I Compared Google's Chrome Browser With Its No. 1 Competitor - And The Winner Was Clear

Google Chrome has one major feature that Firefox doesn't.

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:


Design

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.

Firefox customise

Internet speeds

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.

You can check Chrome's or Firefox's store to see whether it has the add-ons and extensions you want.

Firefox web store

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.


Comments

    The RAM test is interesting but there should have been tests with multiple tabs and windows for a proper load test.

    I have stuck through with firefox mainly for the tree style tabs.

      I'd also like to see different sites/apps used for testing. I've been alternating between Firefox and Vivaldi (a chrome based browser) and found that over time Firefox cleans up memory better. After three days and hundreds of pages browsed FF will be at 1GB memory but Vivaldi is chewing up 5GB (even with only one tab open).

      I'd also say it's almost impossible to judge website loading unless you're testing apples and apples. Hitting a remote website has so many variables that delays could be related to other than the browser. Server load, congestion etc. The same applies to download speeds. Internet fluctuations probably have more effect than the browser.

    I used Firefox for a month, on all my PC's and phone. I really wanted it to be better than Chrome.
    Unfortunately, I found that Firefox doesn't completely sync everything, e.g. the layout of the browser itself. That's not a showstopper, however...
    I DID find that Firefox was irritatingly slow, e.g. browsing Facebook which MAY (I don't really know) be because I'm a convert to the "Dark Reader" extension (which I thoroughly recommend, thanks to Lifehacker).
    So I finally gave in to the slowness and went back to Chrome, which is lightning fast in comparison, running Dark Reader or not.
    Maybe I'll try Firefox again in another year or so...

      Dark Reader is probably the reason you found Firefox to be slow. I have the opposite situation where the add-ons I use are painfully slow on Chrome, and snappy on Firefox ^_^

      Honestly, these opinion pieces on which web browser is fastest are a waste of time. The Internet is too complex to use one person's experience as a measure for how fast one browser is over another. We all browse different websites and use different add-ins. Which web browser is fastest is an individual experience, not a universal one.

    As someone who has hundreds upon hundreds of bookmarks, I found the (newish) Chrome bookmark manager weirdly unusable.

    After maybe a year of struggle with that and trying pretty much all the add-ons in the chrome store I gave FF a try. Exported my marks, cleaned them up, dragged them into folders - job done.

    Maybe I will export them back into Chrome of maybe I will stick with the Fox but at the end of the day, they are just viewing tools for the websites.

    One will be better than the other at something and vice-versa. I've no problem keeping them both around and switching back and forth as needed.

    That said, Fox makes such a mess of the Optus my-account site I ended up using Edge!

    I've started using Vivaldi, I guess you'd say it's like Chrome drinking a V.

      It might have been you that posed it on the "Heil Firefox" post that appears every weeks or so., but im trying out Vivaldi now myself, i tried to like vertical tabs but i just can't but so far im liking it.

        Biggest problem I've found with Vivaldi is that over time it seems to leak memory. If you're the sort of person who never shuts down their PC and browser it's a hog. It set a new record for me last night consuming 6GB of RAM after 3 or 4 days of use. By the time it gets to 3 or 4 GB used it really starts feeling laggy.

          I've had Vivaldi running for days, it currently has 42 processes (accoring to windows task manager) using 2gig, its had some slowness strangley somehow i still have 95 processes in chome using 2.5gig.

    If you find FF is faster but uses more ram to get that speed compared to Chrome, then surely that means FF is using what resources are available better? I've been using FF since it came out and I just find it better at everything I need it to do, I'm not that fussy about whether one is a second or three faster.

      I don't know why people are so upset about things using RAM unless they haven't got much RAM to spare - at which point, maybe it's time to upgrade. RAM is there to be used.

    I keep Chrome around to cast the odd thing, but I've switched entirely to Firefox now. I started using their Container Tabs and now can't live without it (there are chromium based browsers that do similar things (Ghost Browser is one I've used), and like many others, I'm also finding the tree-style-tabs extension valuable.

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