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Which Is The Best Browser?

There are two distinct software choices that are totally subjective and any discussion is certain to elicit a lively debate: browsers and antivirus software. We all tend to base our opinions on familiarization, our own personal criteria, and experience. As far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as a “best browser” with choices depending entirely on what a user is looking for in a browser. All mainstream browsers come with their own particular pros and cons:

  • Chrome: Simple and fast but owned by Google so privacy is out the window
  • Edge: Comes pre-installed with Windows and includes several useful features but, again, privacy is out the window
  • Firefox: More private than most but too many webpages fail to render properly
  • Brave: The most private out of the box but serious trust issues after getting caught out redirecting searches to an affiliated website
  • Vivaldi: Highly customizable but way too extravagant and busy for some

Some users prefer a browser that is simple and fast, as attested by Chrome’s dominant market share. Others who view privacy as a major consideration might prefer Brave or Firefox, which is fair enough. Others might like to pretty up their browser and so opt for the highly customizable Vivaldi, which is also fair enough. So, the answer to that imponderable question “which browser is best” is… whichever browser best suits the user’s needs.

One thing I dislike is when derogatory remarks are made regarding a particular browser without any elaboration or clarification. It’s a bit like when politicians criticize the other party’s policies without putting forward any sort of viable alternative. Plus, those types of remarks are not only criticizing a browser, but they are also criticizing a large portion of other users’ choices.

There’s an old sales credo that a salesman should never criticize a particular brand. That’s because the person they are hoping to sell to might have purchased that brand in the past and been quite happy with it. Ergo, by criticizing the brand they are also demeaning that potential buyer’s choices. By all means, point out areas where one product might be superior to another –  that’s a positive approach rather than a negative one.

Personally, I would never criticize a user’s choice of browser. I have no idea what they are looking for in a browser so who am I to make assumptions based on my own criteria? On the other hand, if someone is looking for a browser with a specific feature or characteristic, I’ll certainly do my best to steer that person in the right direction.

I have been a long-time Firefox user but started to look for alternatives as more and more webpages failed to render properly. I’ve flirted with other browsers but have now settled on alternating between Firefox and Edge. I do wish Mozilla could fix the rendering issue but I think it’s out of Mozilla’s hands and more down to the webmasters who are catering to the prevalence of Chromium-based browsers. One thing I will say, from a firsthand comparison, Edge renders webpages far more quickly than Firefox does, and that’s a fact.

What browser do you use and why? Let us know in the comments.

33 thoughts on “Which Is The Best Browser?”

  1. Like you, I use both Firefox and Edge on desktop, alternating between the two. However, for my android device I use Iceraven browser. It is basically firefox plus the re-addition of about:config and add-ons. I want the add-ons, and I’m happy for the occasional one not to work. So far, all my add-ons have worked well and about:config comes in useful.

    1. Agreed, about:config can be very handy.

      I’ve never owned an Android device so don’t know the Iceraven browser at all, but appreciate you mentioning it here for other readers consideration.

      Thank you for your useful comment.

  2. On Desktop – Brave. Is the best for privacy and security. Jim, I know you like Microsoft Edge, but for those of us in the USA, Microsoft has bloated Edge with tons of useless garbage (I’m sure it is coming to you around the world soon). In addition, Edge spell checking is sending typed data to Microsoft and 3rd party servers including usernames, email addresses, but also anything typed as comments or in forms and passwords (when users use the “show password” option on websites)–not very secure.

    On Android – Kiwi. Kiwi has extension support on Android (unlike Brave & Bromite – which may be more optimal for privacy out of the box). Kiwi with extension support allows me to add UBlock Origin, Cookie Autodelete, etc.

    JD

    1. Brave. Is the best for privacy and security.”

      Yep, you’ll get no argument from me JD. I like Firefox best but do use Edge for sites that Firefox fails to render properly. I’m not usually one to hold a grudge but it seems, when it comes to software, I do. I will never use nor recommended IObit software, for example, I think you’ll know why. And I feel a bit the same way about Brave… trust issues.

      Oh, and I have all those settings in Edge turned off – spellcheck, personal info, etc. It’s very easy to disable all that. Probably should be disabled by default though.

      1. Jim, I understand the trust issue. Concerning Brave. First, they have a different revenue model with crypto BAT and targeted ads. But, they are very open about this and all this is turned off by default (you need to opt in to that—I never have). Also, A few years ago, Brave had a redirect issue on certain searches. But they acknowledged the issue, were open about it, and stated it was wrong and wouldn’t happen again. As far as I know, they haven’t had any issues since. Currently, in the desktop browser market, Brave appears to be the most private, and, I believe, is taking that responsibility seriously. They have my trust for now…but they, like anyone else, have to continue to earn that trust!

        However, I find it interesting that you have chosen to place your browsing trust in Google and Microsoft. Firefox/Mozilla gets 95% of their income from Google. They are beholden to Google and will never go against Google’s wishes. And, Edge is obviously owned by Microsoft. Microsoft has new trust issues almost every week. For example, this week’s current finding is that they are sending all their spell check info (which is turned on by default I believe) to their servers and 3rd party servers -including any info placed into forms…i.e names, passwords, social security numbers, etc.

        I already use Google for my non-critical email and, since I use Android for my phone, to store my photos online. But whenever I can, I try to find a better alternative. Also, Microsoft is my main OS and I use their Office products. But, For now, I am going to trust Brave over Google/Mozilla and Microsoft when it comes to my browsing.

        JD

        1. JD: I’ve downloaded and installed Brave and am going to set it as my default browser for a period of time so I can make an informed assessment/comparison.

          When I’ve used the browser for a while we’ll publish an article detailing the results.

  3. Jim. You have given us a very controversial topic to bite our chops into. I have been extremely pleased using Firefox as my number browser simply because of the add-ons (and the privacy. Do not believe I ever encountered this problem “… but too many webpages fail to render properly”. I also have not encountered problems having 8 or more tabs open as some members mentioned previously. Very recently I tried out Brave (ditching Opera) as my alternative. The only reason it cannot become my number 1 browser is that Kaspersky add-ons are not supported.

    Like you, I have tried out many browsers in the past, even leaving Firefox years ago in favour of Waterfox (spin off) due to the 64bit version.

    I value privacy over speed (as I was unable to see a difference when testing them against Firefox on side by side desktops), but I was not clocking like officials do down to the micro second, Mindblower!

    1. Hey MB,

      Yes, any discussion re browsers is always interesting. You prove my point that every user is looking for specific characteristics in a browser.

      I gave up on the privacy issue long ago. It’s my firm belief that chasing a private online existence is akin to a dog trying to catch its tail – never going to happen. I still value privacy, of course, but it’s seldom the deciding factor.

      As far as speed is concerned; the difference in speed between Firefox and Edge/Chrome when running on the same machine is readily discernable, no need for a benchmarking tool or timing device.

    2. Mindblower, I was able to add the Kaspersky app to Brave (I don’t use Kaspersky so I deleted it). Were you not able to load it on Brave?

      Also, you state that you value privacy. It is somewhat out of topic –from the opening sentence in this article, it sounds like Jim might be planning a “Which is the best Antivirus” article :). But, are you aware that Kaspersky is a Russian-owned company that has been reported to be in communication with Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) and is responsible for providing them with real-time intelligence and identifying data of customers’ computers? Plus, the domain of the Russian Ministry of Defense is hosted in Kaspersky’s infrastructure, and Eugene Kaspersky, the owner of the company, has refused to condemn the Russian army’s military actions in Ukraine.

      In fact, the connection to the Russian secret services is so well established, Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) actively recommends to not use Kaspersky antivirus, and urges its users to consider alternative products. Kaspersky is on the US national security risk list. Even, Best Buy, an electronics retailer here in the US, refuses to sell Kaspersky (and they will sell anything for $)!

      JD

      1. Do tell (explain in detail) what steps you used to install the Kaspersky extension within Brave. This would truly assist my blind spot.

        And yes I am fully aware that Kaspersky is a Russian-owned company. Have know this for many years. Thank you for your concern JD, but as I am just a tiny pod in the ocean, I doubt there is anything to fear. I do not give into these conspiracy theories easily as you can find both sides to almost everything. Either one trusts the source or one does not, Mindblower!

        1. MIndblower, with so many good choices, I don’t understand why you would choose to use a privacy application on your pc when many governments and 3rd parties are stating that Kaspersky is a privacy concern.

          In any case, to install it in Brave, just go to the extension page in the chrome store and click the “Add to Brave” button.

          https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/kaspersky-protection/ahkjpbeeocnddjkakilopmfdlnjdpcdm

          Again, since Brave is a private based browser. I don’t even see the point of the app since the Browser does all that the extension claims to do already. But, it is your computer. Good luck.

          JD

          JD

  4. Hi Jim,

    I’m looking forward to your assessment/comparison article of Brave after using it as your default browser for a while.

    It sounds like your progression of default browsers is following mine. I was using Internet Explorer and switched to Firefox around 2004-2005. Switched to MS Edge when it first came out in beta (when it was mean and clean). After they started adding many questionable things, switched to Brave as privacy was becoming more of a concern to me.

    Will be interesting to see if you make Brave your permanent default browser after your assessment and why or why not.

    JD

  5. JD. Thanks for the link. Believe it got installed, however I am unable to locate it. In Firefox, it is listed on top as I use the keyboard option, which I intend to do on Brave. Useful in the evening when doing a quick search in the dark. Must be missing something else. Can you offer more assistance?

    As I mentioned previously, truly appreciate your concern. I too often find it difficult when others do not take my advice. Oddly strange that my IP recommends Kaspersky, Mindblower

    1. Mindblower, I’m not exactly sure what you mean by “listed on top” or what the “keyboard option” is (since I don’t use the extension or Firefox).

      But, I’ll offer the following to see if it may be what you are looking for.

      1) Go into settings/Extensions and select Keyboard Shortcuts and select a keyboard shortcut for the Kaspersky extension.

      2) If you mean that you want to pin the icon to the toolbar, then this is how I would do it. On my system, there is a little icon that looks like a jigsaw puzzle piece in the upper right corner. Click on that and a list of extensions will show. Click on the Pin to pin it to the toolbar. Note: after you pin them, you can click and hold on to the item in the toolbar and slide the icon to reorder them.

      Again, in Settings, I would look at the “Shields” and “Privacy and Security” sections. Set them up, and you probably don’t need the Kaspersky extension at all.

      JD

      1. Once again JD, thank you for your tolerance. Was able to locate the add-on and to my disgust found out that add-ons in one browser are not necessarily the same as in others. Had I done a better search online I would have found this “Apr 12, 2022 — Hi, Please note brave is not officially supported browser only Google chrome (not variants of chromium), IE, firefox etc.”
        Truly sorry for your trouble, Mindblower!

        1. Mindblower, it makes sense that it is not officially supported for two reasons. 1) It is too much work for Kaspersky to support an extension for every browser–just do the major ones. 2) It is not needed in Brave-Brave’s extra protections might even interfere with the extension (I don’t know since I don’t have Kaspersky main, so I can not test it).

          Anyhow, I looked at the overview of what the Kaspersky extension does, and it doesn’t look like it is needed in Brave:
          Privacy (Tracking)
          –In settings/Shields/ Set Trackers & ad blocking to “Standard”

          Anti-Banner
          –above setting will do this

          Security (we protect your financial transactions at online stores)
          –In settings/Shields/ Set Upgrade connections to HTTPS to “enabled”

          – Safe Money – (opening sensitive websites in Protected Browser).
          –I believe all browser tabs in any Chrome browser are already sandboxed, so unnecessary in Chrome

          – Private Browsing –
          –above setting will do this

          – Kaspersky URL Advisor – I don’t see the point of this, but there are other chrome extensions that will do this if desired.

          – On-Screen Keyboard – (I believe Brave’s keyboard already does this)

          – Dangerous Content Blocking – Brave has phishing protections built-in

          In addition, Brave is doing a lot more than this extension: Blocking fingerprinting, redirecting AMP pages, blocking undesired cookies, CNAME uncloaking, block-and-replace problematic resource scripts, etc.

          JD

    1. All a VPN does is hide the user’s real IP address. A VPN does not prevent the collection of other data about the browser, it’s extensions, and users’ hardware, and it does not prevent browser fingerprinting.

      VPNs are good for circumventing geo-blocking and obfuscating one’s location but they add little in the way of privacy.

      1. Of course, this would require a bit more effort, but it’s kind of scary that it’s possible.
        https://coveryourtracks.eff.org/

        This is mine:
        Our tests indicate that you have strong protection against Web tracking.
        Is your browser:
        Blocking tracking ads? Yes
        Blocking invisible trackers? Yes
        Protecting you from fingerprinting? Your browser has a unique fingerprint

        1. I’m not sure how accurate that coveryourtracks.eff.org is. I tried it with 5 browsers:

          Brave
          MS Edge (with UBlock Origin)
          Ungoogled Chromium (with UBlock Origin)
          Chrome (Default settings)
          Vivaldi (Default settings)

          Brave/MS Edge/Ungoogled Chromium/Vivaldi results:
          Blocking tracking ads? Yes
          Blocking invisible trackers? Yes
          Protecting you from fingerprinting? Your browser has a unique fingerprint
          at least 17.45 bits of identifying information.

          Chrome results:
          Blocking tracking ads? No
          Blocking invisible trackers? No
          Protecting you from fingerprinting? Your browser has a unique fingerprint
          at least 17.45 bits of identifying information.

          In other words, other than Chrome giving me No & No on Blocking tracking ads & invisible trackers, all the results were the same! Even said Chrome was giving a unique fingerprint and all 5 browsers had 17.45 bits of identifying info.

          JD

        2. I need to update that my last post:

          Brave said I had a “Randomized” fingerprint, other 4 browsers said I had a Unique fingerprint.

          JD

    1. Brian, I think you might be misinterpreting the results from CoverYourTracks. The message “Your browser has a unique fingerprint” means that your online activity can easily be tracked using that unique fingerprint. A “unique” fingerprint is bad, not good. What’s required for privacy is a random fingerprint that is not unique.

      1. Jim, that site is very confusing. In a previous post, I stated I tried 5 browsers:
        Brave
        MS Edge (with UBlock Origin)
        Ungoogled Chromium (with UBlock Origin)
        Chrome (Default settings)
        Vivaldi (Default settings)

        It stated I had strong protection against web tracking in all browsers except Chrome. Brave was the only one with “Randomized” fingerprint. The other 4 browsers had “Unique” fingerprint.

        It appears that fingerprinting doesn’t have any effect on their overall protection. Chrome had “No” for the top 2 questions and it stated not protected for tracking, while other 4 browsers stated had strong protection. So, I don’t think the fingerprint outcome has any effect on thier overall result of strong protection, or not protected.

        In addition, all 5 browsers gave the exact same 17.45 bits of identifying information! How can that be?

        JD

        1. We’re talking about two different types of protection JD. The first two results are based on the browser’s ability to block ads and third party trackers respectively. The third (bottom) result is based on the browser’s ability to prevent browser fingerprinting. The two are completely different and separate.

          For a true comparison you need to test all browsers at default settings minus any extensions. In the case of Edge and Ungoogled Chromium, the UBlock Origin extension is what’s providing the protection against ads and tracking, not the browser itself

          Browser fingerprinting is another matter altogether. Randomizing a fingerprint doesn’t prevent the data from being transmitted or collected, what it does is randomize that data so it is always different, thereby overcoming the “unique” character of the fingerprint.

          When CoverYourTracks is testing the protection against browser fingerprinting, I’m assuming it is extracting the normal user data multiple times. If that data remains identical through each pass, the result is a “unique” fingerprint. If, however, that data changes with each pass, that identifies a “randomized” fingerprint.

          Hope that clarifies.

        2. Jim, yes, I understand that the site is showing different types of protection. My point is that the CoverYourTracks website is poorly designed.

          There should be a clear table or index on what the various results are for fingerprinting and what they mean. Also, the results should be displayed in different colors: Unique = RED, Randomized =Green. Partial = Yellow. Or, put a traffic light next to the result. I.e., it should be easily apparent what the results mean. We should not need you to write an article explaining it (although we do appreciate you writing it). How many visitors their have already read your article?

          The portion that shows identifying information (17.45 bits of identifying information for 5 different browsers for me) seems meaningless. Why the extreme detail down to 2 decimal places when it is exactly the same for 5 different browsers? And, again, there is no index. Is 17.45 high/low/average?

          And the Top overall Result of Strong Protection / Not Protected are both in red! Why not Green/Red etc. Plus, since fingerprint output does not appear to have an effect on the outcome, (only tracking Ads and Invisible trackers seem to affect the result) the fingerprint section should be separated with a line or spaces or something.

          Again, it is misleading because it is poorly designed. And, all these things could be easily fixed. I would think the hard part is creating the tests and such. The display color of the info should be extremely easy. Also, a quick index explaining the results is easy enough to create.

          JD

  6. @JD,

    You have a point JD but I guess they are working on the KISS format. 17.45 bits of identifying information is about on par. Data transmitted includes details of the browser, right down to the font and including identifying installed extensions. Plus details of hardware such as CPU, screen size and resolution, etc. As you can imagine, 17 bits of always identical information is more than enough to create a unique fingerprint.

    Anti-tracking extensions such as UBlock Origin and Privacy Badger prevent third-party tracking, usually triggered via cookies and/or ads, but cannot prevent tracking via browser fingerprinting. That’s why a randomized browser fingerprint should be the default in every browser. The two go hand-in-hand, one without the other is only half a job. Brave being the only browser that does a proper job.

  7. My preference is definitely Edge Chromium. It collects less data than Chrome and also is more power efficient. I like it so much that I even use it on my Android phone. I never liked Firefox because of the UI and it always seemed slow. From 1999 to 2015, I was an Internet Explorer user and switched to the original Edge when it first released. I then went to Edge Chromium when it came out. I’m not overly concerned about privacy and the only things I do to control it are the options available within Windows and Edge themselves. For me, Edge is blazingly fast and I never have issues opening pages.

    1. Nicely put Donald. Your approach pretty much reflects my own. I don’t tend to let privacy, or the lack thereof, overly influence my decisions. I figure my privacy went out the window the day I decided to connect to the Internet. And certainly when I started writing articles that are published on the web along with a photo and BIO. And yes, Edge is quite a deal faster than Firefox, I agree.

        1. Doesn’t work Brian. It’s one of the browser extensions I tested. Installed in Firefox and then ran the scan/test through CoverYourTracks which still reported a “unique” fingerprint.

          I tested every extension I could find at the time for all browsers, there were only three if I remember rightly, and none of them worked.

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