Tech Peak » MEAN vs. MERN Stack: Which One Pays-off Best in Web Development?

MEAN vs. MERN Stack: Which One Pays-off Best in Web Development?

by sterling

MEAN, and MERN stacks need no introduction in the arena of web development. They are popular and admired for their integrated set of libraries that make UI & UX development seamless for beginners and experienced developers. 

Moreover, MEAN and MERN development allow developers to create entire applications using JavaScript without being limited to just building websites. With both technologies in rapid web development use, it’s natural to wonder which one is better suited for your web development project. 

This article will explore these two stacks and determine which one would be more suitable for different use cases by weighing their pros & cons. But first, let’s talk about what exactly they are.

So, Do You Know What Constitutes the MEAN & the MERN Stack?

Do you know

Both technologies have the same components except that MEAN includes AngularJS while MERN trusts ReactJS. The significant difference is mainly the choice of a UI component! You might think that choosing either of the two will hardly make any difference to your project. 

Indeed! They are similar in multiple aspects, yet they offer distinct benefits in web development. And! These differences are crucial enough to think through the best stack for your programming project.

Let us explore each of these components effectively:


M – MongoDB: NoSQL datastore allows you to save, index, search and access data without structure. MongoDB uses dynamic schemas for defining collections, meaning you can add fields (i.e., data) as your application needs them. Because of its schemaless nature, MongoDB is easy to read from other languages but can be challenging to write in its native language (MongoScript).

Nevertheless, libraries for several programming languages make it easy to work with MongoDB in various contexts. In contrast with relational databases like MySQL or Oracle SQL Server, which must have specific tables with predefined columns created before you can save any records. NoSQL datastores allow developers to use their schema definitions while protecting data within those datastores.

E – Express.js: Express.js is a framework for Node.js web applications, providing a set of features that help you write web applications quickly. Express allows you to create web apps in which every line of code follows best practices, enabling better performance and security and lowering development time by reducing repetition.

Express helps serve static files, provide session management functionality, cookie parsing, encoding/decoding utf-8 strings (converting text to HTML entities). It also generates Last-Modified headers and expires headers with cache-control based on the last modified date.

In simple words, we can say Express is a middleware used for building the most efficient API server logic in Node.js.

A – Angular: Angular.js, one of four core technologies that make up a full-stack JavaScript application stack, helps create single-page web applications with MVC structure. Angular is great for building enterprise and consumer websites because it can connect with other databases and write JavaScript outside HTML.

The separation of JS from HTML simplifies updates and makes them more accessible for other developers to work on later.

Angular follows a model-view-controller methodology at its core, enabling developers to easily separate code functions into modular components that they can reuse in different pages or applications.

Angular also allows frontend developers to integrate an application’s presentation layer while sharing much of its logic with backend programmers using server-side languages like Java, Python, or C#/.NET.

N – Node.js: It gets built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime for quickly building fast, scalable network applications. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model. It makes it lightweight & efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications across distributed devices. 

Node.js allows you to write Javascript code in various ways, including a traditional object-oriented style or functions with callback parameters, which would enable you to take a very loose procedural approach if your needs are more straightforward than those imposed by OOP (Object Oriented Programming).

The performance gains over lower-level languages (PHP) mean that Node.js can serve dynamic content quicker than other web technologies.

R – React: React is an open-source, front-end web framework created by Facebook. It provides a UI library that’s fast, flexible, and scalable. The library runs in both browser (client-side) and server-side environments and powers many of Facebook’s most popular applications such as Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.

The unique part about using ReactJS is that it does not require a compilation step, making it highly efficient in creating fast UIs. Furthermore, it also supports hot reloading for rapid development cycles.

That was a concise go-through of the essential components of these two technology stacks and before we begin with a detailed comparison on when to choose MEAN over MERN or vice versa!

Have a quick look at this infographic table to glean clear notions about the MEAN v/s MERN answer.

Parameters of Comparison MEAN MERN
What is it? JavaScript Development Stack JavaScript Library
Major Components
  • MongoDB
  • Express.js
  • Angular
  • Node.js
  • MongoDB
  • Express.js
  • React
  • Node.js
Main Language It uses Typescript language, which is a superset language of JavaScript. It uses JavaScript and JSX.
Document Object Model Regular DOM Virtual DOM
Learning Curve Steep Comparatively Gentle
Data Flow Bidirectional Unidirectional
Major Benefits
  • Suitable for all types of apps.
  • Tons of Plugins.
  • Highly mature community of developers.
  • Open-Source.
  • Smooth Functionality development.
  • Suitable for developing compact apps.
  • Comparatively, the number of plugins compatible with MERN is limited.
  • Mature community of developers.
  • Open-Source
  • Reduced Memory Consumption.
Ideal for Projects It is suitable for developing Large scale or Enterprise level apps It is perfect for creating small-scale apps with advanced UI.


MEAN vs. MERN: Which one has a gentle learning curve?

In addition to MongoDB, Express, Angular, & Node, a typical mean stack can include a web pack (module bundler), Mocha (testing framework), and Babel or TypeScript. The MEAN stack is easy to understand since you only need to know JavaScript and Node.js programming—no other programming languages are necessary.

In comparison, MERN is even more accessible, representing MongoDB, ExpressJS, React for frontend code, and Node for server-side code. As it uses only Javascript & JSX, there’s no need to learn something new for the sake of JS development.

Who’s the Winner: MERN


MEAN vs. MERN: Which one leads to higher productivity?

Higher productivity

While multiple factors help determine each framework’s productivity, Angular is more efficient than React in MEAN, allowing easier debugging and performance enhancements.

Angular’s advantages include a faster development process and increased productivity for developers. It makes developing applications significantly faster and smoother compared to MERN. On top of that, MEAN also offers a wide range of frameworks that assist in data storage and online management options (such as Stripe).

So, the MEAN stack development company is undoubtedly the idle choice for higher productivity over a large-scale project.

Who’s the Winner: MEAN


MEAN vs. MERN: Which one offers a better flow of data?

It’s important to know what you’re building before you build it. The ideal way to handle that is via a solid data flow diagram (DFD). Data flow diagrams define how your app will process data in real-time, including potential pitfalls and bottlenecks.

It will also help to identify any holes in your application’s foundation—and help you plug them before they cause multiple issues down the line. Once your DFD is over, it should include all elements of your system, such as web servers, databases, API services, and more. 

After finishing your DFD and ensuring it addresses all relevant aspects of your app’s design and function, you’ll have an easier time choosing between MEAN and MERN for your next project. 

MEAN offers bidirectional data flow, which is ideal for projects with minimum business logic or, in technical words, thin apps. In contrast, MERN offers unidirectional data flow, which is bliss in developing thick apps.

Note: Thick apps refer to apps with higher dependency over the client-side of programming. Thin apps functioning is mainly dependent upon the performance of the external servers.

Who’s the Winner: MEAN for thick apps and MERN for thin apps.

MEAN vs. MERN: Which one provides higher third-party support?

mean vs. mern which one provides third party support

JavaScript is responsible for developing both of these stacks, and hence most of their third-party plugins are also similar. But, overall, there are more options for MEAN stack in terms of third-party plugins that support it. So if you plan to go with one of these two platforms, choosing MEAN would be a good idea.

Who’s the Winner: MEAN


MEAN vs. MERN: Which one has a better DOM Model?

Since both MEAN and MERN are server-side JavaScript frameworks, either stack will be equally capable of rendering HTML. The primary difference between these two stacks is their philosophies toward using templates on a DOM model. MEAN (MongoDB, ExpressJS, AngularJS, Node.js) does not use templates for any part of its default stack. All markup is coded directly into your JavaScript files.

By contrast, MERN (MongoDB, ExpressJS, React, Node.js) uses JSX to render templates within your React components. It means that if you’re currently looking to port over from one stack to another or if you prefer working with a template approach rather than writing everything in pure JavaScript code. Then, MERN offers more flexibility and is easier to read and understand overall.

Thus, if you are looking for flexible development of your project, choosing a MERN stack development company is the right thing to do.

Who’s the Winner: MERN


MEAN vs. MERN: Which one supports lower memory consumption?

All the associated technologies use V8, Google’s open-source JavaScript engine. But with two different stacks and two different frameworks (MEAN uses AngularJS and Node, while MERN uses React), there are slight variances between them regarding memory consumption. 

Developers say that you can expect each app to consume about 200 MB of RAM on average when dealing with large quantities of data. Both work equally well for smaller apps and projects. However, most users agree that MEAN is a better choice if you want to create larger applications quickly due to its relatively simple syntax.

Who’s the Winner: No conclusive winner is mainly dependent upon the project size and compatibility.


MEAN vs. MERN: Which one promotes rapid development, saving time and money?

saving time and money

MERN is undoubtedly the correct answer owing to the availability of Virtual DOM. However, financial aspects themselves depend upon many factors, and you cannot choose one over the other just for the sake of money.

Ultimately, you will pay more in additional closed source libraries and frameworks with the wrong choice. Remember! You can reduce development costs with researchful decisions taken after hours of evaluation of project needs.

Wrapping Up

I hope by now it must be clear to you which one suits your project needs. For the sake of transparency, let us have a quick look at the conclusions we have reached so far:

  • MEAN leads to higher productivity.
  • It is ideal for creating thick apps.
  • It has higher third-party support.

On the other hand,

  • MERN has a gentle learning curve.
  • It is ideal for creating thin apps.
  • It has a more suitable DOM Model.
  • It promotes rapid project development, saving time and money.

Choose as per your project needs.

Also Read:

Why you must choose MEAN stack development for your next project?


Question: What benefits do I get when I choose Angular as my UI framework?

Answer: AngularJS has gained increasing popularity in recent years, and it currently holds a top spot among the most used JavaScript frameworks by developers.

Created by Google engineers, Angular allows the creation of single-page applications developed on different platforms, even mobile ones, and powerful features like two-way data binding, dependency injection, and testability.

Dependency Injection: With Angular, you can write less code that gets reused repeatedly without repeating yourself. It has a built-in dependency injection system. It means that you don’t have to create your modules or injectors because it is all taken care of for you with just a little bit of configuration. You can declare what things are needed and let Angular take care of it altogether for you automatically.

Separation of Concerns: Separating your components in a tree structure helps you build applications faster by reducing complexity. If a particular part of your application isn’t changed frequently, you can write it once and reuse it throughout your app. What’s more, it makes testing more straightforward as you can focus on a single component at a time.

Testability: Testing frameworks are straightforward to integrate into your application with Angular. Because it is on top of TypeScript, you get type checking for free. Add in a test renderer and some mocks, and it becomes pretty easy to test your components.

Combined with lazy loading, splitting up your app into small components makes it easier to test and update/refactor parts of your application independently.

Browser Compatibility: Many websites rely on browser compatibility, and if a website isn’t compatible with a particular browser, it’ll lose potential customers. That’s why you should build your website using Angular.

It uses JavaScript technology that is compatible with almost all modern browsers. By utilizing JavaScript rather than Flash technology or other third-party plugins, customers can easily navigate your site using their favorite web browser.

Customizability: Because Angular is a platform, it gives developers and designers a lot of freedom to set their own rules. If you’re trying for something specific in the application, you can rest assured that someone has already made it—and that someone is probably hosting their code on GitHub!

With so many developers working with and improving Angular components, there’s almost no limit to what you can do with it.

Question: What benefits do I get when using React as my UI library?

Answer: React has been one of the leading UI frameworks in recent years, and we can see why. Let’s explore the main benefits of using React over similar UI frameworks such as Angular as to why you should choose to React as your UI framework.

JSX: JSX is a JavaScript syntax extension that uses XML-like code within JavaScript code. It’s widely in use in modern frameworks such as React. It can even omit callbacks and write event handlers using native constructs, like an onClick attribute instead of .bind(‘click’). It makes JSX easier for beginners who know HTML and CSS, but it does not make JSX unique.

Virtual DOM: React is one of several libraries that use a virtual DOM. The virtual DOM allows developers to render an app to memory rather than re-rendering each change. It saves time and bandwidth and makes for a smoother user experience.

Unidirectional data flow: React implements one-way data flow, unlike most other frameworks. You can be sure that when a component mounts or updates, its dependencies will update in turn (in a predictable manner). When one component’s state changes, it broadcasts an event.

If another element needs to respond to that change, all it has to do is listen for that event—no need to keep track of states of other components and manually update them.

Strong focus on reusable components: The number one reason to adopt React is to create reusable components. Instead of writing lines & lines of code for each new widget, you can make a single component that handles all that heavy lifting for other pages and features within your website. Not only will doing so keep things cleaner, but it’ll also save you time in both maintenance and development.

Easy creation of responsive user interfaces: With React, you can build genuinely responsive user interfaces that work anywhere. These features allow for rapid development and high code quality—everything gets tested, everything has a clear purpose, and there’s little extra code that doesn’t need to be there. Components are easy to reuse in other projects too.

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