My web browser of choice is Google Chrome, but I’m always on the hunt for a better browser. After all, it’s the app I use most often on pretty much any computer. If a browser can perform faster and more efficiently than Chrome, I’d absolutely consider it. So I decided to give Firefox a try.
Mozilla, the company behind the Firefox browser, makes some pretty enticing claims about its browser, such as that it uses 30% less RAM than Chrome, which is particularly interesting. That means Firefox might not slow down my computer as much as Chrome does when I have a ton of open tabs.
Another tasty claim is that Firefox loads websites faster than Chrome.
I tried Firefox to see how well it stacks up against Chrome:
Above, Firefox is on the left, and Google Chrome is on the right.
Design-wise, both web browsers are pretty similar. Firefox, however, has the edge for ease of use.
Things like a larger back button, customisable menu bars, and simpler settings options make Firefox more user-friendly overall.
I tested my internet speeds both on the popular SpeedTest.net and on Google’s speed test, and both browsers showed similar results.
Which one slows down your computer faster?
Mozilla touts that its Firefox browser uses 30% less RAM than Chrome.
RAM is essentially your computer’s short-term memory where it stores apps you’re using for quick access. For browsers, more RAM on your computer means you can have more browser tabs, add-ons, and extensions without your computer slowing down. If your computer slows down and you’re running just a web browser, chances are that web browser is eating up all your computer’s RAM.
I found that Firefox used more RAM than Chrome, which not only debunks Mozilla’s claims but comes as a huge surprise considering Chrome’s reputation as a computer performance killer.
With this in mind, Firefox is likely to slow down your computer faster than Chrome is.
For the sake of clarity: I started with fresh versions of Chrome and Firefox and loaded the same websites on both browsers. I tried it on both Mac and Windows machines and still found that Firefox used more RAM than Chrome.
I’ve also tested this before, when Mozilla first made the claim about its new Firefox browser in late 2017, and found the same result.
Loading websites on Chrome
Below is Chrome loading up a webpage:
You can tell when I click the link by the circle appearing over my mouse pointer.
Loading sites on Firefox
Mozilla claims that Firefox loads websites slightly faster than Chrome. Firefox does seem snappier sometimes, but not always.
Here’s the same site loaded on Firefox:
The page loads slightly faster than on Chrome – the image shows almost instantaneously, while Chrome takes a few extra milliseconds.
Add-ons and extensions
Both Google Chrome and Firefox have stores for add-ons and extensions, where you can find useful tools to enhance your browsing experience. For example, each store has a variety of password managers that let you create strong passwords and log you in automatically to websites.
Google Chrome has one major feature that Firefox doesn’t.
If you find the “casting” feature in Google Chrome useful, Firefox won’t be for you.
Google’s casting feature lets you look up a video on YouTube, Netflix, or other video-streaming services and apps and play it on a separate device that has the same app. For example, I can find a video on YouTube in Chrome and press the cast button to play it on my smart TV, which has the YouTube app installed.
Netflix had trouble casting to my smart TV from Chrome, despite the fact that I have the Netflix app on my TV. It works fine with Google’s Chromecast devices, however.
At the moment, Firefox doesn’t support casting.
All in all, Google Chrome is still the better web browser, in my opinion.
Firefox might be snappier, but it uses more RAM than Chrome, in my experience. In this case, I’d rather use a browser that has the least impact on my computer’s performance, and that browser is Chrome.