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There was a time when Chrome truly sat atop the throne as Browser King, but those days are long gone. The gap has closed, and depending on who you ask, Chrome has been overtaken. I once believed that Chrome was “the best,” but nowadays you may be happier elsewhere.

According to browser market share, Firefox is Chrome’s biggest contender if we ignore Internet Explorer (mainly used in business environments unwillingly). And over the past year, Firefox usage has risen quite a bit — from 7.7 percent in August 2016 to 12.0 percent in May 2017.

Why are people returning to Firefox? I’ve been using Firefox for the past few months and I’m happy to say that I much prefer it to Chrome. Is it time for you to switch? Here are several reasons that may convince you.

1. Firefox Is Better for Battery Life

A lot of people say that Chrome is faster than Firefox — and that’s actually true. But the main reason for this is that Chrome uses more CPU than Firefox. With greater CPU usage comes faster processing and smoother performance. The trade-off is battery drain. And to be honest, Firefox isn’t that much slower.

According to Microsoft, data gathered from millions of Windows 10 users showed that Firefox uses approximately 31 percent less power than Chrome in real-world usage. If you’re on a laptop, this means significantly longer sessions between needing to recharge.


2. Firefox Is Better for Tab-Heavy Users

How do Firefox and Chrome compare in terms of RAM usage? To test this, I ran both browsers (each one separately with no other apps running) under four test cases: one tab, five tabs, 10 tabs, and 15 tabs. Every one of those tabs pointed to the MakeUseOf homepage for consistency.

RAM Usage for Chrome 58

  • 1 Tab — 49.2 MB
  • 5 Tabs — 265.3 MB
  • 10 Tabs — 533.2 MB
  • 15 Tabs — 748.3 MB

RAM Usage for Firefox 53

  • 1 Tab — 116.3 MB
  • 5 Tabs — 376.6 MB
  • 10 Tabs — 437.0 MB
  • 15 Tabs — 518.4 MB

Two things are immediately obvious. First, Chrome actually uses less RAM than Firefox when you don’t have many tabs open. Second, Firefox scales much better than Chrome once you reach about eight tabs or so. If you’re a power user like me and regularly have 20+ tabs open, Firefox clearly wins.

Want to know why Chrome uses so much RAM? Read our overview on why Chrome needs more RAM and what you can do to reduce its RAM footprint.

3. Firefox Knows It’s Just a Browser

A few months back, I read an interesting post from a longtime Chrome enthusiast who ended up throwing in the towel and switching to Firefox. He had a lot to say, but this particular point stuck out to me:

Today, Chrome is not the speedy beast it was in 2011. Today, Chrome is some sort of weird-ass application platform that just happens to also be a browser.

This sums up a good bit of why I’ve personally fallen out of love with Chrome. What used to be a lightweight, fast, and incredibly minimal web browser has now evolved into a complex beast that no longer remembers what made it so lovable in the first place. A lot of the blame can be assigned to Google’s desire to turn Chrome into Chrome OS.

Firefox, on the other hand, is still just a browser. It isn’t the clean, barebones browser that Chrome was on debut, and some might even say that Firefox is too bloated for its own good, but at least Firefox isn’t trying to be something that it isn’t. It knows what it is.

If you want to read that Chrome enthusiast’s full essay, visit this Quora post and look for Luke Harris’s reply.

4. Firefox Embraces the Open Source Mindset

Technically, one could say that Chrome is somewhat open source since it’s based on the Chromium browser, which itself has spawned many Chrome-like browsers (e.g. Opera, Vivaldi, Slimjet, Brave). But a true “open source” mentality What Is Open Source Software? [MakeUseOf Explains] What Is Open Source Software? [MakeUseOf Explains] "Open source" is a term that’s thrown around a lot these days. You may know that certain things are open source, like Linux and Android, but do you know what it entails? What is open... Read More involves more than just letting others use your code.

I like how Mohamed Mansour explains it in his Quora reply:

I have contributed code to the Chromium project for over two years . . . but lost motivation because of how closed that platform became. Yes it is open sourced, but it is guarded by a big organization where most of its discussions and future direction are done internally inside their organization.

Google is treating Chrome as a closed competitive product more than an open product. Chrome’s open source model is basically “here is the code for the browser, do whatever you want.” It doesn’t have the same open source culture everyone is used to. Companies these days are abusing the core definition of Open Source, and it is sad.

On the other hand, Firefox has a complete public roadmap that’s influenced by contributors and community members. As of this writing, I can see eight months into the future of Firefox development. That kind of community cooperation is what real open source development should be about.

5. Firefox Actually Cares About Privacy

In 2014, Mozilla released a call-to-arms for users in an effort to promote online privacy, stating that “fighting for data privacy — making sure people know who has access to their data, where it goes or could go, and that they have a choice in all of it — is part of Mozilla’s DNA.”

In 2015, the State of Mozilla report reaffirmed the organization’s beliefs: “There are billions of people online, but not enough transparency and control in the form of security and privacy protections for users from companies, app developers and governments. Mozilla is focused on influencing key internet health issues like privacy and security…”

And if you want nitty-gritty details, consult the Firefox privacy policy to learn more about the browser, any data that may be collected, and what that data is used for.

But even if Mozilla wasn’t so gung-ho about privacy, the real win here is that Mozilla isn’t Google. The one thing we know to be true: Google is a gargantuan data collection company. It already knows too much — do you really want Google to know every aspect of your browsing habits?

6. Firefox Allows More Customization

Degree of customization is the biggest difference between Firefox and Chrome. Every Chrome browser looks nearly identical, even across operating systems and devices. Other than hiding certain toolbars or removing a few icons next to the address bar, the most you can do is skin the title bar and tabs.

Firefox can do more. In addition to moving things around and skinning the general appearance, you can install Complete Themes to completely change the browser’s appearance. You can even emulate the look-and-feel of other browsers with FXChrome, FXOpera, and MX4.

7. Firefox Supports Chrome Extensions

Starting with Firefox 48, Mozilla declared stable support for WebExtensions. WebExtensions is a cross-browser API that allows developers to create extensions once and have them work in multiple browsers. With WebExtensions, Firefox can install Chrome extensions.

All you need to do is install Chrome Store Foxified. After that, you can visit any Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store and the “Add to Chrome” button at the top right will become an “Add to Firefox” button.

Note that WebExtensions support, while stable, is still a work in progress. At the moment, not all Chrome extensions work, even though many do. Complete support is anticipated by the release of Firefox 57.

8. Firefox Boasts Unique Extensions

Chrome has a vastly larger collection of extensions, but Firefox has several unique extensions that aren’t available to Chrome users. And some of these extensions are so good that you won’t want to leave Firefox after having experienced them.

The best example that comes to mind is Tree Style Tab. This extension turns the tab bar into a sidebar and lets you organize tabs into a tree-based hierarchy that can be shifted around at will. It’s amazing and really shows how much a shame it is that no other browser can do this. (Vivaldi supports sidebar tabs, but they can’t be organized hierarchically.)

In fact, I would probably say that Tree Style Tab is the main reason why I love Firefox so much. Check out this roundup of other unique Firefox extensions 7 Extensions Firefox Users Love That No Other Browser Has 7 Extensions Firefox Users Love That No Other Browser Has Extensions aren't always supported across all browsers. Check out these beloved Firefox-only extensions that are so useful that you may be swayed over from whichever other browser you currently use. Read More .

9. Firefox Can Do What Chrome Can (Mostly)

At the end of the day, the differences between Firefox and Chrome are mostly minor. One might be slightly faster or use less battery, but in terms of usability, they’re both excellent. In other words, anything you can do in Chrome can probably be done in Firefox too.

Want to synchronize tabs, bookmarks, profiles, and more across devices? Need to develop websites with the aid of an element inspector and console? How about sandbox security to prevent malware infections? Or a password manager to make your accounts more secure You Need to Start Using a Password Manager Right Now You Need to Start Using a Password Manager Right Now By now, everyone should be using a password manager. In fact, not using a password manager put you at greater risk of being hacked! Read More ? Or a task manager to pinpoint performance issues? (Hint: Navigate to about:performance in Firefox.)

Chrome can do these things, and so can Firefox. If you’re reluctant to leave Chrome, just remember that the two browsers have more in common than not.

When Is Chrome Better Than Firefox?

As much as I love Firefox, I still have Chrome installed as a backup because there are certain situations where Chrome is actually better.

  • Chromecast streaming only works with Chrome.
  • Advanced web development is often easier in Chrome.
  • Chrome prioritizes polish and simplicity over freedom, making it easier to use for those who aren’t as tech-savvy.
  • If you’re deeply integrated with Google services and you don’t care about the privacy implications, then you can use your Google accounts to set up various Chrome profiles 5 Custom Chrome Profiles You Should Start Using 5 Custom Chrome Profiles You Should Start Using One Chrome feature is often overlooked: the ability to have multiple user profiles. We show you how they can make your life easier. And yes, you can use profiles in Firefox and other browsers too. Read More .
  • Chrome has more market share than Firefox and Google appears to have significant influence over the direction of web technologies, so websites and web apps tend to work better in Chrome.

Are You Ready to Make the Switch?

The future of Firefox looks good. Give it a shot and have an open mind. To make the transition easier, you may want to consider these tips for switching from Chrome to Firefox. Also, look into our collection of Best Firefox Addons.

Or if you dislike both Chrome and Firefox, Opera might be the better choice I Switched From Chrome to Opera and I’m Never Going Back I Switched From Chrome to Opera and I’m Never Going Back Any browser works. There's only one reason to pick one over another: it's more in line with how you like to browse the web. And you might prefer Opera, too. Read More .

How do you like Firefox? If you decided against switching, what are the main reasons why? And if you use neither Firefox nor Chrome, we’d love to hear which browser you do use. Share with us in a comment below!

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  1. Ricky
    June 22, 2017 at 3:43 am

    Oh please, Firefox is a POS compared to Chrome and Edge. I was reminded of that recently when I reinstalled it recently. Todoist becomes bogged down and I ran into two errors with separate sites. I've always had some type of issue with Firefox on different systems. I'm sorry the facts are it's just a matter of time before it becomes a dead browser.

    • Omar
      June 22, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Can you cite the two sites that you reference? Wondering if those errors are issues with Firefox or with the way they're written.

      Will look into Todoist.

  2. Fabricio Garcia
    June 21, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I heard about the new "super powers" of Firefox so I decided to give it a try, Chrome is a real pain these days anyway. To be honest it didn't impressed me that much, it is faster than Chrome though. Then I remembered Opera... Oh boy, that's what I call a web browser: clean, MODERN, intuitive, and FAST, nothing to do with the browser I met 3 or 4 years ago. For me it was bye Chrome and welcome Opera.

  3. Hadi Setayeshgar
    June 21, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Since Opera's death Web browsing become garbage ... Firefox was great when started . It was about 3 MB and render pages fully like IE and almost as fast as Opera Classic . Chorme just is dopple anger of Chromium . IE passed to Edge . Firefox grows by compatibily to more techs .
    But I'm stuck from death of Opera ... It was fantastic .... All of browsers' abilities copied from Opera Classic ( Speed Dial , Tabbed Browsing , Tab Stakcing etc ) but it was still BEST . Download Manager work like IDM and DAP and even better ; Bookmarks open in new tab and totally managable . It could run Javascript manually and could be prefered . It could render pages as BEST , because You could customize it and Presto was safest and fastest engine .... Cookie manager , Certificate manager , Protocol manager etc .......

    Otter claims want to resume Opera Classic project !! It's a garbage .... Vivaldi comes as " A browser for our old friends " ! It's passed more than 2 years but Vivaldi still Bug-Ful and non ever comparable with Opera 12

    Has anyone know a Browser just powerful as Opera 12 ?
    I searched a lot but couldn't find yet .... It will be Your GREAT GIFT to me .......

  4. Ckb
    June 20, 2017 at 10:00 pm

    LOL! Some disclosures are missing on this click bait.

    • Omar
      June 21, 2017 at 4:47 am

      This didn't strike me as click-bait. The article seems pretty well thought out and the explanations are thorough.

  5. David Martchouk
    June 20, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    I switched to firefox from chrome for On Chrome the makeuseof website gets really laggy when I try to scroll down often and I see it can start eating up RAM over 1 GB for 1 single tab > This might be related to work proxy blocking the ads or an extension I used for "night mode". On Firefox I have no such issue, the website is always smooth for scrolling up and down. On Chrome the lag is so bad sometimes I have to wait like 10 seconds before it scrolls up or down, and sometimes I end up overscrolling, I got so fed up I had to try a different browser! On firefox makeuseof I on occassion get a proxy login popup, so perhaps the chrome RAM buildup and extreme lag is due to proxy block of ads. Not sure why Firefox has no lag.

    • Tina Sieber
      June 21, 2017 at 5:44 pm

      Wow, thank you for switching your browser for MUO, that's awesome!

  6. BillinRSDCA
    June 20, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    So, what's new with "54"?

    Firefox 54 where are you?

  7. adam
    June 20, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    Number one reason I use forefox on my Android phone is that it supports extensions. I can have my ad blockers and other privacy extensions, that also save data and make web pages load MUCH faster.

  8. adam
    June 20, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Firefox on my Android phone is amazing - it supports extensions so I can have the adblockers and other privacy extensions that I want, and it also handles like from other apps by opening them in background, which I much prefer.

  9. Jonathan
    June 20, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    I keep trying other browsers, because chrome really can lag sometimes.

    I keep going back.

    Mostly because of the developer features.
    I find them far superior, and easier to work with. Especially debugging JavaScript.

  10. F. Cisco
    June 20, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Honest evaluation and summary.
    Really no solid reasons to switch.
    Don't switch if you have a G mail account.
    So FireFox moves to cult favorite status among geeks again ?
    If you have only 4 GB of memory you should worry about all programs!

    • Omar
      June 22, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      What's the issue with Gmail?

      I use it, and use Firefox, and haven't noticed anything out of the norm.

  11. Christoph
    June 20, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Oehm the number about the user share are pure invention and as much us I like FF thee are a number of very serious security problems that might never been addressed by Fondation (not because they don't want to obviously) obviously this a a piece payed for so if the first set of number you throughout is BS it is hard to trust the rest of it.

    • Omar
      June 21, 2017 at 4:53 am

      Can you cite some of these security problems you allude to? Do other browsers not have similar issues?

  12. Petar Vukmanovic
    June 20, 2017 at 3:57 pm

    I don't agree on you for one second. Firefox is definitely not a browser of choice if you're going to brag what's awesome nowadays.
    In every aspect Chrome beats FF hard. Have you tried running Firefox on Android? Why would I use that slow garbage when I have fully functional super fast browser that actually syncs with my PC environment as well? Not to mention that ugly CSS issues that come with it, like select dropdown and so on. It's developer tools window is ugly and it just doesn't give good performance.
    Now, in all honestly, yes, I believe that Linux users will favor Firefox due to its optimization and the fact that Chrome is not fully supported (Chromium is, which is completely different thing).
    Look at the sheer number of users using Chrome, both regular day to day users and developers. Trust me, don't bother with Firefox.

    If you wanna use a cool browser that actually does care about privacy (should I mention Firefox tracking scandal with Amazon on Ubuntu?), Use Brave. If you're a developer, use Blisk. If you're looking for a super fast cool new browser search for Vivaldi. Ignore Firefox. My bottom line. My rant. ^_^

    • Omar
      June 21, 2017 at 5:05 am

      "In every aspect Chrome beats FF hard."

      Really? How about points 1 and 2 of this article? There goes your credibility.

      "Have you tried running Firefox on Android?"

      Yes. It works quite well - multiple others in the comment section agree. We all love that it supports extensions, like ad-blockers.

      "Why would I use that slow garbage when I have fully functional super fast browser that actually syncs with my PC environment as well?"

      You're implying that Firefox doesn't sync between mobile and desktop versions. You're factually incorrect. Refer to the article point 9.

      "Not to mention that ugly CSS issues that come with it, like select dropdown and so on. It's developer tools window is ugly and it just doesn't give good performance."

      Sounds a lot like two opinions and an unsubstantiated fact.

      "Look at the sheer number of users using Chrome, both regular day to day users and developers. Trust me, don't bother with Firefox."

      Quantity does not equal quality, my friend. In light of all of your misrepresentations, why should anyone trust you?

  13. Rene Gatdula
    June 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    I'm torn between two lovers...

  14. Joseph Gelis
    June 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Did you mention the incessant bugs that come packaged with Firefox (at least in the Mac version)? I use Chrome over both Firefox and Safari, and for me, it is smooth as, well, chrome.

    • Doc
      June 20, 2017 at 3:42 pm

      Perhaps that's more of a problem with macOS than with Firefox... :)

    • Joel Lee
      June 20, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Hi Joseph, which bugs in particular? I use Firefox on Windows and Mac every day and haven't run into any problems on either.

  15. user4user
    June 20, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Can u update the section on RAM usage with chrome 59 release where it addressed that issue?

  16. Yap Chun Fai
    June 20, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    I don't care how much ram does chrome consume, but it is the fastest browser.

    June 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    really? im all for open source and privacy but google chrome is way easy on memory and its interface is way faster. im a casual ubuntu user and i used firefox for 6 years or so but i figured chrome does everything firefox does in a faster timespan and made the ultimate switch to chrome deleting firefox completely although it meant jumping on the lap of google, ads and nsa.

    • Joel Lee
      June 20, 2017 at 4:04 pm

      Chrome is faster because it uses more CPU, but Firefox uses less memory when you have many, many tabs open.

  18. Holly
    June 20, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    have you had a thorough look at the up to date version of Vivaldi?
    even though it utilizes Chromium, it is so much better than Chrome already.
    and even though it's entire interface is based on web tech, they managed to get it as response as a native app.
    clear winner in my mind.

    I have many issues with Firefox on the other hand.
    Chromium's one process per tab solution may lead to slightly increased RAM usage, but the overall performance and stability is much better for it, especially on older machines.

    also, I can't stand Firefox's preference interface. there's no search filter. most settings are hidden in about:config, even high level behavior like "should the entire app terminate when closing the last tab?". why is that? I always need to google first to figure out if Firefox has a certain setting and where it can be found...

    and I don't really get the "Firefox Knows It’s Just a Browser" argument...
    I for one loved the extremely feature rich Opera before it went webkit/Chromium.
    I mean, as long as it doesn't impact the performance and responsiveness negatively, and as long the interface is still slick and easy to navigate, why wouldn't you want more optional features, like for example an in-build email client?
    at least in my mind, that's much more elegant than to bloat up your browser with countless third party processes in the form of extensions.

    • Joel Lee
      June 20, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      I agree, the preferences page for Firefox could use some improvements. Chrome and Chromium-based browsers tend to do that much better. I've noticed similar stability between both Chrome and Firefox, in that neither is buggy or crashy for me. (Years ago, Chrome used to hang for 30+ seconds while "Waiting for cache..." but that's been fixed, thankfully!)

      I've been using Vivaldi for the past few months as well, and I love it. Look for a write-up on that later this week. Next week at the latest. :)

  19. Seath
    June 20, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    I've been using Firefox for years and all though I agree with you on most points, Firefox has become blotted and slow in the past year.
    Now I'm trying out Opera for last couple months and in my opinion this browser is what Chrome use to be. It's lightweight, fast, secure and the developers really step up thier game lately.
    Of course it has its own problems like any other browser, but for now Opera is my choice.

    • Doc
      June 20, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      "Blotted"? LOL...

    • Joel Lee
      June 20, 2017 at 4:07 pm

      Opera is fantastic and you should keep using it if you like it. I agree, as far as Chromium-based browsers go, Opera is better than Chrome! And if you like cutting-edge stuff, Vivaldi might be better than both of them.

  20. B. Reynolds
    June 20, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    On Linux I've switched back to Firefox over Chromium. Chrome is still my primary browser on Windows, but more and more I find myself using Edge.

    Not so much that I'm a big Edge fan, but when the Edge browser does pop up, it works just fine and I don't bother to close it and open Chrome instead like I used to. Edge is improving nicely while my unscientific sense is that I'm waiting longer for Chrome to get going.

    • Joel Lee
      June 20, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      I like Edge, but it's still a bit glitchy for me at times. Consider giving Vivaldi a try -- it has improved a lot since it released last year, and if you like Edge, you might like it even more.