Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, or Safari: Which Browser Is Best for 2023? (2023)

Most people browse the web using Google Chrome without really thinking about their options. Gmail or YouTube or some other site once suggested using Chrome, and perhaps they never questioned it. The truth is you do have options when it comes to your web browser, and you may find one that serves your needs better. Browsers offer varying levels of privacy and security, as well as unique, helpful features beyond merely displaying websites.

Here we examine the top five browsers in the US, in order of popularity. That criteria rules outBraveandVivaldi, with usage rates hovering near or below 1%, even though they are both first-class browsers. If you're interested in those two, check out our article on thebest alternative web browsers.

Below you'll find short reviews of the top five browsers. After that, keep reading for more information about the browser landscape, additional details about our testing, and advice on things you should take into consideration when choosing a web browser.

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Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, or Safari: Which Browser Is Best for 2023? (4)

Google Chrome

Most people need no introduction to the search behemoth's browser, Google Chrome. It’s attractively designed and quick at loading pages. Most websites' code now targets Chrome, so compatibility is seldom an issue. Chrome is available for all major platforms, and the mobile version offers syncing of bookmarks, passwords, and settings.

Chrome doesn't have many unique browsing features, however. There’s no built-in VPN, no cryptocurrency locker, no reading mode, and no screenshot tool. The lack of a reading mode makes sense for a company that earns its keep through web ads, since reading modes hide them. It does, however, have multiple user profiles, meaning different users of the same computer can have their own browser settings, history, and favorites. The browser finally caught up with others by adding a Share icon to the address bar that eases sending sites via social media or email, and recently got a search result sidebar similar to that long in Edge.

A few years ago, Google controversially announcedthat it would be removing the API function that allowed ad-blocker software to fully block ads. As of now, it seems ad blockers may be limited starting sometime in 2023. Some Chrome development has centered around security and privacy, notably among them is a plan to kill off tracking cookies in favor of Google's own tracking mechanisms. The company's Privacy Sandbox initiative (in development) tries to cater to bothad targeting and user privacy. Some worry that both of these developments will only result in more consolidation of the company's grip on web advertising.

Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, or Safari: Which Browser Is Best for 2023? (5)

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox, an open-source project from the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, has long been a PCMag favorite. The browser has pioneered many web capabilities and the organization that develops it has been a strong advocate for online privacy. It’s also notable for its wealth of available extensions.The unique Multi-Account Containers extension lets you sequester multiple logins to the same site on different tabs. Without it, you'd have to open a private browsing window or another browser to sign out of all your web accounts and start a fresh session.

Mozilla’s browser is in the vanguard of supporting new HTML and CSS capabilities, and the company is working on open-source AR and speech synthesis standards. The organization now offers a full password management service called Lockwise, which can generate complex passwords, sync them between devices, and secure everything under a strong master password. That and the organization's VPN offering are paid extras.

The mobile Firefox apps offer excellent interfaces, and you can send a webpage tab from any device to any others that are logged into your syncing account. That’s right: You can be reading a webpage on your desktop PC, and have it instantly open on your iPhone or vice versa. It's a slick and useful feature.

If that’s not enough, Firefox has a Pocket button in the address bar, letting you save a page for later viewing anywhere with one click. The Reader View button declutters a webpage loaded with ads, promos, and videos, so you can peruse it with no distractions. The browser is ultra-customizable, letting you select and arrange buttons on the toolbar to taste, as well as select from a large number of Theme add-ons that change window border patterns and colors. Recent feature additions include PDF editing and the Firefox View feature, basically a pinned tab of recent sites that syncs between the desktop and mobile browser.

Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, or Safari: Which Browser Is Best for 2023? (6)

Apple Safari

$0.00 at Apple.comSee It(Opens in a new window)

The default Mac and iOS browser is a strong choice, though its interface has some nonstandard elements. Safari was a forerunner in several areas of browser features. For example, it was the first with a Reading mode, which cleared unnecessary clutter like ads and videos from web articles you want to read. That feature debuted in 2010 and has made its way into all other browsers except for Chrome.

Apple has brought up the topic of fingerprinting protection—preventing web trackers from identifying you by your system specs. Unfortunately, the EFF's Cover Your Tracks test site only shows partial protection from trackers in Safari, while several competitors get a result of Strong protection. Other benefits include Apple Pay support and a "Sign in with Apple" feature to replace Facebook and Google as web account authorizers.

In macOS Monterey, the browser gained a compact tab bar with floating tabs like Firefox's and Tab Groups that live in a convenient sidebar, and with Ventura, they become shareable and pinnable. It also supports Apple's proprietary SharedwithYou feature in its proprietary iMessage system. For iCloud+ subscribers, a Private Relay obscures users' IP address, similar to a VPN.

If you use an iPhone and a Mac, Safari integration makes a lot of sense, since Apple’s Handoff feature lets you continue your browsing session between devices. Safari trails other browsers on support for emerging HTML features, but we haven’t run into or heard of any major site incompatibilities with it.

Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, or Safari: Which Browser Is Best for 2023? (7)

Microsoft Edge

The latest version of Microsoft Edge uses Chrome’s webpage-rendering code, Chromium, guaranteeing site compatibility and freeing up its developers to add unique features. You won’t run into the kind of site incompatibilities that users of the previous incarnation of Edge occasionally encountered, and the browser performs snappily. Edge now runs on Apple macOS and earlier Windows versions as well as Windows 11. Mobile versions for Android and iPhone let you sync history, favorites, and passwords.

As you can see in the table below, Edge is a leader in performance as well as thrifty memory and disk usage. Startup Boost technology reduces the time it takes to open the browser, and sleeping tabs save memory on tabs you're not viewing. Edge's Efficiency mode can extend laptop battery life. The initial focuses for the browser were privacy, the customizable start page, and the intriguing Collections feature for web research. For enterprise customers who still rely on Internet Explorer to run legacy programs, Edge offers an IE Mode.

Collections use a sidebar onto which you can drag webpages and images, write notes, and then share the whole assemblage to Excel, OneNote, or Word. It's a great organization and planning tool. Edge's Immersive Reader mode not only offers distraction-free web reading, stripping out ads and nonessential eye candy (or eyepoison, more aptly), but It can also read webpage text aloud using lifelike Neural Voices. It's really worth trying because it reads with sentence intonation, rather than simply word-by-word, as we’ve come to expect text-to-speech audio.

Other notable Edge options include built-in web sharing, tabs down the side rather than across the top, a built-in screenshot tool, automatic coupons for shopping sites, and timely themes to dress up your browser. Recent additions include game controller haptic feedback for web gaming and a multitasking sidebar that lets you access first- and third-party services for social networking, search, messaging, search, and productivity.

Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, or Safari: Which Browser Is Best for 2023? (8)


Perennially hovering around the 2% usage level, the Opera browser has long been a pioneer in the segment, inventing basic innovations like tabs, CSS, and the built-in search box. Opera can make a bigger privacy claim than any other browser—if you’re a believer inVPNs. It includes a built-in VPN (actually an encrypted proxy server) that protects and reroutes traffic from Opera. Opera uses the Chromium page-rendering engine, so you'll rarely run into site incompatibilities, and performance is fast. It's available for all major platforms, and the Opera Touch mobile browser is a beautifully designed app that connects (via quick QR scan) to your desktop.

Beyond the VPN, another unique feature in Opera is its built-in ad blocker, which also blocks crypto-mining scripts and trackers. Ad blocking also means less data consumed, especially of interest for those using metered connections or mobile plans with data caps.

More unique features in Opera include its Speed Dial start and new-tab page, as well as its quick-access sidebar of frequently needed services like WhatsApp or Spotify. My Flow lets you send webpages and notes between devices easily. A video pop-out window, a Pinboard feature similar to Edge's Collections, and a Workspaces feature that lets you create function-based tab views. The browser uniquely offers a cryptocurrency wallet as an option, which supports most popular tokens.

Opera offers a gaming version called Opera GX, and the company recently bought a gaming engine, moving into that specialty even further. The company also offers a futuristic secure Crypto Browser, for navigating Web3.

IE Is Gone—What Should You Use Instead?

The browser wars continue to rage, but one competitor is gone forever: Internet Explorer. The once-indisputable leader in browser market share and the one that paved the way for interactive web applications, no longer receives support, as of June 15, 2022. The company has shifted its focus to the new Edge web browser.

If you still need IE to run an old web app, you can still get it in Edge's IE Mode.

What's the Best Web Browser Overall?

For the last several years, the browser landscape has been dominated by Google. The same company that serves more web content than any other (according toComscore(Opens in a new window)) also claims more than 60% of the browser market share with Chrome, based on StatCounter(Opens in a new window)and W3Counter(Opens in a new window) numbers. That’s for desktop use, but when you add in mobile, Chrome is still king. So dominant is Chrome that most other browsers now use its underlying Chromium rendering code, with Firefox the only remaining top-to-bottom independent competitor.

Chrome may be leading in usage (except, of course, on Apple devices), but it’s not ahead by every measure or by number of capabilities. Firefox, Edge, Safari, and Opera all have features not found in Google's browser. That’s not to say that Chrome isn't an excellent piece of software, but you should know that there are worthy alternatives.

Which Web Browser Has the Best Compatibility?

The web markup standard that underlies all webpages, HTML5, fully launched in 2014 after a decade of work, though it has continued to evolve with new features. There have been murmurings around the web about a new HTML6 version, but it's never been mentioned in an official capacity, so it remains a rumor. Rather, the rival W3C and WHATWG organizations that develop the standard have signed an agreement, and now HTML has no version number(Opens in a new window), as it's a "living standard."

Still a rough measure of standards compatibility, however, is the HTML5test(Opens in a new window) website, which scores browsers’ compatibility with the moving target of web standards. The maximum possible score is 555, with points awarded for each standard supported.

Chrome maintains its longtime lead on this test with a score of 528. Edge, Opera, and other Chromium-based browsers hew closely to Chrome. Firefox and Safari bring up the rear, at 515 and 468, respectively. (Safari's score has actually gone down since previous test runs, perhaps as a result of the move to M1 CPUs.)

Which Web Browser Is the Fastest?

For speed testing, we run each browser through the JetStream and Speedometer benchmarks from, and WebXPRT 4 from Principled Technologies.

JetStream runs 64 tests, measuring, according to its documentation, "the speed of internet applications variety of JavaScript and Web Assembly benchmarks, covering a variety of advanced workloads and programming techniques." Higher is better in the final score, which is based on a geometric mean of all the tests run. Speedometer is a quick-to-run benchmark that simulates adding, completing, and removing to-do items in a web app. WebXPRT is the most time-consuming benchmark. It runs through several categories of operations to test performance, including AI photo recognition and encryption.

We tested on a Surface Laptop 3 with a Core i7 processor running Windows 11 and a newer MacBook Air M1 running macOS Ventura, shutting down unnecessary processes and reporting the geometric mean(Opens in a new window) of five test runs. To see just one platform or the other, click on the OS names in the chart headers.

Take benchmark results with a grain of salt, since purely synthetic tests don’t measure every component of actual browsing conditions. Note, too, that because all the browsers we tested, save Firefox, use the same Chromium rendering code, the results cluster fairly closely together.

Firefox has fallen behind on both platforms in most of the tests, but it does well in the more exhaustive WebXPRT test. Note that having the Enhanced Security mode enabled in Edge lowers its scores drastically, though in everyday web use, having that extra protection on doesn't slow down the experience noticeably. Maybe what makes these scores less useful is that recent computers have more than enough power to deliver web content snappily.

For memory use testing, we load ten media-heavy websites into all the browsers at the same time and capture the MB of RAM reported by macOS's Activity Monitor and Windows' Task Manager. Note that the Apple utility doesn't combine all processes from an app. The first-party browsers, Edge and Safari, report the lowest memory usage, we suspect because they use code that's part of the operating system. Some browsers (Edge in particular) use sleeping tabs, meaning they unload the content of tabs you're not viewing from memory. Firefox uses the most memory on both platforms in this test, but, ironically, higher memory usage here can result in snappier performance, since you don't have to wait for sleeping tabs to get reloaded.

Which Web Browser Is Best for Privacy?

Privacy, customization, convenience features, tab and start-page tools, and mobile integration have replaced speed and standards support as today's primary differentiators. All browsers now can remember passwords for you and sync them (in encrypted form) as well as your browsing history and bookmarks between desktops or laptops and mobile devices. Chrome by default signs you into Google services like Gmail and YouTube, which someconsider presumptuous(Opens in a new window).

Privacy mavens like to usevirtual private networks, better known as VPNs, to hide browsing activities from ISPs and any other intervening entities between you and the site you’re visiting. Opera is the only browser that includes a built-in VPN (Firefox offers one at extra cost). Firefox also has a good privacy story, with a private mode that not only discards a session’s history and cookies but also hides your activities from third-party tracking sites during the private session.

Firefox recently implemented DNS over HTTPS, which hides your web address lookups from your ISP. In addition, Edge, Firefox, and Safari include fingerprint protection, meaning they try to prevent trackers from identifying you based on your hardware and software setup. One test of this is the EFF's Cover Your Tracks site, which reports the level of tracking protection; on that, Safari shows gaps, while Brave gets top marks. Some of the browsers also have built-in Content Blocking to fend off known trackers and cryptocurrency-mining ploys.

Useful browsing tools can play a part in your decision, too. For example, Reading Mode strips webpages of clutter, such as ads and videos, so you can focus on text. Another is the Share button. With this era’s obsession with social media, it’s a nearly essential convenience.

Opera is alone among the popular web browsers for having a built-in cryptocurrency wallet (the aforementioned Brave browser also has one). Opera is notable for its Speed Dial, which consists of pinned tiles on your home screen and a toolbar for accessing frequently needed services such as WhatsApp.

Microsoft Edge offers voice-reading of webpages with remarkably realistic speech, a helpfully customizable homepage, detailed privacy settings, and aCollections(Opens in a new window)feature for web research. Firefox lets you instantly save a page to Pocket or open a new Container in case you want to be logged into the same site with two different identities. Screenshot tools are making their way into browsers, with Edge, Firefox, and Opera for starters.

Even More Browser Choices

If you want to go beyond the mainstream for your web browser choice, these options include ultra-privacy and ultra-customizability. For more, read our appraisals of sevenalternative web browsers. And if privacy on the web is your primary concern, be sure to check out our roundup of the best private web browsers.


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