiar with.

Likewise, if you see an option listed on the comparison chart that you aren’t seeing on a particular demo, be sure to check the other demo stores to see if it’s showcased there.

 

Trying it on for size

Perhaps the very best way to get a feel for a particular theme or style before you buy it, is to test it out in your own demo shop, with your own products and content.

For Parallax, Responsive, Retina, Artisan and Mobilia, you can install a free demo of the theme, with access to most of its settings, by using Shopify’s built in theme preview functionality.

To try out the Turbo Shopify theme for free, you can download and install a demo copy using our free Shopify Theme Updater app.
Don’t worry — if all you’re trying to do is see how Turbo looks on your store, the app won’t make any changes to your existing themes.

While previewing the theme, you can swap back and forth between the built-in styles to see which you prefer, and you can even start tweaking the colors, fonts, home page section order, etc. However, be careful not to configure too much before purchasing, as the settings may reset to default during the purchase transaction and you’ll just have to set them up all over again).

Since the content of the site will be your own, previewing the theme in your own shop is really the best way to get a sense of whether or not it’s the best fit for your brand, audience and visual style.

Michael P. Hill
Michael P. Hill

Michael P. Hill is a Shopify, Shopify theme, content marketing, digital marketing and product management expert based in Chicago. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelphill or connect on LinkedIn. While comments and feedback are always appreciated, Michael regrets that, due to the volume of inquires received, personal responses are not possible. For specific assistance or support with Out of the Sandbox themes, visit the help center.