Which one is better: React native CLI or Expo CLI?

This post was last updated on October 17th, 2022 at 09:55 am

If you are stuck with the choice between Expo Cli and React Native CLI? This is the right place that can solve all your doubts about these two popular react native app development frameworks. I am sure at the end, you will be able to decide which framework is better.

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What is called Expo CLI?Introduction

The popularity of react native app development has increased and is prominent among top react native app developers. This is because React native can support the development of cross-platform mobile applications. Now, app development companies do not need to spend extra bucks on hiring developer teams for different platforms. The framework of react native also comes with open-source UI components which provide developers the freedom of building creative UIs. They do not need to write new codes for these UIs.

However, the real confusion lies in the choice of expo CLI and React native CLI. Are you new to this term? If yes, you do not need to worry. We will explain each of these terms in this
Expo is referred to as the framework that helps you to develop React Native applications. It backs up the app building and testing process by providing numerous services and tools. In addition, it creates a convenient and robust development workflow with enough flexibility. It offers an open-source and free platform. This comprises the libraries of Expo CLI and Expo SDK. you can start with the free Expo Go app from the Play Store or app stores.
Expo CLI is the command-line application that is the basic interface between expo tools and a developer. You can use it for multiple tasks in the project development life cycle such as viewing logs, serving projects, opening apps on a physical device or emulator, etc

What is called React native CLI?

React Native CLI is defined as the in-built feature that lets you take complete hold on the management and development of the project. You can simply use the command, npx react-native init <ProjectName> to develop a project.
The below-given command will allow you to run the built project.
// run on all platforms
npx react-native start
// run on android
npx react-native run-android
// run on iod
npx react-native run-ios

React Native CLI allows you to use react-native init command for creating plain react native apps for independent Android and iOS platforms. The bare react native tool offers you the benefits of modifying native apps; however, you need to write native codes for separate platforms

What is the need for expo CLIand React native CLI?

Both React native CLIand expo CLI are needed to build React Native apps but with a different approach. They can also be said to be cross-platform app development tools.
May believes that both are similar. However, the difference lies within the development process. Both frameworks use reactive native code structures.
Let us jump straight into the key differences between these two frameworks

Lists of comparison between react native CLIand expo cli

what is expo react native

Adding native modules: Expo CLI vs React Native CLI

Building projects: Expo CLI vs React Native CLINative modules are the Java class that extends the ReactContextBaseJavaModule to execute the functionality needed by JavaScript. You can write native modules in Swift for iOS and Java for Android. Javascript bridging is used to convert React Native to Java codebase. Native modules are faster compared to JS code.
If you are comfortable writing a native module and combining it with the developed React Native app, you should go for React Native CLI. This task is difficult while using the expo. You can eject expo projects but this will increase the dependency on the expo. This becomes problematic at times. The majority of developers ran into issues while upgrading Expo SDK from version 38 to version 39. They couldn’t even launch the application.
When an Expo project is ejected, a React Native CLI project is created. If you later add a Native module and want to rebuild the project for iOS, you must have a Mac system. Therefore, you will get a React Native CLI project if you eject an Expo application.

If you are building projects with Expo, you need to register for Expo. This can help you build an aab/apk for iOS and android. For this, you have to take the code from your system folder and upload it into the expo cloud platform. Expo can simplify the app-building process by handling all the heavy lifting tasks.
On the other hand, you need to take the entire responsibility on yourselves, starting from writing the code and launching the applications.
Thus if you want to challenge yourself by learning new skills and already have the knowledge of Kotlin or Java, you can choose React Native CLI. For a simple and effective app-building process, go for Expo CLI.

Skill and knowledge requirements: Expo CLI vs React Native CLI

For both Expo Cli and React Native CLI, you should have a robust knowledge of plain CLI JavaScript, React CLI JS, and React Native. Although the knowledge is enough expo, bare React Native developers also need to learn Java.
With Expo, you only need to install packages by using the expo install package-name. For bare React Native, you have to follow the instructions provided in the package. It implies that you have to manually add the package and add source code in the java file.

react native expo

Application testing or sharing: Expo CLI vs React Native CLI

When using Expo CLI, you can easily share the app with your colleagues and supervisors with QR code-sharing scanners. However, in the case of React Native CLI, you need to create the apk and share the same with your supervisors or colleagues.
If you are comfortable with the long process of app sharing and testing, you are free to use React Native CLI. Most developers prefer Expo CLI for a convenient app-sharing process.


I would not be biased toward one framework. You can base your preference to select any of the frameworks to build your React Native app. But you should finalize your choice after going through the pros and cons of React Native CLI and Expo CLI.
I would suggest React native CLI if you have an iOS-based system. This way you will be able to deal with the native modules of android. But, if you are just starting your journey as an app developer, you should select Expo CLI.


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