Canva vs Stencil - Course Pursuits

Canva vs Stencil

Online businesses can thrive or break based on their visual looks and design. It is estimated that there are more than 6 billion indexed web pages and hence, there is no lack of choice for a customer. It is in fact, the abundance of choice.

You only have a couple of seconds to grab attention of a customer and hence, if you can create a great first impression based on the visual appeal of your website or web page, you've won half the battle there itself.

There are a lot of tools to create awesome designs, which can improve the look and feel of your article. Canva and Stencil are among the popular graphic designing tools used by serious designers as well as amateur or newbies. ‚Äč

The best part about Canva and Stencil is both of them are super easy to get started. However, you do need to spend some time to get used to the tools of the trade and hence, it is best to understand what each offers and the differences so that you can decide which one is right for you. 


Canva vs Stencil

About Canva

Canva is an easy to use tool that has drag-and-drop feature and professional layouts, which anyone can use to design stunning graphics. Popular design purposes include presentations, social media graphics and anything else you can imagine because there are thousands of beautiful layouts.

With Canva, you have access to millions of stock images, hundreds of fonts, icons and shapes and photo filters. So, you have no roadblocks for creating incredible designs.

About Stencil

Similar to Canva, Stencil is also a cloud-based graphics designing tool that you can use to create and share visually stunning content. Using Stencil, small companies, social media marketers and bloggers can prettify pictures to produce amazing social media messages, visuals for content marketing, email pictures, and more.

With Stencil, you get access to millions of stock images, icons, hundreds of fonts and filters to add a zing to your existing images or create images afresh from ground up.

Similarity between Canva and Stencil

  • Both Canva and Stencil are cloud based and you can access the app from any browser of your choice. No need to perform any installation on your computer.
  • Free as well as premium versions of the product are available.
  • Photo editing capabilities like drag and drop feature, millions of stock images, icons, filters and fonts available for use.
  • Uploading and downloading of royalty free images is effortless.
  • Thousands of pre-made templates for social media sites.
  • Some optional app integrations.
canva and stencil difference

Differences between Stencil and Canva

While Stencil and Canva are similar, they have some differences. Though you can easily switch from one to another but it would be best use of your time and effort to understand the differences between the Stencil and Canva, so you can make a judicial decision on which one to start with.

Templates :

Both Canva and Stencil provide pre-made templates to quickly start designing. Templates and design elements is a strong point of Canva - it has much more to offer as compared to Stencil when it comes to template options. Stencil offers fewer template choices than Canva, which becomes available in their Pro and Unlimited plans only.

Do note that even though Canva offers better templates and design elements - many key elements that you are likely to need when designing (like image resizing, transparent backgrounds, and uploading fonts) - these elements are are limited to the Pro version.


While Stencil is similar to Canva in the designing side of things, they primarily differ in speed. With Stencil, you'll find that designing and sharing images or content takes considerably lesser time. 


Stencil comes with Chrome, Firefox and Safari browser extensions to create images from any web page you are on. Rather than opening a fresh tab and switching between screens, you can open Stencil on the same tab for easy photo editing and graphic creation. Canva does not have similar browser extensions. 


Stencil has a great feature - Social media live preview. Social media live preview lets you preview how your design will actually look like on social media once you've shared it. It is The tool shows you where text will cut off in social media headers and cover images. It helps avoid any unnecessary transfer and edits and saves you time. Canva does not have such an option.


For annual plan, Canva Pro costs $9.95 per month per user but if you go month to month, it costs $12.95 per user per month. Canva has an enterprise edition coming soon, which will have more features and a bigger library than Pro.

Stencil has 2 premium plans - On an annual plan, Pro costs $9 per month and the Unlimited plan costs $12 per month. If you were to go month to month, Pro costs $15 per month and the Unlimited plan costs $20 per month. While the Pro plan is good enough for small companies and individuals but it does have a cap to what all you can do and make use of in a month.

Overall, on an annual plan, if you compare the two Pro plans, Stencil Pro works out to be slightly cheaper than Canva Pro but Canva Pro offers a bigger repository library than Stencil.

Overall Stencil vs Canva

Overall both Canva and Stencil are easy to use and design great looking images. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses. In my opinion, especially if you're getting started or have limited design needs, I think Stencil is a better choice than Canva.

Yes, Canva has a bigger library of images but when you narrow down to the topic of your image, there are hardly a few more images in Canva than in Stencil. Also, even in Pro plan, you may end up discovering that the design element that you need - you need to pay $1 extra for it. Additionally a few features like social media preview, integration with Buffer to schedule your social media posts, which according to my opinion make Stencil as a better choice than Canva.

Since both offer free versions, you've got nothing to lose here. I would suggest you start with Stencil and if you're not satisfied, you can move to Canva.