Eight browsers compete against each other in nine benchmarks.
Lame Edge and IE, faster Edge
Internet Explorer (IE), which is slow - and not just in terms of speed - is hidden under Windows 10: unlike up to and including Windows 8.1, it is no longer pinned to the taskbar at the factory. For some time now, Chromium Edge has been opening automatically under Windows 10 when you try to open certain websites with IE. Nevertheless, we also tested the IE here, as its stagnation is interesting compared to the better-maintained competition. We did not include Edge Legacy in the test: This first version of the Edge browser came in 2015 and was in Windows 10 1507 (the first Windows 10 version, came a good five years ago) up to and including Windows 10 2004 (May 2020 update) . Since Windows 20 20H2 (October 2020 update, the 2004 successor), Chromium Edge has been on board instead. In Windows 10 2004, the old EdgeHTML engine-based Edge could be replaced by the more modern Chromium version by installing Chromium Edge. A parallel installation could be achieved using a registry hack: if the new Edge was installed, it would not overwrite the old version. Since we ran the following benchmarks on Windows 10 20H2, Edge Legacy fell by the wayside. It was different in the browser benchmark test a year ago, when we were working with Windows 10 2004; here we had also eyed the old Edge. A new test would make little sense because Microsoft no longer offers security updates for the first-time Edge. His new edition also runs away from him: In this respect, there is hardly any reason to continue to operate the old Edge as part of the legacy on-board resources (i.e. outdated system tools). To test Edge Legacy, a Windows 10 downgrade (associated with data loss on the test platform) to OS version 2004 would be necessary. Since the old system may work a little differently, for example due to different drivers, the test results would not be optimally comparable.
Here you will find reviews of the following (64-bit) programs:
Test winner: Microsoft Chromium Edge
To see directly which program performed and how, scroll down to the article paragraph "Conclusion: The fastest browser". Details on the programs tested and the test methodology can be found in the following paragraphs. The winner in this group test is again Microsoft's Edge Chromium - last year it was up to 193 percent faster than the old Edge browser (legacy). Not always, but most often, the program climbs to the top in the nine benchmarks used. This is impressive because, viewed critically, Microsoft is just jumping on the Chromium bandwagon as one of many providers. But the group converts the browser source code into high performance. Finally, Edge is also pleasant to use: The surface of the new program feels smoother than the outdated Legacy Edge - comparable to Firefox and Google Chrome. Chromium Edge in particular deserves a recommendation. The download is often no longer necessary, because Edge is incorporated into the current Windows 10 20H2. Download and installation are again possible with Windows 7 / 8.1 and Windows 10 2004.
Chromium Edge is intuitive to use and technically convincing.
Google Chrome Fork now also from Microsoft
Google Chrome is considered to be fast, which is justified: It usually feels like it builds websites quickly. The Google Chrome technologies from Google's open source Chromium browser project are also used in Opera, Vivaldi, Brave and Microsoft's relatively new Chromium Edge. Mozilla is doing its own thing when it comes to website display technology. Microsoft also did the latter some time ago: Its Edge browser was Windows 10 exclusive and was not available for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. The engine is called EdgeHTML here. Now an EdgeHTML successor is in the running: Chromium Edge. The program usually scores (much) better in benchmarks than EdgeHTML-Edge. The use of the new Edge is therefore recommended - especially since there are anti-tracking profiles for more data protection in the settings. The add-ons from the Chrome web store work, only the standard search engine is more laborious than changing Google Chrome. Microsoft specifies Bing here, most users prefer Google and have to search something to change this setting.
Benchmark test: These browsers are the fastest
Test: fastest browser
Testing which browser is the fastest is easy: Above all, it takes a lot of time. Various benchmarks are used, i.e. web services on which you usually click a button to start the test. Depending on the service, a higher or a lower value is better - high scores usually speak for a fast browser. Testing is time-consuming as there are various different benchmarks and each one takes a few seconds to minutes to determine a score. The more browsers take part in the exams, the more complex they are: the number of courses, their respective duration and the number of clients multiply. Therefore, you will only find a few important browsers in the comparison: Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Internet Explorer, Chrome-Edge, Waterfox, Vivaldi and Brave Browser. In a preliminary research, smaller programs also appeared, such as the CCleaner Browser and Mozilla's SeaMonkey - but some browser tests did not finish properly (script error error messages) or were slightly behind the "original". Niche browsers are largely not represented in this test, as the first benchmark samples already showed that you would not get a top performer here. It is unlikely that smaller providers have the capacity to develop a faster browser than the big players Google, Microsoft and Mozilla - although such tools have their raison d'etre, mainly due to useful additional functions.
Browser speed ratings: who will make it to the podium?
In the photo gallery above you will find a gallery entry for each benchmark. The browsers are sorted according to their speed test results; the fastest client is at the top and the bottom is at the bottom. In 2020, we awarded three points for the first-placed browser in the individual benches, the second place in a benchmark got two and the third-best one. We wanted to implement this point scheme for choosing a test winner in 2021 as well, but rejected it. Because the paradoxical situation would arise that Internet Explorer 11 was ahead of Firefox - and that does not reflect reality. Internet Explorer would have received three points and Firefox two. The old Microsoft browser did not complete a number of tests at all or not at all. Firefox didn't do well with them either, but at least it took part in them at all. The reason IE11 refuses to work is that it does not support web standards well enough. In everyday life, you are noticeably better on the web with Firefox, despite the relative stagnation with regard to the Chromium competition. Subjectively, the program is fast, but objectively, that can no longer be said. Against the background of the Firefox and IE rankings, a new evaluation had to be made: We awarded eight points for first place in each benchmark, the second got seven, the third six, the fourth five, the fifth four, the sixth three, the seventh two and the bottom one. The IE was often at the bottom; he got zero points if he refused a course. This principle allows a precise and fairer assessment of the clients. In the end, the accounting took place.
The test setting (in the home office)
About the test device: It is a Medion notebook with an Intel Core i7 CPU, 8 gigabytes of RAM and Windows 10 20H2 Home (October 2020 update). The hardware equipment has a certain influence, so the test results could differ with another device. The article author checked this with a hardware downgrade: He reduced the number of processor cores from 4 to 1 with the Windows tool msconfig. Google Chrome initially achieved around 37,000 points with four cores in the Octane benchmark; with only one core, the performance dropped to just over 28,000 meters. Firefox was downgraded to around 12,000 points for one CPU core, with all four cores the performance was around 17,000 points.
The most popular Firefox add-ons
As test results are known to fluctuate, the browsers were examined twice for their performance: Tests took place both in the editorial office and in the home office (each more than 20,000 kilobits per second (kbps) in the WLAN, notebook in network operation and near the access point ). The computer ran on AC power, not battery power. Windows never switched to standby mode. The results for one and the same program differed depending on the job, but the tendencies and performance rankings were sometimes identical.
In the photo gallery with the test results you will find the calculated mean values of the two courses. Only the browser was running during the tests, background programs were not active as far as could be seen. No add-ons were installed in any browser. The 64-bit versions of the programs were used throughout - tests with 32-bit browsers would have been possible, but would have increased the test effort unnecessarily and you are usually well served with 64-bit browsers - they mostly offer Advantages in terms of speed, security and stability. The only thing that speaks for 32-bit browsers is that they often need less RAM than their 64-bit counterparts. Nowadays, however, there is a lot of RAM built into PCs, so you hardly have to pay attention to the memory hunger. Incidentally, the Windows “Balanced” power plan was activated; it is the only energy profile installed since Windows 10 1709. It should only have a minor impact on the performance ratings.
Conclusion: the fastest browser
Chromium-Edge wins the race like in 2020: The program comes in first place most frequently in the individual tests - a proud five times (for Basemark, MotionMark, Kraken, Chalkboard, Wirple) - and comes in second place three times (JetStream, Speedometer, Octane) and once Rank 3 (Sunspider). Google Chrome secured 2nd place and thus defeated Brave, who was banished to 3rd place; in the previous year, Brave had overtaken Chrome. Especially with the programs that took the gold and silver places, you are noticeably faster on the Internet than with Firefox.
Opera and Vivaldi are in fourth place; Incidentally, the latter browser comes from an ex-Opera founder. Firefox takes 6th place, which has a respectful distance to Opera and Vivaldi in the points evaluation (27 vs. 40). Waterfox, who uses older Firefox technologies, settles in 7th place. Internet Explorer 11 (8th place) can do some things better than Firefox and Chrome, for example: These advantages are functional and theoretical in nature, the measured performance is subterranean.
Firefox did disappointing in our test: Version 1.0 was released in 2004 and started as a fast, secure and expandable alternative to Internet Explorer. In terms of measurement and evaluation, it is now close to the IE, which was repeatedly reviled for its slow pace in the past. Anyone who mentions IE today often does so in an ironic context. Now Firefox is definitely not slow. But it's past its glamorous days: the market share is stagnating, the Chromium-based competition is registering more users and a faster pace. In 2020, it was leaked that Mozilla was laying off 25 percent of its employees; around 250. Instead of speed, Firefox distinguishes itself more with data protection and non-material advantages. Mozilla claims to be a non-profit organization and to put people above profit. The source code is open source, the browser blocks tracking quite well. For Firefox, however, it is not an advertisement to only beat Internet Explorer in benchmarks among the browser heavyweights. To get back to the front, Mozilla has to put a lot more effort into it.