Magento Simple Product with Custom Options vs. Configurable Product Type

Magento Simple Product with Custom Options vs. Configurable Product Type

Magento Simple product vs. Configurable product are two fundamental product types. Simple products include Magento custom options, while Configurable products consist of associated simple items. These product types are essential for selling items with color, size, and material variations. This guide will explore Simple and Configurable products, highlighting their distinctions. It will assist you in selecting the appropriate product type for your merchandise.

Key Takeaways

  • Discover the distinction between Magento's Simple and Configurable products.

  • Explore how Simple products with custom options offer flexibility in selling individual items.

  • Learn how Configurable Products enhance SEO optimization by creating unique Magento URLs for each variant.

  • Explore the ease of use with Simple Products for businesses with smaller product ranges, allowing straightforward setup and management.

  • Discover how Configurable Products are ideal for offering a wide range of options and variations.

What are Simple Products with Custom Options?

Simple Products with Custom Options are physical items with a single SKU that can include customization choices, known as composite products. These options enable the sale of variations for a single SKU product.

For example, if you sell books, you can offer an additional print as a customization option.

Magento interface showcasing Simple Products with Custom Options

Note: Customers do not need to select the extra option to make a purchase; they can simply buy the default book without the print.

Simple products can be sold individually or as part of a grouped, bundled, or configurable product. Each simple product has its unique URL, SKU, and inventory.

What are Configurable Products with Associated Simple Items?

Configurable Products with Associated Simple Items in Magento are single products offering variations. Each variation is treated as an individual product with a unique SKU. Unlike Simple products, Configurable products in Magento 2 require customers to select one or more options before purchasing.

Configurable products (parent products) are like a bundle of simple products (child products) grouped on one page. These child items can also be sold separately. For instance, clothing and shoe stores often offer various colors and sizes.

Magento Configurable Products with Associated Simple Items

For example, if you have boots available in three colors and three sizes, you create all possible combinations of colors and sizes and associate them with the configurable product.

This results in specific Magento product variations:


When creating a configurable product, you can manage these associations in the Associated Products tab In your Magento store.

Differences Between Custom Options and Configurable Products

1. Inventory Management

Configurable products allow you to manage the inventory of each variant individually. Each variant is treated as a separate product with its SKU. It means that when a variant is ordered, its in-stock quantity decreases and becomes unavailable for purchase when sold out. You can also limit the quantity customers can add to their cart.

Custom options, on the other hand, cannot track inventory. While you can assign SKUs to custom option variants, they are suffixes added to the base product's SKU. In essence, custom options cannot track inventory.

2. Ability to Sell Each Variant Separately

Configurable products allow you to sell each variant separately. For instance, customers can choose a specific variant like "T-shirt Blue-M" and pay for that variant only.

With Magento custom product options for a simple product, customers cannot select individual variants without purchasing the base product. In this case, the price combines the simple product's base price and the additional cost of the selected variant.

3. Price Rules

Discounts applied to a configurable product are spread across all its variants.

Custom options of a simple product are not considered individual products. If you apply discounts to your catalog using Catalog Price Rules, these discounts only affect the base product price. It leaves the prices of custom options unchanged.

4. SEO Orientation

Magento 2 configurable products present all variants as separate simple products on the same page. You can also configure the ‘Visibility field’ so these simple products have unique URLs and meta descriptions. It allows customers to find them on search engines using relevant keywords. Custom options within simple products do not have independent URLs and are only accessible from the base product page.

5. Accessibility

Variations of a Configurable product are treated as distinct products with their positions on the website. They are visible to customers on the Layered navigation and category pages, enabling filtering and searching.

In contrast, custom options within simple products do not offer this functionality. The only way to access them is by visiting the parent product's page.

Comparison table between Custom Options and Configurable Products:

Difference Configurable product with associated products Custom options for simple products
Inventory Management Enables independent inventory management for each variant as separate simple products. Inventory of custom option variants cannot be managed.
Level of Control Offers flexibility and control over all variations, including pricing, SKU, etc. Provides no control over variations when dealing with multiple custom options, such as color and size.
Amount of Variations Supports a large number of product variations. Limited to a specific number of variants.
Ability to Sell Each Variant Separately Allows selling each variant separately. Does not allow the sale of individual variants; customers must purchase the base product.
SEO-friendly Facilitates SEO optimization by creating unique URLs and meta descriptions for each variant. Lacks SEO optimization, as custom options do not have independent URLs.
Filtering/Search Option Enables filtering and searching for individual variants on the website. Does not provide filtering or searching for custom options.
Ease of use Requires more complexity and specific data entry when creating a Configurable product. It is simple to create such products.

When to Use Simple Products vs Configurable Products for your Magento ecommerce?

1. Simple Products

Simple products in Magento ecommerce are ideal for selling individual physical products that do not require customization or variations. They are straightforward to set up and manage, making them suitable for businesses with a smaller product range. It offers simpler inventory management as there is only one SKU to monitor. They are best suited for merchants who want to sell specific products without offering many options or variations.

2. Configurable Products

Configurable products in Magento are suitable when you want to provide customers with a wide range of options and customization. They are especially useful for products with various product attributes in Magento, such as size, color, or material.

For instance, if you sell clothing items like t-shirts with different sizes and colors, configurable products enable customers to select their preferred combination directly on the product page. Configurable products also offer improved inventory management by tracking stock levels for each variation separately, preventing overselling or inventory shortages.


1. Can I group products with different variations under a single SKU?

Configurable products in Magento allow you to create different variations of a product, each with its SKU. This feature enables you to group Magento products with various options, like size or color, under a single product page, streamlining the purchasing process for customers.

2. How can I create downloadable products as a merchant?

Merchants can easily create downloadable or virtual products in Magento. By utilizing Magento store’s functionalities, you can set up online services or digital products, such as ebooks or software, for purchase and download by customers.

3. Are customizations available for online services or downloadable products?

With Magento's customizable products feature, merchants can offer various options and configurations for online services or downloadable Magento items. Customers can select different configurations through drop-down menus or other selection methods.

4. Is there a limit to the number of variants I can create in a configurable product?

No, there's no limit set on the number of variants you can create within a configurable product in Magento. This flexibility allows merchants to offer unlimited variations in their online store, catering to diverse customer preferences.

5. How does Magento handle inventory for different variants in a configurable product?

When a customer selects and purchases a variant, the system automatically manages the inventory for that specific variant. It ensures that the available stock for each variant is accurately reflected online, preventing overselling or shortages.


The distinction between Magento Simple product vs. Configurable product helps businesses understand how to tailor their product offerings efficiently. Simple products offer customizable options within a single SKU, while Configurable products provide variations with unique SKUs.

The blog discussed the differences between Simple Products with Custom Options and Configurable Products. It also provided valuable insights to help merchants select the appropriate product type for their Magento store. Explore reliable Magento server hosting for seamless implementation and optimal performance of your Magento store.

Maria Ajnawala
Maria Ajnawala
Technical Writer

Maria has over five years of expertise in content marketing, specialising in Magento insights and industry trends. She excels in creating engaging content that resonates within the Magento community.

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