The Best Simple WordPress Slider Plugins for Only Images

Recently, I undertook the task of comparing a few WordPress slider plugins. My goal, however, was not to find the WordPress slider plugin with the most features. My goal was to find the best simple WordPress slider for images and just images. No HTML. I found Cycle 2 Slider, Easing Slider, Slick Slider, and ACF PRO with Slick Slider.

Cycle 2 Slider – This one seems to do the best with many different sized images.

Meta Slider – This simple WordPress slider seems to do the worst with different sized images. However, it does have a nice Smart Crop feature, and it also has a nice add on plugin that lets you use Easy Fancybox Lightbox with the slider. You can also easily specify the title and alt tag to use and how you want to crop the image.

Easing Slider – This is a nice choice because it has lazy loading. With the right settings and right sized pictures, this is a very good slider. It also has the global option to crop and resize images to fit the specified global dimension, but it does not do a very good job.

ACF PRO with Slick – This is the best. It seems to be the only way to vertically center images using the images as background images.

Slick Slider – This is a nice plugin that uses WordPress’ gallery to create a slideshow with the jQuery Slick Slider plugin.

Photo Gallery by WD – Responsive Photo Gallery for WordPress – I recently found this plugin. The user interface and the appearance on the front end is great. I am not sure how it affects performance. I guess I never found this plugin because it’s labeled as a Gallery plugin, but it does have functionality for slide shows.

Which one would I choose first if I wanted to quickly add a gallery to a page? Meta Slider. Its smart cropping works very well, and it’s great that you can specify how you want each image to cropped if it has to be cropped. Although, typically, when someone adds a slideshow, it comes from one camera which takes images with the same dimensions. Also, the option to integrate it with Easy Fancybox lightbox is fantastic, and it has a decent amount of options and flexibility.

If I did not want to crop the images, if I just wanted the slider to respond as well as possible to different image dimensions, which one would I choose? I would choose Cyclone Slider 2. It adjusts to varying image sizes incredibly well without having to crop the images. Otherwise, if I had time, I would choose ACF Pro with Slick Slider. Vertically centered images are very pleasing to the eye, and I haven’t found out how to vertically center an actual image.

What if every image had the same dimensions and no cropping was needed? I would definitely choose either Easing Slider or Slick Slider because of lazy loading. Slick Slider also allows the user to swipe/click and drop the images which none of the others allow.

If someone wanted to add tons of sliders into their blog posts, which plugin would I choose? Slick Slider, hands down. The user would not have to create a new slider each time they wanted to add a slide show to a post. You can even use the CSS below to vertically align the images in the slideshow.

.page-id-152 .slick-track {
height: 800px;
}
.page-id-152 .slick-slide {
text-align: center;
outline: none;
}
.page-id-152 .slide__inner {
height: 100%;
}

.page-id-152 .slide.slick-slide .slide__inner::before {
content: ”;
display: inline-block;
height: 100%;
vertical-align: middle;
}
.page-id-152 .slide.slick-slide img {
vertical-align: middle;
display: inline-block;
max-width: 99%;/*fixes a strange issue with images that are larger than the width of the container being pushed down */
}