Difference between HandlebarJS and Mustache (examples)

In this tutorial, Let us see the differences and comparisons between mustache and handlebar templates.

Both are template languages, which allow to inclusion of dynamic expressions in HTML tags and generate HTML output by converting expressions into a value.

Both are open-source frameworks, Handlebars is a superset of Mustache.

Let’s see the differences.

MustacheJS Javascript:

It is a simple web template engine with tags replaced with values and supports many programming languages.

  • Opensource template
  • Compiled support in popular languages
  • Logic less and limited helper classes
  • Active community
  • Partials are easy to implement
  • Supports Comment
  • Conditional rendering is complex to implement with sections

HandlebarJS javascript:

Handlebar js takes templating data as input, compiles, and outputs javascript functions, due to it, It performs faster than other templating engines.

  • These are extended syntax to the mustache template
  • Introduced helper classes #if, #each #unless #with
  • Developed template to support in javascript language
  • Better support in block level and comments compared with a mustache
  • Supports comments
  • Partial syntax is easy to understand and implement
  • Supports conditional block rendering

Difference between Mustache vs handlebarJS templates

Let’s compare each feature with examples

  • Variable Interpolation: interpolation is a special syntax, to include variable value in HTML markup



department is an variable, that will be replaced with its value in the final output.

Mustache and Handlebars support this feature.

  • Adding Comments

Comments allow to write for developers, ignored by the template engine.

{{! Comments text }}

Mustaches and Handlebars Support comments with the same syntax.

  • Conditional Block expressions:

Handlebars: Supports Conditional block using if else blocks. It allows you to render a block of code based on conditional expressions.

For example, if the name has a value, It prints the name and salary, else No Employee found message

<div class="printname">
  {{#if name}}
  <h1>{{name}} {{salary}}</h1>
  <h1>No Employee found</h1>

It helps developers to render complex logic inside a html markup.

Mustache: Does not support conditional block expressions or complex logic, can be achieved using Sections and conditions

In Example: Two sections are defined {{#isName}} & {{#isNameNotFound}} with end tags.

if the section value is true, It includes section content.

If isName is true, It displays name and salary. if isNameNotFound is true, It displays No Employee found message

  <h1>{{name}} {{salary}}</h1>

  <h1>No Employee found</h1>

Mustache is limited in features and provides only simple and easy dynamic expressions, Not recommended to use block expressions in complex.

Handlebar is recommended if you want complex features

Partial content for reusability

Partials are used to define content in the same or different files and reuse the content in other files.

handlebar and mustache support partials.

Partials can be declared in a separate file here.

Declared two partials topPartial.hs, bottomPartial.hs




  <h2>{{ bottom_title}}</h2>

Reuse the above two partials on the page.hs Syntax is {{> partialname}}

  {{> topPartial}}
  {{> bottomPartial}}

Both support the same syntax for partials, The Only difference is file name extension for mustache is .mustache.

Enhance functionality with complex Logic.

Handlebars allow to enhance functionality by writing complex logic in helper class.

  • Handlebars.registerHelper(): register a custom helper functions
  • reuse the helper classes using{{helperfunction arguments}} syntax. In the example, lower function declared, registered, convert string to lower case. called in expression by passing string argument.
// Register a custom function using  helper classes
Handlebars.registerHelper('lower', function (str) {
  return str.toLowerCase();

// You can use the
<div>{{lower "Hello"}}</div>

You can also achieve with same syntax using Mustache.registerHelper().

Both support helper classes to enhance custom functions.

  • Portable across popular languages and OS platforms. The features of these two template syntaxes support all platforms and languages.

  • Escape characters support escape characters in HTML are supported by both.

Opensource template engineOpensource template
Supports Helpers, PathsNo helper classes
Developed to support javascript compilationMustache has compilers in Java, python and c, and javascript
Supports {{this}} for current objectLogic less template
verticalPositionVertical position - ‘top’,’ bottom’


You learned the difference between mustache and handlebarJS, If it is a small project, you can pick Mustache with wider language support.

if you want a more feature-rich, additional complex logic, and active community, you can choose HandlebarJS.