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What is your default web browser? Even though we’re spoiled for choice, the majority of us stick to the tried and tested major players. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Microsoft Edge own the lion’s share of the web browser market. But just because a browser has the most users, it doesn’t necessarily or automatically make it the best.

Choosing a web browser is difficult. You have to take several points into consideration. How does it integrate with your technology ecosystem? What can the extensions and add-ons do for you? Is it fast? Is it safe? How much power does the browser use?

Read on for the answer to these questions and more.

Lowest RAM Usage: GreenBrowser

The winner is… not Chrome. Google Chrome is well known as a massive strain on system resources How to Control Google Chrome's Memory Usage and Free Up RAM How to Control Google Chrome's Memory Usage and Free Up RAM Chrome has a reputation for hogging memory. Even Google has shared tips on how to reduce its browser's memory use. We show you how to keep Chrome RAM usage at a minimum. Read More . Google attempts to mitigate the resource hungry browser, but there are other options available.

GreenBrowser is a solid browser that is vastly less power-hungry than its competitors. It uses significantly less RAM while remaining at least as fast.

green browser example windows

In my opinion, GreenBrowser needs more recognition. It is well supported, comes with a raft of features (some that require extensions in the major browsers, such as closing the root tab to close all linked tabs), and still features a wide range of customization tools.

Best on Battery: Microsoft Edge

Battery use is an interesting category. The proliferation of mobile devices means everyone has a different idea of what constitutes “good.” A casual tablet user isn’t affected by a battery hungry browser in the same way as someone using their laptop for several hours at a time. That said, I’m sure everyone wants the most efficient use of their device.

Microsoft Edge is currently top of the battery use charts across laptops and other mobiles devices 5 Simple Ways to Choose the Best Mobile Browser for You 5 Simple Ways to Choose the Best Mobile Browser for You Choosing a browser for your mobile device, whether Android or iOS -- which one do you choose? If your head spins from the variety of mobile browser options, then ask yourself these five questions. Read More . The internet Explorer replacement, introduced with Windows 10, consistently beats Chrome, Opera, and Firefox in browser efficiency and battery rating tests. In this particular area, Microsoft is reaping the rewards of building Edge from the ground up, eliminating many of the vulnerabilities and inefficiencies found in Internet Explorer.

Best of Security

We measure security across several categories, considering a browser secure if it protects our privacy. We also consider a browser secure when there are minimal vulnerabilities, or if it stays out of the data breach news. With that in mind, we’ve got two security focused browsers that offer slightly different packages.

Best for Privacy: Tor

Tor remains the most private browser. Tor is absolutely focused on protecting user privacy 4 Anonymous Web Browsers That Are Completely Private 4 Anonymous Web Browsers That Are Completely Private A good way to protect your information on the web is to surf anonymously. Google Chrome’s Incognito mode can help to an extent, but you should also look at the following web browsers. Read More .

The browser uses only HTTPS connections, blocks plug-ins, and uses an interconnected system of relay servers to boost user anonymity.

tor browser windows

Tor has received some negative press due to some of the services that it can hide and provide access to. Furthermore, absolute privacy purists consider Tor tainted. The relay server system — known as nodes — has been compromised by the FBI in order to stop nefarious services that exist in the anonymous darknet.

I will make this clear: Tor is focused on privacy. Users gain some security through the emphasis on privacy, but Tor doesn’t have additional anti-malware technology like other popular browsers.

Best for Security: Chrome

Chrome remains the most secure browser. Tor is focused on anonymity and privacy. Chrome isn’t. However, the simple fact is that Chrome represents one of the single most secure web browsers. At the last Pwn2Own hacking competition, Chrome was the only browser that remained secure New Vulnerabilities Illustrate Yet More Windows 10 Shortcomings New Vulnerabilities Illustrate Yet More Windows 10 Shortcomings Windows has become a byword for computing but Windows' dominance make it a constant target. While Windows 10 is their most secure operating system yet, it still has numerous vulnerabilities which are now coming to... Read More . The year before, 2016, Chrome was only breached once.

Unfortunately, Chrome comes with its own irritations. As you would expect, the browser developed by the world’s largest search company is jolly interested in all the data you provide. There are numerous extensions available to curb those privacy issues — ironically, they could be the vulnerability that lets an attacker in.

Honorable Mentions

Many excellent browsers focus on privacy and security. We’re trying to show you the best of everything, so it wouldn’t be fair to withhold information from your decision-making process.

Epic Privacy Browser is solely focused on keeping your identity and privacy secure while browsing. It automatically blocks all tracking attempts and adverts, as well as featuring an integrated proxy.

epic browser windows

Comodo provides two security and privacy focused browsers: IceDragon and Dragon. IceDragon is based on Firefox while Dragon builds on Google’s open-source Chromium. They both offer SecureDNS servers (a custom domain name filtering system), as well as continuing the experience of each respective browser ecosystem.

Fastest Browser: Slimjet

One of the most contentious browser measurements is speed. Browser speed is dependent on many things: extensions installed, system specs, internet speed, and much more. The difference comes from the way individual browsers process web pages. For instance, Chrome is a very powerful browser, but can sometimes load slowly.

However, Slimjet takes the speed crown ahead of the competition. Slimjet is a Chromium-based browser with integrated ad-blocking and anti-tracking tools. It is less resource-heavy than many major browsers, offering similar features without draining resources.

Best Ecosystem: Chrome

The extensive Google ecosystem includes massively popular web browser Chrome. It is understandable. Using a single account to transfer every single setting between devices is immensely handy. Furthermore, the range of extensions is almost immeasurable, as well as the addition of Google Docs and the numerous other Google services that can be accessed.

chrome web store example windows

Unfortunately, Microsoft got the Edge release all wrong. At a time where Microsoft is winning plaudits for its cross-device integration and cloud services, launching the Edge browser without support 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Switch to Microsoft Edge Yet 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Switch to Microsoft Edge Yet Is Microsoft Edge worth using while Chrome, Firefox, and Opera are still around? Is Edge good enough to be your primary browser? Read More for extensions looks like more than an oversight. Microsoft Edge now supports extensions 10 Best Microsoft Edge Browser Extensions You Should Try Today 10 Best Microsoft Edge Browser Extensions You Should Try Today The latest Windows 10 Upgrade finally brings browser extensions to Microsoft Edge. We have examined the handful of extensions available and show you which ones are worth your time. Read More  and could catch up in the coming years. But I’m sure Chrome will continue to dominate this area.

Best Tab Manager: Vivaldi

How do you use your browser? When writing and researching I might end up with 30 tabs open across three browser windows. Managing tab overload is a difficult task. It can also sow down your system as its resources are slowly squirreled away.

Vivaldi introduces some interesting methods for keeping ahead of the sprawl. One of the most interesting features is the ability to display multiple tabs at once on a large screen, all within one browser window. You can then organize the tabs into neat stacks. It is handy for tracking multiple inputs, or quickly comparing information across different websites.

Furthermore, you can easily bookmark, name, and minimize tab stacks to keep everything tidy. Tabs can also display notifications from social media sites or email accounts.

Vivaldi is a browser with a focus on power users Meet Vivaldi: The Power User's New Favorite Browser Meet Vivaldi: The Power User's New Favorite Browser Meet Vivaldi; a beautiful new web browser aimed at power-users, built by the co-founder of Opera, Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner. Read More , but is equally accessible to regular users. It is built on Chromium, so offers an excellent range of functionality, too.

Best Overall Browser: You Decide!

Choosing a single browser isn’t easy.

My browser of choice is Chrome. But I also use Tor and Microsoft Edge. Your decision will relate to your hardware. If you have a powerful machine with lots of RAM, go-ahead and use Chrome. If you’re using a less-than-powerful machine, consider an alternative that is kinder on system resources.

The major browsers remain so as they offer security and accessibility, the two deciding factors for many users. You don’t have to religiously stick to a single browser. Furthermore, there are numerous browsers that we haven’t listed. One of those might suit you down to the ground, so it is worth browsing for an alternative.

What is your Windows browser of choice? Do you use a different browser on your mobile device? Do you have an alternative browser to suggest to our readers? Let us know your browser preferences below!

Image Credit: wanpatsorn via Shutterstock.com

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  1. Júnior Silva
    May 3, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    I have Chrome, Firefox and Vivaldi (and the Edge that is by default in Windows 10, but I do not use it!)
    My favorite is still Chrome! The more I use Vivaldi, it has a great future!
    I use Firefox sometimes, it will lose many useful extensions in version 57, so let's see how it will look ...
    Chrome is my favorite! Faster, start faster! All synced to my Google account! My laptop is not from NASA, it has 6GB of RAM, I have 34 extensions installed in Chrome! I get 15, 20 guides open all the time! The night I usually have 40, 50 tabs open, when I have lots of news to read ... Chrome continues to behave very well! The bad thing about Chrome is that when you have a lot of tabs open in the same window, the tabs get too small and sometimes "fade out" so it's really bad to manage 50 tabs in Chrome! I use an extension for this!
    I tried several and this seems to be the best ... Speed Tabs -
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/speed-tabs/cfpdibiakfhmeccilnmhdlhaicbnnafe

    Another very good extension is also this, very good! Helps keep a number of tabs open, then when you go over the limit it puts a tab on hold ... Worth trying this extension ...
    Tabs limiter with queue - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tabs-limiter-with-queue/kaamkonbephafcojgajnbgbdgbgbboap

    My English is bad, I used Google translator, great article! :)

  2. Das
    May 3, 2017 at 1:27 am

    Yanddx. Best for sync and fast. Firefox, chrome, slim jet, maxthon, ie, Vivaldi, aurora, palemoon, nevermore.

  3. likefunbutnot
    May 2, 2017 at 10:34 pm

    I use Palemoon on Windows. If there were any justice in the world, the Palemoon team would be getting the dump trucks full of money Mozilla is currently having thrown at it to reimplement Chrome to build something better out of the disaster that is the post Firefox 26 code base.

    Palemoon is responsive, memory-efficient and still uses (almost) all the plugins and add-ons from the actually-good Firefox ecosystem. It's what I want out of a browser.

  4. Grant
    May 2, 2017 at 6:24 am

    I still like Firefox, but it looks pretty bad and seems slowish.
    I love to use UC Browser - looks great got some really nice built in addons BUUUT its running on a chromium that is 18 months old. So scratch that.
    Opera is good too but I just can't learn to love it.
    Edge just has too many shortcomings, really it is a beta.
    Straight up Chrome is just too clunky, and its ugly too.
    Vivaldi is way pretty, I like the useless colour changes. Tabs are good and I'm surprised I like the side bar.

    Honestly speed and memory management is a furphy coz the difference in these browsers is so small that in everyday use it is unnoticeable. Memory is there to be used. I've never had a memory crash and if you have a machine that can't cope you should be filling the piggy bank!

  5. Nicholas
    May 2, 2017 at 2:41 am

    I wonder where is Opera and Firefox falls under???

  6. Joseph
    May 2, 2017 at 2:36 am

    I love the Epic Privacy Browser -- the in-built VPN and the privacy protections are super! There are 200+ companies tracking me in Chrome (which Epic told me) and in Firefox. Zero in Epic ;-D.

    • Alberto
      May 2, 2017 at 4:17 am

      Yes, I'm glad to see Epic get some love...Epic is also my go-to browser, though I do use Chrome for logged in sites (Epic deletes everything on close and it gets irritating to keep entering my password) and for some add-ons I need now and then. I also recommend Epic -- their proxy lately is also really fast (used to be slow at times, but not much anymore, maybe because they added 8 more countries).

    • Alberto
      May 2, 2017 at 4:18 am

      Yes, I'm glad to see Epic get some love. Epic is also my go-to browser, though I do use Chrome for logged in sites (Epic deletes everything on close and it gets irritating to keep entering my password) and for some add-ons I need now and then. I also recommend Epic. Their proxy lately is also really fast. It used to be slow at times, but not much anymore, maybe because they added 7 or 8 countries.

  7. Rawr
    May 1, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    Missing from the article:
    Brave

    Maybe the author would be able to give it a spin, and include in an update?

    Available here: https://www.brave.com

  8. ZentixZaneic
    May 1, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    To be honest, I use Vivaldi.

    I like how it's based off of Chrome, so I get Chrome extensions, and how it uses up slightly less RAM than chrome. I also love it's customization options.