PyQt vs Tkinter - Which is a Better Python GUI Toolkit?

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PyQt vs Tkinter - Which is a Better Python GUI Toolkit?

Sameeksha Medewar
Last updated on January 17, 2023

    You get plenty of toolkits or frameworks when creating intuitive GUIs using Python. But here, my complete focus is to make you aware of the differences between two popular Python GUI frameworks - PyQt vs Tkinter. But before that, let me briefly introduce you to a GUI toolkit.

    A GUI toolkit, aka a widget toolkit, or widget library, is a collection of graphical control elements used to create intuitive graphical user interfaces for applications or websites.

    PyQt vs Tkinter is a longstanding debate among Python developers and even novices. The major difference between both is functionality and adaptability.


    When you use Tkinter, you write GUI and program the core functionality in the same script. In contrast, PyQt requires you to write GUI in one script and write core functionality using Python in another script.

    Choosing between these two toolkits has been confusing for many programmers. My simple answer would be to select one that meets project requirements.

    If you are a novice programmer to create a primary user interface, Tkinter is a go-to yet popular choice. Also, installation is not necessary, as it comes built-in with Python. However, when you need advanced widgets in your UI, a high level of customization, and access to more libraries, PyQt comes in handy.

    Before we delve deep into the differences, let me first introduce you to these two GUI libraries in detail.

    What is PyQt?

    A toolkit for graphical user interface (GUI) widgets, PyQt, is a Python binding of a popular GUI toolkit, Qt . It is a free, cross-platform toolkit implemented as a Python plugin that supports Python 2.x and 3.x. Along with Windows, Linux, macOS, and a few flavors of UNIX, it is also compatible with Android and iOS.

    You can think of it as a Qt library and Python product. The toolkit implements more than 640 classes and 6000 functions. A few of them include

    • A set of GUI widgets.
    • Classes for accessing SQL databases.
    • Data-aware widgets.
    • An XML parser.

    The Qt Designer tool enables you to create GUIs by dragging and dropping the widgets from the Qt Widgets Module on an empty workspace.


    • Provides Flexibility in Coding: The framework leverages signals and slots for establishing communication between different objects. This simplifies working with GUI events and enables you to create smooth and clean code.
    • More than a Framework: Besides the creation of a graphical user interface, PyQt supports networking, database development, and many other activities through the use of a variety of native platform APIs. It comes with a unique AI to provide access to all other platform APIs.
    • An Array of UI Components: You get plenty of widgets or elements, such as buttons, menus, etc. All of them have a basic appearance compatible with all supported platforms.
    • Learning Resources: With a variety of well-written and comprehensive documentation available, you can learn the framework quickly.


    • Beginners may find learning the framework challenging. It involves a lot of details, and learning them may consume more time.
    • There needs to be more Python-specific documentation for various classes.

    What is Tkinter?

    A free and open-source Python’s de facto GUI, Tkinter, is a standard Python interface or binding to the Tk GUI toolkit. It comes integrated with Linux, Windows, and macOS Python installs. As a result, it required no separate installation.

    Tkinter comes pre-packed with graphical control elements or widgets for creating user interfaces. It acts as a wrapper implemented around the Tcl interpreter. This interpreter is embedded in the Python interpreter . It serves as the fastest way to create user interfaces.


    • Extremely fast and easy to use than other GUI toolkits.
    • Inbuilt with the Python installation; no separate installation is required.
    • No dependencies except the Python Standard Library ; hence, creating executables for Tkinter apps becomes easy.
    • Flexible, stable, and easy syntax.


    • Ideal only for basic UIs, as it does not include any advanced widgets.
    • Does not provide any tool like Qt Designer.
    • Debugging becomes tricky sometimes.
    • Does not provide a native look and feel.

    PyQT vs Tkinter - A Head-to-Head Comparison

    As widgets, or simply visual elements, play a crucial role in UIs, let us discuss the widgets available in both toolkits.

    Widgets in Tkinter are old-fashioned and seem like ones that would appear in software apps of the 2000s. Also, many developers experience an issue of slight screen blurriness.

    Despite its looks, Tkinter offers a plethora of widgets. One unique widget it offers is the Canvas Widget. It is similar to a plain board to display images or draw graphs and other pictures. So, if you keep the appearance aside, this toolkit offers a wide variety of widgets.

    Regarding PyQt, you get modern and advanced widgets that make your UIs good-looking. Also, the display window was sleek and not blurry.

    Most widgets in PyQt and Tkinter are the same, but the former outperforms as it provides the “special widgets” category.

    Widget Comparison

    Here is a comparison of a few widgets both toolkits provide in common. I have mentioned them to make you clear about the difference.

    • QLineEdit and Entrybox
    • QPushButton and Button
    • QComboBox and ComboBox

    Here is a table highlighting detailed differences between these GUI toolkits:





    A Python binding of the Qt library that serves as a Python plugin.

    A Python binding to the Tk GUI toolkit that serves as a de facto GUI for Python.


    Comes with Riverbank commercial license and GPL v3 (General Public License v 3.0).

    It is free and open-source for personal as well as commercial uses.

    Learning Complexity

    Understanding and learning each class and function requires a lot of time.

    Learning Tkinter is straightforward, as it comes with basic widgets.


    You can create a modern and good-looking UI.

    With just basic widgets, you can create simple and old-fashioned UI.


    It comes with modern and advanced widgets.

    Provides only basic widgets.

    UI Builder

    Qt Designer allows you to drag the required widgets and drop them in the space provided; Python code gets automatically generated.

    There is no UI builder.


    You need to install it manually.

    It comes integrated with the Python install.

    Lines of Code

    Requires the maximum lines of code

    Requires fewer lines of code.

    CSS Support

    PyQt supports CSS, allowing you to style elements the way you want.

    No CSS support.

    When to Choose PyQt and Tkinter?

    Based on the general discussion and pros and cons, you might clearly know when to use what. If you want a simple and quick solution to create fundamental UIs, Tkinter is your go-to option. Also, it has a low learning curve.

    In contrast, PyQt is an advanced solution and better than Tkinter when you need to create modern and good-looking UIs. It has a comprehensive library of both basic and advanced widgets. In addition, the Qt Designer tool makes it stand out from its counterparts.

    So, the ultimate choice depends on the project requirements and the extent to which you want to learn and discover.

    Wrapping Up!

    I will pick PyQt over Tkinter. Though it takes a little more time to understand and learn, it is worth it. It is excellent in terms of widgets, looks, and overall. As there is always the need for something new and innovative in terms of UI design, PyQt can satisfy it.

    With Tkinter, it is straightforward and quick to create basic UIs. If you need to create basic UIs, I suggest not switching to any other GUI toolkit.

    I hope you found the differences enlightening. If you have any queries or suggestions, feel free to share them in the comments.

    People are also reading:


    While Tkinter is handy for creating basic UIs, PyQt is a go-to solution for any UIs. So, the former is better.

    I suggest you learn PyQt, which would be more beneficial in the long run. Also, it can meet the needs of modern UIs.

    The de facto standard GUI for Python is Tkinter.

    Tkinter is very rarely used these days. College students and beginners generally use it to understand creating UIs.

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