How to Customize Material-UI Slider Thumbs and Slider Track

Material-UI has an extremely robust and customizable slider component. Naturally, I want to push it even farther.

In this demo, I’ll create slider thumbs that have images and set slider behavior based on slider position.

Code Sandbox link is in the Resources section.

MUI Slider Image Thumbs

MUI Slider with Image Thumbs

There are two methods for creating slider thumbs with an image as the background: CSS or Component.

The CSS version:

thumb: {
height: 40,
backgroundImage: `url("")`,
width: 40,
backgroundColor: "#fff",
marginTop: -20,
marginLeft: -20

First, this actually needs to use thumb class. This is a specific class designated in the Slider API for styling the thumb. Second, it’s actually pretty simple to create an image thumb. Simply set the backgroundImage to a url or file. In this case I used Lorem Picsum, which randomly pulls images from Unsplash.

The React Component version:

const ImageThumb = (props: any) => {
return (
<span {...props}>
style={{ borderRadius: 20 }}

This method creates a component and passes it to the ThumbComponent prop of the Slider.

I prefer the CSS method because with the component, I still need to style the thumb. However, the component method could be used to insert a component constructed from HTML building blocks, and could result in some pretty cool thumbs.

Related: Test your JavaScript knowledge with these 50 difficult JavaScript questions!

Custom Slider Behavior

Let’s say I want this slider to change to red if the thumbs are more than 50 ticks apart:

Cusotm MUI Slider

First, we need to make sure two thumbs are on the slider. This is achieved simply by setting an array containing two default values:

defaultValue={[20, 40]}

Next, let’s add an onChange prop and handler.

const handleImageSliderChange = (imgRef, event, coordinates) => {
  if (coordinates[1] - coordinates[0] > 50) {
    imgRef.current.querySelector(".MuiSlider-track").style.backgroundColor =
  } else {
    imgRef.current.querySelector(".MuiSlider-track").style.backgroundColor =

//component with onChange prop
  defaultValue={[20, 40]}
  onChange={(event, coordinates) => {
    handleImageSliderChange(imgRef, event, coordinates);

Notice how I included a ref in the component. Then I pass this ref as a prop to the change handler.

The handler also accepts coordinates, which is simply an array containing the tick position of the two thumbs. The larger value always comes second.

With a bit of math and a logical operator, we can quickly set styling when the thumbs are 50 ticks apart. Using a query selector and exploring the DOM to understand what classes React Material-UI applied to the Slider, we can style the ‘track’ (the line between the two thumbs.

Material-UI Slider DOM

If you wanted to create the appearance of an ‘inverted’ track, simply target the MuiSlider-rail class instead. This will color the ‘rail’, which appears to the left of the lesser thumb and to the right of the greater thumb.

There are many out-of-the-box customizations that can be applied to the slider, such as vertical orientation, visible tick marks, segments, and labels. Take a look at the MUI doc links in the Resources section, chances are high the MUI team has already built what you are looking for in the Slider.

For more ways to set Slider color and theme, take a look at using Material-UI’s Theme Palette.

Sliders are often used for adjusting and saving settings. In that case, consider nesting them in an out-of-the-way component such as this Accordion example.


Code Sandbox Link with full JavaScript code

Customized Sliders Documentation:

API Documentation:

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