In today’s digital world, it’s understandable that folks want the best browsing experience. While most operating systems offer their own web browser, many users seek third-party products to get the best experience. So, if you’re a macOS user who wants to know if there’s something better than Apple’s Safari, stick with us as we help you choose the best browser for Mac.
- Vivaldi and Brave are the best browsers for Mac.
- Recent updates to Safari make Apple’s default web browser a viable option.
- Chrome leads the way for anyone looking for the most extensions when browsing.
In the early days of commercial internet use, users had access to one web browser, aptly named the World Wide Web. In 1995, Microsoft entered the fray, giving the world Internet Explorer 1.0 (now known as Microsoft Edge). Eight years later, Apple entered the world of web browsers, as well, offering its users Safari.
Today, there’s no shortage of web browsers, meaning there’s something for everyone. To narrow the field to the most elite, we used our industry experience to pick five solid options, helping you answer the question: what is the best browser for Mac?
05/29/2022 Facts checked
We have updated our list of the best browsers for Mac.
Due to their privacy and security features and high performance, Vivaldi and Brave are the two best options.
Chrome continues to be the fastest option on macOS.
On paper, Chrome outperforms Safari. However, after new updates to Safari, we felt no difference in day-to-day usage, and Apple arguably offers better privacy than Chrome.
Vivaldi and Brave offer solid browsers built for macOS Catalina.
Top Browsers for Mac
What Makes the Best Browser for Mac?
Below is our selection of browsers, each of which we selected as the best browser for Mac users for a different reason. They excel in different ways, and we’ve intentionally highlighted their differences, so you can find the best Mac browser for your workflow or personal use.
- Brave — The best option for privacy
- Vivaldi — The best browser for power users
- Google Chrome — The best browser for extensions
- Safari — The best browser for Apple software fans
- Firefox — The best nonprofit browser
We’re far removed from the days when a web browser’s sole function was to allow users to access basic information online. Now we use our web browsers to create content, work with others remotely, stream high-quality video and even manage and access our digital currencies.
That said, we’re constantly on the hunt for the best web browsers for speed, usability, security and privacy, and for those who love a clean aesthetic, exceptional design and appearance.
Despite how far web browsers have come, we’ve yet to arrive in a world where we can find the complete package. However, the options below are close to offering an ideal browsing experience, giving you almost the best of everything.
The 5 Best Browsers for Mac
It’s time for us to break down what each of our favorite internet browsers for Mac are capable of doing. We’ll show you the advantages of using each internet browser and highlight areas where they can improve. We’ll also share one standout feature each browser has to offer.
- Quick performance
- Built-in ad blocker
- Extremely secure browser
- True incognito tab
- Seldom receives updates
The Brave browser is the best Mac browser for those who don’t want companies snooping around their online business. Whereas other browsers require the use of extensions to improve user security and privacy, the Brave browser has most of them already built into the software, allowing users to configure how much they want the browser to block ads, cookies and trackers.
Despite its built-in security and privacy features, Brave offers fast and responsive performance, proving quicker than Firefox and Vivaldi, two other options on this list. It’s not the fastest browser for Mac, however, with its combination of speed and efficient RAM usage, users will enjoy a smooth browsing experience.
Browse Securely With Tor
For those who want extra privacy beyond Brave’s standard incognito tab, there’s the built-in Tor tab. As well as protecting your browsing history, the Tor tab hides your IP address from websites you visit. This means there’s no way a website can track where you are or which browser you’re using, giving you full anonymity.
Privacy junkies will no doubt be attracted to Brave and what it offers. As it’s built on Chromium (check out our Chromium review), there’s also a wealth of browser extensions to choose from, including everyday productivity tools right through to crypto wallets like Binance and Metamask. Brave even offers crypto rewards just for using its browser.
It’s not perfect, though. Like every other option on our list, there’s room for improvement. Brave is slow on rolling out updates compared to other Chromium-based browsers. Despite that little hang up, we recommend it with absolute confidence. You can learn more about Brave and what it offers by reading our full Brave review.
- Plenty of integrated features
- Easily customizable
- Low RAM usage
- Exceptionally secure browser
- No iOS version
Vivaldi has a strong argument for being the best option for Mac. Also built on Chromium (check out Chromium vs Chrome in 2022), it offers many of the same extensions as Brave and Chrome. It’s not as quick as Chrome, but it’s faster than Firefox and great for anyone looking for something snappy that isn’t a Google product.
However, those who also use iOS should know there isn’t a Vivaldi mobile app. That could make it a dead end for those locked into the Apple ecosystem, and it’s the reason it doesn’t take the number one spot in this article.
If you’re a creative type and like to tweak the appearance of your browser, Vivaldi has plenty of customization options to help you get the aesthetics you want. You can edit the color scheme, get the user interface to replicate the color of the webpage you’re viewing and customize the start page. One quirky customization is the option to give search engines a nickname.
Low RAM Consumption with Vivaldi
If you’re the type of user who opens lots of tabs, uses other software on your Mac while browsing and otherwise puts your computer’s memory through its paces, Vivaldi might be the browser for you. During our testing, we experienced low RAM consumption, which allowed us to multitask without lag while keeping our browser and several tabs open.
Vivaldi has the ingredients to be your browser of choice. While it’s not the quickest or most versatile in terms of extensions (Chrome always wins that battle), it’s the most consistent when considering the core features that make a browser attractive.
Our only issue with Vivaldi is the lack of an iOS app, and hopefully, it’s one the service can change in the future. If you’d like to learn more about Vivaldi, read our full Vivaldi review.
3. Google Chrome
- Fast performance
- Large extension library
- Easy to sync Google account
- Poor reputation in terms of privacy
Google Chrome is the most popular internet browser by a long shot. Its ease of use and minimalist design allow novice and expert users to find their way around with relative ease. It’s also simple to personalize your browser setup and sync it between desktop and mobile.
Additionally, it makes it easy to navigate and use Google’s other software tools, such as Google Docs, Gmail and YouTube. You only need to use one Google account to seamlessly shift between and sync each product within your Google Chrome browser. It’s fast, too, loading web pages quickly and, after recent updates, no longer eating up your RAM.
Enjoy the World’s Largest Extension Library with Google Chrome
Google Chrome can boast that it offers the world’s largest collection of Chrome extensions. Whether you want to install an ad-blocker, a grammar checking tool or a password manager, Google Chrome will no doubt have the extension you need.
With its ease of use, vast number of extensions and synchronization features, it’s no surprise many feel Chrome is the best option for macOS. With its improvement on RAM usage and fast speed, it certainly does state its case for being the best option.
However, with Google being, well, Google, users have to accept that the tech giant will dive deep into their browsing and online habits, even when they use the incognito tab. It’s a tradeoff many are prepared to make. That said, those who aren’t should seek a different option. Check out our full Chrome review to learn if it’s the right browser for you.
- Sleek design
- Fast performance
- Comes installed on macOS
- Fewer extensions compared to Chromium-based options
Safari is the default browser for macOS. Once seen as a means to download a different, better browser, recent updates helped Safari state its case for being the right option for Mac users. For us, it offers the sleekest design of all the browsers, providing more real estate on web pages and taking less space with its bookmarks and top menu.
In the latest version of Safari (for macOS Monterrey), we’ve experienced a vast improvement in performance. Benchmark tests say Chrome still outperforms Safari, but in real-world use, the user experience feels almost identical, which we couldn’t say with past versions of Apple’s built-in browser.
Checkout With Apple Pay
If you often buy things online, you’ll know the frustrations (and security concerns) that come with manually entering your card details each time you make a purchase. Safari removes much of that stress by integrating Apple Pay into the browser.
For online stores that accept Apple Pay, users simply need to checkout by using touch ID, which automatically charges the card added to your Apple Pay account.
Safari is no longer the browser users wish to run away from, and it has made its way to the same table as the other best browsers for Mac. However, it doesn’t have as many options in terms of extensions, and although its security and privacy are OK, they’re not on par with a secure browser like Brave.
For those who don’t want to spend time researching and finding a new browser to download to their operating system, Safari — with its clean design, speed and payment integrations — is a sound option. You can learn more about it by reading our full Safari review.
5. Mozilla Firefox
- Excellent privacy practices
- Strong selection of add-ons
- Exceptional security
- High RAM usage
Firefox was the original trailblazer of internet browsing. While other browsers offered a standard format, Firefox was the first to introduce add-on features. Other browsers have since caught up, but Firefox still offers consistent, reliable add-ons for things like ad blocking, password management and removing autoplay on embedded videos.
Firefox continues to be one of the more secure browsers in the space. It uses malware protection to evade unwanted trackers snooping around your internet activity. During our testing, it reliably blocked a range of trackers that are often hidden deep within web pages.
Enjoy Ethical Privacy Standard With Firefox
As a nonprofit, Firefox prides itself on being transparent about how it uses your data. It also promises not to pass any of your information to third parties. It does use your data to improve the quality of the product, but users can be confident their data will not be sold to other companies for different uses.
Firefox may have slowed down in terms of innovations, but that doesn’t mean it has become worse than the competition. It does have areas for improvement, though. For example, it consumes a lot of system resources, which is something other options have been able to improve.
Those who wish to support nonprofit internet organizations should consider Firefox. Beyond its ethical approach, it offers a reliable, well-performing browser for your Mac. To learn more about this original trendsetter, check out our Mozilla Firefox review.
Now that you have five stellar browser options for your Mac computer, you should have no issues browsing online. At Cloudwards, we gravitate toward Brave and Vivaldi. Despite not being the fastest browsers, both offer exceptional security, have enough extensions to maximize your workflow and perform well enough to not frustrate you during heavy use.
Which is your favorite browser for Mac? Is there another option we didn’t mention? What are the key features you look for in a browser? Let us know in the comments. Thanks for reading.