Should you choose a native app or progressive web app for your next project? 

The pros and cons of native apps vs PWAs

While native apps and progressive web apps (PWAs) are similar, they both have their own advantages and unique features. It can be hard to determine what is the right choice for your audience. However, exploring the options and determining which is the best route to take before starting your project can save you time and money.

At a high level, here are some of the pros and cons you may want to keep in mind for your next app-focused project.

Native apps

Native apps are used on specific devices or platforms. By working with the device’s native operating system (OS), native apps can access specific features to create a better and more unique user experience.


Pros include:

  • Access to OS/hardware specific features
  • Faster performance
  • Typically a better user experience
  • More responsive (as the app is developed for specific devices)
  • Better accessibility (by using device hardware and native features)
  • Additional OS-specific app store traffic
  • Easy to enable push notifications
  • Ability to build in an offline mode
  • Typically more secure than PWAs
  • They can be developed for any OS

    Cons include:

  • More expensive to develop than PWAs
  • Costly upkeep and management
  • Lower discoverability outside of OS-specific app store traffic
  • Competition
  • Different versions need to be developed to fit different devices and platforms
  • Submission process to app store (i.e. getting on the Apple app store)
  • Users have to maintain (updates)
  • Users have to download/install from an app store
  • No traditional SEO

    Progressive Web Apps

    Progressive web apps (PWAs) are a different type of app that the user does not have to download. PWAs can be accessed through web browsers on any device.


    Pros include:

  • They can look and feel like an app
  • One-step access – the user doesn’t have to download anything to access the app
  • Higher audience engagement and discoverability
  • Easily shareable links
  • Can work on any most device/platform within a browser
  • Cost-effective
  • Faster to build and release/faster to market/single code base for all devices/platforms
  • Easy to enable push notifications
  • Ability to build in an offline mode
  • SEO advantage

    Cons include:

  • Features may be restricted by the browser
  • Limited access to native features of different devices
  • May run slower than a native app
  • May result in higher battery consumption for user
  • Needs to be accessed via a browser/Internet
  • Might not work with third-party apps
  • Need to be hosted on a server

    Research your audience to determine what is best for your project’s need. If you are unsure of what is best for your project, contact Bldg-25 for expert advice or check out our app cost calculator to get a better idea of what your app might cost to develop.

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