Turbo Repo vs. Lerna: A Comparative Analysis for Monorepo Management


Monorepos have become increasingly popular in modern software development, offering a unified structure for managing multiple projects within a single repository. Turbo Repo and Lerna are two prominent tools designed to facilitate monorepo management. In this article, we will conduct a comprehensive comparative analysis of Turbo Repo and Lerna, examining key features, use cases, and differences to help you choose the right tool for your monorepo needs.

Turbo Repo Overview

Turbo Repo is a monorepo management tool developed by Shopify. It is designed to address the challenges associated with large-scale monorepos by providing features like fast builds, incremental builds, and optimized dependency management. Turbo Repo is built on top of Bazel, an open-source build system developed by Google.

Key Features of Turbo Repo:

  1. Incremental Builds: Turbo Repo optimizes build times by intelligently determining which parts of the codebase need rebuilding, reducing unnecessary build overhead.

  2. Bazel Integration: Built on Bazel, Turbo Repo leverages Bazel's powerful build capabilities, including parallelized builds and caching, for efficient development workflows.

  3. Fine-grained Dependency Management: Turbo Repo allows for fine-grained control over dependencies, enabling precise versioning and dependency resolution.

  4. Workspace Isolation: Workspaces in Turbo Repo are isolated, meaning that changes in one workspace do not impact others, providing a clean and modular development environment.

Lerna Overview

Lerna, short for "Lerna.js," is a popular monorepo management tool in the JavaScript ecosystem. It simplifies the management of JavaScript projects with multiple packages, providing commands for versioning, publishing, and managing dependencies across packages.

Key Features of Lerna:

  1. Versioning and Publishing: Lerna streamlines versioning and publishing of packages, ensuring consistent versioning across the monorepo.

  2. Concurrent Commands: Lerna enables the execution of commands across multiple packages concurrently, speeding up development workflows.

  3. Flexible Project Structure: Lerna doesn't enforce a specific project structure, allowing developers to choose a structure that best fits their project needs.

  4. Built-in Commands: Lerna includes built-in commands for common tasks, such as bootstrap, which installs dependencies, and exec, which runs arbitrary commands in each package.

Comparative Analysis

1. Build Performance:

  • Turbo Repo: Turbo Repo, being built on Bazel, excels in build performance. Bazel's caching and parallelization contribute to fast and efficient builds.

  • Lerna: While Lerna is efficient, it may not match the build performance of Turbo Repo for large and complex monorepos.

2. Dependency Management:

  • Turbo Repo: Turbo Repo provides fine-grained control over dependencies, ensuring that each workspace can have its own set of dependencies.

  • Lerna: Lerna simplifies dependency management but may not offer the same level of granularity as Turbo Repo.

3. Ease of Use:

  • Turbo Repo: Turbo Repo might have a steeper learning curve due to its integration with Bazel. However, its powerful features compensate for the initial learning investment.

  • Lerna: Lerna is known for its simplicity and ease of use, making it a favorable choice for developers who prioritize straightforward setups.

4. Project Structure:

  • Turbo Repo: Turbo Repo enforces a specific project structure, which may be advantageous for consistency but might limit flexibility in project organization.

  • Lerna: Lerna provides flexibility in project structure, allowing developers to organize packages in a way that suits their project's requirements.

5. Community Support:

  • Turbo Repo: As of the last knowledge update in January 2022, Turbo Repo may have a smaller community compared to Lerna. However, Shopify actively maintains the tool.

  • Lerna: Lerna boasts a large and active community, making it a well-supported choice with extensive documentation and community-contributed plugins.


Choosing between Turbo Repo and Lerna depends on various factors, including project size, performance requirements, and the desired level of control over dependencies. Turbo Repo, with its powerful build system and fine-grained dependency management, suits large and complex monorepos. On the other hand, Lerna's simplicity and flexibility make it a great choice for smaller projects or teams prioritizing ease of use.

Ultimately, both Turbo Repo and Lerna are capable tools, and the decision should be based on the specific needs and preferences of your development team. Consider factors such as build performance, dependency management requirements, and the preferred level of project structure flexibility when making your choice.