Portainer vs CasaOS vs Dockge

If you were just starting with your homelab project, which would you use?

Hi there.
I think there are a few pros and cons to each. It really depends on what you aim to achieve and how much time you want to put in.

CasaOS is a very user friendly UI with a good support network behind it. It has a pretty good selection of ‘apps’ and you can install custom ones too.

Portainer (imo) is kind of the next line up in technicalities. Offers more customisability in the UI and has even bigger online support / presence. It’s a bit less ‘pretty’ in the UI.

Dockge isn’t something I have used myself so can’t really comment too much.

The beautiful thing about these is there is interchangeability to a degree as you can run portainer and CasaOS at the same time and even heimdal too if you wanted. Although things can get a little complicated.

If you are looking at getting up and running quickly and happy with a young (relatively) community support base. Go CasaOS.

If you want to have a bit more control and are happy digging into things a bit more. Portainer could be more your style.

This is a question that we can’t give you a 100% answer to; it depends on the use cases.

Portainer: This system is more advanced than the others, offering access to tasks such as deleting images and greater involvement with Docker Compose and the Docker Engine. I use it for all my Docker images that I’m developing for my home lab. It’s also compatible with CasaOS.

CasaOS: This can be installed directly on a Debian or Debian-based OS using systemctl to manage the CasaOS services. It operates closer to the OS and does not run within a Docker container. To begin, you can start with CasaOS and then add Portainer or Dockge with BigBearCasaOS.

Dockge: This is a new and relatively unknown tool with a user-friendly interface, albeit with fewer features compared to Portainer. It seems that the creator aims to compete with Portainer, and while it’s off to a promising start, it still needs further development. Additionally, it can be installed on CasaOS.

Resource Requirements


  • Portainer itself is relatively lightweight and doesn’t have high resource requirements. It can run on a system with modest CPU and memory resources.
  • However, the resource demands will depend on the number and complexity of Docker containers and services managed through Portainer. Larger deployments with numerous containers may require more resources.


  • CasaOS is designed to be lightweight and can run on Debian or Debian-based OS. It doesn’t have high hardware requirements and should work well on older hardware or lower-end systems.
  • Since CasaOS is designed to be close to the host OS, it won’t consume significant additional resources beyond what the base operating system requires.


  • Dockge’s resource requirements are expected to be similar to those of Portainer but I’ve noticed that Dockge does use more RAM at times. I don’t think it’s to big of a deal.
  • Like Portainer, the overall resource usage will depend on the number and complexity of Docker containers and services being managed.


If I were brand new and just starting out,. I would go with CasaOS; it’s got a mature community that is willing to help you and new people. Not to mention, so far, we have 80 videos on BigBearYouTube that can help a lot of people getting started get up and running very fast. I like CasaOS because it’s not docker in docker, so it doesn’t have the performance issues with docker in docker, and IceWhale is constantly trying to improve it.

IceWhale is also working on getting ZimaOS stable so it would be great for somebody new and just starting out.

I would need more of an idea of what you want out of your HomeLab to get more specific.

On my part, just starting out, i would just have stuff as simple as possible. Also i would want to deal with as little maintenance as i can. I am not IT guy, and would just want my homelab to serve my needs with as little inteference needed.

Keeping containers up to date, what is reccommended? just sticking with Casaos and its native apps (and 3rd party appstores?) or should i go with portainer/dockge?

The number one thing that needs to be kept in mind is:
How do I secure this, and these services?

Almost everything can be automated, but this comes after a slightly painful setup.

For Access and exposing services, look into HTTPS and Reverse Proxy before anything else to understand how you best can reduce the attack surface etc.